Instant reactions from Week 13
The three standout Fantasy players in Week 13 were receivers in Josh Gordon , Alshon Jeffery and Eric Decker . Two of those were somewhat expected -- although not to that degree -- in Gordon and Jeffery, while Decker was a pleasant surprise.
But the story of note was C.J. Spiller and his breakout performance against the Falcons in Toronto. He had his best game of the season with 15 carries for 149 yards and a touchdown and two catches for 8 yards on four targets.
It wasn't perfect. Fred Jackson was still a factor with 11 carries for 42 yards and a touchdown and four catches for 36 yards and a touchdown on four targets. And Spiller appeared to tweak his nagging ankle injury during the game, although he played through it. He also was caught from behind on a 77-yard run, which led to an EJ Manuel touchdown in the first quarter.
Still, this is what we hoped to see from Spiller all season, and hopefully he will close the year on a high note, especially since Buffalo just had a bye in Week 12 to re-evaluate things and get healthy. The remaining schedule for Spiller is favorable at Tampa Bay in Week 14, at Jacksonville in Week 15, vs. Miami in Week 16 and at New England in Week 17.
You should feel comfortable starting Spiller as at least a No. 2 running back or flex option against the Buccaneers, and we'll see where things go from there. Jackson is also worth starting since he has been consistent all year, and this was his eighth game with double digits in Fantasy points.
Spiller was a bust to start the season, but if he plays well to end the year he could still reward Fantasy owners who made it to the playoffs in spite of him. At least that's what we hope the storyline is with Spiller over the final four games.
• Injuries of note: Delanie Walker (concussion), Brandon Weeden (concussion), Christian Ponder (concussion), Kenbrell Thompkins (hip), Anthony Fasano (concussion)
Walker left in the first quarter after one catch for 5 yards. We hope he will be ready for Week 14 at New England because Walker is a quality Fantasy option when healthy.
Weeden was hurt at the end of the game against the Jaguars. He had a nice Fantasy outing with 370 passing yards, three touchdowns and two interceptions with a lost fumble. He is a good option in two-quarterback leagues if healthy at New England in Week 14.
Ponder was hurt in the first half against Chicago, and he had just 40 passing yards before being replaced by Matt Cassel . There's a good chance the Vikings stick with Cassel or start Josh Freeman in Week 14 at Baltimore.
Thompkins was hurt in the first quarter and finished with one catch for 16 yards. He was expected to see an increased role with Aaron Dobson (foot) inactive, and we'll find out if either will be healthy for Week 14 against the Browns.
Fasano was a sleeper heading into Week 13 against Denver, and he finished with three catches for 28 yards and a touchdown before leaving in the fourth quarter. If he's healthy for Week 14 against the Colts he would be just a No. 2 Fantasy tight end.
• Ben Tate cashes lottery ticket: Tate finally lived up to his status as a lottery ticket with his huge performance against New England with 22 carries for 102 yards and three touchdowns.
While there was some thought Dennis Johnson would take over for Tate after how both performed against Jacksonville in Week 12, I wasn't buying it. Tate is the better talent, and the Texans stayed committed to him. Johnson had just three carries for 13 yards and one catch for 11 yards against the Patriots.
Sure, Tate was miserable against the Jaguars with seven carries for 1 yard and five catches for 26 yards, while Johnson had 13 carries for 74 yards and two catches for 13 yards. But Tate has been a serviceable backup to Arian Foster , who is out with a back injury, and the Texans trust him even in a lost year.
Now the question becomes can you trust Tate heading into the Fantasy playoffs. He has a great remaining schedule at Jacksonville in Week 14, at Indianapolis in Week 15, vs. Denver in Week 16 and at Tennessee in Week 17. He should be at least a flex option in most formats, and I'll probably rank him in the Top 20 for the rematch against the Jaguars.
The key for Tate is touches. There have been seven times in his career where he has at least 20 touches in a game, including Sunday, and he's finished with at least eight Fantasy points in every outing. We hope the Texans continue to feed Tate the ball, and Johnson remains a great stash candidate in case Tate gets hurt.
• Decker dominates Chiefs: So Eric Decker finally decided to wake up at Kansas City. He had been missing in action for the past four games prior to Week 13.
Decker came into the matchup with the Chiefs having combined for 16 Fantasy points since Week 7. And then he proceeded to crush Kansas City with eight catches for 174 yards and four touchdowns on 12 targets.
We hope this is a sign of things to come because Decker is an awesome Fantasy option when involved, but he had only 22 targets during his recent rough stretch. He's also been a disappointment for the most part this season with just three games with double digits in Fantasy points in a standard league and only three touchdowns coming into Week 13.
The Broncos close the season against Tennessee, San Diego, at Houston and at Oakland, and Decker should be back in most lineups for his potential alone. The Titans matchup is tough, but you're not going to bench Decker again after his monster outing against the Chiefs.
• And the best New England running back is ...?: The Patriots made Stevan Ridley inactive at Houston as punishment for his fumble woes, which opened the door for LeGarrette Blount and Brandon Bolden to get more work against the Texans. Blount had 12 carries for 44 yards and a touchdown, and Bolden had three carries for 2 yards and one catch for 18 yards.
Blount (17 percent ownership on CBSSports.com) is obviously someone to add off the waiver wire this week, but I'd be hesitant to start him in Week 14 against the Browns. Ridley could be active in that game or Bolden could be the one getting increased carries.
The only Patriots running back to trust is Shane Vereen . He had 10 carries for 38 yards against the Texans and five catches for 37 yards and a touchdown on six targets. Vereen's role is defined, and you can consider him a flex in standard leagues and a must-start option in PPR formats.
The other big story for the Patriots was Julian Edelman again having a big game. He finished with nine catches for 101 yards on 12 targets, and he again outplayed Danny Amendola (five catches for 54 yards on five targets). If Edelman (73 percent ownership) is still available then add him now and start him as at least a No. 3 Fantasy receiver for the rest of the season.
• Donald Brown comes through for Colts: The Colts decided to bench Trent Richardson against the Titans and start Brown, and he came through with another quality outing in Week 13. Brown had 14 carries for 54 yards and a touchdown and two catches for 10 yards.
We hope the Colts stick with Brown as the starter, and he's worth using in all leagues in Week 14 at Kansas City. Richardson finished with five carries for 19 yards and no catches, and if you haven't released him yet in all leagues, you can safely do so now without hesitation.
• Mike Wallace does it again: The Dolphins dominated the Jets in the passing game with Ryan Tannehill , Brian Hartline and Wallace all having huge outings. For Wallace, he's coming alive the past two games.
Wallace was awesome in Week 12 against Carolina with five catches for a season-high 127 yards and a touchdown on 10 targets. He followed that up against the Jets with seven catches for 82 yards and a touchdown on nine targets.
Wallace faces his former team in Week 14 at Pittsburgh, so he should be fired up for that matchup. The Dolphins then close the season with New England in Week 15, at Buffalo in Week 16 and a rematch with the Jets in Week 17. You have to buy into Wallace as at least a No. 3 Fantasy receiver in all of those matchups, and he could close the season on a high note.
As for Tannehill, this was just his first game with 20-plus Fantasy points all year after he had 331 passing yards, two touchdowns and one interception and three carries for 22 yards against the Jets. He's just a No. 2 Fantasy quarterback at best moving forward.
Hartline also had his best game of the season with nine catches for 127 yards and a touchdown on 15 targets. This was only his third touchdown of the season and first since Week 3, so keep expectations in check for the rest of the year.
• Hooray for Roddy White : We finally got a great game from White, and it only took until Week 13. Now, let's hope he finishes the season strong after he had 10 catches for 143 yards on 14 targets against the Bills.
Brace yourself for these stats, but White came into this game with 20 catches for 209 yards and one touchdown on the season. He missed three games with ankle and hamstring injuries, and this was just his first game with double digits in targets.
White has two great matchups coming up at Green Bay in Week 14 and against Washington in Week 15, so he could be worth the risk as at least a No. 3 Fantasy receiver with upside.
• Waiver Wire preview: Here is a preview of the players we will highlight in Playing the Waiver Wire on Tuesday.
Quarterbacks: Jay Cutler , Bears (61 percent), Joe Flacco , Ravens (58 percent), Josh McCown , Bears (58 percent), Ryan Tannehill , Dolphins (43 percent), EJ Manuel , Bills (20 percent), Brandon Weeden , Browns (6 percent), Matt Cassel , Vikings (2 percent)
Running backs: BenJarvus Green-Ellis , Bengals (73 percent), Mike Tolbert , Panthers (61 percent), Brandon Bolden , Patriots (41 percent), Jonathan Stewart , Panthers (38 percent), Dennis Johnson , Texans (36 percent), Willis McGahee , Browns (20 percent), LeGarrette Blount , Patriots (17 percent), Antone Smith , Falcons (1 percent)
Wide receivers: Julian Edelman , Patriots (72 percent), Emmanuel Sanders , Steelers (68 percent), Jerricho Cotchery , Steelers (63 percent), Brian Hartline , Dolphins (62 percent), Randall Cobb , Packers (48 percent), Brandon LaFell , Panthers (48 percent), Greg Jennings , Vikings (42 percent), Nate Washington , Titans (40 percent), Ted Ginn , Panthers (20 percent), Cordarrelle Patterson , Vikings (20 percent), Ace Sanders , Jaguars (4 percent), Brian Quick , Rams (1 percent), Andre Holmes , Raiders (0 percent), Junior Hemingway , Chiefs (0 percent), Kevin Ogletree , Lions (0 percent) Tight ends: Heath Miller , Steelers (67 percent), Jared Cook , Rams (55 percent), Brent Celek , Eagles (21 percent), Dennis Pitta , Ravens (11 percent), Ladarius Green , Chargers (11 percent), Zach Ertz , Eagles (4 percent), Anthony Fasano , Chiefs (4 percent), Marcedes Lewis , Jaguars (3 percent), Clay Harbor , Jaguars (0 percent), Jim Dray , Cardinals (0 percent)
• Start 'Em/Sit 'Em star: Our Start of the Week was great in Week 13 with Josh McCown scoring 26 Fantasy points on 355 passing yards, two touchdowns and no interceptions at Minnesota. We'll find out if Jay Cutler (ankle) will return for Week 14 against Dallas, but if McCown remains the starter then he should be used in most Fantasy leagues in that matchup with the Cowboys.
• Start 'Em/Sit 'Em flop: There are two "bust alert" calls that I regret. One was Decker, who was obviously struggling of late, but he snapped out of it in a big way. The other was Le'Veon Bell on Thanksgiving Day. He was awesome against the Ravens with 16 carries for 73 yards and a touchdown and seven catches for 63 yards, and he should have scored a second touchdown before suffering a concussion when he lost his helmet just before the end zone. Hopefully he is OK for Week 14 against the Dolphins because that is a dream matchup, and we'd love to have him active for the Fantasy playoffs.