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Truths and Lies - Week 13

By Steve Schwarz | 11/29/23

It’s the final push to reach the playoffs. Two more weeks before the playoffs begin. Two more bye weeks, though next week has just two teams off – Arizona and Washington. If you are securely in the post-season, you should be planning for it now… not after Week 14. If you are fighting for that final spot, give it everything you have. If you are out of it, please, please, please, continue to send in your lineups. Nothing is worse for a league’s integrity than a “ghosting” owner.

Byes: Baltimore, Carolina, Chicago, Las Vegas, Minnesota, New York Giants


“The only thing I can cheer for in Philadelphia is the national anthem.” – Bill Belichick

1) Starting Kyler Murray on the road is a successful strategy.

Fact. Since the beginning of 2021, Murray has played 15 home games and he’s averaged 22.6 fantasy points, but when he’s away from State Farm Stadium, he’s averaging 26.9 over a dozen games. On the road he’s failed to crack 20 points just once and produced over 30 points three times. He’s in Pittsburgh this weekend and will play three of his next four games on the road, including the fantasy semi-finals (@ Chicago) and finals (@ Philadelphia). Since returning from injury, he ranks eighth among quarterbacks at 23.8 FPts/G.

 Kyler Murray
  Home Away
2023 22.4 25.8
2022 21.2 26.7
2021 23.9 27.2

2) Dak Prescott’s hot streak should continue through your playoffs.

Prescott ranks No.1 over the past five weeks (31.8 FPts/G) and leads his nearest competitor and rival Jalen Hurts by three points-a-game over that span. Over his final five fantasy games he won’t face any top-12 defense (based on fantasy points allowed to opposing QBs) and will face two of the six worst teams (Philadelphia and Detroit).

Rachaad White

3) Since Week 7, Rachaad White has been a top-five running back.

Surprisingly true. Nothing about his game grabs your attention, but he’s been a balanced contributor both rushing and receiving. He ranks 23rd in rushing yards (227), second in receptions (25), first in receiving yards (256) and sixth in touchdowns (4). For the entire season he ranks 11th (15.0 FPts/G) after finishing 45th last season at 9.1 FPts/G.

4) Over the past five weeks, none of these running backs are even an RB3: Kenneth Walker, Alexander Mattison, James Conner, Miles Sanders and Zack Moss

Fact. Of this quintet, Walker has produced the most points averaging 9.2 FPts/G, which ranks 37th, but that’s a far cry from the way he started the year (18.3 FPts/G through Week 6). Three of Walker’s last four games are single-digit production. Then there is the peculiar Moss story; he was a top-five running back through his first five games (20.3 FPts/G), but after Jonathan Taylor signed a big extension and returned to the field, Moss has quickly disappeared into an insurance “handcuff” role only which he’s about to payoff now that Taylor will be out a couple weeks with a thumb injury.

5) Mike Evans is so strong, he’s managing to erase Baker Mayfield’s history of failing to ever support a top-10 receiver.

Jarvis Landry never did it with Makefield nor did Odell Beckham Jr. But to date, this is true. Over the first five years of his career (four in Cleveland and last year with Carolina and the Rams), no Mayfield receiver has finished as a top-10 fantasy receiver. Through Week 12, however, Evans is ranked eighth in total fantasy points (193.0) and ninth in fantasy points per game (17.5). For Evans, who is on his way to his 10th consecutive 1,000-yard season, this might be his greatest accomplishment!


“It is possible to store the mind with a million facts and still be entirely uneducated.” – Alec Bourne

1) Since Week 7, Travis Kelce is still the best fantasy tight end.

False. In fact, Kelce ranks third at 17.4 FPts/G trailing both George Kittle (20.1) and T.J. Hockenson (18.8). For the season, Kelce is still top dog (17.3 FPts/G), but the gap of 1.6 fantasy points back to No.2 Hockenson is shrinking. As Kelce ages (or gets distracted), the next generation of elite tight ends (Hockenson, Sam LaPorta, Cole Kmet and Dalton Kincaid) could catch him.

2) Falcons’ tight end Kyle Pitts still has a chance to be included in the above “next generation.”

The Magic Eight-Ball says “highly unlikely.” From the promise of his rookie season in 2021 with veteran Matt Ryan under center (68-1,026-1) his production has fallen 24%. His targets have dropped from 6.5 his first year to 5.4 this season with a pair on mediocre-at-best quarterbacks targeting him (Desmond Ridder and Taylor Heinicke). Ridder has been the starter the last two games and Pitts has seen a total of seven targets. He’s scored just once this season. The offense will be centered on running back Bijan Robinson at least until Atlanta management figures out how to bring in a real franchise quarterback.

3) Justin Tucker is the most accurate kicker in history.

False… at least for this week. After his missed field goal Sunday night. Tucker’s accuracy “fell” to 89.929% (384-of-427) which puts him just behind Younghoe Koo for the most accurate kicker among those with at least 100 attempts. Koo is hitting 90.0% (144-of-160). Koo is also more accurate at 50 yards-or-more hitting 82.1% versus 68.2% for Tucker. Of course, Tucker kicks mainly in the cold and wind of the AFC North while Koo plays more than half his games indoors.

4) The 49ers’ Christian McCaffrey is injury-prone.

I don’t want to jinx him, but I think we can take that moniker and throw it in the dumpster. He played every game for his first three seasons, had two injury-filled years and has now played in 28 consecutive games without missing one. Those who have been stashing Elijah Mitchell or taking a flyer on Jordan Mason have wasted a spot on their roster. CMC isn’t producing quite as much as he did in 2019 and 2020 in Carolina, but that is because the San Francisco roster is filled with talented skill-position players and he doesn’t need to do everything on every play. Having Deebo Samuel, Brandon Aiyuk and George Kittle alongside has definitely helped keep him healthy. From 2018-2021 he averaged 22.4 touches per game, but in the last season-and-a-half he’s down to 20.3 touches and unless the 49ers are fighting Philadelphia for the top-seed and the first-round playoff bye, they will likely ease his workload down the stretch.

5) The resurgence of Trevor Lawrence over the past two games has not been the reason for Travis Etienne’s drop in production.

I’m leaning to false. I believe Lawrence’s big games the last two weeks has been a drain on Etienne. The primary reason is he’s rush for three touchdowns (from 1-, 5- and 9-yards out) the past two weeks, scores which Etienne was getting earlier in the season. Etienne had seven rushing touchdowns over the first eight games, but none in the last two (I’m throwing out the San Francisco debacle as an outlier for both).