As most leagues closed in on the fantasy football playoffs, Week 13 of NFL action went a bit haywire. Other than the usual high scores from David Johnson and Le’Veon Bell, a lot of the usual top performers fell flat. Sure, Tom Brady, Ben Roethlisberger and Aaron Rodgers were all OK, but Drew Brees and Colin Kaepernick probably dashed playoff hopes for some fantasy owners.
Brees threw for over 300 yards but added three interceptions and zero touchdowns while Kaepernick completed just one pass for four yards before getting benched.
The biggest games by quarterbacks were recorded by Derek Carr, Carson Palmer and Matt Stafford. Joe Flacco and Andy Dalton offered surprising performances from the position as well.
Flacco threw for over 300 yards for just the third time this season while throwing four touchdowns for the first time this year.
Dalton threw for more than 300 yards and at least two touchdowns for the first time since Week 6. It was quite an impressive performance from a quarterback missing a key running back, Gio Bernard, and his top receiver, A.J. Green.
Johnson, Bell and Melvin Gordon all continued to produce like usual. Devonta Freeman, Spencer Ware and Latavius Murray recorded big games. LeSean McCoy, Jordan Howard and Thomas Rawls rounded out a good week for running backs.
Howard had his biggest game since Week 8, scoring three touchdowns and rushing for 117 yards. McCoy had his second straight 100-yard rushing game after not having one since Week 6. He had a great game despite Mike Gillislee taking away two short-yardage touchdowns.
Thomas Rawls finally broke out for owners who have waited on him all season. He may have a tough Week 16 matchup, but not before having two good matchups in the next two weeks.
The biggest rushing disappointments were Lamar Miller, Todd Gurley and Jonathan Stewart.
Other than Jordy Nelson, Odell Beckham and Julio Jones, the top wide receivers in Week 13 were most likely riding the pine for owners. Tyler Lockett, Ted Ginn, Albert Wilson and Brandon LaFell would all have been strange starts heading into the week.
Golden Tate seemed to benefit the most from the Lions’ matchup with the Saints. He caught eight passes for 145 yards and a touchdown.
The good news kind of ends there in what was supposed to be the most productive matchup of the week for fantasy scoring.
If you started a Saints skill player not named Coby Fleener, you were disappointed this week. Brees, Brandin Cooks, Michael Thomas, Mark Ingram and Tim Hightower all had games to forget.
Rather than talk about the worst performances this week by starting wideouts (Davante Adams, Emmanuel Sanders, Mike Evans), I’d rather talk about the return of the high-scoring tight end.
Ladarius Green, a preseason sleeper who finally woke up, caught six passes for 110 yards and a touchdown. Travis Kelce had his third straight 100-yard game while Dennis Pitta scored twice on his way to 90 yards receiving.
Cameron Brate, Jimmy Graham, Zach Ertz and Fleener all had big days as well. One disappointment was Martellus Bennett, who is taking over for an injured Rob Gronkowski. He had just two catches for four yards.
To add to a bizarre week, Stephen Gostowski and Matt Prater scored more points than a lot of receivers and running backs this week. Gostkowski connected on four 40-plus-yard field goals while Prater made five field goals, including a 52-yarder.
On the defensive front the Broncos had a great game, as did the Ravens. Denver logged a touchdown, two interceptions, a sack and a fumble recovery. The Ravens had three picks and two sacks while allowing just six points.
Waiver wire suggestions:
Alex Smith, Chiefs (He has two good matchups before Week 16.)
Adrian Peterson, Vikings (Just in case.)
Mike Gillislee, Bills (Vulture opportunities, plus a favorable schedule.)
Ted Ginn Jr., Panthers (Three straight games with a touchdown.)
Ladarius Green, Steelers