Stars of Week 13
QB: Jalen Hurts, PHI: 29-39, 380 yards, 3 TDs (plus 1 rushing TD)
RB: Christian McCaffrey, SF: 17 carries, 66 yards, 0 TDs (8 catches, 80 yards, 1 TD)
WR: AJ Brown, PHI: 8 catches, 119 yards 2 TDs
TE: Noah Fant, SEA: 4 catches, 42 yards, 1 TD
Eagles’ QB Jalen Hurts has been a frequent resident on the weekly honor roll, as he continues to build off of his career year. Hurts showed just how much he has developed versus the Titans, beating them almost exclusively with his arm. Four total TDs (including one on the ground) to go with 380 passing yards leads to the top QB stats of the day.
The 49ers suffered another big blow this past Sunday at QB, this time losing Jimmy Garoppolo for the rest of the year. Thankfully, they went out and acquired star RB Christian McCaffrey prior to the trade deadline. CMC will be a huge asset to new starting QB Brock Purdy as a safety valve, and he will continue to post top 5 RB numbers moving forward.
Hurts’ battery mate AJ Brown hauled in 119 yards and 2 of his 3 TD passes, haunting his former team. Brown has helped unlock a new level for Hurts, leading the Eagles to the top seed in the NFC at the moment. Brown catches virtually everything thrown his way, whether open or not. He’s a clear WR1, pushing top 5 overall at the position.
We had a relatively tame day for tight ends across the NFL, with the Seahawks’ Noah Fant taking the honors. Fant found the end zone for a key TD versus the Rams, while catching 4 balls for 42 yards. Fant remains a mid level TE2 for fantasy purposes, as he doesn’t receive enough targets to be a weekly TE1 starter.
Week 13 Takeaways – A Closer Look
Each week we’ll take a closer look at a handful of performances and sort out what such performances mean going forward.
- Deshaun Watson, CLE: 12-22, 121 yards, 0 TDs, 1 INT
Analysis: After serving an 11-game suspension to start the 2022 season, on the heels of sitting out the entire 2021 year, the Cleveland Browns got their first glance at the QB for whom they traded three first round picks and paid a fully guaranteed $230 million. Watson was rusty and ineffective, to put it kindly. I will not dive into my personal thoughts about Watson as an individual, solely sticking to his football prognosis. Watson failed to do much of anything right, as evidenced by 121 passing yards and a sub 6 yards per attempt. The Browns beat the Texans easily, however, because Watson was bailed out by three return TDs between the Browns’ defense and special teams’ units. The Texans being the Texans also helped. Nevertheless, Watson is a much better quarterback than what he showed this past Sunday. Just how good will Watson play down the fantasy playoff stretch? The Browns face the Bengals, Ravens, Saints and Commanders the next four weeks, which takes us through the fantasy playoff schedule. None of these defenses are easy to pass against, but it’s not quite the gauntlet either. Watson should begin to rebound into form over the next few weeks, but given that we only have a few weeks left in the fantasy season, and given the quality of his opponents’ defenses, you should view Watson as nothing more than a mid-level QB2 going forward. Only pick up Watson if you have a stark need for QB help.
- James Cook, RB – BUF: 14 carries, 64 yards, 0 TDs (6 catches, 41 yards, 0 TDs)
- Devin Singletary, RB – BUF: 13 carries, 51 yards, 1 TD (0 catches, 0 yards, 0 TDs)
Analysis: The Buffalo Bills faced the New England Patriots this past week on Thursday night football, and while the game was a dud, there was an intriguing fantasy football development orginating from the Bills’ backfield. While veteran RB Devin Singletary has maintained lead back status all season, the ice appears to be thawing on his strangle hold on the role. Singletary surprisingly split carries with rookie James Cook, with Cook outperforming Singletary in their touches – despite Singletary finding the end zone. The carries were just about even at 14 to 13, as were the snaps (33 to 32 in favor of Singletary). So what does this all mean as we get ready to enter the fantasy playoffs? Looking further at the stats, you’ll notice that while the rushing performances were close, Cook outshone Singletary in the passing game by an overwhelming margin. Whether a similar snap distribution will be in place for the Bills next week versus the Jets remains to be seen, but it’s likely that Cook will continue to force a split backfield due to his production. As a result, Singletary slides from low end RB2 to a mid-level flex, and Cook ascends up to flex status as well, with upside in PPR leagues. Per Yahoo, Cook remains available in 77% of leagues…he’s the top add at RB this week.
- Zonovan Knight, RB – NYJ: 15 carries, 90 yards, 0 TDs (5 catches, 28 yards, 0 TDs)
Analysis: With star RB Breece Hall out for the season, and deputized starter Michael Carter also out, rookie RB Zonovan Knight got the start against the Vikings…and he looked the part. The NC State product rushed for 90 yards while averaging 6 yards per carry, while also hauling in 5 passes for 28 yards. Knight also looked good the prior week versus the Bears, rushing for 69 yards on just 14 carries. Remember that the Jets traded for RB James Robinson right after Hall went down for the year. That sheds at least some light as to what they think of Carter – preference not to use him as an all-down back. Looking at the carry distribution this past Sunday, Knight’s 15 carries dwarfed the totes by Robinson (just 4 for 10 yards) and Ty Johnson (1 for 3 yards). For any period of time that Carter remains out, Knight has low end RB2 / high end flex value. Upon Carter’s return, his value will clearly drop. By how much, that remains to be seen. The educated guess here is that Carter and Knight would split carries fairly evenly, but Knight would have the upside of pushing towards the higher end of the carry distribution. Consider Knight a short-term boost to your rushing corps, with the longer term piece in question until we see Carter and Knight split a backfield. In case both James Cook and Knight remain available in your league, prioritize Cook.
* All snap count information is referenced through statistics provided by Pro Football Focus.
Rapid Fire Pickups
Each week we’ll throw out potential free agent pickups from each position for deeper leagues, in each case a player 1) who has NOT been featured above, and 2) remains available in more than 50% of leagues.
QB: Ryan Tannehill, TEN (@ JAC)
RB: Cam Akers, LAR (vs LV) *Rams’ RB carousel keeps spinning!
RB: Deejay Dallas, SEA (vs CAR) **if Kenneth Walker is out
WR: Jameson Williams, DET (vs MIN)
WR: Van Jefferson, LAR (vs LV)
TE: Greg Dulcich, DEN (vs KC)
Thank you for reading my articles on RealGM! I have a request of you – if you enjoy my work, I kindly ask that you consider following me on Twitter if you aren’t already. My Twitter handle is @NeemaHodjatNFL. Your support is very much appreciated.