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Steve Schwarz | Archive | Email |  
Staff Writer

Truths and Lies: Week 13

For a majority of leagues, Week 13 is the final game of the fantasy regular season. Cleveland and Tennessee, the final pair of teams, are on bye.

Vernon Davis

With the carnage at the tight end position, Vernon Davis becomes a viable play in Week 13.


“Even if you are minority of one. The truth is the truth.” Mahatma Gandhi

1) Chiefs wideout/return man Tyreek Hill is the “real deal” and a viable option against Atlanta this weekend and going forward into the playoffs.

Hill scored three time Sunday night; a rushing touchdown, a receiving score and a kickoff return for 86 yards. The last one to do that was Gale Sayers (1965) and suffice it to say anything that invokes Sayers name is a special accomplishment. It was Hill’s second game in the last three with double-digit targets. Even if Jeremy Maclin is able to come back this week, not likely, Hill has earned a significant role in an offense. He’s a must start in league which consider return yards where he’s managed 1,213 all-purpose yards in 11 games (110.2 ypg) after a typical slow rookie start.

2) It was a tough week, physically, on tight ends which is likely to make Week 13 a struggle to find 12 fantasy-worthy starters.

Rob Gronkowski (back), Jordan Reed (shoulder), Julius Thomas (back) and Martellus Bennett (ankle) are regular options who will be question marks for Week 13. Add in two quality tight ends on bye; Delanie Walker and Gary Barnidge, and fantasy owners could be scrambling for options. Of the injured replacement options, I suggest the obvious … Vernon Davis, who has seen a resurgence in 2016. Consider also; Jermaine Gresham (10 targets, 5-35-1), Lance Kendricks (4-51-1) and Josh Hill (6-74-0). The four possible substitutes are owned in less than 30-percent of all leagues.

3) If you followed my advice on starting Colin Kaepernick against Miami and collected 38.1 fantasy points in Week 12, don’t quit on him now.

The 49ers face the 2-9 Chicago Bears. The Bears are middle-of-the-road against the pass and have managed just five interceptions all season. Kaepernick ranks fifth-best this season scoring 25.9 FPts/G aided by 373 yards rushing.

4) Speaking of must starts, they is no surer play in Week 13 than Drew Brees in New Orleans this Sunday against Detroit.

Brees may own a mediocre 3-3 record at home this season, but he is averaging 357 passing yards per game, with 19 touchdown passes and just four interceptions (116.7 QB Rating). Considering he faced both Denver and Seattle among those six teams, his stunning 32.9 FPts/G at home is off the charts good. Facing a Lions team ranked 22nd in quarterback points allowed, I can’t think of a better fantasy option than the Saints quarterback.

5) If you used Andy Dalton before A.J. Green was injured, it’s still possible.

Over the past three seasons Dalton has averaged 20.5 FPts/G with Green (34 games) and 19.7 FPts/G without him (six games). Neither production is fantasy worthy in one quarterback leagues, but it still places him at No. 21, and a viable low-end option, in two-quarterback leagues.


“There is nothing more deceptive than an obvious fact.” – Arthur Conan Doyle

1) Trevor Siemian, Matt Barkley and Cam Newton’s Week 12 production was a mirage.

Don’t be fooled, particularly by the 26.9 points posted by Newton, the 2015 NFL MVP. He managed just 18 first-half yards on 3-for-12 passing before hitting on two long touchdown passes in the second half (88, 44). Newton’s passes don’t look crisp. He’ll be facing the Seahawks sixth-ranked pass defense in CenturyLink Field this Sunday.

2) Also a mirage is Tennessee rookie running back Derrik Henry outscoring DeMarco Murray.

Henry rushed eight times for 60 yards and a score (12 points), while Murray managed just 8.4 points on 17 carries for 43 yards and five receptions for 41 yards. Although Murray was active, he is still dealing with a foot injury. The bye week should have Murray ready for the first round of the fantasy playoffs.

3) Brandin Cooks’ zero-target Week 12 makes him impossible to start.

Cooks complained about his role on Tuesday and we usually see the “squeaky wheel” getting increased usage. Cooks is an elite deep option, but the Saints have three good receivers (Michael Thomas, Willie Snead) and solid tight ends (Coby Fleener, Josh Hill), so I don’t envision Cooks as a top-10 receiver going forward. Still, he’s a viable WR3. Brees has always spread the wealth among his pass-catchers.

4) It’s impossible to be a viable fantasy option opposite an elite receiver.

False. While Antonio Brown, Mike Evans and Odell Beckham Jr. are elite and their opposite numbers haven’t been able to consistently score, down in Atlanta, Taylor Gabriel seems to have figured it out and has posted four consecutive double-digit games, including a season-high 22.2 fantasy points, last Sunday. As long as Julio Jones is healthy and drawing the “double-team,” Matt Ryan should continue to get the ball to Gabriel. And by-the-way, in Green Bay Davante Adams is thriving across from Jordy Nelson.

5) The Minnesota Vikings D/ST leads the league averaging 7.8 FPts/G.

The number is correct, but they have been living off a fast start. They are no longer an elite defense/special team. The Vikings have scored two points or less in four of the last five games. Even the last-place Jets D/ST averages 2.5 FPts/G. It’s time to jump off that Vikings bandwagon with Minnesota facing Dallas Thursday night.

Steve Schwarz served as the fantasy sports editor of The Sports Network and is the 2014 FSWA Football Writer of the Year.