Takeaways from Week 13 Game Film (Fantasy Football)
Chances are that you saw Miami’s incredible trick play and Courtland Sutton‘s ridiculous one-handed diving touchdown catch, but my goal today is to tell you about some tidbits you may have missed from a fantasy perspective. I went back through and watched every play of every game. I saw the Thursday night game and three Sunday games live then used NFL Game Pass to see the other 8 contests this morning. Let’s do this!
This is the best Devonta Freeman I’ve seen in years
After back to back great fantasy seasons, Freeman took a step back in 2017 playing through injuries. He proceeded to miss most of 2018 and a chunk of 2019 with an injury but was otherwise inefficient when active. Folks, I know he only went for 51 yards on 17 carries, but I’m telling you, he was zippy and fiesty on tape. The reason, of course, that he didn’t rack up more yards was that he took in a fierce Saints front seven who has been shutting everyone down since Sheldon Rankins jumped back into the depth chart. More often than not, they were meeting him behind the line of scrimmage and when they weren’t, it was only a yard or two past the line. Frankly, most running backs would have ended up with half the yardage Freeman mustered. A handful of times, he made something out of absolutely nothing, and if you saw his Week 14 opponent, the Carolina Panthers, try to stop Derrius Guice and Adrian Peterson last week, you know that a finally healthy Freeman could absolutely wreck them and carry your team to the fantasy semi-finals.
Jamaal Williams is actually a very good football player
When Peyton Barber scored his first touchdown, I tweeted out that he was the most annoying fantasy player and while over 1,000 people seemed to agree, Jamaal Williams was commonly brought up as more annoying. Friends, this is an entirely different situation. Barber is merely a fringe roster player cutting into Ronald Jones‘ workload. Aaron Jones is spectacular, of course, but Williams doesn’t look much worse when he gets the opportunity to touch the ball. Yes, Jones is better in the passing game, and I hesitate to say this because of the likely reaction, but Williams is, in fact, the more complete pure runner. He might not have the same speed or agility, but his burst, balance, vision and patience are all better assets. My point isn’t that you need to stop complaining about Jones being given just 15 carries per game; you can do whatever you want. My point is merely that even with Williams being the second part of this 60/40 split, he is good enough to start most weeks in that minimal role.
I’m convinced the Titans are the third-best team in the AFC
I thought about starting the article with this one, but it just seemed so outrageous at face value that I didn’t want you all to stop reading. Please here me out; this isn’t hyperbole. I get with Patrick Mahomes and Deshaun Watson. They are the 2nd and 4th best quarterbacks (Russ and L-Jax) in football. The Chiefs have no running game. The Texans have no offensive line. Kansas City can’t stop the run. Houston can’t stop the pass. Although Mahomes and Watson are superb, it’s not enough to make up for such glaring holes that will exploited by complete teams in the playoffs. Besides the Ravens and Patriots (in that order) the Titans are the only other complete AFC team. Their offensive line is on point. Derrick Henry is clearly otherworldly and since Ryan Tannehill took over under center, it has finally forced defenses to stop stacking the box so often against him. In fact, Tannehill has been extraordinary in his own right. We aren’t just talking about an upgrade over Marcus Mariota. He legitimately looks like a top 10 or 12 quarterback in the NFL now that he is away from Adam Gase and putrid skill players Miami has had the last few years. Furthermore, their secondary and run defense are both still strong. It might feel wrong to you because there is nothing sexy about this team, but don’t be surprised if they end up in the AFC Championship Game next month.
It’s a little late but it might finally be happening for O.J. Howard
When you watch Jameis Winston, the talent is evident; you can’t ignore it. His issue is exclusively awareness. More than any quarterback this season, and that includes third-string nobodies, Winston locks onto his first read and forces the ball regardless of anything else happening on the field. Now, that isn’t always the case, of course, but it happens at least twice, if not three times as often as your standard starting QB like Matthew Stafford or Derek Carr. What this means for Howard in a Bruce Arians offense is that he’ll play hard and go entirely unnoticed at times. But frankly, he has been just as good as last season in terms of efficiency. Finally, for perhaps the first time in his life, Winston was commonly throwing to his second or even third read against the Jags. And what do you know, Howard was (still) open and (still) plenty capable of making plays. If this continues, Howard is going to be a great buy-low in dynasty leagues this off-season and a steal in the double-digit rounds of your fantasy drafts.
- Miles Sanders is going to be an absolute steal in the 3rd or 4th round of fantasy drafts next year
- Courtland Sutton is not just a breakout player, he is a legitimate alpha receiver
- Devante Parker might just be in the same tier now that Adam Gase and health concerns are behind him
- Raheem Mostert might just run away with the lead role in this elite 49ers running game
- Jakobi Meyers appears to be in Bill Belichick’s favor, playing more snaps than Sanu and Harry combined
- You can drop David Johnson. It’s over for him this season unfortunately
- It seemed like A.J. Brown never came off the field. In reality, he ‘only’ played 90% of the snaps (elite usage)
- Since the start of the season, I’m not sure any player has improved more than James Washington
- Kyler Murray is clearly playing hurt. You can’t use him until we see more (he gets PIT this week)
- Darwin Thompson is (still) the best running back on the Kansas City Chiefs’ roster
- Anthony Miller will be a late-round target in fantasy football drafts next summer
- Byron Jones is a top-three cornerback in the NFL (S Gilmore, C Harris)
- If you are desperate for a WR or flex streamer, Marcus Johnson isn’t half bad
- Terry McLaurin earned another TD but Haskins wasted the opportunity again