What a week of NFL action we've been treated to. From Aaron Rodgers Hail Mary with zero time on the clock to the Eagles upset of the Patriots to Superman's latest act of greatness, it's been a fantastic weekend of football. And now it all comes down to ... Matt Cassel vs. Kirk Cousins. Oh well. This could stillbe an entertaining game though, with several fantasy stars worth monitoring. We break it all down below in our player-by-player preview.
Dallas Cowboys at Washington, 8:30 p.m. ET on ESPN
This will be Cassel's second go-round as a starter for the Cowboys. The first stint wasn't the greatest. Aside from a 23-point outburst against the Eagles in Week 9, it's been a struggle for the journeyman quarterback to reach double-digits. Washington's defense has been a mediocre unit against opposing quarterbacks recently, allowing 11 touchdowns while snagging six picks in its last four games. That's enough to avoid starting a shaky Cassel this week.
It's a little crazy to think that we've reached Week 13 and we're talking about Darren McFadden owning the Cowboys backfield. He's not only been the healthiest of all of the Dallas running backs, but also the most productive. With no one to challenge him for touches in the backfield, McFadden will see a solid volume. That's a positive against a defense that has allowed seven scores to running backs this season.
This has less to do with Bryant's ability and more to do with the team's quarterback situation and fading offense. Now that Tony Romo is finished for the season, Bryant is paired with a less-able Matt Cassel. Suddenly a receiver who was a must-start every week is looking more like a matchup-based option. That's good news for this week's game against Washington. Not so good for the rest of the schedule.
Witten hasn't been a fantasy factor since catching a pair of touchdowns in Week 1. Nothing suggests this week is going to change things. Even in a week where people are shorthanded at tight end, there isn't much argument toward starting Witten.
It's about time that we give Kirk Cousins his due. Insert "You like that!" joke here Washington's quarterback hasn't exactly been a fantasy favorite this season, but he has been pretty good at home in recent weeks. Cousins has tallied 21 or more fantasy points in each of his past four home contests and he faces the rival Dallas Cowboys whose defense has been less than great. If you have the confidence, this is a week to roll with Cousins.
We've seen the resurrection of Alfred Morris in the last few weeks with 170 rushing yards in his last two games. Matt Jones is still seeing a few opportunities here and there, but his fumbling problems have mostly relegated him to the bench. If Chris Thompson is available to play, he could steal some touches but otherwise Morris might start to see the type of volume that made him a fantasy stud as a rookie.
With Kirk Cousins in line for solid production, it should mean equally positive things for Jackson. His upside is that he is a big play receiver who doesn't need a ton of targets to be successful. The downside is that he doesn't see a lot of targets or get a lot of receptions. That makes him dependent on hitting that one long touchdown play in order to have a great fantasy day.
We keep predicting that a Jordan Reed storm is coming. Much like George R.R. Martin's winter, we're still waiting for it. Considering Dallas' pretty solid track record against the position this season, we're probably going to continue waiting.