Week 12 was easy. Holiday weekend, no bye weeks, all fun and games. This week though? Back in the trenches. With bye weeks and injuries, NFL teams and fantasy gamers alike are scratching and clawing for those last playoff spots. And the NFL landscape around us is continuously evolving. Let’s take a look at the action from Week 13 and pinpoint some key takeaways!


Week 13 Hot Takes

Super Bowl Hangovers?

It’s easy to look at the Eagles and Chiefs in general and say “those teams are great”. But this week the Eagles had a big test - and failed it spectacularly. It’s just one game of course but it comes against their biggest hurdle in the NFC in the San Francisco 49ers. The oddsmakers felt the 49ers could win making them three-point favorites even on the road going into Philadelphia but it wasn’t even that close with the 49ers winning by 23 points in a 42-19 blowout win. If the Eagles can’t figure out how to beat them, they’ll have to hope someone else does them a favor.

Even scarier though is how the week panned out for the defending champions. Losing to tougher teams like the Lions or Eagles isn’t a big deal. Even the Broncos loss can be chalked up as a division matchup. But losing to a 5-6 Packers team with a first-year QB? That is concerning. Especially when it’s not even a shoot out and you can’t find your way to 20 points. For the first time in a year, Patrick Mahomes and Travis Kelce look human. And they’ve got some work to do to fend off the Dolphins, Ravens, and Jaguars for that top playoff seed.

Carolina Panthers - Out with the Old, In with the New

The Carolina Panthers thought they were going to compete THIS season. No doubt about it. You don’t trade your first pick and sign guys like Adam Thielen, Hayden Hurst, and Miles Sanders otherwise. I mean, Thielen is 33, Hurst is 30, and, as far as running backs go, Miles Sanders is no spring chicken either. The Panthers, of course, are not competing so they fired virtually the entire coaching staff. And we might be learning who were favorites of the previous regime vs. the new one. 

Free agent acquisition DJ Chark split snaps with young guys like Mike Strachan and Ihmir Smith-Marshette. Rookie draft pick Jonathan Mingo got ten targets to six for Adam Thielen. And former assistant head coach Duce Staley’s long-time pal Miles Sanders played half the snaps of Chuba Hubbard. With a 1-11 record, we could see this team hold “live tryouts” the rest of the way to see who is going to be part of the organization moving forward or not.

Texans Win But At What Cost?

The Texans were able to hold off the Denver Broncos and improve to 7-5 where they would squarely be in the mix for a playoff spot. But they didn’t walk away unscathed. Quarterback C.J. Stroud took a shot to the head on a QB sneak on 3rd and 1 and had to leave the game to get checked for a concussion. He returned but this is reportedly the second time this has happened. 

Star wide receiver Tank Dell wasn’t so fortunate. He was dealing with a calf injury all week before being activated but that’s not what got him here - he actually suffered a fractured fibula on a goal line touchdown for Dameon Pierce. I’m sure there will be some debate as to why a 5’10” 165 wide receiver was in the pile blocking for a goal line plunge but one thing we all know for sure is this: his breakout season is over.

Tight End Fill-ins Disappoint

One week. That’s all a lot of folks needed. T.J. Hockenson, Dalton Kincaid, Cole Kmet, and Isaiah Likely were all on bye. Dallas Goedert, Darren Waller, Mark Andrews, Dalton Schultz, Hayden Hurst, and Greg Dulcich were all injured. Yet popular bye week fill-ins Cade Otton, Logan Thomas, and Juwan Johnson all went out and caught zero passes. Zero. Between the three of them, they have played a combined 29 games this season. Each of them at least caught one pass in those games. None of them did this week. When fantasy gamers needed them most. Classic. Logan Thomas was able to scrounge up a two-point conversion to a least give you something but it’s still crazy to me that these guys couldn’t manage a regulation reception.

Mike Evans: Hall of Famer

We need some positivity in this post. And this is no “hot take” by any means. But Mike Evans is a Pro Football Hall of Famer. Even if he were to retire right this very moment. Coming into this season, Evans had nine straight seasons with 1,000+ yards to start his career. Coming into this week, he needed 150 yards to officially cross that threshold again. He got 162. That’s 10 straight seasons of 1,000 yards to start his career. 

To me, that’s a Hall of Fame career no matter what happens next. He has more touchdowns and just as many yards and catches as Calvin Johnson, who retired after nine seasons and was enshrined in The Hall in 2021. Evans has the stats and accolades and even has the coveted Super Bowl ring that Megatron never came close to. This guy at this stage is a lock. Congratulations on the milestone, Mike!