Fantasy playoffs are right around the corner. I’m rooting for you! You got this. But in the meantime, DraftKings and DFS platforms will always be here for you. And so will I, as we dive into the Week 13 picks!
All values are subject to DraftKings’ prices and scoring format. All ownership data is courtesy of Pro Football Focus.
Fire ‘em up
Aaron Rodgers @ PHI, $6,800 (Projected ownership: 9.1 percent)
He’s just too good, man. There really should be bonus points for style.
Rodgers is an efficient quarterback that can thrive even if he doesn’t throw the ball too much. He was the QB4 last week with just 21 completions on 29 attempts — ridiculous. He won’t be hitting season-highs in attempts against the Eagles, likely due to game script, but he’s a great play each week with a high ceiling and high floor. If you want to pay up at quarterback, Rodgers is your man.
Myles Gaskin @ CIN, $5,900 (Projected ownership: 5.4 percent)
Running backs returning from injury have received a shocking amount of volume in their first game back. Austin Ekeler saw a season-high 25 touches. Miles Sanders saw a season-high 23 touches in Week 2 after his shoulder injury and a solid 17 in Week 10 after a two-game absence. Nick Chubb had 19 carries in his first game back, and that’s while splitting snaps with a talent like Kareem Hunt.
Meanwhile, in Miami, Matt Breida is on the reserve/COVID-19 list. Salvon Ahmed (shoulder) and DeAndre Washington (hamstring) are both listed as doubtful. Gaskin should see immense volume assuming he is activated off the injured reserve regardless of who suits up under center for Miami — Gaskin has seen plenty of pass-catching volume either way.
A.J. Brown vs. CLE, $7,600 (Projected ownership: 9 percent)
It’s a tough price tag to swallow, especially when Corey Davis is much cheaper. But Davis should be just as highly owned, if not more due to the discount, and Brown has the higher ceiling. Cleveland has been a tough defense to diagnose, but here’s what you should know. Cleveland allows just 198.8 passing yards per game at home — the third-best mark for teams while at home. But when they are on the road, like they are this week, they allow over 300 passing yards a game — fourth worst in the league while on the road. Take your shot on any Titans receiver in this juicy matchup without the Browns’ best cornerback Denzel Ward. I’ll elect for the guy I think will be less owned due to his hot-cold nature.
T.J. Hockenson @ CHI, $5,000 (Projected ownership: 4.3 percent)
I rarely pay up for tight end but hey, Hockenson is worth every dime especially if that ownership projection sits. Chicago has been stout against everything but the tight end this year, and with limited pass catchers in Detroit, Stafford will hyper-target the 2019 first-round pick. Hockenson has seen six or more targets in all but one game since Week 6. His floor is stable, which should complement the high ceiling picks elsewhere, but don’t discount Hockenson either. He showed that he could be a big-play threat last week with his 17.8 yards per reception. The Bears allow the second-most points to the tight end — don’t overthink this.
Miami Dolphins vs. CIN, $4,400 (Projected ownership: 12.4 percent)
Speaking of not overthinking, if you want to pay for a defense, it has to be the Dolphins. There aren’t a ton of great options out there worth paying up for, but Brandon Allen and the Mixon-less Bengals are certainly a matchup worth attacking. It’s a locked-in top five play — if you want to pay up for the safety, this is the team to spend it on.
Colder than ice
Kirk Cousins vs. JAX, $6,400 (Projected ownership: 8.7 percent)
Let this be clear — Cousins will be a solid option this week. Just not worth the ownership and price tag.
That ownership projection seems low for a name every analyst is touting as a streamer, and for a good reason. The Jaguars are just a terrible defense. But they’re also a terrible offense, and Cousins’ 45 attempts last week won’t come close to repeating. That came due to Dalvin Cook being on-and-off the field with injuries. Cooks has no injury designation for this game, and Cousins’ attempts should drop as a result. He will need another week of hyper-efficiency to deserve the ownership percentage he will have, and I’m not comfortable making that bet.
Nyheim Hines @ HOU, $5,300 (Projected ownership: 8.3 percent)
Hines will not see as many carries as he did last week, and most expect that. He didn’t do much with them anyway (10 carries for 29 yards) and made his hay in the receiving game. With Jonathan Taylor (COVID-19) set to return, Hines will need immense receiving volume like he saw last week. But that won’t happen if the Colts are winning, which I expect them to be. Hines benefitted from a dominant Derrick Henry first quarter that put the Colts in catch-up mode early. That won’t be the case in Houston, and without that volume, he will let your team down.
Brandin Cooks vs. IND, $5,600 (Projected ownership: 21.2 percent)
Will Fuller’s absence (PED suspension) has led to the fantasy community loving Cooks once more after shunning him for the past few months. But why?
The Colts defense is strong and has been all season. Last week’s failure was a result of key players being placed on the COVID-19 list (see below) and with them activated, the unit is far better. The Colts have allowed the seventh-fewest points to the wide receiver and Cooks will be at the center of their attention. Everyone wants to play Cooks — don’t get swept away in the crowds. This also applies to Jordan Akins (13 percent), Duke Johnson (11.2 percent) and Keke Coutee (9.9 percent)— all projected to be highly owned in DraftKings. Just bench your Texans.
Hayden Hurst vs. NO, $4,000 (Projected ownership: 4.3 percent)
Hurst has struggled to carve out a role while Julio Jones and Calvin Ridley are both on the field. With Jones tentatively expected to play, that makes Hurst a dicey play. The Saints have also locked down the tight end since adding Kwon Alexander in Week 8, shutting down Hurst himself to a zero-point performance in Week 10. Playing through an ankle injury already, Hurst is not worth playing in your DraftKings lineups.
Cincinnati Bengals vs. MIA, $2,300 (Projected ownership: 7.3 percent)
The Bengals are just a bad defense, and sometimes the matchup can overcome that. Miami won’t be that team, though. Whether it’s Ryan Fitzpatrick or Tua Tagovailoa, points will be scored on this Bengals unit. There certainly might be a turnover, but the Bengals have just 13 sacks on the year and the Dolphins get Gaskin back this week. If you want to pay the bottom line, I get it. But you should expect bottom-line production.
Jared Goff @ ARI, $5,800 (Projected ownership: 6.4 percent)
One of the most inconsistent players in fantasy football; you have to take the gamble with Goff this week in a potential shootout with Arizona. The Cardinals have allowed the third-most points to quarterbacks in DraftKings’ format and come at an extremely cheap $5,800 price tag. He could certainly be a dud and do nothing, but a top-five finish is well within reach. It’s worth the risk on your DFS team.
Chase Edmonds vs. LAR, $4,900 (Projected ownership: 1.8 percent)
Every few weeks people forget about Edmonds. And then he reminds them.
It’s certainly not a safe play, and likely not a glory play either. But Edmonds should see plenty of passing work in a game where the rushing attack will fail. Getting the ball out quickly to the flat and running plays is exactly how this offense should be run, and if Jalen Ramsey slows DeAndre Hopkins, that’s even more incentive to get Edmonds involved early to get Ramsey pressing high. At a low ownership and price tag, Edmonds is a sneaky start despite the matchup given his skillset as a non-traditional running back.
Josh Reynolds @ ARI, $4,200 (Projected ownership: 3.7 percent)
Everyone is keen to play Cooper Kupp and Robert Woods, who are both projected to be owned in just over 15% of lineups, but everyone seems to be ignoring Reynolds. The 2017 fourth-round pick has quietly logged six or more targets in every game since Week 6. He played 98% of snaps last week — he’s out there getting valuable deep targets. In a favorable matchup, sometimes playing time is all you need. Reynolds is a cheap stack with Goff and a smart play on his own against Arizona, who has allowed the eighth-most points to wide receivers.
Anthony Firkser vs. CLE, $2,500 (Projected ownership: 2.4 percent)
If you don’t want to play a Titans receiver, why not take a cheap shot at Firkser against the 30th ranked tight end defense? Now, it’s entirely true that Geoff Swaim has taken a large share of Firkser’s snaps. However, Swaim is a blocking tight end and is limited in any route-running sense. Firkser’s snaps may have been cut but that’s because they haven’t needed him to run routes. Now he will be in a juicy matchup, and while the Titans haven’t featured the tight end in quite some time, this is fantasy football. This is the tight end position. You take your shot, and Firkser proved capable in Week 6 when Smith left early, leaving Firkser to dominate with eight receptions for 113 yards and a score. That ceiling is still there this Sunday against Cleveland.
Indianapolis Colts @ HOU, $3,000 (Projected ownership: 1.8 percent)
I’m so sick of listing the Colts as a value, but here I am again. The Colts are scoring over nine fantasy points a game and face a Texans offense that just lost their best receiver in Fuller to suspension. They’re at home where they’ve allowed just 203 passing yards per game. Yes, they were gashed last week. But that was due to a late COVID-19 spread on the team that removed team sack leader Denico Autry and dominant defensive tackle DeForest Buckner. Both are active this week, setting the stage for the defense to rebound in a big way.