After his Week 12 performance, Roy Helu finally gained the endorsement from head coach Mike Shanahan as the team’s starting running back. This decision should have been made weeks ago, but fantasy owners should be happy that it’s now official. Helu had a monster game last week, rushing for 108 yards and a touchdown on 23 carries and also catching seven passes for 54 yards. He’s only received 74 carries on the season, but is averaging 4.8 yards per carry and has 38 receptions on the year, so it was inevitable that Helu deserved to be named the lead back.
He does draw a tough challenge in his first start though as Washington is home against a very good New York Jets’ run defense. They have given up the second-fewest fantasy points to running backs over the last five weeks, but the fact that Helu is such a great receiver certainly helps his cause. He should be used in most formats this weekend and is a great flex option at the very least. He may not rack up the rushing yards, but expect the Redskins to find ways to get him the ball. They are struggling as a team, but Helu should still get no fewer than 20 touches on Sunday.
It’s been an up and down season for Chris ‘Beanie’ Wells’ owners, but he has to be considered a must-start after last week. Wells ran the ball 27 times for 228 yards and a score. He had a few big runs, breaking off a 71-yarder in the first half and his day could have been even bigger if he didn’t get tackled inside the 10 on a few instances. Even still, it was a huge day for him, especially since he’s been banged up with a minor knee injury.
There are a few things to point out with Wells, though. He did this against a terrible Rams defense, and this week it will be much more difficult with the Cowboys coming to town. Also, Wells has lost a fumble in each of the last two games. That’s another thing to watch, but I like him a lot in Week 13. Arizona should be getting Kevin Kolb back for this game and that will help Wells’ production greatly. The good news is he received a big workload last week and his knee responded well, so look for the Cardinals to give him around 20 carries again on Sunday.
Who would have thought that Chris Johnson would have this bad of a season? At this point he can only be used as a matchup guy, so with that being said his matchup is very favorable in Week 13. Johnson draws a struggling Buffalo defense which has allowed the fifth-most fantasy points to running backs this season. I know it kills owners to even start him anymore, but Johnson had a huge game last week, rushing for 190 yards. He didn’t find paydirt, but it was a great game for his confidence and will maybe help him salvage the rest of the season.
In his last three games Johnson has run for 333 yards and that’s including a 13-yard performance Week 11, so it looks like he’s finally starting to figure it out. Get him in your lineup this week because he will definitely find some room to run against the Bills and should get over the 100-yard mark as long as he gets the ball.
Johnny Knox, WR, Chicago
Knox had a monster game last week with Caleb Hanie quarterbacking the offense. He hauled in just four balls, but that was enough for 145 yards and a touchdown. With Jay Cutler out for the season, it looks like Hanie will be the Bears’ quarterback for at least a few more weeks. This isn’t bad news for Knox, who has very good chemistry with Hanie because of the fact that they have worked together on the practice team a lot in the past. If you need some receiver help this week give him a look. He has a great matchup against Kansas City and should be Hanie’s favorite target again in Week 13.
New England D/ST
It’s strange to see a defense listed as a sleeper for the upcoming week, but the Patriots defense has been hot lately and is going up against a terrible opponent in the winless Indianapolis Colts. They haven’t allowed more than 20 points in any of the last three games and are winning the turnover battle every week. Indianapolis announced that they are going to be starting their third-string quarterback this weekend so that’s even better news for anyone rolling with the Patriots defense.
They are still available in more than 40 percent of most fantasy leagues, so consider grabbing them for Week 13. You know New England’s offense will put up plenty of points so Indianapolis may be forced to air it out a lot. Even though this defense has struggled at times they are playing well right now and are going up against an inexperienced quarterback.
Donald Brown, RB, Indianapolis
Brown is a bit of a stretch, but he is getting the majority of the carries for the Colts right now and he is coming off a solid performance in Week 12 where he had 80 yards and a touchdown. Teams have been able to run on the Patriots, but the only thing that might hurt Brown is that Indianapolis will probably be losing early and often on Sunday and may have to air it out more than they want to.
Nonetheless, I still think Brown has value this week because of his catching ability. He should see around 12-14 carries plus a handful of swing passes. As I already talked about, the Colts are rolling their third-string quarterback this weekend so Brown could be a nice safety valve for him.
Lock of the Week
Ryan Fitzpatrick, QB, Buffalo
Fitzpatrick had a surprisingly solid game on the road against the New York Jets last week where he threw for 264 yards and three touchdowns. He didn’t turn the ball over at all, which is a rarity in itself, and also ran for 34 yards. The Bills are home against the Tennessee Titans this weekend, and even though Tennessee is fighting for its playoff life I think Fitzpatrick will have another solid game. It’s likely that he’ll be airing it out a good amount of the game, especially since Fred Jackson is out for the season.
The Titans have been decent guarding the pass, but I suggest riding the hot streak with Fitzpatrick. The Bills still have a small chance at a postseason berth so they will do whatever it takes to keep the game competitive. Start him with confidence as I see more than 250 yards and two scores coming from him.
Well I guess even Darrelle Revis is human. That was apparent last week against the Buffalo ‘ills’ when he let Stevie Johnson enjoy eight catches for 75 yards and a touchdown. Granted almost every one of the catches he allowed came on 8-yard slants, but Revis did allow his first touchdown of the season. He will bounce back this weekend in Washington for sure as he aims to shut down Santana Moss. Moss is just getting back from an injury so I doubt the Redskins will look his way too much. Neither should fantasy owners.