Week 13 NFL Matchup Preview Part One
Be sure to check out Part Two of our Week 13 NFL Matchup Previews. (out Friday)
THURSDAY NIGHT FOOTBALL – December 1, 2016
8:25 PM EST
Dallas Cowboys @ Minnesota Vikings
QB Dak Prescott: Dak could have his toughest challenge this season when he faces the Vikings defense on Thursday Night Football. He is very tough to sit as he adds versatility at the quarterback position which spells fantasy points both through the air and on the ground. Consider him a low-end QB2 at best this week.
RB Ezekiel Elliott: Zeke has been a fantasy stud all season. Tough matchup but that hasn’t slowed him down before. Play him safely as your RB1.
WR Dez Bryant/Cole Beasley: Dez has been on fire as of late and cannot see the bench. He has big play ability every time the ball is thrown his way. He falls somewhere between WR1-WR2 this week vs the Vikings. Cole Beasley provides consistent 50+ yards per game and is a TD-reliant WR2. He has more value in PPR as he is targeted 6 times a game.
TE Jason Witten: Production has slowed for Witten the past few weeks. He is a risky option at TE Week 13 as he may run fewer routes to protect Dak Prescott from the Vikings rush attack.
QB Sam Bradford: Bradford had one of his easiest matchups last week and failed to produce a touchdown and instead threw an interception. He has only thrown for multiple TDs in 3 of his 10 games played this season. Do not expect much from him in a much tougher matchup Week 13.
RB Jerick McKinnon/Matt Asiata: Neither back is a viable fantasy option. Asiata is only good for goal line opportunities which are few and far between in this offense. Bench them both if you have either rostered.
WR Stefon Diggs/Adam Thielen: Stefon Diggs is expected to return Week 13 vs the Cowboys. He is the top receiver on a team that will likely have to throw to keep up with the stout Cowboys offense. Play him. Adam Thielen has been a solid fantasy WR since Week 5. He had a season-high 11 targets last week and hauled in 8 of them. Unfortunately, he was unable to make much out of it totaling only 53 yards. Still, not a bad WR3/flex consideration with more upside in PPR.
TE Kyle Rudolph: Very up and down this year. Received an increase in targets last week without Diggs in the lineup. Consider Rudolph a TD-dependent TE2 this week vs the Cowboys.
SUNDAY – December 4, 2016
1:00 PM EST
Kansas City Chiefs @ Atlanta Falcons
QB Alex Smith: Typically not a good fantasy option but may be worth a stream if needed this week as Smith will be throwing a ton to match what the Falcons offense will dish out Week 13. I stress, nothing more than a stream if you need to fill the position this week.
RB Spencer Ware: Has been a decent RB2 the last few weeks and should have a big game against the Falcons. Look for Ware to be involved even more in the game script this week including passing situations as well making him closer to an RB1 vs the Falcons. Charcandrick West is not a threat to Ware’s production.
WR Jeremy Maclin/ Tyreek Hill: No word on Maclin’s status as of yet for Week 13. Honestly, it doesn’t matter, you are sitting him even if he plays. Tyreek Hill has stepped up as not only the number one target but a threat in all phases of the game as he caught, rushed and returned a punt all for touchdowns last week vs the Denver Broncos. You are starting Hill as your WR2 if you have him.
TE Travis Kelce: Has over 100 receiving yard in 3 of his last 5 games including the last 2 week. Kelce and Alex Smith are on the same page right now and that spells solid TE1 type numbers for Kelce vs the Falcons this week.
QB Matt Ryan: Continues to put up great fantasy numbers even against solid defenses. Matt Ryan plays much better at home so you can expect a QB1 performance out of him vs Kansas City this week.
RB Devonta Freeman/ Tevin Coleman: Freeman, clearly the lead back on this team and is heavily involved the game script every week. Consider Freeman a solid RB2 this week vs the Chiefs. Coleman disappointed on the ground but saved his fantasy day with a 2 yard TD catch vs the Cardinals. Coleman will continue to get involved but is only a TD-dependent flex consideration this week.
WR Julio Jones/Taylor Gabriel/Mohamed Sanu: Julio Jones had a flop last week but has followed up his last 3 duds with over 100-yard games. He is your WR1, play him. Taylor Gabriel should be owned in ALL formats for the fantasy playoffs. He is producing WR1 type numbers the last 4 games as he has totaled 271 receiving yards and 4 TDs in that span. Play him as a solid WR2 with WR1 upside. Sanu is a risky play. He can provide WR2 numbers but I would not expect that this week with expectations of a bounce back game for Julio and the emergence of Gabriel.
TE Austin Hooper: Not part of the game plan the past 2 games and I do not expect that to change this week given the talented trio at the WR position for the Falcons.
Miami Dolphins @ Baltimore Ravens
QB Ryan Tannehill: Has thrown for multiple TDs in the past 3 games and had his best game of the season last week vs the 49ers. This is a perfect case in which not to follow last week’s numbers. Expect Tannehill to come back down to earth in Baltimore this week.
RB Jay Ajayi: Has been hot but a very tough matchup. I don’t see him more than a low-end RB2 this week. He is likely one of your top 2 backs on your fantasy team so you have to play him but just don’t expect the world this week.
WR Jarvis Landry/Kenny Stills/DeVante Parker: Landry is hard to trust right now. He has failed to top 53 yards in the last 4 games. It’s very worrisome that Landry has not been part of Tannehill’s production as of late. If you got him, sit him. DeVante Parker has shown some promise and consistency the past 3 games. He is nothing more than a WR3/flex consideration this week, however. Kenny Stills has been boom or bust all season. That is what he is from here on out, high risk-high reward.
QB Joe Flacco: Has only topped 20 fantasy points twice this season, not exactly what you look for in a QB. He is not even worth a stream for the rest of the season given his schedule.
RB Terrance West/Kenneth Dixon: This backfield is tricky. West has lost touches to Dixon and as of last week its as close to a 50/50 split you can get. I would stay away from both if you can. If you have to play one, I still give the edge to West as he has been the only one of the two back to see the end zone.
WR Steve Smith Sr./Mike Wallace: Smith had 2 great weeks in a row and then “crapped in his big boy pants” last week with 20 yards receiving. He is a risky flex consideration this week. Wallace has been the more consistent WR all season for the Ravens all season and falls in the solid WR2 fantasy option. Both Smith Sr. and Wallace are beginning to lose targets to the young WRs of the Ravens future, Breshad Perriman, and Kamar Aiken. It’s something worth monitoring heading into the fantasy playoffs.
TE Dennis Pitta: Has been heavily targeted all season. The problem with Pitta has been his ability to turn his targets into any kind of production. He has one game with over 100 yards (Week 2 vs Cleveland) and his second highest yards in a game this season was 59 in Week 5. Targets are great but are not valuable when you can’t convert them into points or yards. I know it’s a long explanation just to say don’t play him but I figured I would paint the picture for any future consideration of Dennis Pitta this season.
San Francisco 49ers @ Chicago Bears
QB Colin Kaepernick: Has been such a consistent option since getting his first start of the season back in Week 6. Great matchup for him this week as well. I would consider playing him over someone like Andrew Luck this week. Consider Kaepernick a low-end QB1 vs Chicago.
RB Carlos Hyde: The Bears do not have the best defense but they have been very good against the run. Expect Hyde to struggle this week making him no more than a flex play, especially with Kaepernick rushing as much as he has been.
WR All 49ers Wide Receivers: Jeremy Kerley is the leading receiver and he is not good. Stay away from them.
TE Vance McDonald: Different story here. Vance McDonald has been very productive as of late. I tweeted out this stat on Wednesday: “Vance McDonald has at least 6 targets in each of his last 5 games, has 264 yards (52.8 yards per game) & 2 TDs in that span.” He has been a top 3 TE in the past 4 weeks. Get him off waivers and play him.
QB Matt Barkley: Looked fantastic last week and has a great matchup against the 49ers who have given up the 3rd most fantasy points to QBs this season. With that said, don’t chase last week’s numbers with Barkley and don’t play him over your QB1 just because of his matchup. If you really like him, I would recommend you pick him up off waivers and bench him this week. If he can produce 2 weeks in a row, he has Detroit and Green Bay next in line for you to throw him into your lineup at that time. My guess, he does not repeat last week’s performance.
RB Jordan Howard: He is a must start this week. Howard has been the only shining light for the Bears this season and faces the 49ers defense that has given up the most fantasy points to RBs this season. I think he is the running back, stud of the week.
WR Cameron Meredith and Marquess Wilson: Meredith has been decent but not consistent enough to start him in your lineups. It’s hard to trust that Wilson can repeat his performance from last week but you can’t deny how productive and in sync he and Barkley were. More importantly, you can’t ignore any WR that gets 11 targets in a single game. If you are in need of a streamer, Wilson isn’t a bad option against the defense that has given up the most fantasy points to WRs this year.
Philadelphia Eagles @ Cincinnati Bengals
QB Carson Wentz: Has not been a good fantasy option this season. On a team riddled with injuries, do not expect much out of Wentz at Cincinnati this week.
RB Wendell Smallwood and Darren Sproles: Smallwood is the lead back while Mathews is out. Smallwood has a decent matchup but I’m not sure he can do much with it as he has disappointed in this role. Smallwood is a desperate flex consideration only if Ryan Mathews rides the bench again this week. Sproles is like the utility infielder for the Eagles, you are not crazy about placing him in your lineup but will give him a shot ONLY in PPR if you are desperate enough.
WR Jordan Matthews and Dorial Green-Beckham: Matthews is a target monster with the exception of last week due to his sprained ankle. If he is a go this week, he is a must-start, especially in PPR. Dorial Green-Beckham benefited from Matthews’ injury but was still productive the week before when Matthews was healthy. Green-Beckham could be worth a start even in a difficult matchup if Matthews does not find the field on Sunday.
TE Zach Ertz: The Bengals are a much better matchup for TEs than WRs this year as they have given up the 4th most fantasy points to TEs. Ertz, however, is very similar to Dennis Pitta where he gets that targets but doesn’t do much with them to make it fantasy relevant. He has a great matchup last week and fell flat. Sit him.
QB Andy Dalton: Had a great stretch where he was a consistent fantasy QB, but in the last 3 weeks that has changed. It doesn’t help matters that A.J. Green is out either. Do not start Dalton.
RB Jeremy Hill: Very tough matchup vs the Eagles. Hills has been an RB2 but has only rushed for over 100 yards once this year. I do not like the Bengals offense much in this game and Hill is nothing more than a low-end RB2.
WR Tyler Boyd/Brandon LaFell: Both have seen an increase in targets but only one of them has done anything productive with them. That WR is Tyler Boyd. He has stepped up to provide decent production out of the WR position. A good matchup vs the Eagles this week for WRs, Boyd should produce WR2 numbers.
TE Tyler Eifert: Received the most targets last week (11) and did not disappoint. Look for Eifert to continue his TE1 status this week against the Eagles.
Houston Texans @ Green Bay Packers
QB Brock Osweiler: Has barely topped 20 fantasy points in any of his games this season. Not a fantasy option.
RB Lamar Miller: Has a hurt ankle coming into a game against a Green Bay team that is better at defending the rush than pass. I’m not liking the look of this game for Miller but should see enough workload to make him a high-end RB2.
WR DeAndre Hopkins/Will Fuller: Hopkins is starting to wake up a little bit, maybe just enough to warrant a start in your lineup this week as he will face a defense that has given up the 5th most fantasy points to WRs. Will Fuller looked better last week but is unreliable this season. Better luck next year with him.
TE C.J. Fiedorowicz: Not great but the TE position has been terrible this year for fantasy. He is worth a stream if needed this week vs Green Bay as I expect Houston to throw a ton to try to keep up with Aaron Rodgers.
QB Aaron Rodgers: Absolutely on fire the last 6 games. This is a tough defense but I’m not expecting Aaron Rodgers to slow down now. Play him as your QB1 vs Houston this week.
RB James Starks: Starks has been underwhelming as the lead back but this game could end up as the perfect storm for Starks. As Jason, Andy and Mike would say “Mark Wahlberg and George Clooney will be in Green Bay this week.” Expect Green Bay to dominate time of possession and take a decent enough lead where they will be handing the ball to Starks a ton in this one. I like Starks as a solid RB2.
WR Jordy Nelson/Davante Adams/Randall Cobb: Nelson has been the most consistent WR for Green Bay as he has over 90 receiving yards in 4 of his last 5 games and 4 TDs in that span. Insert him as your WR1. Davante Adams has done enough over the past 6 weeks to out-produce Jordy Nelson making him a must-start at this point. Randall Cobb seems to have lost his play-making ability this season. He gets targets but is unable to make much of it. He is not worth a start this week especially given the matchup.
TE Jared Cook: Fell flat last week after having a monster game Week 11. Can’t put any faith in which Jared Cook will show up this week. Not expecting much from him in a tough matchup.
Denver Broncos @ Jacksonville Jaguars
QB Trevor Siemian: Had an amazing fantasy day last week vs a tough defense but I do not expect it to be repeated this week. Yes, Jacksonville is in the middle of the pack vs Qbs this season but This game has the workings of a defensive, low scoring game written all over it. Siemian is dealing with an ankle injury and is in danger of missing this week’s game. Paxton Lynch would step in as QB should Siemian sit. I would stay clear of either option this week. Either way, this does not bode well for the Broncos WRs.
RB Devontae Booker: As I mentioned, this game looks to be a slow paced, low scoring, defensive game but may actually work out for Booker this week. He has 24 carries in each of his last two games and I do not expect that workload to decrease vs the Jaguars. Consider Booker a solid RB2 and a TD-dependent RB1 in this game.
WR Demaryius Thomas/Emmanuel Sanders: Both receivers have been very similar this season, WR2 type production with some random WR1 performances sprinkled in with no pattern what so ever to figure these two out. Both have definitely regressed from their stellar season last year but are still in the WR2 consideration week to week. That is where I would place both of them this week at best vs the Jaguars especially given the QB situation this week.
QB Blake Bortles: Bortles is only valuable in games where he can get some garbage time points. The Broncos never go into “bend but not break” mode so this game is not one in which you would even consider starting him. The Denver Broncos have given up the fewest fantasy points to QBs.
RB Chris Ivory and T.J. Yeldon: The Broncos defense doesn’t have many weaknesses but for some reason, they have given up a lot of fantasy production to RBs. If Chris Ivory plays, you should not be afraid of the matchup and start him. He could give you high-end RB2 production. T.J. Yeldon is just not a lead back in this league and should not be considered even when the only option at the position. Denard Robinson could see an extended role this week if both Ivory and Yeldon are out or limited. Something to monitor if you are in a super deep league and looking for a desperate streaming option.
WR Allen Robinson/Marqise Lee/Allen Hurns: I will make this simple. Do not start any WR from Jacksonville this week against the Denver Broncos who have allowed the fewest fantasy points to WRs. Look for much better options to replace them in your starting lineup this week. There are plenty of WRs on waivers that will produce more than these guys this week. Let me know if you need my help.
TE Julius Thomas: Just a terrible fantasy option and now hurt. Should not even be brought up. Ben Koyack will likely be the active TE this week and no one has ever heard of him.