Fantasy football Week 13: Christian Watson, Amon-Ra St. Brown lead the way

Week 13 of the 2022 fantasy football season featured huge performances by Christian Watson, Amon-Ra St. Brown and the Eagles tandem of A.J. Brown and DeVonta Smith. Which other developments from the week are worth reading into? Matt Bowen and Tristan H. Cockcroft offer their analysis.

Christian Watson stays hot

Straight-line juice -- and scoring upside. With two more touchdowns in the Week 13 win over the Bears (one receiving, one rushing), Watson has now logged a ridiculous total of eight touchdowns in his past four games -- with at least 20 PPR points in each of those matchups. Even if the touchdown totals begin to decline, Watson is still a consistent threat to create explosive plays given his traits and deployment in the Packers' offense. The rookie can get loose on verticals, run away from coverage in the red area of the field, and the fly sweeps (which we saw on Sunday) can get Watson on the edge. The Packers head into the bye but return in Week 15 for a matchup with the Rams, where Watson will remain a high-ceiling WR2. -- Bowen

Jaguars have no answers for Amon-Ra St. Brown

Say hello to your top scorer from the 1 p.m. ET games, and after St. Brown scored 34.6 PPR fantasy points, is it time to declare him "Mr. December"? You know this tale: St. Brown scored 24.8 PPR fantasy points in what was his first career double-digit-target game on Dec. 5 of last year (also Week 13), then went on an outrageous 89.6-point, 46-target run in his final five games of 2021 to almost single-handedly decide many a fantasy league title. And if not for the ankle injury that cost him Week 4 and derailed his momentum at the time, St. Brown might've extended that scoring prowess through the entirety of 2022. During the past four weeks, however, he has again looked like the clear No. 1 he seemed in September, scoring a combined 99.6 points on 41 targets. The trade of T.J. Hockenson, coupled with injuries to some of the team's other receivers, has again made him Jared Goff's clear go-to target, and there's every reason to believe St. Brown might decide a good number of fantasy league championships again in 2022. -- Cockcroft

Eagles receivers put on a show

Now that's what can happen when a pair of receivers with an MVP-caliber quarterback meets a great matchup! A.J. Brown and DeVonta Smith both hauled in receiving touchdowns in Week 13, the third time this season that both did so in a game, but this is the first time that both exceeded 20 PPR fantasy points, as Brown scored 31.9 and Smith delivered 21.2. Unfortunately for them and the Eagles, none of the team's remaining matchups is quite as favorable as this was -- the Bears in Week 15 represent the closest thing to it, with the Giants (Weeks 14 and 18) next -- but these are still fantasy-worthy receivers each week, Brown near the WR1/2 borderline and Smith a high-end WR3. After all, each has had greater than a 20% target share in the same game in 7 of 12 games this season. It only helps that Dallas Goedert's injury further shifts Jalen Hurts' focus to his wideouts. -- Cockcroft

Nobody can slow down Davante Adams

The week's top scorer -- he had 37.7 PPR fantasy points, his most in 2022 and his fourth most in any of 83 career NFL games -- Adams has been on an unreal hot streak since scoring 1.2 points in Week 8, which were his fewest in any game in which he ran at least 25 routes. Adams has three games of multiple receiving touchdowns and at least 30 PPR fantasy points in his past five games, and he has totaled 149.4 points during that time span, most in the league and 34.36 more than any other wide receiver has. He'll face a couple of challenging matchups down the stretch -- the Patriots in Week 15, the 49ers in Week 17 -- but will remain one of the position's very best. -- Cockcroft

Deshaun Watson struggles in return

Watson's return to NFL action was nothing but disappointing in fantasy terms, as he scored 5.34 fantasy points, his third fewest in any of his 54 career NFL starts (and the only two worse came against tough defenses, the 2019 Ravens and 2018 Bills). This one was largely a matter of rust, unsurprising considering Watson hadn't played a competitive football game in nearly two years, best evidenced by the ugly interception he coughed up. Expecting him to need a couple of games at least to get back to full speed was rational, and there's reason to hesitate to use him as a QB1 in either of the next two weeks against the Bengals and Ravens, especially after he couldn't get much done on the ground against one of the league's weakest defenses. I might rank Watson within my top 10, if only because he's got that elite mobility, but I feel much less confident about it after this showing. -- Cockcroft

Ravens lose Lamar Jackson to knee injury

Perhaps the most troubling development of Week 13 was Jackson's early departure from Sunday's game, as he suffered a knee sprain on a rough hit during the team's second offensive series, prematurely ending his day. Jackson had previously been dealing with a quadriceps injury, so he'll be one of the names most needing to be monitored during the practice week. Coach John Harbaugh indicated after the game that Jackson's injury won't end his season, but it sounds like one that'll surely cost him some practice time and might well shelve him for Week 14. Tyler Huntley, who had a 35.90 fantasy point fill-in start but a mere 16.20 per-game average in his four starts in Jackson's place in 2021, scored 15.58 points in relief, again doing most of his damage with his legs. Should Huntley be needed to fill in for future weeks, he'd be a mid-to-high-end QB2 primarily due to his mobility and his fit in the Ravens' offensive scheme. The Ravens do have a pair of extremely favorable matchups against the Steelers, in Weeks 14 and 17, so Huntley could be a streaming pick if pressed into duty. Here's hoping, though, that Jackson will heal quickly enough to be able to capitalize upon both of those matchups. -- Cockcroft

Other observations:

Jalen Hurts, QB, Philadelphia Eagles: Hurts dropped a season-high 34.4 fantasy points on the Titans' defense in the Week 13 win. And it was the pass game here, as the Eagles' coaching staff attacked the coverage tendencies of Tennessee with vertical concepts. Hurts, who finished with 380 yards passing in this one, threw three touchdowns of 29 yards or more. And he also added a touchdown rush in the low red zone, too. With six straight starts of 20 or more fantasy points, and dual-threat upside, Hurts will remain a top-three play versus the Giants in Week 14. -- Bowen

Joe Burrow, QB, Cincinnati Bengals: I thought Burrow played lights out in the Week 13 win over Kansas City. 30.04 fantasy points. 25-of-31 passing. Three total touchdowns (two rushing, one passing). He threw the ball with location and anticipation. The mobility showed up, too. And he was stone cold in big game moments. With Ja'Marr Chase back in the mix for Cincy (seven receptions, 97 yards), Burrow controlled the tempo of this game. And now he gets the Browns' defense in Week 14. He's a midtier QB1 in my ranks. -- Bowen

Ja'Marr Chase, WR, Cincinnati Bengals: In his first game since Week 7, Chase checked in with 16.7 PPR points, catching 7 of 8 targets for 97 yards. And I didn't see any limitations for Chase here after he missed the past four games with a hip injury. The wide receiver looked explosive, and we saw the competitive traits after the catch, too. In short, he played like a No. 1 on a big-game stage. You can lock in Chase as a top-five WR for the Week 14 game versus the Browns. -- Bowen

Justin Fields, QB, Chicago Bears: Two late-game interceptions dropped Fields' fantasy total to 19.26 points, breaking a streak of five straight starts with at least 20 or more points. Now, Fields did complete 20 of 25 passes in this one, showing his deep-ball arm talent here on two explosive play throws. And with 71 yards rushing, plus a touchdown on a 51-yard play that highlighted his ability to accelerate/shift gears, the Bears quarterback has run for a touchdown in six straight games. Fields and the Bears hit the bye next week. And they are back on the grass at Soldier Field in Week 15 versus the Eagles. -- Bowen

AJ Dillon, RB, Green Bay Packers: A recurrence of Aaron Jones' shin injury in the second quarter of Week 13 opened the door for Dillon to take over as the Packers' leading running back, and while Jones did ultimately return, it was clear that the team shifted its focus to Dillon for the game's remainder. Dillon dashed for 20.9 PPR fantasy points on 18 rushing attempts and a 3-of-3 day catching his targets, reaching a speed of 18.0 mph, per Next Gen Stats, on his 21-yard touchdown. The Packers now have their bye week, affording Jones the chance to heal, but with his injuries piling up, the playoffs still a long shot and the team having outs on his contract after both this and next season, one can only wonder whether Dillon might see an expanded role in the coming weeks. He might well elevate his fantasy stock to the low-end RB2 range, while pulling Jones' back to only a few ranks higher -- and perhaps the shift could be more dramatic than that if Jones' injuries don't heal swiftly. -- Cockcroft

Nick Chubb, RB, Cleveland Browns: I had Chubb ranked as my RB3 this week. I looked at the matchup versus a subpar Houston defense. Take that for sure. And I expected a run-heavy script in Deshaun Watson's first start of the season, too. Yeah, I was looking for top-five numbers from Chubb here. The Cleveland running back, however, failed to post double-digit PPR points (8.0), finishing with 80 yards rushing on 17 carries in a game that lacked offensive structure and red zone scoring opportunities for the Browns. Chubb gets the Bengals' defense up next in Week 14. -- Bowen

Derrick Henry, RB, Tennessee Titans: The Eagles' 35-10 drubbing of Henry's Titans had a lot to say in his 5.8 PPR fantasy point, 13-touch stinker, but it's worth pointing out that the star running back has been held beneath a 3-yards-per-carry average in three of his past four games. Before that stretch, he had been held to that poor a rate in only nine career games in which he had double-digit carries. Henry had been excellent down the stretch in 2018, 2019 and 2020, a "momentum" type of back who tends to save his best for later in the year, but the Titans' offensive woes seem to be now hampering him. He should rebound with a better matchup in Week 14 (@JAX), however. -- Cockcroft

Garrett Wilson, WR, New York Jets: In his second game with Mike White at quarterback for the Jets, the rookie wide receiver posted a season-high 162 yards receiving on eight catches (out of 15 targets). Wilson has now logged back-to-back games of 24 or more PPR points with White throwing the ball, and we are seeing the dynamic traits/playmaking ability he brings to the field. Wilson can create after the catch. He has third-level ability. And the detail in his route running is progressing. With 23 targets over the past two weeks, and big play ability, Wilson will remain in the WR2 discussion for the Week 14 game versus the Bills. -- Bowen

Cam Akers, RB, Los Angeles Rams: So much for the Kyren Williams buzz, as Akers was the Rams' Week 13 star, scoring 19.0 PPR fantasy points, the second most he has had in a game in his career. Akers played 73% of the offensive snaps and had 17 carries to Williams' one, showing good vision in this one, especially on his 6-yard touchdown run in the fourth quarter that at the time gave the Rams the lead. If this is a sign that Akers' stock is back on the rise, and that he'll get an extended look for the 2023 starting role, this breakthrough performance comes at a good time, considering the Rams face great matchups in the Raiders (Week 14), Packers (Week 15), Chargers (Week 17) and Seahawks (Week 18) in four of their final five games. -- Cockcroft

Jared Goff, QB, Detroit Lions: Goff should remain at the top of your list for potential streaming options at the quarterback position. With two touchdown throws in the Week 13 win over Jacksonville (his second straight game with multiple touchdowns), plus 340 yards passing, the Lions quarterback finished with 21.6 fantasy points. And this Detroit offense has playmakers on the perimeter, with a healthy DJ Chark (five receptions, 98 yards) back in the mix to complement Amon-Ra St. Brown. If you can give Goff clean platforms and schemed play-action throws, he will hit the windows. Up next is a Week 14 matchup versus Minnesota. And that's a game I like for Goff against the Vikings' split-safety zone coverages. -- Bowen

Jeff Wilson Jr., RB, Miami Dolphins: While it's tough to be overly critical of his performance, considering the difficulty of his matchups as well as the fact that his Dolphins trailed on the scoreboard for the majority of the day, Wilson's limited usage even when the game was competitive is a concern. He played only 38% of the offensive snaps and had only one rushing attempt and two targets (neither caught), whereas Raheem Mostert, who returned from a knee injury, played 60% of the snaps and had seven carries. Wilson's 0.3 PPR fantasy points were his fewest all season, letting down managers who started him in 39.5% of ESPN leagues. He'll be tough to trust even with a dream matchup next up against the Chargers. -- Cockcroft

Cleveland Browns D/ST: Two defensive scores in the Week 13 win over Houston. One on special teams too, with Donovan Peoples-Jones taking a punt back for 76 yards. And four forced turnovers. That's 31 fantasy points for the Browns D/ST, the highest total in a single game this season. And it's the most points scored by a D/ST since the Eagles posted 35 in Week 5 of 2019. This really just confirms that you should absolutely stream defenses against the Texans. Looking at the last five games of the year for Houston -- at Dallas, vs. Kansas City, at Tennessee, vs. Jacksonville, at Indianapolis -- only the Cowboys D/ST are rostered in more than 50% of ESPN leagues. Get in on this. -- Bowen