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Week 13 Fantasy Football Recap: Surprises, Disappointments, Key Stats & Takeaways

by Matt Barbato | @realmattbarbato | Featured Writer
Dec 6, 2021
Gardner Minshew

Gardner Minshew led the Eagles over the Jets in week 13.

Week 13 was one for the books. The Detroit Lions won a football game, Kyler Murray returned to action, and the Seattle Seahawks remembered how to play offense again! And those are just a few of the key talking points from a thrilling week of action.

Week 14 means the beginning of the playoffs for some fantasy football leagues. And as you’re gearing up for a championship run, remember not to overthink things too much. Stick to your process and trust your instincts.

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Let’s get into the Week 13 recap:

The Surprises

1. Remember George Kittle?

It seems like Kittle’s become sort of forgotten this season, mainly due to injury. That changed for good in Week 13, as Kittle caught nine balls for 181 yards and two touchdowns. It was the monstrous performance we’d been waiting for from Kittle, and it was incredibly encouraging after he caught just one pass the week prior.

What should we do from here? Given the draft capital you likely spent on Kittle, you were probably already starting him every week. This week’s performance should give you no doubt, as Kittle could be a league winner down the stretch.

2. Kyler Murray lights it up in return

We’d been anxiously awaiting the return of Kyler Murray. Fortunately, he didn’t show much rust on a rainy day in Chicago. Murray and the Cardinals’ offense benefitted from Andy Dalton vomiting on himself, as they were set up with excellent field position all day. Murray made sure to cash in, throwing for 123 yards and two touchdowns while rushing for 59 yards and two more scores.

What should we do from here? You’re starting Murray for precisely this type of performance. Even when he threw just 15 passes, Murray put up elite production. And it’s encouraging to see he ran ten times in his first game back off an ankle injury that sidelined him four weeks. Murray’s a stud and returns just in time for the home stretch.

3. Big name receivers ball out

Justin Jefferson, Diontae Johnson, Chris Godwin, Tee Higgins, and Cooper Kupp were tremendous Sunday. Jefferson led the way with 11 catches for 182 yards and a touchdown. Johnson scored twice and racked up 105 yards. Godwin didn’t get in the end zone, but he caught 15 passes. Higgins went 9-138-1. Kupp had a typical Kupp game, catching eight balls for 129 yards and a score. If you had any of these pass catchers, Sunday rewarded you.

What should we do from here? Let’s take it individually. Jefferson is a beast and was able to put up these massive numbers without Adam Thielen, who suffered a high ankle sprain during the game. Thielen’s absence could make Jefferson an even bigger target hog, or it could prompt opponents to double team him, making his life much harder. Johnson is a stud, and his route on the game-winning touchdown catch for the Steelers is evidence of that. He’s silky smooth and should be a low-end WR1, high-end WR2 each week. Godwin is a fixture in lineups, although his upside can be capped because Mike Evans and Rob Gronkowski seem to be the only ones who get end zone looks. Higgins is starting to heat up and is firmly in the WR2 conversation. And Kupp is Kupp. You’re starting him.

4. Javonte Williams shows his potential

I admit I was licking my lips once I saw Melvin Gordon wouldn’t play Sunday night against the Chiefs. It was finally time for Javonte Williams to show what he could do as the featured back. And for the most part, he delivered. Williams rushed for 102 yards on 23 carries and caught six passes for 76 yards and a touchdown. Say what you want about Williams producing in garbage time; he looked the part of a lead back.

What should we do from here? The problem is Gordon could return as soon as next week, likely making this once again an annoying timeshare. Maybe Williams will be the leader of the timeshare after proving he can shoulder the load. Or maybe Gordon reassumes his role, and we’re left hoping for Williams to make the most of a smaller workload. If Gordon returns, Williams is more of a FLEX option.

5. Minshew Mania

I have to mention Gardner Minshew this week after he came off the bench and carved up a porous Jets defense. Minshew went 20-for-25 with 242 yards and two touchdowns. Dallas Goedert had his biggest game of the year. And the Jets couldn’t stop the Eagles’ offense.

What should we do from here? Unfortunately, it seems Minshew mania will end after Philly’s bye week, as coach Nick Sirianni confirmed Jalen Hurts would regain the starting job, assuming he’s healthy. So, this is more a message about the Jets defense. Start any player who has a role in their offense and is playing against the Jets. The Jets are the worst defense in football right now.

The Disappointments

1. The Chiefs Offense

When the Chiefs marched down the field and scored on their opening drive of Sunday night’s win over the Broncos, it felt like the rout was on. But Kansas City’s offense never got in the end zone the rest of the night, putting up just 267 yards the entire night. A rushing touchdown salvaged an otherwise lousy day for Patrick Mahomes. Tyreek Hill and Travis Kelce combined for five catches for 49 yards. It was a dismal day for the offense, especially coming off its bye week.

What should we do from here? The question at this point is can we trust our Chiefs for our fantasy playoffs. And honestly, I’m not sure anymore. Kansas City closes the season with the Raiders, Chargers, Steelers, and Bengals. That’s not a daunting stretch, but it’s not a cupcake slate either. Against the Raiders and Chargers, I’m rolling with my Chiefs. Against Pittsburgh, I may have more concern.

2. Ezekiel Elliott

The reports are that Elliott is dealing with a knee bruise, but it’s time to consider whether Elliott’s lost a step. Dallas’ lead tailback rushed for just 45 yards on 13 carries, while Tony Pollard rushed for 71 yards on seven carries and scored a touchdown. Tevin Coleman, Devontae Booker, Nyheim Hines, Deon Jackson, Adrian Peterson, Carlos Hyde, and Elijah Penny scored more in PPR formats than Elliott.

What should we do from here? It’s hard to say sit Elliott because he’s still a good back on a talented offense. The weekly upside is always there. But if you’re fortunate enough to have a loaded tailback depth chart, I’d be willing to give Zeke the pine.

Week 13 By the Numbers

51: Tom Brady‘s pass attempts in Week 13. So much for father time.

121: Sony Michel‘s rushing yards in Week 13. Could we see more of Michel even when Darrell Henderson gets healthy? This backfield screams potential timeshare moving forward.

130: Russell Gage‘s receiving yards in Week 13. Talk about random.

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Matt Barbato is a featured writer for FantasyPros. For more from Matt, check out his archive and follow him @RealMattBarbato


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