With fantasy football games now more important than ever as we reach the end of the NFL season, one key to succeeding down the stretch is to avoid trusting the wrong player in your lineup.
Many players can have a big week, so it is important to separate the fluke performances from the trends.
Oakland Raiders receiver Rod Streater finished with 96 yards and a touchdown in Week 13, but he is unlikely to catch a 64-yard touchdown in every game. Therefore, he is not worth even adding in many fantasy formats.
However, a few big performances from this week can be helpful for your team going forward.
Here is a breakdown of the best fantasy players from Week 13 as well as whether or not their great play is a "fact" that they are this good or if their performance was nothing more than fleeting "fiction."
15-for-27, 232 passing yards, three TDs; seven carries, 78 rushing yards; 28 fantasy points
Although the Carolina Panthers lost the game, Cam Newton is finally showing people why he was worthy of a high draft pick in fantasy football leagues around the country.
This performance comes off a 37-point game last week against the Philadelphia Eagles.
There are two important things to take away from this.
First, he is finally getting out on the run. This is his third-straight game of over 40 yards rushing, and that helps him obtain large amounts of fantasy points.
Second, he has not thrown an interception in the last three games. This helps sustain drives and eventually leads to more touchdowns.
Newton is finally getting back into a rhythm, and he will likely stay at this level for the remainder of the season. Even if he struggles as a passer, his ability to get rushing yards and touchdowns will keep his fantasy points high.
Unless you have another top quarterback on your team, he should stay in your lineup throughout the fantasy playoffs.
24 carries, 169 rushing yards, two TDs; four receptions, 14 receiving yards; 27 fantasy points
One big game can be dismissed as a fluke, but two monster games is hard to ignore.
Bryce Brown now has 347 rushing yards in the last two weeks, with two touchdowns in each game.
He is rewarding not only fantasy owners, but the Philadelphia Eagles as well, who made a risky draft pick by selecting a player who was hardly used in college.
As long as LeSean McCoy is out, Brown will continue to keep this great run going.
The only thing that could hold Brown back is the return of McCoy, but the Eagles have no incentive to rush their starter back from a concussion with a 3-9 record and with Brown playing so well.
Even if McCoy returns, there will certainly be a role for the rookie after the past two weeks.
Five receptions, 91 receiving yards, two TDs; 21 fantasy points
Donnie Avery had the best game of his season, as he helped the Indianapolis Colts get a comeback win over the Detroit Lions.
Just imagine what his numbers would look like if he hauled in more of his 14 targets on the day.
Avery is a talented young player that will always be a great outlet for the quarterback, but he has been inconsistent this season.
Still, the two touchdowns on Sunday only give him three on the year, and this was also only his third game with double-digit fantasy points.
Despite the team-high 14 targets, he is still the third option on this offense behind Reggie Wayne and T.Y. Hilton, who finished with 100 receiving yards against the Lions.
Avery could have another big game before the season ends, but he is not worth the risk.
25 carries, 118 rushing yards; four receptions, 14 receiving yards; 12 fantasy points
He did not get into the end zone, but BenJarvus Green-Ellis has been on fire over the past few weeks.
After not breaking the 100-yard barrier for the first 10 weeks of the season, the "Law Firm" has now topped 100 yards in three-straight games.
All three games were against the struggling AFC West, so that might be something to consider. However, his next game is against a Dallas Cowboys defense that was just torched by Bryce Brown on Sunday Night Football.
Green-Ellis has looked like a completely different running back throughout the past few weeks. He is finding the holes that the line provides and he is breaking off long runs.
As long as this continues, he should remain in the lineup.
14 receptions, 130 receiving yards, one TD; 19 fantasy points
The touchdown did not mean much in the final seconds of the game, but it was the exclamation point on a very good game for Brandon Myers.
Although the tight end had a dud last week as a popular pickup with only 37 yards, he more than made up for it for those that stuck with him.
With 15 targets on the day, Myers has now received double-digit targets in four of the last seven games, and he has led the team in each of those weeks. He is a major part of the offense and is definitely on the same page with quarterback Carson Palmer.
Outside of an elite few, no tight end is going to get a high amount of yards and be a touchdown threat in every game.
However, Myers is definitely start-worthy for the remainder of the year due to his role in the offense and his big upside.
Six receptions, 99 receiving yards, one TD; 15 fantasy points
Sidney Rice has had a nose for the end zone over the past month. He has now scored five times in the last five games.
However, this is a trend that might be tough to continue.
Rice does not have more than six catches in any game this year, and his 99 yards on Sunday were a season high.
He was targeted more than Golden Tate against the Chicago Bears, but the younger Tate is clearly the focal point of the passing game at this point.
It is difficult to count on touchdowns as a receiver in the NFL.
Rice only had five receptions in the previous two weeks before this Sunday. He has been targeted in the end zone relatively often, but you cannot trust him with your fantasy season on the line.
Six receptions, 116 receiving yards, one TD; 17 fantasy points
Josh Gordon is another reason why this might be one of the best rookie classes in years.
The receiver set a career high with 116 receiving yards on Sunday, but he also scored his fifth touchdown of the year.
His numbers have been inconsistent because the player throwing to him, Brandon Weeden, cannot always get him the ball.
However, the team is making an effort to get Gordon the football, with seven targets in each of the last three games.
You will have to temper expectations a little with Gordon, but there are definitely games ahead where he would be worth a start.
His next two games are against the Kansas City Chiefs and Washington Redskins, two teams that give up a lot of yards and points through the air. If Weeden continues to improve, Gordon can help your fantasy team.
15 carries, 66 rushing yards, one TD; two receptions, 16 receiving yards; 13 fantasy points
Do the Green Bay Packers finally have a running back?
It certainly seems that way after James Starks scored only the third rushing touchdown of the season for the team. Amazingly, he is now tied for the team lead with one.
Starks has run hard in the last few games and has earned himself at least 15 carries in three of the last four weeks. The only other time was a blowout loss to the New York Giants, and that will not happen often.
Still, this is a passing offense that will continue to go through Aaron Rodgers, regardless of how well Starks plays.
The running back is worth an add and possibly a start in desperate situations, but this 13-point performance is likely the best-case scenario for him.
Do not expect many more touchdowns this season.
23-for-37, 293 passing yards, two TDs; nine carries, 71 yards; 26 fantasy points
In the last two games, Russell Wilson has finally shown that he can be successful away from home.
His performance against the Chicago Bears was outstanding as he led multiple impressive drives late in the game for the upset win.
From a fantasy perspective, his increased use of his legs has made him a solid performer in the last couple of games.
In the first eight weeks of the year, Wilson only averaged 16 rushing yards per game and never had more than 28. In the past four games, he has totaled 27, 34, 38 and 71 yards on the ground.
Rushing yards are obviously an added bonus for quarterbacks, which means a mobile quarterback like Wilson has tremendous value in fantasy football.
There are better quarterbacks, but there are certainly a number of worse options for your starting lineup.
Wilson has scored at least 15 fantasy points in each of the last five games and has a favorable schedule coming up. Do not be afraid to keep him in your lineup for a little bit longer.
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