Fantasy football analyst Sal Vetri will use this space to deliver his keys to victory every week of the 2023 NFL season.
Finding No. 1: The best RB spot of the week belongs to A.J. Dillon (or Aaron Jones)
Dillon will take on the Giants in Week 14, though there’s a chance Aaron Jones returns, in which case he’d then take the throne for the best spot of the week. Jones wasn’t able to practice in any fashion last week, which led to him missing his second straight game. He was limited in practice Thursday.
Dillon has struggled at times this season, but he’s coming off his most impressive game yet. Dillon earned 87 yards against a tough Chiefs defense. This is the time of year when Dillon typically finds success, the colder the weather the better for the 250-pound back. This week he’ll take on the Giants’ 23rd-ranked run defense. New York allows the third-most yards and fifth-most points to opposing backs. Start Dillon if Jones remains out in Week 14.
Finding No. 2: The sketchy RB spot of the week belongs to D’Andre Swift
He’s coming off his worst performance since Week 1, when he saw just two touches for three yards. Swift was held to just three fantasy points in a brutal matchup against the 49ers in Week 13. His eight total touches mark the first time he was under 15 touches in a game since he’s been the Eagles starter.
Swift saw his snaps drop to 42% in Week 13, as Kenneth Gainwell was more involved. You can blame some of this on the blowout, but even on the final drive of the game Jalen Hurts and the rest of the starters were still on the field. This was a concerning day for Swift and it may only get worse this week.
Swift takes on the Cowboys’ No. 8-ranked run defense. In Week 9 against Dallas, Swift averaged just 2.4 yards per carry on his way to an 8.40-point fantasy day. He struggled despite earning 20 touches in this game and now there’s some concern surrounding his role. Consider other options this week if you can.
Finding No. 3: Roschon Johnson is the pickup-and-play of the week
He’s coming off his bye week but let’s remember what happened the last time we saw Johnson. In Week 12 against the Vikings, the rookie saw career-high usage, playing on 76% of the snaps and handling 15 opportunities. The important piece to call out is Khalil Herbert was active and this game wasn’t a blowout.
Johnson took control of this backfield and he continued to be efficient, averaging five yards per touch. Johnson now ranks top 20 in fantasy points per opportunity this season. He’s available in 73% of Yahoo leagues and will face the Lions this week. Detroit is a difficult matchup for RBs, but Johnson’s pass-catching ability keeps him FLEX-worthy. He’ll have a matchup against the Cardinals’ last-ranked run defense in the fantasy playoffs. Add him.
Finding No. 4: Zack Moss is trending up
Last week we told you we were believers in Zack Moss as a league-winner the rest of the season. In Week 13, he didn’t quite have a league-winning box score, but we got the usage we were hoping for. Moss handled 100% of the backfield carries leading to 21 total touches for 57 yards.
The final stats were not great but the Titans clearly remember what Moss did to them earlier in the season. In Week 5, Moss posted 195 scrimmage yards and two touchdowns against Tennessee. They responded in Week 13 by often placing an extra man in the box.
Moss is trending up due to his elite usage and recent reports that Jonathan Taylor will likely miss three-to-five weeks. This means there’s an increased chance Moss will be a starter for you through the fantasy playoffs. Expect a better performance against the Bengals in Week 14.
Finding No. 5: Devin Singletary is trending down
He had one of the best roles in football from Week 9 to 11, during which Singletary played 81% of the Texans’ snaps and handled 23.7 opportunities per game. He ranked top three in running back usage. His strong snap share continued into Week 12, even with Dameon Pierce returning from injury.
But in Week 13, Singletary’s usage trended down. He played just 44% of the snaps, his lowest share since Week 5. This led to a forgettable nine-touch day for 40 scoreless yards. Singletary has a brutal remaining schedule against the Jets, Browns and Titans twice. This is the fourth-worst playoff schedule for RBs. Singletary is likely best suited on your bench with Pierce more involved.
Finding No. 6: Monitor the Joe Flacco-to-Elijah Moore connection
Moore played with Flacco for seven games during his two-year career with the Jets. During this time, Moore averaged 12 fantasy points on seven targets per game, which was 62% more production than he had with any other QB during his time with the Jets.
In Week 13, Moore was reunited with Flacco and their connection was evident right away. Moore earned a season-high 12 targets and 83 yards. His 28% target share was his highest since Week 1, and Moore led the entire NFL in downfield usage in Week 13.
Amari Cooper left in Week 13 with a concussion, and is currently in the concussion protocol, so expect Moore’s strong usage to continue if Flacco draws the start in Week 14 against the Jaguars.
Finding No. 7: Saints’ starting QB is a strong streamer for the rest of the year
Derek Carr suffered multiple injuries in Week 13. The official report is Carr hurt his head, back and shoulder. He was unable to finish the game and his status moving forward is in doubt.
Jameis Winston entered the game once Carr was injured and took five dropbacks. Taysom Hill was also involved throughout and took two dropbacks. Whoever ends up starting for the Saints down the stretch (likely Winston, but you never know) is worth adding and playing. The Saints will face the Panthers, Giants, Rams and Bucs to end the fantasy season. This is a top-10 remaining QB schedule and whoever starts for New Orleans has a real shot to be a top-10 option the rest of the season.
Finding No. 8: Parker Washington is a new rookie to know
Washington is a sixth-round rookie out of Penn State. He earned 21% of Penn State’s targets during his three-year career in Happy Valley. In Week 13, Washington saw by far his most usage of the season.
He entered this game with just one total route run this year. In Week 13, Washington ran 34 routes and earned six targets. He caught 100% of his targets for 61 yards and a score, benefitting from Christian Kirk leaving with an injury early in the game. Trevor Lawrence also left this game with an injury. The future upside for Washington would rely on Kirk missing time – he’s already been placed on IR — and, ideally, Lawrence playing. Based on what he showed in Week 13, Washington is worth adding in all league formats as we wait to see how the injury situations play out.
Finding No. 9: We have lift off with Rashee Rice
Last week we discussed how Rice was trending up. This was after he posted a season-high 32% target share and had his first 100-yard game of his career. But we still had some questions. Can Rice keep this production up for multiple weeks in a row? What would happen once Kadarius Toney returned?
We got the answers we needed in Week 13. Rice continued his strong role, earning 30% of the Chiefs’ targets against the Packers. This led to a solid eight-catch day for 64 yards. More importantly, Patrick Mahomes trusted Rice in some key situations late in the game. Rice is a must-start moving forward and he has a great rest-of-season schedule. Rice will face four bottom-10 secondaries to close out the season.
Finding No. 10: Jonathan Mingo is having a quietly strong month
Mingo is the Panthers’ second-round pick out of Ole Miss. The Panthers were high on Mingo last offseason and actually had a first-round grade on him. Mingo has struggled to produce in the league’s worst offense. He has just three games over 10 fantasy points this season. However, he’s been quietly earning more usage in the past month.
Over the last four games, Mingo leads the Panthers with a 27% target share. He’s earning more targets than Adam Thielen during this time and has back-to-back games of eight-plus fantasy points. This offense is difficult to like, but Bryce Young and Mingo should only get better with more experience. In deeper leagues, Mingo is worth adding for the final month of the season.