It’s Week 13, and with 5 weeks left of football we will be lucky if there are any viable tight ends left to start. Injuries have really decimated the position as we saw Jimmy Graham lost for the season with Rob Gronkowski and Tyler Eifert set to miss a number of games. That leaves Gary Barnidge, Greg Olsen and Delanie Walker as the top tight end options. The remaining group is filled with players that are inconsistent or have missed games with injuries.
So what do you do if you own Gronkowski or Eifert and don’t have a another tight end on the roster? As always, look to see what is available on the waiver wire. Chances are that most owners in your league are not holding onto two tight ends. You want to look to see if Scott Chandler first. If he is unavailable there should still be a few other guys worth rostering such as Crockett Gillmore, Zach Miller and Ben Watson.
If there is an owner that has held two good tight ends you may also try to make a trade. A mid-level receiver or running back would be easier to trade for a tight end then if you were trying to fill another position. I would look to the waiver first in the event that any trade partner tries to drive the price up on you. Don’t panic and make any dumb trades. Take the time to evaluate the players available at the position and look for the best option to plug into your lineup until Gronkowski or Eifert returns.
The Golden Mug Award
Awarded to the fantasy players who came through for their team.
Doug Baldwin– 6 receptions for 145 yards and 3 touchdowns. There is always a game or two where Baldwin blows up and this is the week. He has never had back to back games where he posted big games so expect him to go back to his 50-60 yard performance.
Adrian Peterson– 29 carries for 158 yards and 2 touchdowns. Peterson is now second among running backs and is 14 fantasy points behind Devonta Freeman. Peterson now has 5 touchdowns over the past 4 games compared to just 3 over the first 7.
Calvin Johnson– 8 receptions for 93 yards and 3 touchdown. Johnson has had a steady production of 5-6 receptions with 86.6 yards per game over the past 5 games following his 166 yard performance in week 6.
The Urinal Cake Award
Awarded to the fantasy players who you would like to, well you know.
Demaryius Thomas– 1 reception for 36 yards. I wish I can blame the performance on lack of targets but Thomas saw 13 targets in that game. Hopefully the switch to Brock Osweiler isn’t going to kill his fantasy production for the rest of season.
Todd Gurley– 9 carries for 19 yards. Gurley’s streak of rushing touchdowns ends after 5 games. Gurley has a tough matchup this week against the Cardinals who have improved against the run since their first matchup back in Week 4.
Dez Bryant– 2 receptions for 26 yards. Bryant has played poorly for the last 3 weeks averaging just 38.7 receiving yards over that span. With a shaky quarterback situation for the remainder of the season, we could see the Cowboys shutting Bryant down to rest his foot.
Good quarterback matchups this week:
Cam Newton against the Saints. Newton is just 3 fantasy points behind Tom Brady as the top fantasy quarterback. Newton has already surpassed his total passing touchdowns from 2014 with 20 (18 in 2014) and he has 7 rushing touchdowns that are already 2 more than he had last season. He is currently on pace to throw for 3,586 yards which would be the most since 2012 and could set a career high with 29 passing touchdowns with double-digit rushing touchdowns for the first time since his rookie year. He faces the Saints this week who give up the most fantasy points to quarterbacks with 23.2 per game. They are ranked 31st allowing 284.2 passing yards with 30 touchdowns, that’s almost 3 touchdowns a game. Back in Week 2, Newton threw for 315 yards and 2 touchdowns and ran in another score.
Andy Dalton against the Browns. Dalton enters Week 13 as the 5th best fantasy quarterback and has a tasty matchup against the Browns, who Dalton faced in Week 9 and tossed three touchdowns. The Browns are allowing 265.2 passing yards per game (25th) with 23 touchdowns. Dalton has thrown 3 touchdowns in a game 5 times this season. Last year he did so just once. With Tyler Eifert likely to miss this game look for Marvin Jones to step up and benefit.
Sleeper Pick of the Week: Ryan Fitzpatrick against the Giants. The rivalry of two teams that share the same stadium should be a good one for fantasy. Both teams need a win to keep their playoff hopes alive. Over the last 4 weeks, Fitzpatrick has been the 3rd best quarterback in fantasy averaging 20.5 fantasy points per game. The Giants are ranked dead last in pass defense allowing 309.2 passing yards per game with 20 touchdowns. They are giving up 18.5 fantasy points per game to opposing quarterbacks which Fitzpatrick should reach easily.
Good running back matchups this week:
C.J. Anderson against the Chargers. Anderson needed overtime to go over 100 yards thanks to a 40-yard touchdown run. The Broncos should be flying high as they head into San Diego and get a good matchup. The Chargers are 26th in run defense allowing 123.7 yards per game with 12 touchdowns. They allow the most fantasy points to running back with 21.5 per game. Touches for Anderson and Ronnie Hillman were about even but I would give the edge to Anderson.
Matt Forte against the 49ers. Forte returned last week after missing 3 games with a leg injury. He played 55% of the snaps and carried the ball 15 times. He should get a bigger portion of the plays heading into this week’s game against a bad 49ers defense. The 49ers are allowing 121.1 rushing yards per game (25th) with 12 touchdowns. 49ers allowing the 2nd most fantasy points to running backs with 20.9 per game.
Sleeper Pick of the Week: David Johnson against the Rams. Johnson should have been the top waiver pick up this week and he won’t have anyone to compete with for touches as Chris Johnson is out with a fractured leg and Andre Ellington is dealing with turf toe. Back in Week 4, The Rams gave up 101 rushing yards combined to the Cardinals led by Chris Johnson. David Johnson scored a receiving touchdown in that game. The Rams defense is ranked 21st allowing 111 rushing yards per game with 6 touchdowns.
Bad quarterback matchups this week:
Russell Wilson against the Vikings. Wilson has posted 20+ fantasy points over the past 3 weeks but I don’t believe he’s going to keep that pace for the rest of the season. After rushing for 849 yards last year with 6 touchdowns he has just 399 yards through 11 games and has yet to run in a score. He has a tough matchup against a good Vikings’ pass defense allowing 223.5 passing yards per game (4th) with 14 touchdowns. Vikings are holding opposing fantasy quarterbacks to just 14.1 per game.
Philip Rivers against the Broncos. Rivers faces the Broncos in the first of two meetings this season. After a poor outing in Week 11 against the Chiefs, Rivers bounced back with 300 yards and 4 touchdowns against the Jaguars. He’ll face a Broncos defense ranked #1 in the NFL allowing just 197.1 with only 11 touchdowns. The Charges allow 2.4 sacks per game (20th) going against the Broncos who rank 1st in the league generating 3.7 per game.
Sam Bradford against the Patriots. It looks as if Bradford will be cleared to play this week after missing the last two games. The Eagles offense has struggled during their current 3 game losing streak and now face the Patriots on the road. The Patriots defense is middle of the pack in terms of passing yards allowed with 252.6 yards per game (19th) but they have allowed just 15 touchdowns passing. They are holding fantasy quarterbacks to 15.5 fantasy points per game.
Bad running back matchups this week:
Latavius Murray against the Chiefs. Murry has struggled the last 3 weeks averaging just 11.7 fantasy points per game. He has just 1 touchdown over the last 5 games. He faces a tough Chiefs run defense allowing 95.9 yards per game (9th) with only 5 touchdowns. The Chiefs have only given up one running back over the last 7 games to rush over 100 yards. Outside of the Week 4 game against the Bengals in which they gave up 4 rushing touchdowns, they have allowed just 1 in the other 10 games.
Frank Gore against the Steelers. Is the end near for Gore? After receiving 22+ carries in Weeks 8 and 9, the carries have dropped to 16.5 over the last two games. Gore is wearing down and could fade more down the stretch. He faces a Steelers team ranked 7th against the run allowing 93.4 yards per game with only 4 touchdowns. The Steelers are the toughest team against fantasy running backs giving up just 10.8.
Todd Gurley against the Cardinals. The Cardinals will be ready for Gurley in the second meeting as he is the only running back this season to rush for over 100 yards against their defense. The Cardinals defense is allowing just 91.1 rushing yards per game with 7 touchdowns. With the awful play of the quarterback position for the Rams, the Cardinals will have no problem stacking the box and preventing Gurley from beating them.