Thanksgiving has now come and gone, meaning that it's time for the home stretch of the 2015 NFL season. With a massive number of teams still in the mix for a potential playoff spot, it's time to gear up for some excellent games in the upcoming weeks.
Week 12 was an interesting one, to say the least, but it's time to move forward and focus on the matchups and players to target in Week 13. We'll start things off by looking at the projected top performer at the quarterback position, as well as a few players who could save you some money in your lineups.
Let's get right into it as we start piecing together our lineups for the weekend.
|QB Options for Week 13|
|Top Performer||Cam Newton||CAR||NO||$7,400|
|Safe Bet||Tom Brady||NE||PHI||$8,000|
|Value Pick||Ryan Fitzpatrick||NYJ||NYG||$5,200|
|Wild Card||Marcus Mariota||TEN||JAX||$5,500|
|Salary info courtesy of DraftKings.com|
Congratulations to Cam Newton and the Carolina Panthers. After Sunday Night Football in Week 12, they are now the one remaining unbeaten team. The Sports Quotient may have it put it best with the question below.
Newton has not only been a stellar leader for the Panthers, but he's been a fantasy stud. Next up for the Panthers and Newton? The woeful defense of the New Orleans Saints. To this point in 2015, the Saints have allowed an incredible 30 passing touchdowns and have intercepted just four passes. To top it off, they've allowed two rushing touchdowns to quarterbacks.
Cam Newton squarely places himself as the top performer for Week 12, and it's hard to argue with that.
As for Tom Brady, the argument can be made that he'll be without Julian Edelman, possibly Danny Amendola and potentially Rob Gronkowski. As you can see from the play below via the NFL's Twitter, Gronkowski was in some incredible pain after that hit, so there's an obvious cause for concern.
Regardless, Brady is elite, and he can get it done no matter the circumstances. It seems nothing short of crazy to consider Brady "safe" right about now, but I'm here to do it. Brady and the Patriots are set to face off with the Philadelphia Eagles, who look completely dysfunctional and just allowed Matthew Stafford to throw for 337 yards and five touchdowns against them.
Brady's safe, especially coming off a brutal loss like the Patriots suffered in Week 12 against the Denver Broncos. Don't shy away from his high price tag, especially if you won't ruin your lineup to use him.
While Ryan Fitzpatrick and Marcus Mariota qualify as our value pick and wild card, both have tremendous upside in Week 13. The biggest difference is that Fitzpatrick is a bit more reliable than Mariota, as we've seen the rookie have plenty of up-and-down performances.
For Fitzpatrick, he's fresh off a four-touchdown performance against the Miami Dolphins, and he gets a great rivalry matchup with the New York Giants. Most recently, the Giants allowed Kirk Cousins to connect on 20 of 29 passes for 302 yards and a touchdown, while he rushed for a second score.
Mariota, on the other hand, draws a Jaguars team that was picked apart to the tune of 300 yards and four touchdowns by Philip Rivers. I can't blame you for using Mariota in Week 13, but both he and Fitzpatrick have great matchups and should be more than worth their sub-$6,000 price tags. The only difference? We've seen Mariota fail to top 11.18 fantasy points three times in his last six games.
|RB Options for Week 13|
|Top Performer||Devonta Freeman||ATL||TB||$8,000|
|Safe Bet||Doug Martin||TB||ATL||$5,900|
|Value Pick||Jonathan Stewart||CAR||NO||$5,300|
|Wild Card||Shaun Draughn||SF||CHI||$4,000|
|Salary info courtesy of DraftKings.com|
Sometimes when it comes to daily fantasy sports, you have to roll with your gut. While Devonta Freeman doesn't have the most amazing matchup on paper (it's still not bad), there are other factors playing into this choice.
Freeman was working on getting past a concussion in Week 12, and he not only watched his team drop their fourth straight game, but also watched his backup, Tevin Coleman, rush for 110 yards. While Coleman did lose a crucial fumble, he showed glimpses of a bright future. Now, it's time for Freeman to get back into the action and help his Falcons get out of this funk.
Worried about his status with the concussion? Fortunately, Vaughn McClure of ESPN reported that head coach Dan Quinn expects Freeman to be back fully this week.
After Freeman, we move to the man he'll be facing on the other side of the field in Doug Martin. While the Falcons technically have had a pretty strong run defense this year, they haven't been good against opposing running backs in fantasy. Before Adrian Peterson shredded them for 158 yards and two touchdowns, they had allowed just 757 rushing yards but 10 scores.
To top it all off, the Falcons have given up 80 receptions for 647 yards and three receiving touchdowns to opposing running backs this season. Basically, Martin should be in for plenty of work, and we shouldn't be surprised to see him get into the end zone multiple times.
As for the value pick and wild-card choice, there's nothing but love I'm sending in the direction of both Stewart and Draughn in Week 13. Not only does Stewart face the Saints, who just allowed the Texans (without Arian Foster, obviously) to rush for 167 yards and a score, but they struggle against receiving backs as well. They've allowed 64 receptions for 638 yards and four receiving touchdowns to opposing running backs in 2015.
While Stewart hasn't been incredible catching passes out of the backfield, he should still see a few targets, but regardless will be able to run right through the New Orleans defense in Week 13.
Draughn, whose cost obviously catches your eye, is an interesting option. He's up against the Bears, who have been right in the middle of the road against opposing running backs this season. What's so intriguing about Draughn, though, is the fact that he's now the workhorse in San Francisco until (or if) Carlos Hyde returns.
The former Cleveland Brown may not have scored a touchdown with the 49ers to this point, but through three games, he's rushed 43 times and has caught 17 passes for 113 yards. Draughn may not be putting up 20-plus-point fantasy performances, but he's topped 13.6 fantasy points in each game since he's been with the 49ers. Not bad for a player who costs just $4,000.
|WR Options for Week 12|
|Top Performer||DeAndre Hopkins||HOU||BUF||$8,800|
|Safe Bet||Amari Cooper||OAK||KC||$6,900|
|Value Pick||Doug Baldwin||SEA||MIN||$3,800|
|Wild Card||T.Y. Hilton||IND||PIT||$5,700|
|Salary info courtesy of DraftKings.com|
After a week when DeAndre Hopkins was surprisingly quiet, largely due to the fact that the Texans were up the entire game against the New Orleans Saints, it's time to expect a huge outing. Hopkins and the Texans draw the Buffalo Bills, who just allowed Jeremy Maclin to haul in nine catches for 160 yards and a touchdown.
If you think that was impressive, wait until you see what Hopkins can do against the Buffalo secondary. He and Brian Hoyer have an incredible connection, and while Hopkins saw a season-low eight targets in Week 12, there's no reason for concern.
Speaking of Maclin and the Kansas City Chiefs, they are now tasked with slowing down rookie phenom Amari Cooper. Cooper, who just torched the Tennessee Titans for seven catches and 115 yards, should have no problems against the Chiefs. Kansas City allowed Sammy Watkins to go wild against them, catching six passes for 158 yards and two touchdowns. The safest bet? Look no further than Cooper.
As for the value play in Week 13, we're going to go ahead and cross our fingers that Doug Baldwin isn't just tricking us. After Jason La Canfora of CBS Sports reported that head coach Pete Carroll announced a torn patellar tendon for tight end Jimmy Graham, it left NFL fans a bit stunned.
What this does mean is that Russell Wilson is going to have to continue locking in on the strong connection he's built with Baldwin. The unfortunate loss of Graham is tough to see, but the Seahawks will continue to find a way to get the ball into the hands of their other playmakers. Over the previous three games, Baldwin has caught 19 passes for 339 yards and four touchdowns. Don't overlook him as a great value in Week 13.
Last up is T.Y. Hilton, who, despite a strong Week 12, is absolutely still a wild-card choice.
Before catching six balls for 95 yards and two scores against the Tampa Bay Buccaneers on Sunday, Hilton had bounced back and forth between good and bad games. His yardage in the four games before that featured 21, 82, 15 and 150 yards. During that span, he had caught just two touchdowns, and both came during the 150-yard outing against the New Orleans Saints.
Hilton's a tough man to figure, but he has a strong matchup against the Steelers and their secondary, which just allowed Baldwin to catch three touchdowns. If you believe in Matt Hasselbeck, give Hilton a run in Week 13.
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