Fantasy Football Week 13 Rankings: Projections to Love and Matchups to Exploit

Chris Roling@@Chris_RolingFeatured ColumnistDecember 1, 2017

GLENDALE, AZ - NOVEMBER 26:  Running back Leonard Fournette #27 of the Jacksonville Jaguars warms up before the NFL game against the Arizona Cardinals at the University of Phoenix Stadium on November 26, 2017 in Glendale, Arizona.  (Photo by Christian Petersen/Getty Images)
Christian Petersen/Getty Images

NFL fantasy football owners don't have to look far to see Week 13 lineup decisions just got harder. 

The outlook was already brutal considering what owners have at stake—namely, playoff positioning. But Thursday Night Football between the Washington Redskins and Dallas Cowboys showed this wouldn't be any normal week, not with Ryan Grant of the former and Alfred Morris of the latter putting on shows while leading the way in scoring. 

We're here to help, though, with projections tables and some of the top matchups to exploit over the rest of Week 13 based on standard Yahoo leagues. 

         

Week 13 Schedule

Denver at Miami 

Detroit at Baltimore

Houston at Tennessee 

Indianapolis at Jacksonville 

Kansas City at N.Y. Jets 

Minnesota at Atlanta 

New England  at Buffalo 

San Francisco at Chicago 

Tampa Bay at Green Bay 

Cleveland at L.A. Chargers 

Carolina at New Orleans

L.A. Rams at Arizona 

N.Y. Giants at Oakland 

Philadelphia  at Seattle

Pittsburgh at Cincinnati 

       

Quarterbacks

PlayerProjected Points
Tom Brady21
Philip Rivers20
Carson Wentz19
Russell Wilson18
Cam Newton18
Ben Roethlisberger17
Jared Goff16
Drew Brees15
Tyrod Taylor15
Matthew Stafford14
Matt Ryan14
Case Keenum13
Josh McCown12
Alex Smith12
Marcus Mariota12
Author's projections. *If he plays.

Turn to the veterans in a time of need at quarterback. 

This week, it's all about Philip Rivers of the Los Angeles Chargers, a guy entering Week 13 off a 28.86-point outburst. He could enter out of a dud, though, and he'd still look like a great option against the Cleveland Browns. 

Not only has Rivers been one of the most stable producers all season long, he arguably hasn't had a matchup as good as this considering the Browns allow the ninth-most points to quarterbacks on average. 

It's a similar story for Seattle Seahawks quarterback Russell Wilson. He's playing behind a miserable offensive line and even leads his team in rushing because of his unit's struggles. Yet he's scored 15 or more points nine times and north of 20 seven times. 

Owners wouldn't be wrong expecting an eighth, as Wilson takes on the Philadelphia Eagles—a team allowing the 11th-fewest points to quarterbacks on average.

It doesn't sound great, but this game should feature plenty of offense between MVP candidates, and the Eagles numbers are inflated thanks to games against C.J. Beathard, Brock Osweiler, Dak Prescott and Mitchell Trubisky lately. 

           

Running Backs

PlayerProjected Points
Le'Veon Bell19
Jordan Howard18
Alvin Kamara18
Leonard Fournette18
Todd Gurley17
Rex Burkhead17
LeSean McCoy17
Mark Ingram15
Carlos Hyde14
Melvin Gordon13
Jamaal Williams12
Dion Lewis12
Lamar Miller*11
Christian McCaffrey*11
Joe Mixon11
Marshawn Lynch11
Alex Collins11
Latavius Murray11
Kenyan Drake10
Adrian Peterson*10
Devonta Freeman10
Kareem Hunt9
Tevin Coleman9
Jerick McKinnon8
DeMarco Murray*8
Author's projections. *If he plays.

This seems like the week Jacksonville Jaguars running back Leonard Fournette breaks back out. 

Fournette has battled an ankle issue lately, yet he's practicing in full for the first time since near the beginning of November. Just in time, too, because he has a divisional matchup against an Indianapolis Colts defense coughing up the fourth-most points to opposing backs on average. 

Near the start of the season, Fournette had burst on to the scene with 18.4 or more points four of six games with double-digit production in all six. If he's fully in that form again, he'll compete for the top line of the week. 

Also of note is New England Patriots running back Rex Burkhead. He had a turnaround story of his own recently after coming back from injury and has outings of 12.3 and 17.3 points over his last three games. 

Granted, New England running backs are always tough to figure out. But it wasn't hard to see Burkhead emerging once healthy, and here he is—and he's heading right into a game against a Buffalo Bills defense surrendering the third-most points to backs. 

Burkhead isn't catching attention nationally yet, but this might be the breakout game that helps him do so. The coaching staff seems like they're warming him up ahead of the playoffs. 

         

Wide Receivers

PlayerProjected Points
Keenan Allen18
Julio Jones*17
Antonio Brown16
A.J. Green16
Mike Evans15
Robby Anderson14
DeAndre Hopkins14
Alshon Jeffery14
Michael Thomas13
Davante Adams13
Doug Baldwin12
Adam Thielen12
Brandin Cooks12
Devin Funchess11
Marvin Jones11
Stefon Diggs11
Larry Fitzgerald11
Demaryius Thomas11
Cooper Kupp11
Jarvis Landry10
Golden Tate10
Tyreek Hill10
DeSean Jackson*9
Emmanuel Sanders8
Ted Ginn8
Marqise Lee*8
Mohamed Sanu8
Sammy Watkins8
Corey Davis8
T.Y. Hilton7
Author's projections. *If he plays.

It's impossible to ignore Keenan Allen this week. 

Rivers' favorite target has been on absolute fire lately, scoring outbursts of 28.2 and 23.2 points over his past two games. He's had a quiet season overall everywhere except the usage department, where he has 10 or more targets six times and fewer than seven in a game once.  

At face value, Allen has a "tough" matchup against the Browns in Week 13 because they rank well against opposing wideouts, but sometimes owners need to throw aside numbers and go with the guy. Cleveland has had an easy schedule against wideouts this year and faced few target hogs like Allen. Chasing a divisional crown, the Chargers are going to get Allen the ball consistently. 

A lesser-known name worth a look is Robby Anderson of the New York Jets. Maybe some have missed his outbursts, but Anderson is a top-flight fantasy option who has double-digit outings in four games in a row and touchdowns in five and counting. 

Anderson's latest feat was posting two touchdowns in Week 12, going for 26.6 points in the process. While regression in the touchdown arena seems likely, it wouldn't surprise to see him near the same point total again regardless thanks to a game against the Kansas City Chiefs. 

Those Chiefs permit the second-most points to wideouts this year, something Anderson's usage and sheer talent will exploit. 

           

Tight Ends

PlayerProjected Points
Rob Gronkowski12
Delanie Walker11
Hunter Henry11
Jimmy Graham*10
Travis Kelce9
Julius Thomas9
Zach Ertz8
Evan Engram8
Jack Doyle7
Kyle Rudolph7
Charles Clay*7
Austin Seferian-Jenkins7
Tyler Kroft7
Jared Cook6
Ricky Seals-Jones6
Author's projections. *If he plays.

Other than Rob Gronkowski, Delanie Walker is the big name to know at tight end in Week 13. 

One of the best tight ends in football, the Tennessee Titans star has battled through an injury while still seeing prominent usage, including nine targets in two of his past four outings. The production hasn't always been there, but it's a recipe waiting for the right matchup before causing an explosion. 

Said explosion should come against the Houston Texans, owners of a defense coughing up the sixth-most points to tight ends. 

Julius Thomas isn't as well known, as the quarterback situation for the Miami Dolphins helps him fly under the radar from a fantasy standpoint. But Thomas has five or more targets in three of his last four outings with two touchdowns. 

Thomas has a good matchup in Week 13 with the Denver Broncos in town, and he'll get to exploit the defense allowing the second-most points to tight ends. 

At an unreliable position, Thomas will once again be the safety valve putting up a big game.

             

Defense/Special Teams

UnitProjected Points
Jacksonville Jaguars11
Los Angeles Rams9
Los Angeles Chargers9
Pittsburgh Steelers9
Baltimore Ravens8
Tennessee Titans7
Denver Broncos7
Chicago Bears7
Philadelphia Eagles6
New England Patriots6
Author's projections

What, expect something else? 

The Jaguars defense has been unstoppable this year, and a game against the Colts only provides the unit a chance to post its best line of the season. 

After all, the Colts permit the second-most points to opposing defenses on average this year, flying dangerously close to the Browns. 

These Jaguars have 41 sacks, 14 interceptions and 15 forced fumbles, recovering 11 of them. Two of the interceptions and four of the fumbles have gone back for touchdowns. 

To cap it all off, the Colts helped the Jaguars score 20 points the first time they met back in Week 7.

           

Kickers

PlayerProjected Points
Stephen Gostkowski10
Greg Zuerlein10
Ka'imi Fairbairn9
Ryan Succop9
Justin Tucker8
Jake Elliott7
Chris Boswell7
Will Lutz7
Matt Bryant6
Kai Forbath6
Author's projections

While far from a household name, owners need to know Ka'imi Fairbairn this week. 

The Texans kicker has seven or more points in seven games this year, including two in a row. He's charging into a game against the Titans looking like a great option because Tennessee happens to allow the most points to the position outright. 

Not only that, Fairbairn dropped a season-high 18 points on the Titans back in Week 4. His offense looks quite different now, but all it means is he'll see more scoring opportunities as opposed to extra-point opportunities. 

             

All scoring info, points-against info and ownership stats courtesy of Yahoo standard leagues. 

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