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Fantasy Football Week 13 Takeaways: Surprises & Disappointments (2022)

by Andrew Seifter | @andrew_seifter | Featured Writer
Dec 5, 2022
D'Andre Swift

Welp, we were bound to get one of these bad injury weeks eventually. But it couldn’t have come at a much worse time, with the fantasy playoffs just around the corner.

Let’s not sugarcoat it: Week 13 was a bloodbath, particularly at the quarterback position.

I know that #nobodycares about my fantasy team, but it seems emblematic of what many fantasy managers are dealing with as we assess the wreckage on Monday morning. I’m currently in first place in a dynasty Superflex league where my QBs are Patrick Mahomes, Lamar Jackson and Jimmy Garoppolo. It felt like an abundance of riches! Now, with 30-man rosters and the trade deadline in the rearview mirror, I’ll just have to hope that Lamar’s knee heals up fast. At least Mahomes is still (mostly) upright.

Jackson and Garoppolo were far from the only big names to go down in Week 13. While many of those injuries do not appear to be season-ending, even a short-term absence can derail a fantasy season at this point in the year. We’ll cover some of the biggest injury concerns below.

But first, let’s try to look at the glass as half full. The Raiders may be 5-7, but if you built your fantasy squad around Davante Adams and Josh Jacobs, your team is likely doing much better than that. Jacobs owned the lede of this article last week. So it’s only fair that Adams gets some time in the sun, too, after roasting the Chargers for 177 yards and two touchdowns while finishing second to only Jalen Hurts in fantasy points for the week.

Top 5 Surprises

Davante Adams stakes his claim as the WR1
Adams’ huge Week 13 stat line doesn’t truly count as a “surprise.” It is never all that surprising to see a future Hall of Famer like Adams lead any given week in fantasy scoring. However, what might qualify as a mild surprise is that Adams now leads all receivers in fantasy points for the entire season. He’s the WR1, just like Jacobs is the RB1.

The industry-wide consensus heading into the season was that Adams could remain a top-five WR while catching passes from Derek Carr instead of Aaron Rodgers but that he no longer belonged in the top tier of receivers alongside Justin Jefferson, Cooper Kupp, Stefon Diggs and Ja’Marr Chase. As it turns out, Adams is now on pace to score more fantasy points in 0.5 PPR than he ever did with Rodgers — and his 19.1 points per game are second only to 2020 when he caught 18 TDs in 14 games. Incredible.

A.J. Brown smokes his former team
We kind of saw this one coming, too, didn’t we? The Titans’ decision to ship Brown to the Eagles on draft night was one of the biggest shocks of the offseason, and you knew Brown had been marking December 4 on his calendar ever since. Plus, Nick Sirianni seems like the kind of coach who is more than happy to help his star player take it to his former team. Brown certainly didn’t disappoint, catching eight of his 10 targets for 119 yards and two touchdowns against a Tennessee secondary that has struggled in pass coverage all year. When his first TD, a 41-yard grab, was reversed on instant replay, he went out and did it again on the very next play. AJB simply would not be denied.

As you might expect, Brown’s big day coincided with another huge Jalen Hurts stat line. One week after rushing for 157 yards, Hurts threw for 380 yards and three scores. With Lamar Jackson struggling/hurt and Justin Fields still learning the ropes as a passer, Hurts is the poster child for the Konami Code QB in 2022.

Not to be forgotten, Devonta Smith also had himself a day against Tennessee, catching five balls for 102 yards and a score. Smith’s target share has jumped since Dallas Goedert got hurt, and he’s back to being a high-upside WR2 that you can confidently start each week.

As for the rookie the Titans took with the first-round pick they got in the A.J. Brown trade, he’s going to be a good one, too. Treylon Burks made a ridiculous grab to come down with a 25-yard touchdown, but unfortunately, he also took a ridiculously big hit on the play and left with a concussion. There will be better days ahead for Burks and the Titans.

D’Andre Swift finally outscores Jamaal Williams while the Sun God shines brightly inside Ford Field’s dome
Williams may have reached the end zone for a league-leading 14th time, but make no mistake; this was a D’Andre Swift game. Swift played more snaps than Williams for just the second time since Week 2, and he rewarded Dan Campbell’s faith in him by putting up 111 scrimmage yards and a touchdown on 18 touches.

While that touch count is probably on the higher end of what we can expect from Swift each week, 15 or so should be enough for him to return RB2 value in all formats. Meanwhile, Williams remains one of the best bets to score each week and can remain in fantasy lineups. As long as Swift’s snap count holds, we can look at the Lions’ backfield as Dallas North.

I’d be remiss if I talked about the Lions without mentioning our fantasy savior, the Sun God Amon-Ra St. Brown. This game against the Jaguars was the kind of matchup where all the Lions could eat, but St. Brown is essentially matchup-proof. He won a lot of people fantasy championships last year by catching 8+ passes in each of his final six games, and after playing through injuries earlier in the season, he looks poised for an equally strong finish this year. Over the last four games, he’s averaging nine catches for 108 yards — and has now scored three times in the last two weeks after Sunday’s two-TD effort.

Zonovan Knight tops 100 scrimmage yards for the second straight game
With Michael Carter sidelined, Knight, Ty Johnson and James Robinson all saw the field, but it was Knight who easily led the backfield in snaps and dominated work on the ground, handling 75% of the Jets’ rushing attempts. Knight was also involved in the passing game, catching five balls for 28 yards and pushing him over 100 yards from scrimmage on the day.

This should be a fairly even committee once Carter returns, but Knight has shown explosiveness as a rusher and proven he can catch passes, which is a must in a Mike White-led offense. And remember, the Jets’ schedule during the fantasy playoffs is juicy.

Christian Watson is a touchdown machine
Ok, this is getting ridiculous. After putting up 88 scoreless yards over the first nine weeks of the season, Watson burst onto the scene with three touchdowns against Dallas on November 13. He’s now up to eight touchdowns in his last four games after catching one and running for another against the Bears on Sunday.

Watson has yet to have more than four receptions in a game, so his floor remains pretty low if he doesn’t come down with a long catch and/or an end zone grab. But his ceiling is of the week-winning variety. From a fantasy perspective, he’s starting to look a lot like Gabe Davis. Following their Week 14 bye, the Packers don’t have a single bad matchup from Weeks 15-17, so it is quite possible that Watson stays on a heater for the rest of the fantasy season.

Top 5 Disappointments

Deshaun Watson looks awfully rusty
Depending on how you feel about Watson, his poor play may not qualify as a “disappointment,” but let’s just say he badly underperformed the expectations of many (including me) in his Browns’ debut.

Watson hadn’t played in an NFL game in almost two full years, so some rust was to be expected, but the hope was that him playing against a defense as bad as Houston’s would speed up the process. Not so. He regularly short-hopped throws to open receivers and didn’t display the chemistry that Jacoby Brissett had built up with Cleveland’s pass-catchers. Kevin Stefanski also clearly took a conservative approach with his QB, mostly asking Watson to hand the ball off against the Texans’ porous run D. It didn’t help matters that Cleveland’s defense and special teams accounted for three touchdowns, limiting Watson’s opportunities and the need to play aggressively.

While off-the-field controversy will continue to follow Watson for the foreseeable future, there is every reason to believe he’ll eventually get things figured out on the field. But after a performance like this, it will be very hard to trust him as your QB1 next week against a much more formidable Bengals D. It’s also best to take a wait-and-see approach with Cleveland pass-catchers, with the possible exception of Amari Cooper, who quickly emerged as Watson’s favorite target.

Lamar Jackson exits early with sprained knee
While Jackson recently made an appearance in the “disappointments” section of this article, his current predicament is undoubtedly worse. It’s one thing when Lamar is producing low-end QB1 value instead of high-end QB1 value; it’s another issue entirely when he is on the shelf.

That’s the situation fantasy managers are facing after Jackson left Sunday’s game in the first quarter with a knee sprain. While coach John Harbaugh said that the injury is not season-ending, it is looking likely that Jackson misses at least a game or two, and possibly more. Given their current playoff positioning, how quickly the Ravens rush Jackson back could be influenced by how they do over the next couple of weeks.

Tyler Huntley was not great in Jackson’s place, but he did manage to pull out a victory over the lowly Broncos. Huntley is a natural fill-in for Jackson — the offense won’t have to change — and his rushing ability immediately puts him on the QB streaming radar. In five starts for Baltimore last year, Huntley finished as the QB17, QB16, QB1, QB20 and QB32. He rushed for at least 40 yards in every game.

Jimmy Garoppolo done for the year with a broken foot
Football can be a cruel game. Garoppolo handled a challenging situation in San Francisco with class and stepped up for the team in a big way when Trey Lance went down. Sunday morning, the discussion was about whether Jimmy G could be back with the 49ers in 2023, but by late afternoon, the news had turned to his season-ending foot injury.

Outside of keeper and dynasty leagues, the question becomes what Garoppolo’s injury means for the 49ers’ skill position players down the stretch. Brock Purdy, who was taken with the final pick of the 2022 NFL Draft, acquitted himself well in Garoppolo’s place against Miami and is likely to remain the starter. The 49ers signed veteran journeyman Josh Johnson off the Broncos’ practice squad as insurance.

Given the array of weapons at his disposal, Purdy has a good shot at QB2 value, and it’s not completely out of the realm of possibility that he could work his way into the streaming discussion in single-QB formats. We have a limited sample of throws to work with, but Purdy seemed to strike up an immediate connection with Deebo Samuel, whereas Brandon Aiyuk had pretty clearly emerged as Garoppolo’s favorite target. Both receivers are best viewed as WR3/flex options until we have a better feel for what Purdy can (and can’t) do. Meanwhile, George Kittle was held under 30 yards for the third time in four games — but remains a starter in fantasy leagues simply because tight end is a hot mess.

Kenneth Walker departs with an ankle injury
Walker left Sunday’s game after just three carries with what coach Pete Carroll is calling a “jammed” ankle. The injury is apparently not a sprain, but we’ll have to await a more specific diagnosis. It did not appear to be overly severe, but Carroll is notoriously optimistic when describing injuries, so it may prove to be difficult to know for sure.

With Rashaad Penny (fractured fibula) already lost for the season and Travis Homer (knee) out, Seattle also dealt with injuries to their fourth-string (DeeJay Dallas) and fifth-string (Tony Jones) running backs. Dallas was declared “doubtful” to return but was forced to come back in any way. Now he may become a recommended waiver add as long as he can stand up straight. You can’t make this stuff up.

Derrick Henry held in check yet again
It’s been a strange year for Henry, who finished outside the top-25 RBs in Weeks 1 and 2, was a top-seven RB in five of his next six games, and has now finished outside the top 18 in three of his last four. He’s now averaged fewer than 3.2 yards per carry in four games in a row after doing that just five times over the previous three seasons combined.

At age 28, there may be some concern that Henry is hitting the cliff. However, if you have him, now is not the time to panic. While Henry struggled to get things going against the likes of Denver, Cincinnati and Philadelphia, he has an ok matchup with Jacksonville next before getting dream matchups in Weeks 15 (@LAC) and 16 (HOU).

Key Stats

Raheem Mostert played 60% of RB snaps, while Jeff Wilson was at 38%. It’s hard to know what to make of this, given that Wilson out-snapped Mostert in both of the other games the two had played together in Miami. An added wrinkle is that both Miami RBs — and their head coach — were going up against their former team, the 49ers. While the “revenge game” narrative could have equally applied to either, it was Mostert who got into a mid-week spat with a reporter (and Deebo Samuel) over his true feelings on Jimmy G. So maybe Mike McDaniel wanted to let Mostert work off some steam.

Cam Akers played 73% of the RB snaps, while Kyren Williams was at 27%. It’s fair to question whether we should even care who the Rams’ lead back is, but there you have it. Akers served as the primary rusher, while Williams was reserved for third downs/passing situations. It’s a bit of a head-scratcher after Williams appeared to take hold of primary rushing duties last week. You’d figure Sean McVay would want to at least see what he has in Williams in an otherwise lost season.

Isiah Pacheco only ran three fewer pass routes than Jerick McKinnon. Pacheco has emerged as a battering ram for the Chiefs and fantasy managers over the last month, providing a strong return in non-PPR formats. But he’s been a much tougher sell in PPR leagues. The rookie only caught two balls for 16 yards against Cincinnati, but the simple fact he was on the field for so many passing situations is encouraging. He’s yet to drop any of his six targets this year, so maybe Patrick Mahomes will start to look his way a little more.

Greg Dulcich led the Broncos in routes run (22). Given the state of the tight end position, I’ve been keeping the faith in Dulcich, even though the Broncos’ offense continues to be absolutely hideous. That confidence was finally rewarded on Sunday when Dulcich had six receptions for 85 yards. He’s a good football player, and there simply aren’t that many tight ends like him who have the skills to be a regular part of the game plan week in and week out.

Diontae Johnson is the first WR in over 10 years to get 105 targets without scoring a TD. This is one of those mind-melting stats, isn’t it? Johnson has had his share of close calls and continues to get end zone looks, but he just hasn’t been able to haul any of them in. Whether this makes Johnson a drop or a buy-low is very much in the eye of the beholder, but I scooped him up the other day in my one league where he hit the waiver wire. Opportunity is king, right? Right???

Top Takeaways

Christian McCaffrey may still get Carolina-level usage after all. I talked last week about how Elijah Mitchell’s latest injury could open the door for McCaffrey to get the kind of heavy usage he had in Carolina, but only if CMC himself was healthy. Well, McCaffrey informed us during the week that he “dodged a bullet” with last week’s knee issue, and he wasn’t even on the final injury report. With Mitchell sidelined, CMC took on a true bell cow role against Miami, playing 81% of the snaps even though Jordan Mason looked good in small spurts behind him. McCaffrey could get even more work going forward with Garoppolo out.

Garrett Wilson could be a league winner down the stretch. While the jury is still out on whether Mike White has a long-term future as an NFL starting quarterback, one thing for certain is that he’s boosted the fantasy fortunes of the Jets’ pass-catchers, especially Wilson. The uber-talented 2022 first-round pick hauled in eight balls for 162 yards against the Vikings on Sunday, and he’s finished as a top-10 fantasy receiver in both of White’s starts.

Wilson is so good that he was even popping up for some big games with Zach Wilson under center, but those high-scoring weeks are going to be much easier to count on, with White delivering him the football. Don’t believe me? Just listen to how Garrett talks about White: “He was out there, controlling the huddle, never letting the moment get too big. It was cool to see. Looking back on it now, it’s cool to think about. I know I’d go to war for that boy. He’s got something special about him.”

Alright, that’s it for this week. If you like what you see here, you can get more of my thoughts on waiver wire pickups, buy-low/sell-high candidates, rest-of-season player values, and more by subscribing to the Rest of Season Rankings Podcast and going to ROSrankings.com. I’m also always happy to help you sort through injury-related conundrums or anything else fantasy-related on Twitter @andrew_seifter.

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Andrew Seifter is a featured writer at FantasyPros. For more from Andrew, check out his archive and follow him @andrew_seifter.

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