Fresh off becoming just the 31st player in NFL history to total 100 yards rushing and receiving in the same game, Christian McCaffrey has found the end zone nine times over his past five contests. He is averaging 124.1 yards from scrimmage and 4.94 yards per carry. In other words, he is looking like the player he was at Stanford, the running back the Panthers were hoping they would get when they made McCaffrey the No. 8 overall pick of last year’s draft.
This is not someone the Tampa Bay Buccaneers are going to slow down. The Bucs are coughing up 4.68 yards per rush and are one of just four teams to allow at least 14 ground scores. The Bucs have also surrendered 553 aerial yards to opposing backs, 11th most in football. McCaffrey wasn’t quite ready as a rookie. It’s the league who has not been ready for him as a sophomore.
Week 13 Quarterbacks
QB Notes: Patrick Mahomes is on pace for 54 touchdowns, which would put him just one short of Peyton Manning’s single-season record. His 5,277 yards would be third most all time. … Cam Newton is completing 69.6 percent of his passes, which would be a new career best by a whopping 7.9 percent. Newton had previously completed more than 60 percent of his throws in just 2-of-7 seasons. What can Norval Turner do for you? Newton has a top-three matchup in the Bucs. … Jared Goff has thrown for three or more touchdowns in three of his past four starts. The Lions try to limit the opposing team’s possession but are bottom five in both completion percentage against (69.2) and yards per attempt (8.6). It will be full steam ahead for the Rams coming off their bye. … Andrew Luck has thrown for at least three touchdowns in eight-straight starts and now gets a listing Jags defense that could be without Jalen Ramsey (knee). Even with Ramsey in the lineup three weeks ago, Luck completed 21-of-29 passes for 285 yards and three scores.
Jameis Winston finally had a turnover-free game in Week 12 as the Bucs rolled past the 49ers. He is averaging a mammoth 337 yards across four starts. Somewhat quietly, the Panthers come to town with one of the league’s worst defenses. … Ben Roethlisberger is returning home following a rollercoaster two-game road trip where he posted a 3:5 TD:INT ratio. 14 of Roethlisberger’s 24 scores have come in Pittsburgh even though he’s played one more game on the road. Allowing the third-fewest quarterback fantasy points, the Chargers will continue to rotate Joey Bosa in for more snaps. It is worth noting that the Bolts’ defense has benefitted from an extraordinarily-soft schedule. … Via The Worksheet: The Cowboys are the only team yet to allow more than two passing touchdowns in a game. Throw in Drew Brees’ typical home/road splits — 20 of his 29 scores have come at home — and a bit of a Week 13 fantasy hedge is required. … On pace to take the third-most sacks of his career (49), Aaron Rodgers is also throwing the ball away more than ever. Pass protection issues and a lack of trust in his young receiver corps are to blame. Rodgers’ main fantasy concern for Week 13 is the Pack’s likely commitment to the run against the Cardinals’ awful ground defense.
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Russell Wilson is averaging 32 passes over his past four games after managing just 22 in the four before that. Even if the Seahawks end up running over the undermanned 49ers on the ground, Wilson has managed two scores in all but one start. … Lamar Jackson took to the air more in Week 12 and ended up throwing his first two interceptions. He still finished with 11/71/1 on the ground. Jackson’s running is the ultimate fantasy lifehack. The Falcons are yet another mouthwatering matchup for the Ravens’ Konami Code rookie. … Deshaun Watson entered Week 6 averaging 324 passing yards but has seen that number fall to 198 in the six games since. Thankfully, he has totaled a respectable 13 touchdowns in the process. The Browns do not shut down the skies. … Coming off his first three-touchdown game in seven starts, Kirk Cousins has an attackable foe in the Patriots, who are coughing up the seventh-most quarterback fantasy points. … Philip Rivers is in the midst of a dominant campaign but is merely the QB12 by average fantasy points. That’s mostly because he is averaging a modest 31 attempts after that number was 36 in 2017. Rivers will need to get closer to the latter in Pittsburgh.
Matt Ryan’s 335 yards per game lead the league, though he has only five scores over his past three starts. The Ravens are a forbidding matchup but have sprung some leaks through the air of late, allowing big games to Ben Roethlisberger and Cam Newton within the past month. Being at home will help Matty Ice. … The QB12 by average points over the past three weeks, Dak Prescott will have a high ceiling in a potential shootout but a low floor versus the Saints’ improving defense. … Mired in a funk, Carson Wentz gets a QB2 hedge in a week with a ton of good quarterback options. … Continuing to look more limited physically, Tom Brady has only three touchdowns over his past four starts. Part of that has been some ground-game vulturing, but Brady is unlikely to get back on the warpath against a Vikings D permitting the fifth-fewest quarterback fantasy points. Rob Gronkowski’s healthy return still enhances Brady’s outlook for the stretch run. … Baker Mayfield has looked like the offensive rookie of the year since the Browns’ staff shakeup. Limiting his Week 13 two-QB league appeal is a matchup with the Texans’ pass-limiting defense. It is worth noting that Marcus Mariota just completed 22-of-23 throws against the Texans on Monday Night Football.
Whatever Matt Patricia is doing, it has made Matthew Stafford one of the worst quarterbacks in football over the past month. Stafford’s only Week 13 hope is forced volume in a game with a 55 over/under where the Lions are 10-point home underdogs. … Colt McCoy should not hurt for work versus an Eagles defense getting stung for the fifth-most passing yards. … The Bengals have arguably overtaken the Bucs for the title of “League’s Worst Defense,” but Case Keenum has only five multi-score performances all season. He averaged just 201 yards in back-to-back upsets of the Chargers and Steelers. … It Mitchell Trubisky (shoulder) returns, it will be to a middle-of-the-road matchup with the Giants. Chase Daniel put on a game managing clinic in Week 12 but would struggle for QB2 value in New York. … The Dolphins do not trust Ryan Tannehill to throw, and the Bills are surrendering the fewest quarterback fantasy points. … Cody Kessler is probably better than Blake Bortles. Even with Leonard Fournette suspended, his main duty will be handing the ball off. … Jeff Driskel was decent in Week 12 but was never decent in college for the University of Florida. He was better as a fifth-year senior for Louisiana Tech.
Week 13 Running Backs
RB Notes: Slowed by an in-game ankle tweak during the Rams’ historic 54-51, Week 11 win over the Chiefs, Todd Gurley was held out of the end zone for the first time all season. The Lions have stiffened against the run since acquiring DT Damon Harrison, but you can take it to the bank that Gurley will score. … Strangely underutilized in the Chiefs’ first three games, Kareem Hunt is averaging 129 yards since. He has found the end zone 11 times during that timespan, and 14 times on the year. There is going to be a lot of game to close out against the Raiders’ league-worst run defense. … Ezekiel Elliott has cleared 120 yards rushing in each of his past three games. He will be an unstoppable force versus the Saints’ immovable object No. 1 ranked run defense. … The Bears are as tough as it gets for a matchup, but matchups have not really mattered for Saquon Barkley. The rookie’s lowest-yardage output of the season is 94. Barkley has five touchdowns over his past two games.
Coming off a season-high 20 touches, Aaron Jones gets a Cardinals defense silver plattering the second-most running back fantasy points. No team has been stung for more ground scores (16). Did I mention the Packers are 14-point home favorites? … Like the Saints, the Cowboys boast a top-five run defense. They have been slightly more forgiving to enemy backs through the air. Expect a floor instead of ceiling effort from Alvin Kamara. … The Steelers’ two-game road trip produced just 144 yards from scrimmage for James Conner. Conner’s usage is simply too good to expect him to remain down. He should be ripe for at least 4-5 receptions in what figures to be a back-and-forth affair with the Bolts. … Nick Chubb has been receiving Ezekiel Elliott/Leonard Fournette-level usage, averaging 23 touches in five games as starter. He handled the ball a whopping 31 times in Week 12. The Texans have a tough run defense, but I’m expecting a close game where Chubb will once again be able to pile up touches. … The Broncos are not bleeding rushing yards the way they were earlier in the year, but the Bengals will have no choice but to lean heavily on Joe Mixon in Jeff Driskel’s first career start.
No team is being gutted for more running back fantasy points than the Bengals. Phillip Lindsay has managed at least 4.5 yards per carry in 10-of-11 games and is averaging a scintillating 5.77 on the year. … Matt Breida is increasingly the 49ers’ only functional skill player. Week 13 opponent Seattle is hemorrhaging a league-worst 5.27 yards per carry. … David Johnson is doing everything he can to stay afloat amidst the Cardinals’ awful weekly game flow. Disappointingly, he has just three receptions over his past two games. That will need to change for the Cards to have any shot at moving the ball in Green Bay. … Lamar Miller is averaging 100 yards rushing over his past five games. The best way to attack the Browns is on the ground. … Provided Gus Edwards’ ankle injury is not serious, he will have legitimate RB1 potential against the Falcons’ bottom-three run defense. A dual threat like Lamar Jackson at quarterback ups both a runner’s floor and ceiling. … Josh Adams carried the ball 22 times last Sunday. Doug Pederson’s Monday takeaway? Adams needed the ball more. 22 is the outer limits of Adams’ weekly touch expectation, but he’s clearly ready to be an RB2 in fantasy.
Austin Ekeler has never carried the ball more than 12 times. He’s an excellent bet to exceed that Sunday night in Pittsburgh, but rookie Justin Jackson will be a legitimate factor in the Chargers’ post-Melvin Gordon committee. … Looking to snap a three-game streak without a 100-yard day on the ground, Chris Carson will be running as a 10-point home favorite against the lowly 49ers. … Sony Michel’s Week 13 case is all about volume and finishing drives. He’s not going to have a ceiling day versus the Vikings’ top-five run D. … Expect the expected if Marlon Mack (concussion) sits. Jordan Wilkins will try to set the tone on the ground with Nyheim Hines changing the pace and catching passes. … “Expect the expected” also goes for the Jaguars during Leonard Fournette’s one-game suspension. Carlos Hyde will carry the load, T.J. Yeldon will change things up. Hyde will likely struggle for efficiency against the Colts’ solid ground defense, but we know the Jags will stick will stick with the run regardless. … If you take away Dalvin Cook’s 70-yard rush in Week 9, his season high for rushing is 40. The Patriots have not been vulnerable on the ground.
I feel out on a limb with Kenyan Drake, but I like him the most of the Drake/James White/Tarik Cohen/Dion Lewis class this week. The Bills are softer on the ground than through the air and have permitted the 11th-most running back receptions (65). Game script should not get away from the Dolphins in this one. … Offering nothing on the ground, Tarik Cohen will be boom or bust as a pass catcher this week. He will be drawing targets from a backup quarterback versus a defense that’s given up the sixth-fewest running back receptions (50). … The Bills are bad, but the Dolphins probably aren’t good enough to blow them out. The Dolphins, meanwhile, cannot stop the run. LeSean McCoy should get enough touches for a FLEX performance. … Is Tevin Coleman good? He has a disappointing 36 touches over his past three games heading into a difficult matchup with the Ravens. … Even with the Lions guaranteed to play from behind, I’m expecting more of the frustrating same — as in, lots of touches — from LeGarrette Blount. Coach Matt Patricia’s unwavering short-yardage/goal-line belief in Blount turned into 19/88/2 in Kerryon Johnson’s absence versus the Bears. … A returning Chris Thompson will have immediate FLEX appeal against an Eagles defense that bleeds backfield catches.
Week 13 Receivers
WR Notes: Tyreek Hill is one of three players on pace for 16 receiving touchdowns, a number no pass catcher has hit since Dez Bryant in 2014. … We aren’t quite seeing the same yardage from Antonio Brown, but he is on pace for 177 targets, which would be the third most of his career. He just drew 26 looks during the Steelers’ two-game road trip. … Adam Thielen will avoid Stephon Gilmore’s shadow in the slot. Thielen’s second-lowest yardage output of the season is 66. His floor is incredibly high, and he has plenty of Week 13 ceiling. … Even with the Texans throwing less, DeAndre Hopkins can’t stop scoring or going 5/70. Despite Denzel Ward’s impressive rookie campaign, the Browns have not been anything special in coverage. … The Ravens have been locking down opposing wideouts all year, but Julio Jones has been flat indefensible. He’s cleared 100 yards in six-straight games. … It’s a bit insane Michael Thomas is the WR4 by average points (.5 PPR) considering he has had only three 100-yard efforts. He gets bumped down a bit for Week 13. We know the Saints are not quite as high flying on the road, and the Cowboys have permitted the third-fewest receiver points.
Davante Adams has not had a genuinely-bad game all year. … Brandin Cooks drew a season-high 12 targets the day Cooper Kupp got hurt then followed it up with another 12 the following week. He’s hit 100 yards three-straight games. … Coming off back-to-back 6/116 performances, Mike Evans has a delectable matchup in the Panthers. He will be looking for revenge after having his worst afternoon of the year in Carolina earlier this month. Ryan Fitzpatrick was terrible in that one. … Although he has only four touchdowns and three 100-yard performances, Robert Woods has cleared 70 in 10-consecutive games. … This is probably too steep a fade for Odell Beckham, but he has just 13 catches over his past three appearances. OBJ openly questioned the Week 12 game plan. Eli Manning’s pathetic deep ball is making life difficult. … JuJu Smith-Schuster is on pace for 1,535 yards. That would be the second most ever for a player who ended the season at the age of 22. Josh Gordon holds the record. … Kenny Golladay received only eight targets against the Bears’ elite defense on Thanksgiving. The Rams are not quite as stiff of a test, but Aqib Talib is expected to return following a long layoff. The Lions are going to have to throw more than they did versus the Bears.
Keenan Allen finally got hot in November, averaging 7/86 while scoring three times in four games. Philip Rivers is going to have to throw a lot more than usual in Pittsburgh. … Stefon Diggs is all the way up to fifth in the league in targets at 114. He’s drawn at least 11 looks in four-straight games and 7-of-10 on the year. … Slowly coming undone on defense, the Jaguars could be missing Jalen Ramsey (knee) against the Colts. With Jack Doyle’s loss narrowing Andrew Luck’s target tree, Hilton could have the WR2 green light in Jacksonville. … The Bengals are straight up collapsing on defense. Emmanuel Sanders has not had many ceiling days, but his floor should be nice and tidy in Cincinnati. … Opposing Sanders will be A.J. Green and Tyler Boyd with third-year pro Jeff Driskel making his first career start. Green will be returning from a four-week layoff. This is an admittedly aggressive ranking. Backup quarterbacks often lock onto their No. 1 read, but Driskel has not had many practice reps with Green. … Julian Edelman has cleared 70 yards in four-straight appearances, but he drew a modest five looks in Week 12. Perhaps Rob Gronkowski will eat into his floor, especially since Tom Brady’s targets have not been of their usual quality.
Although he’s not quite playing at a WR1 level, Amari Cooper has finally found stability. Hopefully he soaks up looks in a contest with a 52.5 over/under where the Cowboys are 7.5-point ‘dogs. … Tyler Lockett and Calvin Ridley have had nearly-identical statistical seasons. I will give Lockett the Week 13 rankings advantage. He has a (much) better matchup and has been the hotter player of late. … D.J. Moore has cleared 90 yards receiving in 3-of-5 games, including each of the past two weeks. With Devin Funchess (back) remaining highly questionable, Moore offers sky-high ceiling against the Bucs’ barely-there defense. … At least for one week, Rob Gronkowski’s return did not cramp Josh Gordon’s yardage style. No. 1 Vikings CB Xavier Rhodes is supposedly going to play through his hamstring pull even though he could barely walk last Sunday night. … Corey Davis is a WR1 stuck in a WR3 setup. His downside is as real as his upside. The Jets are a juicy opponent for the final week of the fantasy regular season. … Alshon Jeffery has been old man Crabtree-ing it of late. He’s gone four-straight appearances without reaching 50 yards. He has 16 targets across three contests since Golden Tate’s arrival.
Jarvis Landry has a problem: Baker Mayfield is actually a good quarterback. That means Mayfield isn’t force feeding the ball to Landry just because he’s there. … Sammy Watkins (foot) played in Week 11 but came out after only a few snaps because he could barely walk. He seems poised to sit in Oakland. Chris Conley has some WR5 appeal. … Josh Reynolds will have disappointing weeks. He’s also going to have 6/80/1 efforts like the one he did in the 54-51 Bowl. Sean McVay’s offense supports three viable fantasy wideouts. … Courtland Sutton has disappointed a bit since Demaryius Thomas’ trade. Hopefully a cakewalk matchup can get him going. … Tre’Quan Smith (foot) is returning. Temper expectations for a road matchup with a decent pass defense. … David Moore could see a lot of Richard Sherman. His scoring upside keeps him in the WR3/4 mix. … Jameis Winston BFF Adam Humphries seems like a better bet than Chris Godwin were DeSean Jackson (thumb) to sit. … Bruce Ellington signed with the Lions and immediately became PPR free money. … The John Ross touchdown parade seems destined to stop with A.J. Green’s return.
Week 13 Tight Ends
TE Notes: Travis Kelce is just 86 yards shy of his third-straight 1K campaign. … Zach Ertz drew at least nine targets in each of the first seven games of the season. He has since been held under that number in 3-of-4 contests. … Nick Mullens is predictably cratering, but George Kittle still has a whopping 22 targets over his past two games. If Mullens goes down, it will be throwing to his tight end. … Eric Ebron has averaged 10 targets when Jack Doyle sits compared to four when he plays. Doyle is out for Week 13 and beyond. Staggeringly, Ebron’s 15 end zone targets are second in all of football. … Rob Gronkowski scored in his Week 12 return. It is no secret that he has looked a step slower, but his usage is all but guaranteed to be that of a top-five tight end down the stretch. … Greg Olsen has just four catches for 20 yards over the past two weeks. His Week 13 case rests on a mouthwatering draw with the Bucs.
Fourth in average tight end targets over the past month, Jordan Reed had his highest yardage output of the season with Colt McCoy at the controls on Thanksgiving. The Eagles are a tough matchup, surrendering the third-fewest tight end fantasy points. … Jared Cook has managed to find the end zone in back-to-back weeks. Even in the Raiders’ unspeakably bad offense, he will have an excellent shot at making it 3-for-3 versus the Chiefs’ soft tight end defense in a game with a 55.5 over/under. … Frustrating though he is, David Njoku hits 50 yards more often than not. One of the Texans’ defensive weaknesses is against tight ends. … Cameron Brate underwhelmed against the 49ers, though he did manage to find the end zone. No team has allowed more tight end fantasy points than Week 13 opponent Carolina. … Even with Chase Daniel checking down, Trey Burton still generated just 28 yards on Thanksgiving. His seven targets were his second most of the season, however.
Chris Herndon’s usage continues to trend in the right direction, but the Titans are the toughest possible Week 13 matchup. … C.J. Uzomah’s 13 Week 12 looks were a new career high by five. He was Jeff Driskel’s most-targeted pass catcher (eight) after Andy Dalton went down. Of course, he turned all that usage into just 39 yards. Nevertheless, he’s an intriguing TE2 in a matchup with a Broncos defense that’s permitted the seventh-most tight end yardage (725). … Gerald Everett and Tyler Higbee combined for 11 targets in Cooper Kupp’s Week 11 absence. That Chiefs shootout was obviously a bit of an outlier, but both tight ends had already seen their usage rise before Kupp’s injury. … Looking likely to seamlessly slide into Jeff Heuerman’s (ribs, injured reserve) role, Matt LaCosse has a gorgeous matchup with a collapsed Bengals D serving up the second-most tight end fantasy points. … Lions TE Michael Roberts drew a season-high six targets on Thanksgiving. With Marvin Jones on injured reserve, that could be could be more of the norm going forward. The Rams are a soft matchup.
Week 13 Kickers
Week 13 Defense/Special Teams
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