Skip to main content

The Primer: Week 13 Edition (2021 Fantasy Football)

Dec 2, 2021
  • Go to page:
  • 1
  • 2
  • 3
  • 4

Pristine Auction is a proud sponsor of The Primer. At Pristineauction.com, you can win signed football memorabilia verified by leading authenticators at affordable prices. Win your first auction and save $10 when you use code “Primer.”

I love snow. Actually, let me rephrase: I love the appearance of snow. There’s something so peaceful and tranquil about driving under a tree-covered road and seeing all the branches covered in white or looking out your back window and seeing a completely unfettered blanket covering what was once your green backyard. I’ve grown up in the Midwest my entire life and have never really minded the cold (as long as it’s not super windy) and I thoroughly enjoy the first snowfall. It signals to me that Christmas is drawing near, and I absolutely love all that encompasses that holiday.

With that being said, my appreciation for the appearance of snow is quickly erased by the reality of what it does to the roads and driving conditions here in the Midwest. For all of our readers who live in the South or out West and don’t have to ever worry about what it’s like driving down back roads before the snow plows have come through, I envy you. We do not have an All Wheel Drive vehicle yet, and I never really second guess that decision until it snows and I immediately wish that we did have one.

There was one moment back in 2015 where I absolutely wished that I had an AWD vehicle though, but instead I was stuck with my hand-me-down 2010 Honda Accord. This car had character, baby. Little did I know that it would eventually have to be discarded because our mechanic found a crack in the gas tank. My wife – then-fiancé – was thrilled to find out that we were literally driving a bomb around town, but it was fine. Anyway, I was at this time living in a townhouse with five other guys – rent was cheap – and working at a church about 20 minutes away. I needed to head into work one wintery day, but a snowstorm had just come through earlier that morning and the snow plows hadn’t really gotten out.

There were a couple of different routes I could take to get to work, but the quickest and easiest was to just get onto the highway right down the street from the townhouse. I managed to spin my tires enough down the road to get to the on-ramp, and I began making my way around the slow turn but knew that there was still plenty of snow and ice on the ground. As I began to make the turn where I would need to begin accelerating to get up to speed, I lost control of my car. I couldn’t turn, I had absolutely no traction, and I was simply stuck just sliding in the direction that my car was going when I hit the ice patch.

Thankfully, the snow plows had built up a sort of embankment alongside the guardrails with the snow from previous storms, and when I collided with the guardrail, I only collided with packed-in snow. Legitimately, like a bumper car, I bounced back into the middle of the lane, realized that my tires had traction, and – being the 21-year-old kid that I was – just started driving again. I was listening to see if my car made any weird sounds, but everything appeared to be normal and I just accelerated up to speed and went on my way to work.

Is this when the crack in the gas tank occurred??

Don’t worry, my car was completely fine (maybe?) and it didn’t even have a scratch, but it just goes to show that driving during the winter time in the Midwest is a complete adventure. This also isn’t even retelling the tale of how my only other car accident was due to sliding off the road a few years after this incident. That one was a bit more serious than just a real-life version of bumper cars, though…

Anyway, we’ve had a wild and wacky fantasy football season so far, haven’t we? It’s not over yet, and there are just a couple of key matchups left that are going to determine a lot across the fantasy football landscape. If you feel like you’re skidding out of control and need to get back to going in the right direction, don’t worry. Take a deep breath. Let’s bounce off the guardrails and get back to full speed. Pat and I have got you covered this week.

– Kyle Yates

MATCHUP LINKS:

IND vs. HOU | MIN vs. DET | NYG vs. MIA | TB vs. ATL | PHI vs. NYJ | ARI vs. CHI | LAC vs. CIN | JAC vs. LAR | WAS vs. LV | BAL vs. PIT | SF vs. SEA | DEN vs. KC | NE vs. BUF

Want to read about only your players? Sync your team (free) to get My Primer >>

__________

Indianapolis Colts vs Houston Texans

Date/Time: Sunday December 5, 1:00pm ET
BettingPros Consensus Spread: Colts -9
BettingPros Consensus Over/Under: 45.5 points
Implied Vegas point totals
: Colts 27.25, Texans 18.25

Quarterback

Carson Wentz: Do you know who is 4th in the NFL in PFF’s Passing Grade over the last two weeks? In a list that includes names like Aaron Rodgers and Tom Brady above him, Wentz is quietly playing very solid football. While the stat sheet from last week will show two interceptions, that doesn’t fully tell the whole story of Wentz’s day. One interception was a beautifully thrown ball deep downfield to Pittman that was intercepted on an incredible play from Antoine Winfield Jr. The other interception was a desperation heave to the end zone on the final play of the game that should be viewed essentially the same as a Hail Mary. Otherwise, Wentz was solid and kept the Colts in it against the reigning Super Bowl champs until the very end. With all that being said, Wentz now gets to take on the Texans defense that has started to turn things around recently, but is still one of the most favorable matchups for opposing QBs. There’s always the possibility that the running game takes center stage for the Colts, but if you’re in need of a streaming option for Week 13 and Wentz is available in your league, he’s a borderline top-12 play.

Tyrod Taylor: Taylor has now done enough over the past two weeks to be a top-15 QB each game, but he has just a total of 265 passing yards over that time frame. His rushing floor is certainly saving his fantasy output – and that has value in Superflex formats – but it makes relying on him as a starter in 1QB leagues very difficult. With that being said, Taylor might just be right back on the streaming radar in Week 13 against the Colts. Indianapolis has now allowed the 4th-most fantasy points to opposing QBs this season with 22.2 per game. Should we trust Taylor as a guaranteed top-12 play? Absolutely not. However, if you’re in a pinch and in need of a fill-in option, Taylor should be available in your league and he can be viewed as a mid-range QB2 this week.

Running Backs

Jonathan Taylor: How ridiculous is Taylor’s fantasy production so far this season? He currently has 266.1 Half PPR fantasy points through 12 games. The next closest player to him at the RB position is Austin Ekeler with 217.2 Half PPR points. He’s currently averaging 22.2 fantasy points per game and he has now scored a touchdown in 9 straight games. Frank Reich finally came to the conclusion that fantasy managers have had for the last two years now that JT deserves a massive workload and it’s translating to wins for the Colts and fantasy players alike. As if all of that wasn’t good enough, Taylor now gets a matchup against the Texans’ defense that is allowing 120.1 rushing yards per game to opposing RBs, which is the second-highest mark in the league. You were already doing this, but continue to start Taylor as the RB1 every week moving forward.

Nyheim Hines: We have now gone eight of the last nine games with Hines finishing outside the top-45 RBs on the week. This is completely Jonathan Taylor‘s backfield and Hines is subsequently off the redraft radar. He can be dropped if you’re still hanging onto him.

Rex Burkhead: Burkhead now has 30 carries over his last two games. This is a high enough mark to put him at No. 10 in the list for most rush attempts by an RB over that time span, but it’s only resulted in 67 rushing yards and no touchdowns. At this point, Burkhead is a desperation play and nothing more. He can be viewed as a low-end RB3/high-end FLEX option.

David Johnson: Do you know the popular gif of the older woman who says, “It’s been 84 years…”? That’s what I think of when I think about the last time DJ was a valuable fantasy asset. In all seriousness, he has not finished within the top-24 RBs any given week since Week 1 this season and he’s now gone four straight weeks with an RB36 ranking or worse. Johnson isn’t really in consideration for fantasy lineups at this point.

Wide Receivers

Michael Pittman Jr: It’s probably time that we recognize just how dominant Pittman has been this season. After being drafted around the WR50 mark in drafts this past off-season, Pittman is now the WR16 on the season and he’s averaging 11.8 Half PPR points per game. He has 61 receptions on the season for 805 yards and 5 touchdowns through 12 games and he was essentially free in drafts. While he’s had a few down games here recently, he’s still an incredibly consistent WR that’s receiving the majority of the targets in Indianapolis. With all that being said, he now gets to take on the Texans defense this week and this is a matchup that you’re going to turn right back around and plug him into your starting lineup. The Texans are allowing 173.8 receiving yards per game to opposing WRs and we should see Pittman get back on track here. He can be viewed as a mid-range WR2.

T.Y. Hilton: Hilton was able to find the end zone this past week, but he had done next to nothing the previous few weeks to even warrant consideration. In the previous matchup between the Colts and Texans this year, Hilton went off for 80 yards, but we shouldn’t view him as anything more than a desperation FLEX play in Week 13.

Brandin Cooks: Tyrod Taylor has only thrown for 265 passing yards on 50 total pass attempts over the past two weeks combined and that has certainly limited Cooks’ production from a fantasy standpoint. After seeing 14 targets in Week 9, Cooks has gone on to just see 8 total the past two weeks and he has a combined 63 receiving yards to show for it. While he did score last week to save his fantasy outing, Cooks is not coming with as high of a floor as we had come to expect earlier on in the season. He’s still worth playing in this matchup, of course, and we should see the Colts jump out to a large lead which will force more passing volume for the Texans. However, we have to be aware that Cooks isn’t bringing as much safety as we once thought. He can be viewed as a high-end WR3 this week.

Nico Collins: This is the point of the fantasy season where we need to start looking at high-upside players for our lineups and Collins is simply not one of those options in this offense. He has a bright future ahead of him and he’s an intriguing option for Dynasty leagues, but we shouldn’t be looking at him in redraft leagues now.

Tight Ends

Jack Doyle: Fantasy managers had been looking at Mo Alie-Cox as the Colts TE to roster earlier on in the year, but Doyle has recently emerged as a viable streaming option. He now has 17 targets over his last three games and he’s running a route on 84.6% of his snaps during that time frame. The Texans have gotten gashed by opposing TEs this year and they’re allowing 9.3 fantasy points per game to the position on average. If you’re in need of a streaming option for Week 13, Doyle should be considered as a mid-range TE2.

Minnesota Vikings vs Detroit Lions

Date/Time: Sunday December 5, 1:00pm ET
BettingPros Consensus Spread: Vikings -7
BettingPros Consensus Over/Under: 46.5 points
Implied Vegas point totals
: Vikings 26.75, Lions 19.75

Quarterback

Kirk Cousins: Cousins had been on an absolute tear for fantasy over the previous three games leading into Week 12 against San Francisco. He had 8 passing touchdowns to zero interceptions over those games and had been racking up the passing yardage. Unfortunately, Cousins came back down to earth a little bit in Week 13 and it wasn’t all because he lined up to take a snap underneath the guard at one point. He completed 20-of-32 passes for 238 yards and two touchdowns to one interception. Even with those uninspiring numbers, Cousins still finished as the QB13 on the week and he’s still a valuable fantasy asset. He has 23 touchdowns on the season now to just three interceptions. Those three interceptions equate to just a .7 INT rate, which is the best in the NFL right now by a wide margin based on his volume of pass attempts. Looking ahead to Week 13, he now gets to take on the Detroit Lions who just allowed 317 passing yards to Andy Dalton. Fire up Cousins as a low-end QB1 this week with plenty of upside.

Jared Goff: Goff has traditionally struggled against Chicago’s defense over the years, but he actually put together a solid performance in Week 12 against the Bears. Goff went 21-of-25 for only 171 passing yards, but two scores and zero interceptions. With that being said, we’re still not looking at Goff as a viable fantasy asset. He has just 10 touchdowns on the entire season up to this point and is merely just a Superflex desperation play. The Vikings are a decent matchup, so you could get away with Goff as a 2nd QB in your lineup, but we shouldn’t consider him in our 1QB leagues.

Running Backs

Alexander Mattison: Mattison is going to get the nod as the starting RB in Minnesota now that Dalvin Cook is expected to miss at least the next two weeks. In the two games already this year that Mattison has stepped in as the starting option, he’s seen an average of 25.5 carries, 112.5 rushing yards, 7.5 targets, 6.5 receptions, 49.5 receiving yards, and .5 touchdowns. The workload is incredible for Mattison and he’s produced with the increased opportunity. Now, Mattison gets to take on the Detroit Lions defense that is currently allowing the fourth most fantasy points to opposing RBs this season with 21.2 points per game. Fantasy managers have been holding onto Mattison as a high-end insurance policy all year just for this occasion and it’s time to start him with full confidence. He can be viewed as a borderline top-5 play this week.

D’Andre Swift: At the time of writing, Swift is listed as day-to-day by Dan Campbell. He got banged up on Thanksgiving and it’s unclear whether he’s going to be able to return to action in Week 13. If you’re the Lions though, what incentive is there to playing Swift at this point of the season? The Lions are clearly in the running for the No. 1 overall pick this next off-season and they’re not going to be competing for anything meaningful down the stretch this year. Swift is a key piece of their future and there is literally zero incentive to rushing him back onto the field. We’ll see how the situation unfolds as we move throughout the week, but I’d expect to be without Swift for the next week or two.

Jamaal Williams: With D’Andre Swift potentially out for this week, Williams becomes one of the must-add options off of the waiver wire. While Williams should only be considered for fantasy lineups if Swift misses action, he does have plenty of upside if he gets the starting nod. Last week, in relief of Swift who went out early, Williams went from playing 27% of the snaps the week prior to 63%. Additionally, Jermar Jefferson and Godwin Igwebuike only played 10% and 8% of the snaps respectively. Williams would walk into a massive workload if Swift were to be out this week against Minnesota and the Vikings are surrendering just over 100 rushing yards per game. He could have a fine day in a favorable matchup, which is excellent for someone that still might be on the waiver wire in your league. The offense isn’t great, but that won’t stop Williams from seeing north of 15 touches. He can be viewed as a mid-range RB2 if Swift were to sit. We’ll continue to update throughout the week as more information becomes available.

Wide Receivers

Justin Jefferson: It’s hard to find any sort of issue with Jefferson lately from a fantasy perspective. Over the last four games, he is 7th in the NFL at the WR position in targets, 8th in receptions, 1st in receiving yards, and tied for the second-most receiving touchdowns. On top of all of that, he is the WR1 over that time frame and he’s helping lead fantasy rosters to victories. After doing all that, he now is rewarded with about as nice of a matchup as you can find for opposing WRs. He should draw primary coverage this week from Amni Oruwariye, who is allowing a 66% catch rate on the season and 1.13 Yards Per Route Covered. Jefferson’s going to put together a solid performance here in Week 13 and he should be viewed as a locked-in top-5 play.

Adam Thielen: Fantasy managers have been critical of Thielen this season, but he’s been an incredibly reliable fantasy asset. Over his previous six games, he has yet to finish with less than 7 targets and he has now finished as a top-10 WR each of the past two games. The majority of his production is still dependent upon touchdown production, but we know that Cousins is looking his way when they get down to the red zone. Thielen has now seen 8 targets inside-the-10 this season and he’s reeled in all 8 of them – which leads the NFL – for 6 touchdowns. He comes with plenty of upside each week – especially in this matchup – and he is at least providing a decent floor as well. The Lions have tightened things up recently from a fantasy perspective at guarding opposing WRs, but they are not going to have answers for defending this Vikings passing game. Thielen belongs in starting lineups this week as a high-end WR2.

Amon-Ra St. Brown: The anticipation keeps building for St. Brown and what he can be for fantasy purposes, but it looks like we’re going to have to wait until 2022 when we get a major QB upgrade. At this point of the season, players that have major upside are worth rostering versus safe floor plays. St. Brown can be dropped in your league if you’re still hanging onto him.

Josh Reynolds: Reynolds spent time earlier this season in Tennessee, but was never able to work his way into the starting lineup. While I’m sure Tennessee wishes that they had him on their roster now, he’s in Detroit and reunited with his former QB from the Rams, Jared Goff. Reynolds stepped into the starting lineup in Week 12 against the Bears and immediately made everyone aware that the chemistry was real with a 3-70-1 stat line. It’s nearly impossible to confidently trust any Lions receiver, but Reynolds certainly has the big play ability that could lead to fantasy production week after week. He’s probably not worth playing this week – despite the favorable matchup – but he’s worth picking up and seeing how this week goes if you have the space on your bench.

Tight Ends

Tyler Conklin: Conklin had begun to enter into the weekly redraft conversation and he did have some upside there for a few weeks, but that seems to have come crashing down around him. Conklin has yet to haul in more than three receptions in any of the past three weeks and he ran just 21 routes this past week, according to PFF. There’s the possibility that Conklin sees an uptick in work with Dalvin Cook now out, but the majority of those targets should stay with Mattison out of the backfield. Conklin is nothing more than a touchdown-or-bust option at this point. The matchup is favorable against Detroit, but we shouldn’t be expecting crazy production.

TJ Hockenson: At the beginning of the 2021 NFL season, fantasy managers were jumping up and down with excitement due to what Hockenson was doing on the football field. He started off the year with back-to-back top-5 fantasy finishes and appeared to be well on his way to helping people win fantasy championships. Unfortunately, since that point, Hockenson has only finished inside the top-5 again on the week just once! Additionally, he has also finished outside the top-12 TEs in six other games so far this season. With the team performing so poorly around him and the QB play being less than ideal, Hockenson has struggled to produce the types of numbers that we saw at the beginning of the season. With that being said, he’s still absolutely worth playing every single week at the TE position due to his talent and his role in this offense. He only saw a 12% target share in Week 12 against the Bears, but he was able to cash in and find the end zone for the first time since week two. We shouldn’t be expecting Hockenson to start finding the end zone regularly again, which means that he doesn’t necessarily have top-5 upside every single week, but he’s absolutely worth plugging into your lineup as a low-end TE1 in this matchup against the Vikings.

__________

New York Giants vs Miami Dolphins

Date/Time: Sunday December 5, 1:00pm ET
BettingPros Consensus Spread: Dolphins -4
BettingPros Consensus Over/Under: 40.5 points
Implied Vegas point totals
: Dolphins 22.25, Giants 18.25

Quarterback

Mike Glennon: Glennon is going to be stepping in as the starting QB for New York this week with Daniel Jones nursing a neck injury. Unfortunately, this not only means that we can’t even consider the starting QB from the Giants this week for fantasy football, but we have to downgrade all of the other receiving options here in New York. Glennon should only be played as a desperation option in Superflex leagues this week.

Tua Tagovailoa: Did you know that Tua is only the 4th QB in NFL history to complete more than 80% of his passes in back-to-back games with a minimum of 30 attempts? He’s been incredibly accurate so far this season and he’s doing this with essentially Jaylen Waddle as his only reliable receiving option. While he hasn’t been a top-5 QB or anything, he’s still an option that fantasy managers can plug into lineups in a pinch and feel pretty good about. Against the Giants defense this week that was allowing 20.8 fantasy points per game on average before they faced Jalen Hurts, Tua should be a safe streaming option.

Running Backs

Saquon Barkley: Did you know that Saquon led the entire NFL last week at the RB position in terms of snap share? He played 87% of the snaps for the Giants, which indicates that he is fully healthy and ready to operate at 100% after his injury. With that being the case, fantasy managers have to be pressing the panic button on Barkley – if they weren’t already – based on his production. Saquon had just 18 total opportunities this past week and he averaged just 3.1 Yards Per Attempt, zero Forced Missed Tackles, and just 3.25 Yards Per Reception. Barkley has finished outside the top-20 RBs in each of his past two games and the situation doesn’t seem to be changing around him anytime soon. According to Football Outsiders, the New York Giants are second-to-last in Adjusted Line Yards and they’ve been trying to make things work this entire season with a makeshift offensive line, which obviously hasn’t gone well. We went into the year hopeful that Saquon could return to high-end RB1 status and now fantasy managers are simply hoping that he can be a viable mid-range RB2. Against the Dolphins defense that’s allowing just 14.7 fantasy points per game to opposing RBs, plus the downgrade at QB this week, we shouldn’t be expecting top-5 production from the talented RB.

Myles Gaskin: How about this bounce-back performance from Gaskin this season?! After being one of fantasy football’s most volatile RB options, he has settled in as the unquestioned starter here for Miami and is delivering reliable top-end production. He now has 39 carries over his past two games and has a combined 35 fantasy points. In fact, did you know that Gaskin has 30 Red Zone carries on the season? This is more than players like Nick Chubb, Antonio Gibson, Joe Mixon, Darrell Henderson, and Najee Harris to name a few. He’s starting to convert with the opportunities and he now belongs in starting lineups moving forward as a trustworthy option. We might need to exercise caution when Malcolm Brown returns to the lineup, but for now it’s all-systems-go. Against the Giants defense that’s allowing 19.0 fantasy points per game to opposing RBs – the 6th highest mark in the league – Gaskin should be viewed as a mid-range RB2.

Phillip Lindsay: Lindsay saw 12 carries in his first game with the Dolphins, but the majority of his work came after the game was decided. Lindsay can remain on your league’s waiver wire for the time being.

Wide Receivers

Kenny Golladay: After the Giants moved on from Offensive Coordinator Jason Garrett, there was some optimism for Golladay from a fantasy perspective. He simply was not being utilized the correct way in this offense in New York and had been the definition of underwhelming over the course of his first season in town. In his first game sans Garrett, Golladay saw a 24% target share and reeled in three catches for 50 yards, which was his fourth-highest total of the season. While this certainly is still not what fantasy managers were expecting when they drafted Golladay this off-season, it seemed to be a step in the right direction for the veteran wideout. Unfortunately, it looks like we’re going to have to remain cautious with Golladay from a fantasy perspective this week though with the downgrade at QB from Jones to Glennon. We’ve seen what Glennon can do in the NFL and it’s nothing spectacular. He might lean on Golladay heavily in this game, but that’s far from a guarantee. When you take into account what the quality of those targets may be, plus the tougher matchup now against Miami’s secondary, it’s probably best to view Golladay as nothing more than a low-end FLEX option.

Kadarius Toney: At the time of writing, we have no update yet on what Toney’s status will be for this next game against Miami. While he has the potential to soak up targets this week if he’s fully healthy, that’s a huge question mark right now. After not practicing at all last week, it’s highly unlikely that we see Toney back in the starting lineup in Week 13. We’ll have to monitor the practice reports as we move throughout the rest of the week and update his outlook as more information becomes available.

Sterling Shepard: When Shepard is healthy, he’s absolutely a viable low-end WR3 every single week that soaks up targets. However, Shepard has had a major issue staying on the field his entire career. He’s only played in 5 games so far in 2021 and fantasy managers have had to move on to more readily available options across the fantasy football landscape. With that being said, there is some optimism that Shepard could return to the starting lineup in Week 13 against the Dolphins. He’s been battling a quad injury recently, but it sounds like he could be close to returning here. In his first game back, with Glennon as his QB, it’s probably best to leave Shepard on your bench. However, he is worth picking up and stashing for the playoff push because of his target share when he is active. For Week 13, we can view Shepard as a low-end FLEX if he suits up.

Jaylen Waddle: Did you know that Jaylen Waddle‘s 77 receptions are the second-most for any player in NFL history through the first 12 games of his career? The only player in history with more receptions through that time period is Odell Beckham Jr. during his historic rookie season where he had 91 receptions through 12 games. Waddle is also fifth in the entire NFL in receptions this season and his 759 receiving yards are good enough for second among all rookies. After being ranked around the WR45 in pre-draft ADP, Waddle is now the WR14 on the year through 12 weeks and he’s helping lead fantasy rosters to championships. He’s an absolute home-run start every single week at this point and he deserves to be viewed as a mid-range/low-end WR2 in this matchup against the Giants.

Tight Ends

Evan Engram: With the move away from Jason Garrett heading into Week 12, there was some optimism that Engram would finally be utilized properly in this offense and that we could see a bit of a resurgence from him. Unfortunately, that didn’t exactly happen. While Engram saw six targets – he now has 11 over the course of his last two games – he finished with just three receptions for 37 yards and ended the week as the TE22. There are better investments you can make at the TE position in fantasy this year and Engram can be dropped to your league’s waiver wire if he hasn’t been already.

Mike Gesicki: From Weeks 3-8, Gesicki had just one game where he finished worse than the TE10 in Half PPR scoring formats. He was playing lights out football and was steadily rising further and further up rest-of-season rankings. Since Week 8 though, Gesicki has yet to crack the top-12 again and he even has a 0-0-0 performance sprinkled in there in a game where he saw 7 targets. He’s now watching as guys like Durham Smythe finish with more receiving yards on his own team and we now have to be very concerned about Gesicki’s outlook moving forward. He can be viewed as a low-end TE1/high-end TE2 this week, but we need to recognize that he’s starting to bring a lower floor than we once thought.

  • Go to page:
  • 1
  • 2
  • 3
  • 4
Featured, Featured Link, NFL, NFL Primers, Start/Sit, Weekly Advice