Another week has come and gone in the NFL, and we’re on the brink of the fantasy football playoffs! Week 13 delivered plenty of juicy fantasy goodness, including a statement revenge game by A.J. Brown, a two touchdown performance by Tony Pollard, and a monster day all the way around for Davante Adams. But, unfortunately, it wasn’t all fun and games as the injury bug reared his ugly head once again in a big way. The injuries were particularly bad for quarterbacks across the league, with Lamar Jackson, Tua Tagovailoa, and Jimmy Garoppolo all exiting their matchups early. Deshaun Watson didn’t suffer an injury, but he may as well have after turning in a terrible performance against his former team. If you count the safety, he technically tallied negative two points for the offense…#notgood.

There’s plenty we could talk about after this week, but we don’t want to be like everyone else and talk about the easy headlines. While they’re talking about the mild BBQ sauce takes, we’re serving up five spice Thai chili. We may think we have it all figured out, but the NFL is like an all-you-can-eat buffet and keeps on giving. Load up your plate, and come sit at the table with me as we discuss the hottest takes from Week 13. 


Samaje Perine Should Retain a Larger Role Even When Joe Mixon Returns

If you would have told me I’d be hyping up Samaje Perine at this point in the season, I would have called you crazy, but here we are. It looks like we could have this year’s Zeke/Tony Pollard debate brewing in the Cincinnati backfield. For the second week in a row, Perine delivered fantasy goodness, finishing with over 100 rushing yards and tacking on another 49 through the air against a tough Kansas City run defense. In the games he’s started, Perine is averaging over 20 fantasy points per game, and if you compare that with Joe Mixon’s game totals, it’s not hard to make a case that he’s the better back. Removing the five touchdown performance he had in Week 9, Mixon has only scored more than 20 fantasy points once this season, and that was all the way back in Week 1. If the Bengals want to make another deep postseason run, they will continue to utilize Perine both in the passing game and as the goal line back and let Mixon take the bruising on early downs. 

Diontae Johnson Can’t be Trusted in Your Fantasy Lineups

I don’t know if any player has experienced as much regression in both fantasy and real life football play than Diontae Johnson, and as much as we’d like to blame his woes on the rookie quarterback, it’s not all on Kenny Pickett. Last season, Johnson finished the year as the WR8, and this year? He’s currently sitting as the WR39, but even that is looking at his recent performances through rose colored glasses. Johnson is getting targets, but he’s been plagued by drops and inconsistency all the way around. On Sunday, he saw 11 looks but only hauled in five of them, and he currently ranks tenth in the league in drops. Atlanta’s secondary has given up the sixth most fantasy points to opposing wide receivers this year, but Johnson must not have gotten the memo. The Steelers have a favorable schedule for your fantasy playoffs, but if Johnson couldn’t produce against Atlanta, he’s setting you up for disappointment in the most important weeks of your season.


Deebo Samuel’s Fantasy Value is Toast

We’ve talked about this before earlier in the season, but the writing on the wall may have been in invisible ink at that point. Now it’s spray painted in fluorescent colors with a neon light around it; Deebo Samuel’s fantasy value is toast. After Week 13, he barely ranks as a WR2 in fantasy, and with Jimmy Garoppolo now out for the season with a broken foot, it’s only going to get worse. Christian McCaffrey will continue to steal the short and intermediate targets that went to Samuel last season, and to make matters worse, Deebo no longer has the rushing upside either. A matchup next week against a tough Tampa Bay secondary will only prolong the misery of Samuel managers, and it won’t get better in Week 15 against a much-improved Seattle secondary. If you’re riding into your fantasy playoffs with Deebo as one of your top receivers, don’t be surprised when he costs you the matchup.


AJ Dillon is a Valuable Running Back Option Down the Stretch

AJ Dillon is a known fantasy aficionado, and it feels like he trolled us with this week’s performance. He must have been monitoring the rostership percentage because after it seemed like everyone and their mother had dropped him or labeled him as a permanent bench warmer, he decided to put up his best fantasy performance of the season. In fact, over the past two weeks, he’s put up double digit fantasy points, and if you kept the faith and held on to him for this long, you’re going to be rewarded down the stretch. December is the season of the running back in Green Bay, and the upcoming schedule against the Rams, Dolphins, and Minnesota is just begging for fantasy production. Aaron Jones also suffered an injury in Week 13, and although it wasn’t serious enough to keep him out of the game, it will likely cause a heavier split in Dillon’s favor going forward. It’s shaping up to be a very merry month for AJ Dillon managers.


Darius Slayton is a Must Start Flex Option

In something completely out of character for me, I’m saying something nice about a New York Giants receiver; Darius Slayton is a weekly starter in your fantasy lineups. Since Week 7, he’s the WR21 in PPR formats, averaging over 75 yards per game, and the upcoming schedule is TASTY. Yes, Philadelphia will be a test in Week 14, but then the Giants face the Commanders and Vikings before facing a Colts defense that just gave up three passing touchdowns to Dak Prescott and the Dallas Cowboys. Slayton has been highly efficient on deep routes, averaging over 21 yards per catch the past four weeks, and with few options left in this Giants receiving corps, he’ll continue that streak in the upcoming weeks. It may feel a little gross, but it’s the holiday season; don’t look a gift horse in the mouth, especially one that may still be out there on waivers. 


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