What We Saw: Week 13

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

Cardinals @ Steelers

Final Score: Arizona 24, Pittsburgh 10

Writer: Michael James (@MikeoftheFF on Twitter)

This would be the fourth time these two teams have faced each other since Super Bowl 43 back in 2009.  This game would be a slow start for both offenses, with each team showing up big defensively for most of the first half, save for the final drive of the half when the Cardinals called Trey McBride‘s number repeatedly to take them downfield and get the touchdown to put the Cardinals up 10-3.  Kenny Pickett would hurt his injured ankle on a play diving for the end zone on the previous drive and would head for the sidelines.  The weather would delay the start of the second half and Pickett would come out of the locker room showered and in warm-up sweats with a walking boot on confirming he would be out for the rest of the game.

Coming out in the second half, a bad shotgun snap to Mitch Trubisky results in a fumble recovery setting up the Cardinals deep in Steeler territory ultimately allowing Arizona to punch in a touchdown.  The weather would delay the game again for an extended period allowing for for additional rest and adjustments by each team.  Each team would put together touchdown drives until homecoming king, Pennsylvania native and former Steeler, James Conner put the game to bed with three first down rushing conversions on the final drive to run out the clock for a Cardinals victory on the road.


Three Up

  • James Conner – Grew up in Erie, PA.  Attended Pitt.  Drafted by Pittsburgh.  The man comes back home and celebrates with over 100 yards and two touchdowns
  • Trey McBride – The second-round pick from last year cemented his place in the depth chart the week following Ertz’s departure from the team with an 8 reception 1 Touchdown performance
  • TJ Watt – His defensive MVP campaign continues with a 6 tackle, .5 sack, a tackle for a loss, a pass defended, and two quarterback hits

Three Down

  • Marquise Brown – Throws up a donut after making the start despite not practicing all week only to be glued at the hip to Joey Porter
  • Pat Freiermuth – Follows up his massive performance from last week with a three-catch day that failed to go over 30 yards
  • Pittsburgh fans staying dry – This game had two different delays due to heavy outbursts of torrential downpours and the threat of lightning resulting in the clearing out of the stadium twice






Kyler Murray: 13/23 for 145 yards and 1 Touchdown, 9 carries for 20 yards, 2 fumbles (2 recovered)

Murray enters this game having scored a passing touchdown and a rushing touchdown in 18 games of his first five years in the league.  His start today would be a slow one going 1 for 4 that would have drawn the team’s second punt if not for a personal foul penalty that refreshed the drive for the Cardinals.  Kyler early on is suffering to the Steeler blitz packages and is throwing bad passes trying to get the ball out before getting hit.  Murray’s first rush would come in the second quarter scrambling out of the pocket to escape a free defender to run the ball up the sideline for 9 yards.  The Steelers played to get to Murray as fast as possible which was one of the big reasons he only completed 13 passes today.


  • First game since coming back not rushing for a touchdown
  • Lowest completions on the season this year
  • Only two completions for more than 10 air yards
  • Only one attempt past 20 yards in the air

Missed Opportunities

  • Delivered a dime to Moore 40 yards downfield but would be dropped
  • First and goal inside the 10-yard line, Arizona makes the questionable decision to not really block TJ Watt which results in a long goal-to-go down after the big sack.  Bold move, Cotton



Running Back


James Conner: 25 carries for 105 yards and 2 Touchdowns, 0 receptions on 2 targets

Conner would start this game out against his old team with a slow start with his first 3 rushes combining for -2 yards across Arizona’s first two offensive possessions.  This would set the pace for most of his day which is a stark contrast to his having the second-highest YPC (5.7) on carries inside the tackle (minimum 20 carries).  The Cardinals would feature their running back after starting in favorable field position following a face mask penalty with three straight carries that would result in him punching it in on a 9-yard carry for his second touchdown of the day.  This was about the time the run defense for Pittsburgh would break down and Conner would rumble to pick up a majority of his yards on the day and put the nail in the coffin on this game with six straight rushes for three first downs in the end setting up victory formation.


  • First touchdown in six games coming on a 1-yard leap over the line
  • 9 carries for 67 yards in the final two drives for Arizona’
  • Despite being a premier back at running between the tackles, all four of his biggest gains on the day came outside the right tackle

Missed Opportunities

  • Ran a go-route out of the backfield at the 21-yard line for the end zone but the pass was well defended


Michael Carter: 4 carries for 25 yards

The former Jets running back saw his biggest gain in his second game for the Cardinals come on a 3rd and 6 run where he absorbed contact at the line and shook it off for a big 19-yard gain to convert the first down.




Wide Receiver/Tight End


Trey McBride: 8 receptions on 9 targets for 89 yards and 1 Touchdown

The second-year TE for the Cardinals continues his coming out season with another game leading all receivers in targets and reception yards.  The writing on the wall became so apparent that earlier this week TE Zach Ertz requested to be released by Arizona so that he could focus on himself and whichever NFL team will be his next destination.  Against this Pittsburgh blitz pressure from the get-go, McBride became Murray’s dump target to get the ball out before taking a hit.  His day today was best showcased by a 17-yard gain on a strike delivered above his head but jumped to bring it in with his fingertips while being hit to convert the third down.  Well played to fantasy managers who got their hands on this top 10 TE talent midway through this season who now has 20+ point games in 3 of his last 6 games.


  • Once the Cardinals crossed into Steeler territory before the half, McBride went 3 for 44 to get them into the red zone and then capped it off with a 5-yard reaching touchdown reception to put the Cardinals up going into halftime
  • 53 of his 89 yards came after the catch
  • Three receptions at the line of scrimmage that would go for 8+ yards each


Marquise Brown: 0 receptions on 3 targets

Coach Tomlin came out early this week saying the second-round pick phenom Joey Porter Jr would be primarily responsible for Brown in man coverage today.  And boy was he glued to Brown’s hip today.  After Brown’s second incomplete target, the broadcast replayed a bunch of footage of Porter’s coverage and there’s no separation for Brown to have.  Murray did not do him any favors with accuracy either, but even when the next pass was on target rather than in the dirt, Porter was right there to swat it away.  To be completely fair, Brown wasn’t even certain to play this week given he did not practice at all with a heel injury.  He would exit this game early after aggravating said heel injury as well.


  • One target in each of the first three quarters
  • Would exit the game early aggravating his heel injury


Greg Dortch: 1 reception on 3 targets for 19 yards

After posting two back-to-back games of 8 or more targets and double-digit fantasy points, Dortch was held to just one catch today in unfavorable game conditions which led to Murray’s paltry 13 pass completions, most of which went to the tight end.  It didn’t help matters that when Brown exited the game, Dortch was the receiver that Porter rotated to.


  • His only catch of the day came on a crazy 180-degree turn and fall-away catch dragging his feet out of bounds while covered by Porter

Missed Opportunities

  • Got to the corner of the end zone for a target but was tackled prematurely by Porter drawing the PI flag for a new set of downs at the 1-yard line


Rondale Moore: 1 reception on 2 targets for 6 yards


Missed Opportunities

  • 40-yard deep ball attempt on third and 14 through double coverage bounced out of his hands
  • Fumbled his handoff and recovered it behind the line of scrimmage
  • Had a deep ball touchdown reception called back on a holding penalty







Kenny Pickett: 7/10 for 70 yards, 3 carries for 3 yards, fumble (recovered)

Pickett enters the game having not turned the ball over in his last 78 possessions.  Would come into this game hot starting the first possession with a 65-yard drive highlighted by a 38-yard bomb to Pickens down the sideline.  Things would slow down with the Steelers unable to adjust to the Cardinals blitz leading to three punts with all three drives combining for 23 total team yards.  Just when things were starting to pick up again as the Steelers put together their longest drive of the day going 79 yards downfield, Pickett would scramble with the ball to the 1-yard line being tackled and injuring the same ankle that landed him on the injury report coming into today.  He would leave the game and not return.

According to Schefter of ESPN, Pickett is “expected to miss a couple of weeks.”

Missed Opportunities

  • Ground ball snap on third down against a blitz all but guaranteeing a sack to force the punt.  This would continue to be a problem for Pittsburgh later with Trubisky


Mitch Trubisky: 11/17 for 117 yards and 1 Touchdown, 3 carries for 5 yards, fumble (lost)

Trubisky enters in for the injured Pickett and his first play of the game is a fourth and goal handoff from the 1-yard line.  The Cardinals would stand strong for the turnover on downs.  There’s a lot working against Trubisky for this game with the sudden lift into the starting position having taken limited snaps all week and a rotating offensive coaching staff of late.  The Cardinals are now more consistently bringing extra men on the pass rush to try to disrupt the backup quarterback.  The Steelers would continue to have troubles starting with not the greatest field position and going 4 for 11 on third down conversions today limiting potential offense.  Arizona would switch to a prevent defense in the fourth quarter being up multiple scores and still manage to get pressure only rushing four.  Mitch would eventually prevail for one drive on a hurry-up offense going 75 yards downfield in 4 minutes for a touchdown to Johnson.


  • 2 for 4 on the deep ball
  • 12 attempts came less than 10 yards out
  • Is expected to start for the next two Steeler games

Missed Opportunities

  • Another bad shotgun snap into the dirt catches Trubisky off guard and never gets back on top of it resulting in a turnover credited to the quarterback.


Running Back

Pittsburgh would use their two backs interchangeably throughout the game.  An example of this would be on their longest drive of the game right before halftime where Warren and Harris would both sub for each other repeatedly with each one seeing a carry after coming into the game for the other one on the same drive.


Najee Harris: 16 carries for 63 yards, 2 receptions on 3 targets for 14 yards

The first carry of the game goes straight up the middle getting contact 2 yards deep and going for another 7 after that for a 9-yard gain.  Things would not be much better than this for the rest of the game for Harris as he would continue to get the ball for hard-hitting carries at the line putting in a sub 4.0 YPC game.  The lowlight was getting stuffed inside the 10-yard line on three different goal package run designs.  Despite this, Harris still leads the backfield in carries nearly doubling Warren’s carries.


  • Only one carry went outside left and it ended up being his biggest gain of the day

Missed Opportunities

  • Three carries on goal-to-go downs including a fourth and one; failed to convert all of them for a touchdown


Jaylen Warren: 9 carries for 59 yards, 1 reception on 3 targets for -4 yards

This is your league leader in rushing YPC (minimum 50 carries on the season) entering today’s game.  He would continue this trend registering a 6.6 YPC performance.  His biggest play of the game came on their drive before half time bursting through the hole speeding past defenders going 12 yards before first contact on an 18-yard gain.


  • His one reception came on a scramble drill to bail out Pickett from 3 simultaneous rushers but was so far back it was only good for -4 yards.



Wide Receiver/Tight End


George Pickens: 4 receptions on 5 targets for 86 yards

The offense comes out firing to Pickens on the first play and then returns to him on a deep ball for 38 yards down the sideline to put them into the red zone right away.  Pickens would get another target in the red zone but it would be too low for him to get his hands on in double coverage.  While not gaining serious separation in the first half, he still shows his primary receiver prowess by catching contested balls and picking up first downs in traffic.  Facing 3rd and 14 after a penalty, Trubisky drops back and delivers an absolute dime to an open Pickens on the sideline who finesses a catch to bring in the 25-yard deep ball to convert a first down.


  • The first three passes of the game were targeted to Pickens
  • Four of his five targets came from Pickett at quarterback
  • 13 of his 15 yards after the catch came on a crossing route catch and go
  • 2 of his 4 receptions came on deep balls to the sideline;  one for 25 yards, the other for 35 yards

Missed Opportunities

  • Deep ball target down the sideline but drew the PI flag


Diontae Johnson: 4 receptions on 5 targets for 33 yards and 1 Touchdown

Johnson got most of his work done in the fourth quarter catching a 26-yard strike over the middle of the field to put the Steelers in the red zone setting him up two plays later for the touchdown reception on a comeback route on the goal line.  He would not see his first action of the game until the third drive of the game where he would be targeted twice.  That would be the last of his targets from Pickett and would not see his first target from Trubisky until the mid-way point of the third quarter.


Missed Opportunities

  • targeted on a deep ball in double coverage from Trubisky but was well overthrown


Pat Freiermuth: 3 receptions on 5 targets for 29 yards

Chants of “muuuuuuuuuth” rang out every time he caught a ball and unlike last week, there was not a lot to ‘muth’ about today with only three receptions.  The only time he seemed to be utilized once Trubisky entered the game was to convert a big catch for a first down when they were deep inside their own territory.

Missed Opportunities

  • Was the target on an endzone corner route but the ball was tipped back behind the line incomplete


Allen Robinson II: 3 receptions on 3 targets for 19  yards

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