Redskins at Panthers
Team Totals: Panthers 25, Redskins 15
The Redskins visit Carolina with fewer than 20 points in ten straight games quarterbacked by selfie-taking, late-game kneeldown-skipping rookie Dwayne Haskins, who’s absorbed 13 sacks in three starts and should be aggressively targeted by fantasy owners of Carolina’s D/ST. The Panthers rank No. 2 in sacks (41) and No. 5 in QB hits (77) and have held 8-of-11 quarterbacks faced to fantasy results of QB15 or lower, rendering Haskins a poor two-QB-league play. … Although Adrian Peterson and Derrius Guice wound up with the same number of Week 12 touches (11), Guice out-snapped Peterson 24 to 20, ran two more routes, and is Week 13’s top flex option in Washington’s backfield. While the threat of both backs getting negatively scripted out of Sunday’s game is real – the Redskins are ten-point road dogs – this is a somewhat enticing spot for Guice against a Panthers defense now missing NT Dontari Poe (quad) in addition to DT Kawann Short (shoulder, I.R.) and hemorrhaging 4.95 yards per carry and a league-high 19 all-purpose TDs to enemy backs. Chris Thompson‘s (toe) expected return severely caps Guice’s passing-game upside, but this is the best matchup Guice will draw the rest of the way. … Even as sixth-round rookie possession WR Kelvin Harmon has become mildly interesting with Paul Richardson battling injuries over the past two weeks, the lone Redskins pass catcher worth week-in and week-out fantasy consideration is Terry McLaurin, who leads Washington in targets (22) and Air Yards (323) in Haskins’ three starts. Unfortunately, Haskins’ errant passing has sent McLaurin into boom-bust WR3 range, and his Week 13 matchup is daunting. Combined, teams targeting Panthers outside CBs James Bradberry and Donte Jackson are 62-of-104 passing (59.6%) for 816 yards, four TDs, and six picks.
This is yet another eruption spot for Christian McCaffrey as a home-favorite bellcow with 130-plus total yards in 9-of-11 games and a league-high 16 all-purpose TDs facing a Washington defense serving up 159.6 total yards per game to enemy backs. There’s not much else to say about CMC; he’s fantasy’s No. 1 running back play each week. … Just as he was beginning to be counted out, Kyle Allen turned in his second-best game of the year in last week’s three-point road loss at the Superdome, rallying Carolina back from a second-half deficit only to fall short on K Joey Slye’s missed fourth-quarter chip shot. Allen finished as Week 12’s fantasy QB8 on the heels of seven straight starts at QB15 or worse. The Redskins are a dead-middle 15th in fantasy points allowed to quarterbacks, while Allen’s much-bigger sample size suggests his season-long streamer appeal is minimal. He’s still a just a two-quarterback-league starter.
Allen’s 2019 target distribution: D.J. Moore 79; CMC 65; Curtis Samuel 62; Greg Olsen 50; Jarius Wright 27. … We discussed way back in Establish The Run’s Draft Kit that Moore projected best as ex-Cowboys OC Norv Turner’s version of high-volume X receiver Michael Irvin and Samuel as deeper-threat, lower-volume “Z” Alvin Harper. That’s especially come to fruition in the last month with Moore out-targeting Samuel 45 to 25 and logging 95-plus yards in all four games. Placing himself firmly on every-week WR1 maps, Moore now has eight-plus targets in seven straight games and shouldn’t stop smashing in another unimposing draw versus Washington. … Samuel has devolved into a touchdown-or-bust WR3/flex option running too many vertical routes in an offense quarterbacked by a non-vertical passer. Samuel’s aDOT is 14.2 over the last four weeks, highest on the team by nearly three yards per target. The good news is Washington has struggled with speed-merchant WRs DeSean Jackson (8/154/2), Stefon Diggs (7/143/0), John Brown (4/76/0), Taylor Gabriel (6/75/3), Devin Smith (3/74/1), Amari Cooper (4/44/1), and DeVante Parker (3/28/1). Samuel runs 4.31. … Olsen should stay locked into season-long lineups against a Redskins defense permitting the NFL’s eighth-most fantasy points to tight ends. Since Carolina’s Week 7 bye, Olsen ranks fourth in targets (40), fourth in Air Yards (270), and first in routes run (195) among tight ends. Olsen is also a screaming positive-TD-regression candidate without a score since Week 3.
Score Prediction: Panthers 27, Redskins 13
Jets at Bengals
Team Totals: Jets 22, Bengals 18
Suddenly one of the NFL’s hottest offenses, the Jets have scored 34 points in three straight games and should stay toasty for at least the next two weeks against the Bengals and Dolphins. Eight of the last ten quarterbacks to face Cincinnati logged top-13 fantasy scores, while DC Lou Anarumo’s unit lacks pass-rush firepower to exploit Gang Green’s leaky protection, ranking bottom two in both sacks (16) and QB hits (44). Sam Darnold’s fantasy scores during the Jets’ three-game win streak are QB8 > QB7 > QB3. In another plum draw, he’s a surefire season-long QB1 with ample upside for DFS tournaments. Darnold’s ceiling is heightened with Andy Dalton rather than soft-tossing rookie Ryan Finley on the other side, raising this game’s high-scoring chances. … Le’Veon Bell was unfortunately robbed of a big Week 12 by Darnold, who threw two one-yard touchdown passes and rushed in another himself. Bell still enters Week 13 averaging 21 touches over his last four games, while enemy backs have gashed Cincinnati for 4.73 yards per carry and a 165 total-yards average. Bell has 100-plus total yards and/or a touchdown in four straight weeks. Bell’s to-date lack of big-play ability has been frustrating and alarming – he has zero 20-yard runs and a long reception of 23 – but his workload is secure, and this is a mouth-watering spot.
Darnold’s 2019 target distribution: Jamison Crowder 62; Robby Anderson 44; Le’Veon 39; Demaryius Thomas 38; Ryan Griffin 30; Vyncint Smith 12; Ty Montgomery 7; Bilal Powell 5. … Crowder got lost in the Week 12 shuffle with Darnold spreading the ball around; no Jet topped five targets in last week’s smooth-sailing destruction of the Raiders. This is a bounce-back spot for Gang Green’s slot man; Cincy notably allowed at- or above-expectation stat lines to fellow interior WRs Cooper Kupp (7/220/1), Dede Westbrook (6/103/0), and Hunter Renfrow (5/66/0) within the last five weeks. … Week 13 sets up just as favorably for deep threat Anderson, whose big Week 12 (4/86/1) should inspire confidence in one of fantasy’s least-consistent commodities. Only three teams have yielded more 20-plus-yard completions than Cincinnati (49), while Anderson has commanded 16 20-plus-yard downfield targets, 11 more than anyone else on the Jets. … Thomas is a touchdown-or-bust WR4 who hasn’t hit pay dirt all year with zero targets inside the ten-yard line. … Griffin leads New York in targets inside the ten (4) and should stay hot against the Bengals, who got drilled by Darren Waller (5/78/0), Nick Boyle (4/78/0), Mark Andrews (6/53/2), and Foster Moreau (2/8/1) all within the last three weeks. Griffin is an every-week TE1.
Ostensibly hoping to avoid the 0-16 stigma, rookie coach Zac Taylor reinstalled Andy Dalton this week after Ryan Finley’s incompetent three-game run wherein he completed just 47.1% of his passes at 5.4 yards per attempt. Dalton (60.4%, 6.7 YPA) should be able to spark Cincinnati’s offense somewhat in a home game against the Jets, who rank 25th in sack rate (6%) and have permitted an 18:7 TD-to-INT ratio to enemy passers. Although Dalton’s supporting cast is too depleted for QB1 streamer consideration, I like him as a sneaky-upside two-QB-league play. … No aspect of Joe Mixon’s 2019 season has been more frustrating than his shortage of passing-game involvement. A stellar receiver at Oklahoma who caught 43 balls in 14 games last year, Mixon is pathetically averaging 2.3 targets per game since Week 4 and wasn’t targeted at all in last week’s loss to Pittsburgh. Giovani Bernard ran more routes (18) than Mixon (16) in Week 12. All of this especially matters this week because the Jets play league-best run defense – stonewalling enemy backs for 3.01 yards per carry – yet have allowed the NFL’s third-most running back catches (71), a deficiency Mixon is strangely not positioned to exploit due to irrational coaching. Mixon warrants RB2 treatment with 100-plus total yards and/or a touchdown in four of his last five games, but his ceiling is always capped as what amounts to an early-down committee leader on a low-scoring team.
Dalton’s 2019 target distribution: Tyler Boyd 82; Auden Tate 54; Alex Erickson 36; Tyler Eifert 34; John Ross 32; Mixon and Bernard 25; C.J. Uzomah and Damion Willis 14. … With Dalton quarterbacking in Weeks 1-8, Boyd ranked third in the NFL in targets and 14th in receiving yards (536). Boyd should be immediately restored as an every-week WR2. He has 90 catches for 1,109 yards over Dalton’s last 16 starts. … Tate and Erickson round out Cincinnati’s three-receiver set. Tate was fantasy’s overall WR21 in PPR scoring with Dalton quarterbacking in Weeks 3-8, logging 50-plus yards and/or a touchdown in all six games on an 8.7-target average. Tate is an underrated WR3/flex option against the Jets’ secondary, which has allowed the NFL’s eighth-most fantasy points to wide receivers. … Erickson is scoreless on the season with two games above 47 yards. … Eifert still isn’t playing enough for streamer consideration. His playing-time clips were under 40% in each of the last three weeks. … Forward-thinking season-long leaguers should grab Ross (shoulder, I.R.) off waivers. He is eligible to return in Week 14 and faces Miami in Week 16. Before going down in late September, Ross ranked No. 14 in the NFL in Air Yards (377), No. 10 in actual receiving yards (328), and scored three touchdowns in Cincy’s first four games.
Score Prediction: Jets 27, Bengals 21
Colts at Titans
Team Totals: Colts 23, Titans 20.5
At least from a usage standpoint, the Titans visit Lucas Oil Stadium as one of the NFL’s simplest offenses to parse. Derrick Henry is Tennessee’s clear-cut offensive focal point, and Ryan Tannehill has added decisive playmaking ability predecessor Marcus Mariota did not. Henry’s three-game rushing line versus the Colts since Matt Eberflus became defensive coordinator is 40/221/1 (5.53 YPC) with 200 combined total yards in their last two meetings. With 16-plus touches in 11-of-11 games, Henry is a usage-secure fringe RB1 even against an Indy front that shut down enemy backs for 73/248/0 (3.40 YPC) rushing over its last four games. The Colts’ skill-player depletion – which we’ll get to in a minute – works in Henry’s favor by lowering Indy’s scoring expectation and raising Tennessee’s chances of controlling clock and feeding the big dog. … Tannehill’s five-start hot streak likely ends against Indianapolis’ zone coverage, which will keep eyes on Tannehill as a rusher and over the course of the season has allowed the NFL’s tenth-fewest fantasy points to quarterbacks. Eight of the last ten signal callers to face the Colts finished with fantasy scores of QB12 or worse. Held under 20 pass attempts in consecutive games, Tannehill’s low-volume usage will catch up to him soon. He’ll catch a better matchup in Week 14 against Oakland.
Tannehill’s 2019 target distribution: A.J. Brown 29; Corey Davis 25; Adam Humphries and Jonnu Smith 22; Anthony Firkser 12; Tajae Sharpe and Dion Lewis 11; Henry 8. … Brown’s stat lines are all over the place in Tannehill’s five starts (4/135/1 > 1/17/0 > 4/81/0 > 2/11/1 > 6/64/0) on a run-based team that doesn’t design plays to feature an individual receiver. Regardless of matchups, Brown’s usage renders him a dicey WR3 despite immense talent. Brown ranks No. 8 in yards per route run among 90 qualified receivers. … Conversely 64th in yards per route, Davis has cleared 50 yards twice over his last 15 games. He’s a Hail Mary WR4 option at this point. … Humphries has drawn eight targets over the past three weeks and has one touchdown over his last 15 games. … Delanie Walker’s (ankle) placement on I.R. locks in Smith as Tennessee’s primary tight end after Smith emerged from Tennessee’s Week 11 bye playing a season-high 94% of the offensive snaps. Smith was the odd man out of the Titans’ passing game on a day where Tannehill attempted just 18 throws but will command more opportunity most weeks as a newly-promoted full-time player. Indianapolis’ zone defense can be susceptible to tight ends – it’s allowed the NFL’s tenth-most catches to the position (57) – and Smith was fantasy’s TE8 in PPR leagues across Tannehill’s first four starts. Smith looks like a very underrated streamer against the Colts.
The Colts come off a mini-bye following last Thursday night’s loss to Houston for another divisional bout against Tennessee. Missing T.Y. Hilton (calf), Marlon Mack (hand), Eric Ebron (ankles, I.R.), and Devin Funchess (collarbone), the extremely shorthanded Colts figure to struggle to score on a Titans defense allowing the NFL’s ninth-fewest points per game (19.7). Sporting a bulky knee brace that restricts his mobility with fantasy results of QB26 > QB17 > QB16 in Weeks 10-12, Jacoby Brissett only belongs in two-quarterback-league consideration. … Jonathan Williams sewed up Indy’s feature back job for at least another week by pounding the Texans for 121 yards and a touchdown on 29 touches in last week’s defeat, playing 67% of the Colts’ offensive snaps on usage that would make Mack jealous. Williams is a volume-driven RB2 play. … Although Tennessee has held enemy backs to 4.03 yards per carry, DC Dean Pees’ defense permits the NFL’s second-most running back catches per game (6.5), giving Nyhiem Hines PPR-specific flex life after the Colts’ receiving specialist handled a season-high 11 touches in Week 12.
Brissett’s 2019 target distribution: Hilton 52; Ebron 38; Jack Doyle 34; Hines 32; Zach Pascal 30; Chester Rogers 19; Parris Campbell 15; Mack 13; Williams 4. … With so much opportunity freed up by Hilton, Ebron, and Funchess’ absences, Doyle deserves to be a popular DFS play against a Titans defense that’s allowed the NFL’s 11th-most fantasy points to tight ends. Doyle isn’t going to come off the field, and his passing-game role projects to spike considerably with Ebron done for the year. When Brissett made 15 starts for the 2017 Colts, he targeted (105) and completed more passes (78) to Doyle than anyone else on the team. … Pascal, Rogers, and Marcus Johnson figure to make up the Colts’ three-wide set with Campbell (hand) not due back yet. Pascal is an underrated flex option and under-the-radar DFS-tournament play against a Titans secondary that struggles versus perimeter receivers, most notably Mike Evans (11/198/2), Tyreek Hill (11/157/1), D.J. Moore (7/101/0), D.J. Chark (4/76/1), Courtland Sutton (4/76/0), John Brown (5/75/0), Odell Beckham (7/71/0), Curtis Samuel (3/64/1), Mecole Hardman (1/63/1), T.Y. Hilton (4/43/1), and Duke Williams (4/29/1). Available on most season-long-league waiver wires, Pascal should be added quickly after Hilton’s calf-injury setback. The Colts play the Bucs in Week 14.
Score Prediction: Titans 24, Colts 17
49ers at Ravens
Team Totals: Ravens 26, 49ers 20
49ers-Ravens sets up as a thrilling real-life game with fewer fantasy implications totaled fairly low at 46 points and San Francisco drawing the short end. Just 1-of-11 quarterbacks to face Baltimore has logged top-12 fantasy results, while Jimmy Garoppolo has been a top-12 scorer in only 4-of-11 starts. Jimmy G is a low-end two-QB-league play versus the league’s best secondary. … Matt Breida’s (ankle) expected return opens the possibility of San Francisco’s backfield devolving into a three-man timeshare, especially if coach Kyle Shanahan determines Raheem Mostert has earned a legitimate role after sparking the 49ers’ rushing attack with 28 carries for 144 yards and two touchdowns (5.14 YPC) over his last five games. Tevin Coleman has struggled mightily since his four-TD Week 8 explosion against Carolina, managing 2.64 yards per carry and averaging an underwhelming 13.8 touches per game. Neither projected game script nor workload bankability is working in this backfield’s favor. Coleman is still the best flex option, but he’s a risky one with fewer than 75 total yards in six of his last seven games.
George Kittle gutted out the fracture in his ankle to torch Green Bay’s secondary for 6/129/1 receiving on 79% of the 49ers’ Week 12 offensive snaps and should be healthier this week. Indeed, he was not even listed on Friday’s final injury report. The Ravens have allowed the NFL’s fourth-fewest fantasy points to tight ends, rendering Kittle a bet-on-talent TE1 play. Kittle has 86-plus yards and/or a touchdown in five of his last six games. … Emmanuel Sanders has been quiet outside of his Week 9 explosion (7/112/1) against Arizona, managing 33 yards or fewer in each of his other four games as a 49er. A debilitating rib injury is largely to blame, and Sanders’ health remains questionable entering Week 13 following another limited week of practice. He’s a high-risk WR3 option in this tough draw. … Deebo Samuel drew only two targets in last week’s blowout win over Green Bay but tied Sanders for the team lead in routes run (20) in a game where Garoppolo needed to complete just 14 passes in San Francisco’s smooth-sailing win. Healthier than Sanders, Samuel remains the 49ers’ best fantasy wideout bet at Baltimore. … After Dante Pettis (knee) got injured in Wednesday’s practice, San Francisco’s three-receiver set will be rounded out by low-upside possession WR Kendrick Bourne.
Lamar Jackson reproved his matchup-proof scoring ability in last Monday night’s five-TD demolition of the Rams and gets another opportunity to reinforce it here. This is a letdown spot for San Francisco after its nationally-televised Sunday night blowout of Green Bay, now traveling cross country to face the NFL’s best team. The Niners’ defense continues to lose critical bodies, most notably glue-guy MLB Kwon Alexander (torn pec) in Week 9, dangerous nickel rusher Ronald Blair (ACL) in Week 10, seven-sack DE Dee Ford (hamstring) in Week 11, and Blair fill-in Damontre Moore (broken arm) in Week 12. San Francisco gave up top-eight fantasy scores to Kyler Murray in Weeks 9 and 11, and Jackson is an upper-case version of Kyler with a superior supporting cast. Per Sports Info Solutions, 62% of Jackson’s designed runs are going to the outside. San Francisco has shown extreme vulnerability on run plays to the edges, coughing up 7.1 yards per carry on perimeter runs. … The 49ers’ run defense doesn’t present a Week 13 matchup to fear after coughing up a 162/752/3 (4.64 YPC) rushing line to enemy backs over its last eight games. Mark Ingram’s box-score production is much more tied to touchdowns than rushing efficiency, anyway, with 12 all-purpose TDs in 11 games and the NFL’s fourth-most carries inside the ten-yard line (12). Ingram continues to be an RB2 with every-week RB1 upside driven purely by end-zone trips. Gus Edwards and Justice Hill still need blowout-driven garbage time to matter in fantasy football.
Jackson’s post-bye target distribution: Marquise Brown 19; Mark Andrews 18; Nick Boyle 13; Willie Snead 11; Ingram 8; Hayden Hurst 6; Seth Roberts and Patrick Ricard 4; Miles Boykin 2. … Brown’s Week 12 usage painted a promising picture as to his health; “Hollywood” ran 24 routes – his most since Week 5 – and played 62% of Baltimore’s offensive snaps, his most since Week 4. The 49ers have shown no vulnerability to wide receivers, but Brown can run by any defensive back and warrants upside WR3 treatment here. … No team has allowed fewer fantasy points to tight ends than San Francisco, rendering Andrews a bet-on-talent play. If the 49ers keep Sunday’s game close, the Ravens will need Brown and Andrews more than usual. … Chasing Ravens ancillary pass catchers has been a losing proposition despite their sporadic popups. It’s Jackson, Ingram, Andrews, Brown, and then a full-on guessing game.
Score Prediction: Ravens 27, 49ers 13
Bucs at Jaguars
Team Totals: Jaguars 25, Bucs 24
As Jacksonville returns home after consecutive blowout away-game losses, and Tampa Bay stays on the road following its upset win at Atlanta, the Jaguars look bounce-back positioned, while the Bucs seem destined for a letdown spot. Still top five in sacks (34) and No. 6 in QB hits (74), the Jags’ D/ST belongs firmly on streamer radars against Jameis Winston, who’s thrown multiple interceptions in five of his last six starts and committed nineteen turnovers during that span, “good” for an average of over three per game. Per Sports Info Solutions, Jacksonville has generated pressure at the NFL’s second-highest rate (43.3%) over the last five weeks. Winston’s 8.6% interception rate when pressured is highest in the league. … At the same time, Winston remains playable in season-long leagues with top-ten scores in four of his last five starts amid the turnover blitz. This game has high-scoring, back-and-forth potential. … Particularly after he reemerged as Tampa Bay’s backfield touches (15) and snaps (50%) leader in last week’s win over the Falcons, this game offers Ronald Jones blowup potential against a Jags defense that’s hemorrhaged 200-plus rushing yards in three straight games, including a combined rushing line of 80/589/5 (7.36 YPC!) to Texans, Colts, and Titans backs. Jones’ floor is low because he’ll lose playing time to Dare Ogunbowale and/or Peyton Barber if Tampa Bay falls behind, but his matchup-driven RB1 ceiling can’t be denied. Set up to finish fast, Jones’ rest-of-season fantasy schedule is outstanding at the Jags, at home versus the Colts, at the Lions, and hosting the J.J. Watt-less Texans in Weeks 13-16.
Winston’s 2019 target distribution: Mike Evans 105; Chris Godwin 97; Cameron Brate 36; Ogunbowale 33; Breshad Perriman 32; O.J. Howard 28; Jones 26; Scott Miller 23; Barber 16. … Evans drew eight or more targets for the fifth time in Tampa Bay’s last six games in Week 12’s convincing win over Atlanta but got squeezed by Godwin’s monster day and Winston’s 28 attempts, well below Jameis’ season average of 40.6. Evans (6’5/231) is a bet-on-talent bounce-back play against lightweight Jags perimeter CBs A.J. Bouye (6’0/186) and Tre Herndon (5’11/186). Bouye in particular got roughhoused for repeated big plays by A.J. Brown (6’0/226) last week. … The Jags haven’t shown noticeable slot receiver leaks this year, but Godwin is long past earning matchup-agnostic WR1 treatment with 70-plus yards and/or a touchdown in 8-of-11 games. Godwin leads the NFL in touchdown catches (9) and is on pace for 1,559 yards. … Benched in Week 11, Howard regained his lead tight end role against the Falcons but managed two targets on 78% of the snaps. Brate ran nine routes, his third fewest all year. As neither tight end is consistently involved in the Bucs’ passing offense, this has become a fantasy situation to avoid.
While it may feel uncomfortable based on Nick Foles’ recent on-field play, this is a spot to invest in Jacksonville’s passing offense in Foles’ first home-game start since he got injured in Week 1. Tampa Bay has allowed 27-plus points in 9-of-11 games and buoyed quarterback floors by yielding top-15 fantasy results to nine straight signal callers faced. Opponents are well aware of the Bucs’ secondary leaks; no team in the NFL in facing more pass attempts per game (41.9). Foles hasn’t been all that bad in fantasy, anyway, with QB12 and QB15 results in two starts since returning from I.R. Foles is an upside streamer with legitimate DFS-tournament appeal. … While Tampa Bay reinforced its run-defense strength in last week’s win over the Falcons, Leonard Fournette reinforced his own matchup-proof scoring ability against Tennessee with his fourth straight game of five or more catches and topped 110 yards from scrimmage for the sixth time in his last eight tries. On pace for 82 receptions, Fournette is a confidently-elite RB1 play with a high floor and ceiling due to his long-run ability and consistent every-down usage.
Foles’ 2019 target distribution: D.J. Chark 23; Fournette 21; Chris Conley 19; Dede Westbrook 15; Keelan Cole 7; Nick O’Leary 4. … Fourth in the NFL in Air Yards in Foles’ two starts (274), Week 13’s matchup places Chark in an ideal environment facing a Bucs defense yielding the NFL’s most fantasy points to receivers. There aren’t five wideouts on Sunday’s slate with higher ceilings than Chark based on opportunity and matchup. … Right behind Chark, Conley ranks fifth in the NFL in Air Yards over the past two weeks and makes for a similarly attractive yet far-more-affordable DFS play in an optimal matchup on optimal opportunity. Fellow outside WRs Calvin Ridley (6/85/1), Christian Kirk (6/138/3), D.K. Metcalf (6/123/1), Michael Thomas (8/114/1), and Andy Isabella (3/78/0) all beat fantasy expectations against Tampa within the Bucs’ last four games. I’m chalking up Conley’s lack of inclusion in this week’s Buy Low Air Yards Model to a human-err malfunction by Josh Hermsmeyer. … Westbrook has lacked the high-leverage opportunities of Chark and Conley as a short-area slot target, but this matchup gives Westbrook his best 2019 chance to break out. The Bucs have been burned for nine touchdowns on slot passes this year, while fellow slot WRs Tyler Lockett (13/152/2), Russell Gage (8/76/0), and Larry Fitzgerald (8/71/0) each tagged Tampa Bay for 15-plus PPR points within the last four weeks.
Score Prediction: Jaguars 30, Bucs 24
Eagles at Dolphins
Team Totals: Eagles 27.5, Dolphins 17.5
Held to 10 and 9 points in their last two games and losers of four of their last six, the Eagles badly need an offensive spark and may get one in Miami with Lane Johnson (concussion), Alshon Jeffery (ankle) Nelson Agholor (knee), and Brandon Brooks (illness) all due back to push Philly’s offense toward full strength. Miami’s defense has been rocked for top-12 QB1 scores in 7-of-11 games and the NFL’s fourth-most fantasy quarterback points on the year. Carson Wentz remains a leap-of-faith streamer coming off five straight starts of QB17 or worse, but you couldn’t draw up a better get-well spot for a struggling passer. … Especially with Jordan Howard (shoulder) not yet cleared, Miles Sanders continues to project as Philly’s feature back following consecutive playing-time clips near 85% and 15 touches in last week’s loss to Seattle, including 12 carries and five targets. While Sanders’ recent box-score results have underwhelmed – he’s scoreless since Week 8 – Sanders’ lead-back stranglehold has strengthened in Howard’s absence, especially after Boston Scott disappeared from last week’s game plan and Jay Ajayi was predictably useless with 16 scoreless yards via six carries on 11% of the snaps. Sanders is a full-confidence RB2 play in season-long leagues facing Miami, which has surrendered 171.6 total yards per game to enemy backs. The Eagles desperately need to resume feeding Sanders passing-game looks.
Zach Ertz is expected to gut out a hamstring injury he played through last week, parlaying an 86% snap rate into a season-high 12 catches against Seattle. Easily Wentz’s most-trusted pass option, Ertz should have no trouble smashing a Dolphins defense that’s allowed the NFL’s eighth-most yards to tight ends (619). … Dallas Goedert established Week 12 season highs in snaps (88%), routes (42), and catches (7) and has now played at least 75% of Philly’s offensive snaps in four straight games. Even with Jeffery and Agholor due back, Goedert remains low-end TE1 playable in Sunday’s plus draw. … Jeffery’s health and lack of recent production render him a boom-bust WR3 option, even in a favorable spot at Miami. An entirely touchdown-reliant player, Jeffery hasn’t reached 80 yards in a regular season game since last Week 16. … Agholor has topped 50 yards once all season, but this should be the week he gets back over that hump. Popping as Week 13’s No. 5 buy-low player in Josh Hermsmeyer’s Air Yards Model, Agholor faces a Dolphins defense that has allowed 8.04 yards per attempt and eight touchdowns on 90 slot targets this year, including Jarvis Landry’s Week 12 eruption (10/148/2). … Coach Doug Pederson spoke this week of promoting J.J. Arcega-Whiteside into a featured role against Miami, although Jeffery and Agholor’s returns create obstacles in front of JJAW’s volume. I’m chalking him up as a boom-bust WR4.
While the Dolphins create their own pass-funnel offense by continuing to trot out historically inefficient Kalen Ballage, it stays incumbent upon Ryan Fitzpatrick to create results week in and week out. Since replacing Josh Rosen for good in Week 6, Fitzpatrick has three top-seven QB1 scores and finished QB17 or worse in each of his other four starts. Meanwhile, 11-of-11 DSTs to face the Dolphins have banked top-12 defense results. Especially with the Eagles’ defense peaking, this is a great week to fire up Philly’s D/ST. Fitzpatrick is usable in two-QB-leagues and as a Hail Mary DFS-tournament play. … Ballage’s job security is tenuous at best with UDFA rookie Patrick Laird’s snap rates on the weekly rise (11% > 23% > 37%) and seventh-rounder Myles Gaskin coming off a season-high five touches. While this backfield is worth monitoring by deep leaguers, it’s an obvious situation to avoid against Philly’s run-tough front.
Fitz’s 2019 target distribution: DeVante Parker 67; Mike Gesicki 40; Allen Hurns 29; Albert Wilson 28; Ballage and Jakeem Grant 19; Laird 9; Gaskin 3. … Still fantasy’s most-undervalued player, Parker enters Week 13 with 55-plus yards and/or a touchdown in 10-of-11 games. Since Preston Williams tore his ACL in Week 9, Parker ranks No. 8 in Air Yards (324), No. 3 in targets (31), and No. 6 in receiving yards (295). The Eagles’ defense has improved lately, but Parker’s volume is impossible to ignore as an every-week WR3 with WR1 upside. … Wilson (ribs) and Grant (ankle) are both at risk of missing the rest of the year, further stabilizing Hurns’ No. 2 wideout role. Hurns hasn’t cleared 55 yards all year but set season highs in targets (7) and snaps (90%) last week and proved an excellent DFS-adjusted value. Hurns’ job security is safe after Miami gave him an in-season extension. … Gesicki scored his first NFL touchdown in last week’s loss to Cleveland and has drawn six-plus targets in four straight games. Usage places Gesicki in low-end TE1 contention at fantasy’s weakest position in a lopsided Week 13 pass-funnel matchup.
Score Prediction: Eagles 24, Dolphins 17
Packers at Giants
Team Totals: Packers 26, Giants 19.5
Coming off last Sunday night’s 37-8 clobbering by San Francisco, the Packers encounter a get-right spot against a Giants defense that’s allowed top-ten fantasy results to seven straight quarterbacks faced while stiffening against the run to create a pass funnel. The G-Men acquired DT Leonard Williams from the Jets to team with first-round DT Dexter Lawrence three games ago, and over their last two stymied enemy backs for 44/96/1 (2.18 YPC) rushing. This bodes positively for bum-beater Aaron Rodgers, who has delivered top-three fantasy weeks against the early-season Eagles, Raiders, and Chiefs but finished QB12 or worse in each of his other eight starts. … Although Jamaal Williams performed adequately on increased post-bye Week 12 usage against the 49ers, coach Matt LaFleur emerged from the loss stating Aaron Jones needed more work. Jones did out-snap Williams 41 to 38, but Williams got the ball 18 times to Jones’ 13 and out-targeted Jones 8 to 1. While New York’s run-defense improvement is noteworthy and this remains a near-even committee, I like Jones’ chances of retaking the Packers’ touch lead as an upside RB2 at the G-Men. Williams remains in flex contention with 31 touches over his last two games.
Rodgers’ Weeks 10-12 target distribution: Davante Adams 22; Williams 9; Allen Lazard 7; Geronimo Allison 7; Jimmy Graham 5; Marquez Valdes-Scantling 4; Jake Kumerow 2. … Adams’ phenomenal play combined with Rodgers’ bum-beating tendencies and Sunday’s matchup magnify Adams-to-Rodgers as one of Week 13’s most-compelling DFS stacks. Adams has seven-plus catches in five of his last six games, double-digit targets in four straight, and ranks No. 5 among 90 qualified wide receivers in PFF’s yards per route run (2.43), year over year one of the best metrics to pinpoint pass-catcher quality. Only the Bucs have given up more fantasy points to wide receivers than the Giants, who were creamed by outside WRs Allen Robinson (6/131/1), Kenny Golladay (6/123/2), Demaryius Thomas (6/84/0), Amari Cooper (4/80/1), and Michael Gallup (2/33/1) in their last four games. Adams runs 73% of his routes outside. … The rest of Green Bay’s pass catchers have reached the point of unplayability. Allison hasn’t topped 52 yards all year. Lazard has fewer than 50 yards in five straight games. MVS has been demoted to Green Bay’s No. 4 receiver. … Graham is the Packers’ one ancillary pass catcher at which I might throw a Week 13 dart. Giants SS Jabrill Peppers (back) is out indefinitely, and Graham is still running TE1-level routes.
The depletion of Daniel Jones’ skill-position corps – we’ll get there soon – combined with Jones’ severe turnover propensity gives Green Bay’s otherwise-sputtering defense Week 13 streamer D/ST life. Jones is up to 17 turnovers in nine NFL starts, while the Giants have 21 points or fewer in five of their last seven games. Jones’ weapons shortage is also a blow to his individual upside. Six straight quarterbacks to face the Packers have logged fantasy results of QB12 or worse. … Saquon Barkley ranks dead last among 33 qualified backs in Football Outsiders’ rushing Success Rate, while Barkley has finished below 100 total yards in five of his last six games. Barkley (ankle) clearly isn’t 100%, but his workloads remain secure, and there’s a possibility Sunday’s plus draw could springboard him. Enemy backs have rocked Green Bay for a clean 5.00 yards per carry, 14 all-purpose TDs, and the NFL’s 11th-most running back catches (62). Still averaging 21 touches over his last five games and coming off a year-high 97% playing-time clip, volume and matchup are working vehemently in Barkley’s potential breakout-game favor.
Evan Engram (knee), Golden Tate (concussion), and Rhett Ellison’s (concussion) absences plus Bennie Fowler’s release delete players who’ve accounted for a whopping 45% of Jones’ rookie-year completions. They also position Sterling Shepard to return to the slot for volume-monster duties after drawing target counts of 9 and 9 and delivering 7/100/1 and 7/76/0 stat lines in Jones’ first two starts, before Tate came off suspension to supplant him in the slot. A locked-in season-long WR2, Shepard also belongs squarely on DFS crosshairs. … Same for Darius Slayton, who leads the Giants in Air Yards (733) and actual receiving yards (461) in Jones’ nine starts. Green Bay hasn’t been overly giving to wideouts – allowing the NFL’s ninth-fewest fantasy points to the position – but Slayton is primed for hiked volume, an appetizing proposition for New York’s big-play specialist. Green Bay’s secondary is vulnerable to big pass plays, having allowed the NFL’s seventh-most 20-plus-yard completions (43) and a league-high 13 completions of 40-plus. … Practice-squad callup Kaden Smith played a whopping 98% of last week’s offensive snaps, ran 41 routes, and drew six targets against the Bears. This week’s matchup is far more favorable; only the Cardinals and Bucs have allowed more fantasy points to tight ends than Green Bay. Even as an underwhelming talent with 4.92 speed, Smith warrants opportunity- and matchup-based streamer recognition in Engram and Ellison’s absence and is available on most season-long waiver wires.
Score Prediction: Packers 27, Giants 24
Browns at Steelers
Team Totals: Browns 21, Steelers 19
Baker Mayfield comes off his season-best fantasy game with a rude followup on the road against the Steelers, who rank No. 3 in the NFL in sacks (38) and No. 1 in QB hits (82) and will undoubtedly play Sunday’s game with a chip on their shoulder after Week 11’s Cleveland-Pittsburgh brawl. The Browns are in danger of missing LT Greg Robinson (concussion) against one of the NFL’s fiercest pass rushes. In what sets up as a low-scoring affair, Mayfield is a weak QB1 streamer even with his production trending up. The Browns have much softer draws on deck versus Cincinnati and at Arizona in Weeks 14-15. … Hardly affected by Kareem Hunt, Nick Chubb visits Heinz Field with 17-plus touches in 11 straight games and individual touch counts of 22 > 27 > 24 since Hunt’s activation. While Pittsburgh’s run-tough defense warrants mentioning, Chubb’s stable workloads, long-run capability, and voluminous scoring-position usage continue to buoy his matchup-agnostic RB1 fantasy stock. Chubb ranks No. 2 in the NFL in carries inside the ten-yard line (26) and No. 4 in carries inside the five (12). … Hunt has logged double-digit touches in all three games since coming off the reserve/suspended list, playing over half of the Browns’ offensive snaps in all three and earning locked-in flex treatment in season-long PPR leagues.
Mayfield’s Weeks 10-12 target distribution: Odell Beckham and Jarvis Landry 30; Hunt 20; Chubb 9; Demetrius Harris 4; KhaDarel Hodge 3; Rashard Higgins 2; Stephen Carlson and Ricky Seals-Jones 1. … Beckham paid dividends (6/84/1) while popping in Week 12’s Air Yards Buy Low Model and stands atop this week’s rendition, making OBJ an exciting fade-matchup DFS-tournament play. Just one wideout (Tyler Boyd in Week 12) has cleared 100 yards against Pittsburgh all year. OBJ ranks top five in the NFL in Air Yards over the past three weeks (366). … Cleveland’s most-trustworthy pass catcher all season, Landry has 60-plus yards and/or a touchdown in 9-of-11 games and tagged this same Pittsburgh secondary for 4/43/1 receiving in Week 11. Landry is an every-week WR2. … David Njoku’s (wrist, I.R.) Week 13 availability is to be determined after he wasn’t activated on schedule for last week’s date with Miami. Harris, Carlson, and Seals-Jones wound up sharing time at tight end, none making fantasy noise.
Desperate for an offensive spark after their failed Mason Rudolph experiment, the Steelers will enlist Samford UDFA rookie Devlin Hodges at quarterback on the grounds that, “He hasn’t killed us (yet),” according to coach Mike Tomlin. Pittsburgh’s game plan is to play run-first, defense-oriented football and deploy its quarterback in game-manager fashion. Hodges’ low-ceiling fantasy appeal is entirely limited to two-QB leagues. … Rookie Benny Snell surprisingly took over as Pittsburgh’s Week 12 feature runner in his first game back from a knee scope, out-snapping Jaylen Samuels 35 to 21 and out-touching him 22 to 5. Snell is the favorite to pace the Steelers’ backfield until James Conner (shoulder) returns, which isn’t expected before Week 14. A downhill bruiser with limited passing-game experience, Snell is nevertheless flex-play viable based on opportunity and matchup. Snell’s no-nonsense, downhill running style fits the lunch-pail mentality of Pittsburgh’s current team construct, while Cleveland has generously yielded 4.64 yards per carry to enemy backs and is missing three-down difference maker Myles Garrett.
Hodges’ target distribution: Conner and JuJu Smith-Schuster 7; Diontae Johnson 6; James Washington 5; Samuels and Vance McDonald 3; Snell 1. … Without JuJu (knee) for another week, the Steelers’ three-wide set projects to field Johnson and Washington outside with Tevin Jones in the slot. Deon Cain and Johnny Holton operated as last week’s Nos. 4 and 5 receivers. OC Randy Fitchner will go out of his way to limit Hodges’ attempts, creating volume concerns for all of Pittsburgh’s pass-catcher corps. A boom-bust WR4, Johnson offers big-play potential and is popping in Week 13’s Air Yards Buy Low Model. … Washington has been hot lately, but this sets up as a letdown spot against stingy Browns perimeter CBs Denzel Ward and Greedy Williams, who between them have allowed two touchdown passes on 75 targets this year. … McDonald is a touchdown-or-bust streamer without a game above 40 yards all season. The Browns have permitted the league’s sixth-fewest receptions to tight ends (41).
Score Prediction: Browns 20, Steelers 17
Rams at Cardinals
Team Totals: Rams 25, Cardinals 22
If any matchup were to springboard the Rams back into offensive success – their point totals are 12, 17, and 6 since Los Angeles’ Week 9 bye, and Jared Goff hasn’t thrown a touchdown pass since Week 8 – this is the one. Allowing the NFL’s third-most points per game (28.8), Arizona has been drilled for top-ten fantasy quarterback outcomes in 9-of-11 games, including to Andy Dalton, Kyle Allen, Matthew Stafford, Drew Brees, Jameis Winston, and Jimmy Garoppolo (twice). Goff is a leap-of-faith play on the road without a start-worthy fantasy score in over a month, but Sunday’s matchup gives him some DFS-tournament appeal. … Although he emerged with nearly nothing to show for it, Todd Gurley logged his highest snap rate of 2019 (96%) in last week’s blowout loss to Baltimore and has been above 70% in all three games since Los Angeles’ bye. Gurley has still finished below 100 total yards in 9-of-11 games as a touchdown-or-bust RB2 option. Sunday’s matchup remains favorable; backfields facing the Cards have averaged 147 yards from scrimmage and the NFL’s sixth-most catches per game (6.1). Unfortunately, Gurley has amassed just seven receptions for 46 yards over the last five games in a sad Rams offense.
Goff’s Week 12 target distribution: Cooper Kupp 10; Robert Woods 9; Tyler Higbee 6; Brandin Cooks 4; Gurley 3; Gerald Everett and Josh Reynolds 2. … Defenses clearly keying on him and preventing run-after-catch chances, Kupp has 53 yards or fewer in five of his last six games. Yet you couldn’t dream up a better bounce-back spot; the interior of Arizona’s secondary has been lit on absolute fire by permitting 1,050 yards and 11 touchdowns on 102 slot targets (10.3 YPA!). Kupp is a strong fade-recency-bias DFS-tournament play. … Woods can also get in on the action as a 37% slot player. With 80-plus yards in three of his last four games, Woods is a shout-it-loud positive-TD-regression candidate without a single end-zone receiving trip all year. The Cardinals happen to have allowed a league-high 29 passing touchdowns. … The Rams deployed a four-man WRBC in Cooks’ Week 12 return with Kupp running a team-high 39 routes, Woods and Cooks (29) tied for second, and Reynolds (20) staying involved. A vertical receiver in an offense that struggles to go vertical due to shoddy pass protection and Goff’s overreactive impulses under duress, Cooks has devolved into a boom-bust WR3 option. He’s reached 75 receiving yards once in his last 14 regular season games. Cooks is also the Rams’ likeliest receiver to command Patrick Peterson’s shadow coverage. … Higbee will offer matchup-based streamer appeal if Everett (ankle, knee) sits against the Cardinals, which he seems likely to do. Arizona has allowed the NFL’s most fantasy points to tight ends by a wide margin, while Higbee drew six targets with Everett hobbled last week.
Update: Gerald Everett (ankle, knee) was ruled out on Friday, giving Tyler Higbee a shot at every-down tight end duties against an Arizona defense which has allowed the NFL’s most fantasy points to tight ends. The only other tight end on Los Angeles’ roster is Johnny Mundt, a full-on blocker who hasn’t run more than two pass routes in a 2019 game. He’s played 62 snaps this year and blocked on 89% of them. Priced at the minimum, Higbee is worth a long look as a Week 13 cash-saving DFS punt.
On a short week following Monday night’s bout with Baltimore, this is a dangerous spot for the Rams on the road facing a frisky Cardinals team coming off its bye. Kliff Kingsbury’s squad has scored 25 or more points in six of its last seven games, while Kyler Murray has logged top-seven fantasy scores in five of his last seven and shown a big-sample high floor with top-15 marks in 8-of-11 starts. Taking the Rams’ D/ST out of Week 13 play, Murray has incredibly committed just one turnover since Week 4. His supporting cast at near-full strength following Arizona’s open date, Murray warrants DFS-tournament consideration and is a top-12 QB1 play in season-long leagues. … The Cardinals’ running back corps offers much less clarity with Chase Edmonds (hamstring) due back, David Johnson healthier following the week off, and Kenyan Drake having made a legitimate case to keep playing ahead of both. The Rams have stonewalled enemy backs for 3.76 yards per carry and the NFL’s eighth-fewest receiving yards per game (35.0). In a tough draw with a three-way RBBC possible, Drake is Arizona’s lone back I’d be willing to flex against L.A.
Murray’s Week 11 target distribution: Christian Kirk 9; Drake 7; Larry Fitzgerald 5; Andy Isabella and Pharoh Cooper 4; KeeSean Johnson 2; Charles Clay and Darrell Daniels 1. … Averaging 8.8 targets over his last four games, Kirk is Arizona’s only pass catcher we can play with true confidence against the Rams. Now a full-time outside receiver, Kirk does face some risk of being shadowed by Jalen Ramsey, although Fitzgerald is also in play for such treatment since Ramsey has shuttled into the slot at times for Los Angeles. Kirk is a boom-bust WR2. … Fitzgerald is a PPR-specific WR3/flex option who’s exhibited minimal upside with 71 yards or fewer in nine straight games and been overtaken by Kirk as Arizona’s clear-cut No. 1 wideout. … Isabella deserves a full-time perimeter receiver role averaging an otherworldly 18.0 yards per target, but he hasn’t gotten it yet. He’s yet to play 40% of the Cardinals’ offensive snaps in a 2019 game. Isabella’s game is built on big plays, while the Rams have permitted the NFL’s third-fewest completions of 20-plus yards (23). With Fitzgerald and Cooper inside, Isabella is competing with Johnson, Damiere Byrd, and Trent Sherfield for outside receiver snaps across from Kirk.
Score Prediction: Cardinals 24, Rams 23
Raiders at Chiefs
Team Totals: Chiefs 30.5, Raiders 20.5
Down to 6-5 on the season with a minus-56-point differential after last week’s blowout loss to the Jets, the Raiders stay on the road to face a Chiefs team rested off its bye. Oakland’s best shot at keeping this one competitive is likely to ride Josh Jacobs versus Kansas City’s soft defensive front, which enemy backs have tortured for 265/1,338/8 (5.05 YPC) rushing and got lit up by Melvin Gordon and Austin Ekeler for 222 total yards last time out. While Jacobs’ on-paper matchup is favorable, projected game script is not with Oakland installed as ten-point road underdogs. Jacobs was scripted out of these teams’ Week 2 meeting with just 12 touches on 48% of the snaps in a 28-10 Chiefs win. Jacobs is a high-variance, fringe RB1/2 at Arrowhead. … Negative script would give Jalen Richard long-shot PPR sleeper life with 40-plus receiving yards in three of his last four games. Kansas City has allowed a league-high 63.6 receiving yards per game to running backs. … Derek Carr visits K.C. with just three top-12 fantasy finishes in 11 starts, exhibiting a low floor and ceiling with a single top-ten outcome all year. Sunday’s draw is still favorable enough to elevate Carr into streamer discussion. Raiders-Chiefs offers shootout potential with Week 13’s highest total, and 7-of-11 quarterbacks to face Kansas City have delivered top-12 fantasy scores.
Typically a safe-floor play with 40-plus yards and/or a touchdown in six straight games, Darren Waller’s Week 13 matchup is especially ripe against the Chiefs, who’ve allowed a league-high 72 catches and the NFL’s fifth-most yards (666) to tight ends, including a crisp 7/77/0 stat line to Chargers tight ends in their last game. Waller also popped as this week’s No. 1 buy-low tight end in Josh Hermsmeyer’s Air Yards Model. He’s shaping up as a Week 13 smash. … Hunter Renfrow only commanded a 5.4-target average over his last five games with minimal Air Yards, but his loss to a broken rib and punctured lung will still cause box-score fallouts. Gruden mentioned Hard Knocks star Keelan Doss as Oakland’s next man up at slot receiver with Tyrell Williams and Zay Jones starting outside. … Williams’ big-play potential keeps him in WR3 contention with WR2 upside, leading Oakland’s roster in Air Yards by a margin of 188. Williams logged 5/46/1 receiving on seven targets when these teams met in Week 2. … Inefficient as he was in Buffalo, No. 2 receiver Jones has 88 scoreless yards on 14 targets since joining the Raiders.
7-4 facing a competitive division rival with an outside chance at still capturing a first-round playoff bye, the Chiefs return from their open date for a Week 13 smash spot at home versus Oakland. Andy Reid’s post-bye regular season record is 17-3 as an NFL coach, while Reid’s team has dropped scores of 40, 35, and 28 on Jon Gruden’s Raiders in their three 2018-2019 meetings. Patrick Mahomes’ corresponding fantasy results are QB1, QB14, and QB1 in such affairs. This year, quarterbacks have a combined 26:8 TD-to-INT ratio against the Raiders while averaging 8.4 yards per pass attempt, the NFL’s third-highest mark. Mahomes is Week 13’s No. 1 quarterback play stackable in DFS with Tyreek Hill and/or Travis Kelce. … With Damien Williams (ribs) back on the shelf, LeSean McCoy and Darrel Williams will share Kansas City’s backfield after the latter Williams out-touched (13 to 11) and out-snapped (29 to 26) McCoy in the Chiefs’ pre-bye win over the Chargers. Williams did benefit from McCoy missing much of the fourth quarter due to a concussion check from which he was cleared. The good news is Oakland’s run defense is slipping, yielding 87/392/2 (4.51 YPC) rushing to enemy backs over its last four games and the NFL’s fifth-most receiving yards to running backs (563) over the course of the year. The bad news is Williams and McCoy’s near-even usage projections lower their floors and ceilings as RB2/flex plays.
Mahomes’ Weeks 10-11 target distribution: Tyreek 21; Kelce 17; Sammy Watkins 3; McCoy, Damien, and Demarcus Robinson 6; Mecole Hardman 5; Darrel Williams 4; Deon Yelder 2; Byron Pringle and Darwin Thompson 1. … All systems go after his pre-bye hamstring scare, Hill enters eruption territory against a Raiders secondary that’s yielded league highs in 20-plus-yard downfield completions (28) and touchdowns (9) on such attempts (Sports Info Solutions). TyFreak leads all NFL receivers in 20-plus-yard downfield targets (58), 20-plus-yard downfield catches (25), and 20-plus-yard downfield touchdowns (9) since the beginning of 2018. … Oakland is allowing the NFL’s fourth-most fantasy points to tight ends, while Kelce has carved the Raiders for a combined 24/337/3 stat line in three meetings since Gruden became coach. … Watkins has been a mostly-frustrating fantasy WR3 this year, but he is checking a lot of positive-regression boxes popping in Josh Hermsmeyer’s Week 13 Buy Low Air Yards Model and having failed to reach pay dirt since Week 1. … Robinson teased with the biggest game of his career when these teams met in Week 2 (6/172/2). Otherwise, he’s failed to top 56 yards in every Chiefs game despite playing 75% of the team’s offensive snaps. Robinson is a boom-bust WR4 in Sunday’s rematch. … Hardman is always a threat to take one the distance but hasn’t topped four targets in a game since Week 6. Hardman’s snap rates were 15% > 19% > 22% in Weeks 8-10 before Tyreek went out early in Kansas City’s Week 11 pre-bye win over the Chargers. Hardman is a low-volume No. 4 wideout.
Score Prediction: Chiefs 35, Raiders 20
Chargers at Broncos
Team Totals: Chargers 20.5, Broncos 17.5
Back from their Week 12 bye, the Chargers visit Denver with a 4-7 record and almost no playoff hopes but still fighting for contract-year QB Philip Rivers. Just 2-of-11 quarterbacks to face the Broncos have tallied fantasy results better than QB14, and Rivers himself has been a putrid scorer with four straight finishes of QB18 or worse. On tape, Rivers’ inability to locate vertical passes sticks out like a sore thumb. He’s a low-ceiling two-quarterback-league play at this point. … No Chargers skill player catches a plus Week 13 draw, but Melvin Gordon and Austin Ekeler asserted themselves as the heartbeat of L.A.’s offense before last week’s bye, and both warrant opportunity-driven RB2 treatment at Denver. Gordon is averaging 21 touches over the Chargers’ last three games while regaining his in-prime explosiveness between the tackles and in space. Gordon is up to five touchdowns over his last five games. … Ekeler has been the Chargers’ most-consistent offensive force all season with 80-plus yards and/or a touchdown in 10-of-11 games. Los Angeles’ offense moves at a noticeably crisper pace whenever Ekeler is on the field.
Rivers’ target distribution under OC Shane Steichen: Keenan Allen 27; Hunter Henry 26; Ekeler 18; Mike Williams 12; Gordon 10. … Allen’s recent box-score ups and downs have frustrated fantasy leaguers, but he’s collected double-digit targets in four of his last five games and is due for positive-TD regression with one end-zone trip since Week 3. Over his own last five, Broncos top CB Chris Harris has been burned for completions on 14-of-21 targets (67%) for 269 yards (12.8 YPA), two touchdowns, and no picks. Allen is still a bankable WR1. … Tight end matchups against Denver haven’t been favorable all year, but Henry has cleared 45 yards and/or scored a touchdown in 10 of his last 11 games and is 7-for-7 this season. He’s a matchup-agnostic TE1. … Williams is desperate for positive-TD regression to hit without a single score all year, although he lives in traffic lacking separation skills and has commanded six targets or fewer in five straight games. Williams is a boom-bust WR3 option who’s busted more often than not.
Regardless of the identity of their Week 13 quarterback – it’ll be Brandon Allen or rookie Drew Lock – the Broncos’ game plan will be run focused trotting out a backup passer on Vic Fangio’s old-school watch. Just 1-of-11 quarterbacks to face the Chargers has logged better than QB12 fantasy results, while DE Melvin Ingram (hamstring), DTs Justin Jones (shoulder) and Brandon Mebane (knee), and FS Derwin James (foot) all look all systems go against the Broncos. I’d rather fire up the Bolts’ D/ST than have any attachment to Denver’s quarterbacks. … Phillip Lindsay has made a major move past Royce Freeman since Week 10’s bye, out-snapping him 78 to 50 and out-touching him 32 to 13 over the past two games. The Chargers do not play imposing run defense – they’ve coughed up seven running back rush TDs over their last seven games – but they’ll be tested as frequently as struggling OC Rich Scangarello can muster for one of the NFL’s worst teams. Lindsay is a shaky RB2 play, and Freeman a basement-low-floor flex.
Even while his Week 13 quarterback isn’t yet known, Courtland Sutton’s prominence atop Denver’s pass game is established as the NFL’s No. 17 wideout in Air Yards (1,046) and No. 13 player in actual receiving yards (832) despite Sutton’s quarterback carousel. Sutton also checks in as Week 13’s No. 3 buy-low player in Josh Hermsmeyer’s Air Yards Model after commanding eight-plus targets in five of the Broncos’ last six games. In season-long leagues, I’m sticking with Sutton as a quarterback-proof WR2/3. … Noah Fant is also popping in Week 13’s buy-low model and caught Sports Info Solutions’ attention, as well. Per SIS, the Chargers play zone coverage at the NFL’s highest rate. Fant has commanded a team-high 37% target share against zone since the Broncos traded Emmanuel Sanders prior to Week 8. … Battling a shoulder injury, Tim Patrick was invisible in last week’s loss to Buffalo, drawing three targets on just 65% of Denver’s offensive snaps. This looks like a passing game to avoid beyond Sutton and Fant.
Score Prediction: Chargers 23, Broncos 17
Patriots at Texans
Team Totals: Patriots 24, Texans 21
After playing their last two games in suboptimal conditions at windy Philadelphia and rainy Foxboro, the Pats visit Houston’s NRG Stadium dome for a pass-friendly environment. 8-of-11 quarterbacks to face the Texans have banked top-12 fantasy scores, while Houston’s J.J. Watt-less defense has plummeted to 29th in sacks (22) and 22nd in QB hits (60). Tom Brady’s supporting cast is too thin for full-fledged QB1 confidence, but he’s firmly in play on one-game DFS slates with a far-softer matchup than Deshaun Watson. … Sony Michel has managed single-digit PPR points in 7-of-8 games with Rex Burkhead active, but Sunday night’s plus draw combined with last week’s 20-carry workload keep Michel in touchdown-reliant RB2/flex play. Enemy backs trampled the Texans for 93/465/2 (5.0 YPC) rushing over the last four games, while Michel still ranks No. 4 in the NFL in rushing attempts inside the ten-yard line (21). … New England’s three-man backfield is destroying the season-long fantasy value of each member, but James White makes sense on one-game DFS slates as the Pats’ best pass-catching running back facing a Texans defense that’s allowed a league-high 81 receptions to his position. … Burkhead has logged uneventful touch counts of 4 > 5 > 7 > 4 on snap rates of 19% > 36% > 28% > 21% over the Patriots’ last four games.
Brady’s Week 12 target distribution: Julian Edelman 12; Jakobi Meyers 9; Burkhead 5; N’Keal Harry 4; White 3; Ben Watson and Matt LaCosse 1. … Edelman enters Week 13 with double-digit targets in six straight games. He should run circles around Texans late-season waiver claim Vernon Hargreaves, who took over at slot corner last week. Hargreaves was among the NFL’s worst cornerbacks for years in Tampa Bay. … Otherwise, Patriots wideout roles are up in the air with Phillip Dorsett (concussion) cleared for return but at some risk of sharing snaps with Harry, and Sanu (ankle) tentatively due back but not necessarily at 100%. Meyers filled in for Sanu last week, parlaying his nine targets into 74 yards. I’m going with Dorsett as Week 13’s best non-Edelman wide receiver bet based on Houston’s struggles to contain speed-oriented receivers, namely Ted Ginn (7/101/0), Tyrell Williams (3/91/1), Calvin Ridley (5/88/1), Tyreek Hill (5/80/2), T.Y. Hilton (6/74/1), Chris Conley (4/73/0), and D.J. Chark (7/55/1). … Coming off a goose egg versus Dallas, Watson is a low-floor, matchup-based streamer on Sunday night. Texans opponents are an efficient 40-of-61 passing (66%) for 454 yards (7.4 YPA) and three TDs when targeting tight ends over the last seven weeks. Watson is still most appealing on one-game DFS slates.
The Texans host the Patriots after a mini-bye, having outlasted Indianapolis on Week 12 Thursday Night Football and not played since. This is a worrisome draw for Deshaun Watson; the Pats have allowed 14 points or fewer in 12 of their last 13 regular season games and silenced Watson for last Week 1’s QB22 fantasy score. Helpfully, Watson averages 1.5 more yards per pass attempt, 1.04 more touchdowns per game, and 6.6 more fantasy points with Will Fuller in the lineup than without him since entering the NFL. I’m standing by Watson as a season-long QB1 play but down ticking expectations based on New England’s to-date defensive dominance. … Carlos Hyde is catch-less since Week 6 with miserable PPR point totals of 6.7 > 14.0 > 8.3 > 3.5 > 10.4 > 9 > 9.5 in the seven games where Hyde has not hit pay dirt. Hyde is a touchdown-or-bust flex option facing a Patriots defense that has allowed one running back touchdown all year. … Duke Johnson remains a fantasy dud on 7.7 touches per game since Week 1.
Watson’s Week 12 target distribution: Will Fuller 11; DeAndre Hopkins 8; Jordan Akins 4; Kenny Stills and Darren Fells 2; Duke Johnson 1. … Following last Thursday night’s 140-yard bomb drop on the Colts, Fuller catches a much tougher draw versus New England, whose all-world secondary has manhandled big-play receivers by permitting the NFL’s third-fewest 20-plus-yard completions (23). Fuller’s stat lines in two career dates with Bill Belichick’s defense are 3/16/0 and 3/31/0. He’s a boom-bust WR3. … Albeit to not quite as great a degree, the Patriots have also historically contained Hopkins; beginning with most recent, Hopkins’ last five receiving lines versus New England are 8/78/0 > 7/76/0 > 6/65/0 > 4/56/0 > 3/52/0. Likely to attract Stephon Gilmore’s shadow, I’m downgrading Hopkins’ Week 13 expectation into WR2 range. … As Fuller returned and the Texans maintained heavy two-tight end usage, Stills tied his season low in targets (2), ran his third-fewest routes of the year (20), and was generally invisible in last Thursday night’s win over Indy. Outside of one-game DFS long shots, Stills isn’t playable against the Pats. … Fells was also quiet against the Colts (1/24/0) but was on the field for 90% of Houston’s offensive snaps compared to Akins’ 47% playing-time clip. No. 3 TE Jordan Thomas played 12% of the Texans’ downs in his season debut. This is a brutal matchup – New England has permitted the NFL’s sixth-fewest fantasy points to tight ends – but Fells remains the best opportunity-based dart throw of the group.
Score Prediction: Patriots 24, Texans 23
Vikings at Seahawks
Team Totals: Seahawks 26, Vikings 23
The Vikings visit CenturyLink Field after their bye with Kirk Cousins in God Mode, having completed 162-of-221 attempts (73.3%) for 2,020 yards (9.1 YPA) and an 18:1 TD-to-INT ratio over his last seven starts. Seattle appears likely to miss top interior rusher Jarran Reed (ankle) and top outside rusher Jadeveon Clowney (hip), while Minnesota is the NFL’s most-rested team having not played since November 17. In a possible Monday night shootout against a shorthanded Seahawks defense, Cousins has earned season-long QB1 treatment, especially with Adam Thielen (hamstring) back. Six of the last eight quarterbacks to face Pete Carroll’s defense banked top-12 fantasy scores. … Dalvin Cook’s Monday night matchup does not stand out as particularly soft or stout, but his legs should be fresher than usual following the open date, and Cook’s usage and production stand for themselves. Fantasy’s No. 2 overall back behind only Christian McCaffrey, Cook is averaging a touchdown per game and drew six-plus targets in four straight leading into Minnesota’s bye week. Cook is a bet-on-usage and bet-on-talent elite RB1 play at The Clink.
Carroll’s secondary has surrendered the NFL’s sixth-most catches (152) and tenth-most yards (1,893) to wide receivers, firming up Thielen and Stefon Diggs as locked-in WR2 plays. Before going down, Thielen logged 75-plus yards and/or a touchdown in 6-of-7 games, while the Vikings’ offensive staff somewhat embraced more aggressiveness with Cousins white hot during Thielen’s time away. … Whereas Thielen has been fairly consistent when healthy, Diggs has been wildly boom or bust regardless of Thielen’s health with six games of 100-plus yards and/or a touchdown and the other five all below 50 yards. This is a favorable enough matchup for a Diggs ceiling week, but his track record speaks for itself on a still-run-first Vikings team. … Thielen’s return bodes poorly for Kyle Rudolph and Irv Smith, but they remain playable on one-game DFS slates. Seattle has allowed the NFL’s fifth-most fantasy points to tight ends, including especially PPR-fruitful weeks to Gerald Everett (7/136/0), Zach Ertz (12/91/1), C.J. Uzomah (4/66/0), Austin Hooper (6/65/1), Tyler Higbee (3/47/0), Vance McDonald (7/38/2), Ricky Seals-Jones (4/37/1), and Dallas Goedert (7/32/0). Rudolph is always a better bet for a touchdown than Smith.
Suddenly getting lapped by Lamar Jackson in 2019’s MVP race, this is a prime spot for Russell Wilson to reassert himself on national TV facing a respected defense. Wilson’s matchup is overrated; the Vikings showed pass-funnel tendencies by yielding top-eight QB1 scores to Carson Wentz, Matthew Stafford, and Dak Prescott in three of their last six games, facing Brandon Allen, Matt Moore, and Case Keenum-Dwayne Haskins in the others. This is also a green-light spot for Seattle’s pass-catcher corps, which we’ll hit on in a minute. Last week, Wilson’s box score could have looked far nicer if not for D.K. Metcalf’s 38-yard touchdown drop and Philadelphia’s complete lack of offensive resistance. … Chris Carson’s Week 12 was an epic disaster, fumbling on back-to-back fourth-quarter plays, losing the second, managing 26 yards on eight carries, and getting severely outproduced by Rashaad Penny (14/129/1). Penny gave up a second-half sack via abysmal pass protection, however, and he hasn’t so much as caught a pass since Week 5. The Vikings have limited enemy backs to six all-purpose TDs in 11 games. Carson needs to be reduced to a low-floor flex play, but Penny is no sure thing as a still-flawed player in a difficult draw.
Slowed by a shin injury and marginal pass volume over Seattle’s last two games, Tyler Lockett should rebound against a Vikings secondary that was exposed for receiving lines of 11/147/1 (Amari Cooper), 6/140/1 (Tyreek Hill), 5/113/0 (Courtland Sutton), 6/106/1 (Randall Cobb), 4/77/0 (Tim Patrick), 4/76/1 (Michael Gallup), and 7/63/0 (Sammy Watkins) in its three pre-bye affairs. A big portion of Minnesota’s pass-funnel tendency is its inability to slow down enemy wideouts, surrendering the NFL’s fifth-most fantasy points per game to Lockett’s position. … Metcalf easily should’ve cleared 100 yards in last week’s win over Philly but dropped three passes, including a would-be 38-yard score. That placed Metcalf at No. 2 in Week 13’s Buy Low Air Yards Model, highlighting his Monday night upside. Metcalf is an every-week WR2 in season-long leagues with slate-breaking potential in one-game DFS tournaments. … Tight end matchups don’t get tougher than the Vikings, who’ve allowed just one tight end touchdown on the year while containing Travis Kelce (7/62/0), Zach Ertz (4/54/0), Dallas Goedert (5/48/0), T.J. Hockenson (3/32/0), Jason Witten (2/17/0), and Noah Fant (2/-7/0) over their last six games. Jacob Hollister is still low-end TE1 playable based on opportunity with snap rates above 68% in three straight weeks and 20 targets in that span. … This was Seattle’s Week 12 route distribution: Lockett and Metcalf 27; Hollister 22; Josh Gordon 14; Malik Turner and David Moore 8. Gordon’s arrow is pointing up, but he hasn’t yet earned full-time third-receiver duties. Gordon is just a tournament dart throw on one-game DFS slates.
Score Prediction: Seahawks 28, Vikings 27