Week 13 NFL Matchups

Looking at every fantasy-relevant matchup of Week 13.

Detroit Lions @ New Orleans Saints

Saints -3.5; O/U 53.5

Lions – After a solid Thanksgiving win over the Vikings, Matthew Stafford and the Lions head into the Louisiana Super Dome to take on the Saints. That’s great news for Stafford owners in what’s likely to be a shootout. There’s plenty of opportunity here for Stafford to put up nice numbers in a high scoring game. Golden Tate is a great play at receiver, while Marvin Jones and Anquan Boldin are serviceable receivers. Boldin has actually been solid in past games making him more reliable than Jones. Running back Theo Riddick is also a solid play vs New Orleans, his usage is still very high in the offense. Tight end Eric Ebron but up a surprise goose egg on Turkey Day, but he should bounce back nicely against such a soft defense.

Saints – Drew Brees at home against a leaky Lions secondary. It’s a recipe for disaster and fantasy owners facing Brees this week should be very, very afraid. Brees will be in the Tier 1 of Week 13 fantasy QBs and is very likely to put up the most points at the position. That’s great news for Michael Thomas, Brandin Cooks and Willie Snead. Thomas is the sure fire lock for big points, while Cooks put up a shocking zero points last week. Something could be brewing in New Orleans, but there’s no way he fails to produce twice in a row against this defense. Snead and tight end Coby Fleener are reliable options for your lineup this week, while Mark Ingram (if he plays) and Tim Hightower should continue their string of dominance. It’s amazing what these two are doing in a shared backfield. Both are dominating with their touches.

Miami Dolphins @ Baltimore Ravens

Ravens -3; O/U 40.5

Dolphins – The Dolphins running game with Jay Ajayi has really slowed down since he took the NFL by storm weeks ago. He’s not likely to find much running room against a good Ravens defense. Most of Miami’s offense will come through the air with Ryan Tannehill. You would think that Jarvis Landry would be all set up here, but he hasn’t been performing up to standards. Landry is getting a healthy amount of targets, but not the absurd double digit average compared to last year. Now we have seen DeVante Parker and Kenny Stills eat into Landry’s production by stealing targets and putting up more yardage and scores. Both have more touchdown upside than Landry, which makes them arguably better options than Landry at this point. It’s scary to say, but it might be time to start looking for better options than Landry. Playing Baltimore on the road, it could very well be a rough week for all Dolphins receivers while we’re at it.

Ravens – The Baltimore offense has become a very confusing fantasy wasteland. The team has two running backs in Terrance West and Kenneth Dixon who see pretty much equal usage in the offense. Similar amount of carries, and both used in the passing game, but I like the way Dixon has looked in the offense. It seems like he offers more upside for owners. As for the receivers, the Ravens have really spread the ball around to many different receivers. Mike Wallace and Steve Smith Sr had the best games last week, but those two only combined for 7 catches for 77 yards. That’s how stagnant and unproductive this offense is, and there’s too many options for a real stud to emerge. Those two will always be the best bets for big games if they occur, but you need to take their expectations with a grain of salt. This is a defensive oriented team.

Los Angeles Rams @ New England Patriots

Patriots -13; O/U 44

Rams – Rookie Jared Goff made the most of his opportunity in New Orleans and really looked like the first rounder we all expected. The Patriots defense has really struggled recently so a solid day could be on deck for the rookie. The only narrative here is the presence of coach Bill Belichick and his ability to stifle rookie quarterbacks. We’ll see if the Hooded One still has that magic with this bad of a defense. Goff’s primary weapons of Kenny Britt, and Lance Kendricks could be in for nice days and can be used in lineups this week. Todd Gurley hasn’t been up to his lofty standards, so the Rams will likely have to rely on the arm of their first overall pick.

Patriots – Tom Brady continues to do Tom Brady things, and that’s win football games and put up fantasy points. He should have no issue doing the same against the Rams while playing in the friendly confides of Gillette Stadium. The absence of Rob Gronkowski last game did in fact lead to heavy usage from Julian Edelman. Edelman will be in for another good game this Sunday. With Gronk done for the season, and Martellus Bennett still nursing an injured ankle, rookie Malcolm Mitchell really stepped up in a big way while developing some serious chemistry with Brady. Mitchell has forced owners hands to put him in their lineups going forward. As far as running backs go, it’s always tough to predict what production you will get from each guy. The Jets have a very good run defense so it was tough to expect much from anyone. LeGarrette Blount did excellent work on his limited carries, while James White and Dion Lewis did great work in the receiving game. None of the three will be super reliable, but you can plug any of them in if you need help at the RB spot.

Denver Broncos @ Jacksonville Jaguars

Broncos -3.5; O/U 40

Broncos – Sunday night’s thriller saw Trevor Siemian look like a very good QB as he threw for over 350 yards and 3 scores against an inconsistent Chiefs’ secondary. He has been spotted with a boot on his foot throughout the week, so Jacksonville’s sneaky good secondary could give him or rookie Paxton Lynch issues. Most of the offense should work through running back Devontae Booker again. He saw big carry numbers in Week 12 but couldn’t score. He should continue to see a lot of work. As for receivers, Emmanuel Sanders dominated the Chiefs to the tune of a 7-162-1 line. He’s so goddamn good and is the best fantasy option in that receiving core. Don’t sleep on Demaryius Thomas though. He still has elite skill and gets targets. The only problem could be a potential matchup with rookie Jalen Ramsey. Both receivers are still good plays for owners, but their ceiling would be lowered if Siemian can’t play.

Jaguars – This is a disaster situation for Blake Bortles and the Jaguars taking on an elite Broncos secondary. Bortles should be sat in all leagues, and it is a very bad spot to play Allen Robinson as well. Those two have had such an up and down season, they need to be avoided against the Broncos. The only semblance of hope comes from Julius Thomas and Chris Ivory (who is questionable right now). After program favorite Travis Kelce put up good numbers on Sunday night, Thomas should see the light for some production in a tight spot. As for Ivory, the Broncos Achilles heel has been their run defense. Ivory has since been reborn with this new coordinator and has become a reliable RB2/RB3 if necessary. It’s difficult to find positives here.

Kansas City Chiefs @ Atlanta Falcons

Falcons -4.5/ OU 49

Chiefs – Wow, talk about a coming out party for Tyreke “The Freak” Hill. The dude did it all, literally. Scoring a receiving, rushing and return touchdown against the spooky Broncos. He has proven to be a serious weapon and the Chiefs need to keep getting the ball in his hands. Travis Kelce also had a very nice game doing some serious work in the gifted overtime. Facing Atlanta should provide plenty of fantasy point opportunities for these two receivers. Spencer Ware continues to eat the running back carries for the Chiefs and will do the same against the Falcons. In what should be a pass happy game for Atlanta, the Chiefs will be forced to match their point totals meaning there’s a chance for these three to produce nicely.

Falcons – After a surprisingly decent game against a tough Cardinals defense, Matt Ryan sets up nicely in Week 13 against the Chiefs. You should expect to see the MVP caliber Ryan under center this week in what could be a big game. Running back Devonta Freeman doubled the rushing touches of Tevin Coleman which was a good sign to see for Freeman owners. His usage and production still continue to be very good, keeping him locked in all lineups. As for the receiving game, corner Patrick Peterson all but shut down Julio Jones in the last matchup. Instead, the big games went to Taylor Gabriel and Mohamed Sanu. Gabriel exploded for two touchdowns on the day and has continued to be a weapon in this offense with a knack for the end zone. I wouldn’t expect Gabriel to keep these numbers up with Jones likely coming back into form. Nonetheless though, it should be a big day for all Falcons receivers in Week 13.

San Francisco 49ers @ Chicago Bears

Pick ’em; O/U 43.5

49ers – Look out folks, Colin Kaepernick is back. The dual threat QB is shining now and has become a very viable fantasy option. With both his rocket arm and legs, Kaepernick isn’t winning games on the field but he’s certainly winning games for fantasy owners. The 296 passing yards and three touchdowns were good enough for a great QB day, but add in those 113 rushing yards and Kaepernick just elevated his game to a whole other level. A date in Chicago makes him another solid QB play for Week 13. Carlos Hyde got back in the end zone through the receiving game. His usage in both fronts is great for fantasy owners. In terms of receivers, the best weapons last Sunday were tight end Vance McDonald and backup running back Shaun Draughn. Those two produced the most, while receiver Torrey Smith capitalized on his chances with a touchdown. I’d only feel comfortable playing McDonald though, Kaepernick seems to have a very good connection with him.

Bears – With Matt Barkley likely to be back at QB for the Bears, offense could be limited against the 49ers. Hopefully the offense knows that the 49ers posses the leagues worst run defense and feed Jordan Howard the ball often. He could have a very big game against this defense. In terms of receiving, Marquess Wilson made the most of his day exploding for a 8-125-1 stat line with Barkley. I wouldn’t expect the same line this week, but he can certainly replicate the success. Cameron Meredith saw almost as many targets as Wilson, but just couldn’t connect with only two catches. This is an offense that’s difficult to play for fantasy purposes.

Philadelphia Eagles @ Cincinnati Bengals

Bengals -1.5; O/U 42

Eagles – The Eagles offense was very underwhelming against a very vulnerable defense in the Packers on Monday night. Carson Wentz moved the ball, but couldn’t work his way into the end zone through the air. After his initial drive, it looked like the Eagles would put up a ton of points. Instead, the only real offense came from Dorial Green-Beckham and Darren Sproles out of the backfield. Star receiver Jordan Matthews briefly left with an ankle injury, but returned later in the game. Eagles players don’t offer much value against a good Bengals defense this Sunday.

Bengals – Andy Dalton and the Bengals really struggled offensively without star receiver AJ Green. The running game couldn’t get anything going and the passing game was very limited. Tyler Eifert led the way for the Bengals scoring their lone touchdown and should be a consistent target hog going forward. I can see him doing work and scoring a touchdown. As for the other receivers, Tyler Boyd stepped up as expected, but he’s more of a possession receiver. Brandon LaFell got the targets, but just couldn’t reel in all his looks. All New England fans collectively gasp. What was great to see though was Jeremy Hill‘s presence in the passing game. If he can continue to rack up PPR points, he’ll be a nice weapon going forward.

Houston Texans @ Green Bay Packers

Packers -6.5; O/U 45.5

Texans – Per usual, Brock Osweiler played like shit and threw three interceptions with no touchdowns. The only good thing about the performance though was receiver DeAndre Hopkins got back to leading the team in targets. Hopkins needs to be the primary option in this offense based on his elite skill. Especially against a leaky Packers defense, Hopkins should thrive if Brock can get him the ball. That’s a big “if” though. As far as other pass catchers, both Will Fuller and CJ Fiedorowicz saw an equal amount of targets in the game. Fuller is tougher to play, whereas Fiedorowicz has established himself as a reliable tight end option. Running back Lamar Miller has struggled to get much going on the ground. He’s getting a decent volume of carries, but isn’t making much work from that.

Packers – Aaron Rodgers continues to impress with his dazzling offensive performances. The former MVP is performing at top notch levels right now while making some incredible throws. The return of his favorite target Jordy Nelson has really helped provide Rodgers with a legit outside weapon to use in his arsenal. Nelson has been a man on fire as Rodgers continues to pepper him with targets and receptions. He’s as reliable as you can ask for from receivers. The emergence of Devante Adams has done wonders for this offense as he’s been racking up the yards and scores. Adams had a great Monday night and should continue to thrive with the Packers offense. Randall Cobb rounds off the three headed monster of Green Bay’s receiving core and will continue to be that speedy slot receiver Rodgers works the ball into quickly. All three are very reliable options. As for James Starks, he has seen a healthy number of carries while continuing his role in the passing game. He has RB2 potential in deep leagues where RBs are running scarce.

Buffalo Bills @ Oakland Raiders

Raiders -3; O/U 49

Bills – The Bills didn’t have much of an offensive attack last week against Jacksonville. Aside from the god LeSean McCoy imposing his will on the defense, Tyrod Taylor couldn’t really move the ball through the air. The return of Sammy Watkins will help that, but his foot appears to be acting up again and who knows how bad that could be. Robert Woods is still on the shelf with a knee sprain, leaving Charles Clay as pretty much the only remaining offensive target. He’s not worthy of an add, so the entire offense will rely on McCoy using his god like powers. Stay far away from Buffalo players.

Raiders – Another game, another win for Derek Carr and the Raiders. It’s a great feel good story for a team that has been such a joke for so long. Despite a dislocated finger, Carr managed to pull off a win while throwing for over 300 yards. The key will be to see how his finger holds up this week. If it’s bothering him still, Oakland could look to limit their expectations from Carr and utilize their ground game more. Latavius Murray has been getting carries, but not producing outside of his touchdowns. Last game he averaged 2.4 YPC, but we can give him a pass facing the Panthers defense. Buffalo has a respectable front seven, so maybe we see more struggles. Just be sure that when Oakland gets to the goal line, Murray is the choice to punch it in. In the receiving game, Michael Crabtree dominated the target and reception game with 13 targets for 8 catches and 110 yards. He’s arguably having a better year than counterpoint Amari Cooper who had 4 catches for 22 yards. Cooper is the more talented receiver, but Carr has been feeding Crabtree way more often. Both are obvious starts.

Washington Redskins @ Arizona Cardinals

Cardinals -2.5; O/U 49

Redskins – Can we talk about how on fire Kirk Cousins is right now? He’s scored 20+ points in four of his last five games while putting up 30 in his latest on Thanksgiving after throwing for 449 yards and 3 touchdowns. Cousins and the Redskins offense is humming and that shouldn’t slow down anytime soon. Jordan Reed and Jamison Crowder have gotten tons of targets in the offense, but Reed is dealing with a shoulder injury that could keep him out this week. If that is the case, then Vernon Davis slips into his role where he has previously produced rather nicely. DeSean Jackson continues to be the deep threat for Washington, opening up the field for the offense. The Cardinals have a good secondary spearheaded by elite corner Patrick Peterson. It will be interesting to see how he’s used, as whoever lines up across from him is likely in for a long day. Washington could struggle getting Rob Kelley going again after a poor performance against the Cowboys. This offense clearly moves the ball through the air more easily, so I would limit my expectations for Kelley.

Cardinals – Arizona really struggled in what should have been a pass happy game for the Cardinals against Atlanta. Carson Palmer threw for 289 yards and two scores, but the offense only put up 19 points on the day. The biggest surprise of the day was the use of David Johnson, who had only 58 rushing yards but had 8 catches for 103 yards and a touchdown. Those are very good receiving numbers from arguably the leagues best running back. Jermaine Gresham was the second leading receiver on the day with 10 targets of his own and a score. It was very odd to see Gresham get so much attention while stud Larry Fitzgerald had a very quiet day. Hopefully Fitz doesn’t draw coverage from Josh Norman, and can snap out of this funk he’s been in for two weeks.

Tampa Bay Buccaneers @ San Diego Chargers

Chargers -3.5; O/U 47.5

Buccaneers – It was a surprisingly great game from stud receiver Mike Evans against the Seahawks and Legion of Boom secondary. He had 8 catches for 104 yards and 2 touchdowns. That’s absurd against such an elite defense, so he and James Winston should have no problem throwing the ball against San Diego. Doug Martin saw a healthy 23 carries against Seattle, so he is officially back. The 83 total yards wasn’t bad and he should be ready to feast on his upcoming cake schedule. The rest of the Buccaneers offense has not been fantasy relevant, so don’t bother playing anyone other than these three.

Chargers – Philip Rivers was rolling in the lone star state throwing for three touchdowns against a good Texans defense. Now they welcome the Bucs who just held the Seahawks to 5 points last week. That seems like more of an outlier than anything, so feel comfortable using Rivers and his receivers. The duo of Tyrell Williams and Dontrelle Inman have been great as of late. Williams has been an absolute force in the offense and should have another big game this week. Inman is more of a question mark, but he has seen a big jump in production after the injury to Travis Benjamin. Williams is a must start — if he plays — but Inman is more of a flex play. Melvin Gordon has slowed down considerably after his monster start to 2016. Those touchdowns need to start happening more regularly so he can return to his elite form. The tight end production was very odd last game, as Antonio Gates was left blank. No receptions, not even a single target. Instead, Hunter Henry caught a couple passes and ended up scoring. One would expect Gates to return to his normal form, but Henry has caught touchdowns in a couple consecutive games now.

New York Giants @ Pittsburgh Steelers

Steelers -6; O/U 48

Giants – Despite the score, the Giants offense was rather sluggish against the Browns last week. Sure Eli Manning had 3 touchdowns, but he didn’t crack 200 yards. The lone bright spot was Odell Beckham Jr who turned a standard crossing route into a long touchdown. ODB had two on the night, showing that he’s rounding right back into his elite and unstoppable form. Sterling Shepard performed another disappearing act, as he was not targeted in the game. Only used on an end around, Shepard needs to work his way back into the passing game. It’s tough to use him after no usage whatsoever last week. The big disappointment came from Rashad Jennings who had all the pieces lined up for a big game. Instead he churned out 55 rushing yards against a bad Browns defense. I wouldn’t expect much ground game in a likely shootout against the Steelers. Lots of opportunity through the air here.

Steelers – We all know the big three of the Pittsburgh offense. Ben Roethlisberger, Antonio Brown and Le’Veon Bell will all be elite plays at home against virtually any team. They are easy locks into your lineups and should perform well. Despite a pretty good Giants defense, you can trust these three. They are far too dependable. Where it gets interesting is at tight end with Ladarius Green. The Steelers want to get him more involved with the offense. We know how much Ben loves his tight ends, so he could be trending up over the next few weeks.

Carolina Panthers @ Seattle Seahawks

Seahawks -7; O/U 44

Panthers – This is a bad recipe for Cam Newton to be walking into Seattle who’s fresh off a loss. Add in all the smack talk that Richard Sherman has been throwing at Cam, and you know the Seahawks defense will be more than ready in prime time. Of course, he’s Cam so you aren’t really benching him unless you have a really good option B. Jonathan Stewart found the end zone twice, all but completing my theory of Newton’s decreased desire to scramble on his own. Ted Ginn Jr led the team in targets and receptions as he continues to shine as a deep threat in the offense. It was nice to see Kelvin Benjamin find the end zone again, but all of these receivers will struggle with Seattle. Greg Olsen has taken a huge step back after a blazing hot start. He won’t be returning to that form vs the Seahawks.

Seahawks – Russell Wilson was AWFUL against the Bucs last week in a very surprising game. That bad of an offensive performance means that we are all due for an offensive explosion on Sunday night. I’m looking for Doug Baldwin and Jimmy Graham to have some seriously big games against a bad Panthers secondary. Carolina defends the run well, so it could be tough for Thomas Rawls to get much going on the ground. I wouldn’t have much confidence in anyone else on this roster other than Wilson, Baldwin and Graham. Seahawks will fly through the air.

Indianapolis Colts @ New York Jets

Colts -1.5; O/U 48.5

Colts – Andrew Luck returns to the Colts offense which is very much needed for offensive production. Donte Moncrief was the lone offensive weapon last Thursday as he turned in another touchdown, and should continue that trend with Luck back as he nearly scores in every game Luck plays. The Jets secondary has been reduced to practically nothing, so they aren’t scary anymore. TY Hilton should be returning from injury, so his presence will help the offense. He can easily go right by corners/safeties for a big time play. The tight end situation is still murky with Dwayne Allen getting more work last week over Jack Doyle. Hard to pick out which will be the guy this week. If there’s one guy to pick to sit, it’s Frank Gore. The Jets have a good run defense and old man Frank was miserable against the Steelers. It’s hard to see him do anything worthy this week.

Jets – Ryan Fitzpatrick actually looked pretty good against the Patriots, so he should have success at home against a bad Colts defense. Brandon Marshall has to be licking his chops after watching Antonio Brown torch this defense for three scores. Marshall has the size to dominate these corners Monday night. It was great to see Quincy Enunwa be used in the offense again. He can be a solid WR2 for the Jets going forward and hopefully Fitzpatrick keeps looking his way. The running backs couldn’t do much in their last game, but if there’s a spot for Matt Forte to go wild it’s here. The Colts are real bad against the run so Forte or even Bilal Powell should be able to run on this team. Forte is a nice play this week.


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