Fantasy Football Believe It or Not: Garrett Wilson and D’Andre Swift star, Derrick Henry struggles again

We’ve reached the time of year, with only one week left in most Fantasy leagues’ regular season, when it’s time to take a look ahead to the playoffs, and beyond. To the playoffs for those of you lucky enough to be heading there, beyond for those of you who are not. By the way, if you’re reading this and you’re already eliminated from this year’s playoffs, thank you. You the real MVP.

For the rest of you, let’s take a look at what Week 13 results may have changed our expectations for the final month of the season, maybe longer.

Derrick Henry’s league-winning upside is gone, for good

The Case: Henry just posted his second game in a row below 40 rushing yards and his third in his last four below 60 rushing yards. This is the first time he’s been held below 40 rushing yards in consecutive games since October of 2018. Over the last month, he’s averaging 2.77 yards per carry and none of the defenses he’s faced have been particularly great against the run this season.

He’s less than a month away from turning 29 years old and so it’s really hard to believe he has another monster finish to the coming season. It’s even harder to believe he’ll bounce back to elite production in 2023 at 29 years old with more than 1,800 touches on his resume.

The Verdict: Don’t believe it

Henry faces the Jaguars, Chargers, and Texans in his next three games. As bad as things have been lately, I’d expect monster performances in at least two of those games, maybe three. If you want another reason for optimism, it’s that Henry has added nine catches for 136 yards over his past four games. He’s not as one dimensional as he used to be, which bolsters his floor and his ceiling.

Garrett Wilson will be the best WR in his class

The Case: We’ve made a lot about how good Garret Wilson has been without Zach Wilson. He now has 32 catches for 471 yards and four touchdowns in five games with anyone else playing quarterback. What I’m not sure we’ve talked about enough is that he’s put up those numbers with Joe Flacco and Mike White at quarterback. Things are far more likely to be more favorable than less in 2023 and beyond.

The Verdict: Believe it

His 20.4 PPR FPPG would rank seventh among all receivers this year. It’s possible if Zach Wilson never started a game we’d be talking about Garrett Wilson in the same class as Ja’Marr Chase and Justin Jefferson.

This one is easier for me because I had Wilson at the top of the class back in April, so I may have some confirmation bias at work. But we’re talking about a top-10 pick who has made Elijah Moore all but irrelevant and has earned double-digit targets in three of his first 12 games as a pro. If he’s not the best receiver in this class, then this class was very underrated.

The Lions are legitimately a tough matchup for RBs

The Case: All week last week I referenced that the Lions hadn’t given up more than 9.9 PPR Fantasy points to a running back since Week 7. I referenced it but mostly ignored it when ranking Travis Etienne in the top 12. Etienne scored 9.6 PPR Fantasy points in Week 13 and the streak lives on. That’s now Aaron Jones, David Montgomery, Saquon Barkley, and Travis Etienne (amongst others) all held to single-digit production. Avoid them if you can.

The Verdict: Believe it

It’s probably not enough to consider benching Dalvin Cook, although Cook hasn’t had a 100-yard game since Week 10 and only has two since Week 5. Still, with six teams on a bye, I’m assuming most of you will start Cook. In the Fantasy playoffs it gets far more interesting. The Lions face the Jets (Zonovan Knight), the Panthers (D’Onta Foreman), and the Bears (David Montgomery) in Weeks 15 through 17. I wouldn’t consider any of them must-start options, or even good starts at this point.

D’Andre Swift is back as a must-start RB

The Case: Swift tied his season-high with 18 touches in Week 13 and turned them into 111 yards, a touchdown, and 21.1 PPR Fantasy points. He appears to be 100% healthy for the first time since Week 1 and Dan Campbell responded by playing Swift more than half of the snaps in a game for the first time since Week 8.

The Verdict: Believe it

Health and playing time were the only concerns for Swift, for as long as he stays healthy, he’s a must-start back. That’s especially true this week against a Vikings team that provides a near-perfect matchup for him. They’ve been really good against the run this season and poor against pass-catching backs. Don’t be surprised if Swift plays an even larger share of the snaps in Week 14 and Jamaal Williams gets left out in the cold. For the first time in more than a month, I would rather start Swift than Williams this week.

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