Week 13 SNF Fantasy Recap

  • Final score: Cowboys 54, Colts 19 (Cowboys covered -11, O 44.5)


    Pregame: Considering the most controversial pregame story coming into this one is probably the non football-related one involving Jerry Jones (just ask LeBron James), interim Colts head coach Jeff Saturday is probably getting off the hook a little easier than usual for the suspect time management at the end of last week’s rough home loss to the Steelers. Saturday’s brief coaching resume so far includes a 1-2 and has been a mixed bag for fantasy managers. On one hand, the Colts under the former center in Saturday have graded out above-average in pass blocking in two of their three games under his leadership. They got wrecked in the run blocking unit against the Eagles, but that’s par for the course against Philly. Jonathan Taylor has still enjoyed a semi-revival since returning from his ankle injury in Week 10. The Colts D/ST unit that entered the year very much as a startable fantasy asset, on the other hand, has regressed even more under Saturday. The Cowboys, who have outscored opponents by a 68-23 margin over their past two games, will look to win for the fifth time in six games coming off a big divisional victory over the rival Giants. 


    Postgame: No number of timeouts could have saved Jeff Saturday from this one, as the warm stick of butter that is Indianapolis ran into the red-hot knife of Dallas on Sunday night that was capitalized by a franchise-record 33 unanswered fourth quarter points. The Cowboys had been the highest scoring team in football since Week 7, and they did nothing to change that after this Week 13 annihilation of the beleaguered Colts, who committed five turnovers against a Cowboys defense that was unrelenting from start to finish. With the way that the Cowboys are firing on all cylinders in all facets of the game, it’s fair to think if their Christmas Eve matchup hosting the Eagles might be a preview of the NFC championship game.




    Pregame: We’re in Week 13 now, which means if you’re relying on a Colts QB even in superflex/QB2 formats, you need to set higher standards for your fantasy playoff push. One of Saturday’s biggest first decisions as interim head coach was giving the reins back to Matt Ryan, but the veteran has had an extremely low ceiling with only one passing score in the past eight quarters. He doesn’t warrant any additional digital ink here, so the takeaway here is to find higher ceiling options on the waiver wire like Mike White and even Kenny Pickett.


    Postgame: Ryan (233-2-3 passing, 12.1 total fantasy points) ran into a buzzsaw of a defense, but he was also pretty bad himself with a season-high four turnovers including a fumble lost now in back-to-back games. His 56.8% completion rate was the lowest since the second game of the season. At this point, it’s fair to wonder when former Super Bowl MVP Nick Foles might get a crack at starting for the Colts. The struggling Colts offensive line didn’t do him any favors, of course, allowing him to get sacked three times that makes it now three-plus sacks in four of Ryan’s last five starts. Ryan is someone to avoid like the plague even in superflex/2QB leagues, and those in deeper formats probably want to consider stashing Foles on their bench.



    Pregame: Perhaps it’s the offensive line growth, perhaps it’s the coaching switch to Saturday or maybe it’s just being healthy again. Perhaps it’s all three that are contributing to Taylor’s late-season comeback. The top fantasy draft pick has finally played to his draft capital over the past three games, finishing as a top-11 running back every week since Saturday took over. It’s a huge boost to patient fantasy managers, though a stiff test comes this week against a Cowboys defense that has yielded the fifth-fewest fantasy points to opposing running backs this year. One specific area of concern even during this three-game surge has been Taylor’s diminished passing game role despite the departure of satellite back Nyheim Hines to Buffalo — Taylor has averaged just 3.3 targets over that span after seeing as many as eight looks as recently as Week 7. Unfortunately, this may not be the week to up his involvement there as the Cowboys allow the fourth-fewest receiving yards to opposing backs.


    Postgame: Considering how much the fourth quarter blew up the game script, fantasy managers were lucky to get three quarters of solid production out of Taylor (21-82-0 rushing, 3-21-0 receiving, four targets, 11.8 total fantasy points) while the game was still competitive. Despite not getting into the endzone and averaging less than 4.0 yards per tote, the fact that Taylor was able to tally 21 receiving yards against a Cowboys defense that had been top-5 in limiting receiving yards from opposing running backs has to be considered a minor win. The fact of the matter is that Taylor is on a disaster of an offense, so he may not really have much of a ceiling to speak of the rest of the way. Fantasy managers with Taylor hoping to get far in the playoffs will have a decent floor with him but will need other ceiling guys to have a chance at a title.


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