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DFS GEMS: Week 13

As traditional fantasy leagues begin to reach the end of the line, look for an added influx of new daily (DFS) players as people face elimination with each passing week. Many people have already been mathematically eliminated so expect to see a number of fresh players in your guaranteed prize pools (GPP’s). Sometimes they’ll get lucky but most of the time they become dead money pretty quick. Be sure to play a few extra lineups this week and cash in! Think of it as a pre-Christmas bonus. This week we’re going to try to dig deep and pick a few spots that might go overlooked by the masses. This sort of is exactly what it takes to win a massive GPP, but be warned, there is significant risk involved.

On to Week 13!


Carson Wentz QB, Philadelphia (DraftKings $5,600 FanDuel $7,400)
After posting 22-plus points in six straight contests, Wentz has disappointed in his last two outings, posting a meager 17 points total in weeks 11 and 12. Sadly, he had some solid matchups on paper those weeks facing New Orleans Saints and the New York Giants, so it feels like wasted opportunity and likely burned countless owners (I’m one of them). His recent play along with the lack of a glaringly easy opponent and a low projected point total (44 points over/under) should all equate to low ownership. Slipping Wentz into a few GPP’s this week could be a cheap and useful differentiator in your lineup, and despite the negative factors, it stands to reason that Wentz gets back to form in this contest. Washington allows the 13th-most fantasy points per game to opposing passers and just got lit up by Dak Prescott in Week 12 (Carson Wentz > Dak Prescott). Philadelphia is projected to score 25 points and is favored at home by 6.5 points. Expect a Week 13 bounce back on Monday night.

Marcus Mariota QB, Tennessee (DraftKings $5,200 FanDuel $7,000)
Mariota is always risky but he’s playing good football right now so take advantage while you can! What struck me most in recent games is his efficiency. Mariota currently has a Top 4 completion percentage in the league trailing Drew Brees, Matt Ryan and Kirk Cousins – that’s pretty good company to keep! On Monday night football he only had one incompletion against Houston, who is averaging the seventh-fewest points allowed per game to opposing quarterbacks. This week, Tennessee is heavy home favorites against the New York Jets in a game that should fly well under the radar with a meager 40.5 over/under. That said, Tennessee is projected to score 25 of those points, giving Mariota and company ample room to hit value in this contest. His ownership should be low despite averaging just shy of 20 points per game over his last four simply due to the perceived lack of excitement in this contest. He’s a little sneaky and a little risky but there is certainly upside here.

Cam Newton QB, Carolina (DraftKings $6,600 FanDuel $8,700)
He’s expensive this week but for good reason. Newton is averaging 24.1 points per game on the season and draws the third-most generous matchup against opposing quarterbacks when Carolina visits Tampa Bay this Sunday. Not typically known for his passing prowess, Newton boasts a 69.6 completion percentage through 12 weeks, good for sixth-best in the NFL. When it comes to quarterback play in DFS, efficiency is often overlooked but it is oh so vital! In a game against this soft secondary where Carolina has an implied point total of 29, I just don’t see a scenario where Newton doesn’t produce. He may be the scratch of the week but you may need him in your lineup to avoid missing a big payday.

Russell Wilson QB, Seattle (DraftKings $6,300 FanDuel $7,700)
Quarterbacks who are heavy favorites at home typically do well in fantasy and tend to be a safe place to place your bets. This week, Seattle is a 10-point favorite at home against Bottom 10-against-opposing-quarterback San Fransisco. The game’s over/under is modest at 46 but Seattle is implied to score 28 in this contest. He’s priced just below Jared Goff, who I’m expecting to be widely owned facing lowly Detroit so Wilson could prove to be a nice price pivot. He got off to a slow start for his standards but appears to be back on track, scoring 20-plus points in all but one contest since the Week 7 bye.

Running backs

LeSean McCoy RB, Buffalo (DraftKings $4,900 FanDuel $5,700)
I’m digging deep with this pick but I think the matchup warrants consideration for a running back. Miami is averaging 28.9 points allowed to opposing backfields (fifth-most in the league) and is allowing 4.8 yards per carry to enemy backs – worst in the NFL! For all the team’s faults, Buffalo is at least starting to give McCoy volume, as the former superstar is averaging 19 touches per game over his last four contests. We all know the talent and his Week 10 explosion against the lowly New York Jets showed that he’s got plenty left in the tank to have a monster game against the right opponent. This game is shaping up to be a nice spot to save without giving up the upside you need to take down a big GPP in Week 13.

Lamar Miller RB, Houston (DraftKings $4,600 FanDuel $6,300)
I’d like Miller a lot more if he didn’t just go off on Monday Night Football. Nevertheless, he’s got a great matchup against Cleveland and its sixth-most generous defense against opposing running backs. Miller did a whole lot on Monday night despite only getting 13 total touches but don’t sweat the perceived lack of volume as he’s averaging more than 17 touches per game over his last four contests. What I like the most about Miller this week (aside from his rock-bottom price) are his team-high 26 red zone opportunities on the season. Combine that with the 12 rushing touchdowns surrendered to opposing backs by this defense on the season (third-most in the league) and the recipe for success is certainly present.

Christian McCaffrey RB, Carolina (DraftKings $8,800 FanDuel $8,800)
Make no mistake, he’s expensive. But if you can spend the extra $500 to reach up for Todd Gurley, McCaffrey is a nice second option in this upper tier in Week 13. He’s averaging 34.8 points per game over his last four contests including a 32.7-point effort against this very defense (Tampa Bay) back in Week 9. Tampa Bay’s struggles against the run this season are well documented (Bottom 7 in the league) and McCaffrey is absolutely on fire. Spend up, start him with confidence and don’t be afraid to stack him with Cam Newton to get all of Carolina’s projected 29 points.

Kareem Hunt RB, Kansas City (DraftKings $7,800 FanDuel $8,900)
You pretty much need a piece of the Kansas City offense every week if you want to secure your spot atop the GPP landscape. At $7,800 (DK) Kareem Hunt makes the most sense this week. Kansas City is set to massacre reeling Oakland (15-point favorites with a 35-point implied total) so there should be plenty of work for Hunt in this contest. There is some risk in that this game is likely to get completely out of hand at some point but Hunt will have ample opportunity to get his fair share before that happens against the league’s 11th most generous matchup for opposing running backs.

Aaron Jones RB, Green Bay (DraftKings $6,700 FanDuel $7,600)
There is a high possibility that Aaron Jones is the “scratch” at running back this week but despite high expected ownership I simply can’t say no given the price/matchup combo. Arizona is allowing the fourth-most points per game to enemy backfields (31.6 on average) and have given up a league-worst 14 rushing touchdowns to the position on the year. Green Bay has finally unleashed Jones over the last few weeks allowing him to dominate running back touches over the last four contests. He has out-touched Jamaal Williams 70-14 since Week 9 and has 15 red zone opportunities during that span. Green Bay is favored by 14 in this contest with an implied point total just shy of 30 so this game shapes up as a very favorable spot for Jones to smash some heads.

Chris Carson RB, Seattle (DraftKings $5,200 FanDuel $6,300)
The Seattle backfield has been a little dicey this season but Carson appears to be holding the reigns once again. He has a team-high 21 red zone opportunities this season and faces a very beatable San Francisco defense this week at home in Seattle. Seattle are heavy favorites (-10) and Carson has out-touched ALL Seattle running backs over the last two contests 35-22. Not a massive margin but make no mistake, he’s the lead dog in this backfield. Garbage time might be a factor unless Nick Mullens can find his mojo again, but if all goes according to plan, Carson should provide solid value for the price in Week 13.

About David Olivarez

David has been writing fantasy football content steadily since 2012 on the web and has been a member of the Fantasy Sports Writers Association since 2014. He focuses on Daily Fantasy Sports and Trade Analysis. Feel free to ask him questions on Twitter!