The Thanksgiving weekend of football is always an odd week. With two teams on bye and three teams playing Thursday, the Sunday slate is much lighter than regular weeks. I, like many people, was traveling and did not have the chance to watch the Sunday games like I usually do. It was a nice reprieve from the grind of the regular fantasy before we buckle down for a 4-week run to a #FootClanTitle!
But that was last week. What are we looking forward to in Week 13?
1. Lucky Number 13
For the mass majority of leagues, Week 13 is the final game of the regular season. If you’ve locked in a playoff spot, great job, and congratulations. If you’re still fighting for your spot or perhaps a coveted bye week, this is no time to rest on your laurels. You need to be cognizant of the players gaining opportunities by way of injuries or by performance. Many of your competitors that are out of the hunt will stop working the waiver wire leaving you with less competition for players. You need to look out for players that are going to help you in the playoffs and get rid of the players that you are unlikely to use over the next four weeks. It may hurt to drop a “name brand” player, but if they are not going to help you win, you should move on to someone with more upside given an opportunity.
2. Injuries Piling Up
The game of football is a brutal sport, especially at the NFL level. After 12 weeks of games, plus training camp and pre-season, players are starting to break down. Nagging injuries are compounding into more prominent injuries. Over the next few weeks, it’s imperative to be cognizant of the players with lingering issues and be prepared in the event they suddenly miss time. While you cannot handcuff every player on your roster, it’s often difficult to decide which players to do so with. While many owners will handcuff their studs, it’s never a bad idea to pivot to handcuffing other owners studs who are showing up on the injury report. A great example is Todd Gurley, who was slowed in Week 11 with an ankle injury. The news is that he’ll be back to normal for Week 13, the reporting has been rather quiet due to the Week 12 bye. As we just experience with Melvin Gordon, a minor thing can become a major thing very quickly, and an injury is more likely to occur to a player who’s already nursing an injury versus a player whose appearing fully healthy.
3. Bold Moves QB Edition
Speaking of injuries, a few QBs have performed well while replacing their injured teammates. Lamar Jackson, Chase Daniel and Colt McCoy are all getting the start in Week 13 and have performed as viable QB2s with borderline QB1 finishes. The key to winning a Championship is being bold and trusting yourself. There is so much info out the effectiveness of streaming QBs, but when faced with the prospects of putting your fantasy season on the line by starting one of these players over a name brand QB like Matt Stafford, it is a scary proposition. However, it’s bold, informed decisions that make or break your season. If you’re in a must-win situation, dig deep and think through the process to make sure you give yourself the best odds of winning.
4. Bold Moves RB Edition
Just like the QB position, a few RBs have surfaced over the past few weeks to be fantasy relevant, and there is no time like the last ditch effort to make the playoffs than starting the hot hand vs. the underachiever. Austin Ekler has to be started in place of Melvin Gordon and all Gordon owners are kicking themselves if they haven’t been rostering Ekler all season.
Baltimore Raven RB Gus Edwards has rushed for 115 and 118 yards over the past two games and appears to have taken the top spot in the Ravens backfield. The same can be said for Philadelphia RB Josh Adams, who, as my fellow writer Matt Okada pointed out in his “10 Lessons Learned” article, may have broken the Pederson Curse. Adams carried the ball 22 times in Week 12, the first time an Eagles RB has had that many since Ryan Mathews in Week 1 of 2016.
5. Primetime Excitement
The 1 PM games are less than exciting on paper for fans in Week 13. But when the Vikings at Patriots game kicks off at 4:25 PM, will be in for a nice stretch of action. The Vikings-Patriots matchup could be a potential Super Bowl preview if the Vikings can get hot at the right time. Even if the Vikings are a wild card Super Bowl contender, their offense can put up points with any team, leading this matchup to have high expectations of a shootout.
The Sunday Night Football Game between the Chargers and Steelers has all the makings of playoff preview and, perhaps, an AFC Title Game preview. This should be another firework show, with lots of points to be scored.
The Monday Night Football Game pits NFC East Division Rivals Philadelphia and Washington against each other in a game that has major ramifications for the division title. While neither team is a favorite to make it beyond the first round of the playoffs, these Primetime NFC East games rarely fail to produce an exciting game that is often decided in the final minutes of the game.