Top NFL Week 13 Fantasy Football Performers: Travis Kelce Is Unstoppable, More
Kyle Terada-USA TODAY Sports. Pictured: Kansas City Chiefs tight end Travis Kelce (87).
- The Chiefs returned from their bye week firing on all cylinders offensively against the Raiders.
- Packers WR Davante Adams put up a strong performance in a home loss to the Cardinals
Before moving on to Week 14, let’s break down some key fantasy football performances from this Sunday’s action.
Sunday’s slate of games featured double-digit victories for the Ravens, Rams, Broncos, Texans, Seahawks and Patriots, last-gasp losses for the Jets, Colts, Bills and Bears, as well as the end of an era in Green Bay after the team fired head coach Mike McCarthy.
The following four players were the brightest stars at their respective positions in Week 13.
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Fantasy Quarterback of the Day: Patrick Mahomes
Another week, another four-touchdown performance from Patrick Mahomes. The MVP-frontrunner led the Chiefs to a 40-33 win over the Raiders, completing 23-of-38 passes (61%) for 295 yards (7.8 Y/A) and zero turnovers.
The only man to throw for four-plus touchdowns in more games than Mahomes (7) in a single season is Peyton Manning (9). Additionally, Mahomes’ average of 326.9 passing yards per game would be the eighth-highest mark in league history.
Still, Sunday’s win demonstrated perhaps the most-underrated part of Mahomes’ skill-set: Athleticism. The second-year quarterback stands 6-foot-2 and weighs 225-pounds with a 78th-percentile SPARQ-x score.
Mahomes racked up a team-high 52 rushing yards on nine carries against the Raiders, perhaps signaling an enhanced willingness to run the ball without the services of Kareem Hunt.
Mahomes and the Chiefs don’t have a great final stretch against the Ravens, Chargers or Seahawks, but the potential for a late-MVP push fueled by head coach Andy Reid could be the icing on the cake for this record-breaking season.
Fantasy Running Back of the Day: Todd Gurley
It was only a matter of time before Gurley exploded for a big game after somehow totaling just 94-scoreless yards during the Rams’ memorable 54-51 victory over the Chiefs. The Lions helped strengthen their run defense by acquiring run-stuffing defensive tackle Damon Harrison in Week 8, but Gurley and company were simply too much to handle.
The only person that could seemingly stop Gurley on Sunday was… himself.
Todd Gurley with the Madden move 🎮
— NFL on ESPN (@ESPNNFL) December 2, 2018
Gurley went on to score the game-clinching touchdown shortly after the above scare that had surely given fantasy owners scary flashbacks back to October. He ultimately finishing the day with 165 total yards and with two trips to the end zone.
We are in the midst of witnessing one of the best fantasy seasons ever from a running back. Gurley has already racked up six games with at least 30 PPR points, joining only Marshall Faulk, Priest Holmes, LaDainian Tomlinson, Arian Foster, David Johnson and Larry Johnson.
Gurley fantasy owners should note that handcuff Malcolm Brown suffered a shoulder injury during Sunday’s win and didn’t return. This would elevate rookie John Kelly into a potential three-down role in the Rams’ ever-explosive offense if something were to happen to Gurley.
Furiously knocks on wood
Fantasy Wide Receiver of the Day: Davante Adams
The Cardinals had Patrick Peterson spend a good amount of time across from Adams on the outside Sunday, but even one of the league’s premiere cornerbacks was no match for Aaron Rodgers’ No. 1 receiver. Adams caught eight of his 13 targets for 93 yards, including a b-e-a-utiful 13-yard touchdown on 4th-and-4.
— The Checkdown (@thecheckdown) December 2, 2018
Adams has scored an incredible 31 touchdowns in 38 games with Rodgers under center since 2016. He’s the only player in the league with double-digit touchdowns in each of the past three seasons.
The only problem is the Packers somehow managed to lose to Josh Rosen and the Cardinals. They’re going to need a minor miracle to make the playoffs, but the bright side is this latest disaster could perhaps produce a pissed-off version of one of the most-talented quarterbacks ever entering a cozy final stretch for Adams.
- Week 14 vs. Falcons: 23rd in DraftKings PPG allowed to WRs
- Week 15 at Bears: 26th
- Week 16 at Jets:29th
Honorable mention: Dante Pettis (5-129-2) vs. the Seahawks
Fantasy Tight End of the Day: Travis Kelce
Kelce dominated from start to finish Sunday, catching 12-of-13 targets for 168 yards and a pair of touchdowns against the Raiders’ over-matched secondary.
There’s been plenty of (warranted) discussion regarding Mahomes’ ability to unleash Tyreek Hill with his limitless arm strength, but Kelce’s transformation into the team’s No. 1 receiver has been even more incredible.
Travis Kelce by season
2018: 77-1,054-9 (and counting) pic.twitter.com/Oj4udI3zUt
— Ian Hartitz (@Ihartitz) December 2, 2018
Kelce is on pace for an asinine 148 targets, which would be tied for the fifth-most ever for a tight end.
If it wasn’t already known: Kelce has supplanted Rob Gronkowski as the league’s premiere receiving tight end. Zach Ertz deserves to be in the discussion as well, but Kelce’s alarming athleticism and route-running ability makes him as good as unarguable when paired with Reid’s play-calling and Mahomes’ cannon for an arm.
We’ll see just how matchup-proof Kelce really is during a fairly brutal end-of-the-season stretch against the Ravens, Chargers and Seahawks. Of course, we’ve learned by now to bet against the clear-cut overall TE1.
What Happened to the Colts?
Perhaps the afternoon’s most-shocking outcome was the Jaguars’ 6-0 victory over the red-hot Colts. Andrew Luck completed 33-of-52 passes (63%) for just 248 yards (4.8 Y/A) with an interception. Luck’s three sacks were more than he took in Weeks 5-12 combined.
Not helping matters for Luck was a compilation of underwhelming performances from his top-three weapons.
- Marlon Mack converted nine touches into a season-low 33 total yards. This was the first game all season that Mack didn’t have double-digit touches.
- Eric Ebron wasn’t terrible considering he caught 10-of-16 targets for 81-scoreless yards. Still, Ebron fumbled a rush attempt, and Luck’s interception was intended for him.
- T.Y. Hilton more-or-less lost another battle with Public Enemy No. 1 Jalen Ramsey. Ultimately, Hilton caught eight of his 13 targets for 77 scoreless-yards.
The Jaguars deserve plenty of credit for not quitting on their season as many assumed, and they proved Sunday to still be plenty capable of disrupting an elite offense when fully dialed in. Luckily for fantasy owners, the Jaguars’ closing-stretch against the Titans, Redskins and Dolphins won’t include all that many fantasy-relevant players to debate anyways.
Meanwhile, the Colts have two more tough matchups against the Texans and Cowboys before taking on the Giants at home in Week 16.
Jameis Winston Continues to (Mostly) Impress
Sometimes Winston looks like the next-big thing at the quarterback position, while other times he more-closely resembles his on-again/off-again backup Ryan Fitzpatrick. Still, Winston has largely taken a step forward this season from an efficiency standpoint despite a few rough stretches of play.
Jameis Winston by year
2015: 58% cmp, 7.6 Y/A, 22 TD-15 INT
2016: 61% cmp, 7.2 Y/A, 28 TD-18 INT
2017: 64% cmp, 7.9 Y/A, 19 TD-11 INT
2018: 68% cmp, 8.4 Y/A, 12 TD-11 INT
— Ian Hartitz (@Ihartitz) December 3, 2018
Winston has also displayed a newfound fantasy-friendly rushing floor, averaging a career-high 28.1 rushing yards per game this season. His previous career-high mark was 13.3 rushing yards per game as a rookie.
The Buccaneers have even won three of Winston’s five starts this season. Still, Winston and the entire offense will have their hands full with an intimidating stretch in Weeks 14-16 featuring the Saints, Ravens and Cowboys.
Get Ready for a Mt. Saint-Julio Eruption
The Falcons were completely shut down Sunday, losing 26-16 against Lamar Jackson and the Ravens. Matt Ryan threw for a putrid 131 yards, while Ito Smith, Tevin Coleman and Ryan combined for just 34 rushing yards on 15 attempts (2.3 yards per carry).
And then there was Julio Jones, who caught two of his eight targets for 18-scoreless yards. This performance snapped his six-game streak with at least 100 receiving yards, and marked just the fifth time in Jones’ career that he finished with fewer than 20 receiving yards.
The Ravens’ fifth-ranked defense in overall and pass DVOA deserves plenty of credit for shutting down anything and everything the Falcons offense attempted to do Sunday. Still, may the lord have mercy on the next cornerback to face off with Jones.
Julio Jones had just 18 receiving yards today — his fewest since September 26, 2016
What did Jones do after that game?
15 targets, 12 receptions, 300 yards (!!!) and a TD vs. the Panthers
The Falcons play the Packers in Week 14
— Ian Hartitz (@Ihartitz) December 2, 2018
Helping matter for a potential blow-up spot in Week 14 is Jones’ history of success against the Packers.
- 2011 Week 5: 1 reception-16 yards-0 TD
- 2014 Week 14: 11-259-1
- 2016 Week 8: 3-29-0
- 2016 NFC Championship: 9-180-2
- 2017 Week 2: 5-108-0
Josh Allen is at the Very Least Entertaining
It remains to be seen if the Bills have something special under center, but rookie Josh Allen is at least proving to be must-watch Red Zone TV at times. The 2018 draft’s No. 7 overall pick nearly won the game for #BillsMafia in the final minutes of the game.
— Nick Wojton (@Nick_Wojton) December 2, 2018
The Dolphins went on to win 21-17. Allen continued to have up-and-down moments as a passer, completing 18-of-33 passes (54.5%) for 231 yards (7 Y/A) with two touchdowns and a pair of interceptions.
Allen might not be a very good passer yet, but he’s already a difference-maker as a runner. He needed just nine carries to rack up 135 rushing yards Sunday, joining Michael Vick, Colin Kaepernick and Robert Griffin III as the only quarterbacks to clear the 130-yard mark over the past 20 years.
The Bills don’t offer hardly any elite receiving talent to give Allen a chance of establishing much consistency as a passer, although he doesn’t exactly have the toughest end-of-season stretch against the Jets, Lions and Patriots. Allen should continue to hold fantasy value down the stretch thanks to his ridiculous rushing floor and gunslinger mentality: Only Jameis Winston (11.21 yards) had a higher average target depth than Allen (10.99) entering Sunday’s matchup.
Hurt in Battle and Returning Soldiers
There were plenty of key injuries on both sides of the ball this week. We won’t know more about Week 14 availability until later in the week, but the following skill-position players will certainly be worth monitoring:
- Chris Carson, RB, Seahawks (dislocated index finger)
- Greg Olsen, TE, Panthers (ruptured plantar fascia)
- A.J. Green, WR, Bengals (foot)
- Malcolm Brown, RB, Rams (shoulder)
- Matt Breida, RB, 49ers (ankle)
- James Conner, RB, Steelers (leg)