We love having good Thursday Night games. The only downside on DRAFT is that it takes away some key players, such as Julio Jones, Alvin Kamara, Devonta Freeman, Mark Ingram, and Michael Thomas. While DraftKings and FanDuel won't have Pittsburgh or New England in their slates this week, DRAFT does, giving us more options than those DFS sites in Week 14. It's a week where there is plenty of WR depth, and has a few elite players in tough matchups.
H2H or 3-Person Contests
Quarterbacks: In fantasy sports, we talk about variance, meaning sometimes we see huge games from players, and sometimes low games from a player. If you took Tom Brady last week, he didn't get to 10 points. He didn't play bad; just happened to have lots of rushing touchdowns. This is an outlier; go back to him this week. He did throw for 4 touchdowns against the Dolphins two weeks ago and Miami has given up the second highest amount of points to Quarterbacks the past two weeks. Philip Rivers still went over 300 yards, even if he only had one touchdown last week. Washington is giving up nearly two touchdowns a game and with the Chargers passing more and more each game, I think Rivers is viable. I know Alex Smith is ranked as the highest scoring QB on DRAFT this week, but I'm not ready to take him in Head-to-Head or 3-Person matchups. He's played five games at home this season, and has only thrown for 5 touchdowns. He did go 342/3 earlier vs Oakland, but I don't like him in this range. Finally, I'm probably a bit higher on Russell Wilson than most. Yes, he gets the #1 pass defense in Jacksonville. But, Wilson is the entire Seahawks offense (only one offensive touchdown all year didn't involved Wilson throwing or rushing) and still think his floor is 15-18 points, with 20 being likely. He doesn't carry the highest upside, but hard to argue with his floor, especially with his rushin ability.
Running Backs: If you get the #1 pick, the pick is easy: It's Le'Veon Bell. Bell had 186 yards and 2 touchdowns in the first matchup in Baltimore this year, and now gets to be at home, where we know the Steelers excel at. Todd Gurley may be #2, but it's risky. No team has been stingier against running backs than the Eagles, so while Gurley should get plenty of touches, you may have to limit his upside. People are going to flock to Melvin Gordon against a Redskins team that gives up nearly 22 points a game to running backs. He has massive upside, but feels too risky for me in this range. LeSean McCoy usually produces at home, and the Colts do give up over 4 yards a carry, and quite a few yards receiving to running backs. Lamar Miller has scored in two of his past three games, and does get a 49ers run defense that gives up nearly 21 points a game on the ground. Kenyan Drake had a big week last week: but, Damien Williams may be back and New England's defense is getting very stingy as of late. I will take others ahead of Drake in H2H/3-Team contests.
Wide Receivers: Antonio Brown is always a great pick, but doesn't have to be your #1 pick this week. Baltimore has given up the fourth fewest points to receivers this year. But, it's Brown at home and Jimmy Smith is out for Baltimore. I think it's a close race between DeAndre Hopkins and Keenan Allen for top WR this week. Hopkins has seen double-digit targets in five of his past six games (9 targets in the other) and while he's not putting up massive numbers, he has been consistently been around 15 points. Keenan Allen is my preferred play, as he has 33 receptions and 4 touchdowns the past three weeks. He should avoid Josh Norman which will help. A.J. Green is a bit risky as we never know what he will do when at home. But, the Bears do give up 167 yards to receivers, a rising number every week. Adam Thielen continues to be Case Keenum's favorite target and gets a Carolina team starting to give up quite a few points to receivers. Finally, I think Josh Gordon is fine to play in this range. Green Bay gives up the most points to fantasy receivers at 25.6, and Gordon did put up 4/85 vs Casey Heyward a week ago. Hue Jackson wasn't lying when he said they would target Gordon a lot, so the matchup and targets put him into this range.
6 and 10 Person Games
Quarterbacks: Derek Carr had his best game vs Kansas City earlier this year, and the Chiefs do give up over 22 points to quarterbacks the past 8 weeks. Carson Wentz threw for nearly 350 yards in Seattle last week. His floor is pretty high like Russell Wilson, even in a tougher matchup vs the Rams. If Matthew Stafford is close to 100%, I don't mind his matchup vs Tampa Bay, who has been improving on defense, but still allows 250 yards a game through the air. Opposite is Jameis Winston, who had a solid game in his return and Detroit does allow 21 points a game to quarterbacks. Finally, if you want to take a chance, Ben Roethlisberger is at home. He does have a 6 TD game a few years back vs the Ravens, and does have back-to-back 4 touchdown games at home this season.
Other quarterbacks you can use: Jimmy Garoppolo and Cam Newton
If Joe Mixon is out for the Bengals, Gio Bernard should see all the touches. Like Kenyan Drake last week, the matchup against the Bears seems tough. But, the Bears are giving up 4.1 YPC and over 100 yards a game the past 8 weeks. On the other side, Jordan Howard is not getting the volume we want; however, the Bengals are giving up over 22 fantasy points to RBs. Kareem Hunt actually has over a 4.0 YPC in three of his past four games: he's just not getting the volume. The matchup against Oakland is decent, so you can go to him if you want to ride the roller coaster of his (lack of) production. Seattle is a tough matchup for running backs, but have given up some big plays this year. Leonard Fournette did get over 15 points last week and may be relied upon in this matchup.
Not much else excites me: Marshawn Lynch is getting volume and the Chiefs are starting to give up points to running backs. Dion Lewis still leads the Patriot running backs, but it continues to be Rex Burkhead that gets the touchdowns. Both are decent plays. Carlos Hyde isn't doing much in recent weeks, and Matt Breida did play last week. Alfred Morris finally had his best game vs Washington, and the Giants can be run upon. No team has allowed more receiving yards to running backs to Green Bay. But, Duke Johnson didn't do a whole lot vs the Chargers last week. You can go back there if you want to forgive him for last week. Frank Gore gets the start against the worst run defense the past eight weeks; Buffalo. You could do worse.
No Marcus Peters this week for Kansas City (has to be first time anyone has been suspended for throwing a flag) and Amari Cooper being questionable means a great spot for Michael Crabtree, who has seen double digit targets in two of his past three games. Kansas City gives up a league-high 190 yards to receivers the past 8 weeks. If Stafford is healthy, I like Marvin Jones and, to a lesser extent, Golden Tate vs a Buccaneers team allowing over 25 points to fantasy receivers. No Janoris Jenkins means Dez Bryant could have a big day vs the Giants, and he's coming off a nice game last week. Tyreek Hill falls under the same problem as Alex Smith: good upside, but home splits are not favorable for him. Brandin Cooks and a returning Chris Hogan should see an uptick in targets against Miami, with no Rob Gronkowski this week. Tennesee has been league average; but we've seen some receivers put up big games against them, so don't be afraid to give Larry Fitzgerald a look. Mike Evans has to break out at some point, but not sure a matchup vs Darius Slay is the time. Finally, DaVante Adams had his first bad week with Brett Hundley last week. Jason McCourty could limit his upside, but Adams still is a decent WR #2 in 10-team leagues this week.
Other Wide Receivers you can use: Travis Kelce, Marquise Goodwin, and Sterling Shepard
It's an odd week that there is a lot of nice options at receiver, but not a lot of depth at running back. If you have a second tier RB that you are confident in, don't be afraid to go after them, unless you know you can get them in round 5 due to multiple drafts. I think the #1 pick is the prime spot this week because it means you can get Le'Veon Bell. Finally, remember that Fantistics has listener league contests going on all the way up until Sunday. To see these contest, follow FantisticsRadio and you will see the $3, 10-man games appear in the lobby. I will jump in a couple of them throughout the week (skeeter1114). Good luck with all of your week 13 NFL contests!