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2017 Fantasy Football: Week 13 Fire or Flop

Which fantasy football players are likely to catch fire, and which ones might flop during Week 13?

NFL: Detroit Lions at Chicago Bears Dennis Wierzbicki-USA TODAY Sports

This is the Week 13 “Fire or Flop” series, highlighting my favorite and not-so favorite fantasy football plays of the week. I will not mention players who are already in the overall top five of their position in scoring (excluding D/ST’s). I will list options from each position group (excluding K’s). As always, my thoughts are with PPR in mind.

With the season inching closer to the playoffs and decisions being more crucial, I am going to be taking more questions regarding matchups and start/sits than hard-lining five “Fire” options each week. Be sure to hit me up on my Facebook or Twitter so I can answer your lineup questions on my weekly Q&A videos.


QUARTERBACK

FIRE

Philip Rivers vs. Cleveland Browns (21st | 18.6 FPPG) — Rivers shouldn’t be expected to duplicate his enormous 430-yard, 3-TD performance from last week but it’s a good reminder of what he’s capable of on any given Sunday. This week, he gets the lowly Browns, who give up 21.9 FPPG to QB’s on the road.

Jared Goff @ Arizona Cardinals (27th | 19.5 FPPG) — Goff will probably still be without WR Robert Woods this week, but that didn’t stop him from torching the Saints for 350 yards and 2 TD’s last week. He’s been a solid option all year, working his way up to fantasy’s QB8. With Arizona giving up 19.5 FPPG to QB’s, I like Goff to get at least that much this week.

FLOP

Dak Prescott vs. Washington Redskins (28th | 19.5 FPPG) — With the fantasy playoffs hanging in the balance, would you trust Prescott to lead your team? I definitely think that he is a better QB than how he’s played lately. However, in the last three games, he is only averaging 184.0 total yards, has just 1 TD, 8 (!) TO’s and has been sacked 14 times.

Jacoby Brissett @ Jacksonville Jaguars (1st | 8.7 FPPG) — Just don’t. The last time the Colts and Jaguars played, Brissett was sacked 10 times and scored no TD’s. He was sacked 8 times by a completely different team last week, and now he faces the Jaguars again.


RUNNING BACK

FIRE

Leonard Fournette vs. Indianapolis Colts (27th | 25.1 FPPG) — I don’t expect Fournette to have a huge game, because the Colts are actually a much better defense against the run than most think, but I do think that he has at least has a good game. This game could get out of hand in favor of Jacksonville in a hurry, and it will cause them to run the ball even more heavily.

Mark Ingram vs. Carolina Panthers (4th | 18.8 FPPG) — This isn’t a great matchup for Ingram, but that hasn’t mattered for the most part this season. In his last seven games, Ingram has averaged 108.6 total YPG and has scored 8 TD’s. He’s also touched the ball 20.7 times per game in that time. He’s a pretty safe bet most weeks, regardless of matchup.

Jordan Howard vs. San Francisco 49ers (32nd | 28.6 FPPG) — This is a mouth-watering matchup for Howard owners. San Francisco is the worst D/ST against RB’s in the league, and there is almost no way that they will get a huge lead on Chicago. Meaning, the Bears will be running the ball all game long. Howard only touched the ball 9 times last week, but it’s because Philadelphia got up on them big. Otherwise, Howard averages 20.6 touches per game. There’s a really good chance that he has his fifth 100-yard game of 2017 on Sunday.

Dion Lewis @ Buffalo Bills (30th | 27.0 FPPG) — There’s really no doubt now that Lewis is the main back in New England. He’s touched the ball 14.3 times per game for 74.0 yards and has scored 3 TD’s. He’s a good Flex play in good matchups like the one New England has this week in Buffalo, who allowed 204.7 rushing YPG and 9 TD’s to RB’s from Weeks 9-11.

FLOP

Kareem Hunt @ New York Jets (8th | 21.9 FPPG) — Hunt has cooled off in a major way lately. After averaging 143.1 total YPG and scoring 6 TD’s in the first seven games, he is averaging just 58.0 yards and has scored no TD’s in the four games since. He’s even had good matchups to bounce back, but has not. A big part of this seems to be the playcalling, but regardless, you have to do what’s best for your fantasy team.

Kenyan Drake vs. Denver Broncos (12th | 22.5 FPPG) — Drake doesn’t have Damien Williams around to split carries with this week, but this is still not a good matchup for him. If the Broncos can contain Melvin Gordon, Ezekiel Elliott, LeSean McCoy, Joe Mixon and Hunt, then they can contain Drake.


WIDE RECEIVER

FIRE

Michael Thomas vs. Carolina Panthers (20th | 32.8 FPPG) — Thomas had a so-so day last week against the Rams, catching 5 passes for 52 yards. However, he’s got seven games over 75 yards this season and catches 70% of his targets. This is a better matchup this week against Carolina.

Davante Adams vs. Tampa Bay Buccaneers (32nd | 44.0 FPPG) — Unlike that of Jordy Nelson, Adams’ fantasy value has been able to remain in tact after Brett Hundley took over at QB. Hundley is targeting Adams 8.7 times per game, and Adams has averaged 99.3 YPG over the last three weeks, including 2 TD’s. Up next is a matchup with the worst Def/ST against WR’s.

Robby Anderson vs. Kansas City Chiefs (30th | 37.8 FPPG) — As hard as it may have been to get on board with Anderson as a consistent fantasy contributor, it’s now even harder to justify keeping him out of your lineup. He’s the most dangerous threat in the Jets offense, and he’s scored a TD in each of the last five games. This is a great matchup against the Chiefs.

Josh Doctson @ Dallas Cowboys (28th | 37.5 FPPG) — I think this may be the week we finally see Doctson break out. He’s had good games and has put up some decent numbers, but he hasn’t had that one huge game yet. In the last five weeks, Dallas has given up 7 TD’s to WR’s.

Alshon Jeffery @ Seattle Seahawks (13th | 31.6 FPPG) — The Seahawks defense has taken an obvious step back since losing Richard Sherman and Kam Chancellor. In the last three games, they’ve allowed an average of 32.0 FPPG to the WR position. I’ll favor Jeffery over Seattle CB’s Jeremy Lane, Byron Maxwell and Shaquill Griffin.

FLOP

T.Y. Hilton @ Jacksonville Jaguars (1st | 21.2 FPPG) — The Colts offense is a mess right now. There have been a handful of good matchups that Hilton has had this year where he has had awful fantasy performances. He damn sure hasn’t done well in bad matchups. The last time he faced the Jaguars, he was held to 2 catches for 27 yards.

Dez Bryant vs. Washington Redskins (6th | 27.8 FPPG) — Bryant facing Josh Norman’s teams sure hasn’t gone in Bryant’s favor very often. Since 2015, they have squared-off in four games, and Bryant averages 4.5 catches (8.3 targets) for 59.8 YPG and has scored no TD’s. Those numbers are only even that high because he’s had success against other corners on Norman’s team, just not Norman himself.


TIGHT END

FIRE

Jared Cook vs. New York Giants (32nd | 17.8 FPPG) — The ingredients are there for Cook to have a very big game on Sunday. The Raiders will be without at least one of their two leading WR’s — Amari Cooper and Michael Crabtree — and Cook gets the matchup with the worst Def/ST in the NFL against TE’s. If he doesn’t do well, it’ll be almost as stupid as Vernon Davis not doing anything last week.

Vernon Davis @ Dallas Cowboys (24th | 12.4 FPPG) — Speaking of Davis, let’s look for him to have a change of fortune this week. For starters, he’s got a good matchup against Dallas. Since becoming the primary TE in Week 3, Davis had averaged 64.3 YPG up until last Sunday’s zero-burger. It’s a legit average, too, as he’s hit 64.3 in six of those eight games.

Hunter Henry vs. Cleveland Browns (31st | 16.7 FPPG) — I consider Henry’s fantasy value to be matchup-dependent, and this one is a good one for him. The Browns give up the second-most FPPG to TE’s, and Henry is fresh off of a 76-yard, 1-TD performance.

Charles Clay vs. New England Patriots (20th | 11.9 FPPG) — Clay is starting to look better after missing some time earlier in the year with a knee injury. He’s improved his catches, catch percentage and yardage in each of the three weeks he’s been back. This is a pretty decent matchup this week against New England, whose given up 5 TD’s to TE’s this year.

FLOP

Tyler Kroft vs. Pittsburgh Steelers (3rd | 9.5 FPPG) — Pittsburgh has been stout against TE’s, only allowing 2 TD’s to the position all year. Outside of Delanie Walker’s 92 a couple weeks ago, the highest yardage total from a TE against the Steelers this year was Eric Ebron’s 58 back in Week 8 (on just 2 catches). Kroft has just 30 yards combined in the last three weeks. If it weren’t for scoring TD’s in each of the last two weeks, he would’ve had no fantasy value.

Eric Ebron @ Baltimore Ravens (13th | 11.5 FPPG) — Ebron’s been more productive in his last five weeks, but that’s only meant that he’s elevated to pedestrian TE numbers. Without being able to guarantee a TD, it’s not a safe bet that he’ll do well in this bad matchup.

Cameron Brate @ Green Bay Packers (1st | 8.1 FPPG) — Without Jameis Winston at QB, Brate no longer has fantasy value. Ryan Fitzpatrick has zapped it from him. In the last four games, Brate has a total of 37 yards. He’s caught just 1 pass each of those weeks. You absolutely cannot have him in lineups with that lack of productivity.


DEFENSE/SPECIAL TEAMS

FIRE

Jacksonville Jaguars vs. Indianapolis Colts (31st | 12.5 FPPG) — I don’t even want to think about the Colts offense in this one. Since their pass protection (including Brissett protecting himself) hasn’t improved, the Jaguars D/ST should feast.

Los Angeles Chargers vs. Cleveland Browns (32nd | 12.7 FPPG) — The only team that allows D/ST’s to score more points against them than the Colts is the Browns. This week, the pass-rushing duo of Joey Bosa and Melvin Ingram gets their shot at DeShone Kizer.

Los Angeles Rams @ Arizona Cardinals (26th | 8.8 FPPG) — Fantasy’s D/ST4 has a good matchup with Blaine Gabbert’s Cardinals this week. They’ve done well in good matchups this year, scoring 10-plus points five times, including a 21-point outing when they faced Arizona back in Week 7.

FLOP

Philadelphia Eagles @ Seattle Seahawks (9th | 4.5 FPPG) — This isn’t about the Eagles D/ST as much as it is about the Seahawks offense. D/ST’s only average 4.4 FPPG against the Seahawks in Seattle.

New Orleans Saints vs. Carolina Panthers (14th | 7.1 FPPG) — I’m not betting against a Cam Newton-led offense right now. Since Week 8, D/ST’s are only averaging 1.3 FPPG against the Panthers.