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Andrew Swanson | Archive | Email |
Staff Writer


DFS Week 13 Preview
Lean on Brees
12/2/16

Week 13 is a critical week for season-long fantasy owners, as it is the first week of the playoffs for some and one of the final chances to make a late season playoff push for others.

Fortunately, I am tied for first place in my fantasy league of record, where one win will lock up a spot in the playoffs and a chance to repeat as league champion.

For those poor souls who have had an off year with playoff hopes dashed by injuries and bad luck, playing DFS in the last few weeks of the season is a great way to stay in the game and have a bit of action riding on otherwise meaningless games.

It may not bring you as much satisfaction as talking trash to your buddies after another victorious season in your home league, but it is still fun to play, and winning some side money playing DFS isn’t the worst thing in the world.

Here are a few players that I am targeting this week on my DraftKings tickets.

Drew Brees

The Saints and Lions combined for 62 points last season. Brees finished 34-of-52 for 341 yds, 3 TDs.

Quarterbacks

H2H/Cash - Drew Brees ($7,500 on DraftKings)

For cash game owners, forking out top dollar for Drew Brees at home against the Lions might be the most well spent $7,500 of the season.

A no-doubt first ballot when he eventually hangs up his cleats, Brees has been nothing short of amazing for fantasy owners at home in the SuperDome, completing 71 percent of his passes for 19 of his 30 touchdowns on the year.

He is a solid play at home regardless of the matchup, but against the Lions and their subpar pass defense (16th most fantasy points allowed to quarterbacks), Brees is a slam dunk option for a baseline of 300 yards and three touchdowns.

Other options to consider - Matt Ryan vs. KC & Philip Rivers vs. Tampa Bay

GPP - Colin Kaepernick @ Chicago ($6,100 on DraftKings)

Only Aaron Rodgers, Dak Prescott, Marcus Mariota and the afore-mentioned Drew Brees have put up more fantasy points over the past four weeks than Colin Kaepernick.

After a first season as a starter in 2013 where he rushed for 524 yards and four TDs, Kap abandoned the run and attempted to be a conventional pocket passing quarterback.

In seven games this season, Kap has returned to his old rushing form with 373 yards and one touchdown, including 113 yards on 10 carries in a thrilling near upset of Miami.

Look for Kap to continue to be a duel-threat option against the Bears this week in a battle of two of the worst teams in the NFL.

The Bears have not been terrible against quarterbacks this year, allowing the 19th most points to opposing signal callers. But they have given up the 12th most rushing yards to quarterbacks, including just under 50 yards last week to Marcus Mariota.

Other options to consider - Russell Wilson vs. Carolina & Jameis Winston @ San Diego

Fade - Kurt Cousins ($6,400 on DraftKings)

A DFS darling of late, with back-to-back 30 point games against Dallas and Green Bay, Cousins may find tough sledding this week on the road against the Cardinals.

Although Arizona is having an off year, with a defense that has allowed big games to Colin Kaepernick and Matt Ryan in two of the last three weeks, they are a different unit at home and have allowed the third fewest points to opposing quarterbacks.

With top target Jordan Reed likely out this week and running back Rob Kelley facing a run defense that has allowed only one 100-yard rusher this season, the Redskins offense may hit a buzz kill this week against the Cardinals.

Running Backs

H2H/Cash - Spencer Ware @ Atlanta ($6,400 on DraftKings)

Head Coach Andy Reed knows full well that his team is not built to keep up with Atlantaís high-powered offense.

What is the best way to keep a high powered offense from scoring a ton of points? Play keep away with a methodical ground attack with a power running back like Spencer Ware.

Ware has not scored a touchdown since Week 7 against the Saints and has failed to score more than 11 fantasy points during that span. Look for him to right the ship this week against a defense that has allowed an average of 23 fantasy points to opposing running backs over the past two games.

I anticipate a similar game plan that Philadelphia used against the Falcons Week 10 when Ryan Mathews rushed for 102 and two scores in a surprisingly low-scoring game at the Linc.

Other options to consider - LeSean McCoy @ Oakland & David Johnson vs. Washington

GPP - Jordan Howard vs. San Francisco ($6,900 on DraftKings)

There are not many sub-$7,000 running backs with more upside than Jordan Howard against the 49ers.

The first year player from the University of Indiana has received at least 15 touches per game over the past four weeks, including 26 for 153 and a score Week 8 against the Vikings.

During that span Howard has averaged 5.5 yards per carry, while posting double-digit points in every single game, highlighted by a 32-point performance against Minnesota.

Although the 49ers limited Jay Ajayi to just 45 yards and a score on 18 carries last week, those numbers are deceiving as the Dolphins were without three starting offensive linemen.

Frankly, the 49ers stink against the run and the Bears will look to exploit this deficiency. Since Week 1 when Todd Gurley rushed for only 47 yards on 17 carries, the 49ers have allowed either 100 yards or a score to every team they have faced.

That is the floor you can expect from Howard this week with a ceiling possible of 150 and two scores.

Other options to consider - Tim Hightower vs. Detroit & Doug Martin @ San Diego

Fade - Jonathan Stewart @ Seattle ($5,200 on DraftKings)

Consistency has not been one of Stewartís qualities this year, as the veteran tailback has three multi-touchdown games mixed in with multiple fantasy duds.

With Carolina heading to the Pacific Northwest to take on a hungry and angry Seattle team, Stewart will likely find little room to run against the leagueís 8th best run defense.

Wide Receivers

H2H/Cash - Julio Jones vs. Kansas City ($8,700 on DraftKings)

Recommending spending $8,700 on the second-most expensive player on DraftKings may sound silly, even if that player is Julio Jones playing at home against the Chiefs.

In a PPR format where you can find cheap volume wide receivers, why would you want to spend 17% of your budget on a wide receiver that has not been very consistent this season on a week to week basis?

For starters, he is playing against the 32nd ranked defense against the pass and will likely move around the formation to limit his exposure to top corner Marcus Peters.

Also, Julio has never posted back-to-back duds this season, following up every single-digit game with at least 100 yards and a score. Not exactly a scientific analysis, more of a gut feeling that he will continue this trend and bounce back Week 13.

Other options to consider - Michael Thomas vs. Detroit & Doug Baldwin vs. Carolina

GPP - Brandin Cooks vs. Detroit ($6,400 on DraftKings)

Cooks game fantasy owners the ultimate goose egg last week, with zero catches for zero yards on zero targets. Thatís right, Drew Brees didnít even bother to look his way as he systematically dismantled the Rams for five total TDs.

Head coach Sean Payton has said that coverage dictated the lack of targets and Cooks mildly said that he was not happy with his usage.

Iím not sure if I buy into the squeaky wheel gets the oil narrative, but I canít imagine another game where Cooks, who has averaged at least 6 targets a game this season, will be ignored again.

Also, the matchup could not be better with the Lions visiting the SuperDome. I am starting all of my Saints this week (even Coby Fleener), and I think Cooks has a monster game.

Other options to consider - Dontrelle Inman vs. Tampa Bay & Jamison Crowder @ Arizona

Fade - Sammy Watkins @ Oakland ($5,500 on DraftKings)

Watkins has been anointed as the late season fantasy savior for teams looking for a player to make a last minute playoff push.

I bought into this idea after his 3/80 game last week in limited action against the Jags, but the recent news of limited practice forced me off the wagon.

Could Watkins have a huge game against a suspect Oakland pass defense? Absolutely, but he could also leave the game early with foot pain and sink your team.

Tight Ends

H2H/Cash - Travis Kelce vs. Atlanta ($8,700 on DraftKings)

The top few tiers of the preseason tight end ranking sheet for most fantasy analysts have been decimated with injuries, leaving next to no blue chip tight ends to speak of this week.

With Gronk out indefinitely with a back injury, Jordan Reed out with a shoulder issue and Greg Olsen the forgotten man in Carolina, there are slim pickings for top end tight ends this week.

That leaves guys like Kelce, Jimmy Graham and Tyler Eifert as possible cash game plays, but none of them are really exciting.

When in doubt, go with a guy who is getting heavily targeted and has a great matchup, which is why I will rely on Kelce this week against the Falcons.

His targets may go down from his season high of 15 due to the likely return of Jeremy Maclin, however, I still anticipate around 8 targets, including two or three in the red zone.

Other options to consider - Antonio Gates vs. Tampa Bay & Eric Ebron vs. New Orleans

GPP - Vance McDonald @ Chicago ($2,900 on DraftKings)

Speaking of targets, you will be hard pressed to find more targets for your money than Vance McDonald against the Bears.

One of Kapís favorite targets, McDonald has logged five straight games of at least six targets, including a season-high 8 last week against Miami. He has scored in two of his last four games, and is a lock for double digit points with the upside of 3 for 84 and a score like he did against Arizona Week 9.

Other options to consider - Cameron Brate vs. San Diego & Ladarius Green vs. New York Giants

Fade - Greg Olsen @ Seattle ($5,100 on DraftKings)

My cash game recommendation from last week, Olsen did not receive a bounce-back in targets like I anticipated and continues to be the old man out in the Carolina passing game.

Why would you pass the ball to a sure handed tight end that runs excellent routes when you can throw the ball to brick-handed Ted Ginn? It does not make a whole lot of sense, but that is the current state of the Panthers passing game.

Now, Olsen apologists will argue that he had a monster game Week 5 in 2015 when the Panthers went up to Century Link Field to beat the Seahawks, so why wouldnít he be successful against an injury-depleted Seattle secondary?

Itís possible, but Iím not going to put money on it, and I canít recommend you doing it either.

Defensive Play of the Week

Jags vs. Denver ($3,800 on DraftKings)

I am going with a different thought process this week when it comes to selecting my fantasy defense. Instead of going with one of the higher ranked options, I looked for a defense that is getting better but not a popular name, and one that has a chance for some turnovers.

With Trevor Siemian ruled out with a foot injury and rookie Paxton Lynch set to start on the road against the Jags, Jacksonville might be a sneaky DST play for GPP games.

Lynch struggled in his two games of action this season, completing only 62 percent of his passes with three turnovers and two touchdowns.

Jacksonville sacked Tyrod Taylor five times last week, leading me to believe they will put pressure on the rookie and force him to make bad throws.