Recapping the most important Week 13 performances from top fantasy football rookies of 2018 and looking ahead to their Week 14 matchups. Follow Joe on Twitter @joebuttgereit for random thoughts and nuggets pertaining to all things fantasy sports.
Josh Allen (QB, Buffalo Bills)
Josh Allen has been the top scoring fantasy quarterback for the past two weeks, by a wide margin. He has over eight points more than the next closest quarterback, Russell Wilson, after scoring 55.0 points. He’s doing most of his damage on the ground with 234 yards and a touchdown in those games. However, this week, in a loss to the Dolphins, he went 18-for-33 through the air with 231 yards, two touchdowns and two interceptions.
This week, Buffalo will host the Jets. New York has been mediocre against opposing quarterbacks, allowing 17.3 points per game to the position. However, in two previous games against dual-threat style quarterbacks (Marcus Mariota and Mitch Trubisky), they have allowed 21.75 points per game. Allen certainly poses a serious threat on the ground and it’ll be tough for the Jets to contain him this week.
Lamar Jackson (QB, Baltimore Ravens)
For the third week in a row, Lamar Jackson has led the Ravens to victory; however, for the third week in a row, Jackson has been little more than a running back who also throws some. Through the air, he was 12-for-21 for 125 yards, no touchdowns and no turnovers. The stat that continues to keep Jackson fantasy relevant is another 75 yards on the ground with a touchdown. In three starts, he’s averaged 18 carries and 21.67 pass attempts. As long as he keeps finding the end zone on the ground, he’ll remain fantasy relevant. But, until he improves his passing game and becomes more consistent as a quarterback, it’s tough to trust him each week.
The Ravens will head to Kansas City this week to take on the Chiefs. This matchup does present a good matchup for Jackson on paper. The Chiefs are 28th in the NFL, allowing 21.0 fantasy points per game to opposing quarterbacks. It will be very interesting to see how Jackson can adjust to a game that will likely require moving the ball through the air to keep up with the Chiefs’ high-flying offense.
Baker Mayfield (QB, Cleveland Browns)
In what has now become a rare occasion, Baker Mayfield had a rough afternoon in Houston. In a 16-point loss to the Texans, he went 29-for-43 for 397 yards, a touchdown and three interceptions. For the first time as the Browns’ starting quarterback, the moment looked too big for Mayfield. He was making decisions that you generally expect out of rookies, eyeing receivers and throwing into double coverage; but things you haven’t seen this season from him. The matchup was against him and I expect him a bounce back in Week 14.
The Browns will host the Panthers, losers of four straight games, this week. Carolina has been putrid against opposing quarterbacks, allowing 20.2 fantasy points per game. During their four-game losing streak, they’ve allowed 23.5 points per game to opposing quarterbacks. The stage is set for a bounce-back game this week, so as you enter the fantasy playoffs, it’s not crazy to see Baker Mayfield as your starting quarterback for round one.
Saquon Barkley (RB, New York Giants)
Saquon Barkley continues to be the most consistent rookie in this year’s class. For the third week in a row, he eclipsed 100 yards rushing, finishing with 125 yards on 24 carries. He also added another 21 yards on three receptions. He failed to find the end zone this week after scoring five times in the previous two games, but he provided enough scrimmage yards to be a solid fantasy play last week.
This week, Barkley and the Giants will head to Washington. These two teams have been trending in different directions in recent weeks; the Giants have won three of four coming out of their bye week, and the Redskins have lost three straight to lose control of the NFC East. In their previous meeting in Week 8, the Redskins held Barkley to just 38 yards rushing, however, he did produce 73 yards on nine receptions.
Phillip Lindsay (RB, Denver Broncos)
Each and every week, Phillip Lindsay continues his ascension to put himself in the conversation for the Offensive Rookie of the Year award. The award thought to be Saquon Barkley’s to lose, now has a legitimate contender. Lindsay rushed for 157 yards and two scores in a win over the Bengals on Sunday. It’s a remarkable story to follow as he is trying to become the first undrafted free agent to ever win the award.
The run should continue this week as the Broncos will take on the 49ers in San Francisco. The 49ers are middle-of-the-pack against the run as they allow 19.5 fantasy points per game to opposing running backs. With the loss of Emmanuel Sanders to a torn achilles, the Broncos should lean even more on the back of Phillip Lindsay this week.
Justin Jackson (RB, Los Angeles Chargers)
Cracking the report for the first time this season, Justin Jackson made his presence known Sunday night against the Steelers. In what everyone thought would be the Austin Ekeler show turned into the Jackson’s. With just eight carries, he managed to rush for 63 (7.9 y/a) yards and a touchdown. He added a reception for 19 yards.
Suit up every Charger you have this week! They will be hosting the Bengals, who struggle to contain anyone. For running backs in particular, they are last in the NFL, allowing 27.5 fantasy points per game. It’s unclear who will get more touches between Jackson and Austin Ekeler, but I’d say it’s safe to go with either one, as they should both get enough touches to put together impressive fantasy performances.
Dante Pettis (WR, San Francisco 49ers)
Dante Pettis has become the No. 1 receiver in the 49ers’ offense, and Pettis is taking advantage of it. He made five more receptions for 129 yards and two touchdowns this past weekend. In the last three games, he’s received an average of 6.7 targets per game, and he has been making the most of it. This season has turned into the year of the rookie and Pettis is a big part of that.
This week, the Broncos will come to town. They boast a very mediocre pass defense, allowing 24.0 fantasy points per game to opposing wide receiver groups. The good news for Pettis’ owners is that there’s not much of a receiver group in San Francisco. Pettis is the headliner and it’s difficult to sit a team’s No. 1 receiver in your fantasy lineups.
D.J. Moore (WR, Carolina Panthers)
In a very favorable matchup against the Buccaneers on Sunday, D.J. Moore was surprisingly disappointing. He made just four receptions for 44 yards and added 21 yards on the ground. Cam Newton had a rough afternoon, which in turn affected Moore’s production. But the targets were still there, and they aren’t going anywhere anytime soon.
Moore will have another favorable matchup this week as the Panthers head to Cleveland to take on the Browns. The Panthers will be playing for their playoff lives following their four-game losing streak and the matchup is great for the wide receivers. Cleveland allows 24.7 fantasy points per game to opposing wide receiver groups and Moore is the featured piece in that bunch.
Courtland Sutton (WR, Denver Broncos)
Sutton had a coming out party in Week 13 against the Bengals. He set season (and career) highs with seven targets, four receptions, and 85 yards. He also added a touchdown. The doors have opened wide for the emergence of Sutton following the loss of Emmanuel Sanders this week. He will be the premier receiver on the field for a team that is still fighting for a playoff spot.
The matchup this week is favorable as well. The Broncos will be taking on the 49ers, who are 30th in the NFL against opposing wide receiver groups. This game will likely heavily feature Phillip Lindsay, but in order to keep the defense honest, they’ll need to pass the ball at some point. The No. 1 receiver on the field will be Sutton and he should put forth a WR2 fantasy performance this week.