What We Saw: Week 13

The What We Saw team recaps Week 13 of the NFL season from a fantasy perspective

Denver Broncos @ Houston Texans

Final Score: Texans 22, Broncos 17

Writer: Jason Wolf (J_Wolf_Picks on Twitter)


In a week where the Houston Texans were short on offensive pieces as receiving weapon Dalton Schultz was inactive, early in the game bad luck struck the Texans as ultra-impressive rookie WR Tank Dell picked up a bad injury in the first quarter that forced him out of the game. Even though Houston QB CJ Stroud was down multiple of his most familiar weapons, he pushed the ball downfield with regular success, and Denver Broncos QB Russell Wilson, despite a slow start in the first half, did the best he did to play keep up but Stroud and the Texans prevailed in a game where defense trumped offense much of the afternoon. Both QB’s combined to take eight sacks and fought through pressure most of the day but ultimately Stroud played (mostly) mistake-free football while Russell Wilson threw three interceptions and couldn’t convert when it mattered most.

Four Up

  • Nico Collins – Collins hung an absurd 9/191/1 stat-line on the Broncos defense who had been playing (up until today) elite football. Now with WR Tank Dell likely out for the near future, Collins will be relied upon more than ever, just as he was in this game where he abused the Denver defense all afternoon.
  • Dameon Pierce – Not that he looked better than backfield mate Devin Singletary (he did not) but he does seem to have the lead back role on the offense locked up now that he’s seemingly “back to full health.” As long as he is getting the bulk of the carries in this offense and most importantly the red zone carries, his value is on the upswing.
  • Russell Wilson– Though his numbers won’t look very pretty in the box score, Russ Wilson passed the eye test for the majority of the game While the first half was a slog for the Broncos offense (their offense was out-gained by Nico Collins in the 1H), Russ started cooking in the second half, often hitting his receivers in stride on well-timed balls and showed impressive mobility all day. Wilson looks spry and healthy for the home stretch, and he should find better days ahead with one of the friendliest schedules remaining for any QB.
  • Brevin Jordan – The Texans TE hasn’t been on the map all that much throughout the year but with TE Dalton Schultz and WR Noah Brown inactive in this one, Brevin Jordan saw season-high volume and production. His production is set to go up so far as offensive pieces Dell, Schultz, and Brown are missing time.

Two Down

  • Devin Singletary -With the return of Dameon Pierce, Singletary’s once prominent role has clearly been diminished with the original lead back in the fold. Though Singletary did look to be fresher and more effective with his touches, the coaches are clearly committed to rocking with Pierce for now.
  • Javonte Williams – Even when he gets the touches and opportunities to make plays, Javonte Williams is consistently underwhelming. Whether its due to injuries robbing him of explosiveness or the Broncos offensive line struggling in run blocking (porque no los dos?), Javonte’s production and effectiveness has not been where most expected it to be this season. Particularly disappointing given the resurgence of Denver’s defense.


Denver Broncos




Russell Wilson: 15/26, 186 Yards, TD, 3 INT | 10 Carries, 44 Yards, TD

Russell Wilson was under duress early and often as the Broncos’ offense slogged their way through nearly three full quarters before scoring their first touchdown. Russ eventually started cooking, and he didn’t look half bad while attempting to push the ball downfield despite the poor offensive line play. The three interceptions don’t look good but one came on an exceptional defensive play and another was chiefly due to either a miscommunication with Courtland Sutton or the receiver doing a poor job of tracking the ball. Wilson was mostly accurate and did a lot of positive things on the ground, regularly making plays and picking up much needed first downs using his feet. Russ still passes the eye test and even seems surprisingly quick running outside the pocket. His physical gifts are still there as his deep ball is as pretty as ever and is able to locate it perfectly given the time.


  • Several times, Wilson escaped would-be sacks and either got rid of the ball or made it into a positive play. He even made some impressive throws off of his back foot in the face of pressure.
  • Russ put his body on the line in this game, risking it all to fight for extra yards and pick up first downs.
  • On his second interception, the defense got home while only rushing four defenders… poor offensive line play was mostly to blame for the Broncos’ offensive woes in this one. Russ might have forced some throws + made some questionable decisions but it was a result of him being under duress all afternoon.
  • When given time to operate, he was on point. Particularly on his TD throw to Sutton. The placement of the ball was sublime as only Sutton stood a chance at making a play on the ball. Russ dropped it into the perfect spot at the perfect time.


Running Back


Javonte Williams: 13 Carries, 46 Yards | 3 Targets, 3 Receptions, 24 Yards

One positive to take away from Javonte Williams‘ game is that he definitively has the lead-back duties on lock. He rushed the ball 13 times and saw 16 touches overall while the other RB’s on the roster combined for nine total touches. It is clear that despite iffy effectiveness, the Broncos are committed to and trust Williams with the ball (and the game) in his hands. With the game on the line, Denver handed the ball to Javonte on a 4th & short, and he converted using some tough running and strength. He is a solid interior runner but is lacking the explosiveness he once flashed pre-injuries. Other than his long of 16 yards, his other carries went for 30 yards on 12 attempts, “good” for a sub-3.0 YPC. The Broncos feed him the ball but he is also limited by questionable run blocking.


  • Does flash his open-field abilities at times, notably on a screen play which he made the first guy miss and took the ball an extra 10 yards. It would have been disappointing for him to be brought down on that first contact, so it was nice to see him evade the tackler fluidly in open space.


Jaleel McLaughlin: 4 Carries, 15 Yards | 2 Targets, 2 Receptions, 6 Yards


Samaje Perine:  1 Carry, 1 Yard | 2 Targets, 2 Receptions, 5 Yards

Only comes in on the occasional third down, mostly to block and sometimes as an outlet for Wilson. The Broncos for some reason gave him the ball on a rush attempt on a 3rd & 5 which predictably only went for one yard.



Wide Receiver/Tight End


Courtland Sutton:  7 Targets, 2 Receptions, 77 Yards, TD

Courtland Sutton comfortably led the Broncos in targets and yards on a day where the offense largely struggled to get much going. His 77 yards accounted for over 40% of Russell Wilsons’ passing production. Sutton was targeted often in this one but because every one of his targets were deep balls down the field, he only came down with two catches on seven targets. Sutton did make the most out of his two catches, gaining 77 yards and a beautiful touchdown to go along with it but it’s easy to be left wanting more as he had a miscommunication with Wilson, leading to an interception as well as an erroneously dropped pass which undoubtedly cost the Broncos points.


  • Sutton is clearly Wilson’s go-to-guy and way ahead of any other receiver in the pecking order for targets. Sutton is Russ’ first and second read.
  • Could have had a huge day if not for fixable errors.

Missed Opportunities

  • Early in the first quarter, Russell Wilson dropped an absolute dime right to Sutton’s hands, who was running in stride. It would have been a huge gain and perhaps an 80+ yard touchdown, but Sutton dropped what should always be a catch for a deep ball specialist such as himself. Brutal drop for Sutton.


Jerry Jeudy: 4 Targets, 3 Receptions, 51 Yards

Jerry Jeudy was essentially invisible throughout the majority of the game, only making his presence felt on his big 41-yard gain in the fourth quarter. Granted, he gained a mile of separation on the DB and showed some nice fight on his long catch, but Denver expects so much more out of him (rightfully so). Showed toughness on his long gain as he put his head down and tried to plow his way through multiple guys for a TD, as it took three defenders to stop him just short of the goal line.


Marvin Mims Jr:  1 Carry, 8 Yards | 2 Targets, 1 Reception, 5 Yards



Lil’Jordan Humphrey:  1 Target, 1 Reception, 12 Yards



Adam Trautman:  2 Targets, 1 Reception, 6 Yards



Houston Texans




CJ Stroud: 16/27, 274 Yards, TD | 6 Carries, 11 Yards

What more is there to say that hasn’t been said about CJ Stroud? He has looked like anything but a rookie, and that was yet again the case in this one, especially in the first half as he went into the break 8-15 for over 150 yards. Stroud is leading the NFL in passing yards through 13 weeks, and he is garnering unexpected (and deserved) MVP buzz. Stroud was sacked five times in this game, and it could have been even more if not for some quick processing and decisiveness. Stroud came out of this game with the win but probably one of his least eye-catching performances, stats wise at least. He finished with a near-60% completion rate (59.2%), 274 yards and only one touchdown. But he passed the eye test with flying colors and finished with an impressive 10+ YPA. Again, it wasn’t the most accurate day of his young career but it surely was an impressive one as he fought through visible pain to deliver when his team needed it most, coming up with big completion after big completion.


  • Truly not a throw he can’t make. When given time, he is pinpoint accurate, delivering balls with zip and with excellent anticipation.
  • Maneuvers around pressure and a collapsing pocket like a seasoned veteran. It is a joy to watch him duck and weave his way around the pocket while keeping his eyes downfield and delivering strikes at a moment’s notice.
  • His most impressive throw of the day was no doubt his casual 30-yard fling off his back foot on a big 3rd & 11 play. Stroud was off balance and on the move when he effortlessly zipped a perfectly placed ball with almost no forward momentum.
  • Got lucky when his fumble was recovered by the Texans. The ball should have been easily recovered by one of the multiple Broncos defenders in the area but Houston miraculously recovered, and Stroud’s fumble doesn’t go down as a turnover.

Missed Opportunities

  • Actually missed a wide open receiver on a 3rd & 1 that would have gone for an easy first down inside the Broncos’ 10 yard line. Instead they had to settle for a FG. Stroud should make that throw 10/10 times but he was slightly off, causing the receiver to bobble and drop the ball.


Davis Mills: 1/1, 18 Yards



Running Back


Dameon Pierce:  15 Carries, 41 Yards, TD

Dameon Pierce returned from injury last week against the Jaguars but saw a very limited workload in his first game back. That changed this week as Pierce saw the bulk of the carries and work out of the backfield, relegating backfield-mate Devin Singletary to the secondary role he was in before Pierce missed time. Pierce saw 15 carries compared to Singletary’s eight but Singletary was the more effective back on a YPC basis. Perhaps partly due to injury and definitely in part due to the Texans’ perennially subpar offensive line play, Pierce can never seemingly gain too much momentum on the ground. He doesn’t seem as quick + explosive as he was last year, and the play-calling on his touches is too predictable. Texans’ OC Bobby Slowik is doing Pierce no favors by running him in between the tackles repeatedly and not adjusting to the reality of the offensive line. Lack of effectiveness aside, the Texans were feeding Pierce in order to protect their lead as well as the health of QB CJ Stroud as he seemed a little dinged up.


  • Got first crack at goal-line duties and converted for a punch-in TD.
  • He didn’t make any plays after contact, something that Pierce is known to excel in. On his one attempt that was very well blocked, Pierce cut once and exploded for a 20 yard gain. he is at his best as a cut-and-go RB but the Texans are not scheming things up to his strengths.
  • Seems to be missing that oomph that we have come to expect him to run with.


Devin Singletary: 8 Carries, 36 Yards | 1 Target, 1 Reception, 4 Yards

The (apparent) return to full health of starting RB Dameon Pierce has relegated Devin Singletary to a heavily reduced role. Singletary rushed the ball half as much as Pierce but was almost twice as effective. He is clearly the superior pass-catching option out of the backfield and looks more spry but the coming weeks will bring a clearer picture as to the workload split between him and Pierce.


Dare Ogunbowale:  1 Carry, 1 Yard | 1 Target, 1 Reception, 14 Yards | 1 Fumble (Recovered)



Wide Receiver/Tight End


Nico Collins:  12 Targets, 9 Receptions, 191 Yards, TD

Nico Collins was straight up dominant in this game from start to finish. He single-handedly (well, he used both hands) out-gained the Broncos offense in the first half with 122 yards at intermission. Collins’ exceptional chemistry with QB CJ Stroud was on full display as they routinely hooked up for chunk play after chunk play. Not only did Collins catch several deep balls but he got the ball in space on screens and did work near the sidelines. Nico was gaining separation and showing off solid hands all day long, pulling in 9 catches on 12 targets, impressive efficiency on targets with a decent degree of difficulty as some of his catches were slightly off-target, forcing him to make mid-catch adjustments more than once. On a day where fellow stud WR Tank Dell suffered a serious injury early in the game, Collins stepped up and delivered by far his best game of the year when it was needed the most.


  • Collins was the engine of the Texans offense on a day where they were missing multiple important offensive pieces, helping the offense chug along consistently enough to produce 20+ points.
  • He is a crisp route runner, evidenced by him consistently gaining a lot of separation, not just a little. He was wide open as can be on his touchdown catch.
  • Also flashed some nice moves in the open field as he made a couple defenders miss and picked up some nice YAC.


Tank Dell: 

Tank Dell suffered what is believed to be a fractured fibula in his leg with just a few minutes left to play in the first quarter. Dell was blocking for Dameon Pierce on Pierce’s TD run when his legs got caught in between Broncos defenders and fell down to the ground. His season is most likely over, and CJ Stroud and the Texans offense loses one of its most prominent pieces in the passing game. The rookie WR was enjoying a meteoric rise in his debut year alongside his rookie sensation QB. Dell was second on the team in receptions and yards while leading the team in TD’s with seven before he went down.


Noah Brown:  2 Targets, 0 Yards 

Despite Tank Dell going down in the first quarter, Noah Brown still didn’t do anything in this one, which is a surprising result. To be fair, he was coming off injuries that led him to miss several weeks before this contest, so he figures to see more reps than he did in this one. The coming weeks will show where Brown stands among the pecking order of receivers without rookie standout Tank Dell.


  • Didn’t do anything of note and didn’t show up in the box score. But that’s not indicative of future performance as he is only getting healthier and a lot of targets were just vacated with the loss of Tank Dell.


Brevin Jordan:  4 Targets, 3 Receptions, 64 Yards

Brevin Jordan isn’t usually part of the offensive gameplan for the Texans but he played a big role in this one as each of his receptions went for chunk plays, giving him an impressive 21.3 YPC. He was inexplicably wide open on his longest gain of the day. Credit to Jordan for identifying the soft spot in the zone but the defense was incredibly slow to react.


  • Surprisingly dangerous with the ball in his hands. He looked good running in space, creating extra yards after the catch with speed and decisiveness.
  • His play today probably demands that he see more targets with Dell out and Dalton Schultz working his way back from injury.


John Metchie III:  3 Targets, 1 Reception, 9 Yards


Eric Saubert:   1 Target, 1 Reception, 5 Yards


Andrew Beck:  2 Targets, 1 Reception, 5 Yards


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