Fantasy Football Week 13 Rankings: Guide for Top Players and Sleepers

Zach Buckley@@ZachBuckleyNBANational NBA Featured ColumnistNovember 28, 2018

Houston Texans quarterback Deshaun Watson (4) throws against the Tennessee Titans during the first half of an NFL football game, Monday, Nov. 26, 2018, in Houston. (AP Photo/Eric Christian Smith)
Eric Christian Smith/Associated Press

Nothing grinds the gears of a frustrated fantasy football owner more than leaving points on the bench.

Avoiding that mistake will be critical in Week 13 of the 2018 NFL season, both due to the proximity of the fantasy playoffs and the fact that all healthy players are now available with bye weeks behind us.

The challenge is not only to choose the right studs, but also to supplement those stars with sleepers who can outperform their projections. We'll help as best we can by laying out our top 10 players at each offensive position, then selecting both a must-start option and a sleeper—available in at least 50 percent of Yahoo Sports leagues—at every spot.

                

Quarterbacks

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)

             

Must-Start: Russell Wilson, Seattle Seahawks (vs. San Francisco 49ers)

Mike McCarn/Associated Press

Wilson shouldn't be as fantasy-relevant as he is in today's pass-happy NFL. He's 25th in passing attempts and 20th in passing yards, numbers suggesting there should be a bounty of better options elsewhere.

While Wilson might not be getting a ton of opportunities, he's maximizing the ones he gets. His 112.0 quarterback rating is on pace to be a new career high, and his 66.7 completion percentage is the second-highest he's ever had. His rushing attack tells a similar story, as he isn't running a lot, but he's covering a ton of ground when he does (5.6 yards per attempt, third-highest of his career).

What's most relevant to fantasy owners, though, is the fact he's not only hot but has been heating up for quite some time. He has multiple touchdown passes in his last seven contests, four of which featured three scoring strikes. He has converted 69.1 percent of his passes in this stretch and engineered both a 339-yard passing performance and 92-yard rushing outburst.

The good times could keep rolling against the 49ers, who allow the 11th-most fantasy points to quarterbacks. They just allowed Jameis Winston to throw for 312 yards and two touchdowns, and in previous game saw Eli Manning connect on three touchdown passes.

Sleeper: Dak Prescott, Dallas Cowboys (vs. New Orleans Saints)

                   

Running Backs

1. Todd GurleyLAR (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 ChubbCLE (at HOU)

9. Joe MixonCIN (vs. DEN)

10. Aaron Jones, GB (vs. ARI)

               

Must-Start: Christian McCaffrey, Carolina Panthers (at Tampa Bay Buccaneers)

CHARLOTTE, NC - NOVEMBER 25:  Christian McCaffrey #22 of the Carolina Panthers runs against the Seattle Seahawks during the second half of their game at Bank of America Stadium on November 25, 2018 in Charlotte, North Carolina. The Seahawks won 30-27.  (P
Grant Halverson/Getty Images

Sometimes the best fantasy calls are the easiest ones to make. This falls under that category.

"McCaffrey easily has outpaced all other backs over the last four weeks with more than 300 yards both rushing and receiving as well as seven total touchdowns (a total 106.2 fantasy points in NFL.com format). And now he faces the Bucs? C'mon," wrote Phil Thompson for the Chicago Tribune.

It's looked like McCaffrey is playing on rookie, while everyone else is on All-Madden. He's almost toying with teams at this point. In Week 12, he had 125 rushing yards and 112 receiving yards on 28 touches. That's 8.5 yards per touch, an unreal number for any player, let alone one shouldering this type of workload.

It's impossible to rule out McCaffrey upping the ante against Tampa's defense this weekend. The Bucs surrender the second-most points per game, and the first time they faced McCaffrey this season, they watched him turn 22 touches into 157 yards and a couple of touchdowns.

Sleeper: Doug Martin, Oakland Raiders (vs. Kansas City Chiefs)

                   

Wide Receivers

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 JonesATL (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)

             

Must-Start: Adam Thielen, Minnesota Vikings (at New England Patriots)

MINNEAPOLIS, MN - NOVEMBER 25: Adam Thielen #19 of the Minnesota Vikings runs with the ball after making a catch in the third quarter of the game against the Green Bay Packers at U.S. Bank Stadium on November 25, 2018 in Minneapolis, Minnesota. (Photo by
Hannah Foslien/Getty Images

Down weeks for Thielen aren't as daunting as they are for most. While he had been held below 100 yards in two straight games prior to Week 11, he still totaled 11 receptions, a touchdown and a two-point conversion in those contests.

But his owners are rightfully thinking more about his towering ceiling than his heightened floor in Week 13.

That's partly due to his (latest) breakout in Week 12, when he snared eight of his nine targets for 125 yards and a score. It's also due to a favorable matchup with New England, which ranks 25th in passing yards allowed per game and 24th in touchdown passes surrendered.

On the season, Thielen sits among the top five in receptions, yards and touchdowns. He shouldn't have a problem living up to his elite status this weekend.

Sleeper: Mike Williams, Los Angeles Chargers (at Pittsburgh Steelers)

                   

Tight Ends

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 NjokuCLE (at HOU)

10. Cameron Brate, TB (vs. CAR)

             

Must-Start: Eric Ebron, Indianapolis Colts (at Jacksonville Jaguars)

INDIANAPOLIS, INDIANA - NOVEMBER 25: Eric Ebron #85 of the Indianapolis Colts celebrates after scoring a touchdown in the game against Miami Dolphins in the first quarter at Lucas Oil Stadium on November 25, 2018 in Indianapolis, Indiana. (Photo by Stacy
Stacy Revere/Getty Images

Any idea who the four pass-catchers are with double-digit touchdown tallies? Antonio Brown, Tyreek Hill, Davante Adams…and Ebron.

Considering Ebron entered this campaign—his fifth in the NFL—with 11 career touchdowns, it's more than fair to consider this an outlier. But that doesn't mean the trend is destined to change.

In fact, the 25-year-old's stock might be going up now that his position mate, Jack Doyle, is lost for the season with a kidney injury. Doyle only had fewer than four targets in one of his six games, and in two of them, he was thrown to at least seven times.

Ebron, who's already approaching a new career high with 72 targets, figures to receive at least some of Doyle's opportunities. That alone makes Ebron an enticing option, especially against a Jaguars defense allowing the eighth-most fantasy points to tight ends.

Sleeper: C.J. Uzomah, Cincinnati Bengals (vs. Denver Broncos)

                   

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

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