Studs (3x plus return): 12
Average Joes (2.1 – 2.9x return): 16
Scrubs (2x or lower return): 12
At the higher price bracket of QBs this week, Lamar Jackson ($7,800) looks worth paying up for this week. It is no secret that Lamar was terrible against Cleveland in primetime, with four interceptions being the headline number. With how depleted Pittsburgh’s defense is as a whole, I cannot see them causing Lamar the same issues this week, ranked as the 28th overall defense through the last four weeks. Furthermore, Pittsburgh has been exposed against the running game from Weeks 9-12, allowing 173 total rushing yards per game, which, as most know, is Lamar’s speciality. I think the Baltimore QB bounces back here, and with people worried about playing him, pounce on their hesitations.
No one seems to want to play Kirk Cousins ($6,500) again, and I think there is less appeal to him this week than there has been in the past weeks, purely because of Alexander Mattison’s ($7,600) presence on this matchup and the whole slate. However, I have him projected to have a solid return against Detroit here, who is by far not the most menacing defense in the league. Taylor Heinicke ($5,600) looks like an exciting play this week. Whilst the Washington QB has not gotten there every week this season, only hitting 20+ DK points 5/9 starts this season, you have to fancy his chances against Las Vegas, a team ranking 30th against Henicike’s position over the last four weeks (21.6 ppg).
Studs (3x plus return): 10
Average Joes (2.1 – 2.9x return): 19
Scrubs (2x or lower return): 13
Running back is a really fun position this week, probably the most open it has been this season in terms of options.
With my running back picks, I will focus on ones that combine leverage with chalk, and it will be hard to achieve success without a bit of both at the position.
Like QB, one of the better plays is the highest priced one in Jonathan Taylor ($9,200). Arguably the best running back in the league has a great historical record against Houston, averaging 106 rushing yards and a touchdown through three meetings, whilst seeming like an unstoppable force right now. Plus, with JT popping up as leverage over the field at his current projected ownership, you would be crazy not to consider him.
The same criteria applies to Joe Mixon ($8,100). Mixon takes on Los Angeles, a team we have targetted here plenty of times against teams that specifically focus on establishing the running game, and Cincinnati is one of those teams. Mixon himself is coming off a two-touchdown, thirty-two touch performance in Week Twelve, and I think is likely to see a similar game script in Week 13, with LA’s secondary success of late. Coming out at under 10% ownership as of writing this, people are overlooking the Cincinnati running back.
Looking at some chalkier plays at the RB position, Elijah Mitchell ($6,000) looks to set to be one of the most drafted backs of the week and with stats like @betonthegame outlines, it is easy to see why.
- “70% opportunity share – 6th
- 49ers rank 2nd in run plays per game
- 27 carries is B2B games
- No Deebo Samuel
- Starting to see receiving work”
And that is without taking into account the performance that the Washington backs put in against Seattle, Mitchell’s opponents on MNF. Speaking of which, Antonio Gibson ($5,700) is severely underpriced following his primetime performance. A pure production performance (zero TDs) of 26.6 DK points last week shows Gibson’s explosiveness and outlines how the back has been since his team’s bye. This was no surprise if you tuned into the latest 5 Yard Rush Flagship Show; however, much like how bad the Las Vegas defense has been lately, including against the RB position (29th against RBs, 31.6 ppg allowed).
Gibson would strictly be a pivot away from Washington’s passing attack if I were to play him in lineups.
Finally, with the injury news regarding DeAndre Swift, Jamaal Williams ($5,400) will be a popular pay-down option in an advantageous matchup position. Throughout Weeks 9 to 12, Minnesota has allowed the sixth-most points to the RB position (29.3 ppg) and fifth-most in the red zone (9.2 ppg), so the opportunity for Williams is undoubtedly there, and typically the back has made the most of this opportunity.
Studs (3x plus return): 18
Average Joes (2.1 – 2.9x return): 17
Scrubs (2x or lower return): 19
At the top end of the wide receivers, Week 13 screams like a Justin Jefferson ($8,200) week. Jefferson has a solid record against the NFC North outfit Detroit, averaging 107 receiving yards through three meetings but zero touchdowns. However, Detroit is showing all the signs that this could change in Week 13. with statistics like allowing 7.9 yards per pass attempt (highest in the league), 12.1 yards per completion (second-highest in the league) over the season and allowing a 75% passing TD percentage through the last three weeks, meaning fewer touchdowns for Mattison in theory! Applying this to Jefferson’s numbers and a No.2 rank in air yards and air yards share (1227 yards and 42.2%, respectively), the two match up quite nicely.
Terry McLaurin ($7,400) will likely be the first man alongside him when I slot Heinicke in my lineups this week. McLaurin’s target share has come down significantly since Washington’s bye week, consistently dropping 2-3 targets per game. However, as always, we back the talent over the situation and to be honest, the situation really is not THAT bad. Las Vegas being a bottom eight defense overall and in the red zone, I will back Scary Terry as a current under 5% play to smash in this spot.
It feels hard to ignore Hunter Renfrow ($5,800) as a bring back for any Heinicke stacks or mini-stacks with Gibson/Thomas/McLaurin. Now Darren Waller is essentially ruled out, it is Renfrow and a bunch of depth options that are seeing time on the field due to a lack of depth.
Outside of those guys, it is a bunch of meh plays outside of those guys, but unfortunately, we will need to play a few of them. Jaylen Waddle ($6,400) should not be ignored as a top-five reception leader in the league. I prefer Juwan Jennings ($3,100) as a complete paydown over Aiyuk ($5,600). I just feel Jennings takes the reins as the WR2 this week with no Deebo Samuel. And finally, Michael Pittman ($5,700) could have a nice week against Houston, and all the recency bias could put people off.
Studs (3x plus return): 9
Average Joes (2.1 – 2.9x return): 6
Scrubs (2x or lower return): 6
There is a lot of value at the tight end on this slate, and there is not many better on paper than Logan Thomas ($4,000). The Washington tight end returned to action in Week 12, and it was like he never left. The result was an 81.3% snap count, six targets, three receptions, and 31 yards. Now I admit these numbers do not jump off the page. However, the opportunity was still there, and Las Vegas, as highlighted throughout this article, are giving it up to everyone right now. They rank 29th at defending the position (19.2 ppg).
On the other side of this game, Foster Moreau ($2,700) is popping in all models with the likelihood that Darren Waller is ruled out for Week 13. Moreau’s +/- rating is projected at a position-high 5.32, a stat typically seen as a likely indicator of value and fantasy performance is a good sign. This is as well as Moreau’s super-high floor in this offense, set at seven points as of Wednesday evening. I think Moreau is good chalk to eat this week.
However, if you wanted to pivot off the chalk, why not look at James O’Shaughnessy ($2,600)? The Jacksonville tight end stands out less, well because he is on Jacksonville. However, Lawrence still throws at a top 12 rate in the league, and O’Shaughnessy had the highest snap share and routes run (80.3% and 35) since Week One last week, now that Dan Arnold’s injury has unfortunately surfaced. With the Week One outing being without Arnold, I do not think this opportunity is by chance. Play O’Shaughnessy this week. till thro
Studs (3x plus return): 7
Average Joes (2.1 – 2.9x return): 11
Scrubs (2x or lower return): 8
With many people likely to look towards Miami ($3,300) this week with the likelihood that there is no Daniel Jones, I do like the look of Arizona ($3,400), coming off of a bye in Chicago. All season long, we have seen this unit’s explosiveness on the field, boasting numbers for sacks and turnovers, and this should be no different in Week 13. For Chicago, we have either got rookie Fields at QB who is suffering from fractured ribs or Andy Dalton, a QB. who barely scraped past Detroit on Thanksgiving. This looks like a friendly matchup for the NFC West team based on a well-earned rest.
If you listened to my appearance on the 5 Yard Rush Flagship Show this week, you would know why I included Washington ($2,500) this week. When looking at the team’s numbers over the recent weeks (9-12), we see a top ten defense overall return, which is the unit most expected to see from Week One. Besides the QB position (25th), Washington is not allowing much to the other positions on the football field (RBs: 6th, WRs; 11th and TEs 14th). When we delve deeper into that 25th ranking against QBs, we see that Washington is a top ten defense in the red zone through the same period, so they turn up against the position where it matters. Derek Carr’s performance on Thanksgiving, Washington’s opponent on Sunday, plays into that defensive narrative, easily covering that 300-yard barrier but only had the one passing touchdown. Washington, for me, are by far the best ‘cheap’ DST this week over on DraftKings, and you should play them!