Week 13 has come and gone and you are either in the fantasy playoffs or you are on the fantasy sidelines watching others enjoy postseason success. This season has been full of ups and downs, but most of the movement has been due to injuries. You'll always have guys who underperform and guys who overachieve, but the lockout and shortened preseason has many players rotting on fantasy benches because their hamstring or some other muscle wasn't quite ready for the grind of an NFL season.
The one thing that we knew for sure was that your muscles were ready for the long haul of a fantasy season and this is where the rubber meets the road. So, let's kick it into high gear and take this truck to the finish line.
Cam Newton:I had someone email me and say their opponent this week had Hakeem Nicks and asked if they should play Eli Manning to cancel Nicks out. My answer was no because Newton has the better matchup and I am sure that guy is thanking his lucky stars he listened to me after Cam I Am found the endzone 4 times. Only Aaron Rodgers could make this kid play second fiddle in fantasy leagues.
Christian Ponder: Not only did this kid set a Vikings single-game passing record for a rookie QB (381 yards), but he finished as a top-5 fantasy play with his passing yards plus 3 TDs. Sure, he threw 2 INTs, but that didn't matter since most leagues give a yardage bonus when you hit 300 yards and the 3 TDs were tied for the 2nd-most for QBs.
Shonn Greene: Greene has hit the fantasy scene once again after the Jets finally committed to the run after the passing game flamed out. This week he ran for just 88 yards on the ground and hauled in another 26 via the air, but it was the 3 TDs he scored that made him the #1 fantasy RB in week 13.
Chris Johnson: CJ2K started off slow like a turtle, but he has since picked up speed and now looks like the hare. This week he had 153 rushing yards and 2 TDs, which gives him a total of 486 rushing yards and 3 TDs in his last four games. He has turned the afterburners on at the exact right time for owners who trusted him with their #1 overall pick, but hopefully it wasn't too little, too late.
Damaryius Thomas: When week 13 hit, Thomas wasn't on anyone's fantasy radar, nor should he have been. However, he showed the world that he too can produce in the NFL as he hauled in 4 passes for 144 yards and 2 TDs. He won't do this again, so don't waste a waiver wire claim on him.
Pierre Garcon: Garcon turned back the clock and pretended he has Peyton Manning under center as he finished week 13 with 9 catches for 150 yards and 2 TDs. The thing to know about both Garcon and Dan Orlovsky's numbers this week is that most of them came in the second half when the Patriots were up big and their backups where in performing some mop-up duty. Don't get excited and think they have turned the corner, the Colts could still easily run the table in reverse.
Rob Gronkowski: Gronk isn't someone I normally put in here since he is an obvious start each week. But this week he tied the record for most TDs by a TE in a single season. He finishes the week with 64 receiving yards on 5 receptions and added 2 TDs. The kid is young and it is scary to think what other records he could set playing alongside Tom Brady.
Kansas City Chiefs defense: Leave it to the Bears offense to make the Chiefs defense the #1 fantasy defense for week 13. Not only did they hold the Bears to 3 points, but they also added 7 sacks and 3 INTs to the totals. Don't get over-excited about this performance, but it does show that you should think about playing whatever defense the Bears play going forward.
Andy Dalton: Dalton makes this list since Yahoo had him projected as the 13th-best fantasy QB heading into week 13. I am a big Dalton fan as the season finishes out due to his schedule, but this week was one I knew he would not do well in due to the matchup. Pittsburgh held him to just 135 yards passing and a single touchdown. He will have great matchups in weeks 15 and 16, so hang on to him.
Ben Roethlisberger: Big Ben is the truest definition of a boom-or-bust QB in the NFL because he will have either a great fantasy game or a terrible fantasy game. This week was the latter of the two as he finished with just 176 passing yards and 2 TDs. The two touchdowns keep him from being a complete bust, but the overall production wasn't worthy of true QB1 numbers.
LeGarrette Blount: Blount was someone I was high on this week because I knew Josh Freeman would be inactive, but sometimes this is how the cookie crumbles when it comes to predicting the future. Blount fizzled out and finished the game with a lackluster 19 yards rushing. If the Bucs get down early, Blount is fairly useless since he comes out on all passing downs.
Matt Forte: Forte has been one of the top RBs this fantasy season and he has many owners sitting pretty for the fantasy playoffs. However, this weekend he sustained a Grade 2 MCL sprain and that means he is out 2-4 weeks. Because of that he finished with an empty 12 yards on the ground. Go ahead and drop Forte now and grab Marion Barber to see if he can have some flex value to finish the season out.
Larry Fitzgerald: Fitzgerald is one of the rare fantasy WRs that can still produce despite his QB, and that is what he has done in spite of Kevin Kolb. However, a WR is only as good as his QB because he relies on him to get him the ball. This weekend Kolb got the ball to Fitzgerald four times, but he managed to turn that into just 55 empty yards. Fitzy is high-risk, high-reward down the stretch.
Brandon Lloyd: I happen to be looking at my Yahoo fantasy teams while doing this and I noticed they had Lloyd projected as their #9 WR heading into week 13. Why? He hasn't hit 100-plus yards since week 4, and that was his only week for that matter. And, the 49ers have the hands down #1 fantasy defense this season. Needless to say, Lloyd finished near the bottom of fantasy this week with his one catch for 34 yards. If any of you can tell me how they come up with these projections, I will gladly mention you in a future article because it makes NO sense!
Jason Witten: Have we seen the best days of Witten already and he is on the decline for fantasy purposes? I don't know, but I do know this weekend he certainly disappointed as he finished with 5 receptions for 47 yards and no TDs. This is the life of a Tony Romo receiver/tight end.
Carolina Panthers defense: Why anyone even owns the Panthers defense is beyond me, but Yahoo once again killed fantasy owners by projecting them as the #3 defense heading into week 13 and they finished closer to the #20 spot. Not only did they allow 19 points, but the managed just 2 sacks and an INT. If you trusted their projections, shame on you.