Fantasy Football Studs & Duds: Week 13
Here’s a look at the studs and duds of Week 13. We’ll look at one stud and one dud from each of the quarterback, running back, wide receiver, and tight end positions. The purpose of this exercise is not simply to identify the best and worst at each position but to find players who had over- or underwhelming performances that warrant discussion.
Stud: Russell Wilson (SEA)
11/17; 185 Yards; Four Touchdowns
Four of Wilson’s 11 completions were in the end zone. I don’t know if there’s a term to describe the opposite of garbage time, but that’s what allowed Wilson to have so much success today. Seattle was in such a comfortable position for so long that Wilson only wound up throwing when conditions were favorable. This kind of performance is completely unsustainable, but that doesn’t mean Wilson isn’t an elite prospect for the fantasy playoffs. He has a tough matchup against the Vikings next week, but Weeks 15 and 16 feature the 49ers (again) and Kansas City Chiefs, which ought to be a shootout (every Chiefs game is). Usually, when you think of slow starting teams that finish hot it’s the Patriots who first come to mind, but the Seahawks are a team in that same vein, so expectations should be high going into this home stretch as they battle for a wild-card spot.
Dud: Kirk Cousins (MIN)
32/44; 201 Yards; One TD/Two INTs
The book on Cousins has been out there for years now. He’s not good under pressure. New England’s defense might be one of the league’s least talented, but even they were able to get in Kirk’s face against this Vikings offensive line. If anyone is still wondering why the Vikings are so average despite being so loaded at the skill positions, that’s why, by the way. The offensive line issues that have plagued this franchise for years now continue to be a problem. So if you’re going to play the matchups when deciding whether Cousins should be started then you have to figure out if the opposing team a) has the defensive front to cause problems and/or b) a coach good enough scheme pressure. Turns out that Cousins is in the same boat as Wilson, because after playing against him in Seattle next week (sit Cousins here), the Vikings play the Dolphins and Lions, who check neither of the aforementioned boxes.
Stud: Phillip Lindsay (DEN)
19 for 157 Yards; Two Touchdowns
Royce Freeman has been a really solid player for the Broncos — it’s just that Phillip Lindsay has been an explosive phenom. All of the elite running backs have a tighter grip on the snap count than Lindsay, but he seems to do better as part of a one-two punch. 14+ touches is more than enough for this type of player, and he’s been getting them regardless of Freeman’s health and involvement. Volume is king in fantasy, yes, but that’s not to say we should completely discount a hot streak. Remember when Terrence Williams caught six touchdowns through the first seven games of 2014? No? Well, this is more legitimate than that, but if somehow we do end up looking at this similarly, we’ll all be able to agree that we wanted to be a part of it.
Dud: Tevin Coleman (ATL)
Six Carries for Eight Yards
This was a long time coming for Coleman, who had been bailing out owners time and time again with touchdowns in otherwise terrible games. Atlanta has suffered through a gauntlet of great defenses, and it’s exposed the weakness of their offensive line, which has taken a big step back after suffering a couple of key injuries. Coleman is a free agent next season, and with the Falcons season all but over, they’ll probably try to use these last few games to groom Ito Smith to replace him as Devonta Freeman’s backup. You can’t trust Coleman in the fantasy playoffs, and frankly, if you’ve had to do so in the regular season it’s probable that you aren’t in them anyway.
Stud: Odell Beckham Jr. (NYG)
Three Receptions for 35 Yards; One Touchdown; One 49 Yard Passing TD
Since the Giants have all of the skill positions set up beside quarterback, all they need to do is manage egos until they can draft Eli Manning’s replacement in the offseason. Apparently, that’s the idea here, what with how they’ve been placating Odell Beckham’s (totally justified) need for more touches and scoring chances. Perhaps it’s too dismissive to say that their play calling is merely an act of appeasement — they did win the game after all. But it wouldn’t be surprising to see them try this sort of thing going forward, knowing Beckham’s personality. And if they don’t, well, his owners had better pray that sheer volume can be converted into production, because the volume is there.
Dud: Tyreek Hill (KC)
One Reception for 13 Yards
Patrick Mahomes looked shaky despite tossing another four touchdown passes in what’s become a casual day at the office for the MVP candidate. His deep ball was off, and he missed Hill on what would on any other week be easy connections for the duo. This appears to be a case of the bye week doing a hot team no favors, especially following a crushing loss just beforehand. What’s important is that Hill looked good, so the big plays will come down the line. One catch on six targets necessitates positive regression for two players of this caliber. For as seemingly unguardable a player as Hill is, he’s been known to lay a few eggs on occasion, and it would be foolish to overreact.
Stud: Travis Kelce (KC)
12 Receptions for 168 Yards; Two Touchdowns
Kelce is a tight end in name only, considering he’s barely used to block and when he tries it usually doesn’t work out that well. He’s simply an elite pass catcher who lines up inside and gets to take advantage of coverage by linebackers and safeties due to his size. This would appear to be the future of the position, since all of the biggest names are guys who spend all of their time on the field running routes, so there’s no shame in it unless you’re a stickler for old-school ball. This is fantastic for us fantasy players since the position has been so boring for so long outside of a couple of fringe cases (i.e. Rob Gronkowski). That first wave is on its way out, seeing as Gronk, Greg Olsen, etc. seem to be on their way out with injuries, so it will be up to guys like Kelce and Ertz to provide high upside as top-tier options.
Dud: Trey Burton (CHI)
No Receptions on One Target
Burton is one of those player’s whose preseason draft stock befuddled me. He’s a largely unproven talent on a team with an unproven offense and quarterback. Frankly, he’s already outperformed my expectations, but after a hot start, he’s become more of the player I thought he’d be. Now, of course, it’s not fair to judge his performance without his starting quarterback, but even with Mitch Trubisky throwing him the ball he’s only put out one truly monster game which was against the Patriots’ sluggish linebacker corps back in Week 7. Other than that he’s been sustaining viability with touchdowns, which is partially to be expected for a good tight end. But Trubisky hasn’t exactly developed into the world’s most accurate passer, and with so many pass-catchers that warrant consideration in this offense, it’s difficult to say whether Burton will be able to carve out a consistent role for himself.