Week 13 fantasy football winners and losers

Joe Flacco and the Baltimore Ravens had an easy win against Miami on Sunday. Patrick Smith/Getty Images

As we do each Sunday right here, we recap the week's winners and losers from a fantasy perspective, complete with applicable game and historical data. Check back after the conclusion of the 1 and 4 p.m. ET (and, when applicable, Sunday Night Football) games for our picks of the week's best and worst.


Jordan Howard, RB, Chicago Bears: His 29 fantasy points led all running backs (and tied for the overall lead) during the 1 p.m. ET block, and they gave him his third game with 20-plus and second with 25-plus this season. In fact, since he took over as the team's starting running back in Week 4, he has 128 fantasy points, which is sixth-best at the position.

Howard's critics might point out that he has been absorbing hefty workloads en route to these fantasy numbers, as his 32 carries on Sunday were a career high. However, despite a whopping 108 carries in his past five games, he has averaged 4.9 yards per carry. That has helped boost his start percentage significantly, as his 89.4 percent rate in ESPN leagues in Week 13 was his second-highest in his career (after 89.8 percent in Week 6).

Joe Flacco, QB, Baltimore Ravens: For the second consecutive week, the Miami Dolphins served up a big game to an opposing quarterback, as Flacco followed up Colin Kaepernick's 32-point, Week 12-leading performance with 29 fantasy points of his own on Sunday. And for the second consecutive week, fantasy owners didn't see it coming. Like Kaepernick, who was started in only 9.3 percent of ESPN leagues in Week 12, Flacco got the starting nod in only 4.5 percent. Surely a much larger percentage will start Carson Palmer when he faces the Dolphins in Week 14.

For Flacco, his 29 fantasy points matched his second-best performance in his career (2012 Week 10), and were three shy of his career-best 32 (2014 Week 6).

David Johnson, RB, Arizona Cardinals: His 29 fantasy points gave him a fourth consecutive week with at least 20, and extended his position lead in the category; Johnson is actually now third overall (all positions) in fantasy points for the season. His 247 in 12 games are 17 more than any running back had in all of 2015, as Devonta Freeman's 230 paced the position a year ago. Johnson was started in 99.69 percent of ESPN leagues in Week 13, only narrowly behind Ezekiel Elliott (99.72 percent).

Johnson is now on pace for 329 fantasy points come season's end, and if he can maintain that pace, he'd tie for the ninth-best single season total among running backs in history, and the best individual total by a running back since LaDainian Tomlinson's record-setting 410 point season of 2006.

Dennis Pitta, TE, Ravens: Commend him first for merely returning to good enough health to play again in the NFL, then for playing in 12 healthy games, then for scoring an impressive 19 fantasy points on Sunday, tops among tight ends during the 1 p.m. ET block. Pitta's story is truly remarkable, as he missed the entirety of the 2015 season as well as all but three games in 2014 due to a twice-fractured hip. His total on Sunday -- as well as his 28 points using PPR scoring -- was his second-best total in his career (24 and 31, 2012 Week 15).

Golden Tate, WR, Detroit Lions: The highest-scoring wide receiver during the 1 p.m. ET block, Tate managed 20 standard-league and 28 PPR fantasy points. He now has three double-digit, standard-league performances in his past seven games.

Andy Dalton, QB, Cincinnati Bengals: He was without his No. 1 receiver (A.J. Green, out due to injury) and was facing a Philadelphia Eagles defense that, entering Week 13, had allowed the ninth-fewest fantasy points per game to quarterbacks (14.8). So it's understandable that Dalton was started in only 7.5 percent of ESPN leagues on Sunday. Still, he delivered 21 fantasy points, tied for his season high, and resulting in the fifth game in the Eagles' past six in which their opponent's quarterback scored at least 20. Incidentally, Kirk Cousins, Flacco, Eli Manning and Dak Prescott are the next four quarterbacks scheduled to face the Eagles defense.

Devonta Freeman, RB, Atlanta Falcons: He entered Week 13 as the seventh highest-scoring running back in fantasy (133 points), yet would you believe that his 21 points on Sunday represented his second-best single-game effort of 2016? 'Tis true, and it was the sixth time in his career thus far that he has managed at least 20.

Terrance West, RB, Ravens: He has been extremely frustrating to own this season, having scored double-digit fantasy points in four games this season but been limited to fewer than five points in four others. But West stepped up with 18 on Sunday, his second-best performance of 2016 as well as in his entire 34-game career. Unfortunately, only a limited number of his owners capitalized: He was started in 29.1 percent of ESPN leagues, his lowest start percentage since Week 4 (21.1 percent), which was his first start as a member of the Ravens.

Ladarius Green, TE, Pittsburgh Steelers: After playing just 12 snaps in Week 12, Green managed nearly that many targets (11) on Sunday, resulting in a career-high 17 fantasy points. After missing the first nine weeks of the season while recovering from January ankle surgery, Green played 10 and eight snaps in his first two games in Weeks 10-11, so this week's effort was a significant statement towards his being an impact player during the fantasy playoffs, as he played 35 snaps, per Pro Football Focus' Nathan Jahnke. Green was started in just 4.3 percent of ESPN leagues in Week 13 and remains available in nearly 90 percent.

LeSean McCoy and Mike Gillislee, RBs, Buffalo Bills: If you started both Bills running backs in Week 13, you probably did quite well. McCoy scored 19 fantasy points, but his score could've been even greater had he gotten the goal-line work in this one. Gillislee received four of the Bills' five rushing attempts within five yards of the Oakland Raiders' goal line -- Jerome Felton received the other one -- and he punched two of them in for touchdowns for a final tally of 16 fantasy points of his own. That strategy could be something for McCoy's fantasy owners to watch in coming weeks, not that his start percentage should drop from its 99.0 percent on Sunday.

Gillislee's start percentage, incidentally, was 1.05 percent.

Latavius Murray, RB, Raiders: For only the fourth time in his career, Murray reached the 20-fantasy-point threshold, his 22 ranking fourth among running backs through Sunday's games. It was the second time he reached that threshold in his past four games, and in fact, he now has 97 fantasy points in six games since Week 7, which ranks fifth-best among running backs.

Thomas Rawls, RB, Seattle Seahawks: For the first time in 2016, we saw a version of Rawls much closer to the 2015 model. He scored a season-high 23 fantasy points, his second-best single-game total in his 18-game career, and 22 of those were accrued before the nine-minute mark in the second quarter. After disappointing in Week 12, a week in which he was started in a season-high 81.7 percent of ESPN leagues, Rawls saw his start percentage plummet to 50.7 percent on Sunday.

Tyler Lockett, WR, Seahawks: With 19 points on Sunday Night Football, Lockett managed the second-best total in his 28-game career, trailing only his 22 in 2015 Week 14. The popular breakout candidate from the preseason hadn't scored in double-digits in any game entering Week 13, so it's no surprise to see that he was started in only 4.3 percent of ESPN leagues.


Colin Kaepernick, QB, San Francisco 49ers: Speaking of Kaepernick, he followed up his aforementioned Week 12 outburst with a dismal, two-point effort on Sunday. Worse yet, he attempted only five passes and six rushing attempts, which might cause his fantasy owners to wonder whether he exited early due to injury. Kaepernick indeed exited early -- but it was due to performance rather than injury, and in fact, he wasn't replaced by Blaine Gabbert at quarterback until there were just under 13 minutes remaining in the game, capping what was an awful performance by him played in the snow. It matched Kaepernick's second-worst fantasy point total in any of his 54 career starts (his worst was 1 point in 2014's Week 13), and it came at the absolute worst time in his season, as his 33.3 percent start rate was easily his highest of 2016.

Drew Brees, QB, New Orleans Saints: Perhaps Brees' seven-point stinker was even more frustrating to his fantasy owners than Kaepernick's, as his had broader impact due to his 96.5 percent start rate in ESPN leagues, which was easily the highest among quarterbacks in Week 13 as well as his highest all season. It was the first time he had been held to single digits in a home game in nearly six years -- he also had seven at home in 2010 Week 17 -- and it snapped a streak of 11 consecutive home games during which he had scored at least 20 fantasy points.

Incidentally, do you see the common thread between Kaepernick and Brees? Both tied for the highest score of Week 12 (32 fantasy points apiece).

Lamar Miller, RB, Houston Texans: With just two fantasy points, Miller matched his season low in that department, a rough result for his owners who started him in 80.2 percent of ESPN leagues. Most frustrating was that it occurred against a Green Bay Packers defense that had been struggling against opposing running backs of late, affording 118 fantasy points combined to the position the past five weeks combined. Miller did, however, miss a portion of the first quarter with a rib injury.

Martellus Bennett, TE, New England Patriots: Though it was actually an awkward strategy to begin with, fantasy owners who "handcuffed" Bennett to Rob Gronkowski (now out for the season) continued to suffer through a difficult-to-predict campaign by both tight ends, as Bennett scored a big, fat doughnut (zero fantasy points) on his four targets. Bennett did enter the game dealing with some bumps and bruises, listed on the injury report with both ankle and shoulder injuries, but he was nevertheless started in 45.1 percent of ESPN leagues, 10th-most among tight ends.

Davante Adams, WR, Packers: He was one of the 20 most-started wide receivers in ESPN leagues in Week 13, active in 65.3 percent of leagues, but delivered just one fantasy point to his owners on seven total targets. Adams had at least one costly drop in the game -- arguably not one that should be fully blamed on the snow -- with the final result his worst single-game score since Week 2 (0).

Todd Gurley, RB, Los Angeles Rams: What an awful year he has endured, but believe it or not, Gurley actually set a season worst with his three fantasy points on Sunday. It was the ninth time in his 12 games played that he was held to single digits.

Mike Evans, WR, Tampa Bay Buccaneers: That he's listed amongst this group is more of a tribute to his excellent season in the 12 weeks that preceded this game than a knock on his play; his five fantasy points matched a season low (Week 4) and his three receptions were his fewest in 2016. He was the third most-started wide receiver in ESPN leagues in Week 13 (99.4 percent), behind only Antonio Brown (99.7 percent) and Odell Beckham Jr. (99.6). Unfortunately for Evans, Brown's 11 fantasy points on Sunday gave him a slight lead for the season (166) over Evans (164); they're one-two at the position.

Greg Olsen, TE, Carolina Panthers: For the fourth time in his past six games, Olsen was held to three fantasy points or fewer; he scored three exactly on Sunday night. That gave him just 31 fantasy points during that six-game span, his worst such total within a single year since he concluded the 2011 season with 16 in his final six contests. Olsen was the second most-started tight end in ESPN leagues in Week 13, active in 89.9 percent.

Kelvin Benjamin, WR, Panthers: Though his matchup was expected to be difficult, Benjamin's one fantasy point on nine targets on Sunday was nevertheless a letdown for the 41.3 percent of ESPN owners who started him. It was only the second time this season he had been held to that low a point total; he was shut out in Week 3.