It seems like Thanksgiving was a long time ago, and fantasy managers are now focused on the playoffs. It is officially Week 13, and for those that didn’t change the settings in their leagues… playoffs begin next week. For those that play in Yahoo! or other major sites, odds are that the playoffs have moved to Weeks 15, 16 and 17 because of the extra regular-season game. Either way, a win this week is more important than ever. Try to start your best lineup and keep an eye on the injuries.
Please note 5 Up/5 Down is a guide on players that should exceed or fall below their rank this week. This is based on past performance, injury status, and matchup. This is not a start/sit column, but rather a guide.
Teams on bye: Carolina, Cleveland, Green By, Tennessee
Russell Wilson, QB, Seattle Seahawks vs. San Francisco 49ers
Keep in mind, this is not saying that Wilson is a good start. He’s certainly not the No. 1 quarterback that he was likely drafted as, but he’s likely going to fare better than his No. 20 ranking. Wilson has struggled since injuring his finger and being placed on injured reserve. He finally threw a touchdown pass in Week 12 after going two weeks without one. The Seahawks face the 49ers, which isn’t a terrible matchup. They just gave up a pair of touchdown passes to Kirk Cousins last Sunday.
Jamaal Williams, RB, Detroit Lions vs. Minnesota Vikings
While D’Andre Swift has not been officially ruled out, it seems likely that he is not going to play in Week 13. Fantasy managers need to be prepared to be without him, but that does mean that Williams will take over as the lead back for the Lions. In Week 12, Swift left injured and Williams had 65 rushing yards. He added five receptions for 18 yards. While Williams hasn’t scored since Week 3, that should change against the Vikings this week. He’s ranked No. 19 but should finish above that.
Hunter Renfrow, WR, Las Vegas Raiders vs. Washington Football Team
Darren Waller is likely going to be out, so the Raiders need someone to step up. Waller was injured in Week 12 and Renfrow had nine targets. He caught eight of them for 134 yards. He has four touchdowns on the year and it seems likely that he will add to that total against a Washington that has struggled against the pass. The Raiders are going to need someone to step up and it seems like the most likely person to do so is Renfrow.
Van Jefferson, WR, Los Angeles Rams vs. Jacksonville Jaguars
Jefferson has been more of a big-play guy than initially thought. Sure, Cooper Kupp is there for the short passes, but after Robert Woods went down, it seemed that more balls would be thrown Jefferson’s way. Add Odell Beckham Jr. to the mix and it’s been tough. However, Jefferson has done a lot with what he’s been given. He’s had at least three receptions in each game since Week 6. He has two touchdowns in that span as well. Matthew Stafford looks to him and can get the ball to him. In a great matchup against the Jaguars, expect Jefferson to exceed his No. 28 ranking.
Dawson Knox, TE, Buffalo Bills vs. New England Patriots (MNF)
In the past two weeks, Knox has posted a 6/80/0 stat line and a 3/32/2 stat line. While it’s hard to count on the touchdowns, he has been a target in the red zone for Josh Allen. He has seven touchdowns so far this year, which is tied (with Hunter Henry) for the most among tight ends. Knox is an every-week TE1 and having him ranked No. 12 seems a bit low. The Patriots are not likely going to focus their attention on Knox, freeing him up in the red zone.
Jimmy Garoppolo, QB, San Francisco 49ers at Seattle Seahawks
Garoppolo has been a game manager for the past few weeks. He relies on a few big plays but doesn’t do a lot to move the offense along. He’s ranked No. 13 this week against the Seahawks. In what was a good matchup in Week 12, he threw for 230 yards, one touchdown, and one interception. Garoppolo will likely be without Deebo Samuel and have to rely on Brandon Aiyuk and Jauan Jennings as his wide receivers. George Kittle will be fine, but this looks to be a game that revolves around the running backs.
James Robinson, RB, Jacksonville Jaguars at Los Angeles Rams
The heel injury shouldn’t worry fantasy managers (although he didn't practice on Thursday so keep an eye on his status), as he had it and played through it in Week 12, but the matchup should. Robinson is ranked No. 11, but faces the Rams. Last week, AJ Dillon was poised to have a great game, and only managed to rush for 69 yards. His fantasy day was saved by his five receptions, one of which was for a touchdown. Robinson isn’t as involved in the passing game as Dillon and the Rams do a decent job of stopping the run. It’s going to be tough and the team will likely abandon the run, hurting Robinson’s value.
Alex Collins, RB, Seattle Seahawks vs. San Francisco 49ers
Collins has been dealing with an injury, and the Seahawks' backfield is a mess. It’s going to be hard to trust anyone this week. Rashaad Penny and Travis Homer are both healthy and will likely carry much of the load. The team signed Adrian Peterson, and while he might not be a threat to Collins this week, it doesn’t bode well for his outlook for the rest of the season. Collins hasn’t had more than 50 rushing yards since Week 6. He’s not really part of the passing game, so No. 28 may be a bit too high to rank him.
DeAndre Hopkins, WR, Arizona Cardinals at Chicago Bears
Hopkins hasn’t played since Week 8 as he’s been dealing with a hamstring injury. It’s always hard to trust players that are coming back from injury, especially a multi-week injury. Not just a multi-week injury, but a soft-tissue injury for a wide receiver. Hopkins is ranked No. 15 and it’s a decent matchup against the Bears, but it’s just so hard to trust him. Kyler Murray also will return, which definitely helps his value, but Hopkins is a risky WR2.
T.J. Hockenson, TE, Detroit Lions vs. Minnesota Vikings
Hockenson has been a decent tight end this season, but he hadn’t scored a touchdown since Week 2 prior to the Thanksgiving game. He did suffer an injury in that game, but it doesn’t seem to have cost him any practice time. Hockenson has games with zero yards, 51 yards, and 35 yards following their bye. Jared Goff is not looking good as a quarterback and the team will likely be without D’Andre Swift this week. Pressure is going to be on Goff, which doesn’t bode well for his No. 7-ranked tight end.
Full Disclosure From Week 12
Up (4/5 correct)
- Russell Wilson, QB, Seattle Seahawks (Ranked: 10, Actual: 9)
- Boston Scott, RB, Philadelphia Eagles (Ranked: 36, Actual: 19)
- Jeff Wilson, RB, San Francisco 49ers (Ranked: 33, Actual: 66)
- Cordarrelle Patterson, WR, Atlanta Falcons (Ranked: 40, Actual: 2)
- Rob Gronkowski, TE, Tampa Bay Buccaneers (Ranked: 12, Actual: 2)
Down (3/3 correct, 1 push)
- Tom Brady, QB, Tampa Bay Buccaneers (Ranked: 7, Actual: 20)
- AJ Dillon, RB, Green Bay Packers (Ranked: 9, Actual: 9)
- A.J. Brown, WR, Tennessee Titans (Ranked: 14, Actual: DNP)
- DeVonta Smith, WR, Philadelphia Eagles (Ranked: 19, Actual: 77)
- Mike Gesicki, TE, Miami Dolphins (Ranked: 7, Actual: 22)
— Written by Sarah Lewis, who is part of the Athlon Contributor Network and lives, eats, and breathes fantasy football. Have a fantasy football question? Send it to her on Twitter @Sarah_Lewis32.