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Week 13: The Playoff Picture

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Welcome to week 13 of the Brew Crew Corner. I hope everyone had a great Thanksgiving weekend, and more importantly, a big win this week. The regular season ends for some leagues this week and there are plenty of teams fighting for a playoff spot. Now is the time to play those players that are helping you win lately. Players such as Cecil Shorts, TY Hilton and Bryce Brown should be played over players such as Mike Wallace, Larry Fitzgerald and Michael Turner. You need to have your best lineup at this point in the season. A player such as Marcel Reece is giving you 20.8 points a game over the past four weeks and should be in your lineup.

The playoff picture is different for every league. Each league has unique rules on tie breakers. While most leagues use wins and losses to determine playoff spots, some leagues might use points scored. The tricky part is not who wins their division but how seeding and spots are secured. You could have a whole conference of teams right now that are at 6-6. Many of those teams could finish at 8-6 or 7-7. As I wrote a few articles ago, some teams have even made the playoffs at 6-8.

Tie breaker rules will sometimes help or hurt you depending on where you are positioned. You could have head-to-head advantage over someone but lose because of conference record. Some cases use record against teams that made the playoffs. In one of my leagues, I have a chance to finish at 8-6 and lock up the #1 seed but depending on how the other teams shake out I could miss the playoffs completely.  

The Golden Mug Award
Awarded to the fantasy players who came through for their team.

Cam Newton- 18-for-28 for 306 passing yards and two touchdowns, 14 carries for 52 yards and two touchdowns. Newton came through on Monday night and pulled off a ton of wins for fantasy owners. His 40-point fantasy performance was the most points he's had in a game since Week 13 of last year when he scored 41.

Bryce Brown- 19 carries for 178 rushing yards two touchdowns and two fumbles. Regardless of the fumbles, Brown is the waiver wire gem you always hope to land every week.

Dez Bryant- 8 receptions for 145 yards and two touchdowns. Bryant has posted back-to-back 145 yard receiving games and has five touchdowns in the past three games. Could he finally become the top 10 receiver everyone expected him to be?

The Urinal Cake Award
Awarded to the fantasy players who you would like to, well you know.

Rashard Mendenhall- 4 carries for 6 yards and 1 fumble. Mendenhall fumbled early and then was benched later in the game after almost losing a second fumble. It was a game that the Steelers wanted to forget but Mendenhall has lost his starting job for now.

Vernon Davis- 1 target. This is the second game where Davis had no stats in a game. You would assume that a young quarterback starting would rely on the tight end for support but this was not the case. Davis posted 20 fantasy points the previous week but had just 18 points total in the four games before that.

Fred Jackson- 6 carries for 16 yards. Jackson was back in the lineup after missing week 11 but took a back seat to C.J. Spiller. As long as Spiller is healthy, Jackson is nothing more than a handcuff at this point.

MATCHUPS

Good quarterback matchups this week:

Aaron Rodgers against the Vikings. Rodgers is not having the same stud season he usually has. Over the past four weeks he's put up an average of 18 fantasy points per game which has him outside of the top 15 quarterbacks. He's still Aaron Rodgers but he hasn't been elite lately. The biggest reason is the offensive line. He did shred the Cardinals in Week 9 but Weeks 8, 16 and 14 have yielded an average of just 15 points in each of those games. Greg Jennings will be back after missing seven games which will help. The Vikings held Jay Cutler last week to just 188 yards and one score but gave up three touchdowns in Weeks 8, 9 and 10. That's more touchdowns than they had in the first seven games combined. The Vikings are allowing 21.9 fantasy points per game to quarterbacks.

Peyton Manning against the Buccaneers. Manning has been the 11th best quarterback over the past four games averaging almost 20 fantasy points a game. He's been cleared after passing a concussion test. Manning is also on pace to finish with 37 touchdowns which would be the most he's had in a season since 2004 when he threw for 49. He will face a Bucs team that has been fantasy friendly to quarterbacks allowing 23.1 fantasy points per game. The Bucs are 32nd in the NFL allowing 315.5 passing yards per game with 18 touchdowns.

Sleeper Pick of the Week: Andrew Luck against the Lions. Over the past four weeks Luck has averaged 21.8 fantasy points per game putting him as the 4th best quarterback through those games. He is on pace to break the record for most passing yards for a rookie quarterback, set by Cam Newton last season. If only his touchdown totals were higher, as he's tied for 20th in the NFL with just 13 passing touchdowns on the year. This week he could pass for 3-plus touchdowns for the first time all season facing a Lions team that is allowing 18.8 fantasy points per game to quarterbacks. Luck might even rush for a touchdown as well.

Good running back matchups this week:

Trent Richardson at Oakland. The Raiders were run over by the Bengals last week for a total of 190 yards rushing of which BenJarvus Green-Ellis had 129 of those and a score. Don't forget the Raiders gave up 251 yards in Week 9 to Doug Martin. Richardson has put up 24 points or more in the past four games and should continue that trend this week. Oakland is allowing 131.2 rushing yards per game (28th in the NFL) with 15 touchdowns given up.

Jamaal Charles against the Panthers. Give Charles 23 touches or more and he rushes for over 100 yards. The Chiefs need to keep giving Charles the ball, especially the way the Panthers have played on run defense. The Panthers were gashed by Bryce Brown last week for 178 yards and two scores. The week before that Doug Martin rushed for 138 yards. Let's hope the Chiefs give him 20+ touches this week.

Sleeper Pick of the Week: C.J. Spiller against the Jaguars.  Last week Fred Jackson was used primarily as a pass blocker with Spiller getting the majority of the carries. Look for Spiller to carry the bigger portion of the load again this week. Jacksonville is 28th in run defense allowing 136.0 yards per game with 14 touchdowns.

Bad quarterback matchups this week:

Joe Flacco against the Steelers. Just two weeks ago, Flacco faced the Steelers and put up just eight fantasy points as he totaled just 164 yards passing with no touchdowns. Expect more of the same in this game as the Steelers have had a streak of six straight games of holding teams under 200 yards passing and have done so in eight of 11 games. They also have not allowed a multiple touchdown game since Week 5. The Steelers have not been kind to fantasy quarterbacks holding them to just 13.1 points per game.

Josh Freeman at the Broncos. Freeman failed to throw a touchdown last week for the first time this season as he struggled against the Falcons defense. This week he will have another tough matchup against the Broncos who are holding fantasy quarterbacks to 17.9 fantasy points per game. The Broncos are 5th in the NFL allowing 209.6 passing yards per game with 18 touchdowns. Don't forget that Vincent Jackson played against the Broncos his whole career so this defense knows how to matchup against him.

Colin Kaepernick at the Rams. I liked Kaepernick last week but not so much this week. In the first meeting with the Rams, Alex Smith suffered a concussion and Kaepernick finished the game with just 117 passing yards and no touchdowns. He'll be playing the full game, but as of right now, Coach Jim Harbaugh has not even named a starter for this game. That should give you some concern. The Rams will play the 49ers tough and I expect this to be a close, but low scoring game. The Rams are holding fantasy quarterbacks to 17.7 points per game.

Bad running back matchups this week:

Darren McFadden against the Browns. McFadden has finally returned to practice and could play this weekend but don't expect a big game from him. He's missed a ton of time and Marcel Reece has been very effective lately. The Browns run defense is pretty decent as they have not allowed a 100+ yard rusher since Week 5 and only two RBs have done so all season.
 
Jacquizz Rodgers against the Saints. If it wasn't for a few late touchdowns, Michael Turner would be useless. However, it is those touchdowns and lack of amount of touches that limit Rodgers fantasy potential. The Saints handed the Falcons its only loss of the season and in the last meeting Rodgers carried the ball just three times. Even though the Saints defense is dead last in rushing, I think owners will be disappointed with the Falcons run production this week.

Alfred Morris against the Giants. Morris played well last week after four weeks of average rushing stats and no scores. In the first meeting Morris rushed for 120 yards but did not score. The Giants are riding high after their win over the Packers and have allowed just one running back over the past four games to have double-digit fantasy points. This game could start for the Giants like it did last week, where they jump ahead early and the Redskins are forced to pass more.

Week 13: The final games leading up to the playoffs are here. Hope that you make it to the post season.

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Cheers!