Key Fantasy questions and answers for Week 13
RotoExperts Special for the Associated Press
WHICH UNDER THE RADAR PLAYERS HAVE THE BEST CHANCE FOR A BIG GAME THIS WEEK?
Broncos QB Case Keenum has a very favorable matchup against the Cincinnati Bengals this week. Cincinnati has yielded at least three passing TDs to QBs in four of their last five games, including four to Browns QB Baker Mayfield last week. Keenum threw two TDs against the Steelers in Week 12 and last season against Cincinnati he threw two TD passes and completed 20 of 23 passes.
Dolphins RB Kenyan Drake has been dealing with a shoulder injury for the past two weeks and it even forced him to the sidelines for part of his Week 12 matchup. If Drake plays this week, he’s likely to be limited. Fellow 35 year-old RB Frank Gore has been laughing in the face of Father Time all season and has rushed for 5.81 yards per carry (YPC) over the past two weeks. He’s showing no signs of slowing down, and is averaging just under 16 carries in his last three games. He’s yet to score a TD this season but takes on the Bills in Week 13, and they’ve yielded seven TDs to RBs in their last five games.
Washington receiver Josh Doctson is finally healthy, and he caught six passes for 66 yards with Washington QB Colt McCoy under center in Week 12. McCoy targeted Doctson 10 times and this week he faces a bruised and battered Eagles secondary. If Jamison Crowder is forced to miss his eighth straight game, look for Doctson to be heavily targeted once again this week.
Panthers WR D.J. Moore has 15 receptions, 248 receiving yards and a TD in his last two games and takes on the Buccaneers in Week 13. Tampa Bay is tied for giving up the third-most fantasy points per game (FPPG) to WRs and the second-most receiving TDs to the position. If Devin Funchess’ cranky back forces him to miss a second consecutive game, Moore should have another productive week.
An already thin fantasy TE position got even thinner with Colts Jack Doyle and Broncos Jeff Heuerman both placed on Injured Reserve this week. Jets TE Chris Herndon has provided fantasy owners with double digit fantasy points in four of his last six games in points per reception (PPR) scoring formats. Unfortunately, he has a tough matchup against the Titans, who give up the least FPPG to the position. Matt LaCosse, who takes over for Heuerman in Denver, had three catches for 34 yards and a TD in Week 12. He takes on the Bengals in Week 13. They’ve given up the second most FPPG to TEs.
IN MOST SEASON-LONG FANTASY FOOTBALL LEAGUES, WEEK 13 IS THE LAST MATCHUP OF THE REGULAR SEASON. WHAT STRATEGY IS BEST SUITED FOR LINEUP CONSTRUCTION THIS LATE IN THE SEASON?
In most cases, you should use the same strategy that has worked for you all season long. Start your fantasy studs. For instance, this isn’t the week to consider sitting Falcons WR Julio Jones just because the Ravens are extremely tough against WRs. Don’t overthink things.
WHAT ABOUT ROSTER MOVES?
Your team’s roster may contain marginal fantasy players you were forced to start in order to field a competitive team through previous bye weeks. If you no longer intend to use those players, replace them with players who could better help your team. The key words are “marginal fantasy players.” You never want to drop a player that your competitors can pick up off of the waiver wire and use against you. Be especially careful of dropping RBs who are one injury away from becoming their team’s primary back.
WHAT IS THE BEST WAY TO MANAGE TEAM DEFENSES GOING FORWARD?
With just about every team defense having struggled at some point this season, streaming has been the way to go. The Bears have been the best fantasy defense of 2018, but even they gave up more than 30 points two weeks in a row. If you’re dropping a “marginal player” based on our advice in the previous section, why not replace him with a second defense who has upcoming favorable matchups? For instance, the Bills have scored the ninth-most fantasy points among defenses. Their next three opponents are top eight in FPPG allowed to opposing fantasy defenses. Consider adding the Broncos defense, who take on the 49ers in Week 14 and the Raiders in Week 16 (Championship Week). Both opponents are top five in FPPG allowed to fantasy defenses.
WITH MELVIN GORDON POTENTIALLY OUT FOR “WEEKS” AND AUSTIN EKELER ALREADY OWNED IN MOST LEAGUES, DOES JUSTIN JACKSON HAVE ANY FANTASY VALUE THIS WEEK?
Although Jackson should be rostered, unless you play in an extremely deep league you should avoid starting him. Expect Ekeler to out-touch Jackson in Week 13, but if Ekeler aggravates his neck injury or if Gordon misses more time than expected, Jackson’s fantasy value could skyrocket.
WITH JAGUARS RB LEONARD FOURNETTE SERVING A ONE GAME SUSPENSION, IS CARLOS HYDE A GOOD START IN WEEK 13?
Hyde appears to have a good matchup against the Colts who’ve given up the 12th most FPPG to opposing RBs this season, but over their past four games they’ve limited RBs to just 3.78 YPC. In Hyde’s four games with the Jaguars he’s averaging just 3.44 YPC and he’ll also have fellow RB T.J. Yeldon potentially stealing a few carries from him as well. If you are in desperate need of a starting RB this week you can take a chance on Hyde, but he’s a risky play.
IS VIKINGS RB DALVIN COOK STARTABLE GOING FORWARD?
Cook has just 29 carries in his last three games, and is averaging just 2.16 YPC over the past two weeks. Cook’s lack of volume suggests that he may not be 100 percent healthy. Your fantasy season is probably on the line. If you have a more reliable option at RB use it.