by Eric Stashin (aka The Rotoprofessor)
After another Sunday of NFL football it’s hard not to walk away with more questions than answers. As always it was yet another tough week, but that doesn’t mean we weren’t able to come able learning some valuable lessons. Let’s take a look at 10 things we learned from Week 13:
1) That Theo Riddick is never going to carry the load for Detroit…
With Ameer Abdullah out this was Riddick’s shot, but instead it was undrafted rookie Tion Green that led the backfield in carries:
- Tion Green – 11 carries for 51 yards and 1 TD
- Theo Riddick – 9 carries for 21 yards and 1 TD
Riddick did add 5 catches for 41 yards (he was targeted 5 times), so it obviously wasn’t a lost day. That said his value is going to lie solely in PPR formats, regardless of who is playing and who is out.
2) That Devontae Booker impossible to trust…
In what has clearly devolved into a lost season, this was supposed to be Booker’s shot. After showing some promise in recent weeks, not only did Booker play behind C.J. Anderson but also Jamaal Charles:
The three touches are his fewest since his first game played (October 1 vs. Oakland) and he had been given 6+ carries in five straight games. You would think the team would want to take a look and see what they have, but at this point he’s impossible to trust.
3) That Dede Westbrook is quickly emerging…
There was a lot of hype, but after injury cost him a chunk of the season it was fair to wonder what we could expect. The production has improved each week, though, reaching 6 receptions for 78 yards on Sunday against the Colts. He’s now been targeted 19 times over the past two weeks and 25 times in his three games on the season. That’s not to say that he’s a can’t miss option for various reasons:
- Blake Bortles is his quarterback
- Allen Hurns will return at some point (though when remains to be seen, as he still hasn’t returned to practice)
For now, though, Westbrook is on the WR3 radar depending on your alternative.
4) That Kenyan Drake may have taken over as the lead back in Miami… Maybe…
With Damien Williams sidelined Drake torched the Broncos both on the ground (23 carries for 120 yards and 1 TD) and through the air (3 receptions for 21 yards). Williams had put together back-to-back strong performances prior to the injury (116 yards on 18 carries), but Drake’s day could easily turn this from a committee into more of a lead back situation. Of course Miami has had opportunity to give either Drake or Williams the shot to lead the backfield, but when both have been healthy they’ve opted not to. It’s possible this changes things, but we wouldn’t bank on it.
As long as Williams is out Drake is going to be a viable RB2, but once he returns they both fall back into FLEX territory.
5) That Derrick Henry deserves a bigger role…
That’s not to say that DeMarco Murray had a bad day, because he didn’t, but Henry continues to be the more dynamic runner:
- Derrick Henry – 11 carries for 109 yards and 1 TD
- DeMarco Murray – 11 carries for 66 yards
This represented the first time since October 8 that Murray has averaged more than 3.3 YPC. On the flipside, Henry has averaged at least 4.6 YPC in four straight games. You would think that would mean a heavier workload, but to date the Titans have remained steadfast in splitting the carries. At 8-4 and with the playoffs in sight it’s hard to imagine that suddenly changing, even though it’s easy to argue that it should.
6) That Marquise Goodwin could emerge as a viable playoff option…
In Jimmy Garoppolo’s first start in San Francisco Goodwin exploded for 8 receptions (on 8 targets) for 99 yards. Prior to this week he had been nothing more than a boom or bust threat, turning 62 targets into 27 receptions (43.5% completion rate) and averaging 21.4 yards per reception. This obviously brings hope that Goodwin could be a productive option for as long as Garoppolo is under center, as he led the team in targets (Trent Taylor was second with 8), receptions and yards.
Can he maintain this production week in and week out? Time will tell, but at the very least he’s on the WR3 spectrum and well worth owning.
7) That Josh Gordon could make Corey Coleman unusable…
A lot of times when we hear coaches talk about a player we chalk it up to “coach speak”. In this case, though, the Browns said that Gordon was going to be used, and used a lot, immediately and that’s exactly what happened:
- Josh Gordon – 11 targets
- David Njoku – 6 targets
- Corey Coleman – 4 targets
Gordon’s opportunities clearly came at the expense of Coleman, who failed to record a reception. It’s interesting, as Coleman had been targeted 19 times in two games since returning to the lineup. Can the team find a balance and a role for both players moving forward? We’ll have to wait and see, but Coleman needs to be stashed on the bench (or dumped if you are in a shallower format) because he simply can’t be trusted.
8) That Hunter Henry has clearly returned to relevance…
Finally, right? Henry posted his second consecutive strong performance, racking up 7 receptions and 81 yards. He’s suddenly totaled 157 yards over the past two weeks and has at least 5 receptions in each of his past three games.
Before we get overly excited we have to remember that both the Cowboys and Browns have struggled against opposing tight ends of late. Was he simply a product of the matchups? He has another easy matchup next week, against the Redskins, before things get a little bit tougher. There’s a good chance that he keeps the momentum going, at least for another week, so be prepared to roll him out there as a TE1.
9) That Marshawn Lynch’s numbers are somewhat misleading…
He posted 101 yards and 1 TD on 17 carries, so it would appear to be a big day for Lynch. However if you take out his 51-yard scamper you get 50 yards on 16 carries, or a 3.5 yard per carry. Obviously we can’t just take one carry away, though it obviously skews the optics. Still Lynch has now scored 4 TD over his past 4 games (topping 57 yards in each of them). Clearly he’s not quite the same player that he once was, but at least he’s finally starting to deliver some results. As a RB2, there’s value.
10) That Kareem Hunt may never rebound…
Maybe that’s a bit dramatic, but with each passing week the hope obviously diminishes. He now hasn’t found the end zone since September 24 (nine straight games) and he’s gone five straight games with less than 100 total yards:
- vs. Denver (10/30/17) – 68 total yards
- at Dallas (11/05/17) – 61 total yards
- at New York Giants (11/19/17) – 77 total yards
- vs. Buffalo (11/26/17) – 26 total yards
- at New York Jets (12/03/17) – 63 total yards
Can he still rediscover his early season form? Absolutely, and the Chiefs are going to continue to give him opportunities. That said with your fantasy title hanging in the balance are you willing to bank on it happening? He’s a RB2, at best, with a floor that just continues to sink lower and lower.
Sources – ESPN, NFL.com