Fantasy Football Week 13 Rankings: Examining Lineup Options After Injury Reports

Zach Buckley@@ZachBuckleyNBANational NBA Featured ColumnistDecember 1, 2018

Denver Broncos wide receiver Courtland Sutton runs after a catch during the second half of an NFL football game against the Los Angeles Chargers Sunday, Nov. 18, 2018, in Carson, Calif. (AP Photo/Kelvin Kuo)
Kelvin Kuo/Associated Press

Week 13 of the 2018 NFL season could see a lot of inactives, both in the real world and the fantasy realm.

The body count of the injury bug is way up. A slew of season-ending ailments thinned the fieldwith Andy Dalton and Jack Doyle among the more recent casualties—and less serious injuries will sideline Melvin Gordon, DeSean Jackson and Kerryon Johnson for the weekend.

Given the proximity to the postseason in most leagues, there are also a lot of owners who have already been denied entry to the big dance. That might help or hurt you, depending on whether you or a competitor draws the dead-in-the-water teams.

Given the massive stakes of these matchups, we're here to assist with both top-10 rankings and waiver-wire targets—available in at least 50 percent of Yahoo leagues—at all the skill positions.

                              

Quarterbacks

1. Patrick Mahomes, KC (at OAK)

2. Cam Newton, CAR (at TB)

3. Jared Goff, LAR (at DET)

4. Deshaun Watson, HOU (vs. CLE)

5. Andrew Luck, IND (at JAX)

6. Kirk Cousins, MIN (at NE)

7. Lamar Jackson, BAL (at ATL)

8. Russell Wilson, SEA (vs. SF)

9. Aaron Rodgers, GB (vs. ARI)

10. Ben Roethlisberger, PIT (vs. LAC)

                    

Waiver-Wire Target: Lamar Jackson, Baltimore Ravens (45 Percent Owned)

Gail Burton/Associated Press

With Joe Flacco drawing the dreaded doubtful designation, Lamar Jackson could be looking at a busy day for the third straight week.

The No. 32 pick in April, Jackson has filled in for a hobbled Flacco the past two weeks and powered the Baltimore Ravens to consecutive victories. What's more relevant to fantasy owners are the 37 carries he's attempted in that stretch and turned into 180 yards and a score. He's also totaled 328 yards through the air, albeit with subpar efficiency (61.4 percent) and three interceptions.

While he's been more of a runner than a dual-threat, he could look more like the latter this Sunday in a favorable matchup with the Atlanta Falcons. They surrender the second-most fantasy points to opposing quarterbacks and rank among the bottom 10 defenses in passing (26th) and rushing (25th) yards allowed per game.

                      

Running Backs

1. Todd Gurley, LAR (at DET)

2. Christian McCaffrey, CAR (at TB)

3. Saquon Barkley, NYG (vs. CHI)

4. David Johnson, ARI (at GB)

5. Nick Chubb, CLE (at HOU)

6. Joe Mixon, CIN (vs. DEN)

7. Aaron Jones, GB (vs. ARI)

8. James Conner, PIT (vs. LAC)

9. Phillip Lindsay, DEN (at CIN)

10. Sony Michel, NE (vs. MIN)

                      

Waiver-Wire Target: LeGarrette Blount, Detroit Lions (35 Percent Owned)

Duane Burleson/Associated Press

While Theo Riddick might be the preferred stand-in for Kerryon Johnson as the pass-catching back in a likely shootout against the Los Angeles Rams, Riddick's 55 percent ownership prevents him from getting our recommendation.

So, we'll pivot instead to LeGarrette Blount, who re-emerged in a big way just last week.

His feast-like 19 carries on Thanksgiving deserve mention on their own, but it's what he did with them—and whom he did it against—that makes the performance so relevant.

By game's end, he had racked up 88 yards on the ground, 15 yards through the air and a pair of touchdowns against a Chicago Bears defense that still allows the fourth-fewest fantasy points to the position.

The Rams aren't nearly as potent on defense. They're 21st in rushing yards allowed per game and 31st in yards per attempt. Granted, that only matters if the contest is close enough for Detroit to utilize its ground game, but force-feeding the ball to Blount might be the best way for the Lions to keep the Rams offense off the field.

                       

Wide Receivers

1. Adam Thielen, MIN (at NE)

2. DeAndre Hopkins, HOU (vs. CLE)

3. Antonio Brown, PIT (vs. LAC)

4. Tyreek Hill, KC (at OAK)

5. Julio Jones, ATL (vs. BAL)

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

7. Davante Adams, GB (vs. ARI)

8. Mike Evans, TB (vs. CAR)

9. Keenan Allen, LAC (at PIT)

10. JuJu Smith-Schuster, PIT (vs. LAC)

                         

Waiver-Wire Target: Courtland Sutton, Denver Broncos (49 Percent Owned)

Orlin Wagner/Associated Press

While the Denver Broncos' earlier trade of Demaryius Thomas seemingly cleared the runway for Courtland Sutton to take flight, the rookie second-rounder has had trouble getting off the ground.

This could be the week that changes.

Few fantasy matchups are more inviting to the wide receivers than the Cincinnati Bengals. They allow 292 passing yards per game (31st) and have already been torched for 25 touchdown throws (27th). Five different receivers have cleared the century mark against them.

Sutton has been flirting with a breakout for a while. Before his one-catch, 14-yard dud this past Sunday, he'd gone three straight weeks with three receptions for 57-plus yards. Immediately prior to that stretch, he grabbed two touchdown receptions in three games. This matchup is good enough for him to finally put the yardage and scores together.

                          

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, (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)

                  

Waiver-Wire Target: Matt LaCosse, Denver Broncos (14 Percent Owned)

DENVER, CO - NOVEMBER 4:  Tight end Matt LaCosse #83 of the Denver Broncos catches a ball during player warm ups before a game against the Houston Texans at Broncos Stadium at Mile High on November 4, 2018 in Denver, Colorado. (Photo by Dustin Bradford/Ge
Dustin Bradford/Getty Images

Surprised to see Matt LaCosse listed here? He probably is, too.

"I'm one of the 52nd or 53rd guys to make the team every year," LaCosse told reporters. "It's been an uphill fight for me. Now it's time to go out and prove myself and show what I can do."

Once a roster-hopeful, LaCosse is now a featured option at tight end with both Jeff Heuerman and Jake Butt having suffered season-ending injuries. LaCosse scored his first career touchdown Sunday and has at least three catches in two of his last four games.

The 26-year-old should put himself more firmly on the fantasy radar with a trip to Cincinnati. As discussed above, the Bengals pass defense is exploitable, and it has had an especially tough time with tight ends.

Cincinnati allows the second-most fantasy points to tight ends and has surrendered seven receiving touchdowns to the position—including two on Sunday.

              

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

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