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Fantasy Football isn't supposed to be this gut-wrenching.
This was, by far, the most crazy/frustrating/disappointing/challenging week of the 2018 season. And that was before Sunday delivered some of the most crazy/frustrating/disappointing/challenging results of the year.
Call it Unlucky Week 13.
Perhaps it was most unlucky for A.J. Green, Greg Olsen and Packers coach Mike McCarthy. Green suffered a toe injury so serious that he appeared to be crying as he was carted to the locker room; Olsen said after the game he expects his latest foot injury to cost him the rest of this season; McCarthy was relieved of his duties following the Packers' disappointing home loss to the Cardinals.
What does it mean for their respective teams (or former teams in the case of McCarthy)?
- Cincinnati: It's going to be a mess. Obviously, this offense is at its best with Green on the field. Without him, they've averaged 16.3 points per game. Tack on Andy Dalton missing and an unstable offensive line, and the Bengals have the feel of a squad playing out the string. Three of their last four games are on the road to boot, two against playoff contenders. Figure Joe Mixon (10.3 Fantasy points per game in his last four) to perform as a No. 2 RB thanks to his capabilities in the passing game. Tyler Boyd has played effectively in his last eight quarters, most of them without Green. He'll continue to get good volume. John Ross has scored in three of his last four but without any good yardage with it.
- Carolina: Losers of four straight, the Panthers are going to have to come up with something that they can sustain offensively. Replacing Olsen won't happen at the tight end position -- expect the usual suspects in Carolina to come up with more opportunities with Olsen out. One note: Olsen entered Sunday with just seven targets in his last two games and 38 in nine games, so it's not like he was a consistent factor in the offense to begin with. I suspect we'll see more playing time and opportunities for Curtis Samuel and Devin Funchess moving forward.
- Green Bay: McCarthy's departure means a new playcaller in Rodgers' ear. Someone to lean on the run game would help things out. Rodgers really needs explosive receivers to rely on beyond Davante Adams. It's shameful that the Packers drafted three tall, fast receivers and can't turn any of them into contributors. And Rodgers isn't absolved of blame either -- some of Rodgers' recent throws have not been on point. He has one game in his last six with over 22 Fantasy points and he has 30 total in his last two. The Packers host the Falcons next week -- Rodgers will start for most Fantasy folks, but we'll all look for some new wrinkles.
Three big questions from Week 13
Is the Falcons offense a Fantasy wasteland?
This was an uncharacteristic home performance by the Falcons, but it's because they were crushed by time of possession. The Ravens held the ball for nearly 40 minutes of game clock. That's why the Falcons ran just 15 runs and 27 passes. Don't write them off, but playing outdoors on the road is usually trouble for Matt Ryan. They'll be in that situation next Sunday against the Packers.
You'd think there would be enough chances to go around in a game where Baker Mayfield chucked the ball 43 times and totaled 397 yards. That was the case for Landry, who made the most of nine targets (6-103-0). But not for Njoku and his six targets (3-8-0). It should be noted, however, that fellow rookie Antonio Callaway should have had a bigger game if not for a dopey penalty wiping out a 76-yard touchdown and a fumble on a 71-yard completion two plays later. Everyone's in play against the Panthers next week, including Njoku.
"Hold on ... you're this deep into a Sunday recap column and you have NOTHING on Andrew Luck's meltdown?!??"
Luck's 248-yard, zero-score effort against the Jaguars made Drew Brees' weak game at Dallas look like an MVP performance. You were better off starting Chase Daniel or Jeff Driskel. Luck's previously impenetrable offensive line gave up three sacks and allowed Luck to get hit nine times. Jalen Ramsey was the primary catalyst for containing T.Y. Hilton over eight catches and the Jaguars otherwise attempted to funnel Luck's passes into short-yardage pockets. It didn't help that the Colts' aggressive nature didn't work out for them. With their playoff hopes fading, they're on the road for the second week in a row against the Texans. Not easy.
Bonus: Is David Johnson officially a Fantasy bust?
This was infuriating. The Packers' run defense isn't good but they managed to withstand 20 carries from Johnson, holding him to 69 yards. Worse yet, the Cardinals again ignored Johnson in the passing game, offering him two lowly targets. He didn't score, and unless you want to be upset, don't look to see who did. Despite this rancid result, don't discount Johnson next week in a home game against the Lions. Their run defense has been pretty solid since adding Damon Harrison but they've had their struggles on the road. Besides, Johnson is still a rare 20-touch running back. Those opportunities matter.
5 waiver pickups for Week 14 and beyond
- Jeff Wilson (0 percent owned): Matt Breida hurt his ankle in warm-ups and then again in the game, opening the door for Jeff Wilson to get some playing time. He led the 49ers on the ground with 61 yards on 15 carries and also piled up 73 receiving yards on eight catches. You gotta love a Kyle Shanahan running back! Wilson's going to be a hot commodity off waivers, but we've chased 49ers running backs before only to be disappointed. One way we'll be happy: If the Niners put Breida on injured reserve and let him start his offseason early. The Niners play the Broncos next week -- not an easy matchup.
- Dante Pettis (6 percent owned): The speedy line-up-anywhere rookie for the 49ers has played big in his last two against very beatable matchups, totaling 206 yards and three scores on nine catches (14 targets). He'll take on a Chris Harris-less Broncos defense at home in Week 14 and should be worth considering whether Marquise Goodwin is back or not. I'm already looking forward to drafting him next summer.
- Adam Humphries (47 percent owned): The Bucs slot receiver has five touchdowns in his last five games along with at least 15 PPR Fantasy points in three straight. The Bucs host the Saints next week, giving him yet another plus matchup. It might be his last of the year.
- Josh Allen (15 percent owned): Not kidding! Allen is running a bunch and making a lot of good throws to find some nice Fantasy points -- 32 on Sunday at Miami and 27 the week before against the Jaguars (yes, the same defense that just shut down Luck). He'll be back at home against the Jets in Week 14 and should come out firing -- and running -- again.
- James Develin (0 percent owned): Just kidding!