Week 13: Who We Like

In conjunction with Sean Koerner’s “Week 13 Tiers” piece, I’m highlighting some players at each position that we particularly like or dislike. The methodology is: I compare our ranking for standard scoring to the expert consensus ranking, as of the TNF game (https://www.fantasypros.com/nfl/rankings/qb.php). Remember that everything is relative! If we “dislike” an elite WR, it doesn’t mean you should bench him, just that we like him a little bit less than a couple other elite WRs. A player may be a good daily fantasy play due to his minimum price, while still not worthy of starting in 12-team leagues. This article was published after the Thursday game ended, so it will not include any Cowboys or Vikings players, even though they are included in the rankings.

QB We Like

Russell Wilson, SEA (vs. CAR)

  • STATS Rank: 5
  • Expert Consensus Rank: 8

Carolina’s defense is decimated, and without Kuechly, they’ll struggle to cover the intermediate level – not good against Wilson and Graham. We think an almost-healthy Wilson should run for around 20 yards while passing for another 250+.

Colin Kaepernick, SF (@ CHI)

  • STATS: 6
  • ECR: 9

He has taken back the reins from Wilson and Cam, as best QB runner in the league. In the last two weeks, Chicago has lost two important pieces for stopping a rushing QB, mobile linebackers Danny Trevathan (injury) and Jerrell Freeman (PEDs). We project Kap to rush for 50+ yards (high floor), while also doing damage with his arm (high ceiling) against a poor-to-average pass defense.

Joe Flacco, BAL (vs. MIA)

  • STATS: 19
  • ECR: 26

This is more just about who should be below him – he should be ahead of guys like Matt Barkley and Carson Wentz on a weekly basis, while Bortles (Denver), Dalton (Philadelphia), and Tannehill (Baltimore) have tough matchups. He may be the least sexy but safest emergency QB2 on your waiver wire.

QB We Don’t Like

Ben Roethlisberger, PIT (vs. NYG)

  • STATS: 7
  • ECR: 4

The Giants have a good pass defense this year, ranking top 7 in both Yards per Attempt and QB rating allowed. Ben averages 273 yards and 2.3 TD per game, and we expect stats just south of those, which is enough to bump him out of the top 5 below other elite options.

Matt Ryan, ATL (vs. KC)

  • STATS: 9
  • ECR: 5

He relied solely on Taylor Gabriel YAC last week against Patrick Peterson and Arizona, and he gets another tough matchup against Marcus Peters and KC. He’s shown his floor isn’t quite at a Rodgers/Brady level, with back-to-back mediocre games, and we expect him to fall short of 300 yards for the 5th time in his last 6.

Cam Newton, CAR (@ SEA)

  • STATS: 17
  • ECR: 13

We don’t even think he’s a borderline QB1 this week. Carolina is only expected to score 18.8 points against an angry Seattle team this week, lowering his ceiling, and he hasn’t cracked double digit rush yards since week 10, lowering his floor.

RB We Like

Matt Forte, NYJ (vs. IND)

  • STATS: 8
  • ECR: 10

He had his best 3 receiving games with Fitzpatrick under center, catching 3+ passes week 1, week 7, and last week. He has also run for 80 or more yards in 4 of his last 5 and faces a bottom 5 Colts run defense on Monday night.

Jeremy Hill, CIN (vs. PHI)

  • STATS: 12
  • ECR: 19

As Sean alluded to in his “Tiers” piece, Hill received a surprising number of targets in Cinci’s first game post-Gio. He’s now the rare workhorse who gets goal-line and passing-down work to himself, and faces a Philly defense that is only mediocre against the run (100+ yds/game allowed).

Thomas Rawls, SEA (vs. CAR)

  • STATS: 13
  • ECR: 20

If this game goes how Vegas expects it to, Seattle will win a low-scoring affair. Those are safe enough conditions for a workhorse RB. He gets a bump with Kuechly out, as well, as Carolina’s top ranked run D won’t be as stingy. Only David Johnson and Melvin Gordon are more likely to score a TD.

RB We Don’t Like

Jay Ajayi, MIA (@ BAL)

  • STATS: 19
  • ECR: 14

Baltimore has arguably the best run D in the league, allowing just 3.4 yards per carry (2nd lowest), 4 TD (t-lowest), and 75 yards per game (lowest). Since his 3 straight huge games, he has posted 3 mediocre ones, failing to crack 85 total yards and averaging just 3.8 yards per carry. He’s not matchup proof.

Mark Ingram, NO (vs. DET)

  • STATS: 25
  • ECR: 16

He made us look silly last week, but he did it all on just 15 touches, getting out-touched by Tim Hightower. It’s tough to pencil him in for more touches this week, as Hightower also had an effective game, and he’ll rely again on big plays. He’s simply a high-risk, high-reward proposition right now, not a sure-thing RB2.

WR We Like

Mike Evans, TB (@ SD)

  • STATS: 1
  • ECR: 3

He’s simply a monster, in terms of ability and also target percentage. Over the last two weeks, he saw double-digit targets, 6+ receptions, and 100+ yards… primarily against Richard Sherman and Marcus Peters. He has a much nicer matchup this week, while Julio gets Peters and Antonio gets Janoris Jenkins. That’s enough to comfortably rank him #1.

Larry Fitzgerald, ARI (vs. WAS)

  • STATS: 7
  • ECR: 10

Josh Norman won’t follow him into the slot, where he does most of his damage. His targets dropped each of the last two weeks, but they should go up as Palmer looks to avoid throwing in Norman’s direction. We project him for 6.5 receptions, 3rd behind just Evans and Antonio.

Julian Edelman, NE (vs. LA)

  • STATS: 8
  • ECR: 15

With Gronk largely out of the picture over the last 3 weeks, he’s been arguably the biggest beneficiary, racking up 23 receptions for 259 yards. He’ll be a target magnet again this week and going forward with Gronk on the sidelines. Pencil him in or around 70 yards and an inflated chance of scoring a TD.

WR We Don’t Like

Antonio Brown, PIT (vs. NYG)

  • STATS: 3
  • ECR: 1

This is a good example of not taking it literally when we say we “don’t like” a player. We simply have him 3rd instead of his usual 1st, as he faces top-10 cover corner Janoris Jenkins. Jenkins previously held Dez, Jordy, and AJ Green to inefficient performances, and Big Ben has plenty of other weapons to utilize.

T.Y. Hilton, IND (@ NYJ)

  • STATS: 15
  • ECR: 7

He simply does not have enough going for him to justify ranking him in the top 10 this week. He’s losing targets to Donte Moncrief and hasn’t seen double digits since week 7. He’s banged up, having exited his last game early. I’d avoid him in cash DFS games – too much risk.

TE We Like

C.J. Fiedorowicz, HOU (@ GB)

  • STATS: 8
  • ECR: 11

We’re pretty close to consensus on most TEs, and I struggled to find a TE1 to discuss, so let’s go with C.J. for the 4th week in a row (or something). In a weak year for TEs, he’s been surprisingly consistent, with 5+ targets each week since week 4. If you don’t have Graham, Kelce, Eifert, or Olsen, he’s probably your best bet for 4 receptions and 40 yards.

Ladarius Green, PIT (vs. NYG)

  • STATS: 15
  • ECR: 19

I mentioned Ben may need to look elsewhere if Janoris Jenkins shadows Antonio, and this could be where he looks. He mentioned wanting to get his talented TE more involved, and this is a great team to do it against. Linebacker is the weakest level of the Giants defense, and they’ve allowed big games to Witten, Reed, Ertz, Eifert, and Zach Miller. This is a high risk / high reward play that I like.

TE We Don’t Like

Zach Ertz, PHI (@ CIN)

  • STATS: 14
  • ECR: 9

Ertz has only exceeded 40 yards in 3 games this season. Philly’s defense is very good, and Wentz shouldn’t need to throw much to stay in the game against a low-scoring and depleted Cinci team. Ertz has a low floor, one that is likely to come into play this week, so we don’t view him as a TE1.