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Week Thirteen Essential Takeaways – AFC & NFC East

@DanT_NFL is back and reporting on the top takeaways each week! In this article we review action from both the AFC & NFC East.

We are now in the final playoff push! These next few weeks are critical for both contenders finalizing a playoff spot and rebuilders who may want to make a last-second trade to acquire draft capital and/or younger players. This is the time of the year when we generally see rookies break out and take over their offenses. Like early season trends were critical to tracking, end-of-season trends are vital to our dynasty fantasy football knowledge. Here are some key takeaways from the past week of NFL action!

A New Leader In The Buffalo Backfield?

Last Thursday against the New England Patriots, we saw a fairly even split in the Buffalo backfield. James Cook was named the starter and saw 32 snaps, while veteran Devin Singletary saw 33. They both saw an even amount of carries; however, Cook was by far more efficient. This is judged by both the eye test and the metrics. Nyheim Hines was a non-factor, leaving us wondering why Buffalo traded for him mid-season. Devin Singletary will be a free agent this offseason, perhaps carving a path for James Cook to operate as the lead back next year.

Zonovan Knight Bellcow Replacement

After being doubtful all week, Michael Carter was ruled out before kickoff on Sunday. Coach Robert Saleh reported there would be a committee between Zonovan Knight, Ty Johnson, and James Robinson. That proved to be a lie. Knight saw 75% of the backfield carries and was fairly efficient. He also saw five targets in the passing game. With Carter carrying a doubtful take so late into the week, I expect him back on the field next week against the Bills. Use this window to cash in on Knight’s value to a contender in your league. 

Problems In New England

There is a viral clip circulating Twitter after the Patriots’ 24 to 10 loss to the Buffalo Bills last night. Quarterback Mac Jones had some choice words for offensive coordinator Matt Patricia regarding his playcalling strategy. Despite being a 14-point game, it never seemed like the Patriots had a chance to make a comeback. The pass catchers for New England were generally held without any production. The leading receiver on the night was nickel back turned special teams returner turned wide receiver Marcus Jones. There will be some big changes coming to New England this offseason. Mac Jones and Rhamondre Stevenson may be the only pieces I want on my dynasty team right now.

Miami Backfield Frustrations Continue

After missing a week, Raheem Mostert was back in action for the Miami Dolphins this past Sunday. This role further cemented that we have yet to determine what will ever happen in South Beach regarding running backs. We got two weeks of top-twenty running back Jeff Wilson, but this week he was relegated to a backup role, only seeing one carry compared to Mostert’s seven. The plague of the Shanahan running back system has carried over to the East Coast, and fantasy managers would be best advised to sell high on whoever has a big week because there are no guarantees of repeat performances on this squad. Not all of these takeaways will be encouraging for fantasy managers.

Heinicke Will Finish The Season As Starter

Carson Wentz is quickly becoming an afterthought in the nation’s capital. Taylor Heinicke has five wins with only one loss and one tie since taking over the starting job in late October. It hasn’t been pretty, with only nine touchdowns to five interceptions, but it has been enough to get the job done. And that job has led to a scenario where the dysfunctional Washington Commanders are fighting for a playoff spot. It should be no surprise that Heinicke will finish the year as the starter. There is a possible out on the Wentz contract this offseason, which may mean he will be on to his fourth team in as many years. 

Is Daniel Bellinger The Top Rookie Tight End?

Bellinger has missed a few weeks with what looked at the time a very gruesome eye injury. Thankfully he avoided permanent damage and return to the Giants lineup this week. He immediately resumed his role as an important pass-catching option in a depleted receiving group. He hauled in a perfect five catches on five targets for 48 yards. Despite missing time, Bellinger can easily make a late-season push to finish as the top rookie tight end. Rookie takeaways are particularly important this time of year. His numbers are nowhere close to rookie Kyle Pitts, but this early production must be noted in a position that is always late to breakout. 

Everyone Eats In This Philadelphia Offense

The Philadelphia Eagles are scoring at an incredible rate; the best part is that everyone participates in the fun. It’s hard to focus on just one of these takeaways. Jalen Hurts quickly ascended to a top-five dynasty asset in Superflex leagues, and AJ Brown is knocking on the door for the same rank amongst wide receivers. With the possibility of a late-season return for tight end Dallas Goedert, this Eagles team hasn’t even hit their ceiling yet. With some high-scoring matchups in the weeks ahead, don’t be surprised when dynasty championships are won with mostly Eagles on the roster.

Information is the most powerful tool any dynasty fantasy football manager possesses. If you can stay on top of the correct information more than your league-mates, you will come out on top. Be sure to check back with us, as we will be breaking down takeaways from every division this week. And be sure to come back next week, as we will be doing the same for all 18 weeks of the 2022 NFL season!

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I hope you enjoyed this piece in our Winning With Vegas series. For more content like this, follow me on Twitter @DanT_NFL. DMs are always open for any questions, comments, or craft beer recommendations!

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