What We Saw: Week 13

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

49ers @ Eagles

Final Score: 49ers 42, Eagles 19

Writer: Adam Sloate (@MrAdster99 on X/Twitter)


The San Francisco 49ers spotted the Eagles 6 points and -6 yards in the first quarter and still cruised to the W in this NFC Championship Game rematch. The 49ers ended with a whopping 456 yards of offense to the Eagles’ 333 thanks to several explosive plays from their star players, and the Eagles’ defense was unable to meaningfully contain them at any point after the first quarter. Deebo Samuel was a particularly bright spot for this 49ers team — with the amount of trash he was talking beforehand, it was probably good that he went for 3 total TDs — but everyone chipped in pretty significantly on the scoresheet.

Philadelphia, meanwhile, couldn’t get anything meaningful going offensively for much of this game, as the two long first-quarter drives ended only in field goals, and with an offense as explosive as San Francisco’s, failing to bury them early requires the opposing team to answer the bell over and over again on offense–and the Eagles were far from that. San Francisco’s defense really locked in after a tough first quarter and erased any hopes of a 5th-straight second-half comeback for the Eagles. They were able to do so by completely snuffing out the run game, which had been a bit of a weak spot in weeks prior, and forced the Eagles to become particularly one-dimensional.

Ultimately, the 49ers walk away with a gratifying win, and the Eagles don’t have much time to pick up the pieces after the massacre because they get the pleasure of flying to Dallas to take on a hungry Cowboys team on 10 days of rest.

Let’s dig in.


San Francisco 49ers




Brock Purdy: 19/27, 314 yards, 4 TDs, 2 sacks | 2 carries, 9 yards


Purdy did as Purdy usually does: find the star players and let them do the work. Purdy never attacked downfield because he didn’t need to–Philadelphia’s zone defense left plenty of soft coverages directly in front of the line of scrimmage, especially in the middle parts of the field, so he found open receiver after open receiver:

The vast majority of his passing yardage this week came from those intermediate routes that got George KittleDeebo Samuel, and others into open spaces where they could create.

To Philadelphia’s credit, the first two or three drives with Purdy under center looked particularly uncomfortable. Purdy took a couple of sacks and had to throw the ball away when he wasn’t facing the pressure. However, that threat was soon neutralized by offensive adjustments.


Running Back


Christian McCaffrey: 17 carries, 93 yards, 1 TD | 4 targets, 3 receptions, 40 yards


Run CMC was MIA for the first quarter, as was the rest of this offense, but as they found their groove as a group, McCaffrey found his. In fact, McCaffrey’s running success opened up plenty of opportunities for the rest of the Niners’ offense via the play-action game. McCaffrey was able to turn runs into 5, 6, or 7-yard carries in the second quarter, so the Eagles had to respect his run game via their linebackers. Purdy and the Niners’ passing offense was able to take advantage of their aggressiveness in trying to stop the run by throwing over their heads in that soft middle of the field. Philadelphia, down several starting linebackers, was forced to throw in some players that could barely stop CMC on his runs, let alone play off-ball coverage on San Francisco’s elite pass-catching unit.

Speaking of stopping CMC on his runs, he didn’t average 5.5 yards per carry by accident (nor did he hit 1,000 rushing yards on the season by accident). He was able to build up a big head of steam behind the line of scrimmage, and while he’s not the biggest guy in the building, when he runs hard/fast and has a head start on DBs that are caught flatfooted, it’s very easy to run right through them. And, run through them he did; McCaffrey was impossible to bring down on first contact with this Eagles defense, which ended up being a common theme for this Niners group.


Wide Receiver/Tight End


Deebo Samuel: 4 targets, 4 receptions, 116 yards, 2 TDs | 3 carries, 22 yards, 1 TD


Good grief, Deebo Samuel was fired up for this game. In fact, I think he’d been fired up for this game since January 2023, and it showed from the jump. On the first 49ers possession, Eagles kicker Jake Elliott sent the ball about 8 yards deep into the end zone–a clear fair catch for just about everyone else. Samuel decided to run it back.

Outside of that fun little return, Samuel ran with a full head of steam all game long, which you might be able to guess from the fact that he averaged 29 yards per reception. Every catch looked like it was going to the house when Samuel took over. In short, it was a terrific game from him, as the Eagles’ older coverage unit and weak linebacker play (you’ll see them miss a TD-saving tackle in the following clip) could not contain Samuel’s speed and creation in open space. Here’s one prominent example:


George Kittle: 6 targets, 4 receptions, 68 yards


Kittle seemed omnipresent in this matchup despite featuring pretty lightly in the overall stat sheet. He was running over first contact, he was finding open space (who wasn’t?), and he was throwing up great blocks for teammates, springing them free for bigger and bigger gains as the Niners’ offense grew more and more confident. Here was Kittle’s big play of the day as a pass catcher:

And here was a particularly notable block, since he provides just as much value as a blocker as he does as a pass-catcher. Same play as the Samuel TD above , just take a look at Kittle instead of Samuel here (top of the screen):

It was a bit of a quiet day in fantasy for Kittle, but he was not forgotten whatsoever.


Brandon Aiyuk: 7 targets, 5 receptions, 46 yards, 1 TD


Aiyuk was a bit quiet in the yardage column, but like the rest of this team, he still performed very well from a fantasy perspective, rewarding his investors with a TD for SF’s first score:

Looks like that ball might have touched the ground…but he seemed to have control over it for the most part, so there wasn’t much to overturn there. Ultimately, there wasn’t much to say about Aiyuk that wasn’t true of all the other Niners pass-catchers here; he just had the misfortune of being overshadowed by Deebo’s terrific performance.



Philadelphia Eagles




Jalen Hurts: 26/45, 298 yards, 1 TD, 3 sacks | 7 carries, 20 yards


First, the good: Hurts’ knee seems to be at full strength now. In past weeks, he was a bit reticent to run, and even when he did run, it hampered his speed a little bit. He was getting chased down by some larger defensive linemen near the line of scrimmage, which took away a big part of his rushing value. This week, Hurts hit a top speed of just over 18 mph, good for “fastest ballcarrier” of the day for Philadelphia, so I think it’s safe to say Hurts is back to health. Secondly, he left for a couple of plays in the third quarter after spending several minutes in the blue tent, and it seems he was evaluated for a concussion. He was able to return from the blue tent (and subsequent locker room trip) and get back into the game, so he seems to be okay there, too.

Second, the parts you can ignore: That completion percentage is going to look ugly, but there were quite a few throw-aways and tosses out of bounds that hindered his passing game. San Francisco forced him to stay and wait in the pocket, and Hurts had plenty of time to survey the field–though on many of the replays shown, Hurts didn’t have too many open receivers to throw to as is. I wouldn’t read into the fact that he barely crested 50% of his passes.

What I might read into is that the Philadelphia offense has sputtered without a run game. Hurts was supposed to open up that run game for D’Andre Swift and their other backs by using his legs as another dimension to this offense. When offenses have to respect the Hurts run game, they alter their game plans accordingly to move resources from pass catchers and running backs to stopping the QB run–thus opening up other opportunities that Hurts had been able to capitalize on. There hasn’t been much of that lately, and while the Eagles have been able to get away with it against some weaker rushing fronts, San Francisco did an excellent job of keeping Hurts in front of them, sealing off running gaps, and so on. Accordingly, Hurts wasn’t much of a runner today, and as you’ll see from Swift, he wasn’t much of a runner either.


Running Back


D’Andre Swift: 6 carries, 13 yards | 6 targets, 2 receptions, 7 yards


This is a bit of a low point for Swift, who has been a revelation at times and a ghost at others this season. It seems as though Eagles OC Brian Johnson will abandon the run a little too quickly despite Philadelphia holding a significant advantage up front in the trenches most weeks. While they didn’t have the early advantage in the trenches, the Eagles quickly moved away from the run and never returned, resulting in an absurdly low 9 RB carries. Swift’s never been this absent from an Eagles game plan, and I think it’s probably an aberration. I would expect Swift to get back into it next week against Dallas as the Eagles try to work out the imbalances in their pass/run attack.



Wide Receiver/Tight End


A.J. Brown: 13 targets, 8 receptions, 114 yards


AJB didn’t seem to have any trouble breaking out against this San Francisco defense, especially early in the game. Philadelphia went to the same route twice early on for great success–an in-breaking route, hitting Brown on the crosser, and allowing him to turn upfield to create in open space. If you’re thinking that sounds a bit like the 49ers’ plan for Deebo Samuel, you might be onto something…

Brown saw a couple of end zone targets but wasn’t able to convert thanks to some terrific coverage from CB Charvarius Ward and what were probably some misplaced throws from Hurts:

If Hurts throws this ball off to the side or above Ward, that’s probably a TD catch for Brown but you also have to give props to Ward for playing some heads-up defense and reading this ball perfectly. This was actually the second play where Hurts tried to hit Brown on a route in the corner of the end zone, and Ward covered the first one equally well. Brown should continue to see plenty of end zone and red zone targets because it seemed like the plan today was to hit Brown on as many routes in that area as possible.


Devonta Smith: 11 targets, 9 receptions, 96 yards, 1 TD


Smith, as usual, played like he was 3 inches taller and packed on 40 more pounds of muscle. Take a look at this screen, where Smith turns a 3rd-and-long into a first down with some surprisingly tough running:

He was excellent on a couple of screens, Hurts found him on a few safety-blanket/rush-relief types of plays in the intermediate field, and he even found the end zone. This might have been Hurts’ best play of the day, as he escapes the pressure from the 49ers’ pass rush to find Smith in the end zone in a scramble play.

There’s not much more you could’ve asked for from Smith today. He’s been the PPR machine that fantasy managers hoped for with Dallas Goedert out, and while that appears to be coming to an end soon, the days when Smith was absent from the game for long stretches appear to be over. He is a quintessential part of the Philadelphia passing attack, has good chemistry with Jalen Hurts, and should continue to see work accordingly.


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