Week 13 is the end of the regular season in most fantasy football leagues, and it’s likely that a number of teams are right on the cusp of making a postseason appearance—with one last victory making all the difference.
Let’s take a look at five of the most important positions in fantasy (sans kicker) and project which player (or team) is likely to perform best in a crucial week.
If you have any of these guys, it goes without staying that they are considered a must-start and their presence will likely swing a ton of matchups.
QB: Drew Brees, New Orleans Saints (at Atlanta Falcons)
Brees was a bit of a letdown for owners in Week 12, completing just 26-of-41 pass attempts for 267 yards, three touchdowns and two interceptions.
However, in perspective, those were respectable against the brutally tough 49ers defense, and the NFL’s leading TD passer should be in for a huge Thursday Night Football performance against the shaky Falcons secondary.
Atlanta lost both Dunta Robinson and Asante Samuel last week, and both are currently up in the air on whether they will be active against NOLA.
Regardless of their presence, we are expecting a big day for Brees in a critical NFC South showdown.
RB: Arian Foster, Houston Texans (at Tennessee Titans)
Foster has been a stud all season, and playing in back-to-back overtime games will not diminish his value going forward.
Tennessee’s defense is allowing opposing rushers to gash it for 129.8 yards per game, and an elite back like Foster will not be held under 100 for their second meeting of the year.
He put up an admirable 86 yards and a TD on 24 carries in Week 4, and should only improve those stats this Sunday.
WR: A.J. Green, Cincinnati Bengals (at San Diego Chargers)
Green has emerged as the top receiver in fantasy football this year, and has already recorded 67 receptions for 1,022 yards and 10 touchdowns. We expect that production to continue against a lowly Chargers defense on Sunday.
San Diego has been conceding 243 yards per game to opposing QBs, and we expect Andy Dalton will once again key in on Green for big plays and down in the red zone.
Rookie wideout Mohamed Sanu stole some of Green’s thunder in Week 12, but we know the second-year star will bounce back in a big way.
TE: Aaron Hernandez, New England Patriots (at Miami Dolphins)
With Rob Gronkowski out with a broken forearm, Hernandez is expected to pick up the slack in the star TE’s absence.
While he didn’t look great against the New York Jets on Thanksgiving night, only picking up two catches on three targets for 36 yards, Hernandez was playing in his first game since the Pats last played Gang Green back on October 21.
We suspect he’s going to find his rhythm this week and shred the Dolphins defense for some major yardage and a score or two.
DEF: San Francisco 49ers (at St. Louis Rams)
While everyone knew the 49ers defense was elite, it was quite surprising to see their pass defense easily handle Brees.
It recorded five sacks, picked off two passes and scored two touchdowns on the way to a relatively easy 31-21 victory.
This unit will have it much easier against the lowly Rams in Week 13, and should be in line for another monster outing.