Week 13 Fantasy Football Stats Notebook: How high can Isiah Pacheco climb up rankings?

Isiah Pacheco had five more red-zone touches (12) than any other running back last week. While he doesn’t have an ideal passing-down role, a back with scoring-area equity in the Chiefs offense is pretty valuable in fantasy football.

Pacheco hasn’t been a perfect player. He took quite some time to finally punch in a touchdown on all those scoring chances last week. However, he’s given the Chiefs some pop as a rusher all season and has been steady since the tide really turned his way.

The Chiefs handed over the early down work to Pacheco in Week 10. He’s fourth in the NFL in rushing during that span.

Kansas City has really struggled to mount a power-rushing game to complement Patrick Mahomes and co. during their last couple of postseason runs. We can’t be too sure Pacheco is going to be that missing dimension just yet but, he’s shown some signs.

Pacheco and the Chiefs running game will get a good test in Week 13. The real fireworks of this Bengals vs. Chiefs matchup will come from the passing games but the run game can help fill in the gaps. It won’t be easy. The Bengals defense has been an excellent run-stop unit when one key defensive piece has been available:

That, along with a neutral or negative game script makes Pacheco a razor-thin margin-for-error play in fantasy. You can still chase a touchdown with him in a likely high-scoring game. The floor is just a bit dicier.

However, if the Chiefs can establish a run game against this defense, then we might need to bump Pacheco up a little further. The same thing holds true in the passing game. I loved the 17-yard catch-and-run route they designed for him last week. With Jerick McKinnon missing practice this week, perhaps we see Pacheco get a few more reps in the receiving game.

We have a close eye on the Chiefs offense at all times. Pacheco is one of the more fascinating figures to track right now. We know he has some game and can help this team. That’s been established. Now, we want to see just how high he can climb.

The Giants rank bottom-12 in point differential the last 3 weeks

It feels as if the Giants are starting to come back to earth. They are one of the most well-coached outfits in the NFL but there’s no question the roster and particularly the offense lacks talent.

Saquon Barkley has averaged 2.4 yards per carry and 2.4 yards per target over the last two weeks. Everyone knows he’s the one guy you have to worry about in New York. Defenses come in with a plan to slow him down and guys are swarming him on film as soon he touches the ball.

Washington is set up well to make it another slow outing for Barkley. The Commanders rank fourth in EPA per play allowed since Week 9. All their talent on that side of the ball is really coming together.

If the Giants slip for another game, it might be time to reconsider their status as playoff contenders.

Treylon Burks has run a route on 75% of the dropbacks since Week 10

The rookie wideout has played quite well since coming off IR. Treylon Burks owns a 21 percent target share and has primarily been getting vertical looks at 14.6 air yards per target. All of that has resulted in 14 catches for 205 yards.

Burks was on a slow burn early in the year as he was learning how to play outside. It appears his time away from the field was spent studying the craft at the position. He looks like a fully trusted player right now.

Treylon Burks #16 of the Tennessee Titans has fantasy potential
Treylon Burks has been making his presence felt in both fantasy and reality of late. (Photo by Silas Walker/Getty Images)

Burks really only excels on go routes and crossers but he’s at a near-exceptional level on those patterns. There’s so much playmaking opportunity here. Fellow rookie Christian Watson is a similarly limited application player at this point but he still got home against the Eagles team the Titans will face in Week 13. Burks isn’t completely in the fantasy circle of trust yet but he’s on the rise.

Washington ranks 32nd in neutral pass rate since Week 10

All of the target share numbers look great for Terry McLaurin since Taylor Heinicke took over. The spunky backup does give his star receiver the chances he deserves. The problem right now is that the team isn’t throwing the ball at a high enough clip for it to translate to big numbers.

It’s hard to blame the Commanders because right now, that formula is working for the team.

Rookie running back Brian Robinson is coming off his best game as a pro. He ripped off 105 yards on 18 carries and even added 20 yards and a score on two catches.

Robinson could be in for another big workload on Sunday with Antonio Gibson missing practice late this week. Gibson has handled 33% of the team carries since Week 10 and has been an active pass-catcher. Robinson will be set to inherit most of those duties.

The Chargers have allowed season-high rush yards to every opposing RB since Week 6

Shoutout to my guy Dalton Del Don on the Yahoo Fantasy Football Forecast for highlighting this one.

The Chargers are a nightmare of a run defense for yet another season. LA gives up the most yards per carry of any stop unit in the NFL.

Josh Jacobs is coming off a 300-yard game. So, yes, you could say this is a mismatch for the Chargers as they prepare to take on the Raiders.

Jacobs has been limited in practice this week with a calf injury. This is the same issue that put him in doubt last week and almost caused him to get yanked from the game. Again, a game that he went on to post over 300 yards from scrimmage.

As long as Jacobs is out there, few running backs have better Week 13 matchups. If he sits, rookie rusher Zamir White is the presumed backup. White would obviously get to run against this cakewalk defense but the reason the Raiders run game has been so good is because of Jacobs. He’s the engine, not the ecosystem. Let’s hope we get to see the white-hot Jacobs run against this defense.

The Texans have been run on 378 times this year, the most in the NFL

One running back who might have a better matchup than Josh Jacobs: Nick Chubb. All the headlines will be about Deshaun Watson’s return to football but it’s his teammate that’s set for a complete smash spot.

Chubb has gone over 100 yards in six games this season but has cleared it just twice in the last four weeks. He has a great chance to hit the century mark again in this matchup.

Tyler Lockett has 38 more yards and two more TDs than DK Metcalf on 19 fewer targets

If this is a surprising result to you, it shouldn’t be. There is a very simple explanation for this phenomenon: Tyler Lockett is at the very least just as good of a wide receiver as DK Metcalf. And that’s not even close to a slight on Metcalf.

Lockett is the most underrated receiver in football.

There was a big gap between Lockett and Metcalf in the pre-draft rankings this summer. That was unjustifiable back then but it’s continued during the season. That gap is still present in the weekly rankings and there is no reason for it, other than wide receiver size bias.

The Seahawks receivers should be treated the same as the Bengals. This is a 1A-1B duo and there should not be much of a gap — if even a gap at all between them.

The Lions have the most yards to slot players (655) since Week 10

Christian Kirk went quiet while Zay Jones enjoyed a career day last week. The pendulum should swing back to the Jaguars' top receiver this week.

The Lions have come a long way in improving their defense from the product they rolled out earlier in the season. Their run defense has been a rock-solid unit of late, notably shutting down Saquon Barkley a few weeks back.

However, their slot coverage is still a big problem. Kirk has run 76% of his snaps from the slot since Week 9. As long as Zay and Marvin Jones are out there, Kirk can stay in his optimal position. He’ll benefit from this nice matchup in Week 13. Kirk ranks as a top-12 receiver for me this week.

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