Fantasy News & Analysis

Immediate fantasy football takeaways from NFL Week 13 Thursday Night Football

Arlington, Texas, USA; Dallas Cowboys running back Ezekiel Elliott (21) is congratulated after scoring a touchdown against the Las Vegas Raiders during the second quarter at AT&T Stadium. Mandatory Credit: Jerome Miron-USA TODAY Sports

The Dallas Cowboys defeated the New Orleans Saints 27-17 to kick off Week 13. Dallas came down with several amazing catches, including a key touchdown and interception, which was enough to overcome head coach Mike McCarthy's absence. The Saints were at a disadvantage without Alvin Kamara.

PFF's fantasy football recap focuses on player usage and stats, breaking down all the vital information you need to achieve fantasy success in 2021.

Table Notes
  • Snaps include plays called back due to penalties like offensive holding or defensive pass interference. The other three stats have these plays removed.
  • Targets may differ from official NFL sources. The most likely discrepancy would be from a clear thrown away pass, where the NFL may give the target to the nearest receiver, while this data will not.
  • Carries are only on designed plays. Quarterback scrambles won’t count for the total number of carries in the game.
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Dallas Cowboys at New Orleans Saints

  • CeeDee Lamb: 7 receptions, 89 yards, (3 avoided tackles); 1 carry, 33 rushing yards
  • Tony Pollard: 7 carries, 71 yards, (61 YAC), 1 TD; 2 receptions, 3 receiving yards
Dallas Cowboys Snaps Routes Run Targets Carries
Michael Gallup 64 41 8 0
CeeDee Lamb 62 40 12 1
Amari Cooper 24 21 2 0
Malik Turner 18 11 1 0
Noah Brown 12 4 3 0
Simi Fehoko 3 0 0 0
Dalton Schultz 67 32 5 0
Sean McKeon 19 5 0 0
Jeremy Sprinkle 7 1 0 0
Ezekiel Elliott 45 22 3 13
Tony Pollard 28 13 3 7
Total 70 42 37 24


New Orleans Saints Snaps Routes Run Targets Carries
Marquez Callaway 48 30 4 0
Tre'Quan Smith 47 36 7 0
Ty Montgomery 36 24 6 4
Lil'Jordan Humphrey 30 24 2 0
Deonte Harris 28 23 8 1
Kenny Stills 11 9 4 0
Nick Vannett 42 16 4 0
Garrett Griffin 32 4 1 0
Juwan Johnson 24 21 1 0
Mark Ingram II 30 10 1 10
Total 70 47 38 22

Return of Amari Cooper: Cooper had missed the previous two weeks while on the Covid-19 list. Reports were mixed throughout the week on how much he would play tonight, as he reportedly didn’t have the same conditioning he had before contracting the virus. This left him to play a backup role, typically only playing on third downs and two-minute drills. He caught two passes for 41 yards. Dallas has extended time off before their next game, which will hopefully be enough time for Cooper to get closer to 100%.

Return of Mark Ingram II: Ingram returned to the Saints lineup after missing Week 12 with a knee injury. The Saints used Tony Jones Jr. as their early-down back and receiver-turned-running-back Ty Montgomery as their late down-back a week ago. New Orleans utilized a similar strategy this week, only Ingram played in place of Jones, who was a healthy scratch. The veteran running back was limited to 28 yards on 10 carries against the Cowboys' strong run defense. If Kamara misses another week, Ingram should have much more success against the Jets run defense both due to the game script and quality of defense.

Monitor the health of Ezekiel Elliott: Elliott’s health was a constant topic of discussion throughout the week — there were reports Dallas would limit his workload tonight, while team owner Jerry Jones said that his star back would shoulder a “serious” load. The Cowboys used him exactly the same way they have in recent games, leaning on him from the start but often leaving snaps for Tony Pollard. Elliott gained only 45 yards on 13 carries in this game, which probably had as much to do with the Saints' defense as it did with his health. He can be safely trusted next week bearing bad news with his injury.

Drop Marquez Callaway: The Saints have shifted to using a rotation at wide receiver rather than Callaway being the clear top player.  This allowed Deonte Harris and Lil’Jordan Humphrey to lead the Saints in receiving and to score their only touchdowns. Callaway caught his only pass with three minutes left of the game. He’s spent one week as a top-20 fantasy wide receiver, and that was back in Week 5.


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