Between injuries and bye weeks, you're going to have a lot of holes to fill for Week 14. Seeing as many of you are going to be fighting for a playoff spot next week, that's not what you want to hear. But it's the reality we're facing right now.
Or, at least, it's the reality we'll be facing tomorrow. And we'll have everything you need to know for Week 14 in Tuesday's newsletter when I'll have my first round of rankings plus Jamey Eisenberg's top waiver targets right here in your inbox to help you fill in whatever you might be missing. But that's tomorrow's problem! Today, we've got one last look back at Week 13 with my recap of every game, including all of the injuries plus one winner and one loser from every game.
Here's what you need to know from Week 13 so far:
Week 13 Recap
Winner: James Cook. Cook led the Bills running backs in yards (64) and carries (14), and it wasn't just because they were up by multiple scores late -- Cook had more carries than Devin Singletary in the first half of the game, too. Singletary is what he is at this point, a back the Bills clearly trust in all facets of the game, but also a back they clearly don't necessarily love. That has always given Cook a path to Fantasy relevance if he can get going, and maybe this was the start of a change. I wouldn't feel comfortable starting Cook in Week 14, but given the bye weeks, you might have to.
Loser: Jakobi Meyers. Early in the season, it looked like Meyers might be making a leap to must-start status, but with no more than 11.2 PPR points in any of his past four games, I think he's right back where he started before the season -- a solid WR3 in PPR who you are rarely going to be thrilled or too disappointed that you started. He might be able to be more than that in a better offense, but I don't have much hope for it in this offense. That he's playing through a shoulder injury certainly doesn't help.
One more thing: I've been saying it all season, but I think you just have to live with the fact that this is who Gabe Davis is -- he had just two catches for 15 yards Thursday, salvaging his week (somewhat) with a touchdown. He's got high weekly upside and almost no floor because he's prone to these kinds of weeks where the low-percentage, high-upside downfield shots don't connect. I'm probably starting him moving forward for the ceiling weeks.
Winner: Drake London. I don't think we can just say that Kyle Pitts' absence makes London a starting-caliber Fantasy option, but I do think it makes his path forward a bit clearer. London got 50% of the team's targets Sunday, leading to a pretty strong six-catch, 95-yard performance that nonetheless highlights his limitations in this offense -- again, he needed a 50% target share to be worth using Sunday. He's a very good player held back by a very conservative offense.
Loser: George Pickens. Pickens ran a route on 27 of 31 pass plays Sunday but was able to earn just two targets on 28 pass attempts, while Diontae Johnson had 11 targets. Johnson didn't do much with them, because he usually doesn't, but Pickens' inability to cut into Johnson's target dominance remains frustrating. He's clearly talented, but even though he's getting plenty of snaps, his downfield-oriented role with a QB who struggles to connect down the field makes him tough to trust. I'm definitely not dropping Pickens, but you can't feel confident starting him at this point.
One more thing: Cordarrelle Patterson's role hasn't been curtailed to the same extent it was a year ago, but with no more than 13 carries in any game since his return from a knee injury, I think we're seeing there's a pretty clear ceiling on what we can expect from him. He's been efficient -- 60 yards on 11 carries Sunday! -- but isn't much of a factor in the passing game, so he needs big plays or touchdowns to be worth using. He got into the end zone Sunday but had the score nullified by a penalty. That's the difference between a good and a bad game for Patterson at this point.
Lamar Jackson (knee) suffered an injury that coach John Harbaugh described as having a "days to weeks" timetable, so I'm assuming at this point we won't see him in Week 14. Tyler Huntley may not be far off from the top 12 in the rankings next week ... Courtland Sutton (hamstring) was also forced to leave Sunday's game. We don't have any more details than that, but hamstring injuries tend to be pretty tricky, so an absence wouldn't be a surprise.:
Winner: Greg Dulcich. The Broncos made a point of getting Dulcich involved early, with Russell Wilson's first three passes going his way. He ended up with six catches for 85 yards on eight targets while the Broncos threw it just 22 times total, and with Jerry Jeudy still dealing with his ankle injury and Sutton leaving, Dulcich could be in line for a significant role yet again next week. Dulcich will be in the top-12 TE discussion and is .
Loser: Gus Edwards. This isn't to say Kenyan Drake was a winner, as the duo combined for just 13 carries. But I think most assumed Edwards was the clear lead back after out-carrying Drake 16-2 last week, and clearly, that isn't the situation here. Edwards can still be useful for Fantasy, but there are going to be usage concerns about him every week, it seems. He's a touchdown-or-bust RB3 for me.
One more thing: These two teams just don't have very much going for them right now -- in fact, the tight ends might be the only players I'd classify as "starts" for next week as of now. I'm not sure if Mark Andrews is 100% healthy right now, but he had a 28% target share from Huntley last season, so there's obviously no way you're even considering sitting him. Everyone else here? Pass, if you can.
Aaron Jones (shin) tried to play through the injury in the second half but was clearly limited and ultimately ended up playing just two snaps after halftime. If he's out in Week 14, AJ Dillon is probably going to be ranked near the top 12 -- he had three targets and 18 carries in this one ... Chase Claypool (knee) played with a brace on in the second half and had five catches for 28 yards on six targets. The usage -- 24% target share -- is pretty promising, but not enough to make him someone you want to trust.:
Winner: Christian Watson. Watson is not going to keep scoring two touchdowns every week, but given that the trade deadline has passed in most leagues, I don't think there's anything actionable to be said here except that you should just keep starting him. He's a big-play machine, and while all you need to do is ask some Gabe Davis backers whether this level of play is sustainable on 6-ish targets/touches per game unless you have an opportunity to try to trade him for a high-end WR2 or something, you probably just need to stick him in your lineup every week and not overthink it.
Loser: Aaron Rodgers. Given how thoroughly mediocre Rodgers has been -- and, in fairness, how beat up he is -- we don't really need to belabor the point. However, 13.7 Fantasy points against this Bears defense obviously isn't going to get the job done. You have to be pretty desperate to trust Rodgers at this point, and I'd drop him for Tyler Huntley if I needed a Week 14 win.
One more thing: Cole Kmet got a 28% target share and turned it into six catches for 72 yards Sunday, the first game without Darnell Mooney. I don't know if Mooney's absence is enough to make Kmet a must-start TE -- he had three catches for 27 yards last week with Mooney not getting a target, albeit without Justin Fields. But, given the lack of options at TE, Kmet is squarely in the low-end TE1 discussion.
Trevor Lawrence (knee) got his knee twisted on his final snap of the first half, and it looked like a pretty scary injury. But he was back without missing a snap to start the second half, so hopefully, there's nothing to worry about here.:
Winner: D'Andre Swift. Swift played more than half of the Lions' snaps for the first time since Week 2, and I don't think you need me to tell you why that's a potentially massive development. Swift is a top-five Fantasy talent at the position, but I wasn't sure he'd get the opportunity to prove it again. However, he seems to be at full health and led the team in carries (14) and rushing yards (62), scored a short touchdown, and had four catches for 49 yards on six targets Sunday. If he's getting anywhere close to this kind of usage moving forward, Swift is a top-12 RB in PPR.
Loser: Travis Etienne. Etienne wasn't limited by the foot injury that forced him out of last week's game at all, playing 48 of 55 snaps, actually a season-high 87% snap share. The problem is, the game script got away from the Jaguars and he still just doesn't get used in the passing game the way we want. He ran a route on 27 of 36 pass plays, a very strong participation rate, but had just three catches for 12 yards on three targets. Among running backs with at least 100 routes run, Etienne ranks just 37th in targets per route run rate at 15.3%, and as long as that remains the case, it leaves him game-script and touchdown dependent.
One more thing: Jameson Williams made his NFL debut Sunday, but as expected, he was on a very limited snap count coming off a torn ACL. He played just eight of 74 snaps, most of which came in the second half with the game out of hand. He's still worth stashing if you have the roster spot to play with, but with six teams on a bye in Week 14 and so many injuries, it's harder to do so now that he can't be stashed in your IR spot.
Winner: Dameon Pierce. Pierce didn't have a great game, but he did get 18 carries and three targets in a game where the Texans offense never really got anything going. In a game as ugly for offense as this one, that counts as a win.
Loser: Deshaun Watson. Heck, the whole Browns offense. This is what they waited 12 weeks and took a beating in the press for? Watson completed 12 of 22 passes for 131 yards and an interception and had just 21 rushing yards on seven attempts against one of the worst defenses in the league. The Browns were held without an offensive touchdown in a game they won by two scores, and this one could have been ugly if they faced a team with any kind of competent offense.
One more thing: Of course, we should throw the caveat out there that Watson hadn't played a game in nearly two calendar years, so some rust was not unexpected. The problem now is, you can't necessarily say, "Okay, he knocked the rust off, he'll be fine moving forward." We don't know what kind of player Watson is at this point, and I'm not going to trust him until he shows he can still be a high-end performance. He's a No. 2 QB until he proves otherwise.
Winner: I'm torn between Garrett Wilson and Zonovan Knight here, but I'll highlight Knight because I think it's more actionable -- you should be viewing Wilson (15 targets, eight catches, 162 yards) as pretty much a must-start Fantasy WR at this point. Knight is a bit more questionable, given Michael Carter's eventual return, but Knight was good enough Sunday -- 90 yards on 15 carries plus five catches for 28 yards -- that it's fair to ask if he deserves to be in at least a timeshare when Carter is able to play. Given how important the running backs are in this offense, I'd say Knight is probably going to remain relevant even when Carter is healthy, and he might just be the best Fantasy RB here.
Loser: Kirk Cousins. This was just another ho-hum day for Cousins, who passed for 173 yards on 35 pass attempts with one touchdown -- his third game with one or zero touchdowns in his past four. The schedule hasn't done him any favors during that stretch, and things get considerably lighter starting in Week 14 against the Lions, so he'll probably be a borderline top-12 option next week, but there's no doubt about it, this has been a pretty hugely disappointing season from Cousins.
One more thing: Okay, let's talk a little more about Wilson. He had a huge game, but it had the potential for even more -- he scored a touchdown that was called back after he stepped out of bounds at the 11-yard line and had another drive where he drew a defensive pass interference inside the 10-yard line. I'm skeptical of the Legend of Mike White, but he's clearly an upgrade over Zach Wilson, and that's all Garrett Wilson seemingly needs. Garrett is averaging 94.2 yards on 11.4 targets per game with four touchdowns in five games without Zach. He's a star.
Commanders 20, Giants 20
Winner: Terry McLaurin. After a couple of disappointing showings, it was good to see a bounce back game from McLaurin, who has still been a lot more good than bad with Taylor Heinicke in at QB. He had eight catches for 105 yards on 12 targets Sunday, with a nifty touchdown on a one-handed catch and a broken tackle. He's on a 97-catch, 1,403-yard pace in Heinicke's seven games, and he's a top-20 WR when the Commanders come back from their bye.
Loser: Antonio Gibson. Back in Week 11, it looked like Gibson might be in line for a strong stretch run, as he played a season-high 68% snap share in a run-friendly game script. In two games since, he has just 18 carries to 39 for Brian Robinson. I still think Gibson is the better all-around player, but Ron Rivera isn't asking my opinion. Maybe Gibson's reduced usage is tied to the foot injury he missed time with during practice this week, but I'm viewing both backs here as RB3s coming out of the Week 14 bye.
One more thing: Daniel Bellinger was back from his eye injury and played all but two snaps for the Giants, a great sign for his chances of a breakout down the stretch. We haven't seen enough from Bellinger to be worth trusting yet -- his career high in yards is just 40, while his career-high in targets was matched by Sunday's five. Still, if you're desperate for a tight end for Week 14, he's worth a roll of the dice if Greg Dulcich isn't available.
Treylon Burks (concussion) made an incredible play to hang on to an early touchdown, but he took a big hit to the head and stayed on the field for a few minutes afterward. He was ruled out shortly after going to the locker room and will have to clear the concussion protocol to play in Week 14 against the Jaguars. Burks has really flashed of late, but even if he's healthy, he's more like a low-end WR3 ... Ryan Tannehill (ankle) also tweaked a lingering injury at one point, though he was able to play through it. He'll likely continue to try to, but this is an injury we saw keep him off the field before, so there's definitely plenty of risk moving forward.:
Winner: A.J. Brown. Brown didn't hide it after the game, admitting he had a bit of extra motivation against the team that drafted and traded him after three seasons. He caught eight of 10 passes for 119 yards and a pair of touchdowns, and it was pretty clear there would be no stopping him in this one -- he scored his second touchdown on a play where he drew a pass interference penalty, one play after he stepped out of bounds on what otherwise would have been a long touchdown. When the Eagles are featuring him, there aren't more than a few WR better than Brown in Fantasy.
Loser: Derrick Henry. Things have been kind of tough for Henry of late. Since consecutive two-touchdown, 100-plus yard games in Week 8 and 9, he hasn't topped 87 rushing yards, while averaging 52 yards per game on 2.8 yards per carry. We saw Henry struggle a bit to open the season before breaking out, so I have to assume he'll do the same moving forward; this one may have been more about the moves the Eagles have made to bolster their defensive line, as well as the return of Jordan Davis Sunday.
One more thing: It's still not hard to find Jalen Hurts skeptics out there, but Sunday's game should help quiet at least some of them. The Eagles didn't shy away from featuring the passing game Sunday, and he responded with the second-most passing yards of his career, 380, on the fourth-best Y/A of his career. This team doesn't just have to run the ball to beat you anymore.
Winner: Geno Smith. Without Walker, the Seahawks averaged just 2.84 yards per carry, and they wisely leaned on the passing game to move the ball. And, what do you know, Smith continues to play extremely well, averaging 9.4 yards per attempt, finishing with 367 yards and three touchdowns in the win. If the Seahawks can't run the ball, we could start to see Smith tap into some real upside in a more pass-heavy offense -- Sunday was just his third game with more than 34 pass attempts this season.
Loser: Tyler Higbee. Higbee fared a little better than his zero-target Week 13, but only a little -- he caught two of five passes for 14 yards. Even in a badly beat-up receiving corps, that represented just a 19.2% target share, which probably isn't going to be enough to make Higbee worth starting in this gross offense. He's in the TE1 discussion, but only barely.
One more thing: One small droplet of cold water on the Geno Smith excitement from earlier is that it wasn't just Walker leaving the game -- Dallas was knocked out in the second quarter and was termed "doubtful" to return before Jones got dinged up and forced Dallas back. The pass-heavy lean might have been more about a lack of healthy bodies at RB than anything else, so it's something to keep an eye on as the Seahawks churn their roster ahead of Week 14 against the Panthers.
Jimmy Garoppolo (foot) is out for the season with a broken foot, and Kyle Shanahan confirmed after the game he doesn't expect Trey Lance (ankle) to be back this season. That means it's going to be the Brock Purdy show, with Josh Johnson signed from the Broncos practice squad Sunday to back him up ... Jaylen Waddle (leg) left the game in the first half and tried to play through the injury, but never looked quite right while playing just six of 20 second half snaps. He's a top-15 WR when healthy, but it might be tough to trust him against the Chargers ... Tua Tagovailoa (ankle) also left the game later on but told reporters he was fine.:
Winner: Christian McCaffrey. With Elijah Mitchell out of the picture, McCaffrey was back to being the clear lead rusher for the 49ers, with 17 carries for 66 yards -- Jordan Mason was second on the team with eight for 51, respectively. However, what really made McCaffrey shine in this one was the 10 targets for eight catches, 80 yards, and a touchdown. And, with Purdy in at QB, I wouldn't be surprised if McCaffrey remained a major focal point as Kyle Shanahan tries to draw up as many easy looks for his rookie QB as possible. McCaffrey might be back to having overall RB1 upside every week.
Loser: Jeff Wilson. I haven't seen any indication that Wilson was dealing with an injury, so it was weird to see him go from 61% of the snaps in consecutive games -- and at least 49% in all three games since joining Miami -- to just 38% Sunday. He had just one carry and two targets, while Raheem Mostert had seven carries. I thought Wilson was pretty clearly the top back for Miami, but that suddenly isn't so clear heading into a great matchup against the Chargers. I'll probably rank Wilson ahead of Mostert, but as more of a fringe RB2 in a very similar range, given that uncertainty. That's frustrating.
One more thing: I've written a lot this season about the "math problem" the 49ers offense represents for Fantasy players, but that the Garoppolo injury changes that equation -- and not for the better. This is still likely to be a pretty run-heavy offense, and while this offense typically hums along pretty well no matter who is in at QB, Purdy figures to be a downgrade on Garoppolo, in a way that is likely to make it even harder to trust George Kittle and Brandon Aiyuk especially. I expect to see a lot more schemed looks for McCaffrey and Deebo Samuel.
Winner: Ja'Marr Chase. Coming back from that fractured hip, the Bengals were a little safe with Chase, who played a season-low 80% snap share. However, he took just three pass plays off and looked no worse for the wear coming off the injury, leading the team with seven catches on eight targets for 97 yards. He definitely didn't avoid contact in this one and looked like his typically dominant self, racking up 50 of his 97 yards after the catch. There's some concern for re-injury, but Chase looks worry-free otherwise.
Loser: JuJu Smith-Schuster. Three catches for 35 yards on four targets is a disappointing showing for Smith-Schuster, but a 15% target share isn't far off from what we've seen from him this season, even in good times. Smith-Schuster notably had a three-game stretch before his recent injury where he had 22 catches on 25 targets for 325 yards, but even that stretch featured just a 17.6% target rate. Better days are ahead of him, but Smith-Schuster isn't the must-start guy you may have thought he was coming out of that stretch.
One more thing: Joe Burrow had a pretty great game, completing 25 of 31 for 286 yards and a couple of touchdowns, with an additional 46 yards and a score on the ground. It could have been an even better game, though; Tyler Boyd had one of the worst drops you'll ever see on a wide-open, should've-been-an-18-yard touchdown in the third quarter.
Raiders 27, Chargers 20
Winner: Davante Adams. Remember when Adams played through an illness and had just one catch for 3 yards? I hope you didn't do something silly like sell low on him, because he's probably been the best player in Fantasy since. After his eight-catch, 177-yard, two-touchdown showing Sunday, no player at any position has more points than Adams' 149.4 points this season. Adams isn't quite on pace for his best season ever -- he's 0.1 yards per game and one touchdown short of his incredible 2020 pace -- but he's ended up being a tremendous value if you got him anywhere outside of the first round, and there's no reason to expect him to slow down too much.
Loser: DeAndre Carter. In listening to my colleagues on the podcast and video shows during my week off, there was a decent amount of excitement for Carter coming off his 10-target performance last week, but he was a total flop Sunday. Carter still played 45 of 73 snaps -- including a very solid 78% route participation rate -- but was targeted just twice, catching one for 14 yards on the team's final play of the game. Carter has had some flashes this season, but he's still the fourth option in this offense even with Mike Williams injured, and these kinds of games are well within his range of outcomes.
One more thing: Josh Jacobs hasn't been quite as good as Adams of late, but he had another tremendous showing Sunday, with 144 yards and a touchdown on 26 carries plus two catches for 6 yards. This has become an incredibly concentrated offense between Adams and Jacobs, and both are arguably the top player at their respective positions right now. Jacobs has that lingering calf issue to keep an eye on, but as long as he's able to stay healthy, there are no concerns here.
Winner: Ezekiel Elliott. Sure, Tony Pollard is better than him. To paraphrase Dak Prescott's comments after the game: Who cares? There's clearly plenty of room for both of these guys to thrive in this offense right now, and that's just what they're doing. Pollard actually got the start Sunday, the first time Elliott ever came off the bench, but that was a discipline issue and unlikely to become the norm moving forward. Elliott still led the team with 17 carries, leading to 77 yards and a touchdown -- while Pollard had two more touchdowns of his own. You'd rather start Pollard at this point, because he's more involved in the passing game and because he's more explosive. But Elliott had at least 15 carries in three straight since coming back from his knee injury and has a touchdown in five straight dating back to Week 6. Elliott doesn't do enough to be great if he doesn't score, but in this offense, he's got a pretty good chance every week. He might get two next week against the dreadful Texans.
Loser: Michael Pittman. Pittman had just two catches for 16 yards on four targets in this one, and he might have the matchup to blame -- Trevon Diggs shadowed Pittman on 83% of his routes and he had one target on 33 such plays. I think this is probably just a one-game thing for Pittman, who had 11 targets in Week 12, but I don't mind the bye coming in Week 14 to give me an opportunity to get away from him. The floor is pretty low in this offense, and the ceiling isn't that high for a guy who is probably more like a WR3 at this point.
One more thing: This was actually a two-point game entering the fourth quarter before the Cowboys ripped off 33 unanswered thanks to three straight drive-ending turnovers, one of which was a DST TD for the Cowboys unit. That being said, I'm not sure the game was ever as competitive as the score indicated even before that fourth-quarter explosion, as the Cowboys had run for 132 yards and controlled the game pretty handily. It felt like a dam finally breaking more than an explosion.