Week 13 in the fantasy football season is (in most cases) the final chance to get into the tournament. Most of us, by now, know our fate after the Sunday slate of game, unless you are looking for a miracle on Monday Night Football. The savvy owner has been planning their playoff run for weeks, analyzing matchups, diving into data, and getting as prepared as possible. However, now is not the time to become complacent and rest on what you have done up to this point. The matchups become harder as the stakes rise. Whether you are in dynasty or redraft, there is still work to do. Let’s take a look back on Week 13 around the NFL and see what the implications could be for your playoffs.
Le’Veon Bell disappoints in a great matchup
You would think going against the worst rushing defense in the NFL would make you want to run the ball. Adam Gase chose differently. The New York Jets rushed a total of 17 times Sunday, with Bell getting 10 of those carries for 32 yards. While he did add to his PPR scoring by catching four passes for 35 yards, this was still a very disappointing day overall. There is no question that Bell has superior talent. We have seen it on display for years. But that was also behind arguably the best offensive line in football in Pittsburgh. The Jets line is far from that, and they proved it again this week. In all fairness, the entire team struggled other than Robby Anderson, who went over the 100-yard mark for only the second time this season.
Has Bell completely tanked your team? No, probably not. However, I do not think he has won you any weeks either. As disappointing as he has been, given his ADP, Bell still ranks at RB12 in PPR scoring, yet the way he has got there means it feels like a disappointment at the same time. Looking ahead to his playoff matchups, the schedule doesn’t get any easier. Next week he gets a matchup against the Miami Dolphins, who are coming off a win against the Philadelphia Eagles. He should be ranked as an RB2, at least for that game since it is a decent matchup. Following that, he faces the Ravens on the road, then home to the Steelers in Week 16, and if you have Week 17 championships, the Buffalo Bills on the road. You have one more good matchup and past that it becomes hard to have a lot of faith in him to have big performances for your team. I will always say to start your studs, but when his floor is in the single-digits in must-win games, that’s not a choice I look forward to making.
Derrick Henry goes off…again
A lot of us in the industry love to point where we were right in the preseason with our calls. But we have to be fair and admit where we missed. I was dead wrong about Henry this year. I thought the end of the 2018 season was a flash in the pan, given the significant disparity between his final four games and the rest of the season. Mr. Henry, I would like to take this time to formally apologize to you and your true believers and admit that I was wrong and should have been all in from the start.
In Week 13, Henry went off for 149 rushing yards and a touchdown. That is three games in a row with 100 or more yards rushing (188 in Week 10 & 159 in Week 12). He has also scored in 4 straight games and 5 of the last 6. Now with 1,140 rushing yards and 11 touchdowns, Henry has been an absolute steal given where he was drafted. Add in the 17 receptions for 200 yards, and he sits at RB5 in PPR. Week 14, he gets a favorable matchup against the Oakland Raiders and will be firmly fixed as your RB1 for the remainder of the season.
DeVante Parker is a league winner
Man, I did not think that would be something I would write at the start of the season. Parker was viewed as nothing more than a roster filler during draft time. His ADP of 169.4 on ESPN shows this. Sure there was an upside, but did you think you were going to trust him? Yet here we are in Week 13, and after a sensational performance, he currently ranks as the WR20 in PPR.
In the middle of a carer year, Parker hauled in 7 catches for 159 yards and 2 touchdowns, including a 43-yard bomb that shifted the course of the game late in the 1st quarter. Also, this was the 4th week in a row where he has seen 10 or more targets in a game. Have you seen his upcoming schedule? His next three games are against the Jets, Giants, and then the Bengals in Week 16. You could not ask for a better finish to the season for fantasy football. Parker should be a fixture in your starting lineups and will have a WR2 ranking every week. Ride this wave for all its worth.
Jackson does it again on the ground
Lamar Jackson continues to show that NFL defenses aren’t prepared to contain him. Yes, he did struggle to throw the ball today, going 14 of 23 for 105 yards and a solitary touchdown to Mark Andrews. Going against an elite defense combined with the poor weather, make this hardly surprising. Its what he did on the ground that makes Jackson unique, especially for fantasy football. He carried the ball 16 times for 101 yards and another score. Week 13 gave Jackson the fourth game with at least that many rushing yard this season, the most by any quarterback in a single year in history.
Next week, he gets another test against the Bills, but let’s be real, you’re not benching him. When we look back on championship teams and their rosters, I expect to see Jackson on the vast majority of winning fantasy teams.
Quick Notes from Week 13
- The window to buy low on Derrius Guice is closed, especially for dynasty. Even in a timeshare with Adrian Peterson, Guice still had 129 yards on 10 carries and 2 touchdowns. Until we saw him on the field fully healthy, there was always some question marks, and you could have pried him away from a desperate owner who was making a playoff push. Safe to say his price has gone up as we head into the offseason in dynasty.
- While the final total of 17.2 PPR points is excellent, it’s weird how Christian McCaffrey got them. After getting 8 carries in the 1st quarter, he only got 6 more the rest of the game, finishing with 44 yards rushing. Week 13 was only the 3rd time this season McCaffrey failed to score a touchdown in a game.
- Are we finally seeing the breakthrough for James Washington? The expectation was instant success and chemistry with Mason Rudolph, but it never really materialized until recently, and it is actually better with Devlin Hodges than Rudolph! Sunday’s 21.1-point performance marked a new career-high for Washington. Now with back to back games with a touchdown and double-digit fantasy points in 4 of the last 5 games, Washington seems to have turned a corner as we close the season.
- After getting his first touchdown of the season last week, Davante Adams followed that with two more in Week 13. The adverse weather didn’t slow him down, catching 6 of his 10 targets for 64 yards on the day. So long as you were able to survive without Adams this long, your patience is being rewarded. I expect more of these types of outings to come as the Green Bay Packers face the Chicago Bears and Washington Redskins.
- With Jordan Howard out due to injury, Miles Sanders showed he could be trusted with a higher workload moving forward. Sanders carried the ball 17 times for 83 yards and added 22 more from receiving yards as well as a touchdown. In the dynasty community, Sanders was never a “this-year” guy. He had some issues that needed coaching and time in the NFL. What Sanders does have is an advanced vision as well as elite burst through the gaps. Howard will be a free agent in 2020, making the future very bright for Sanders next year so long as they don’t bring in another RB via the draft or FA other than a depth piece.
- If you play in fantasy football leagues where you roster defenses, don’t be afraid to spend your FAAB or waiver claim on top defenses. Look a week ahead, and if you can afford to, roster multiple ones to block opponents. Look for teams like the Browns (CIN, @AZ) and Eagles (NYG, @WSH). Even if you don’t plan on playing them, take away that matchup from your opponents.
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Tommy Garrett is a writer for PFN covering Fantasy Football. You can follow him at @TommygarrettPFN on Twitter.