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Week 13 Fantasy Headlines:
Game Summaries & Fantasy Commentary:
Thursday Night Game:
Fantasy Focus – New Orleans Saints: Not to downplay a strong effort by the Atlanta Falcons defense, but Drew Brees (28/50 for 341-0-5) was clearly off his game and tried to do too much. He tossed a career-worst five picks, and Brees’ streak of games with at least one touchdown toss ended at 54. In case you missed the game, Brees had a touchdown pass to Darren Sproles (0-0-0 rushing and 5-47-0 receiving) nullified by a penalty. Lance Moore (7-123-0 on 11 targets) led all Saints in receiving, but he also dropped what looked like a sure touchdown toss in the fourth quarter. Jimmy Graham (4-59-0 on six targets) has gone two straight games without a touchdown reception. Marques Colston (6-71-0 on 11 targets) topped the 70-yard mark for the first time since Week 7.
Pierre Thomas (14-84-0 rushing and 1-5-0 receiving) surprisingly led all New Orleans rushers, but Mark Ingram (6-13-1 rushing and 0-0-0 receiving) scored the Saints only touchdown of the game on a one-yard run in the second quarter. Chris Ivory (3-4-0 rushing and 0-0-0 receiving) was a non-factor.
Fantasy Tip: Moore’s 123 receiving yards was a season-high and just his third 100-yard game of the season. Although Moore’s week-to-week fantasy stats can vary wildly, stay with the hot hand and start him next week against a New York Giants defense that struggles to contain slot receivers. When given the chance, Thomas usually has solid games against the Falcons, so don’t chase his stat line.
Fantasy Focus – Atlanta Falcons: The much-maligned New Orleans Saints defense didn’t roll over for the slumping Matt Ryan (18/33 for 165-1-0 passing), who logged his worst fantasy outing of the year. The Atlanta triggerman’s only touchdown pass of the game was a 17-yard strike to Tony Gonzalez (4-58-1 on five targets) in the second quarter. Julio Jones (5-48-0 on eight targets) compiled yet another unremarkable fantasy outing at the Georgia Dome, but it looks like his ankle is no longer a worry. Facing some tight coverage, Roddy White (1-20-0 on seven targets) racked up his worst fantasy outing of the season. He also dropped a few catchable throws.
During Atlanta’s first possession, the much-maligned Michael Turner (12-83-1 rushing and 1-7-0 receiving) powered his way through the Saints defense that was focused on stopping the pass. He scored on a three-yard run in the first quarter. However, New Orleans clamped down on the Falcons rushing attack the rest of the way, limiting Turner to just 12 yards on five carries after the half. Jacquizz Rodgers (8-43-0 rushing and 2-(-4)-0 receiving) received a double-digit number of touches for the third straight week, but he did little after the Falcons first possession.
Fantasy Tip: Ryan owners are growing frustrated. The struggling triggerman has tossed just two touchdown passes in his last three games, and the fantasy playoffs start in many leagues next week. In Week 14, he will square off against a Carolina Panthers defense that he torched for 369-3-1 back in late September, but the Panthers have shown some improvement. Is Ryan still a must-start? Yes. I think he will bounce back.
Early Sunday Afternoon Games:
Fantasy Focus – Jacksonville Jaguars: The Jaguars had difficulty moving the ball most of the afternoon in rainy conditions against a steadily improving Buffalo Bills defense that limited Jacksonville to 236 total yards. Rashad Jennings (8-20-0 rushing and 0-0-0 receiving) left the game in the second quarter after he sustained a concussion. Fullback Montell Owens (7-29-0 rushing and 1-11-0 receiving) took over for Jennings, but Jacksonville fell behind and had to abandon the run.
Chad Henne (18/41 for 208-1-1 passing and 3-1-1 rushing) was sacked four times but salvaged his disappointing fantasy outing with a rushing touchdown. Cecil Shorts (7-77-1 on 12 targets) topped the Jaguars in receiving, and he has scored in four straight games. However, Shorts was forced to leave the contest in the fourth quarter because of a concussion. Justin Blackmon (1-9-0 on six targets) turned in his worst outing since Week 7. The rookie dropped a pass in the end zone and one at the 5-yard line. Marcedes Lewis (4-68-0 on seven targets) amassed a season-best 68 receiving yards, and he has averaged 55 receiving yards and six targets per game with Henne slinging the rock.
Fantasy Tip: I think Blackmon’s groin injury is worse than the Jaguars are letting on, and he looks like a shaky play next week against a solid New York Jets secondary. If you are looking for tight end help in a PPR league, check and see if Lewis is available in your free-agent pool. With Maurice Jones-Drew (foot) injured, Jalen Parmele (groin) on Injured Reserve and Jennings not a lock to play in Week 14, Owens could get the start at running back.
Fantasy Focus – Buffalo Bills: The rainy and windy conditions didn’t seem to hinder the Bills offense. Although the often-criticized Ryan Fitzpatrick (9/17 for 112-2-1 passing and 5-18-1 rushing) didn’t compile huge numbers, he led Buffalo to scores on five straight drives (three touchdowns and two field goals). Steve Johnson (2-18-1 on five targets) found the end zone for the first time since Week 7 but compiled a season-low in receiving yards. Scott Chandler (1-11-1 on four targets) caught his second touchdown pass in the last four month, but he amassed more than 40 receiving yards in just one game during that stretch. Starting in place of Donald Jones (calf), rookie T.J. Graham (2-54-0 on two targets) topped all Bills pass-catchers in receiving yards.
Buffalo’s talented running back tandem of Fred Jackson (25-109-0 rushing and 2-10-0 receiving) and C.J. Spiller (14-77-1 rushing and 1-7-0 receiving) helped ice the game in the second half. Jackson compiled season highs in carries and rushing yards. He also received most of the red-zone work. Spiller also found the end zone for the first time since Week 6, scoring on a 44-yard run early in the fourth quarter.
Fantasy Tip: Bills head coach Chan Gailey had promised to give Spiller a majority of the backfield touches and a bigger share of red-zone touches going forward but didn’t keep his word today. While Jackson is a good solid player, I don’t understand why Gailey insists on taking Spiller, who is Buffalo’s most explosive offensive player, off the field in potential scoring situations. If you take away Spiller’s 44-yard touchdown scamper, he did little else. While Spiller should remain in your starting lineup, consider him just a low-end RB2 with upside.
Fantasy Focus – Seattle Seahawks: Russell Wilson (23/37 for 293-2-0 passing and 9-71-0 rushing) compiled his best fantasy outing of the season, but it was wasted on quite a few benches. Nobody expected the rookie to give the ferocious Chicago Bears defense fits all afternoon – especially with his legs. In overtime, Wilson capped a 97-yard scoring drive with a 13-yard touchdown toss to Sidney Rice (6-99-1 on nine targets with one lost fumble), who was drilled by a Chicago defender. Rice has hauled in a scoring grab in four of his last five outings. Golden Tate (5-96-1 on six targets) has caught a touchdown pass in three of his last four games. In the rushing department, Marshawn Lynch (19-87-1 rushing and 2-11-0 receiving with one lost fumble) has found the end zone in four of his last five games.
Fantasy Tip: Wilson attempted a season-high 37 passes to amass a season-high (tie) 293 passing yards and two touchdowns. Although I don’t think the Seahawks will let him sling the rock that many times each week, they may let Wilson freelance with his legs more often.
Fantasy Focus – Chicago Bears: The Seattle Seahawks bottled up Chicago’s bread-and-butter running game. Matt Forte (21-66-0 rushing and 3-30-1 receiving) played with an ankle injury but ran well, displaying his trademark burst. Forte’s receiving touchdown was his first house call since Week 9. Michael Bush (7-39-0 rushing and 0-0-0 receiving) didn’t receive as many carries as some had expected in a change-of-pace role. Looking at the Bears’ aerial attack, Jay Cutler (17/26 for 233-2-0 passing and 4-27-0 rushing) didn’t turn the ball over and fed the ball to Brandon Marshall (10-165-0 on 14 targets) whenever possible. However, Chicago’s depleted receiver corps was an issue. Devin Hester (concussion) and Alshon Jeffery (knee) didn’t play, and we all know the Bears’ tight ends are non-factors. Earl Bennett (1-12-1 on three targets) left the game in the third quarter with a concussion.
Fantasy Tip: It looks like status quo here. Marshall and Forte are Chicago’s only two fantasy stars of note. Cutler only has fantasy QB2 value.
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