The NFL season has gone by so quickly and week 13 is already upon us. This is one of the most important weeks of the season for fantasy owners as many are battling it out for that final playoff spot.
While many NFL teams are also battling for that final playoff spot, a few teams have already learned their playoff fate and are looking to play spoiler.
I am going to be breaking down my favorite players of the week. Since this is going to be mainly a DFS article, I will focus primarily on the DraftKings main slate which are the 1 pm and 4 pm games. But please feel free to use the information from this article to help with start/sit decisions.
There are lots of cheap value plays at QB this week.
Tyrod Taylor ($5,400)
Tyrod is in a good spot this week as there is a good chance the Bills will be playing up in pace trying to catch up with the Patriots. Over/Unders are a pretty strong indicator of how many points a QB will score in a given week and this game has the highest Vegas O/U at 48.5. The implied total for the Bills is not particularly high at 20 points, but other factors make this game a good spot for Tyrod. This potentially high scoring game also grades out as one of the most favorable games this week in terms of game pace, number of plays run, and passing DVOA of both teams. Tyrod will be one of the safest plays of the week with rushing upside and will be pretty much guaranteed to score over double digit fantasy points this week but his ceiling will not be super high either.
Trevor Siemian ($4,800)
Trevor Siemian is not a bad quarterback. He is by far the best quarterback in Denver. He proved it early on in the season with some strong games and his struggles could be explained by some injuries he tried to play through. Believe it or not, Trevor Siemian is one of my favorite plays of the week and could be a potentially good streaming option with a good matchup against the Miami Dolphins. The Miami Dolphins pass defense has been horrendous of late and currently rank 31st in pass DVOA. The run defense is just as bad with a ranking of 31st in rushing DVOA. The ability to attack the defense both on the ground and through the air will help the offense not be predictable and allow Siemian to move the ball down field setting up more chances to get touchdowns. The Broncos also play at the 5th fastest pace in neutral situations and are 6th in number of plays run per game. The suspension of Aqib Talib also allows Miami to score against a tough defense giving this game some potential for some sneaky high scoring.
Melvin Gordon ($7,400)
This is a very under the radar play with Melvin Gordon. First of all, I do not love the situations of most of the high priced RBs this week. People will be scared off by Cleveland’s good run defense this season but those rushing numbers are inflated by a number of factors. The Browns are used to playing down so opposing offenses run the ball on them a lot and runs are easier to defend when you are fully expecting them. Also, the Browns recently lost LB Jamie Collins and Emmanuel Ogbah. The Chargers have been running hot and should be in a positive game script for Gordon to get a solid 20 touches against a weaker than expected run defense. Gordon is a potentially good tournament play with lower ownership.
Kenyan Drake ($4,900)
Kenyan Drake is a very good play despite the matchup this week. If we learned anything from last week, it’s that if there is a cheap RB that is projected to get 20+ touches, he will almost always be an excellent value play. I’m looking at you, Joe Mixon. With Damien Williams likely to miss the game, Drake will have the backfield all to himself. The situation is also game script proof because Drake will be running the ball if the Dolphins are up and catching passes if they are down. Drake is a speedy RB from Alabama who could potentially break a long one for a big day. There are plenty of opportunities for Drake this week and it should not be hard for him to hit value.
DeAndre Hopkins ($7,300)
How good is this guy? Despite having Tom Savage as his quarterback, Hopkins has put up no worse than 17.1 fantasy points in every game. Tom Savage seems perfectly satisfied with just forcing Hopkins with an absurd number of targets. In the last four weeks with Tom Savage at quarterback, DeAndre Hopkins has gotten targets of 16, 14, 9 and 10. Hopkins’s 49 targets in the last 4 games is the best in the league and his 33% of the teams target share in the same time frame is third only behind Julio Jones (35%) and Adam Thielen (34%). When you’re getting targeted this much, it almost doesn’t matter what the matchup is and who is covering you. Hopkins has already proved this by putting up 3/65/1 with Patrick Peterson in coverage. Peterson has not even given up more than 55 yards receiving or more than 2 receptions this entire season (Marquise Goodwin had 55 yards on one catch and Alshon Jeffery had 2 catches for 26 yards earlier this season). This week Hopkins gets Titans rookie CB Adoree’ Jackson, a fast first round pick from USC in coverage. While Jackson has improved in the latter part of the season and has been used in shadow coverage, he is still not an elite CB yet. Jackson’s speed (his best trait) won’t be very useful in this matchup because Hopkins is a WR who can win jump balls and has 3 inches and 15 pounds on Jackson. DeAndre Hopkins is way too cheap and is a great tournament and cash play this week.
Cooper Kupp ($6,400)
Okay this is another pretty obvious play but another one I love. Cooper Kupp is already Jared Goff’s favorite receiver and with Woods out, Josh Reynolds banged up and Watkins being shadowed by Peterson, this means even more targets will be funneled to Kupp. Not only will Kupp see more targets, but he is also 5th in the league in total red zone targets among all WRs giving him good TD potential. Kupp only has three TD receptions this season so he is due for some positive TD regression. His primary matchup will be against Tyrann Mathieu who has not been strong in coverage this season. Mathieu has given up 363 yards in his coverage this season which is 6th most among all slot CBs. Kupp is a great cash game play and a solid tournament play as well.
Rob Gronkowski ($7,300)
Rob Gronkowski is in a smash spot against the Buffalo Bills. Since this game is going to be a high scoring affair, it is hard to see Rob Gronkowski not be a part of it. In the last five weeks, Gronkowski is 3rd among TEs in market share of the team’s air yards at 27%. That means he is not only getting a lot of good looks down field, but he is getting them from Tom Brady too. Gronkowski also leads the Patriots in red zone targets this season with 23% of the Patriots red zone targets. According to Sharp Football Stats, the Buffalo Bills are last in the league in success rate on targets to TEs and 26th in average yards per attempt allowed to TEs. Therefore Gronkowski should have little issues with efficiency this week.
Jared Cook ($5,400)
I know people hate Cook and that he has disappointed so many times in great spots throughout his career but he is in another good spot this week. Cook is priced up pretty hard this week and rightfully so. He plays against the New York Giants who have pretty much waved the white flag on the season. The recent QB change isn’t good for the locker room and at this point in the season, there’s a good chance a lot of the players on defense are now playing to just not get hurt. With Crabtree and Cooper both likely out for this game, Cook is probably the best pass catcher that Carr has. Not only that, but the Giants are very prone to TE production. The Giants are worst in the league in fantasy points allowed to TEs this season with an average of 17.1 DK points allowed. Playing in the friendly confines of a home stadium should also be very helpful to Jared Cook.
Defense / Special Teams
Jacksonville Jaguars ($4,500)
This is the priciest defense I’ve ever seen, but this unit is one of the most dominant units I’ve ever seen too. Sacksonville leads the league in sacks by a lot with 41 while the Baltimore Ravens trail behind them with 30.