Things I Learned in Fantasy Football: Week 13

Takeaways from Week 13 as told by the tweets of the Fantasy Stronghold.

A lot of times the impact of weather on football games is overstated. But in Week 13, it certainly came into play in a lot of games. It's hard to always plan for weather when setting your lineups, but for one week at least, it was certainly a story. Heavy snows across the midwest undoubtedly changed the game plans of a couple of offenses. It likely had a lot to do with a lackluster passing game for the Packers. I'd like to say it did the same for the Texans as well. But ... Osweiler. It also played into another of the big fantasy stories of the week.

You probably heard all week long that Colin Kaepernick was a solid fantasy start against the Bears defense. The fact that Kap had made his fantasy bones running the football in recent weeks would lead you to believe that a snowstorm in Chicago wouldn't be a hindrance to his success. This was simply a case where even if the process was correct, the results were less than optimal. It happens. Unfortunately, it happened in a week that saw a lot of people fighting for a spot in their fantasy playoffs. C'est la vie.

This isn't an indictment of two talented running backs. This is a direct shot at the Ravens coaching staff. In a game that would have featured a run-heavy script for most teams, the Ravens decided to throw it. And throw it. And throw it some more. Baltimore ultimately cruised to a 32-point win over a sleepwalking Dolphins team, yet they only ran the ball 20 times and actually had more pass attempts than Miami. Generally speaking, it's an accomplishment for any Ravens running back to get more than 13 carries in a game. I don't understand it. But I know it means you can't really play either of these guys. By the way ...

The Ravens aren't the only team that ignores its running backs. The Packers split 26 rushing attempts between six different players. The Chiefs used six players to run the ball 22 times. Five Bills combined for 30 carries. This is both a fantasy and reality tweet. Running backs will tell you it's hard to be productive if they're not allowed to get into a rhythm. Fantasy owners will tell you it's hard to figure out which guys to start if they're not getting consistent carries. This feels like one where both sides can come to a reasonable agreement on how to move forward. It's time to unite and heal America.

Yes, running backs were a pretty frustrating bunch this week but at least a few of them got into the end zone a couple of times. I don't want to turn this into a referendum on the Zero RB theory. Wait a minute ... I absolutely do. Look, you might not believe in the idea -- that's perfectly fine. But if this season has proven anything, it's that the theory is a viable way to build a fantasy roster. When guys like a devalued DeMarco Murray, LeGarrette Blount or Melvin Gordon are making major impacts, it makes it hard to believe that early-round running backs are the only way to go.

We've been harping on this for a couple of weeks but it's worth reminding you that this is the time of year to make sure you've handcuffed your top running backs. Or have you not looked at the waiver wire lately? You'll be hard-pressed to find any backs worthy of being consistently started on your fantasy roster. Plus, if you've already locked up a playoff spot your lineup is pretty well set. What you'll need is insurance in case any of your front-line players go down to injury. That means getting Kenneth Farrow to back up Melvin Gordon, Alfred Morris to backstop Ezekiel Elliott and so on. Hopefully you won't need to use them, but it's better to have them and not need them than the other way around.

I propose that we come up with a new category beginning next season. Let's call it "quality targets." It's one thing for a receiver to have passes thrown his way. But what good is it if that player is continually leaping, diving or contorting his body to try and make a catch. Hopkins and Allen Robinson have been the prime examples of this, but there are likely a number of other cases. It would certainly go a long way toward helping us further evaluate quarterbacks and receivers in the future. Get on it, analytics people!

First ... have a day, Eric Berry! Second ... it's a reminder to not get too caught up in an opponent's offensive efficiency when scouting fantasy defenses. Sure, you won't want a team that gives up a ton of points on a regular basis but that's not the only thing that goes into a quality fantasy defense. The Chiefs are among the best in the league at taking the football away. Now that they have Justin Houston back to bolster the pass rush, Kansas City is worth starting each and every week.

Wait...what?"

  • Blake Bortles has more career pick sixes (11) than career wins (10).

And one for the road...

Marcas Grant is a fantasy editor for NFL.com. His snapchat (marcasg9) is a mixture of fantasy football and shenanigans. He has all of his mutes and blocks set up to avoid any Westworld season finale spoilers. Try not to be a jerk and wreck things for us West Coast folks, if you don't mind. Thanks. If you read all of that, congrats. Follow him on Twitter too.

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