The real season doesn’t begin until after Thanksgiving. Now Turkey Day is in the rear-view mirror and we’re careening towards the postseason some games are starting to look insignificant while others are deciding divisions, byes and playoff seedings. For fantasy though, every game is a potential goldmine, and every point counts – there are no dead rubbers in fantasy land! Let’s check out the Studs and Duds who brought you joy or crushed your hopes in Week 13.
Jared Goff – QB – Los Angeles Rams
We’ve talked a lot about how the Rams offence has been struggling in recent weeks, and Jared Goff has featured in the wrong side of this column because of it. If you were one of the fantasy managers who trusted that Goff could get right against an abysmal Cardinals passing defence though, this week you were proven right.
Goff torched the division-rival Cardinals for 424 yards and two touchdowns through the air without throwing a pick. Not only did this mark the quarterback’s first game without a turnover since the Rams faced Chicago in Week 8, it was also the first time he had thrown a touchdown pass in the same span.
Whether this was a blip against a bad defence or a turning point as the Rams surge for a playoff spot remains to be seen, but remember that Fantasy is a weekly game, and you got your money’s worth if you ran with Goff this Sunday.
Derrius Guice– RB– Washington Redskins
For nearly two seasons fantasy fans have been hearing about how good Derrius Guice is; how he’s going to take over the backfield in Washington; how his college tape was amazing, and he was a true 3-down back. For nearly two seasons he’s been hurt. You can’t fault the fantasy community for wondering if maybe Guice was never going to come good on his supposed potential.
If you weren’t one of the doubters, he came good for you in a big way on Sunday. Washington may be an organisation in freefall, but their young running back had a breakout game as he put up big numbers against a porous Carolina Panthers defence. Guice rushed for 129 yards on just 10 carries, with two of those totes finishing in the end zone for his first career NFL touchdowns. He added to his career day with a pair of catches for eight yards, too. Maybe do believe the hype?
Alshon Jeffrey – WR – Philadelphia Eagles
It’s going to be tough for Eagles fans to take much solace from their loss to the maybe-not-tanking-but-not-good Miami Dolphins this Sunday. Fantasy managers took points though, as this game turned into a shootout. Coming back from injury, Alshon Jeffrey proved to be the main beneficiary of a resurgent Eagles offence.
The return of his favourite wide weapon from a two-game absence meant that Carson Wentz was able to get back on track, and the former Chicago Bears superstar took full advantage of their connection to haul in nine passes for 137 yards and a touchdown. With an easy schedule over the next few games the Eagles will look to extend this form further into the tail end of the year, and that could mean more big returns for your fantasy team!
Jimmy Garoppolo – QB – San Francisco 49ers
After destroying the hapless Arizona Cardinals in Week 11 and following that up with a statement win over Aaron Rodgers and the Green Bay Packers last week, Garoppolo was hot property as a passer going into Sunday. Facing a tough opponent in the matchup of the week against Lamar Jackson’s Baltimore Ravens, Jimmy G was looking for another statement game and a win that would put the 49ers in pole position for the No.1 seed in the NFC. That was the plan, and the brave fantasy manager was picking the QB on form and going with it.
The Ravens were not going with the plan. A tight game and quality opposition made sure that this low-scoring affair kept Garoppolo in check, as he threw for just 165 yards and a touchdown on 15 passes. He lost a fumble as well, adding to the disappointment for fantasy owners chasing the points of previous weeks. This performance was a chastening lesson to all fantasy managers – don’t pick last week’s best team.
Christian Kirk – WR – Arizona Cardinals
Kliff Kingsbury and his Arizona Cardinals have started to make some noise offensively as the season has progressed, with no.1 overall pick Kyler Murray and second-year wide receiver Christian Kirk notching up some nice fantasy totals over the last four weeks. Facing the floundering LA Rams and coming off their bye week, this seemed like the ideal game to announce themselves to the NFC West and prove they can be a force in the seasons to come.
Instead, they got destroyed. The Rams offense had their way with the Cardinals, and Arizona couldn’t respond. Kirk, who had posted double-digit fantasy performances in three of the last four games, was held to just 3 catches for 23 yards as he couldn’t get down the field at any point. Whether it was down to the bye week, too much turkey or just the Cardinals being outplayed, Kirk let you down this week.
Jonathan Williams – RB – Indianapolis Colts
He may only be a recent signing for the Colts, but Williams has clearly been the hot hand in the Colts backfield over the last two weeks. Coming off back-to-back 100-yard performances against the Jags and the Texans, Williams was looking to add a third divisional scalp in a row against the AFC South rival Tennessee Titans on Sunday. Having established himself as the clear no.1 running back in the absence of Marlon Mack, why wouldn’t he?
Well, we have no idea. Williams only carried the ball 8 times as he trundled to a meagre 14 yards on the ground, and a solitary catch for 11 yards – all in the first half. He didn’t come on the field in the second half, Jordan Wilkins had more carries, and Williams was outgained on the ground by pass-catching back Nyheim Hines. All in all, an absolute disaster for anybody banking on a repeat performance from Williams, and now the Colts backfield is once again a mystery for fantasy managers.