Week 13 was all about the wide receivers. Eric Decker scored four touchdowns and exceeded 40 fantasy points in the process, while Josh Gordon and Alshon Jeffery each went for more than 200 receiving yards, caught two touchdown passes and reached 38 and 36 fantasy points, respectively.
So, which position will dominate in Week 13? And more importantly, which players will dominate at each position this week?
On my weekly and early look at the top-10 fantasy rankings for this week, I’ll attempt to answer that query. I can’t predict 200-yard receiving games, but I can give you an idea of which players have the talent or the matchup to post big numbers this week.
Notes: All point totals for standard-scoring leagues. Points-against stats via ESPN.
|1||Matt Stafford||Detroit Lions||Philadelphia Eagles||27|
|2||Nick Foles||Philadelphia Eagles||Detroit Lions||25|
|3||Peyton Manning||Denver Broncos||Tennessee Titans||23|
|4||Tom Brady||New England Patriots||Cleveland Browns||20|
|5||Tony Romo||Dallas Cowboys||Chicago Bears||19|
|6||Philip Rivers||San Diego Chargers||New York Giants||17|
|7||Cam Newton||Carolina Panthers||New Orleans Saints||17|
|8||Drew Brees||New Orleans Saints||Carolina Panthers||16|
|9||Josh McCown/Jay Cutler||Chicago Bears||Dallas Cowboys||16|
|10||Alex Smith||Kansas City Chiefs||Washington||15|
A matchup between the Detroit Lions and Philadelphia Eagles seems destined to end in a shootout—that will be a recurring theme on these rankings—so both Matt Stafford and Nick Foles should have huge weeks.
Few players have been more consistent than Stafford at the position—his season-low in fantasy points is 14—while Foles has been one of the best players in all of fantasy in the past four weeks, as he’s averaged 27.7 points in that time. It looks like the Eagles have found their quarterback.
There aren’t too many surprises on the rankings this week, though the final two entries may turn some heads. You should consider starting either Josh McCown or Jay Cutler, depending on who starts, against a Dallas Cowboys defense that has allowed 17 or more fantasy points to opposing quarterbacks seven times.
Meanwhile, Alex Smith has 21 or more fantasy points in four of his last five games and faces a Washington defense that has allowed 18 or more fantasy points to opposing quarterbacks seven times. Smith is a great sleeper option this week, especially if your regular starter has a tough matchup (I’m looking at you, Russell Wilson, Andrew Luck and Colin Kaepernick).
|1||Jamaal Charles||Kansas City Chiefs||Washington||25|
|2||Matt Forte||Chicago Bears||Dallas Cowboys||23|
|3||Adrian Peterson||Minnesota Vikings||Baltimore Ravens||21|
|4||DeMarco Murray||Dallas Cowboys||Chicago Bears||20|
|5||Knowshon Moreno||Denver Broncos||Tennessee Titans||17|
|6||LeSean McCoy||Philadelphia Eagles||Detroit Lions||16|
|7||Reggie Bush||Detroit Lions||Philadelphia Eagles||16|
|8||Ben Tate||Houston Texans||Jacksonville Jaguars||15|
|9||Le’Veon Bell||Pittsburgh Steelers||Miami Dolphins||14|
|10||C.J. Spiller||Buffalo Bills||Tampa Bay Buccaneers||13|
Running Back Notes
The intrigue at the running back position comes further down the rankings, as Ben Tate, Le’Veon Bell and C.J. Spiller round out the top 10.
Tate is an anomaly. A week after rushing seven times for a single, solitary yard against the Jacksonville Jaguars, he exploded for 102 rushing yards and three touchdowns against the New England Patriots. Go figure. Let’s assume he plays slightly better against the Jags this time around.
I doubted Bell last week against the Baltimore Ravens and he made me pay, accumulating 136 yards from scrimmage and a touchdown. He has scored fewer than eight fantasy points just once this season, making him one of the steadiest options at the position, and he now faces a Miami Dolphins defense that has given up 16 or more fantasy points to opposing running backs nine times.
Finally, is Spiller back? One of the biggest busts for fantasy owners this season appeared to be as healthy and explosive as we’ve seen him after the Week 12 bye, rushing 15 times for 149 yards and a touchdown. If you’ve been patient with Spiller, I have a feeling you’ll be pleased you stuck with him heading into the fantasy playoffs.
|1||Calvin Johnson||Detroit Lions||Philadelphia Eagles||24|
|2||DeSean Jackson||Philadelphia Eagles||Detroit Lions||20|
|3||Vincent Jackson||Tampa Bay Buccaneers||Buffalo Bills||19|
|4||A.J. Green||Cincinnati Bengals||Indianapolis Colts||17|
|5||Andre Johnson||Houston Texans||Jacksonville Jaguars||16|
|6||Josh Gordon||Cleveland Browns||New England Patriots||16|
|7||Demaryius Thomas||Denver Broncos||Tennessee Titans||15|
|8||Larry Fitzgerald||Arizona Cardinals||St. Louis Rams||14|
|9||Brandon Marshall||Chicago Bears||Dallas Cowboys||13|
|10||Dez Bryant||Dallas Cowboys||Chicago Bears||13|
Wide Receiver Notes
Calvin Johnson isn’t human. I mean, seriously, he’s not from this world. I think that’s all we need to say about that.
Gordon has been doing his best Megatron impression of late. He now has 24 receptions for 498 yards and three touchdowns in the past two weeks, and he has registered double-digit points in seven of the 10 games he’s appeared in.
He’s matchup-proof, and he will be one of the first five wide receivers off the board next season in fantasy drafts.
Vincent Jackson has really struggled down the stretch, with seven or fewer fantasy points in five of the last six weeks, but this week he gets a Buffalo Bills defense that just gave up 10 receptions for 143 yards to Roddy White, who has been a bust all season as he’s battled with injuries.
The Bills have given up 18 or more fantasy points to opposing wide receivers 10 times this season, so Jackson should produce in a major way.
|1||Rob Gronkowski||New England Patriots||Cleveland Browns||20|
|2||Jimmy Graham||New Orleans Saints||Carolina Panthers||17|
|3||Jason Witten||Dallas Cowboys||Chicago Bears||16|
|4||Julius Thomas*||Denver Broncos||Tennessee Titans||14|
|5||Jared Cook||St. Louis Rams||Arizona Cardinals||14|
|6||Vernon Davis||San Francisco 49ers||Seattle Seahawks||13|
|7||Tony Gonzalez||Atlanta Falcons||Green Bay Packers||12|
|8||Antonio Gates||San Diego Chargers||New York Giants||11|
|9||Martellus Bennett||Chicago Bears||Dallas Cowboys||10|
|10||Delanie Walker||Tennessee Titans||Denver Broncos||10|
*If he plays
Tight End Notes
I know Jared Cook has been wildly inconsistent this year, but even he should exploit a favorable matchup against the Arizona Cardinals this week. For as good as the Cardinals have been defensively, they’ve been dreadful against tight ends, allowing 14.5 fantasy points to opposing tight ends per week, easily the worst mark in the NFL.
And remember, Cook torched this defense for seven catches, 141 yards and two touchdowns in Week 1. Start him with confidence this week.
The tight end pool continues to be maddeningly shallow this week, and certain players that might slip into the top 10 from time to time—Coby Fleener, Greg Olsen and Jordan Reed, to name a few—have really tough matchups, while Jordan Cameron just hasn’t been the same since Brian Hoyer went down to injury.
Thus, you should either trust your studs or take a chance on Cook or a player like Delanie Walker, who has been quite good in bursts this year.
|1||Kansas City Chiefs||Washington||16|
|2||San Francisco 49ers||Seattle Seahawks||13|
|3||Seattle Seahawks||San Francisco 49ers||13|
|4||Baltimore Ravens||Minnesota Vikings||12|
|5||Cincinnati Bengals||Indianapolis Colts||12|
|6||St. Louis Rams||Arizona Cardinals||11|
|7||New Orleans Saints||Carolina Panthers||10|
|8||Arizona Cardinals||St. Louis Rams||9|
|9||Tampa Bay Buccaneers||Buffalo Bills||8|
|10||Oakland Raiders||New York Jets||8|
Defense/Special Teams Notes
The Kansas City Chiefs have had tough matchups in the past three weeks, but a game against Washington—which has allowed a total of 29 fantasy points in the past three weeks—should return Kansas City to fantasy prominence.
The San Francisco 49ers and Seattle Seahawks should find themselves locked in a low-scoring, defensive struggle, so starting either unit seems safe.
Yes, the Tampa Bay Buccaneers and Oakland Raiders made this list. Both have excellent matchups—the Buffalo Bills and New York Jets leak fantasy points to opposing defenses—and both have actually been better than you might think.
The Bucs have scored eight or more fantasy points six times this season, while the Raiders have scored seven or more points seven times. Neither pick is for the feint of heart, of course, but those willing to roll the dice could be handsomely rewarded.
|1||Stephen Gostkowski||New England Patriots||Cleveland Browns||16|
|2||Matt Prater||Denver Broncos||Tennessee Titans||15|
|3||Justin Tucker||Baltimore Ravens||Minnesota Vikings||14|
|4||Dan Bailey||Dallas Cowboys||Chicago Bears||13|
|5||Robbie Gould||Chicago Bears||Dallas Cowboys||13|
|6||Alex Henery||Philadelphia Eagles||Detroit Lions||12|
|7||David Akers||Detroit Lions||Philadelphia Eagles||12|
|8||Steven Hauschka||Seattle Seahawks||San Francisco 49ers||11|
|9||Adam Vinatieri||Indianapolis Colts||Cincinnati Bengals||10|
|10||Nick Novak||San Diego Chargers||New York Giants||9|
This week, Adam Vinatieri notched 20 fantasy points in standard-scoring leagues, tying him with players like Tom Brady, Robert Griffin III and Spiller. Meanwhile, Justin Tucker accumulated 19 points, pulling him even with Stafford, Bell and Fred Jackson.
The point is, if you hit the lottery with a kicker it can be the difference between a win and a loss. If you don’t have a top-10 kicker on your team, you need to address that situation immediately.
Hit me up on Twitter—I’ll answer your fantasy lineup questions, tweet random fantasy musings and try to discern if Josh Gordon is on a regimen of Super-Soldier Serum.