Week 13 of the NFL and fantasy football season is just about in the books. Hopefully you punched your ticket into the fantasy playoffs. Even though it is late in the season, things are still changing every single day in fantasy, with players earning more snaps, targets and opportunities.
Let’s get after our weekly look at snaps and targets.
Indianapolis Colts 26, Houston Texans 20
We saw two starting running backs return to their lineups in this game. Let’s start with David Johnson, who was back from his concussion Sunday but didn’t see the workhorse role that he had in the beginning of the season. David logged 53% of the snaps compared to a 58% snap rate for Duke Johnson. The two were on the field together quite a bit Sunday, something that probably continues with the Texans suddenly so depleted at wide receiver. David outcarried Duke 10-2 and received most of the goal-line work, converting a short-yardage run into a score, but didn’t catch a pass in the game.
Meanwhile, Jonathan Taylor was activated from the Reserve/COVID-19 list ahead of this game and was absolutely electric. The rookie touched the football 16 times for 135 yards and a touchdown, a 39-yard fourth-down reception. Taylor rushed for 91 yards on 13 carries, seeing more carries than Nyheim Hines and Jordan Wilkins combined (11). He also played 33 snaps to Hines’ 23 and consistently ripped off large runs. The Colts have gone with the hot hand for most of the season, but Taylor has gotten the first crack at getting the hot hand each week. He has it right now and with matchups against the Raiders and Texans again coming up, Taylor is heating up at the right time.
The Texans played their first game without Will Fuller (suspension), opening up opportunities for other Houston pass-catchers, especially with Kenny Stills no longer on the team and Randall Cobb on injured reserve. Keke Coutee was the more popular name heading into the week and he delivered, catching eight of nine targets for 141 yards. But Chad Hansen ran as the outside receiver opposite Brandin Cooks in this game and also eclipsed the 100-yard mark. Hansen led the Houston wideouts with 45, a number that is tied for seventh-most among all receivers for Week 13. Both are viable waiver claims heading into Week 14 if you are hurting at wide receiver.
Miami Dolphins 19, Cincinnati Bengals 7
Myles Gaskin returned from a four-week absence and immediately slotted back in as the Dolphins lead back. He logged 71% of the snaps and handled 23 of the 28 running back touches, recording 141 yards. Of course, Miami was without Matt Breida, Salvon Ahmed and DeAndre Washington for this game. but this is a team that has relied on one back all season long, whether Gaskin to begin the year or Ahmed while Gaskin was sidelined. He could have had an even better outing if the touchdowns had gone his way, but Gaskin is back to being a strong RB2 in fantasy.
Once again, not much to say for the Bengals. Tyler Boyd only played 24 snaps because he was ejected at the end of the second quarter after getting into a scuffle with Xavien Howard. Tee Higgins led the Cincinnati skill players with a 90% snap share, but he suffered an injury late in the game after landing awkwardly on a hurdle attempt. Keep an eye on his status during the week.
After doing nothing for much of the season, Mike Gesicki is coming on a bit as of late. He hauled in nine of a team-high 11 targets for 88 yards and a touchdown in this game, giving him two straight weeks with a touchdown. Gesicki is being used as an inline tight end a bit more during the second half of the season but he is still lining up in the slot 67.3% of the time, the second-highest rate among all tight ends this season. It was encouraging to finally see him have a productive game with Tua Tagovailoa under center, too.
Miami’s offense is suddenly very concentrated, especially when the Dolphins were in close Sunday. DeVante Parker had opportunities to score in this game, seeing three end-zone targets (37.5% of Miami’s end-zone looks), while Gesicki converted his end-zone target into a score. Over the last four weeks, Parker leads all wide receivers with seven end-zone targets, which is just under 20% of the Dolphins end zone looks during that span. Meanwhile, Gaskin saw three carries from inside the 5-yard line and seven red-zone carries but could not find the end zone.
Las Vegas Raiders 31, New York Jets 28
The Raiders were without Josh Jacobs (ankle) for this game, forcing them to turn to Devontae Booker. Most of the fantasy community (myself included) expected Booker to post high-end RB2 numbers in this spot, but it just didn’t happen. His 42% snap share was lower than I expected, though he did handle 16 of the 23 running back carries in this game. He only posted 50 rushing yards and was vultured at the goal line by Derek Carr. Jacobs could miss Week 14, which would have Booker on the high-end flex radar, though Jalen Richard played 41% of the snaps and played a lot of passing downs.
Frank Gore was in line for another 18 or so touches in this game but left on the opening drive of the game with a concussion. Ty Johnson stepped in and carried the ball 22 times for 104 yards and a touchdown, logging 39 snaps to Josh Adams’ 19. With La'Mical Perine still on injured reserve, Johnson could be the Jets lead back next week against the Chiefs, which puts him on the map as you prepare to make your waiver claims.
Darren Waller was arguably the story of the week, as the elite tight end went off for 13 catches for 200 yards and a pair of touchdowns. It was the fourth-best fantasy performance of all time by a tight end, as Waller soaked up 17 targets, resulting in nearly a 37% target share. He became the sixth tight end in NFL history to reach 200 receiving yards in a single game.
Cleveland Browns 41, Tennessee Titans 35
The Browns got off to an incredible start in this game, jumping out to an early 31-7 lead. Baker Mayfield and the passing game seemingly did whatever they wanted, and it was the first game since Week 5 where Mayfield attempted at least 30 passes. Jarvis Landry put together another good game, hauling in eight of 10 targets for 62 yards and a touchdown. He’s now seen double-digit targets in three-of-five games since Odell Beckham suffered his injury. During those five games, Landry is averaging four more fantasy points and two more targets per game without Beckham.
I was really high on the Tennessee pass-catchers in this game, as the Browns secondary remains very depleted. A.J. Brown had a solid game, but Corey Davis had a career one, catching 11-of-12 targets for a career-high 182 yards and a touchdown. Not enough people are talking about it, but Davis is enjoying a nice breakout campaign here in Year No. 4. It was Davis’ fourth 100-yard outing of the season and seventh game with at least five receptions. He’s quietly been very good all season long and is now the WR25 in fantasy, despite missing time in the beginning of the year with COVID-19. Since Week 7, Davis is the WR7 in fantasy and gets the Jaguars, Lions, Packers and Texans to end the season. Expect the strong play to continue, especially in Week 14 against a Jacksonville defense that has allowed a 100-yard receiver in eight consecutive games.
Minnesota Vikings 27, Jacksonville Jaguars 24
There was some talk of the Vikings easing Dalvin Cook’s workload a bit, but that clearly wasn’t the case Sunday. He played 87% of the snaps and touched the ball a whopping 38 times and while backup running back Alexander Mattison wasn’t available for this game, the Vikings are still clearly going to feed Cook the rock, as he’s averaging over 30 touches per game since Week 8.
For the first time in weeks, James Robinson didn’t see 100% of the Jacksonville running back carries on Sunday. No, instead he only handled a measly 90% of the carries. Robinson recorded 78 yards and a touchdown on 18 carries, while adding 30 receiving yards. He’s now reached 90 total yards in six straight games, the longest streak in the NFL and he now needs just over 30 rushing yards to become the fourth undrafted running back in NFL history to rush for 1,000 yards as a rookie. And if he gets over 1,100 yards, he’ll break the undrafted rookie running back record.
Adam Thielen and Justin Jefferson continue to be superstars. Jefferson led the way in this one with nine catches for 121 yards and a touchdown on 12 targets, becoming the fifth receiver in history to reach the 1,000-yard mark in his first 12 games. He also broke Randy Moss’ franchise record of 100-yard games as a rookie with five and still trails only Davante Adams in yards per route run (2.87) for the season.
For Jacksonville, Collin Johnson has been a nice surprise as of late. He went off for over 90 yards and a touchdown in Week 12 but that was without D.J. Chark and Chris Conley. Well, both Chark and Conley were back in this game and Johnson still was involved, catching four passes for 66 yards. He also played over both Conley and Laviska Shenault.
Another week, another Thielen touchdown. He still leads the league with 16 end-zone targets and 11 end-zone touchdowns, while his 18.6% end-zone target share is third among all players with at least 25 targets this season. Dalvin Cook, meanwhile, had all of the opportunities to score in this game, seeing three carries from inside the 5-yard line and eight red-zone carries.
Detroit Lions 34, Chicago Bears 30
D'Andre Swift wasn’t quite ready to return to action for this game, forcing Adrian Peterson into a workhorse role once again. He outcarried Kerryon Johnson 16-3, though the snaps were close (32-30). The rushing production was (as expected) pedestrian but Peterson did find the end zone twice.
Meanwhile, it was another strong game from Marvin Jones, who caught eight of a team-high 12 targets for 116 yards and a touchdown. He continues to benefit from the absence of Kenny Golladay, as Jones is averaging nearly seven more fantasy points, four more targets and 25 more receiving yards per game in the seven games Golladay has missed. Over the last five weeks, Jones is the WR14 in fantasy and has three double-digit target games during that span.
It’s also worth noting that this was Detroit’s first game with Darrell Bevell as interim head coach and the Lions passing attack was more aggressive. Matthew Stafford sported an average depth of target of 13.8 yards, easily his highest mark in any game this season.
New Orleans Saints 21, Atlanta Falcons 16
Much, much better from Alvin Kamara. After logging less than 50% of the snaps over the last two weeks, Kamara went back over 60% against the Falcons, which is right around his usual snap share. This game was a lot closer for New Orleans, so the Saints didn’t rest Kamara for the fourth quarter. He also outcarried Latavius Murray 15-5 and averaged nearly six yards per carry against a good Falcons run defense. Taysom Hill still finished with 14 carries of his own and isn’t targeting Kamara as much as we’d like, lowering his ceiling. But this was clearly much better.
Todd Gurley missed Week 12 with a knee injury and is apparently still dealing with it. He was active for this game but clearly limited, playing just 33% of the snaps and touching the football nine times. Meanwhile, Ito Smith led the backfield with a 36% snap share and also touched the ball nine times, while Brian Hill had five carries. Offensive coordinator Dirk Koetter said that their plan was to use Gurley on third downs and inside the red zone against the Saints and with the veteran running back still nursing the injury, I bet a similar game plan will be deployed this week, especially with Atlanta out of playoff contention.
Los Angeles Rams 38, Arizona Cardinals 28
Finally… The Rock has come back to— wait, what? Sorry, habit.
What I meant to say was…
Finally, Cam Akers appears to be running away with the Rams backfield. After showing signs over the last few weeks, the rookie emerged in Week 13, seeing a career-high 21 carries for 72 yards and a touchdown. Darrell Henderson and Malcolm Brown combined for just seven carries, while the rookie also handled seven carries from inside the 10-yard line, as the Rams clearly made it an effort to get him involved, especially in that area of the field. Akers is a no-nonsense runner, immediately bursting to wherever he wants to go once he touches the football. Henderson left this game for a bit with a knee injury but did return so it is fair to wonder what the snaps will look like next week. Akers logged 52-of-82 offensive snaps while Henderson finished with just 17. Still, Akers has to be viewed as the head of this committee going forward and is a risky RB2 play for the time being.
Robert Woods has now seen double-digit targets in each of his last three games, seeing 38 total looks during that span. Meanwhile, the tight ends are both playing a lot, but they have been more involved in the offense as of late. Tyler Higbee hauled in four-of-six targets for 24 yards and a touchdown on Sunday, while his 33 pass routes were the eighth-most among all tight ends for the week. He is also eighth among tight ends in run-blocking snaps over the last three weeks, where he is usually top-three at the position. If the Rams lean toward the pass, Higbee and Gerald Everett will benefit.
Is Kyler Murray’s shoulder still bothering him? He once again only ran with the football five times, the third straight game with that many rushes, while failing to score a rushing touchdown during that span. As a result, Kenyan Drake once again saw three carries from inside the 5-yard line Sunday, converting one into a touchdown. During that three-game stretch where Murray has been limited, Drake leads the NFL with 10 carries from inside the 5-yard line, while his 16 red-zone carries trails only Dalvin Cook.
Meanwhile, no player in Week 13 saw more red-zone carries than Akers (9), who also led the league with four carries from inside the 5-yard line.
New York Giants 17, Seattle Seahawks 12
Chris Carson apparently still isn’t quite 100%, but he took more work from Carlos Hyde Sunday afternoon. He played 42 of the 72 offensive snaps for Seattle (58.3%), while handling 16 of the 21 running back touches. The Seahawks have transitioned back to a more run-oriented approach on offense, while Carson is also averaging nearly four receptions per game, so he should continue to see at least 15 touches per game the rest of the way.
Wayne Gallman’s five-game touchdown streak ended Sunday, but he made up for it by rushing for 135 yards, the first 100-yard game of his career. Alfred Morris scored twice in this game, including a four-yard touchdown after Gallman came out of the game for rest following a 60-yard run, but Gallman still played 50% of the snaps and handled 16 of the 27 carries in the Giants backfield.
New England Patriots 45, Los Angeles Chargers 0
The only takeaway I have from this game is the New England backfield. Sony Michel returned last week, only to log one offensive snap. He was a bit more involved in this game, playing 22 of the 67 offensive snaps, while carrying the ball 10 times. However, six of those carries came on the final three drives of the game with the Patriots just running out the clock. Damien Harris still led the backfield with 16 carries for 80 yards, while logging around 49% of the snaps. Of course, Cam Newton scored two more rushing touchdowns, giving him 11 on the season, which hurts the ceiling of Harris, who has just three carries from inside the 5-yard line on the entire season.
Green Bay Packers 30, Philadelphia Eagles 16
Do I need to say anything more about Davante Adams? He scored two more times Sunday afternoon, making it seven consecutive games with a touchdown for the receiver, undoubtedly the best wideout in the game right now. In just 10 games, Adams has 84 catches for 1,029 yards and a whopping 13 touchdowns.
The Eagles offense remains broken. They started the game well, opening the drive how you should against the Packers, by running the football. Miles Sanders carried the ball five times in that opening drive and ultimately finished the game with 10 carries. Yes, I know the Eagles fell behind a bit in this game, but this has been an occurring theme for Sanders and the Philadelphia offense. Sanders only played 56% of the snaps Sunday, his lowest snap share in a game this season, as Jordan Howard came back and touched the ball four times on 11 snaps. Perhaps the offense gets on track with Jalen Hurts under center (he was named the starter Tuesday afternoon), but the fact of the matter is that the Eagles aren’t fully committing to Sanders, who hasn’t had 20 touches in a game since Week 3.
Kansas City Chiefs 22, Denver Broncos 16
Clyde Edwards-Helaire was battling the flu heading into this game but was deemed active by the Chiefs for Sunday night. However, he was clearly only to be used in case of emergency, as the rookie did not see the field against the Broncos. As a result, Le'Veon Bell got the start and handled 13 of the 20 running back touches, though Darrel Williams was mixed in, especially on third downs and in the hurry-up.
For the first time all season, Melvin Gordon looked better than Phillip Lindsay, as the veteran rushed for 100 yards in the first quarter against the Chiefs, ultimately finishing the game with 131 yards on 15 carries. Of course, this backfield remained a split, as Lindsay carried the ball 14 times and played 26 snaps to Gordon’s 35. Gordon is averaging nearly five fewer carries per game with Lindsay active this season. Despite his strong game, he remains a low-end flex as long as Lindsay is around.
Washington Football Team 23, Pittsburgh Steelers 17
Washington pulled off the uset, despite losing rookie sensation Antonio Gibson in the opening quarter to a toe injury. After playing just four snaps, Gibson did not return, forcing Washington to turn to Peyton Barber and J.D. McKissic. Pounding Barber up the middle against arguably the best run defense in football wasn’t the move, so Washington decided to use pass-catching back McKissic in the short passing game as an extension of the run. McKissic hauled in all 10 of his targets for 70 yards; if Gibson is forced to miss time, McKissic could return to RB2 status in PPR formats. We know Alex Smith is going to check it down, as 21% of his pass attempts have been behind the line of scrimmage this season. McKissic also outsnapped Barber 53-24 in this game and with no consistent options in the passing game outside of Terry McLaurin, we could see the veteran running back see 7-8 targets per game going forward.
Buffalo Bills 34, San Francisco 49ers 24
I’m not entirely sure what San Francisco is doing with Raheem Mostert. On Monday night, he played just 27-of-61 snaps, while Jeffery Wilson led the backfield with 28 snaps. Meanwhile, Mostert only carried the ball nine times to Wilson’s seven, though the 49ers were trailing for the entire game and had to abandon the run. Given how efficient a runner he is, Mostert doesn’t need 20 carries per game but it appears San Francisco is going to use all of their running backs considering they are all healthy for the first time this season. Meanwhile, Deebo Samuel and Brandon Aiyuk continue to dominate the targets in this passing game. Both saw nine targets on Monday night, combining for 47% of the team targets. And over his last four games, Aiyuk is flirting with a 30% target share. Both are high-end WR3 options for the rest of the season unless George Kittle can somehow return.
Zack Moss was leading the Bills backfield in snaps for weeks heading into this game, but ball security issues put him on the bench. He lost a fumble on Buffalo’s opening drive (he was ruled down) but then coughed it up on the following drive. From then on, it was all Devin Singletary, who played 62 snaps to Moss’ 11.