- Fantasy Life Newsletter
- 🤌 Week 13 Waiver Wire Wonders
🤌 Week 13 Waiver Wire Wonders
Two more weeks until the fantasy playoffs...
That Monday night game was so bad that it was good (kinda)…
In today’s Fantasy Life Newsletter presented by Buffalo Wild Wings:
Justin Fields and the Bears eat the W on Monday Night Football
Utilization Report: Kyren Williams is SO back
Sheesh Report: Diontae Johnson managers might want to skip this one
Early Week 13 Rankings: A new overall QB1
The Panthers fired head coach Frank Reich
Week 13 Waiver Wire: Bye-mageddon is here
It’s 11/28. Take it away, Ian Hartitz…
Perhaps the Bears' 12-10 victory over the Vikings on Monday night wasn't the outcome we wanted or necessarily deserved — but it was the one we needed.
Right? That sounds right. Anyways: Your 314-word recap sponsored by Buffalo Wild Wings Everything Pretzel Knots (rumor on the street is eating them literally makes you smarter):
Justin Fields failed to lead the Bears offense into the end zone at any point, fumbled twice and threw roughly 900 screen passes BUT ... okay, yeah, that's honestly pretty much what happened.
The third-year QB deserves credit for a clutch throw to D.J. Moore (11-114-0) to set up the game-winning field goal and somewhat salvaged the fantasy day with the usual rushing goodness (12-59-0) – it’s just tough to walk away from Fields’ seventh-career win in 33 tries (!) feeling like the Bears suddenly have a definitive answer on his long-term status as the team’s franchise QB.
Seriously: Get a load of this screen-filled passing chart. It was a fun preseason TD guys! We all saw it! Now chill!
The biggest fantasy-relevant takeaway was rookie RB Roschon Johnson out-snapping Khalil Herbert 49 to 15. Johnson also worked ahead of Herbert in raw carries (10 vs. 6) and targets (5 vs. 2) albeit neither of their respective 75- and 38-scoreless yards exactly jumped off the box score.
While the change in usage did come with D’Onta Foreman (ankle/shin) sidelined and could always have just been gameplan-specific, Johnson has the potential to make some SERIOUS noise in fantasy land following the Bears’ Week 13 bye should this sort of legit bell-cow role stick.
Meanwhile for the Vikings: The clock struck midnight on the Passtronaut’s fairy tale story, as Joshua Dobbs threw not one, not two, not three, but FOUR INTs against a Bears defense that ranked 29th in EPA allowed per pass play (+0.111) entering Monday night.
The brutal passing performance largely nuked the fantasy value of everyone other than ever-reliable TE T.J. Hockenson (5-50-1). Things were especially rough for Jordan Addison (6-39-0), who would have had a 52-yard TD to his name if Dobbs had been able to keep his throw inbounds after the rookie got WIDE open deep on a silky-smooth double-move.
Watching two teams go a combined five for 34 on third down (14.7%!) maybe didn't make for the best Monday night experience, but you know what they say: Deal with it and get your mind right for Week 13, baby. There are fantasy championships to be won.
12 weeks of football are in the books. While there might suddenly be an urge to believe you know everything there is to know about the sweet science that is fantasy football — not so fast my friend: Depth charts are constantly evolving organisms that are designed to specifically end our championship dreams the second we stop paying attention to them.
Enter Fantasy Life Director of Analytics Dwain McFarland, who is back for another helping of the critically acclaimed Utilization Report to get you ready for Week 13 and beyond.
🐏 Kyren Williams returned with a boom
Williams handled 16 rushing attempts and six targets in his first game since Week 6. The 22 opportunities were his second-highest mark of the season, and he accordingly delivered a season-best 38.4 fantasy points.
Only Christian McCaffrey (24.6) averages more than Williams’ 21.4 points per game in 2023. Read that again.
Technically, the Rams slightly lightened the workload for their do-it-all back with a season-low 61% snap share in Week 12. He registered his second-lowest rush share (50%) and route participation (62%).
If the Rams keep Williams in those ranges moving forward, it could hinder his fantasy production in games where they don’t run as many plays. However, we could also see Williams’ role expand as he gets healthy or in more competitive games.
The second-year back checks the high-leverage utilization boxes thanks to his robust roles inside the five-yard line and in the two-minute offense. As strong as Williams’ utilization is – he is outperforming expectations based on the last 12 years of data.
Backs in similar roles averaged 15.9 points per game with an RB11 finish. The top comp from the group was Aaron Jones in 2020, who averaged 20 points per game.
The schedule tightens up over the next two weeks with matchups against the Browns and Ravens, so Williams is likely to come down from his high but will remain a must-start.
Outlook: Williams is a mid-range RB1.
👀 Rhamondre Stevenson got a post-bye utilization bump
Stevenson has been a disappointment to fantasy managers this year. However, he has turned things around lately, averaging 16.3 points over his last four outings.
In Week 12, he kept the positive vibes going by registering season-highs in snap share (78%) and rush share (68%).
While it isn’t easy to get excited about any piece of the Patriots' offense – only 13% of their drives have culminated in a TD – it’s hard to ignore Stevenson’s 24 and 26 opportunities over his last two games. If the third-year back can hang onto this utilization, he would offer similar value to Saquon Barkley as a high-volume back on a low-scoring offense.
Over the next five games, the Patriots have matchups against the Chargers, Steelers, Chiefs, Broncos and Bills. The game scripts could get dicey against the Chiefs and Bills, but none of the matchups are scary for Stevenson.
Outlook: Stevenson UPGRADES to mid-range RB2 status and offers RB1 spike-week upside.
🔥 Tuesdays finally have a reason to exist...
Thanks to Buffalo Wild Wings!
We know without Football, Tuesdays can be tough…but not anymore, because you can get BOGO 50% off Traditional Wings at B-dubs every Tuesday.
Order juicy, crispy wings in any of their signature 26 sauces and dry rubs (Including Hot BBQ and Bourbon BBQ for a limited time).
There are a lot of good things in this world. Flowers, candles, ice cream: The list goes on and on.
You know what’s not on that list? Our fantasy football players f*cking up in some way, shape or form, thus causing us emotional pain.
Good news: Fantasy Life Director of Sheesh Ian Hartitz is here to supply all of Week 12’s beyond-the-box-score near misses in order to 1.) Help us learn exactly what just went down, and 2.) Remind everyone about the worst things that happened to our fantasy squads last week … respectfully.
😬 Diontae Johnson had a rough day at the office
Being named the MVP of pretty much anything is almost always good.
But not in this column: The Steelers’ 27-year-old veteran coulda, shoulda, woulda caught a 15-yard TD down the seam, but unfortunately failed to maintain possession of the football through contact with the ground.
Diontae Johnson s-h-e-e-s-h
— Ian Hartitz (@Ihartitz)
Nov 26, 2023
Here’s the thing: Gene Steratore said on the broadcast that this should have actually been a TD and was surprised the call wasn’t challenged. Chalk this up as example number 69,420 that nobody on this planet actually knows what a catch is.
Sadly, things only got worse for Johnson when he got caught napping while a live fumble was right next to him. Warranted “play harder” criticism aside, he probably just didn’t see the ball on a run play away from him. That said: Sheesh.
😡 Tank Dell was ROBBED on multiple occasions
Not literally – that would be bad – but on the football field isn’t fun either.
Overall, there were two separate instances of Dell getting absolutely jobbed by the officials during the Texans’ Week 12 loss to the Jaguars. The first sheesh occurred on a TERRIFIC 62-yard catch that came off the board … because of the exact same motion that the Dolphins run roughly 50 times per game?
C.J. Stroud 62 yard bomb to Tank Dell nullified due an illegal shift by Dell.
I'm not a doctor, but that sure looks like the exact same pre-snap shift the Dolphins do roughly 50 times per game
— Ian Hartitz (@Ihartitz)
Nov 27, 2023
The argument here is that the penalty was actually on a different Texans receiver who maybe wasn’t quite all the way set when Dell went into motion. However, even a different view sure makes this look like a pretty ticky-tack call from a group of officials who certainly didn’t earn the benefit of the doubt last Sunday.
There was also the time that Dell leaped up to snag what should have been a 20-yard drive-extending 3rd-down conversion, but instead, the officials ruled that he didn’t have possession of the football with both feet down inbounds.
Yes, both plays were close calls. Also yes, sheesh.
🤏 Travis Etienne was so close, yet so far away from a huge day
Getting all the way to the one-yard line but failing to score a TD is objectively a sheeshy feeling – particularly when fantasy managers are forced to watch someone else vulture away the score that was SO CLOSE to belonging to them.
Here’s the full list of Week 12’s players who managed to get the football within three feet of the goal line, but not quite across the plane, and ultimately didn’t score later on the same drive:
Buccaneers QB Baker Mayfield
Jaguars RB Travis Etienne (x2 - separate drives, the one at the end of the first half particularly hurt)
Texans RB Devin Singletary (x2 - same drive)
Chiefs RB Clyde Edwards-Helaire (x2 - same drive)
Buccaneers WR Mike Evans (and it looked like he might have scored)
Jaguars WR Christian Kirk (this play was WILD)
Commanders WR Curtis Samuel
Jets WR Xavier Gipson
Titans TE Chigoziem Okonkwo
Buccaneers TE Payne Durham
Also, note that Chiefs RB Isiah Pacheco caught a pass and got down to the one-yard line on a play where it sure looked like he crossed the plane. Alas, the Chiefs simply handed it back to Pacheco the next play for the score. Fine enough outcome for Pacheco fantasy managers, but Patrick Mahomes probably would have had an extra passing TD to his total if Andy Reid had thrown the ole challenge flag.
It’s Tuesday, which means it’s officially Week 13. To welcome in the new week of Fantasy Football, Matthew Freedman was up at the crack of dawn to make sure his rankings were ready for you before your morning coffee. Check out his full Week 13 rankings set here!
🪓 Cash those “first head coach fired” tickets. Faster than Urban!
👨⚕️ Injury updates in Cleveland. Time for Mr. Elite?!
🍿 49ers-Eagles is going to be a GREAT game this Sunday. The trash talk is already going strong.
🚑 The Saints WR room is hurt, dog. At least this one isn’t TOO bad.
💉 Death, taxes: NFL players getting drug tested after great games. 21.1 PPR points apparently qualify.
📈 ICYMI: Early Week 13 Rankings are live. America’s QB1 leading the charge.
⚡ This continues to look like one of the worst picks of the entire first round. Can things get any worse?
💀 Maybe the single worst catch attempt you’ve ever seen. I can’t stop watching this.
💸 Money comes and goes, but fantasy championship banners hang forever. Taylor gets it.
Do you realize fantasy championship Sunday is just 33 days away? DO YOU???
Well, it is — and there’s no better time than the present to get the low down on ALL of the Week 13 waiver wire goodness from Fantasy Life resident grill/waiver wire master Chris Allen.
Tired after Monday? I get it.
Three games on Thursday, a solo matchup on Friday, Thanksgiving meals, leftovers — like I said, I understand. The action has been non-stop. We could use some time to reset, but now’s not the time to rest.
The playoffs are right around the corner. Hopefully, you’re positioning your roster for a final push. Or maybe a Hail Mary play or two (not like what the Jets tried) is what you need to get into the dance.
Regardless, I’ve got the waiver picks you’ll need to get your squad on track for Week 13.
Looking for recommended FAAB budgeting and even more Waiver Wire analysis? Head to our Waiver Hub to get all of that and more, for FREE!
📈 Pat Freiermuth, Steelers
There wasn’t a lot to get excited about after Pat Freiermuth’s Week 11 return. A single target in a Kenny-Pickett-led offense isn’t very inspiring. But since he was just coming back from a hamstring injury, we should’ve expected a ramp-up, and that’s what we got:
Snap Rate: 54.4% (Week 11), 60.3% (Week 12)
Route Rate: 39.4%, 67.6%
Target Share: 4.0%, 34.4%
Diontae Johnson has “issues” with how things are currently going for him on offense, and George Pickens primarily plays on the boundary (19.4% slot rate over his last three games). Coincidentally, the Steelers will host the same offense that just allowed two scores to their opposing team’s TE. Regardless, Freiermuth’s opportunity share should be enough to get him on rosters for Week 13.
😎 Odell Beckham, Ravens
Odell Beckham came into the Week 12 as a game-time decision due to the shoulder injury he sustained against the Bengals. It’d explain him running only 12 routes on Lamar Jackson’s 36 dropbacks. But when he was on the field, Beckham was beating defenders on slants like it was 2016.
Beckham’s blistering 41.7% TPRR dwarfed the rest of the Baltimore pass-catchers. No one else was over 25.0%. The veteran WR took on 30.3% of the team’s air yards. Rashod Bateman was the next closest at 25.4%. He’s now earned five or more targets in three of his last four games and gets two weeks to rest. And with a matchup against his old team waiting for him on the opposite side of the bye (an average matchup for WRs), Beckham is a high-priority add and stash for the fantasy playoffs.
🏈 Zack Moss, Colts
Zack Moss being on the field more than usual kind of got lost in the shuffle of Jonathan Taylor’s first multi-score game of the season. At 30.8% of the Colts’ carries, it’s his third-highest tote rate since JT reclaimed the rushing throne. So, it’s not that notable at first. But it’s the third time Moss’ usage has spiked in close, high-scoring contests, as we saw similar upticks in Weeks 7 and 8 (18 and 11 carries).
Sure, his workload can vary week-to-week. But Sunday was another reminder about how fruitful his skillset and situation are for fantasy purposes.
Indianapolis has the fifth-lowest early-down passing rate since Week 7. And Moss has thrived in his limited role. Against the Buccaneers (fifth-worst matchup against RBs), the former Buffalo RB posted a 62.5% success rate on his eight carries and nearly matched Taylor in every rushing efficiency metric.
At worst, his contingent value should Taylor get hurt makes him a critical piece to have on your bench. But with potentially tight games upcoming (TEN, CIN, PIT), Moss may have some flex appeal in standard formats.
Do these teams realize children are watching?
— Scott Fish (@ScottFish24)
Nov 28, 2023