This is the week that usually determines the final playoff spots in fantasy football leagues. Will this week be lucky 13? At this point, most of the work has been done. You did the research, spent your FAAB wisely, and made a savvy trade or two. Now all you have to do is set a winning lineup. No pressure. If you have a hole to fill or just looking for a second opinion, maybe I can help with my suggestions below. But first, let’s address last week.
Week 12/Season Recap – Kendall Hinton > Derek Carr
Most of the fantasy industry was on Derek Carr as a play last week, myself included. So, what the hell happened? He was playing against Atlanta, the second-most fantasy-friendly defense to QBs this season. Yet somehow, Carr ended up with negative points. Maybe that’s why he doesn’t get the respect he thinks he deserves. We would have been better off playing Kendall Hinton in our QB spot last week. But I digress. As for my other calls, Gronk came through and Melvin Gordon was a disappointment, as I predicted. On the flip side, Michael Pittman let us down with only two catches. Also, Deebo Samuel exploded despite coming off of injury against a tough Rams defense. I learned a lesson here: If Deebo is active, don’t sit him. Like ever. Season Tally: 39-24 (61%).
DeVante Parker at Cincinnati
I almost listed Parker here last week, and I’m kicking myself for not playing him in DFS. It’s undeniable that he has chemistry with Ryan Fitzpatrick. With Fitzmagic under center against the Jets, Parker hauled in eight of 14 targets for 119 yards. Those 14 targets were a season-high for him. Parker and his favorite QB face the Cincinnati defense on Sunday, a matchup the duo should easily take advantage of. If Tua starts instead of Fitzpatrick, Parker is still a good play this week.
David Montgomery vs Detroit
Montgomery returned to action just in time for the fantasy playoff push. He had 11 rushing attempts for 103 yards and caught five passes for 40 yards and a touchdown versus Green Bay. After he ripped off a 60-yard run on the first drive, he should’ve been given more opportunities as the passing game was struggling. Chicago’s running game seems to get a boost when Mitchell Trubisky is under center. The Bears have put up at least 122 rushing yards in the four games Trubisky has started. That bodes well for Montgomery against the Lions, who are giving up the most points to the position this season.
Take a chance on him – Lucky 13
Hunter Renfrow at New York Jets
Renfrow is coming off his second-best game of the season despite the struggles of his quarterback Derek Carr last week. Renfrow caught seven passes on nine targets for 74 yards. The nine targets were the most he has seen since Week 3, and his seven catches are a season-high. I think Carr will bounce back this week against the Jets. Still winless, the Jets have struggled all season and might be tanking for the first overall pick in the 2021 draft. Devante Parker just burned them last week with 119 yards on eight catches. Look for Carr to exploit Renfrow’s highly advantageous matchup in the slot against Jets cornerback Arthur Maulet on Sunday. Guess what jersey number Renfrow wears? Yup, lucky 13.
Logan Thomas at Pittsburgh
Thomas has been a great waiver-wire pick up at what has been a fairly barren position this season. He has scored double-digit fantasy points in four of his last six games. On Thanksgiving, he caught all four of his targets for 20 yards and a touchdown. He also completed a pass for 28 yards and rushed once for three yards. That sounds promising, but Thomas has a tough road matchup this week. The Steelers have an elite TE defense allowing the second-fewest points in the league.
Todd Gurley/Brian Hill/Ito Smith vs New Orleans
It really doesn’t matter who starts for the Falcons this week or who’ll get the most touches. The Saints allow the fewest fantasy points to running backs than any other team in the league. I wouldn’t risk my fantasy playoff chances hoping one of them just finds the end zone, either. The Saints have given up just five total touchdowns to the position the entire season.
As always, start your studs! Unless it’s under extreme circumstances, obvious players will not appear in this column.
Logo graphic courtesy of @TheDiamondMike