Week 13 Daily Fantasy Football (DFS) picks are here and for some this week is either the first round of the playoffs or the final chance to claim a spot in the postseason. For some owners, it's almost time to shift their attention fully to DFS, especially if the full-season squad didn't fare as well as expected or hoped.
Week 12 had some big performances as well as a few odd occurrences. Christian McCaffrey was a beast, while Baker Mayfield had a nice four-TD performance against Cincinnati, and Lamar Miller probably carried some owners in the first half of Showdown slates with his huge 97-yard TD run on Monday night.
There is some good news, however. The Rams and Chiefs are back and there are no more byes! Having a full inventory of teams to use will be especially helpful with more guys (like Marvin Jones Jr., Jack Doyle, Andy Dalton) landing on injured reserve this week.
As for the Week 13 slate, only three games are projected for more than 50 total points, but they should be good matchups for those who like to stack.
Rams at Detroit — 54.5
Panthers at Buccaneers — 56
Chiefs at Oakland — 55
(Favored teams in bold)
Looking back at the Week 12 Sunday/Monday picks, the core should have paid off, especially if you were bold enough to go with Mayfield (value pick) at quarterback over Andrew Luck, who had a solid game in his own right. Let's see what Week 13 has to offer, shall we?
If this is one of your first times playing DFS feel free to check out my "10 Tips to Win at DFS."
As always any questions, arguments, or glowing praise can be sent to me via Twitter @fantsychillpony.
Week 13 Core Plays
These will be my top plays for the Sunday-Monday slate of games. These are players who I will try to have in as many lineups as possible. If I can, I will use three or all four in one lineup. A reminder that for cash games going with an elite quarterback is typically recommended. If you go value at quarterback he MUST meet value for your loaded lineup to be worth it.
QB: Cam Newton, Carolina at Tampa Bay ($8,700 FanDuel/$6,600 DraftKings)
There are plenty of options this week at quarterback but it comes down to cost and what you are willing to pay. This game is projected to be the highest scoring in Week 13, and Tampa Bay is not known for their defense. I like Newton to exploit this vulnerable defense by spreading the ball around to Christian McCaffrey, Greg Olsen and DJ Moore. The opportunity for a short rushing touchdown is there as well.
RB: Aaron Jones, Green Bay vs. Arizona ($7,600 FanDuel/$6,700 DraftKings)
Jones is in a fantastic spot this week unlike his matchup last week against a stout Vikings defense. He still managed to produce 18.3 DraftKing points and now he gets to face a defense that is giving up 145 rushing yards per game. The Packers' playoff hopes may be on life support, so this is definitely not the time to steer clear from a guy averaging a healthy 6.0 yards per carry.
WR: Adam Thielen, Minnesota at New England ($8,100 FanDuel/$8,000 DraftKings)
Thielen scored a touchdown last week among his eight catches to crank out nearly 30 DraftKings points against the Packers. This week the Vikings are in a matchup with a playoff feel all over it. Kirk Cousins and the Vikings are one of the top three pass-heavy offenses in the league and tandem of Thielen and Stefon Diggs has been huge all season. Thielen's top-flight production shouldn't end against a vulnerable Patriots secondary this week.
WR: DeAndre Hopkins, Houston vs. Cleveland ($8,800 FanDuel/$8,200 DraftKings)
Hopkins is coming off of two down outings, at least per his lofty standards, with just 15.6 and 12.4 DraftKings points in Weeks 11 and 12. This week he should get back to his 25-point level with the Texans facing the Browns. Cleveland has been a pesky and competitive team for most of the season, but its 29th in the league in passing yards allowed per game. Hopkins is one of the best at his position so unless Deshaun Watson completely ignores him (not likely), he should bounce back nicely this week.
TE: Eric Ebron, Indianapolis at Jacksonville ($5,600 FanDuel/$4,200 DraftKings)
Ebron is the definition of chalk tight end this season, but it has paid off more often than not. Eat it this week, just eat it and reap the rewards of a locked-in Andrew Luck and Ebron not having to fight with Jack Doyle for targets anymore.
Value Plays of the Week
QB: Kirk Cousins, Minnesota at New England ($7,600 FanDuel/$5,500 DraftKings)
After an atrocious game against the Bears in Week 11, Cousins and the Vikings looked like a completely different offense against the Packers. This week, Minnesota heads to Foxborough to face the Patriots, and we can only hope “Good” Cousins shows up and is able to shred this secondary with his two elite wide receivers (see Adam Thielen above). I think it will happen and Cousins will meet value this week.
RB: Phillip Lindsay, Denver at Cincinnati ($7,000 FanDuel/$5,400 DraftKings)
Lindsay has been solid with three 20-plus DraftKings points performances in his last four games. The Bengals are second to last in the NFL against the run (147.5 ypg) and this is a team that is going in the wrong direction (three straight losses), has lost their starting quarterback for the rest of the season and could be without their top wide receiver for another game as well. There's no reason why Denver's game plan shouldn't have Lindsay getting at least the 15 carries he has been averaging over the past five games, if not more.
WR: Bruce Ellington, Detroit vs. Los Angeles Rams ($4,900 FanDuel/$3,500 DraftKings)
It's pretty simple. Ellington is dirt, dirt cheap and with Marvin Jones Jr. done for the season he should see more targets by default. He has had six catches in back-to-back weeks, and in a game where the Lions will probably have no other choice but to throw in hopes of staying close on the scoreboard, Ellington could be a very cheap and valuable play this week. Look at it this way, if he just matches the six receptions that's nearly two times his value without taking into consideration the yardage (or better yet, finds the end zone).
— Written by Chris Meyers, who is part of the Athlon Contributor Network and a member of the FSWA. Meyers' work appears on many other sites, including socalledfantasyexperts.com. Follow him on Twitter @FantsyChillpony.