Welcome to Week 13 of the NFL! I wanted to mix it up this week and do a “high, medium, low” column. That means we go position by position to break down three different salary ranges, providing you flexibility in your lineups.
Drew Brees checks off all the boxes this week. The #1 fantasy quarterback in the league gets to play at home where he is 10 (!!) fantasy points better than on the road. Brees averages 30.9 DraftKings PPG while in the friendly confines of the Superdome and only 20.4 DK PPG on the road. His consistency is admirable, throwing at least three TDs in five of six home games this season. Brees gets the dream matchup with Detroit who is allowing the 3rd most fantasy points to opposing QBs. Finally, the Saints are projected to score 29.25 points this week according to Vegas. That’s just 0.25 points behind New England, who has the highest projected total of the week.
How much punishment can you handle? If you can stomach it, consider Russell Wilson. Outside of his dud last week, Wilson was on cruise control, scoring 25.28, 29.52 and 26.26 DraftKings points in the three previous weeks. During that stretch, he was the 7th highest scoring player in the league and third highest QB. He’s just as likely to lay an egg as explode, but this is such a great matchup against Carolina. The Panthers defense is well-documented and they have allowed explosive games to opposing QBs. Carolina has allowed two of the six highest scoring games to QBs this season and they are the only team to allow multiple top-10 games. It’s also worth noting that Russell Wilson has been removed from the injury report this week for the first time all season.
Tyrod Taylor presents himself as an excellent value on this slate. He’s been extremely volatile this season, but his upside is irresistible. Taylor has scored at least 20 DraftKings points in five of his last ten games. His value is comes from his dual-threat and potent rushing attack. Taylor has rushed the ball at least seven times in five of the last six games. Oakland has allowed the 7th most DraftKings points to opposing QBs and this game has been assigned a massive 50 point total. Buffalo is projected to score 23.5 points which is one of their higher projections of the season. Assuming Sammy Watkins suits up again this week, Taylor gets the added weapon who has only suited up three times this season.
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The obvious answers are there are RB, but let’s look a little closer at Jordan Howard. Here’s a guy that rushed the ball 18 and 17 times in the last two weeks, even with the return of teammate Jeremy Langford. Obviously Howard is the lead back in Chicago and he’s paying off his fantasy owners. He’s scored double-digit DraftKings points in seven of his last eight games and has left some points on the board. Howard dropped a walk-in touchdown pass last week which would have made him one of the top scoring RBs of the week. Now he has a date with the atroctious Niners defense that has allowed the most DraftKings points to opposing RBs this season. The Bears are actually a small favorite in this game, making Howard a solid play in all formats.
I don’t like the timeshare in New Orleans with Mark Ingram and Tim Hightower, but I cannot resist. Ingram looks explosive every time he touches the ball and turned 14 carries into 146 yards last week against LA. He also found the endzone via the air, which is his second such score in four weeks. It looks like the RB touches will be split fairly evenly moving forward, but I am looking to get as much exposure as possible to this potential shootout in New Orleans this week. Vegas has stamped a 54 point total on this game, the highest of the week. Finally, Ingram sports an injury designation for his toe, which should continue to keep his ownership down this week. I’d deploy Ingram in GPPs only.
Sheesh, the Packers (outside of Rodgers) have been really bad this year. Despite that, James Starks is the lead back of an NFL team which makes him valuable. He earned 17 carries last week and found no room to run against a tough Philadelphia defense. Starks has no one pushing him in the backfield, so he should see the majority of the work again this week in a much better matchup with Houston. What’s even more noteworthy is Starks has caught five passes in each of the last two games which is making for a nice little floor on full-point PPR sites. It’s going to be hard to find a guy in this price range who will cross off both opportunity and matchup.
How can you avoid the pivot from the chalk to Odell Beckham Jr.? ODB has the “bad matchup” with Pittsburgh who has allowed the 5th fewest fantasy points to opposing WRs. Let me tell you right now, ODB is matchup proof so enjoy the lower than usual ownership. Since Week 6, only two WRs have averaged more fantasy points than Beckham and they are named Mike Evans and A.J. Green. Beckham has hauled in seven TDs in his last six games and is a lock for 10+ targets this week. Vegas is expecting a high scoring game, assigning this contest a 50 point total which is one of the highest on the board.
Donte Moncrief is a touchdown monster! He’s caught a TD in five of the six games he has played this season. Moncrief looked comfortable with QB Scott Tolzien, but don’t full yourself, it will be a big boost if Andrew Luck plays this week. Luck looks on pace to start against the Jets. Thanks to those TDs, Moncrief has a solid floor, scoring at least 13 DraftKings points in all but one game this season. This is the long week for Indy who played last Thursday and won’t suit up until Monday night, giving them plenty of time to prep for the Jets.
Marquess Wilson suits up against for the Bears, as this will be just the third time this season. The Bears are plagued by both injuries and dropped passes right now so they are begging for someone to step up and make plays. Wilson was just that guy in Week 12 as he converted 8 of 11 targets for 125 yards and a TD. That was good for 29.5 DraftKings points. Wilson earned an instant rapport with QB Matt Barkley who looked really good last week. Again, this matchup with San Francisco is a dream and Wilson is a psuedo #1 WR this week.
I think Travis Kelce fits the mold as both the high and middle option here. The top end of the TE position is a wasteland of injuries and bad matchups. Kelce will be the chalk and for good reason. WR Jeremy Maclin hasn’t played the last three weeks for KC and it’s no coincidence that Kelce’s prodcution has starting to pick up in that same period. Specifically the last two games for Kelce, he has earned 9 and 15 (!!) targets which are two of his three highest totals this season. Even without scoring a TD, Kelce has earned 20.3 and 21.1 DraftKings points thanks to two separate 100 yard games. The Chiefs are going to have to pass the keep up with the high powered Atlanta offense, which should benefit Kelce. It’s worth noting that Maclin has been limited in practice this week and there’s a chance he suits up. It would only be a small downgrade to Kelce if that would occur.
Is there anything worse than the TE position? I don’t think so. If you are desparate, I’m looking at C.J. Fiedorowicz who has been solid as the Texans TE this season. He has the brutal Brock Osweiler throwing him passes, but he’s still turned in double digit DraftKings points in five of his last eight games. The idea here is similar to Kelce. It’s reasonable to think the Texans are going to have to throw a lot to hang with Green Bay and while that’s not ideal if you are a Texans fan, it’s certainly helpful if you are a Fiedorowicz backer.
A rookie QB against the Patriots? Yeah, good luck. Bill Belichick and his defense have feasted on first-year signal callers in his tenure. There have been 33 different rookie QBs to face NE under BB (since 2000) and their combined record is 7-26. Only one has thrown for more than 300 yards (Andrew Luck) and 24 have been held under 200 passing yards. Finding the endzone has been a tall task and all 33 QBs have combined for just 24 touchdowns. They’ve also added 31 interceptions and 13 fumbles. This is just a bad matchup for a QB with basically zero experience on an NFL field. The Pats are drooling right now.
The Redskins look like the punt play at defense this week. I’m not thrilled with their skill players on that side of the ball, but this matchup with Arizona has proven to be really good. Defenses have feasted on the Cardinals recently, averaged 13.8 DK PPG over the last five games. Going back even further, opponents have scored at least 10 DK points in six of the last night games against Arizona. Palmer is just turning the ball over at an insane rate right now. He’s thrown six interceptions and fumbled four times himself in just the last four weeks.
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