Sleepers And Busts: Week 13
The bye weeks are finally over and for a lot of you, it is the last week before the start of the playoffs. For the rest of you, there are two more weeks until fantasy’s second season. The good news is we have all the players to pick from again. The bad is that there are still a lot of injuries that affect a lot of teams. As we saw with TY Hilton in Week 12, you can not always just “start your studs.” Hopefully, the Sleepers And Busts: Week 13 edition help as the playoff window shuts. First, let us look at last week’s sleepers and busts.
What we got right: Baker Mayfield was maybe the best we have seen him all season going 24/34 for 327 yards and 3 TDs. He did have his first INT in almost four games. Randall Cobb was not able to score but he did haul in 4 of 7 targets for 86 yards. He is the second WR all season to have more than 78 yards receiving against the New England Patriots. Jacob Hollister and Courtland Sutton both finished with fewer than 30 yards receiving and neither had more than 2 receptions. Jordan Wilkins was a complete bust but Jonathan Williams paid off for anyone that invested.
What we missed on: Williams had a great follow up to his Week 11 performance and may have earned himself a role after Marlon Mack’s return with 121 total yards and a score on 29 touches. On the sleeper side, Derrius Guice was only able to produce 38 yards on 11 touches but at the time, there was a strong thought that Adrian Peterson would miss the game and he was able to get out there. All in all, not too bad of a week. On to Week 13.
Tarik Cohen @ The Detroit Lions
Over the past two weeks, Tarik Cohen has seen an uptick in his usage across the board. The Chicago Bears satellite back has seen an increase in targets, receptions, yards receiving, attempts rushing, yards rushing, rushing efficiency, and scoring (See below). None of these increases are going to make you start Cohen over any of your every week starters in a standard league but his 15 opportunities and 7.5 targets per game do provide some real upside in a PPR format. Especially this week when the Bears take on the team that has allowed the most receiving TDs in the league to RBs this season.
Data via Pro Football Reference
Chicago will take on the Detroit Lions and their 31st ranked defense against the running back position (PPR and Standard). Detroit has allowed 7 receiving TDs (32nd), 10 rushing TDs (30th), and a yard per reception of 11.19 (32nd). There are six teams that have allowed over 1.00+ points per touch to RBs and four teams that have allowed 1.00+ points per opportunity. The Lions are averaging the fourth-most in both metrics while allowing the 10th most opportunities and ninth-most touches per game.
Even though Week 12 against Washington was not a demonstration of this, Detroit’s defense caters to Cohen’s receiving back skillset and the targets do not need to be endless for the back to have success. Below are all the RBs that have had 3+ targets against the Lions (Using the FFStatistics Defenses App). This includes Cohen himself in Week 10 when he caught 4 of 4 targets for 23 yards and a TD. Of the backs to receive 3 targets, only Aaron Jones and LeSean McCoy failed to either score a TD or total 43+ yards receiving.
Even if David Montgomery still leads the team in touches, you can see that five of the RBs are not the team’s primary option at the position (Does not include Austin Ekeler who played Detroit in Week 2 before Melvin Gordon’s return.). The setup for Cohen to be a viable RB2 in PPR and FLEX option in Standard leagues is there. I would have trouble starting an Arizona RB over Cohen this week in PPR.
Gerald Everett @ The Arizona Cardinals
I could stop this at “@ The Arizona Cardinals” and that should be enough to qualify Gerald Everett of the Los Angeles Rams at a big-time streaming candidate at the TE position and the second player on this week’s list of sleepers. Everett had a decent stint of relevance this season between weeks 4 and 10 when he averaged 4.7 receptions on 8.2 targets for 53.7 yards per game. He scored twice during the stretch. In the two games following though, Everett has only received 3 targets. He has caught them all for 43 yards but not nearly enough production and usage to warrant a start, right?
Above you can see just how bad the Arizona Cardinals have been against the TE position. there have been 12 to-24 TE finishes, nine top-10 finishes, and six top-three finishes. Even the enigma, OJ Howard was even able to produce his only double-digit game of the 2019 season. Arizona has allowed four games in which a TE scored 25+ fantasy points and though Everett likely does not have that kind of upside with the state of the Rams offense as of late, he does have a 20+ point PPR performance this season against the Seattle Seahawks.
Overall the Cardinals have allowed the most receiving TDs (29), most yards receiving (3273), and the most completions (297) so this could be a get right game for the Rams passing attack that has really floundered since Week 6 against the San Francisco 49ers when Jared Goff was held to 48 yards passing. There have been moments but the Cardinals defense should be a welcome sight to the Rams offense. Start Everett with some confidence. He has TE1 upside for days.
Data via the FFStatistics Defenses App
Carson Wentz @ The Miami Dolphins
Carson Wentz has been far from impressive lately. He has thrown 1 TD in each of the last five games and six of the last seven overall. There are a few contributing factors outside of Wentz himself that could be having a big impact. Firstly, injuries to his weapons. Alshon Jeffery and Nelson Agholor have both missed time recently, as well as Jordan Howard. DeSean Jackson, of course, has been on injured reserve. Secondly, only once in the last five games has the offensive line been healthy. Funny how the sacks really started five weeks ago. Wentz has played his part as well of course. In Week 12, he overthrew rookie RB Miles Sanders twice on what could have been TDs for a recent example.
Wentz and the Eagles will take on the Miami Dolphins and their 28th ranked defense against the QB position. Miami has allowed the second-most passing TDs and has intercepted the fourth-fewest passes this season. Teams have thrown the ball the sixth-fewest number of times and completed the fifth-fewest passes so far this year. Miami allows some highly efficient QB play and below you can see all the QB performances. Only twice have they kept the opposing QB from throwing for multiple touchdowns. They are allowing a low-end QB1 on a weekly rate and only twice has the opposing QB failed to finish QB15 or better.
(Top to bottom, Week 12-1 including Mayfield)
Baker Mayfield in Week 12 – 24/34 for 327 yards and 3 TDs, QB6
Data via FFStatistics Defenses App
With the WRs and the protection healthy (assuming they are), Wentz could have enough time to stand back in the pocket and hit Alson Jeffery on some jump ball opportunities. He will also have his TEs named Zach Ertz and Dallas Goedert who have both been fantasy relevant in recent weeks. Week 13-15 line up very nicely for Wentz. Watch the practice reports though because even though you could still start him without his WRs, it would absolutely be a boost to have them back.
Other Potential Sleepers
Nick Foles vs The Tampa Bay Buccaneers
Nick Foles will get a chance to redeem himself against the Tampa Bay Buccaneers in Week 13. Tampa is one of two teams to allow 25+ points per week to the quarterback position. The Buccaneers are tied with the Oakland Raiders and the Miami Dolphins for the second-most passing TDs (26) and are tied with five other teams for the fourth-fewest INTs (7). If Foles can not do it here, Gardner Minshew may just get the job back.
Kareem Hunt @ The Pittsburgh Steelers
Kareem Hunt has been a very useful PPR asset since his return from suspension and is worth another start this week against the Pittsburgh Steelers.
Kareem hunt has been the RB13 in PPR since his return in Week 10. Cleveland nearly has two fantasy RB1's (Chubb RB7 in last 3 games). He is averaging 6.7 targets per game and had caught 6/8 targets two weeks ago against the Steelers.
— David Willsey FF (@willson8tor) November 27, 2019
Kyle Rudolph @ The Seattle Seahawks
Kyle Rudolph has caught 5 TDs in his last five games played and now gets the Seattle Seahawks who allow the fourth-most fantasy points to the position. They are one of three teams to allow 100+ targets to the position, have allowed the fourth-most receiving yards and 5 TDs (tied for the fifth-most). Adam Thielen is practicing again so the opportunity for Rudolph could be more limited than in recent games if the Vikings starting WR is back but Seattle allows enough volume to TEs that he should still see a decent amount of work.
Joe Mixon vs The New York Jets
If you held on to Joe Mixon, traded for him, or grabbed him off waivers when someone lost faith, it has finally been paying off. Mixon has been the RB20 in PPR and 15 in standard leagues. He is averaging 18 attempts rushing, 69.4 yards rushing, catching 1.6/2.4 targets for an additional 13.4 yards receiving, and scored 3 total TDs. Since Ryan Finley took over at QB, Mixon is the RB11 in PPR and RB5 in standard. He is averaging 111 total yards on 23 touches per game and has scored once. Through the first 9 weeks with Andy Dalton under center, Mixon was the RB36 in both formats.
The offensive line is one of the biggest reasons for Mixon’s inability to perform but one of the other main reasons was Andy Dalton’s ability to actually throw the ball with some effectiveness. With Finley in the game, it almost seemed as if Cincinnati was just running the ball to get to the locker room faster. Well, Dalton will once again be under center for the Bengals.
Cincinnati will take on the New York Jets in Week 13 in a winnable game. They may want the number 1 overall pick in the 2020 NFL draft but nobody wants to go winless in obtaining it. Only one RB this year has seen 20+ touches and only one has run for 100+ yards. They were both Ezekiel Elliott. The Jets actually have the best yard per attempt allowed in the league this season and it is not particularly close. New York is allowing 3.0 yards per attempt and the next closest team (Tampa Bay Buccaneers) is allowing 0.5 more yards per attempt.
Josh Jacobs – 10 attempts rushing, 34 yards/ DeAndre Washington – 6 attempts rushing, 19 yards/ Jalen Richard – 2 attempts rushing, 4 yards
Data via FFStatistics Defenses App
The Jets have allowed 8 Tds on the ground so if the Bengals are able to get Mixon some high-value touches, he could score but that is a big “if” even with the return of the starting quarterback. Three of the TDs came on the back of Sony Michel. Five rushing touchdowns have been allowed in the other 10 games. Careful starting Mixon if you really need upside. He will be hard to leave on the bench but expectations should absolutely be tempered.
Deshaun Watson vs The New England Patriots
Deshaun Watson has been a top-four Qb in all formats this season but there have been some peaks and valleys in his season. Watson has five games this season with either 0 or 1 TD thrown. He has 6 INTs in his last six games after throwing just 1 in the first five games. On the other end, Watson has 6 multi passing TD games with four of those going for 3+ TDS. There were 5 TDs rushing in the first six games yet has not scored on the ground in the last five. Through the first five games, Watson was ranked QB3. over the last six games he is ranked as the QB11.
Data via Pro Football Reference
Now he gets the chance to turn it around in a big spot. Unfortunately, he is facing the toughest matchup in fantasy.
Below, you can see that the New England Patriots have allowed one performance this season that resulted in a finish inside the top-18 QBs on the week. Watson has some of the same skills that Lamar Jackson has but so did Dak Prescott. The Dallas game was in a downpour with wind but that should have encouraged a little more rushing work. New England has not allowed a QB to throw for multiple TDs, only two have thrown for 215+ yards passing, and only one QB the Patriots have faced has run for more than 26 yards.
Dak Prescott – Completed 19/ 33 attempts, 212 yards passing, 0 TDs, 1 INTs, QB24
Data via FFStatistics Defenses App
New England is the only team in football allowing an average amount of points scored in 4 and 6 points per passing TD formats in single digits (7.8/ 9.8). Watson is certainly capable of having success in a tough matchup but the pressure he will face in Week 13 will make this a very difficult game for his receivers to have time to get downfield. He is being sacked the fourth-most in the league (32 total) and will face the team with the fourth-most sacks on the season (37). There is always upside with Watson, as demonstrated by his four 3+ TD games. This may be a week to look at a high-value streamer but you are likely going to be starting your stud and hoping for the best. I might explore other options.
Kenny Golladay Vs The Chicago Bears
Kenny Golladay was reaping the rewards of a Matt Stafford resurgence in 2019 before his back injury caused him to miss time. Below you can see the stark difference in Golladay’s production with and without Stafford throwing him the Ball. Yes, he was able to score a TD in the first game with Jeff Driskel under center but has failed to surpass 61 yards receiving in any of the three games after putting up over 122 yards receiving in three of four games prior. Golladay was able to score his TD with Driskel but was nearly irrelevant leading up to the 47 yard TD reception as the game neared an end. The Bears are who Kenny G will see in Week 13 and Driskel might not be healthy enough to play but at this point, he is expected.
Data via FFStatistics Splits Tool
Chicago has been great against the WR position this season allowing the fifth-fewest PPR points per game. The Bears have given up 5 receiving TDs to WRs (third-fewest) which is the biggest reason they are ranked so highly. They have also allowed the seventh-fewest receiving yards to the position and those seven teams are the only ones in the league that has allowed fewer than 1500 yards thus far.
Golladay had 2 receptions for 10 yards for the majority of the matchup. Last season he hauled in at least 5 receptions and either 90 yards or a TD in both games between Detroit and Chicago. The difference is the QB play. Again, Driskel was able to find Golladay a few weeks ago in the same matchup to salvage his day. You do not want to rely on that type of play to hopefully hit. Golladay did receive 9 targets in Driskel’s first start but has not seen more than 5 in either game that followed. You likely have to start a player of Kenny Golladay’s caliber but the sledding may be very tough. Especially if the third-string QB is in.
Other Potential Busts
Carlos Hyde Vs The New England Patriots
Carlos Hyde will also take on the New England Patriots in Week 13. New England will give up some yards on the ground but a team has to be able to commit to it and so often this season, the Patriots are in front of the scoreboard so much that their opponents have to throw. New England is allowing the fewest points to RBs in the league. They are allowing 1.6 fewer points per game on average than the next closest team (15.8).
Keenan Allen @ The Denver Broncos
Keenan Allen has had a season built on two halves. Through the first few weeks, he was looking like a legitimate WR1 candidate. Allen has since cooled considerably.
Data via Pro Football Reference
The Chargers faced the Denver Broncos in Week 5 and Allen was held to 18 yards receiving while catching 4/6 targets. Look for a floor performance from Allen here.
Mark Andrews Vs The San Francisco 49ers
Mark Andrews has been a mainstay around the top of the TE ranks all season but this might be a week to expect far less than a top tier performance. Andrews has back-to-back games with fewer than 7 targets (4,3) for the first time all season and is going to take on the team that allows the third-fewest receptions to TEs and has only given up 2 TDs all season. Lamar Jackson is not really throwing the ball enough to hope for consistent volume but he is efficient with his passes. You have to hope for a TD against a defense that does not give many up.
Wrapping It Up
Week 13 is a huge one and every point could matter. Maximize your upside and limit your floor if you are an underdog. Limit the risk if you are a favorite. Follow the process and do these things and more often than not, you will give yourself a chance to win. Target teams that have something to play for. There is a far less likely chance that they take their players out towards the end of the game. There are few things more frustrating than needing points and watching your player on the bench but always remember that we have no control outside of who to start. look for the advantages but always remember you can not legislate the usage, injuries happen, and TDs are not guaranteed no matter the matchup. Keep a level head and best of luck in Week 13.