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Last week my fantasy gold mine team was the Cleveland Browns vs Cincinnati. This week it is the Carolina Panthers, who are fighting for their playoff lives, against a Tampa Bay team that grades as Pro Football Focus’ worst defensive unit. Cam Newton has thrown 2 or more TD’s in 10 straight weeks and Tampa Bay has allowed the most passing TD per game this year while also ranking dead last in INT with 2. Greg Olsen (who was my week 12 sit) and DJ Moore are also must-starts, along with Jameis Winston for TB, in a game I see being the highest scoring game of the week.
McCoy has struggled mightily this year, breaking the century mark just once this season but has a juicy matchup this week against the Miami Dolphins who give up the 4th most fantasy points to RB’s. On the year, Miami has allowed 4.84 YPC while also giving up the 9th most receiving yards to RB. I expect McCoy to finish as a top 15 RB this week slotting him in as a solid RB2.
Melvin Gordon went down in week 12 with an MCL sprain and is expected to miss at least the next 2 weeks. Austin Ekeler and Justin Jackson will take over the workload but Ekeler, who is averaging 5.8 YPC, will be the main beneficiary while he is out. Last week after Gordon left the game Ekeler reeled in 10 catches and finished with 26 fantasy points. He has a tough matchup on the road against the Steelers but if you are in a PPR league Ekeler is an immediate RB2 with RB1 upside.
Sanders had a slow three-week stretch before playing his former team last week where he finished with 7 catches for 86 yards and a TD, and now plays a banged up Bengals team that is falling apart at the seams. Over the last 4 weeks, Cincinnati has allowed an average of 248 receiving yards to wide receivers and ranks 31st in the NFL in pass defense. With Andy Dalton being placed on IR I expect a big day from Emmanuel Sanders early on while Phillip Lindsay controls the pace late. In deeper leagues, Case Keenum is a high upside play this week as well.
Since the Golden Tate trade, Kenny Golladay has led the NFL in targets per game and now the Lions are without Marvin Jones who is out for the season. In Week 13 Detroit will be playing against the Rams who rank 3rd in the NFL in points per game while the Lions rank 24th in the NFL in points allowed. With Kerryon Johnson and Marvin Jones both out the game script will fall heavily on Golladay’s shoulders as the Lions will likely be trailing early in the game. Theo Riddick should also be a reliable flex option in PPR and could put up RB2 numbers.
Eric Ebron has had a career year this season playing with Andrew Luck and that should continue with Jack Doyle being placed on IR. In the 5 weeks Doyle was out earlier in the year Ebron averaged 10 targets a game and scored 4 times. The Colts are now facing the Jaguars who he had 3 touchdowns against back in week 10. With TY Hilton being covered by Jalen Ramsey and dealing with a groin injury Ebron should lead the Colts in targets this week in a tough divisional matchup. Marlon Mack is also in concussion protocol, and if he can’t go Nyheim Hines is worth a flex start in PPR leagues.
Matt Ryan has had quite the bounce-back fantasy season this year, throwing for 330+ yards in 7 of his last 9 games and 6 of which he threw for 2 or more touchdowns. In week 13 however, Matt Ryan will face his toughest matchup of the year against a stingy Ravens defense that has given up the 3rd least amount of points per week to fantasy QB’s. Baltimore allows a league-low 4.7 yards per play and 17.8 first downs per game. I expect Lamar Jackson and the Ravens to heavily run the ball to keep Atlanta’s offense on the sideline while Atlanta struggles to maintain drives. Tevin Coleman, who has been an inconsistent fantasy play, is also a sit for me this week.
Adrian Peterson had a strong start to the year, but like I wrote in my ” Second Half Buy and Sell” article has had a tough second half, rushing for less than 70 rushing yards and 3.1 YPC in his last four games. Now Chris Thompson, who has been out since week 8, is expected to return and eat into his touches. With a banged up offensive line and Colt McCoy behind center, he is tough to trust this week.
After missing the last 3 games with a toe injury, AJ Green is expected to be back this week but how truly healthy he is is still unclear. Green will now be starting his first game back with backup QB Jeff Driskel at the helm and playing against a defense that held Antonio Brown to 67 receiving yards last week. With the emergence of Tyler Boyd who will run the short and intermediate routes, I expect Green to mostly play as a decoy in his first game back.
After breaking his thumb in week 11, Jimmy Graham only played 22 snaps in week 12 and finished with 2 catches for 34 yards. Graham now has 2 or fewer catches in 4 of his last 5 games. He is now playing an Arizona defense that has only given up 3 touchdowns to TE’s this year, and only one since the start of week 3. He is my #1 TE to sit in a week that I believe is dominated by Aaron Jones.
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