Monday, April 22, 2024

NFL Matchup Breakdowns: Week 13 (Part 2)


Yesterday, I covered the fantasy implications of the first 8 games on the NFL schedule.

If you don’t see your game covered here, or a player you have questions on this week, make sure to go back and read that!

But now, it’s time to continue breaking down each NFL game and its fantasy implications.

Baltimore (6-5) vs. Atlanta (4-7)

Lamar Jackson is scheduled to make his third straight appearance as a starter in Baltimore. As I’ve detailed on previous articles this week, Lamar Jackson is an extremely valuable fantasy quarterback…and against a defense that’s as banged up as the Falcons are, he’s going to have a great game for fantasy purposes.

As for the running back position for the Ravens, this is a little bit more muddied. Gus Edwards has burst onto the scene the past couple of weeks and has been a solid running back, both in fantasy football and in real life. However, Alex Collins is also expected to make his return from injury this week. I expect them to split carries, therefore limiting their fantasy upside. If you have another option this week, I would pivot away from Collins and Edwards until we see how head coach John Harbaugh wants this situation to play out.

As for the pass-catching options on Baltimore, it’s not looking great with Lamar under center. John Brown has faded into oblivion, Michael Crabtree caught a touchdown last week but received only 6 targets and Willie Snead gave you nothing last week.

The tight ends are proving to be where Lamar seems to be comfortable throwing, but with a rotation of them between Hayden Hurst, Mark Andrews and Nick Boyle there’s not enough fantasy production to consider starting any of them. (From a Dynasty perspective, keep an eye on Hayden Hurst though…)

As for Atlanta, this might be a tough week again for their offense. Baltimore is currently giving up the 4th fewest fantasy points to opposing QB’s and they have playmakers all over that defense. This is not a week that I’m considering rolling out Matt Ryan, especially since Baltimore’s game plan is most likely going to be running out the clock and keeping Atlanta’s offense off the field…

Julio Jones is a must start every week and he should be fine on Sunday. Calvin Ridley is a FLEX play at best this week, so if you have someone else in a more favorable matchup, I would move towards playing them. And you’re not playing Mohammed Sanu.

Austin Hooper is about as trustworthy as most of the other tight end options out there this week, so if you have to play him you should be fine. But I’m not expecting a big week from him at all…

Tevin Coleman has been one of the most frustrating running backs this season. After Devonta Freeman went down with an injury for the year, Coleman was expected to be a borderline RB1. But he’s not receiving the amount of carries that he needs to to reach those levels…Coleman is a flex play at best this week and you’re hoping for a touchdown. But you may end up having to play him based on the rest of your roster.

Score Prediction: Baltimore 21, Atlanta 20

Must start players: Lamar Jackson, Julio Jones

Los Angeles (10-1) vs. Detroit (4-7)

This is a game that I really like from a fantasy points perspective and I’m comfortable starting a lot of players in this matchup.

For the Rams, Jared Goff has been solid all year. He’s delivered some blow up games, but has never truly hurt your team outside of Week 6 against Denver. Against a defense that Chase Daniel just threw for 230 yards and two touchdowns, with an entire bye week to prepare, I’m extremely confident in rolling Jared Goff out there as a high-end QB1 option.

Ever since Cooper Kupp went down with the torn ACL, Robert Woods and Brandin Cooks have proven to be every week must start players. With Darius Slay covering Brandin Cooks, I’m expecting a big week from Woods. As for Josh Reynolds, I believe you can start him as a FLEX play this week…I’m interested to see what his production will be though in a game where over 100 points aren’t scored, but I still think he’ll come through for you.

The big question a lot of people have is, “what do I do with Gerald Everett?”

Following the same reasoning as Josh Reynolds, I’m okay rolling him out there if I have to. But I’m wanting to wait and see one more week what his involvement in the offense will be. He had only 4 targets last week, but two of them went for touchdowns. That’s not the type of involvement I’m comfortable with betting on week in and week out. Therefore, I’m waiting one more week to see what he does and then making my decision from there.

Oh, and start Todd Gurley.

As for the Lions, they face an uphill battle this week. They’re going to need to continually score points to try to keep up with the Rams and that, most of the time, leads to fantasy production.

I’m starting Matthew Stafford this week as a low-end QB1 simply based on garbage time and the fact that he’s going to have to throw a lot to keep up. He’ll probably have a turnover or two, but he should deliver a decent game for fantasy.

Kenny Golladay is a must start player with the season-ending injury to Marvin Jones and I’m comfortable rolling out Bruce Ellington in a PPR format.

As for the running backs on Detroit, it appears that Kerryon Johnson is going to miss another week with his ankle injury. Because of this, I’m comfortable rolling out Blount in a standard format and Theo Riddick in a PPR format. Blount has some touchdown upside if they commit to running the ball and Riddick could be a huge factor in playing from behind.

Score Prediction: Los Angeles 34, Detroit 24

Must start players: Todd Gurley, Jared Goff, Brandin Cooks, Robert Woods, Matthew Stafford, Kenny Golladay, Bruce Ellington

Kansas City (9-2) vs. Oakland (2-9)


Oakland fans might not want to even turn this game on.

Patrick Mahomes is an every week starter. No question about it.

Tyreek Hill is going to have a monstrous game, along with Kareem Hunt and Travis Kelce. I don’t really think I need to break down those players much more than that…

Sammy Watkins is trending towards not playing this week, so I would actually be comfortable picking up and starting Chris Conley this week. He showed some flashes last week against the Rams and I think he’ll see some targets in this game.

(My only concern with the Chiefs players is that they get to too much of a lead and pull their starters early)

As for Oakland, there’s not much I’m interested in here. Doug Martin has shown that he’s still capable of being a starting running back in this league! He unfortunately plays for such a bad offense and team that they’re often playing from behind, which limits his ability to see high volume.

Derek Carr is not worth starting, in my opinion, even though they’ll be playing from behind. The pass-catching options he has are not enough for him to find any sort of fantasy value.

The only player I’m considering starting from Oakland is Jared Cook. Kansas City has seemingly always been vulnerable to the tight end position and I expect Carr to be looking his way frequently. Otherwise, I’m not touching any other option on Oakland’s offense.

Score Prediction: Kansas City 37, Oakland 17

Must start players: Patrick Mahomes, Tyreek Hill, Kareem Hunt, Travis Kelce, Jared Cook

(Post posting edit: Kareem Hunt has been placed on commissioner exempt list. He will not play Sunday. Start Spencer Ware.)

New York Jets (3-8) vs. Tennessee (5-6)

Josh McCown is expected to make his third consecutive start for the New York Jets. Unfortunately, McCown starting has not translated to success for the Jets or many of their offensive weapons.

The Titans have a tough defense, so I’m not looking to start McCown in this matchup. As for his wide-receivers, Kearse could have another good game and build off his performance from last week. But I’m only looking his way if I desperately need someone to fill in. Otherwise, Quincy Enunwa is a dart throw as well and I’m not seriously looking his way.

Isaiah Crowell is going to have a tough time getting going this week against the stout Titans run defense. They’re currently allowing the 4th fewest fantasy points to running backs and Crowell hasn’t shown anything in recent weeks to make me think he turns in a good game on Sunday.

Chris Herndon is the only other player that I’m seriously considering starting. I don’t believe that Herndon has as high of a ceiling as some of these other tight end options, but he has a solid floor. He’s gotten 16 targets over his last 3 games and that’s translated to some fine PPR games. He won’t necessarily win you a week, but he won’t lose it for you either.

On the other side, the Titans are coming off a rough Monday night loss to the Texans. Mariota showed that he can get it done against a tough defense in Houston and I think he turns in another solid day here against the Jets. If you’re in a bind and need a quarterback streaming candidate for this week, Mariota should have a good day.

Corey Davis has become the biggest question over the past few weeks. He shows up for certain games and then absolutely disappears for the next few. However, I’m expecting a good game from Davis this week against the Jets secondary. I’m confident that he’ll see enough targets in this game to warrant fantasy production. However, I’m not interested in starting Tajae Sharpe or Taywan Taylor.

Derrick Henry is a player that you play only if you have no other options. The past two weeks he has done absolutely nothing to give you any sort of confidence in rolling him out there. Dion Lewis is intriguing to me though as the Jets can give it up to pass-catching running backs and he saw seven targets last week. I expect around those numbers this week, as well.

Jonnu Smith is a dart throw tight end option. He’s put up solid numbers over the past few weeks, but the Jets know how to cover tight ends. They’re currently allowing the 4th fewest fantasy points to the tight end. Jonnu Smith can break away for a long gain, but it’s not something that I’m particularly wanting to bet on.

Score Prediction: Tennessee 28, New York Jets 17

Must start players: Corey Davis

Minnesota (6-4-1) vs. New England (8-3)

Kirk Cousins is going to have a tough matchup this week against the Patriots and their defensive scheme.

Currently, Stefon Diggs is questionable to play on Sunday, which would be a downgrade for Cousins to me. If Diggs misses, I’m likely going to look for another option other than Cousins at quarterback.

Adam Thielen is a must start player and Dalvin Cook has shown that he can contribute through the air to give fantasy value. Even though he’s been extremely inefficient on the ground, I believe he has a safe enough floor due to his involvement in the passing game.

The only other question in this game for me from the Vikings side is Kyle Rudolph. Last week, he was able to go for 7-63-0 and became a reliable target for Cousins. If Diggs misses this week, I’m rolling out Kyle Rudolph with confidence. However, if Diggs plays, I’m going to wait another week to see if Sunday night was a fluke for Rudolph.

For New England, Tom Brady is a sit candidate for me. We’re now through Week 12 and Brady has yet to deliver a blow up game from a fantasy perspective. Minnesota has a legitimate defense that can create waves of pressure, so I’m looking somewhere else if I have the opportunity. (I would rather play Case Keenum than Tom Brady this week)

I like Josh Gordon in this matchup, especially if Xavier Rhodes is expected to miss some time. And Julian Edelman has moved into a weekly starter until proven otherwise, especially in PPR formats.

Rob Gronkowski made his return to the field last week and it paid off for fantasy owners who had been holding onto him this entire time. He was able to put up a 3-56-1 stat line and I expect him to find the end zone again this week. Fire up Gronk as a TE1 this week.

As for the running back options for New England, things may have just gotten a little bit more complicated…Rex Burkhead has been activated off of IR and is expected to play this week against the Vikings. This could take a hit to Sony Michel and James White’s value, but I’m willing to roll the two of them out there again this week as top options. I personally don’t believe Burkhead takes a lot of their workload away right off of IR. But this is a situation worth monitoring in the coming weeks…

Score Prediction: New England 28, Minnesota 27

San Francisco (2-9) vs. Seattle (6-5)

From San Francisco’s perspective, there’s not much to be excited about in this game. Nick Mullens is expected to start, but he’s reportedly on a tight leash. If he turns the ball over a couple of times, we could see an in-game change to CJ Beathard.

To save time, the only options I’m willing to start this week for the 49ers are Matt Breida at running back and George Kittle at tight end.

For the Seahawks, this game is going to be solely focused on running the ball. They’ll continue to utilize their running back rotation, but I believe things have shifted towards Chris Carson being the primary back. Because of that, Chris Carson is the only running back I’m willing to start this week from Seattle.

As for other options, I believe Doug Baldwin, Tyler Lockett and David Moore could all have fine weeks. I’d roll them out in most formats.

Because of that, I also believe that you can roll out Russell Wilson with confidence this week as well.

Score Prediction: Seattle 24, San Francisco 14

Must start players: George Kittle, Matt Breida, Russell Wilson, Chris Carson, Doug Baldwin, Tyler Lockett

Pittsburgh (7-3-1) vs. Los Angeles Chargers (8-3)

Coming off of a tough loss against the Broncos, the Steelers are going to be looking to get things back on track against the surging Chargers.

Big Ben should bounce back and have a solid fantasy day here in what projects to be a shootout. Antonio Brown is a weekly must start, along with Juju Smith-Schuster.

James Conner is a recommended play this week due to the volume he’ll receive and the amount of points that could be put up in this game. I like him as a high-end RB2 and you can start him with confidence.

As for the tight end position, Vance McDonald returned to practice on Thursday this week and should play on Sunday night. He’s likely to see a healthy amount of targets and could pay off as a tight end starter this week. Unless you have one of Kelce, Ertz, Gronk or Ebron, Vance has as much of a chance as contributing as anyone else…

On the Chargers side of the ball, Phillip Rivers has been playing really well lately. Unfortunately, it hasn’t translated to outstanding fantasy production, but I’m confident in starting him this week due to the points that’ll be going up in this game!

Austin Ekeler is scheduled to start in place of the injured Melvin Gordon this week and I expect him to be a factor on both the ground and through the air. Ekeler should be in your starting lineups this week.

Keenan Allen is a must start, but the only other player I’m interested in playing on the Chargers is Mike Williams purely based on his touchdown upside. I’m not interested in playing the guessing game between Tyrell Williams, Antonio Gates, Travis Benjamin, etc.

Score Prediction: Pittsburgh 34, Los Angeles Chargers 28

Must start players: Big Ben, Antonio Brown, Juju, James Conner, Philip Rivers, Keenan Allen, Austin Ekeler

Washington (6-5) vs. Philadelphia (5-6)

Colt McCoy will be making his second consecutive start as the quarterback of the Washington Redskins against the injury-depleted Eagles.

He played well last week, for fantasy purposes, against a defense that we just saw shut down Drew Brees last night. He now goes up against a defense that has injuries spread throughout the secondary. If you need a streaming candidate, McCoy might be a good choice to pick up here at the last minute.

Adrian Peterson is currently dealing with the shoulder injury that’s plagued him throughout the majority of the year, but I expect him to be good to go on Monday night. He also gets fellow running back Chris Thompson back in action, which is actually a help. Peterson has put up better numbers while Thompson has been active this entire year.

As for Thompson, I’m waiting to see another week before I plug him back into my lineup. I want to see how he does with McCoy under center and if he truly is back and healthy.

As for wide receivers, I’m only starting Trey Quinn in a PPR format, but I am confident in starting Josh Doctson in all formats. Against the corners the Eagles are deploying right now, Doctson has a great chance to score a touchdown this week and he seems to have chemistry with Colt McCoy.

Jordan Reed is turning back into an auto start and you should feel confident starting him this week.

As for the Eagles, this feels like a get-right game for Carson Wentz. Dak Prescott torched the Redskins secondary on Thanksgiving and Carson Wentz has more to work with in his offense. I’m rolling out Alshon Jeffrey with confidence, along with Zach Ertz. I’m still waiting on the breakout game, if it ever happens, from Golden Tate before I feel confident starting him.

Josh Adams continues to be the hot-hand for this Philly RBBC and he should have a good game here as well.

Score Prediction: Philadelphia 24, Washington 21

There’s your final 8 games this week! If you have any questions based off of the article, or you didn’t see a player you have questions about listed, make sure to connect with me on Twitter @KyleYNFL

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