SEC In Fantasy, Week 13: Cam Newton and Jarrett Stidham light up the Chargers
Two QBs. Same school. Same NFL team. Four touchdowns. When the Patriots won big in LA this past weekend, Auburn fans did as well.
Thanks for checking out The Auburn Observer. This is a bonus post in a fun weekly series about Auburn players in the NFL and how they compare to their SEC counterparts. If you haven’t already, please subscribe using the button below to get regular posts sent to your inbox. If you enjoy our work, make sure to tell all your fellow Tigers fans to join us.
A 10-year veteran quarterback just put up his career low in single-game passing yards for the second time in consecutive weeks. Why is he smiling? Why is he teaching the punter how to dab? Isn’t that dance dead? Shouldn’t it be? Moreover, why is he jumping around in celebration of his replacement who just threw for a touchdown?
None of it makes sense until you lift your eyes from the sideline shenanigans to the ribbon board that circles the top of the 21st century behemoth of a venue that is SoFi Stadium and read the numbers: New England Patriots 45, Los Angeles Chargers 0.
Only three times in his decade-long career has Cam Newton failed to throw for 100 yards. Each of those three have occurred within the last six weeks. After finding a new career passing floor of nine completions for a mere 84 yards in Week 12 against the Cardinals, Newton considered himself fortunate to escape with a win, apologizing to his offensive coordinator, knowing he would have to do more as a passer in order to win the crucial games ahead of him in the coming weeks.
He was wrong.
A week later, he walked off the field a dominant winner after ending his day shy of the 70-yard passing mark. Instead, Newton relied on his legs 14 times and in turn, they gave him 48 yards and two touchdown runs. Add a passing touchdown to that total late in the third quarter, and Newton would be watching his fellow Auburn alum, Jarrett Stidham, lead the offense for the majority of the fourth quarter.
Newton looked on as the young gun was immediately greeted by an obviously agitated Joey Bosa, who put a fierce jolt into Stidham after he uncorked a deep shot to the middle of the field. The next play, Stidham hurriedly spun short pass to Sony Michel out of the backfield, just out of the reach of a diving linebacker, hitting Michel in stride for a gain of 23. After the first down run went nowhere, Stidham sold a play-action screen by quickly turning his body and dipping his shoulder to the boundary before hurling a dart to a streaking Gunner Olszewski in the seam for an easy 38-yard catch-and-run touchdown.
The truth is, in just those two completions, Stidham nearly matched Newton’s output through the air, ending just eight yards shy and hitting the same number of passing touchdowns in 16 fewer attempts.
Some may try to hijack those statistics as a bullet point towards Stidham’s case of being the starter, as he was widely expected to be before Newton’s late offseason signing. The murmurs have been there when Cam and the Patriots have struggled at different points in the season.
But that kind of fan rhetoric was and is never going to come between the two. You won’t find a bigger cheerleader of either than the other. Just look at Cam’s response to the Stidham TD:
Cam’s excitement for his fellow Tiger back-up reemerged during his weekly interview on WEEI: “I’m so proud of Stid, man. We had a chat in the QB room Monday. His growth and his development is something that really caught my attention. I don’t know if he’d have been able to stand in a murky pocket and throw an absolute strike to Gun Show. After the first play, he got hit and was down on the ground. For him to bounce back from that, just speaks volumes about growth. Just to see him grow is something I’m extremely pleased about.”
When asked about the passing stats, Newton made another thing crystal clear: as long as the result is a win, those do NOT matter. “A lot of times when people play the game they get fixated off of statistics, right? For me personally, I have played this game long enough to have played and had games where I’ve had 400 yards and lost. I’ve also had a lot yards and won. I’ve also had this past game, 69 yards and won. Or I’ve had 100 yards, 120 yards and lost. I don’t necessarily get fixated off that statistic … When you win 45 to nothing, what more can you do? You want me to substitute the score for personal achievement?”
Cam, I apologize, but I would like to make note of a few stats:
He is right, though. The one thing that really matters is the win.
And after starting 2-5 and becoming a comedic punching bag for the rest of the League, the Patriots are now 6-6 (back to .500 for the first time since falling to 2-2 two months ago), and still alive in the fight for playoff contention. Their next task is a tall one; staying in Los Angeles and returning to SoFi Stadium on short rest to take on a division-leading Rams team in front of a national audience on Thursday night.
For Newton, no amount of passing yards matters more than the final score. And if that massive ribbon board displays another Patriots victory on Thursday evening, there is little doubt that it will be outshined by the famous smile below it.
With Auburn’s quarterbacks scoring accounted for, let’s dive into the details of Week 13, name our All-SEC squad, and update our season-long fantasy football standings:
QB: Tua Tagovailoa (Dolphins) - 16.1
RB: Kenyan Drake (Cardinals) - 12.8
RB: Damien Harris (Patriots) - 10
WR: Henry Ruggs III (Raiders) - 13.9
WR: Amari Cooper (Cowboys) - 13.8
TE: Irv Smith Jr. (Vikings) – INJ
FLEX: Calvin Ridley (Falcons) – 13.3
TOTAL = 79.9
Though he was widely expected to miss this weekend’s matchup against the Bengals due to an injured thumb, Tua was cleared to play on Sunday morning. Though he got off to another slow start, Tagovailoa was able to right the ship, lead a touchdown drive in the second half, and erase a halftime deficit in a 19-7 win. As we have said several times in this space, the defense and special teams play is the story in Miami while Tua navigates through his rookie campaign. Sunday’s second half was a step in the right direction, as the former Alabama signal caller finished 26-of-39 for a career-high 296 yards and the only Fins’ touchdown of the day.
Due to injuries and a negative Nashville game script, we got the first combination of a Kenyan Drake & Damien Harris backfield for Bama in Week 13. Though fortunes continued to decline for Arizona, Kenyan Drake found the end zone for a third straight week. Sadly, his 58 all-purpose yards on 10 carries and two catches could not keep the Cardinals from dropping its third consecutive decision — a home loss to the Rams. A much different game environment surrounded Damien Harris, who took his 16 carries for 80 yards, caught a pass for 15, and clobbered the Rams’ next door neighbors 45-0.
Henry Ruggs III had another case of the down-and-ups on Sunday, having an early slant route ricochet off his hands for an interception and losing a fumble in the fourth quarter before catching the suspiciously all-too-easy game-winning homerun ball in the closing seconds. If his rookie season is any indication, Ruggs is a low-volume deep threat whose fantasy impact is dictated by his ability to find the end zone. Three catches for 84 yards, the lost fumble, and the touchdown accounted for his second-best fantasy score of the season.
Tuesday night brought us the tenth double-digit fantasy total from Amari Cooper, who caught five passes for 43 yards, scored a touchdown, and had a rush for 10 yards in the loss to the Ravens. Calvin Ridley only came up with half of his intended targets but broke into triple-digit yardage for the fifth time this season. Five catches for 108 put him in the Alabama Best Ball lineup for the ninth time, tying him with Derrick Henry for most appearances on the season.
QB: Brandon Allen (Bengals) - 9.4
RB: Jonathan Williams (Lions) - 0
TE: Hunter Henry (Chargers) – 1
FLEX: Jeremy Sprinkle (Football Team) – 0
TOTAL = 10.4
Before a fifth sack forced him out of the game in the fourth quarter, Brandon Allen completed 11 of his 19 passes for 153 yards, a touchdown, and an interception in the 19-7 loss at Miami. The specifics of the injury have remained undisclosed, putting his availability for Week 14 against Dallas in question.
Following suit of the rest of his Charger teammates, Hunter Henry put up a dud on Sunday. Though a huge early deficit should have favored Henry, an alarmingly miniscule two of Justin Herbert’s 53 passes were thrown his direction. Even worse, the one they connected on went just five yards, resulting in a single fantasy point. A matchup against the Falcons in Week 14 should yield much better results for his frustrated fantasy managers.
QB: Cam Newton (Patriots) – 23.6
RB: Peyton Barber (Football Team) – 8.3
RB: Kerryon Johnson (Lions) - 2.1
WR: Darius Slayton (Giants) – 1.9
TE: C.J. Uzomah (Bengals) - IR
FLEX: Chandler Cox (Dolphins) - 0
K: Cody Parkey (Browns) – 12
TOTAL = 47.9
When Antonio Gibson went limped off the field during the second drive of the game, Peyton Barber was ready to go for his second chance at extended playing time in consecutive weeks. Though last game’s minutes was a result of a lopsided score, Barber showed enough to be trusted as the next man up. The “dirty work” tailback will never wow anyone with his Yards Per Carry stats, but he has shown that he has the grit to keep churning out short runs. A line of 14 carries for 23 yards is really rough, but the guy rarely gets stopped on late short-yardage downs and scored a touchdown from the one on Sunday. The injury to Gibson could make Barber a popular waiver wire add this week, as most fantasy leagues head to the playoffs.
Three carries, three yards and two catches, eight yards — that was the final line for Kerryon Johnson after the new Detroit regime made it clear that their game plan for the Lions’ rushing attack was centered around Adrian Peterson. Kerryon outpaced the highly-decorated veteran by a combined 31 offensive snaps in the three weeks prior, and although Peterson was on the field for just two more snaps than Johnson on Sunday, he received 16 touches to KJ’s five.
Visibility has been a real struggle for Darius Slayton lately. After his lone target catch of 14 yards in the fourth quarter of Sunday’s upset win over the Seahawks, Slayton has now logged one catch or fewer in three of his last four games AND has only been targeted four times in those contests.
Cody Parkey stayed busy, making field goals of 27 and 43 yards while converting all five of his extra point opportunities in the Browns 41-35 win over the Titans. Auburn actually had the conference’s top two kicking performances in Week 13, but Parkey’s volume edged out Daniel Carlson’s also-perfect day.
QB: Jeff Driskel (Broncos) - CV-19
RB: La’Mical Perine (Jets) – IR
WR: Demarcus Robinson (Chiefs) - 4.9
WR: Van Jefferson (Rams) - 4.7
TE: Jordan Reed (49ers) - 10.7
FLEX: Trey Burton (Colts) | Tyrie Cleveland (Broncos) - 1.6
TOTAL = 21.9
For the fifth time this season, Demarcus Robinson was Florida’s best wide receiver of the week. He caught both of his targets for 39 yards on Sunday night, which barely got him over the mark Van Jefferson set in his four-catch, 27-yard performance hours before.
For the first time this season, we had two players from the same team tie at the FLEX spot. Trey Burton and Tyrie Cleveland each had one reception for 11 yards to end with 1.6 points.
Jordan Reed caught three passes for 32 yards, the last of which was a garbage time touchdown with 50 seconds left that shot him up the conference’s tight end rankings. Would it be enough to clinch his second All-SEC team honor of the season?
QB: Matthew Stafford (Lions) – 27.1
RB: Nick Chubb (Browns) - 17.1
RB: Sony Michel (Patriots) - 6.3
WR: Isaiah McKenzie (Bills) - 10.1
WR: Mecole Hardman (Chiefs) - 2
TE: Charlie Woerner (49ers) - 4.3
FLEX: Todd Gurley II (Falcons) - 2.5
K: Rodrigo Blankenship (Colts) - 7
TOTAL = 76.4
Matthew Stafford threw the ball for 402 yards and three touchdowns, and was picked off once in his second consecutive week of 42 passing attempts. The Lions scored two touchdowns in the final 2:30 of game time to defeat the Bears in the first game of the post-Patricia era.
Nick Chubb added a 26-yard catch to a 18-attempt, 80-yard rushing line that included a one-yard touchdown leap. Chubb has either scored or ran for over 100 yards in each game since returning from injury in Week 10. Next, he will face a Ravens defense that held him to 66 all-purpose yards and forced his only fumble in Week 1.
Sony Michel got in on the Charger beatdown, taking his 10 carries for 35 yards and catching a pass for 23 yards. Gurley’s past two games have come against the New Orleans Saints, leading to identical workloads of eight carries and a catch. This time, the rushes yielded just 16 yards while the reception gained four.
Isaiah McKenzie was a recipient of the third of Josh Allen’s four touchdown passes in the nightcap of Monday’s NFL doubleheader. The third quarter score pushed McKenzie’s fantasy performance to a season-high 10.1 in the 34-24 win. On the losing side, Charlie Woerner registered his first fantasy points of his rookie season, reeling in both of his first two career targets for 33 yards. To round out the Georgia skill-position players, Hardman had a catch for 15 yards.
Rodrigo Blankenship made a field goal from 42 yards out and added three extra points, all in the first half in the Colts’ 26-20 win over the Texans.
RB: Benny Snell Jr. (Steelers) – 2
RB/WR: Lynn Bowden Jr. (Dolphins) - 7.2
WR: Randall Cobb (Texans) – IR
TOTAL = 7.4
Continuing to navigate through the maze that has been his rookie season, Lynn Bowden Jr. may have found an opening in Week 13. Benefiting from a depleted lineup, LBJ was featured extensively for the first time in his professional career on Sunday. He took a rush for 11 yards and turned all four of his targets into receptions for a total of 41 yards. It was a promising sign for a do-it-all gadget guy.
Benny Snell continued to play the Peyton Barber role for the Steelers: do the tough job between the tackles, move the ball in increments of inches, and try to work your way into the end zone. The problem on Monday afternoon? Step three never happened. Eight rushes for five yards and two catches for five more was his final tally.
QB: Joe Burrow (Bengals) – IR
RB: Darrel Williams (Chiefs) – 4.8
RB: Clyde Edwards-Helaire (Chiefs) - DNP
WR: Justin Jefferson (Vikings) – 22.8
WR: Jarvis Landry (Browns) - 16.4
TE: Foster Moreau (Raiders) – 0
FLEX: Russell Gage (Falcons) - 13.1
TOTAL = 57.1
Nine catches for 121 yards and a touchdown and a rush for two yards was the latest of work from Minnesota rookie phenom, Justin Jefferson. This performance may have given him the lead in the Rookie of the Year race and beyond that, JJ is playing at an All-Pro level — even with his two-time Pro Bowl teammate Adam Thielen back to running routes beside him.
Jarvis Landry caught eight of the ten passes thrown his way and totaled 62 yards and a touchdown in Baker Mayfield’s 2020 breakout performance on Sunday, and decided to return the favor with a six-yard pass to his quarterback to convert a third down. And rounding out the Tigers’ touchdown tandem, Russell Gage caught four of the eight passes Matt Ryan threw his way for 51 yards and a score.
Though cleared to play and made active 90 minutes prior to kickoff, Clyde Edwards-Helaire did not leave the sidelines on Sunday night, leaving Le’Veon Bell and Darrel Williams as the only Kansas City running backs fit to play. D-Will took his six carries 38 yards and caught a pass for five.
QB: Dak Prescott (Cowboys) – IR
TE: Jordan Thomas (Patriots) - OUT
TOTAL = 0
With Jordan Thomas inactive, Mississippi State could only bring us the letter O.
QB: Drew Lock (Broncos) – 12.9
TE: Sean Culkin (Ravens) – 0
TOTAL = 12.9
We can debate whether Drew Lock is a starting quality quarterback in this league until we all decide that exercise is as boring as it is unimportant, but one thing is for sure: Lock does stuff. He actively tries. Sunday evening, he split two touchdowns with two interceptions and threw for 151 well-earned yards as he fought — at times against himself — to keep Denver in the nationally televised spotlight game against the Chiefs.
RB: Jordan Wilkins (Colts) – 2.8
WR: A.J. Brown (Titans) – 10.7
WR: D.K. Metcalf (Seahawks) – 10.5
TE: Dawson Knox (Bills) - 10.7
FLEX: Evan Engram (Giants) – 5.2
TOTAL = 40.9
Per usual, Metcalf and Brown had similar lines: 5/8 for 80 yards for D.K., 4/7 for 87 yards for A.J. Fumbles really curbed Brown’s production, losing one to the defense for -2 points and having another picked up by a teammate near the goal line and taken in for a score.
Dawson Knox scored the second touchdown of the game for the Bills, putting up four catches for 27 yards and the TD. The other Mississippi tight end, Evan Engram, was the top target of Colt McCoy but could only bring in half of his eight intended throws for 32 yards.
The return of Jonathan Taylor moved Jordan Wilkins back down the depth chart. Wilkins turned his five carries and two catches into 18 total yards.
Though not quite as sharp as they were a week ago, the Ole Miss route runners put up another solid team total in Week 13.
RB: Mike Davis (Panthers) – BYE
RB: Rico Dowdle (Cowboys) – 0
WR: Deebo Samuel (49ers) - 10.6
WR: Damiere Byrd (Patriots) - 2.6
TE: Jared Cook (Saints) - 10.3
FLEX: Hayden Hurst (Falcons) - 1.4
K: Ryan Succop (Buccaneers) - BYE
TOTAL = 24.9
Pacing the Gamecocks again in Week 13, Deebo Samuel hauled in six of his nine targets for 73 yards while adding a three-yard carry. After scoring a combined total of 3.1 fantasy points in his last four games combined, Jared Cook scored a touchdown for the first time since Week 8 — part of his three catch, 28-yard day.
Opposite from Cook on Sunday, Hayden Hurst could only bring in one of his four targets for a nine-yard gain, while Damiere Byrd had a very quiet Sunday as well — just two catches for 16 yards.
QB: Joshua Dobbs (Steelers) - OUT
RB: Alvin Kamara (Saints) – 16.7
RB: Jakob Johnson (Patriots) – 0.6
WR: Cordarrelle Patterson (Bears) – 12.8
WR: Marquez Callaway (Saints) - IR
TE: Jason Witten (Raiders) – 0
FLEX: Luke Stocker (Falcons) - 0
TOTAL = 30.1
Alvin Kamara managed to get back on the horse against the Falcons in Week 13. Though still shy of his average fantasy game with Drew Brees at the helm, 15 rushes for 88 yards and a touchdown and two catches for nine yards was a little more like it.
Cordarelle Patterson took 10 rushes for 59 yards and a touchdown, added a four-yard catch, and had a heck of a return on the opening kickoff of the game. He remains a Swiss Army knife.
This is the only place you’ll see it pointed out: Jakob Johnson caught a pass for a yard. Read it. Cherish it. Read it again. Tweet about it. I have. The holidays are coming up. We all like to be noticed. Show some love.
QB: Ryan Tannehill (Titans) – 28.6
RB: Trayveon Williams (Bengals) - 0
RB: Cullen Gillaspia (Texans) - IR
WR: Josh Reynolds (Rams) – 2.6
WR: Christian Kirk (Cardinals) - 0.7
TE: Jace Sternberger (Packers) – 0
FLEX: Mike Evans (Buccaneers) – BYE
K: Randy Bullock (Bengals) - 1
TOTAL = 32.9
Tannehill’s fantasy scoring benefited greatly from the first half 38-7 tail-kicking delivered by the Browns, as he nearly led his squad all the way back in the final 30 minutes of the game. Unfortunately for him and his Titans, his final line of 29-of-45 for 389 yards, three touchdowns, a blameless interception, and a 2-point conversion came up just short of the nearly impossible comeback.
That’s all we will talk about from the Aggies.
RB: Khari Blasingame (Titans) – 0
RB: Ke’Shawn Vaughn (Buccaneers) - BYE
WR: Trent Sherfield (Cardinals) - 0
TOTAL = 0
That same Vandy taste. Zero calories.
FANTASY STANDINGS THROUGH WEEK 12
1. Alabama: 1198.3 (last week - 1)
2. Georgia: 958.5 (2)
3. LSU: 926 (3)
4. Texas A&M: 728.9(4)
5. South Carolina: 566.2 (5)
6. Auburn: 550.9 (6)
7. Ole Miss: 515.3 (7)
8. Tennessee: 372.7 (8)
9. Florida: 325.6 (9)
10. Mississippi State: 151.9 (10)
11. Missouri: 143 (11)
12. Kentucky: 137.1
13. Arkansas: 115.1 (13)
14. Vanderbilt: 20.3 (14)
WEEK 12 ALL-SEC FANTASY TEAM
QB: Ryan Tannehill (Texas A&M/Titans) – 28.6
RB: Nick Chubb (Georgia/Browns) - 17.1
RB: Alvin Kamara (Tennessee/Saints) - 16.7
WR: Justin Jefferson (LSU/Vikings) - 22.8
WR: Jarvis Landry (LSU/Browns) - 16.4
TE: Dawson Knox (Ole Miss/Bills) or Jordan Reed (Florida/49ers) - 10.7
FLEX: Henry Ruggs III (Alabama/Raiders) - 13.9
K: Cody Parkey (Auburn/Browns) - 12
TOTAL = 138.2
Eight different SEC teams had players make the all-conference list in Week 13, with LSU as the only team to have multiple players at the top of their position. Obviously, that production came from the Bengal Tiger wide receivers. This marks the fifth week Justin Jefferson has been featured, tying him with A.J. Brown for most honors on the season from a wide receiver. Jarvis Landry followed up his first all-conference performance of the year in Week 12 with a second in a row.
Ryan Tannehill has all but solidified his place as our SEC Quarterback of the Year with another top performance on Sunday — his third consecutive week at the top of the position.
It’s now a streak for Cody Parkey, who was the Kicker of the Week again in Week 13. Interestingly, his back-to-back double-digit totals have been good enough to lead the SEC in each of the last two weeks, but none of his three consecutive weeks in double figures from Week 3-5 were the best in the conference.
Dawson Knox and Jordan Reed had very similar low volume, low yardage touchdown scoring days that resulted in 10.7 fantasy points. For Knox, his best performance of 2020 put him on the All-SEC list for the first time while Jordan Reed returned for the first time since Week 2.
Henry Ruggs and Alvin Kamara are the final pair of first time in a long time skill position players. Ruggs last second, game-winning catch was good enough to land him a FLEX spot — marking his first time on the list since Week 5. Kamara’s All-SEC absence lasted just two weeks, as he had a bit of a return to form game in Week 13, his first with Taysom Hill.
The standings remained the same this week and the BYE weeks are behind us. Health and performance will dictate what happens from here.
Can Auburn finally close the 15.3 point gap for the Top 5 position they’ve been stalking down for weeks? Or will Ole Miss’s pass catchers chase them down and clinch the spot? Does LSU have enough in the tank without Burrow to give Georgia a run for second best in the conference? Which of Missouri, Kentucky, and Arkansas will crack the Top 10? Will Vanderbilt score again? Tune in as we grind out the final quarter of the fantasy season.
If you would like to order a two-pack of our new Auburn Observer stickers for $2, follow the instructions at this link.