Disaster Recovery Week 13 - Studs Turned Duds

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Welcome to Disaster Recovery, where each week I'll examine why your studs played like duds. This isn't a place to find out why you should have benched a player for somebody on your bench. Disaster Recovery is to examine the guys who you didn't think twice about benching, and deciding if you should be panicking at all about their value moving forward.

The players covered in this column will usually have to be in the RotoBaller top-10 at their respective positions, but it may vary depending on the status of the players each week.

Like last week, Week 13 saw many players produce close to expectations. I chose not to include either of the notable tight end duds this week: Zach Ertz was left out due to an injury, and Jared Cook was left out because, I'll just be honest, I'm unable to analyze Cook fairly due how often he broke my heart during his time with the Rams.

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Week 13 Duds

Brandin Cooks (WR, NE) (#7 WR)

What Happened: Cooks caught two of his three targets for 17 yards in a win against the Bills

How Did It Happen: I've mentioned this in the past whenever Cooks or Rob Gronkowski appear in this column, but the Patriots have a ton of mouths to feed on offense, and the occasional dud is bound to happen. This week Dion Lewis and Rex Burkhead dominated on the ground while Gronk had 147 of the teams 258 receiving yards. Cooks got lost in the shuffle in what was his worst fantasy performance of the season.

Panic Meter: Low. Cooks has had at least 65 yards in six of the Patriots last eight games this season and had scored in the previous two games entering Week 13. With Gronk suspended and unlikely to win an appeal, Cooks could be in line for a massive Week 14 performance. He remains a must start.

 

Jordan Howard (RB, CHI) (#8 RB)

What Happened: Howard squandered what should have been a great matchup, rushing 13 times for 38 yards and catching one pass that went for negative yardage in a loss to the 49ers.

How Did It Happen: Time of possession, believe it or not. San Francisco dominated the ball all game. Chicago was only able to run 36 plays. To put that in perspective, the Bears average 57.2 plays per game, which is the second lowest in the league. Even last week when the Eagles dominated TOP and ran 73 plays, the same as San Francisco ran this week, the Bears were able to run 49 plays. This was an abysmal all-around output by the Chicago offense.

Panic Meter: Medium. Two straight weeks of duds for Howard is a concern for owners expecting big things from him in the playoffs. Still, the last time the Bears were able to make TOP an even playing field, Howard ran for 125 yards and a touchdown in Week 11 against the Lions. Howard faces off against a Cincinnati defense that gave up 95 yards to Isaiah Crowell in Week 12. If you've been relying on Howard all season, I wouldn't shy away from him just yet.

 

Julio Jones (WR, ATL) (#2 WR)

What Happened: Julio Jones returns to the duds once again, catching two of his six targets for just 24 yards.

How Did It Happen: Just one week after bullying Tampa Bay for 253 yards and two touchdowns, Jones was unable to find a connection with Matt Ryan this week and was bottled up by a very good Vikings secondary.

Panic Meter: Medium. In a season full of ups and downs for Julio Jones, having his worst game of the year in Week 13 likely ended a lot of fantasy seasons. Jones owners should move forward like they have the entire season up to this point: prepare for the worst, but hope for the best. Jones has too much upside to be removed from any playoff lineups and did have a fairly high floor up until last week. He has to be plugged in.

 

Mike Evans (WR, TB) (#4 WR)

What Happened: Evans was held to just two catches for 33 yards in Jameis Winston's first game back.

How Did It Happen: Just as we all expected, Tampa Bay ran their offense through Peyton Barber, and Cameron Brate caught both of the teams touchdowns. Barber led all receivers with 41 yards while 10 different Buccaneers caught passes against Green Bay. There wasn't room for Evans to dominate.

Panic Meter: High. Similar to Julio, Week 13 was the icing on the cake for a frustrating season from Mike Evans. The only difference is Jones has flashed why he was a consensus top five player entering the season while Evans, who was a first round pick in most leagues, hasn't had over 100 yards in a game this season and hasn't scored since Week 7. Since Week 8, Evans ranks 45th in PPR scoring and is actually worse in standard. Part of this is due to Winston being out, Winston played in his two worst games during this stretch.

Evans owners have a tough choice to make. I understand if you want to stand by Evans. Few players have the week-to-week upside based on talent that he has, and the Winston/Evans connection may find new life against a shaky Detroit defense. In deeper leagues, the waiver wire is likely barren at receiver, and nobody is able to fill his shoes.

But for Evans owners who are skeptical about Evans moving forward, it is completely acceptable to bench the guy. Here are a couple players ranked above Evans over the past six weeks: Jeremy Maclin, Zay Jones, and Brandon LaFell. Evans shouldn't even sniff the top 10 rankings moving forward. It is hard to trust him down the stretch.

 

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