Regardless of how you did in Week 12, I think we should simply be grateful they were even able to play after the number of hiccups and positive tests that were coming all throughout the week. As we always do, we’ll take a look at three players who saw major movement in their salary ahead of Week 13 and dive into their matchup.
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Derrick Henry ($9,200), Tennessee Titans vs. Cleveland Browns
Week 12 Salary: $7,900 ($1,300 increase)
It was only a matter of time before a massive jump in salary was put on Henry and Week 13 is where it happens. After his third-straight week of 100-plus rushing yards, Henry sees one of the biggest increases and is one of three players priced in the $9K range, joining Dalvin Cook ($9,500) and Davante Adams ($9,000). For a guy who doesn’t catch many passes (he did have four targets last week), his 26.5 DKFP average over the last three weeks is quite impressive.
Week 13 brings a matchup against a Browns team that’s been solid against the run, having allowed teams to go over 100 rushing yards only three times this season and holding them out of the end zone in four-straight games prior to James Robinson’s ($7,300) touchdown on Sunday. With that said, Henry is essentially matchup proof and his 3.65 yards after contact per attempt is the second-best average in the league behind Ronald Jones (what!?) at 3.7. It’ll be interesting to see where ownership projections land for Henry, as Cook is also in a really strong matchup against a poor Jags run defense and is only $300 more expensive. This will be something to keep an eye on as Sunday draws near.
Austin Ekeler ($7,100), Los Angeles Chargers vs. New England Patriots
Week 12 Salary: $6,100 ($1,000 increase)
Many of us, myself included, thought Ekeler would be eased back into action in Week 12 against the Bills. This is a player who hadn’t seen the field since Week 4 and was coming off a significant hamstring injury. Then again, playing on a team that essentially put out a hit on Tyrod Taylor (kidding, kind of), it shouldn’t have been a surprise to see him playing his normal number of snaps. Ekeler was on the field for 72.3% of the offensive snaps, which was above with his 65.3% average through Weeks 1-3. The team being down Kalen Ballage ($4,000) played a factor for sure, but Justin Herbert ($6,900) had no qualms about utilizing Ekeler, who accounted for 45.5% of the team’s touches.
The matchup in Week 13 is a tricky one against the Patriots. Naturally, CB Stephon Gilmore will be shadowing Kennan Allen ($8,100), which would make us think Ekeler could be in line for more checkdowns. On the contrary, the Patriots pass rush has been nearly nonexistent this season, which should allow Herbert plenty of clean pockets to work with. The Pats run defense has hovered around league average and when Ekeler has been active, he’s seen at least 12 carries per game.
In all, I don’t love this spot for Ekeler and, if Ballage is active, that is an element we haven’t seen yet this season, as he joined the team back in Week 9. It’s unclear how the workload will be distributed, putting Ekeler in a potential tough spot salary wise at $7.1K. I look at some of the players in the same range like Miles Sanders ($6,700), Alvin Kamara ($7,000) and Aaron Jones ($7,200), and it makes it hard to love Ekeler in Week 13.
Alvin Kamara ($7,000), New Orleans Saints at Atlanta Falcons
Week 12 Salary: $8,200 ($1,200 decrease)
Speaking of Kamara, he saw one of the biggest drops in salary in Week 13, falling all the way down to $7K. This is the lowest we’ve seen him since Week 1 when the Saints played the Buccaneers. Kamara hit pay dirt twice in that contest, which saved a potentially bad start to the season, as he racked up only 67 scrimmage yards. Since then, he’s mostly hovered in the $8K range. However, after one of the oddest games in recent history against the quarterback-less Broncos, Kamara scored only 6.2 DKFP, thanks to his 52 scrimmage yards.
The problem with Kamara is the quarterback change. Taysom Hill ($6,300) is selfish and is running the ball a ton himself, logging 20 rushes in his two starts. He’s only targeted Kamara three times in those games, which have gone for a total of -2 yards. For someone who saw no less than a 16% target share with Drew Brees on the field, the 9.3% share the last two weeks is not helpful.
The Saints haven’t completely suffocated Kamara in this time, as he’s logged back-to-back games with double-digit carries, but Hill and Latavius Murray ($5,900) are handling the majority of them in the red zone. Over the past two weeks the red zone carries have gone as follows:
Taysom Hill: 7
Latavius Murray: 7
Alvin Kamara: 4
Not great. Not great at all. While this is the cheapest we’ve seen Kamara and the upside he brings is immense, it’s hard to get excited about him at this juncture, especially against a good run defense this week.
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