This is my favorite week of the year. There are endless amounts of food, some great games, no more bye weeks and major playoff implications (both real and fantasy)! To make things even better there are four games featuring many of the top fantasy players that are lining up to be shootouts. The games I am talking about are the Bears/Lions, Cowboys/Eagles, Saints/Steelers and Patriots/Packers. If only given these eight teams you could make multiple solid fantasy squads. When it’s all said and done I think we are in for a week where we see huge fantasy numbers and some very full stomachs. Before we dive into my picks for week 13 let’s see how I did last week.
I posted a solid 9-5-3 record in week 12 with McCoy, Steve Smith, and the Colts defense highlighting my boom picks. Even though Roddy White and Kenny Stills didn’t have “boom” games they were very solid contributors, hauling in 9 and 8 catches for 96 and 98 yards respectively. I was expecting big things from Jay Cutler against the Bucs, but was disappointed when he put up a dismal 130 yards passing with only one touchdown. Denard Robinson was another guy who had a great matchup but was very limited on the ground and had another early fumble. I was almost perfect on the bust side of things last week. Stafford, Ingram, Hopkins, Gates, Tamme, and the Lions D all had awful performances. The only player that I missed on was Golden Tate. Although I wouldn’t say he was a bust, Tate was shut down after the 1st quarter. Like I predicted, Revis followed him all day while Browner and a safety double-teamed Megatron. Tate was still able to break 100 total yards, but I am going to give myself a pat on the back for predicting the Patriot’s gameplan. I am done living in the past. Let’s lace ’em up and get ready for this week’s slate!
Ryan Tannehill: I love me a some Tannehill this week. He has looked like a top-ten QB the last few weeks, producing 10 touchdowns to only four turnovers over his last four games. If he can go for 240 yards and 4 touchdowns against the Broncos I see no reason why he can’t do the same against the Jets. Gang green has allowed 2+ passing touchdowns in 10 of 11 games this year.
Andre Ellington: Ellington has rushed for 23, 42, 24 yards and just one touchdown in his last 3 games. With those stats I would normally tell you to stay away from the Cardinal, but he has a very favorable matchup this week against the Falcons. Atlanta is the league’s second worst run defense, giving up 14 touchdowns on the ground. The Cardinal’s offense has struggled since losing Carson Palmer so look for them to lean on Ellington quite a bit.
Tre Mason: Gut call here. Mason has established himself as the lead back in the St. Louis. In 4 very tough matchups against San Fransisco, Denver, Arizona and San Diego, Mason has averaged 87 total yards per game. With the Raiders surrendering an average of 126 rush yards per game, I feel that Mason is primed to break a big run and get into the end zone for the second time this year.
Odell Beckham Jr.: ODB should be a must start on any roster. He is averaging 8 catches for 126 yards over the last four games. Don’t let him being a bit banged up deter you from starting him against the Jags.
Martavis Bryant: I’ve been big on Saints’ shutdown corner Keenan Lewis all year and the other New Orleans corners are awful. While watching Monday night’s game I saw Baltimore’s two Smiths combine for ten catches and 187 yards and none of those catches occurred when Lewis was the man in coverage. Watch for the Saints to give a lot of attention to Antonio Brown as well as putting 8 in the box to stop Le’Veon Bell.
Travis Kelce: Living in Denver I know the Broncos don’t have anyone that can cover him. In their first meeting, Kelce had 4 receptions for 81 yards. The Broncos struggle covering big, athletic tight ends like Gronk, Gates, and Dwayne Allen who have combined for 4 scores this year. If the Chiefs fall behind and have to start passing, Kelce is their number-one option
Colts D/ST: The Redskins have allowed 5+ sacks in each of their last three games. The Colts offense is far superior to the Redskins defense and should give their own defense an early lead and many opportunities to get sacks, cause turnovers and fluster Colt McCoy.
Matt Ryan: Matty Ice has been the most consistent quarterback which is great if you are cool with 10-15 points per week. He has thrown multiple touchdowns in only 5 games this year and hasn’t had a 300 yard performance since week 5. It will be tough sledding this week against the Cardinals who blitz more than any other team. The Cardinals have allowed only 5 passing touchdowns in their last 6 games which doesn’t bode well for Ryan and his shaky offensive line.
Ryan Mathews: I love how Mathews looked last week and love him for the playoffs, but this week he faces the best run defense in the league. The Ravens have held teams to 3 rushing touchdowns all year and haven’t surrendered one at home. Don’t expect Mathews to rush for a lot of yards either as the Ravens have only allowed one team to run for 100 yards and that was the Colts way back in week 5 when they ran for 105.
Patriots running backs: Is it going to be Blount? Is it going to be Gray? Is it going to be Vereen? Or maybe the Pats will decide not to run the ball at all. Vereen has some upside in PPR leagues, but for now this is a situation to avoid.
Mike Evans: Evans has a very tough match up vs the Bengals this week. Oh wait, never mind, Mike Evans scores a touchdown every week regardless who the Bucs are playing.
Julio Jones: I hate that I am going against my own advice to never sit a top-10 receiver, but Patrick Peterson has just been playing too well. Julio has not acted like a top receiver this year either, only having 4 games over 100 yards and scoring in 3. With Matt Ryan under pressure in this game I don’t see Julio winning many of his battles against against Arizona’s star corner.
Heath Miller: As bad as the Saints pass defense has been they have been excellent against tight ends. They have allowed just 3 touchdowns to the position in 2014. Miller has become, at best, Big Ben’s fourth option on offense. He has only had more than 50 yards in a game twice all year.
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Payton is the newest fantasy football contributor to The Sports Script. Be on the lookout for more of his work in the coming weeks and follow him on Twitter @PaySand!