There are 12 weeks down and one remaining in most standard fantasy football leagues. Week 12 was chock-full of action with prolific performances from several quarterbacks including Matthew Stafford, Russell Wilson, Ryan Fitzpatrick and Philip Rivers. And not to be outdone, a few wide receivers stepped up with season-best performances including Calvin Johnson, Markus Wheaton, Doug Baldwin and Jarvis Landry.
Where does your team sit heading into Week 13? Are you just setting your lineup and watching games from the couch since your team is statistically eliminated from playoff contention? Or, are you fighting for that sixth seed with three other teams as you prepare for your matchup and scrutinizing tiebreaker rules with a fine-tooth comb? Hopefully, you are in the third group, which is feeling relatively confident this weekend. The group is protecting their bye spot, handcuffing their studs, and preparing for their upcoming playoff matchups, so their team is not “one and done.” Wherever your team stands, take a dive with me as review several players who will make a difference in your Week 13 matchup and potentially playoff chances.
QB Alex Smith
Alex Smith has been your average, middle-of-the-road fantasy quarterback for most of his career. However, he has been more than serviceable in recent weeks, as the Kansas City offense has been firing on all cylinders, including Smith’s improved chemistry with wide receiver Jeremy Maclin. In fact, Smith has scored six times along and averaged 214 passing yards and 44 rushing yards per game over the last four games. Kansas City visits Oakland, who has allowed the sixth-most fantasy points to opposing quarterbacks, including three touchdowns from Marcus Mariota in Week 12. Last season, Smith threw a pair of touchdowns in both matchups against Oakland and should pick up where he left off in Week 13.
Week 13 Projection: 250 passing yards, 25 rushing yards, 2 TD
With Justin Forsett done for the season, Javorius “Buck” Allen was next in line for carries. Allen has been solid over the last two games on the ground and played a major role in the passing game. Despite Baltimore’s depleted offense led by Matt Schaub, Allen should still generate value for fantasy owners and serve as a decent RB2 or flex for Week 13 against Miami. Miami’s defense appeared to be reinvigorated last month, but has become lackluster again, surrendering the third-most fantasy points to opposing backs and the most rushing yards, including at least 116 rushing yards in three of the last four games. Start Allen with confidence in Week 13.
Week 13 Projection: 100 total yards, TD
WR Seth Roberts
Oakland’s receiving corps has shown glimpses of stardom throughout the season. In addition to Amari Cooper and Michael Crabtree, rookie wideout Seth Roberts is beginning to make a name for himself. The undrafted receiver was solid over the last few games, then broke out for 113 receiving yards and two scores against Tennessee in Week 12. Roberts may post another gem in Week 13 when Oakland welcomes Kansas City’s secondary that has given up the second-most points and most receiving yards to opposing wideouts. Roberts may be a gamble, but ones that comes with high upside for Week 13.
Week 13 Projection: 80 receiving yards, TD
If you own Julius Thomas, you are either very patient waiting for him to become healthy and productive or extremely lucky for adding him as a free agent. The Jacksonville tight end missed the first four games of the season and has been off the fantasy radar for much of the season. However, Thomas lit up San Diego in Week 12 with nine catches for 116 receiving yards and a touchdown. His breakout was not completely unexpected as his targets have been on the rise in recent weeks. With Jacksonville wideout Allen Hurns potentially sidelined for Week 13 with a concussion, Thomas may receive even more targets in Week 13 against Tennessee, who has allowed the seventh-most fantasy points to opposing tight ends. Thomas caught five passes, including a touchdown, against Tennessee in Week 11 and will look for even more in their encore matchup. Thomas should be considered a TE2 with a high ceiling for Week 13.
Week 13 Projection: 75 receiving yards TD
Defense/Special Teams – Washington
Just when it appeared the Dallas Cowboys were officially “back” and Tony Romo was leading their comeback effort in the NFC East, we are now back to Matt Cassel. Although Cassel seemed to improve in his last start, Dallas’ offensive woes should continue with its backup as the signal caller. The Washington defense should feast on Dallas after dominating the New York Giants in Week 12 with three sacks and three interceptions. Washington’s defense will make a decent plug-and-play if your defense has a tough matchup this week.
Week 13 Projection: 11 points
Week 12 Results:
Week 12 Projection: 250 passing yards, 2 TD
Week 12 Results: 300 passing yards, 4 TD (excellent call)
RB Alfred Blue
Week 12 Projection: 100 total yards, TD
Week 12 Results: 81 total yards, TD (good call)
WR J.J. Nelson
Week 12 Projection: 80 receiving yards, TD
Week 12 Results: 53 receiving yards (OK call)
TE Zach Miller
Week 12 Projection: 60 receiving yards, TD
Week 12 Results: 10 receiving yards, TD (OK call)
Cleveland Browns Defense/Special Teams
Week 12 Projection: 12 points
Week 12 Results: 10 points (good call)
Good luck in Week 13!