Week 13 Lineup Rankings
With the fantasy season drawing to a close, most teams are now in a situation where every week is a must win. Since most rosters aren’t perfect, and are currently dealing with decisions regarding injuries or difficult matchups to your name-brand stars, I figured I’d take the opportunity this week to look at some blue-light specials who may typically be backups on your roster, but are potential week 13 gems.
- It’s not like Alex Smith was playing badly by any stretch of the imagination. Smith has a rating of 104, and even has a YPA of 8. But Smith is a QB who struggles to stretch the field, limiting his fantasy impact, and the offensive potential of the 49ers. The 49ers were in a situation where they were so boringly consistent on offense, they felt stale compared with the peak performance of other teams in the NFC. While their offensive production is pretty good, they don’t have the offensive peak of teams like the Packers, Giants, Falcons, Saints, or even the Bears. That is typically a recipe for disaster come playoff time, because they were not a team to be trusted when they needed a score. Enter Kaepernick, who is the perfect microcosm for what many fantasy teams should be looking for this time of year. He’s the home run jolt the 49ers team desperately needed. It’s easy to say that a switch didn’t need to be made, and if Kaepernick failed with his opportunity, Smith would have slid right back into his starting spot. But Kaepernick has added a dimension to this offense, making them dangerous. His name has been discussed frequently in the fantasy forum in recent weeks. His passing potential is intriguing, but it’s his running potential that makes him safer than you think. If you’ve been starting borderline top 10 guys like Eli Manning, Tony Romo, or Cam Newton, Kaepernick may be exactly the type of risk you need to kickstart your playoff run.
Week 13 Prediction: 275 passing yards, 35 rushing yards, 2 total TDs.
- Dalton has quietly had a fantastic 2nd season in Cincinnati, and has been consistently great at exploiting weak secondaries. While the schedule gets tough after this week, he has yet another favorable matchup this week in San Diego. While 4th and 29 lingers in our minds, what stood out to me last week was just how bad Quentin Jammer looked against Torrey Smith. Now he gets to deal with AJ Green this week. Dalton should have a field day yet again.
Week 13 Prediction: 260 passing yards, 3 TDs
- If you’re desperate, Henne has actually been pretty good since taking over for Blaine Gabbert. Jacksonville has some weapons on the outside in the emerging Cecil Shorts and Justin Blackmon, so while the Bills pass defense has quietly been improving as the season progresses, and Stephon Gilmore is starting to show his potential, I expect that Henne should have a pretty nice day in what should be a relatively high scoring game.
Week 13 Prediction: 310 passing yards, 1 TD
- Brown looked like a superstar last week against Carolina. He’s a risk, because Andy Reid tends to get pass happy, and he’s not yet a 3 down back, but Brown is an excellent upside play this week. I’m not necessarily saying he should be in your lineup if you have a couple of defined starters, but if your team is a decided underdog this week, and are fearing limited production from guys like Doug Martin and Marshawn Lynch due to their matchups, Brown would be the perfect back to use in their stead.
Week 13 Prediction: 135 total yards, 1 TD.
- Dwyer has proven to be the most consistent back in Pittsburgh, and has been officially named the starter for this week’s game against the Ravens. The Steelers will traditionally feature one back, so it is likely that Dwyer will get the vast majority of the carries. Against a Ravens defense that has struggled against the run, Dwyer is a good bet to score, and should prove to be a pretty decent option this week.
Week 13 Prediction: 90 yards rushing, 1 TD
- Wells returned last week, and while his yardage numbers weren’t impressive, he did end up with 2 TDs. The Jets have a clear weakness defending the run, and with a rookie QB, it’s clear the Cardinals will try to ride the ground game as much as possible. Beanie is an excellent flyer this week if you’re desperate.
Week 13 Prediction: 75 total yards, 1 TD
- Garcon is clearly the most dangerous option available to RGIII, and is finally healthy. Expect him to follow up his comeback performance against Dallas with another big performance this week.
Week 13 Prediction: 130 yards receiving, 2 TD
- When given a favorable matchup, Hartline has produced like a beast this year. NE does not have a shut down secondary, and Miami will be forced to score this week. Expect a big week out of Hartline.
Week 13 Prediction: 125 yards receiving, 1 TD
- It’s amazing how mere competency under center in Jacksonville can make their offense look relatively explosive. With Chad Henne at the helm, we’ve finally seen a glimpse into the bright future that Blackmon could bring that organization. With the Bills focusing on stopping Cecil Shorts this weekend, Blackmon could continue that development with another solid game.
Week 13 Prediction: 100 yards receiving, 1 TD
- Denver’s defense has been outstanding this season. No defense has been better against opposing RBs over the past 5 weeks, and Champ Bailey continues to be one of the premier shut down CBs in the league. However, Tampa has been a dangerous offense this year, and I’d expect that they’ll still get some production this week, even if in garbage time. Enter Mike Williams who should be able to take advantage of the weak side of this secondary for a big play or 2.
Week 13 Prediction: 105 yards receiving
- Now healthy, Broyles may finally be the #2 WR Detroit has been searching for to properly compliment Calvin Johnson. You know Detroit will be throwing the football, which means Broyles will get his opportunities, even if Titus Young returns to the lineup. Look for him to continue to produce good numbers this week against a depleted Indianapolis secondary.
Week 13 Prediction: 90 yards receiving
- I don’t have LaFell ranked very highly in my rankings, but I may have him moving up a bit by Sunday. He’s scored in his last 2 games, and the Chiefs will likely use Brandon Flowers to focus on Steve Smith. LaFell should have his opportunities, and all it will take is one big play for him to justify his position in your lineup as a flex.
Week 13 Prediction: 65 yards receiving, 1 TD
- If you are desperate for a TE this week, Clark is my favorite lower-tier option on the board. The Broncos struggle against TEs, and I’d expect Josh Freeman to look his way quite a bit as Denver blankets Vincent Jackson.
Week 13 Prediction: 50 yards receiving, 1 TD
New York Jets
- Masked in the Jets dismal effort on Thanksgiving night is the fact that their defense has actually been playing pretty well. Now, they get a 3rd string 6th round rookie QB traveling cross-country into their house. The Jets will get their chance to play bully this week.
Week 13 Prediction: 4 sacks, 3 TOs.
Use proper discretion when considering these players, but if you have a starter whose potential appears limited this week, and you’re going into your matchup as a decided underdog, perhaps one or more of these players will give your team the jolt it needs to pull off the upset. Good luck!