Bold Predictions for Week 13
It’s been quite a while since I decided to bust out my crystal ball and make some bold predictions for the upcoming slate of NFL games. Since it’s the holiday season and the fantasy playoffs are either here or right on the horizon, it seemed like a good time to bring back the fearless forecast for Week 13.
I’m just bummed that I can’t pick the Browns a win this week. Oh well, there’s always next week. Or next year.
Unlike the Browns, I expect to get at least a few of these correct, even though the point of making outlandish predictions is simply to have a little fun and bring a wishful thinking aspect to the upcoming slate of games.
Anyway, let’s get on with some crazy calls for Week 13.
1. Julio Jones will be the No. 1 wide receiver
Ok, so that’s not so bold, but after last week’s 4-35-0 performance when the Falcons lit up the scoreboard, many fantasy leaguers are concerned that Jones could have another poor outing against a tough Kansas City defense. Don’t count on it.
Julio never stays quiet for long. In fact, there have been three other outing this season in which the superstar wideout tallied less than 60 receiving yards, and in each of the following games he rebounded in a huge way.
As for the matchup with the Chiefs secondary, talented Kansas City CB Marcus Peters spends over 90% of his snaps on the left side of the field, while Kyle Shanahan favors moving Jones all over the field. Expect the Falcons to have Julio in the slot quite a bit this week, where he’ll see a much more favorable matchup with struggling CB Phillip Gaines.Coming off of his three worst performances of the season, Jones has averaged 10 grabs for 183 yards and a touchdown grab in each of the following games.
2. Jay Ajayi won’t score 10 points[the_ad id=”63198″]After running roughshod over the league in Weeks 6-9, Ajayi has more or less been on a downward trend that culminated in a season-low 2.5 yards per carry last week, and the fewest rushing yards (45) since Week 5. Ajayi only salvaged some value last week with a touchdown run. Otherwise, he would’ve been a huge bust against the league’s worst run defense.
Now Ajayi and the Dolphins will face one of the league’s best run-stopping units on the road in Baltimore. The Ravens are only allowing 3.36 yards per carry to opposing running backs and have only surrendered one rushing touchdown since Week 2.
Ajayi’s rushing production has slipped in each of the past four games and Miami is having all kinds of injuries along their offensive line, making it harder for the club to establish the ground game. It would be hard to sit a player that has played as well as Ajayi has over the past two months, but just don’t expect him to have top 10 or top 15 numbers this week in what looks like a low-scoring slugfest.
3. James Starks will be a top-10 PPR back[the_ad id=”58835″]Green Bay’s backfield has more or less been a mess all season, but Starks looks like he could be in for a solid week, with 20+ touches against a fading Houston run defense.
That Texans run D is now 23rd in the NFL. The biggest problem for Houston is in coverage, where their linebackers aren’t suited to run with good receiving backs. The Texans have allowed the ninth-most receiving yards (515) and have yielded three touchdown receptions to running backs this season, fifth-worst in the NFL.
Meanwhile, Starks is coming off of a season-best 17 carries and has nabbed five receptions in each of Green Bay’s preceding two games. The Texans don’t have the offense to keep up with Green Bay in this contest, so I’m expecting a surprisingly good game from Starks, maybe even his first 20+ PPR point game of the season.
4. Malcolm Mitchell will top 100 yards
This may come as a surprise, but Mitchell in the No. 21 wideout in PPR leagues over the past three weeks. Not only is he red hot, but some favorable conditions for this week indicate that Mitchell should keep the positive momentum going.
First, the Patriots are banged up. WR Chris Hogan is questionable to play, and TE Rob Gronkowski is done for the year. While that may seem like an easy pivot to TE Martellus Bennett, the reality is that sans Gronk, the Pats have used Bennett more as an in-line blocker.
Secondly, Bill Belichick generally prefers to avoid trying to heavily feature his running game when facing an opponent, like the Rams, with a strong defensive front. If that trend continues, Tom Brady will use more short passes to WR Julian Edelman, WR Danny Amendola and RB’s Dion Lewis and James White. Establishing these shorter routes will open things up for the X-receiver.
Finally, this is a great matchup for the New England passing game as long as the weather cooperates. The Rams have allowed the ninth-most fantasy points to wideouts in 2016. Mitchell looks like a great WR3/flex play for Week 13.[the_ad id=”67766″]
5. Coby Fleener is a top-5 TE
Fleener was pegged as a potential top-5 tight end this offseason as many of us envisioned him filling a Jimmy Graham type of role for the potent New Orleans passing attack. At TE11 heading into this week, Fleener has lacked consistency and merely been an ok option.
Those that have held on to the former Colt may want to get him into their lineup this week, though. Drew Brees has been clicking all season and starting New Orleans pass catchers when the Saints are in the cozy comforts of the Superdome has been a winning proposition. Fleener himself averages 12.2 PPR points in home games, but only 6.82 on the road.
Finally, the matchup is fantastic. All season the Lions have struggled to defend tight ends. Detroit has allowed an NFL-high 17.3 fantasy points per game and nine touchdown grabs to tight ends.
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Senior Writer Gridiron Experts. 2012 FantasyPros Most Accurate Fantasy Expert. Member of the Fantasy Sports Writers Association. 26-year fantasy football veteran. Featured on NFL.com, Fantasypros, Football Diehards annual magazine, local AM sports radio, podcasts everywhere and SiriusXM Fantasy Sports Radio. Once scored 4 touchdowns in a single game for Polk High School.