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The playoffs are here, every decision is magnified and every wayward bounce and movement that these NFL players make has the ability to impact our moods. From Travis Kelce's big day to Austin Ekeler's extreme letdown on Sunday Night, we are here to look at what changed and what mattered from Week 13.
Spencer Ware won't have the backfield to himself
When Kareem Hunt was the primary running back for the Chiefs, there was not much concern that he would be splitting passing down work with Ware or Damien Williams. But of course things change when a starting player is removed from an offense, and one of the biggest surprises for me was how involved Damien Williams was compared to Ware. Williams saw about 28 percent of the team's' offensive snaps, had more targets than Ware (2-1) and received five carries to Ware's 14. Without a late touchdown, Ware would have had a legitimately disappointing Fantasy day. Ware is still 100 percent Fantasy starter, but we have to reduce expectations for him going forward.
Saquon Barkley is matchup proof
This is not some ground-breaking theory from me that Fantasy players tend to overrate defensive matchups when really what matters is volume, but it is always nice to see a player like Saquon have a great day against a good defense. Barkley didn't end up scoring a touchdown in this game to put the icing on the cake, but he did get the ball over 25 times and accumulate over 170 total yards against what is one of the stoutest defenses in the NFL. If he can give you a startable week against the Bears, you probably aren't ever benching him, and that's the scenario that we got.
Josh Allen proves the running QB theorem
Running QB's, regardless of their effectiveness, are good for Fantasy. There is just absolutely no denying it. Terrelle Pryor did it, Tim Tebow did it, and Lamar Jackson and Josh Allen are doing it now. Allen now has back to back 100-plus yard rushing performances and averaged 15 yards per rushing attempt in Sunday's game against Miami. His passing stats are going to be up and down, in a best case scenario, but he seems likely to add at least five Fantasy points per game with his legs, which really cannot be overstated. He was always a good hold in 2QB leagues, but in my mind, he is fringe startable in deeper (14+ team) leagues.
The Panthers like using Curtis Samuel
There is perhaps no larger advocate for DJ Moore on Football Twitter than myself (I used him in DraftKings cash games at $5,600 this week with Devin Funchess active), so consider me perplexed on this one. In a game in which Devin Funchess really only played when the Panthers were in the red zone and where Greg Olsen got injured almost immediately, Samuels out-targeted Moore 11-8 and is coming off back-to-back weeks with a touchdown. Despite using a first-round pick on Moore, it seems as if Cam and the offensive coaches prefer to use Samuels closer to the goalline. The lesson here is that you cannot use Moore in your 12-team leagues, but that perhaps in game scripts where the Panthers are projected to throw 35+ times, that Samuel himself is a startable asset.
Justin Jackson has the juice
Austin Ekeler is going to continue to be fine when Melvin Gordon is not active for the Chargers, but Sunday night was a great example on how we Fantasy analysts tend to be far too confident in our ability to project the talent of backup running backs. Generally, Ekeler was regarded by the Fantasy community as a high-end handcuff who, if given a starting job, would excel. Ekeler could very well still excel if MG3 is going to miss another week or two, but it does seem as if Justin Jackson is just as good in terms of sheer rushing efficiency. It is hard to start running backs in straight up time shares, and I would be a little concerned if I was relying on Ekeler in the playoffs if he starts the Chargers next game in an inefficient manner so that he cedes about 50 percent of the total carries to Justin Jackson.