Week 13 Fantasy Football Rankings: Lineup Advice for Every Position

Zach Buckley@@ZachBuckleyNBANational NBA Featured ColumnistNovember 27, 2018

Carolina Panthers' Christian McCaffrey (22) runs for a long gain against the Seattle Seahawks during the second half of an NFL football game in Charlotte, N.C., Sunday, Nov. 25, 2018. (AP Photo/Mike McCarn)
Mike McCarn/Associated Press

If your fantasy football playoffs haven't started already, Week 13 of the 2018 NFL season might be your last chance to snag a spot.

Any previous margin for error you may have enjoyed has vanished. It will be win-or-go-home time this coming weekend for all owners hovering around the playoff bubble.

We'll leave nothing to chance, then, and position you as best we can by ranking our top 10 players at every spot and highlighting a player at each position who could be primed for an outstanding outing.

                      

Quarterbacks

Marcio Jose Sanchez/Associated Press

1. Patrick Mahomes, KC (at OAK)

2. Cam Newton, CAR (at TB)

3. Jared Goff, LAR (at DET)

4. Drew Brees, NO (at DAL)

5. Deshaun Watson, HOU (vs. CLE)

6. Andrew Luck, IND (at JAX)

7. Kirk Cousins, MIN (at NE)

8. Lamar Jackson, BAL (at ATL)

9. Russell Wilson, SEA (vs. SF)

10. Aaron Rodgers, GB (vs. ARI)

The last time Jared Goff took the field, he torched the Kansas City Chiefs defense for 413 yards on 31-of-49 passing with four touchdowns and zero interceptions.

Now, he's well-rested after a bye and entering a matchup with the exploitable Detroit Lions defense, which has allowed the 10th-most fantasy points to quarterbacks and seventh-most touchdown passes.

While the third-year thrower had a brief bout of inconsistency near the campaign's midway point, he's been as reliable as they come in the last four games. His worst performance of that stretch was a 318-yard, two-touchdown, interception-free showing against the Seattle Seahawks in Week 10. In the other three contests, he had at least 295 passing yards and three scores.

He's been the sixth-best passer on Yahoo this season, and he'll look even better against the Lions.

                     

Running Backs

Gary Landers/Associated Press

1. Todd Gurley, LAR (at DET)

2. Christian McCaffrey, CAR (at TB)

3. Saquon Barkley, NYG (vs. CHI)

4. Kareem Hunt, KC (at OAK)

5. Ezekiel Elliott, DAL (vs. NO)

6. David Johnson, ARI (at GB)

7. Alvin Kamara, NO (at DAL)

8. Nick Chubb, CLE (at HOU)

9. Joe Mixon, CIN (vs. DEN)

10. Aaron Jones, GB (vs. ARI)

Both Nick Chubb and the Cleveland Browns have been unrecognizable since Freddie Kitchens started calling plays back in Week 9, and we mean that in the best way possible.

Prior to the coaching change, the Browns were averaging 21.1 points per game—18.1 if you throw out their 45-42 overtime loss to the Oakland Raiders in Week 4. Chubb barely qualified as an afterthought for most of that stretch. He didn't receive more than three carries in a game until Week 7 and scored just three total touchdowns in eight games under the previous regime.

Since then Cleveland is up to 28 points per game with Kitchens at the helm, and Chubb is at the heart of that surge. The rookie running back hasn't had fewer than 20 rushing attempts in that stretch, averaging 23.3 carries for 115 yards and 2.3 receptions for another 27.3 yards. Oh, and he has five touchdowns to boot.

Chubb has gone from off your fantasy radar to set-it-and-forget-it starter in the blink of a coaching change.

                   

Wide Receivers

Ron Jenkins/Associated Press

1. Michael Thomas, NO (at DAL)

2. Adam Thielen, MIN (at NE)

3. DeAndre Hopkins, HOU (vs. CLE)

4. Antonio Brown, PIT (vs. LAC)

5. Tyreek Hill, KC (at OAK)

6. Julio Jones, ATL (vs. BAL)

7. Odell Beckham Jr., NYG (vs. CHI)

8. Davante Adams, GB (vs. ARI)

9. Mike Evans, TB (vs. CAR)

10. Amari Cooper, DAL (vs. NO)

It's OK to admit this—you didn't eat anything on Thanksgiving that tasted as sweet as Amari Cooper's breakout performance for the Dallas Cowboys.

The former first-round pick could almost do no wrong in his fourth game with this new squad. He not only corralled eight of the nine passes thrown his direction, he turned them into 180 yards and a pair of scores.

"I think tonight speaks on how I've been saying that he makes this whole transition easy," Cowboys quarterback Dak Prescott told reporters afterward. "The elite player he is. He gets space, and he creates space himself with the route running he has. He did that and then he went and got a lot of yards after the catch. That's what big-time receivers do."

Normally, one might worry about a potential hangover after such an outlier performance. After all, Cooper hadn't topped 75 receiving yards since Week 4. But hangovers rarely happen against this New Orleans Saints defense. It has allowed the most fantasy points to receivers, surrendering eight different 100-yard receiving efforts already.

                   

Tight Ends

Rick Scuteri/Associated Press

1. Travis Kelce, KC (at OAK)

2. Zach Ertz, PHI (vs. WAS)

3. George Kittle, SF (at SEA)

4. Greg Olsen, CAR (at TB)

5. Rob Gronkowski, NE (vs. MIN)

6. Jared Cook, OAK (vs. KC)

7. Eric Ebron, IND (at JAX)

8. Jordan Reed, WAS (at PHI)

9. David Njoku, CLE (at HOU)

10. Cameron Brate, TB (vs. CAR)

The Oakland Raiders have topped 20 points once in the last four weeks. You'd be forgiven for assuming it's best to avoid this offense like the plague.

But somehow Jared Cook has escaped this team-wide funk and turned in a quietly productive season. He has found the end zone in three of his last five outings. He has had at least 50 receiving yards in two of the last five.

Perhaps most importantly, he's been targeted at least five times in four of those matchups. The results might not always be there, but the opportunities are.

That should matter on Sunday when Cook and the Raiders welcome the Kansas City Chiefs to town. Only two defenses allow more fantasy points to tight ends, and the position has produced four touchdowns in the unit's last five outings.

                   

Defenses

Rick Osentoski/Associated Press

1. Green Bay Packers (vs. ARI)

2. Chicago Bears (at NYG)

3. Kansas City Chiefs (at OAK)

4. Seattle Seahawks (vs. SF)

5. Tennessee Titans (vs. NYJ)

6. Houston Texans (vs. CLE)

7. Miami Dolphins (vs. BUF)

8. Carolina Panthers (at TB)

9. Philadelphia Eagles (vs. WAS)

10. Indianapolis Colts (at JAX)

The Chicago Bears defense is on a scoring binge—both in real life and the fantasy realm. This unit has four touchdowns in its last four games, plus 14 sacks, nine interceptions and three fumble recoveries.

Is there any reason to think Eli Manning and the sputtering New York Giants will be the squad that solves these stoppers? Hardly.

For starters, they can't keep Manning upright. The immobile 37-year-old has been sacked 38 times this season, which ties Dak Prescott for the most in the NFL, per TeamRankings.com.

New York also isn't hurting any fantasy defenses in the points against column. The Giants sit just 22nd at 21.5 point per game, and they've only topped 22 points in four of their 11 contests.

                  

Kickers

Bill Kostroun/Associated Press

1. Harrison Butker, KC (at OAK)

2. Justin Tucker, BAL (at ATL)

3. Wil Lutz, NO (at DAL)

4. Stephen Gostkowski, NE (vs. MIN)

5. Greg Zuerlein, LAR (at DET)

6. Matt Bryant, ATL (vs. BAL)

7. Chris Boswell, PIT (vs. LAC)

8. Jake Elliott, PHI (vs. WAS)

9. Ka'imi Fairbairn, HOU (vs. CLE)

10. Josh Lambo, JAX (vs. IND)

Week 13 means no more bye weeks. So as long as you can avoid the injury bug, you should be able to ride your preferred option at the position the rest of the way. It also means December is fast approaching, so you'll want to stay on top of weather reports and/or prioritize those kicking in warm climates or inside of domes.

That's one of many reasons to like Wil Lutz, who not only plays his home games indoors but also gets to kick inside AT&T Stadium on Thursday. His 95.7 percent field-goal success rate is tied for third among qualified kickers, and he's second overall with 43 extra-point makes.

                  

Statistics used courtesy of NFL.com and ESPN.com. Fantasy scoring information obtained via Yahoo Sports.

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