Fantasy Football Sleepers Week 13
Happy belated Thanksgiving. I hope you not only enjoyed the holiday with your family, friends and loved ones, but I hope you also enjoyed the food and the football.
Speaking of the football… We had three games on the Thanksgiving Day slate and from a fantasy football perspective, some of us might be heading into Sunday’s matchups with a nice lead while others will be playing from a deficit, especially for those who elected to sit one Kenny Golladay. While in theory, it was the right move — I mean, David Blough was the Lions QB1 — but it ended up blowing up in your face if you sat him — see what I did there? Meanwhile, Mitchell Trubisky has now strung together his best four-game stretch of the season which left the Bears at a .500 record.
After seeing how poorly the Bears offense has been this season, you can see why they are a .500 football team. However, there is one team sitting at .500 that is surprising to many and that is my Dallas Cowboys. After getting blown out by the Bills — the game was not as close as the final score — the Cowboys are sitting in first place in the wretched NFC East with a 6-6 mark. One of the most talented teams in the NFL with stars and studs everywhere, I can’t think of a more under-achieving team in recent memory than the Cowboys. It is time to move on from Jason Garrett and it has been that time for a while now.
Speaking of under-achieving rosters, if there are one team and one coach that has frustrated as much as Jason Garrett and the Cowboys through the years, it is Dan Quinn and the Atlanta Falcons, who fell to the Saints in the Thursday nightcap. Sure, Quinn has led them to a Super Bowl in a game in which they blew a massive second-half lead to the Patriots and ultimately losing, but since then, the Falcons can’t seem to get out of their own way and their injury-riddled 2019 campaign is no different. Meanwhile, the Saints are making a strong push for the No. 2 seed in the NFC despite the fact that the New Orleans fantasy assets were vast letdowns last night mostly due to a two-touchdown performance from one Taysom Hill, who more than likely no one started outside of DFS single-game slates.
The following is a recap of the players from my Fantasy Football Sleepers article last week, you can read that here.
Most-Productive Players from Week 12
Fantasy Sleepers Week 12: Full-Disclosure
|Player||Position||PPR Rank||PPR Points|
- While Jeff Driskel only finished with 15.9 fantasy points, he did manage to finish as a fringe QB1 (QB13). Shockingly, Driskell finished as a fringe QB1 in all three of his 2019 starts.
- How about Mitchell Trubisky, who finished as the QB9 with 20.9 fantasy points? I would have gone with him again this week if he did not play on Thanksgiving. While Trubisky is a matchup play at best, he’s exploited four good ones in three of his past four games from a fantasy football POV.
- Outside of Ryan Griffin and Dallas Goedert, who finished as the TE7 with 10.2 PPR points and TE10 with 8.2 PPR points respectively, the rest of my Week 12 sleepers were flops as none of my backs or receivers were able to meet the double-digit PPR point threshold, which is my barometer for my hits and misses. Needless to say, I must do better for you guys starting with Week 13.
*While Goedert only finished with 8.2 points, he finished as the TE10. Because he finished as a TE1, I will count that as a hit. Any time a player finishes as a QB1, RB1, WR1 or a TE1, I will count it as a hit regardless of the overall point total.
Have some tough start/ sit decisions for Week 13? Don’t sweat! My co-host at the FF Faceoff Podcast, Mike Hauff, has you covered with his weekly Start’em/ Sit’em column featured exclusively at Gridiron Experts. You can read that here.
Week 13 QB Fantasy Sleepers
ESPN Start-Percentage: 12.5
The fact that Sam Darnold is only being started in 12.5 percent of leagues at ESPN shows that no one is paying attention. Not only are the Jets looking like the team that we thought they could be from the start of the season in recent weeks, but Darnold is looking like his early-first round pedigree in which the Jets selected him. In each of his past three games since Week 10, Darnold has finished as the QB7 or better and I believe he will maintain his streak in Sunday’s matchup at the Bengals.
Not only is Darnold’s pass-catching targets beginning to emerge not named Jamison Crowder — while Demaryius Thomas finally scored last week, Robby Anderson has now scored in consecutive games — but the Bengals are one of the worst defenses in the league which matches their winless record. In fact, Cincinnati is allowing the fourth-most fantasy points to enemy QBs at a 22.1 FPPG rate. While the Bengals were able to contain Devlin Hodges last week, they have given up at least 21.1 fantasy points to the opposing signal-caller in each of their past six games leading up to Week 12. Darnold will be no different. Darnold should be in all fantasy lineups this week as he is a safer play than players that include Jimmy Garoppolo and dare I say, Deshaun Watson?
ESPN Start-Percentage: 18.7
While Jared Goff is not normally deemed a sleeper, he is only being started in 18.7 percent of leagues at ESPN, which is well-deserved. Not only are the Rams paying terrible football on both sides of the ball, but Goff has been terrible, which is being nice. In four of his past six games including in three straight, Goff has finished with fewer than 5.2 fantasy points, which is a travesty considering his supporting cast. However, I am not putting the Rams’ or Goff’s recent struggles strictly on the quarterback. Their offensive line is one of the worst units in the league and they can’t sustain a respectable running game, which means the opposing defense knows what’s coming. Goff doesn’t really have a chance against a good defense, which won’t be the narrative in Sunday’s cake matchup with the Cardinals.
While the Arizona defense is yielding the most FFPG (25.2) to challenging QBs, the Cardinals are a team in which Goff normally plays well against. In fact, in each of his past four starts against them — he’s had five total starts against Arizona in his career — Goff has put up at least 19.2 fantasy points including three games amassing the 20-point threshold. What’s more, the Cardinals are allowing 49.6 percent more fantasy points above the 21.9 NFL average in the past three weeks and at least 25.9 fantasy points to the enemy QB in each of their past four games including three crossing the 30-point mark. It is safe to say that Goff should not only exploit this matchup, but he is poised to have a monster get-right game. If the Rams can get Todd Gurley going at all, Goff and the rams should be able to hang 30 points on the Cardinals in Week 13. If there ever was a slam-dunk Jared Goff week, it is this one.
Week 13 RB Fantasy Sleepers
ESPN Start-Percentage: 26.3
In his past two starts for Marlon Mack, Jonathan Williams has emerged as the clear-cut RB1 on the Colts. Not only has Williams accumulated at least 121 total yards including at least 104 yards rushing in back-to-back games, but he has also received at least 14 touches in both outings and is coming off of a Week 12 encounter with the Texans in which he saw 29 touches and scored. In two games since Week 11, Williams has put up at least 15.7 fantasy points and with Mack out again for Sunday’s matchup against the Titans, it looks like Williams will once again be in play for your fantasy teams. Sure, Nyheim Hines will still maintain his hybrid role, but he is more or less a pass-catching specialist while Jordan Wilkins has not even been a blip on the radar — Wilkins has not registered a single touch — with Mack out. This is Williams’ job to lose.
Although Williams will get a middle-of-the-pack matchup with a Tennessee defense allowing the 16th-most fantasy points to RBs at an 18.6 FPPG rate, the Tennessee front-seven has been gashed by the enemy running back in recent weeks. In fact, in four of their past five games since Week 7, the Titans defense has given up at least 15.9 PPR points to the opposing team’s top-scoring rusher four times including one game in the 20s and two in the 30s. The Titans are also playing on the road, which favors Williams and the Colts. Considering the fact that Jacoby Brissett has not looked the same since suffering his MCL injury, plus the fact that the Indianapolis front five is one of the best in the NFL and projected game-script is suggesting a low-scoring ground and pound type of affair, Williams should once again not only receive the touches, but he should also return another quality fantasy performance in Week 13.
ESPN Start-Percentage: 16.8
While Aaron Jones is listed as the RB1 in Green Bay, Jamaal Williams is not far behind him in the pecking order. In his past two games, Williams has received at least 13 touches, eliminating a three-game run of single-digit touches from Weeks 7-9. Williams has also returned at least 10.6 PPR points in 7-of-10 games played this season. More involved in the passing game in 2019 than initially expected, Williams has been especially busy catching passes out of the backfield in recent memory. In two of his past three games since Week 9, Williams has received at least six targets, caught at least six passes and accumulated at least 35 yards receiving.
Williams will take his solid season and look to continue his run in a respectable Sunday matchup at the Giants, whose defense is yielding the 15th-most fantasy points to enemy backs at an 18.7 FPPG rate. Sure, the Giants were much more-fruitful to RBs earlier in the year and have been playing better of late, but their front-seven can still be exploited. In each of their past three games, the Giants’ defense has allowed at least 12.4 PPR points to the opposing team’s top-scoring rusher, a trend that could be blown open by the Packers ground attack on Sunday. I could see both Jones and Williams accounting for double-digit PPR points, especially since Aaron Rodgers does not quite look like himself in Matt LaFleur’s system. And how do you not only protect Rodgers but also opening the passing lanes up for him? By heavily involving your upside running back tandem. While Williams won’t go off, he should still manage to accumulate double-digit PPR points, a feat that he has accomplished in five of his past six games, especially due to his recent substantial usage in the passing game. Williams is a locked and loaded Flex option for Week 13.
ESPN Start-Percentage: 13.5
Yes, for the third straight week since coming off of IR, I am including Derrius Guice in my sleepers column. While he played well in his first game back, scoring on a 45-yard catch and run, he wound up flopping with 4.8 PPR points last week. While he did not score last week, he did receive 11 touches, three more than he got in his Week 11 return. Moreover, Guice’s 11 touches matched Adrian Peterson’s total last week, which suggests that they are poised to split the workload at worst, which bodes well for Guice’s fantasy outlook. Peterson slightly out-gained Guice 49-to-40 in Week 12. Combined, they are a decent Flex play but apart, both backs are extremely scoring-dependent, which is what I am relying on for Guice in Sunday’s matchup with Carolina.
While the Panthers are surrendering the third-most fantasy points to enemy backs at a 24.1 FPPG pace, they have also allowed an opposing RB to score at least one touchdown in 10-of-11 games played this season. What’s more, aside from playing the underwhelming Falcons tandem of Qadree Ollison and Brian Hill in Week 11 and holding Ollison, who was their top-scoring back to single-digit PPR points (7.1), the Panthers have allowed the enemy team’s top-performing rusher to accumulate at least 19.2 PPR points against them in four of their past five games including Week 11. With Guice’s usage trending in the right direction, plus, the matchup against the Panthers’ non-existent run defense, the second-year back is shaping up to be a quality Flex option with fringe RB2 upside if he indeed finds the end zone in Week 13.
Week 13 WR Fantasy Sleepers
ESPN Start-Percentage: 22.2
Alshon Jeffery is practicing in full this week after missing the past two games with an ankle injury and should be a lock to return for a great Sunday matchup with the Dolphins. While Jeffery hasn’t quite looked like himself this season in the games he did play — he’s only had two games in which he’s accumulated more than 12.8 PPR points out of eight games played — his matchup facing a Dolphins defense yielding the fourth-most fantasy points to WRs at a 26.8 FPPG pace is set up to be a big one for the oft-injured wideout.
What’s more, the Philadelphia offense needs to get going if they want to take advantage of the mishaps of the Dallas Cowboys and take control over the NFC East, and Jeffery must be a large part of it starting with his impending Sunday return. Jeffery has drawn at least six targets in six of eight games played this season, a trend that should continue against a banged-up Miami secondary. In four of their past five games since Week 8, the Dolphins defense has given up at least 21.3 PPR points to the challenger’s top-scoring wideout while giving up double-digit PPR points to six different receivers. Assuming he has no setbacks, Jeffery should return a WR2 ceiling or better in Week 13.
ESPN Start-Percentage: 17.8
With Golden Tate likely out with a concussion, Sterling Shepard is in play for Sunday’s matchup with Green Bay. Sure, Shepard was underwhelming in his Week 12 return from a five-game absence due to a concussion of his own as he only caught 5-of-9 targets for 15 yards, but that was going up against one of the better secondaries in the league in the form of the Bears — that did not show on Thanksgiving, however. Now, Shepard will get a Packers secondary yielding the ninth-fewest fantasy points to WRs at a 20.2 FPPG pace. And while on paper, Green Bay does not present the greatest of matchups, they have been vulnerable at times this season. What’s more, Shepard has received at least nine targets in each of his past four games with Daniel Jones under center and at least seven in all five games played this season. His usage alone should help him return a double-digit PPR point floor, a feat that he has accomplished in 3-of-5 games played in 2019. With both Tate and Evan Engram expected to sit, Shepard could be in line for a big game in Week 13. The Packers have allowed six different receivers to accumulate at least 13 PPR points against them in four games since Week 8 and Shepard is primed to be the seventh.
ESPN Start-Percentage: 19.8
In two games with Nick Foles under center and back from his shoulder injury, Westbrook is trending in the right direction. While in Week 11, he was a letdown with his 4/32/0 line on six targets, Westbrook found his way in Week 12, finishing with 14.9 PPR points on an 8/69/0 line on nine targets.
Westbrook has now been targeted 15 times in two games with Foles as the QB1 and will look to build on his plus Week 12 outing in a prime Sunday matchup with a Buccaneers defense who couldn’t stop an opposing passing attack if they had 12 players on the field and did not get penalized for it. In fact, the Tampa Bay defense is surrendering the most fantasy points to enemy WRs at a ridiculous 31.7 FPPG rate. They have also allowed 56.6 percent more fantasy points to the WR position above the 33.3-point league average in the past three games. In 11 games this season, the Buccaneers secondary has surrendered double-digit PPR points to 22 different wide receivers, a trend that should certainly continue for Westbrook and the Jacksonville passing attack on Sunday. Westbrook is a high-floor Flex play who could return WR2 upside if he scores in Week 13.
Week 13 TE Fantasy Sleepers
ESPN Start-Percentage: 14.4
Ryan Griffin has been one of the hottest tight ends in fantasy football and the fact that he is only being started in 14.4 percent of leagues at ESPN right now is mind-blowing. In five of his past seven games, Griffin has accumulated at least 10.3 PPR points with five touchdowns in that time span including a score in back-to-back games. Griffin has also been a big reason why Sam Darnold is playing so well as he is not only an upside target in the red zone, but he is also a quality check-down option, minimizing the quarterback’s mistakes rather than forcing the ball elsewhere.
Now, Griffin will take his two-game scoring streak and streak of two games with at least 10.3 PPR points into an exploitable matchup facing a Bengals defense allowing the 14th-most fantasy points to enemy TEs at a 7.5 FPPG rate. While on paper, the Bengals appear to be a middle of the pack defense in defending the tight end, they have been absolutely gashed in the past five weeks in which they have surrendered 39.6 percent more fantasy points to TEs above the 12.0-point league average. In fact, the Cincinnati defense has allowed three different tight ends to accumulate at least 11.8 PPR points against them in their past three games despite the fact that they held Steelers tight ends to fewer than 1.1 PPR points combined last week. If Griffin, who has received at least three targets in four of his past five games continues to garner the opportunity, Griffin will be poised to extend his scoring streak to three games in Week 13.
ESPN Start-Percentage: 11.2
In four of his past five games, Kyle Rudolph has played extremely well compared to his horrific start to the year — Rudolph has scored at least 11.4 PPR points in those four outings while seeing at least five targets and hauling in at least three receptions for 14 yards and a touchdown. While Rudolph has been more involved with Adam Thielen sidelined, I believe his usage will contine even if the shifty wideout returns this week, which is not a lock. Per reports, Thielen has suffered a setback at practice making him extremely questionable for Monday night’s encounter with the Seahawks, which only helps Rudolph’s fantasy outlook that much more.
However, even if Thielen does make his return from his hamstring injury, he could be limited or even in a decoy role due to the setback. Pair that with the fact that Rudolph’s matchup facing a Seahawks defense surrendering the fifth-most fantasy points to TEs at a 9.4 FPPG pace and the slow-starting tight end should be in line for another promising outing. In two of their past four games, the Seattle defense has allowed an enemy tight end to go off for at least 18.4 PPR points (Austin Hooper and Zach Ertz) including a touchdown to each of them and Rudolph is more than capable to keep up with the Jones’. Look for Rudolph to extend his three-game streak with at least 11.3 PPR points and a touchdown to four games in the Week 13 finale against the Seahawks on Monday night.
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Thanks for Reading Fantasy Football Sleepers Week 13