While Week 13 is rivalry week in college football, it’s also championship week in college fantasy football, meaning all around the stakes are as high as can be. Luckily, AthlonSports.com is here to help you make those tough decisions and hopefully assure that you will come away victorious in the college fantasy football postseason.
Note: Obvious choices will not be given such as Lamar Jackson or Donnel Pumphrey as those players are typically starters regardless of the matchup.
Below are the top 10 rankings for each position for the given week as well as some possible late waiver wire adds.
Donovan Wilson/Fred Coppet (RB, Bowling Green)
Jordan Huff (RB, Northern Illinois)
N’Keal Harry (WR, Arizona State)
Justin Goodwin (RB, Rutgers)
Justin Crawford (RB, West Virginia)
Ka’Raun White (WR, West Virginia)
Chris Carson (RB, Oklahoma State)
Auden Tate (WR, Florida State)
Ish Witter (RB, Missouri)
Josh Stewart (WR, UTSA)
Alex Barnes (RB, Kansas State)
Ahmmon Richards (WR, Miami)
John Urzua (QB, Middle Tennessee)
T.J. Rahming (WR, Duke)
Kenny Potter (QB, San Jose State)
Kenny Potter, San Jose State at Fresno State
We had Potter ranked very highly coming into the season as a potential breakout candidate but he did not live up to expectations, at least not until recently. Potter now has six touchdown passes in his last three games, and had a five-touchdown performance this past weekend against Air Force which included three rushing TDs. It’s a fairly safe bet he can put up another big outing this week against a Fresno State D that gives up north of 30 points per game.
Nathan Peterman, Pittsburgh vs. Syracuse
Peterman has played some of his best football the previous two weeks with a combined eight touchdown passes, five of which came on the road in the upset of Clemson. And he should add to that total against Syracuse, who ranks 117th in the country in pass defense, allowing more than 278 yards per game.
Greg Ward Jr., Houston at Memphis (Fri.)
Earlier in the season, placing Ward in the start ’em section would have been a cop out as he was picked in the top 3 overall in most drafts. But the senior QB has not had the season most expected, especially running the football. Playing better of late, I think this could be a breakout week for Ward against Memphis, who did not fare well two weeks ago against a similar quarterback in Quinton Flowers (5 total TDs, 200-plus rushing yards). Don’t be surprised if this is Ward’s best game of the season.
Gardner Minshew, East Carolina at Temple
Minshew, a former junior college transfer, has played well in spurts in the place of starter Philip Nelson, including last week against Navy where he threw for 238 yards and three touchdowns. Don’t even chance trying to catch lightning in a bottle again this week as Minshew takes on the No. 2 pass defense in the country in Temple, who is allowing a little more than 140 yards per game through the air.
Deondre Francois, Florida State vs. Florida
The Gators have allowed six touchdown passes all season long, and four of those belong to Tennessee’s Joshua Dobbs. I would not touch anyone on the Florida State offense this week with the exception of Dalvin Cook.
Joel Lanning, Iowa State vs. West Virginia
Lanning assumed the role of backup running quarterback last week against Texas Tech and wound up with 117 rushing yards and five touchdowns – a career best. Lanning should still see carries around the goal line, but the Cyclones will get there far less this week against a much better West Virginia defense. Don’t expect Lanning to put up anywhere near the same numbers as a week ago.
Top 10 Quarterbacks for Week 13:
Quinton Flowers, South Florida vs. UCF
Lamar Jackson, Louisville vs. Kentucky
Will Worth, Navy at SMU
Mike White, Western Kentucky at Marshall
Patrick Mahomes, Texas Tech vs. Baylor
Ryan Higgins, Louisiana Tech at Southern Miss
Nick Fitzgerald, Mississippi State at Ole Miss
Greg Ward Jr., Houston at Memphis (Fri.)
Luke Falk, Washington State vs. Washington (Fri.)
Justin Herbert, Oregon at Oregon State
Devine Redding, Indiana vs. Purdue
Redding struggled to find any running room as we expected last week against Michigan, but should have a much easier time against the Boilermakers. Purdue has yielded a 100-yard rusher in seven out of its last eight games, including four straight after giving up 221 yards and four TDs a week ago to Wisconsin. Redding will absolutely make it five straight.
Ish Witter, Missouri vs. Arkansas (Fri.)
Witter will likely get the start this week for the Tigers after it was announced freshman Damarea Crockett would be suspended this week after being arrested on campus on suspicion of marijuana possession. Head coach Barry Odom said the bulk of the carries now would belong to Witter as well as junior college transfer Nate Strong against an Arkansas rush defense that is allowing more than six yards per carry and a whopping 33 rushing touchdowns.
Donovan Wilson, Bowling Green vs. Buffalo (Fri.)
Wilson has been a monster the previous two games for Bowling Green with a combined 51 carries for 265 yards and three touchdowns. He (and Fred Coppet as well) should have his way once again taking on the 120th-ranked rush defense in Buffalo, who is allowing 245 yards per game on the ground.
Rico Dowdle, South Carolina at Clemson
Dowdle had a career-best 226 yards and two touchdowns last week on the ground against Western Carolina. Since burning his redshirt after Week 4, Dowdle now has seven touchdowns in his seven games played and looks to be the future (along with QB Jake Bentley) of the South Carolina offense. I don’t like the matchup at all, though, going against a Clemson rush defense that allows around 3.5 yards per carry and is still smarting from a home loss to Pitt two weeks ago.
Kerryon Johnson, Auburn at Alabama
Johnson would have been a sit regardless due to the matchup with the No. 1 rush defense in the country in Alabama, but is now being relegated to backup duties as leading rusher Kamryn Pettway is returning to the lineup per head coach Gus Malzahn. Expect both Johnson and Pettway to split rushing duties against the Tide, and struggle to find much room to run.
De’Veon Smith, Michigan at Ohio State
The running game for Michigan will get plenty of work on Saturday against the Buckeyes, especially if quarterback Wilton Speight is unavailable to play. While Smith did shoulder most of the carries last week, the Wolverines will use a host of backs on Saturday, including Chris Evans, Ty Isaac and Karan Higdon. Don’t be surprised to see both Jabrill Peppers and Eddie McDoom utilized more this week as well with the Wolverines pulling out all of the stops against their hated rival. All of that against the 18th-ranked rush defense that has allowed just four rushing touchdowns on the year. This will be a low-scoring affair.
Top 10 Running Backs for Week 13:
Jeremy McNichols, Boise State at Air Force (Fri.)
D’Onta Foreman, Texas vs. TCU (Fri.)
Rawleigh Williams, Arkansas at Missouri (Fri.)
Christian McCaffrey, Stanford vs. Rice
Derrius Guice, LSU at Texas A&M (Thurs.)
Joe Williams, Utah at Colorado
Brian Hill, Wyoming at New Mexico
Ito Smith, Southern Miss vs. Louisiana Tech
Donnel Pumphrey, San Diego State vs. Colorado State
Aaron Jones, UTEP vs. North Texas
N’Keal Harry, Arizona State at Arizona (Fri.)
The true freshman has become a force for the Sun Devils in the last two games with consecutive 100-yard receiving performances against two excellent defenses in Utah and Washington. Now we get to see what will happen against the 113th-ranked scoring defense in Arizona. Pretty safe to assume it will be a third straight 100-yard game for Harry.
Ty Lee, Middle Tennessee vs. Florida Atlantic
This is the second consecutive year that Middle Tennessee has had a breakout freshman wide receiver with Richie James last year and now Lee. Not to the extent of what James did, but Lee has been excellent as a counterpart with 51 receptions and seven touchdowns in his first year. I expect a big performance out of the passing game this week for the Blue Raiders against a Florida Atlantic defense that just gave up 416 passing yards and five touchdowns to Old Dominion.
Jonathan Giles, Texas Tech vs. Baylor (Fri.)
Giles crushed many lineups last week (yours truly included) as he did not record a single catch in the loss to Iowa State. Head coach Kliff Kingsbury stated this week that they need more out of Giles, specifically better blocking and effort, for him to be trusted more in this offense. It doesn’t sound like Giles will be out of the lineup, but at this point in the season, can you really pin your championship hopes on a guy that may or may not get significant playing time? I say no.
Amba Etta-Tawo, Syracuse at Pittsburgh
In deeper leagues, I don’t suggest sitting Etta-Tawo, but if you have depth at the wide receiver position, go ahead and place him on your bench. The passing game for Syracuse just has not been the same with quarterback Eric Dungey out of the lineup, and the Orange very well may struggle again even against the country’s second-worst pass defense in Pittsburgh. While Etta-Tawo does have two touchdown receptions in the last two weeks, his reception totals have dropped considerably.
Top 10 Wide Receivers for Week 13:
Taywan Taylor, Western Kentucky at Marshall
Carlos Henderson, Louisiana Tech at Southern Miss (Fri.)
Zay Jones, East Carolina at Temple
Courtland Sutton, SMU vs. Navy
Richie James, Middle Tennessee vs. Florida Atlantic
Trent Taylor, Louisiana Tech vs. Southern Miss (Fri.)
Corey Davis, Western Michigan vs. Toledo (Fri.)
Chad Hansen, California vs. UCLA
John Ross, Washington at Washington State (Fri.)
Kenny Golladay, Northern Illinois at Kent State (Fri.)
— Written by Mike Bainbridge, who is part of the Athlon Contributor Network. Bainbridge is a graduate of Northern Illinois University. For more College Fantasy Football insight, Make sure to follow him on Twitter @MikeBainbridge2.