Week 13 Fantasy Football Projections: Predicting Top Performers at Each Position

Timothy RappFeatured ColumnistNovember 26, 2013

CLEVELAND, OH - OCTOBER 13:  Quarterback Matthew Stafford #9 of the Detroit Lions warms up before their game against the Cleveland Browns at FirstEnergy Stadium on October 13, 2013 in Cleveland, Ohio.  (Photo by Matt Sullivan/Getty Images)
Matt Sullivan/Getty Images

Week 12 was defined by Bill Belichick "taking the wind," the Green Bay Packers and Minnesota Vikings "kissing their sister" and the San Diego Chargers shockingly winning late against the Kansas City Chiefs.

For fantasy owners, Week 12 was all about Josh Gordon and Knowshon Moreno exceeding 200 yards receiving and rushing, respectively, a Philip Rivers blitzkrieg against a normally sound Kansas City defense and Jimmy Graham continuing to be one of the NFL's most dangerous weapons.

So what can we look forward to in Week 13? Who will be the top performers in fantasy leagues? 

Let's find out.

 

Notes: All point totals for standard-scoring leaguesPoints against stats via ESPN.

 

Quarterbacks

Week 13 Quarterback Projections
RankPlayerTeamOpponentProj. Points
1Matt StaffordDetroit LionsGreen Bay Packers26
2Tony RomoDallas CowboysOakland Raiders25
3Cam NewtonCarolina PanthersTampa Bay Buccaneers22
4Robert Griffin IIIWashingtonNew York Giants20
5Tom BradyNew England PatriotsHouston Texans19

 

Breaking Down Matt Stafford

With few surprises in the top five—well, unless you think Peyton Manning against the Chiefs and Drew Brees against the Seattle Seahawks, both on the road, should be top-five quarterbacks—we'll focus on the man who I think will lead all quarterbacks this week, Matt Stafford.

The Detroit Lions' gunslinger hasn't scored less than 14 fantasy points this season, a remarkable stretch of consistency, and he faces a Green Bay Packers defense that has given up 19 or more fantasy points to opposing quarterbacks five times.

Worse, you just know they don't have an answer for Calvin Johnson. And while Stafford was held to his season-low 14-point performance against the Packers in Week 14, that was at Lambeau Field. In Detroit, Stafford is averaging 20.4 fantasy points per game. 

 

Running Backs

Week 13 Running Back Projections
RankPlayerTeamOpponentProj. Points
1Adrian PetersonMinnesota VikingsChicago Bears24
2Matt ForteChicago BearsMinnesota Vikings22
3Frank GoreSan Francisco 49ersSt. Louis Rams20
4Eddie LacyGreen Bay PackersDetroit Lions19
5Marshawn LynchSeattle SeahawksNew Orleans Saints17

 

Breaking Down Eddie Lacy

GREEN BAY, WI - NOVEMBER 24:  Eddie Lacy #27 of the Green Bay Packers celebrates a touchdown against the Minnesota Vikings at Lambeau Field on November 24, 2013 in Green Bay, Wisconsin.  (Photo Tom Lynn /Getty Images)
Tom Lynn/Getty Images

Again, there aren't many surprises in the top five at running back, so we'll take a closer look at Eddie Lacy, the rookie who has made himself an elite option for fantasy owners.

Since Green Bay's Week 4 bye, Lacy's scored eight or more points in every week, reaching double-digit production six times. Even with Aaron Rodgers out and teams able to focus more intently on the running game, he's produced 60 points over the past four weeks.

And he'll likely be without Rodgers on Thanksgiving, according to Adam Schefter of ESPN:

Now, he faces a Detroit Lions team that allowed him to rush for 99 yards on 23 carries in Week 5. With the Packers needing a healthy running game to keep pace with a dangerous Detroit offense, expect Lacy to carry the load and rack up fantasy points in the process.

 

Wide Receivers

Week 13 Wide Receiver Projections
RankPlayerTeamOpponentProj. Points
1Calvin JohnsonDetroit LionsGreen Bay Packers23
2Josh GordonCleveland BrownsJacksonville Jaguars20
3A.J. GreenCincinnati BengalsSan Diego Chargers19
4Brandon MarshallChicago BearsMinnesota Vikings18
5Dez BryantDallas CowboysOakland Raiders16

 

Breaking Down Josh Gordon

Nov 24, 2013; Cleveland, OH, USA; Cleveland Browns wide receiver Josh Gordon (12) runs the ball after a catch as Pittsburgh Steelers strong safety Will Allen (20) defends during the fourth quarter at FirstEnergy Stadium. The Steelers beat the Browns 27-11
Ken Blaze-USA TODAY Sports

Likely the only thing I really need to write here is that Gordon faces the Jacksonville Jaguars, a team 18th in passing yards allowed per game and one that has allowed 20 or more fantasy points to opposing wide receivers seven times this season.

I suppose I could also mention that Gordon is coming off of a huge performance against the Pittsburgh Steelers, finishing with 14 receptions for 237 yards and a touchdown off of 17 targets. Or that he's now scored double-digit fantasy points in consecutive weeks and six times this season.

And hey, if you still aren't convinced, I could throw it out there that he's just one of two compelling offensive weapons the Browns have—Jordan Cameron is pretty darn good, too—and getting him the ball will remain a priority. 

It all adds up to one of fantasy's elite wide receivers. If you were savvy enough to draft him this season, enjoy the ride.

 

Tight Ends

Week 13 Tight End Projections
RankPlayerTeamOpponentProj. Points
1Rob GronkowskiNew England PatriotsHouston Texans20
2Jimmy GrahamNew Orleans SaintsSeattle Seahawks17
3Jason WittenDallas CowboysOakland Raiders15
4Vernon DavisSan Francisco 49ersSt. Louis Rams14
5Julius Thomas*Denver BroncosKansas City Chiefs12
*If he plays

 

Breaking Down Jason Witten

Nov 24, 2013; East Rutherford, NJ, USA; Dallas Cowboys tight end Jason Witten (82) scores a touchdown past New York Giants cornerback Terrell Thomas (24) in the first half during the game at MetLife Stadium. Mandatory Credit: Robert Deutsch-USA TODAY Spor
Robert Deutsch-USA TODAY

Surprisingly, the normally consistent tight end has been a bit hot and cold this year. In Week 1, he went off for 19 points. The next three weeks combined he scored just 11.

In Week 5 he exploded again for 18 points. The next three weeks, he had seven. 

In Week 9 he had 16 points. In Week 10 he had just two, then went on a bye before blowing up to the tune of 15 points last week. So shouldn't the trends suggest he'll be a flop again next week?

Well, yes, but a matchup against the Oakland Raiders says otherwise, as they've given up seven or more fantasy points to opposing tight ends six times this season and have allowed 17 or more points to tight ends in two of the past three weeks. 

Tony Romo will almost assuredly pick on the 25th-ranked pass defense, which should mean plenty of targets and yards for his trusty tight end on Thanksgiving. 

 

Defense/Special Teams

Week 13 Defense/Special Teams Projections
RankTeamOpponentProj. Points
1Carolina PanthersTampa Bay Buccaneers20
2San Francisco 49ersSt. Louis Rams16
3Miami DolphinsNew York Jets15
4Dallas CowboysOakland Raiders14
5New England PatriotsHouston Texans13

 

Breaking Down the Miami Dolphins

CLEVELAND, OH - SEPTEMBER 08: Defensive end Cameron Wake #91 of the Miami Dolphins celebrates after sacking quarterback Brandon Weeden #3 of the Cleveland Browns at Cleveland Browns Stadium on September 8, 2013 in Cleveland, Ohio. (Photo by Matt Sullivan/
Matt Sullivan/Getty Images

If the New York Jets were smart, they would focus heavily on the running game this week. They have the league's 31st-ranked pass offense, and rookie quarterback Geno Smith has thrown 18 interceptions.

Meanwhile, they face a Miami Dolphins team that is ranked 14th in pass defense and 11th in sacks with 32. The Dolphins generate excellent pressure from the defensive line and should be able to force Smith into mistakes when he is facing obvious passing downs.

The Jets have been very good to opposing defenses, giving up double-digit points seven times this season. If Miami is available in your league and you don't like your primary defense's matchup, snag the Dolphins this week. 

 

Kickers

Week 13 Kicker Projections
RankPlayerTeamOpponentProj. Points
1Stephen GostkowskiNew England PatriotsHouston Texans15
2Dan BaileyDallas CowboysOakland Raiders14
3Matt PraterDenver BroncosKansas City Chiefs12
4Mason CrosbyGreen Bay PackersDetroit Lions12
5Adam VinatieriIndianapolis ColtsTennessee Titans12

 

Breaking Down Matt Prater

DENVER, CO - NOVEMBER 17:  Matt Prater #5 of the Denver Broncos reacts as he misses a field goal attempt late in the second quarter against the Kansas City Chiefs at Sports Authority Field at Mile High on November 17, 2013 in Denver, Colorado.  (Photo by
Justin Edmonds/Getty Images

While Prater's early-season dominance among NFL kickers has slowed considerably, he's still managed seven or more fantasy points nine times this season, a pretty impressive level of consistency.

Sure, you might be worried about a matchup with the Chiefs, but push those concerns to the side—Prater scored 10 points against them in Week 11. As a kicker for the Denver Broncos and their excellent offense, he's essentially matchup proof.

Keep rolling him out with confidence. 

 

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