There are 32 NFL teams. There are, what, 25 NFL quarterbacks? There are just some awful ball-throwers out there. The awful quarterbacks really highlighted the Worst of the Week, though there were some seriously disappointing performers at other positions as well.
Below, we break down the worst of what was by and large a decent week. Sorry for the depressing reminders:
Worst quarterbacks in Week 13
Matt Flynn, GB (139 passing yards, 0 touchdowns, 1 interception, 2 lost fumbles, -1 fantasy point)
Flynn looked decent in Week 12, coming in for Scott Tolzien. He threw for 218 yards in basically one half of play and had 14 fantasy points. In theory, taking the first-team reps in an offense he was at least moderately familiar with, it made sense that Flynn could have been a Week 13 sleeper. Instead, it went about as far in the other direction as it could have on Thanksgiving, with Flynn being basically a quarterback disaster; the Packers had a field goal two minutes into the game, and the offense did nothing else. Even Green Bay's touchdown came on a fumble return. With Scott Tolzien also struggling, Aaron Rodgers' health still in question, and the Packers quickly falling out of the playoff race, Flynn might start again in Week 14, and he might not, but there's not a fantasy owner in the world who should care.
Next game: Had Flynn done anything worth anything Thursday, a matchup against the worst defense in football, the Atlanta Falcons, would be worth drooling over. As it is, the only takeaway is that the Falcons probably won't be the worst defense in the league next week.
Geno Smith, NYJ (29 passing yards, 0 touchdowns, 1 interception, -1 fantasy point)
Matt Simms, NYJ (79 passing yards, 0 touchdowns, 1 interception, 1 lost fumble, -1 fantasy point)
These two get lumped in together for obvious reasons, and their combined full-game numbers (108 passing yards and two interceptions) might look even worse than the two of them individually. The 2013 season for the Jets has gone from promising to horrifying alarmingly quickly; Smith hasn't topped two fantasy points in a game since Week 9, and now has scored four or fewer points six times in 12 games. Meanwhile, Simms, an undrafted rookie free agent, doesn't look even close to ready for the NFL. It seems likely the Jets will be linked to some free-agent quarterbacks in the week to come.
Next game: The Jets play the Oakland Raiders in Week 14. Are the Oakland Raiders an NFL team? Yes? Then Smith and Simms aren't worth of any fantasy looks.
Christian Ponder, MIN (40 passing yards, 0 touchdowns, 0 interceptions, 1 fantasy point)
At the very least, Ponder has an excuse for his poor performance Sunday that his fellow bad quarterbacks do not. The Vikings' quarterback left the game late in the second quarter with what appeared to be a concussion, and didn't return. That said, he managed only 40 passing yards while he was in there, and he played most of the first half. The team was just going to ride running back Adrian Peterson as far as he could take them, and it turned out to be a long way. In Ponder's absence, backup quarterback Matt Cassel came in and wasn't bad; he threw for 243 yards and a touchdown in the Vikings' win.
Next game: Cassel actually hasn't been a disaster this season; though he's started only two games, he has at least 240 passing yards three times. The team might let Ponder take time to make sure his head is healthy, but even if they don't do that, Cassel might be the better play as the Vikings take on the Baltimore Ravens.
Worst running backs in Week 13
Eddie Lacy, GB (16 rushing yards, 23 receiving yards, 3 fantasy points)
With the exception of the game he left after one carry with a concussion in Week 2, Lacy had at least eight fantasy points in every game he had played this season entering Thanksgiving. As it turns out, having an awful player at quarterback makes it difficult for running backs to thrive. The Lions could sell out to stop Lacy Thursday, and it showed, as he averaged only 1.6 yards per carry in the game; his season average entering Week 13 was 4.1.
Next game: Lacy and the Packers face the Atlanta Falcons in Week 14. If Matt Flynn is still the quarterback, the team will lean on Lacy and need him to break free better than he was able to do Thursday. If they go back to Scott Tolzien, or if Aaron Rodgers can make it back from injury, both options would help Lacy more than Flynn.
Danny Woodhead, SD (22 rushing yards, 13 receiving yards, 3 fantasy points)
Woodhead has been a pleasant surprise this season, coming into Week 13 as the No. 15 fantasy running back. His hot early season has faded a bit, though; he has three fantasy points in two of his last three games, and has only scored in the double digits once since Week 7. Still, he has seven touchdowns (two rushing, five receiving) on the year, and is on pace for more than 1,000 yards from scrimmage.
Next game: The Chargers take on the New York Giants in Week 14. Woodhead had five or more catches in five straight weeks early in the season, but only has had that many once since Week 6. If he's not getting the ball thrown to him, Woodhead doesn't have a lot of value; he's averaging only 24 rushing yards a game on the season.
Giovani Bernard, CIN (57 rushing yards, 9 receiving yards, 9 fantasy points)
Bernard is still looking for his first game of more than 80 rushing yards, and he was dwarfed in production Sunday by teammate BenJarvus Green-Ellis, who had 20 carries compared to Bernard's 14. As long as Green-Ellis is around in Cincinnati, Bernard's ceiling is generally pretty low; the second running back has enough ability to be useful. On the other hand, Green-Ellis fumbled late in the game Sunday. It was his fifth in the last two seasons after famously never fumbling in New England. That could affect Green-Ellis going forward.
Next game: While Green-Ellis' presence keeps Bernard's ceiling somewhat low, Bernard's own presence keeps his floor high. The Bengals face the Indianapolis Colts next week, and Bernard can likely be counted on to at least outperform his poor Week 13.
Worst wide receivers in Week 13
Jordy Nelson, GB (14 receiving yards, 1 fantasy point)
Have you noticed the theme of this week's worst? Hint: Wisconsin. Nelson, like Lacy, saw his Thanksgiving performance irreparably damaged by having Matt Flynn at quarterback. While Nelson managed to have moderate success with Scott Tolzien at quarterback, the Packers' passing game was just completely shut down Thursday. Nelson, a top-10 wide receiver entering Thursday, must really miss Aaron Rodgers.
Next game: It's been mentioned twice in this column already, but the Packers are going to have to find a better quarterback in order for their players to have much value, even against a sorry defense like the Falcons'. Whether it's Rodgers, Tolzien, or someone not even on Green Bay's roster, what they have now isn't working.
Nate Burleson, DET (0 yards, 0 fantasy points)
A week after his big return from injury, with 77 receiving yards, a touchdown, and 13 fantasy points, Burleson was a complete no-show on Thanksgiving. He wasn't even targeted in the Lions' 40-10 win. Even those who were wary of Burleson upon his return had to have bought in somewhat after his big game. There was little reason to expect Burleson's complete zero Thursday.
Next game: Burleson basically has to improve on his performance in Week 14; the fact that the Lions get to face the Philadelphia Eagles' defense only helps matters, as the Eagles are the worst team in the NFL against opposing fantasy wide receivers.
T.Y. Hilton, IND (46 receiving yards, 4 fantasy points)
This is Hilton's third straight week listed as a worst, which makes it all the more amazing that he's still 16th among wide receivers in fantasy points. Hilton has five catches in three straight games, but his 46 yards Sunday is his most in that time. He had 100-plus yards four times in the team's first nine games, but other than those four, Sunday's 46 is Hilton's high-water mark for 2013. He's starting to look like a boom-or-bust type of receiver in the mold of Vincent Jackson.
Next game: Hilton and the Colts take on the Cincinnati Bengals in Week 14. Hilton has built up enough goodwill that one more start for Hilton can be justified, but if he disappoints again, it might be time to sit him down.
Worst tight ends in Week 13:
Martellus Bennett, CHI (14 receiving yards, 1 fantasy point)
Bennett had 12 fantasy points a week ago, looking like he might be rebounding from a series of poor performances, but that went away in Week 13. Bennett had 29 fantasy points in Weeks 1 and 2; he is averaging 4.9 per game since.
Antonio Gates, SD (41 receiving yards, 1 fumble lost, 2 fantasy points)
Sunday was Gates' second-straight two-point fantasy game; after topping 100 yards twice in the season's first four games, the tight end's numbers have been falling lately, buoyed only by a Week 11 touchdown. With wide receiver Keenan Allen, running back Danny Woodhead and backup tight end Ladarius Green all providing value, the Chargers haven't had to devote as much attention to Gates, and it has showed.
Next game: The Chargers host the New York Giants in Week 14; even with his recent struggles, he's a No. 1 tight end and needs to be started every week.
Worst defense in Week 13
Denver Broncos (28 points allowed, 1 interception, -4 fantasy points)
The Broncos' defense isn't awful -- it has scored double-digit fantasy points four times this season -- so their bad score Sunday is more a testament to Kansas City's improved offense than anything else.