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
The Saints and Lions combined for 62 points
last season. Brees finished 34-of-52 for 341 yds, 3 TDs.
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
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.
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.
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.
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.
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.
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.
H2H/Cash - Julio Jones vs. Kansas City ($8,700
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
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.
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
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
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.
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.
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
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.