Week 13 Player Grid
This Player Grid will hold little value for you without first reading this.
Note: Players in a given tier are not listed in any particular order.
FantasyDraft Players :: I’ve added a FantasyDraft Addendum to the bottom
There are 11 teams on the Main Slate with a Vegas-implied total of 25.0 or higher. Three of these teams (Packers // Rams // Chiefs) are in expected blowouts. Another three quarterbacks (Matt Ryan vs Ravens // Tom Brady vs Vikings // Andrew Luck vs Jaguars) are in strength-on-strength matchups. Three other teams with Vegas-implied team totals of 25.0 or higher (Broncos // Texans // Seahawks) play with a run-heavy style. Add it all up, and it’s not a surprise that Cam Newton and Jameis Winston pop as the top floor/ceiling plays on the slate, as these two will be playing one another in what projects to be a fairly tightly-contested affair. If one team pulls out in front, the other has the firepower to get back in the game. It’s not exciting or exotic to position Cam and Jameis in the top tier, as these guys certainly aren’t sneaking by anyone; but with quarterback pricing fairly condensed on FanDuel, DraftKings, and FantasyDraft (Mahomes being the one major exception), it makes the most sense to target what you feel could be the top score on the slate at the position. Each of these guys has a strong shot at carrying that distinction, and each has a high floor as well.
- Cam Newton :: All year, Cam has provided a fairly safe floor of around 250 passing yards, two passing touchdowns, and 30 rushing yards, with upside from there. In one of the best matchups in football, his chances of breaking below that floor are slim, and he has clear and obvious upside to account for as many as four or five touchdowns this week.
- Jameis Winston :: Jameis’ individual floor has been lower than Cam’s, but the “Tampa QB” floor has been 300+ passing yards and at least one touchdown in quality matchups, with Jameis typically adding 20 to 30 on the ground. Jameis can’t rip off 60+ yard rushing days (he’s not a true scrambler, and the Bucs don’t design runs for him; more like Jared Goff: he’s a guy who can run when he needs to), but he can pile up legitimate 400-yard passing days in this vertical attack of the Bucs — and against the number 31 red zone defense in the NFL, three or more touchdowns is not at all crazy to hope for. The Bucs rank second in pass attempts, first in passing yards, and third in yards per pass attempt. The Panthers are allowing the second most passing touchdowns, a worse-than-league-average aDOT, and a worse-than-league-average catch rate
- Patrick Mahomes :: Mahomes is ultra expensive for a guy who will be playing in what is likely to be a non-competitive game, but this Chiefs attack is so explosive, and the Raiders are so old and slow, Mahomes should be able to do a massive amount of damage before the foot comes off the gas. With Sammy Watkins out, Mahomes will be leaning more heavily on Tyreek Hill, which enhances the opportunities for quick-strike scores. With salary loosened up this week, Mahomes is very much in play for me.
There is a lot to like at running back this week from an “upside” perspective, creating clear justifications for moving off of Tier 1 this week in tourneys if playing the ownership game. But as you do so, also remember that running back is the most consistent and reliable position, making it important to grab some floor to go with your ceiling. I’ve been messing around with some rosters that use two Tier 1 plays and one play from Tier 2 or 3. Every DFS player should have his or her own unique style — but for me, betting on the safest, highest-upside running backs makes the most sense, and these four stand out as the safest, highest-upside guys this week.
- Todd Gurley :: Minus the Dalvin Cook 70 yard run against the Lions in their first game with Snacks Harrison anchoring the middle, this team has allowed 3.2 yards per carry across their five games with Snacks, a sharp improvement on what had been a league-worst unit before. And while it’s typically easy to fade matchup concerns when talking about Gurley, there is also risk that he could be rested late in a blowout win. But this is still Todd Gurley, and this is still one of the top two or three most creatively-schemed run offenses and screen games in the NFL. Gurley has the largest red zone role in football, and he has shown the highest floor and ceiling in the league all season. With Saquon in a tough matchup and Conner/Gordon off the main slate, Gurley is right there with McCaffrey at the top of this list.
- Christian McCaffrey :: In his last seven games, McCaffrey has only two games in which he topped 19 touches — and he has only two games all year with more than 80 rushing yards. But he has also shown a floor of around 6-50 through the air, and with pricing opening up as much as it has this week, there is a lot to be said for betting on a guy who “fails” if he gets you 18 points on DraftKings/FantasyDraft and 15 points on FanDuel. When these teams met in Week 9, I noted in the NFL Edge that McCaffrey’s thin red zone role (one carry all season inside the five // one target all season inside the 10) made him a bit overpriced compared to the players around him. CMC proceeded to punch in two touchdowns in that game, and he has not looked back since then, with his usage changing dramatically over the last four weeks. After piling up one carry inside the five and one target inside the 10 through the first seven games of the year, he has piled up eight additional carries inside the five and four additional targets inside the 10 in his last four games.
- Aaron Jones :: We have seen Jones’ carries capped at around 17 throughout his young career, but 17 carries and four to six targets for an explosive player as a huge home favorite against a slightly below-average run defense that should give up multiple scoring looks is about as good as things get on this slate outside the highest ends of the price range. Jones looks slightly overpriced for his true floor — but compared to the other available running backs this week, he pops as a safe, high-upside play; and with price less of a concern this week than it is in most others, I’m comfortable with this play.
- Spencer Ware :: Ware, of course, is a big part of the reason why pricing is less tight this week, as he should step into around 15 to 18 carries and four or five targets in one of the highest-scoring offenses in the NFL, against one of the worst defenses in the NFL. With Ware now locked in as the Chiefs’ starter the rest of the way, they’ll likely look to keep him fresh by mixing in Damien Williams; and if Ware fails to score in this spot, he could easily “fail” to 11 FanDuel points or 13 DraftKings/FantasyDraft points — creating a case for fading him in tourneys at high ownership, hoping he lands on the lower end of his range, and hoping you can grab a higher score elsewhere. But I like Ware quite a bit this week and expect him to post a strong game in this spot. At his price, he is one of the clear top plays on the slate.
Nothing pops off the page at wide receiver this week as an absolute lock-and-load play. On weeks like this, my style is to bet on guys who are locked in for high volume (floor), with plenty of upside looks (ceiling). Optimally, in Tier 1 on a week like this, I want guys who are on an offense that will be passing the ball throughout the game. With wide receiver being a more volatile position, there is always a case to be made for moving to the “lower floor” guys who carry just as much upside — but these are the guys I feel most comfortable with this week from a floor/ceiling perspective.
- Adam Thielen :: The Patriots have not been beat for many big games from individual wide receivers, but they have also not faced any slot-dominant receivers as good as Thielen (because…you know, there really aren’t any other slot-dominant receivers as good as Thielen). Barring a total outlier, a “bad game” from Thielen in this spot checks in at around 7-90-0, and it wouldn’t take much for him to pop up to 8-110-1 from there. On all three sites, his ceiling will come down to the touchdown; and on DraftKings/FantasyDraft, that 100-yard bonus will make a world of difference in how this play looks at the end of the day. With eight games this year with a touchdown for Thielen and nine games of 100+ yards, I like the “ceiling chances” he pairs with his monster floor.
- Kenny Golladay :: Last week, with Chase Daniel under center for the Bears, that team played a ball-control style of football throughout the early portions of their game against Detroit, which allowed the Lions to respond in kind and eliminated opportunities for Golladay to pop off for another 13+ targets. With the Rams coming to town this week, that is unlikely to be the case this time around — which should leave Golladay with another monster workload through the air. It is looking like Aqib Talib will play limited snaps this week, making this a sharp matchup for Golladay and giving him plenty of upside to go with his solid, workload-driven floor.
- Chris Godwin // Adam Humphries :: I am expecting seven to nine targets for Godwin this week and six to eight targets for Humphries, with room for those targets to grow — in a good matchup, on a good passing attack. If Jameis throws two or three touchdown passes, the chances are high that at least one of these two gets involved, and each guy has plenty of room for yardage in this spot. On paper, Godwin is the better play, as he will see more downfield looks; but given Jameis’ connection with Humphries, I wouldn’t sleep on him either. I like both guys to carry a high, price-considered floor this week, with plenty of ceiling attached to these plays.
- Packers :: This is an attacking unit taking on a shell-shocked Josh Rosen. The Packers’ defense and the Cardinals’ offense have combined for 34 turnovers and 66 sacks.
- Bears :: Even as a road squad, this team is too good to ignore against a Giants team that has allowed the second most sacks in the NFL. The Bears’ defense and the Giants’ offense have combined for 41 turnovers and 77 sacks.
- Phillip Lindsay :: The Bengals rank 24th in yards allowed per carry, 31st in drive success rate allowed, and 28th in red zone touchdown rate allowed. They have given up the most running back touchdowns in the league, and they have given up the fifth most rushes of 20+ yards. Lindsay has been capped at around 14 to 18 touches with Royce Freeman healthy, putting a dent in his ability to pop off for a monster game. But he’s safe in this spot, and he carries respectable price-considered upside.
- Jared Goff :: There is always a concern with Goff that the Rams could blow out an opponent and still leave Goff with only 270 passing yards and one touchdown pass, with Todd Gurley doing all of the heavy lifting for the team (a concern heightened against a Detroit squad that has faced the second fewest pass attempts in the NFL, as they have allowed the fewest opponent plays per game in the league, and teams then take a lead and choose to attack them on the ground). But against a defense allowing the deepest aDOT in the NFL and the third most yards per pass attempt, Goff has a chance to shine on the same level as the Tier 1 guys, keeping him very much in the conversation.
- Kirk Cousins :: In Tier 3, we are optimally looking for guys who provide savings with a high ceiling, or guys who have a shot at outscoring the Tier 1 plays priced around them. This week, Cousins provides both, as he is underpriced on all three sites, and he has clear upside for a 300-yard, three-touchdown day against the Patriots. This play is not without risk against a Patriots defense that has allowed the third lowest catch rate in the NFL, but Cousins is aided by the presence of two of the best route-runners in the league and by the availability of Dalvin Cook out of the backfield. It won’t be a shock if Cousins struggles here, but I’m on board with the idea of betting on a big game from him in tourneys.
- Other guys I like for their upside :: Lamar Jackson // Andrew Luck // Matt Ryan // Marcus Mariota. I’m planning to build a limited number of rosters this week, around a narrow band of players, and none of these guys make the cut for me above the quarterbacks already listed. I will note: I may end up with one Mariota team, as he has looked much better lately and has continued to find ways to get the job done…and I built a Mariota roster that enabled me to do a bunch of other things I really liked, which I may use as a third team in tourneys behind my Main Build and my primary second.
- Saquon Barkley :: Because of his enormous pass game role, his chances of posting a true dud are as low as any player on the slate. The matchup will make it tougher for him to reach his ceiling, but with his price adjusted down on all three sites, he is worth considering in large-field tourneys for the slim shot he has at the highest running back score on the slate.
- Matt Breida :: The Seahawks rank 20th in DVOA against the run and are allowing 4.74 yards per carry to running backs, with outside zone runs giving them the most trouble (matching up nicely with what Breida does best). The 49ers have leaned run-heavy regardless of whether they are winning games or trailing, and Breida should see his 14 to 18 touches in this spot, giving him a clear opportunity to outscore the other backs priced around him. There is risk introduced by the game environment, but the price-considered upside is there.
- LeSean McCoy :: The Bills rank fifth in rush play rate, while Miami faces the third highest rush play rate in the league. The Dolphins’ run defense ranks 26th in yards allowed per carry and 31st in open field yards, and they have allowed the third most run plays of 20+ yards and 40+ yards. The bad news? — the Bills rank 26th in adjusted line yards on offense, and they rank bottom three in the NFL in yards, points, and drive success rate. It is encouraging that a similar-style back in Dion Lewis (behind a similarly poor offensive line) went 16-75-1 on the ground and 5-35-0 through the air in this matchup. The upside is definitely there.
- Dion Lewis :: The Titans rank third in rush play rate, while the Jets face the seventh highest rush play rate in the league. The Jets’ run defense ranks middle of the pack in yards allowed per carry, and they have allowed the NFL’s most run plays of 20+ yards. The bad news? — the Titans rank 29th in adjusted line yards on offense, and they rank bottom four in yards and points, while ranking bottom eight in drive success rate. It is encouraging that a similar-style back in LeSean McCoy (behind a similarly poor offensive line) went 26-113-2 on the ground in this matchup (while chipping in 1-5-0 through the air). The upside is definitely there.
- Lamar Miller :: Cleveland is allowing an 8.6% increase on the league-average YPC, and they have allowed the third most rushing touchdowns in the league. Miller adds about 2-10-0 through the air as a floor, and he should see around 18 to 20 carries in this spot. He has only four touchdowns all season, but if he punches one in and Spencer Ware (for example) does not, Miller could be a way to create some separation from the pack in tourneys — same as the two guys listed directly above.
- Pass-catching backs :: There is a slew of limited-carry, pass-catching backs that I am less interested in myself — but all of these guys are in the conversation as well :: T.J. Yeldon // Tarik Cohen // Kenyan Drake // Theo Riddick. If I end up building some extra teams for large-field tourneys, I’ll likely take a couple shots here.
- Tyreek Hill :: The Raiders are allowing an increase on the league-average aDOT of 8.5%, and they are allowing an increase on the league-average YAC/R rate of an incredible 27.6%. They are facing only 27.9 pass attempts per game this year, but Hill has snagged a monstrous 32.4% target share with Watkins sidelined, which should lead to seven to 10 looks in this spot, and should give him room for a slate-breaking game. There is legitimate concern that Hill could go something like 6-80-0 on these looks…but there is also potential for him to pop off for 150+ yards and multiple scores.
- Mike Evans :: Evans is averaging 17.3 yards per reception, and he has 100+ receiving yards in six of the eight games in which he has at least six catches. With no DJax, he should get 10+ looks, giving him a great shot at another 100+ yard game in this downfield-attacking offense, with touchdown upside from there.
- Odell Beckham :: He has nine or more targets in all but one game this season; and while the Bears allow the third fewest yards per pass attempt, they have allowed the fourth most wide receiver catches in the league. The floor, of course, is lower than normal on OBJ, but the ceiling remains intact — giving him an outside shot at outscoring all other wide receivers at bottom-barrel ownership.
- Stefon Diggs :: Diggs will be playing through injury in a difficult matchup against Stephon Gilmore, but the targets will be there — and if he hits on his downfield looks in this spot, he’ll carry slate-winning upside. Because of Diggs’ box score volatility, he never really grabs the ownership that his ceiling warrants, making him an intriguing guy to consider in tourneys almost every week.
- Robert Woods // Brandin Cooks :: If Goff throws 35 times, Woods/Cooks project for eight to nine targets apiece, and four to six apiece should come 15 to 20 yards downfield. Most of the Lions’ big plays allowed have come on crossing routes and yards after the catch — which is right in the wheelhouse of both of these guys. Woods profiles a bit better in this matchup, but it’s close between the two, and I like the idea of a tourney bet on either guy this week.
- Emmanuel Sanders :: By now, we know about the low floor attached to receivers working with Case Keenum — but we also know about the monster upside Manny carries when he hits. In a great matchup against a burned out Cincy secondary, Manny has the juice to be a difference-maker on the slate, even if you’ll have to absorb a lower-than-lovely floor in order to target this upside.
- Corey Davis :: I hate betting on the Tennessee offense, but we do know that most of the targets on this team are going to Davis; we do know that he matches up well against the Jets; and we do know that he has a ceiling disproportionate to his price. If he hits, he becomes one of the best price-considered plays on the slate. If he misses, he could miss hard. There is some risk here given the offense he plays in, but the ceiling is worth chasing in tourneys.
- Josh Reynolds :: As long as Goff throws the ball 35 times, a line of around 5-40-0 is a reasonable starting point for Reynolds, with upside from there. He doesn’t pop off the page to me as the number three receiver in a likely blowout win, but his attachment to this awesome offense justifies a mention. It’s not crazy to think he could post another strong game in this spot.
- A.J. // T.Y. // DJ :: A.J. Green has obvious floor concerns, but upside in tourneys // T.Y. Hilton carries big upside in this awesome offense, even if his floor in this difficult draw is lower than we would love (Hilton will remain Tier 3 for me if Jalen Ramsey misses, but his chances of a dud will shrink quite a bit, making him a safer, high-upside play than he is if Ramsey is out there) // DJ Moore should still see six or seven targets even with Funchess returning, and he still has monster YAC ability to go with his possession-like aDOT of 8.1.
- Eric Ebron :: It probably comes across as a bold call that there are no Tier 1 tight ends for me this week (i.e., it probably comes across as a bold call that Ebron is not Tier 1), but I don’t mean it to be perceived that way. It’s simply that this is still a bottom 10 tight end matchup, and more importantly: In the two games Ebron played without Doyle and Hilton, he went 13-176-3, for an incredible average line of 6.5 catches for 88 yards and 1.5 touchdowns. In the three games that Doyle missed but Hilton played, Ebron went 13-104-1, for an average line of 4.3 catches, 34.7 yards, and 0.3 touchdowns. I expect a strong game from Ebron this week, and he obviously carries big upside, but it would be irresponsible to label him as a high-floor/high-ceiling play. If he goes 4-40-0 (the general line he posted across the three games in which Doyle missed but Hilton played), he’s certainly not a must-play. I think he approaches his ceiling this week, but the floor needs to be noted.
- Travis Kelce :: Kelce is the top raw play on the slate at the tight end position, but with the blowout concerns, it wouldn’t be crazy to see him go 6-70-0 and disappoint for the price. Of course, he could also go 8-130-2, making him a bet-on-upside play.
- Rob Gronkowski :: He should see seven to nine looks in this spot, and he still carries plenty of upside if he finds the end zone. Tight end is the best way to move the ball against the Vikings.
- Greg Olsen :: Olsen is locked into around four to six targets, and the Bucs have allowed the seventh most receptions, the eighth most yards, and the most touchdowns to the tight end position.
- David Njoku :: Houston is bottom eight in catches, yards, and touchdowns allowed to tight ends, and good tight ends tend to see a spike in targets against them, as Houston is stout against receivers. Njoku is tough to bet on for more than five targets — but if the targets do spike, the upside could be nice.
- Matt LaCosse :: LaCosse is a blocking liability, so he may not play a full complement of snaps — but he is an above-average receiving tight end, and he should step into four to six looks in a great matchup against the Bengals. LaCosse is a strong way to save salary this week — and if he scores a touchdown, he could become one of the more valuable pieces on the slate from a price-considered standpoint.
- Dolphins :: The Dolphins do not generate many sacks, but they have forced the third most turnovers in the NFL, and they are taking on Josh Allen and the Bills, at home. The Dolphins’ defense and the Bills’ offense have combined for 44 turnovers and 52 sacks.
- Texans :: The Texans rank sixth in sacks, and they are stout against the pass, creating a tough spot for the visiting Browns. The Texans’ defense and the Browns’ offense have combined for 31 turnovers and 69 sacks.
- Chiefs :: The Chiefs are a road defense this week, but they remain in play as an attacking unit taking on the Raiders. The Chiefs’ defense and the Raiders’ offense have combined for 31 turnovers and 72 sacks.
- Rams :: The Rams are a road defense this week, but they remain in play as an attacking unit taking on the Lions. The Rams’ defense and the Lions’ offense have combined for 36 turnovers and 71 sacks.
- Broncos :: The Broncos have a ferocious pass rush, and they are taking on a backup quarterback and a third-string left tackle. There will be opportunities for mistakes to pile up, and for the road team to take advantage in this spot.
Hopefully this gives you a great opportunity to compare your thoughts against my own.
I’ll see you at the top of the leaderboards this weekend; and I’ll see you on the site next Thursday for the Week 14(!) edition of the NFL Edge.
If playing the Full-Sunday slate on FantasyDraft:
Austin Ekeler slides to the borderline of Tier 1, given his role and his offense. He is priced up for his status as the lead back, so he’s not an auto-lock the way he would be if he were underpriced, but I still like him right alongside Aaron Jones in that middle range of pricing.
Given how solid these defenses are, everything else on these teams falls into Tier 3 for me — but Ben // Conner // JuJu // AB are strong Tier 3 plays, while Rivers // Keenan have the upside to top the other guys priced around them. I’m definitely fine in tourneys with the idea of loading up on this game.