15 Fantasy Football Transactions for Week 13
It's tough to find a show on television that's both informative and entertaining. But Shark Tank balances those descriptors perfectly.
One minute, you're calculating whether or not an owner's valuation of his or her business is off the mark. The next, you're laughing your ass off at a Mr. Wonderful anecdote.
It's unlike any other television show we've ever seen.
Something brought up by the investors quite often on the show -- and, really, it doesn't take Shark Tank to learn this -- is how more SKUs, or more choices, aren't always a good thing. Less can often be more, especially for complexity and cost purposes.
When we hit Week 13 each year, I'm always reminded of this within my own industry. Things start to get complicated -- there are so many freaking league structures out there, which makes this column incredibly hard to be all-encompassing. Most of you have already seen your trade deadline pass, but some of you haven't. Some of you have Week 15 and 16 playoffs, while others have Week 14 included, too.
The majority of you want this column to just be an add or drop one, but one-third of you are still looking for some buy or sell advice.
I made an executive decision because that's the only way this column wouldn't turn into a dumpster fire. For many, the most important thing right now in fantasy football is the waiver wire. And most of you can't trade anymore. So that's what we'll focus on from here on out -- guys to add, drop, and, a new one, monitor.
By the way, can you start playing in leagues with a trade deadline? That'll help the SKU issue.
Add Colin Kaepernick
The first time this column featured Colin Kaepernick, Matt Jones was Washington's starter, Marvin Jones was still fantasy relevant, and the United States had no President-elect. That was way back in Week 7 -- October 18th to be exact -- after his first start with the 49ers.
Since, Kaepernick has played five games, finishing as a top-10 fantasy quarterback in four of them. He's averaged over 60 rushing yards per contest. He's scored fewer than 19 fantasy points once. He's been, for all intents and purposes, a quarterback streaming dream.
Despite being relevant in nearly every game he started prior to Week 12, this is what it's going to take to get people on board. A top performance with 113 yards rushing is what's finally going to make fantasy owners realize that Kaepernick is a legitimate QB1 option from here on out. Because his baseline rushing numbers -- more than 62 rushing yards per game -- are almost automatically creating a top-20 quarterback each week. That's the equivalent to a touchdown and a half through the air. As a result, his passing numbers -- which, according to our Net Expected Points (NEP) metric, are far better than ex-starter Blaine Gabbert's -- really don't need to be magnificent for him to be a worthwhile starter. It doesn't hurt, though, that the 49ers get the Bears (21st against the pass, per our schedule-adjusted numbers), Jets (25th), and Falcons (28th) over the next three contests.
Add Brandon LaFell and Tyler Boyd
After one A.J. Green-less week, we don't know much more about how things will look at wide receiver for the Bengals from here on out. While Brandon LaFell won the snap battle (he played 12 more snaps than Tyler Boyd), Boyd ended up with a better stat line (2 more catches for 24 more yards). Both ended up seeing nine targets.
As I mentioned last week, I'm siding with LaFell simply because the touchdown upside exists more given his yards per catch at the catch is higher than Boyd's (8.89 versus 7.13) -- he'll stretch the field more. But Boyd is still a fine add off the wire and could easily outscore the inconsistent veteran.
Drop Andy Dalton
With all of that being said, Boyd and LaFell's quarterback, Andy Dalton, can be dropped. He's produced five solid QB1, top-12 performances this year, but without A.J. Green (and Giovani Bernard) in the lineup, he's tough to trust. The team's upcoming schedule sees two strong defenses against fantasy quarterbacks (Philadelphia and Houston), with the other two contests being against division rivals Cleveland and Pittsburgh. We can't even consider those divisional games as plus matchups considering his performances against common opponents throughout his career.
There are just too many things going against Dalton right now (injuries, schedule) for you to trust him at the most replaceable position in fantasy football.
Add Dontrelle Inman
Tyrell Williams, who's averaging 21.34 PPR points per game since Week 5 when you remove the Chargers' contests against the highly-ranked Broncos' secondary, left Sunday's game with a shoulder injury. He's apparently "good", but it's not a bad idea to add teammate Dontrelle Inman off waivers given the Chargers' playoff schedule: they'll face Carolina (16th against the pass, per our numbers), Oakland (24th), and Cleveland (32nd) from Weeks 14 through 16, giving them arguably the best matchups in all of fantasy football. Williams should be able to go HAM if he's healthy, but if not, Inman will see an uptick in volume.
Add Kenneth Dixon
|Week||Dixon Snap Rate||West Snap Rate||Dixon Rushes||West Rushes|
Dixon officially surpassed West in snap rate this week and, in turn, saw a season-high 13 rushes.
Not only that, but he's been by far the better back, according to our numbers. He's got a 42.50% Success Rate -- the percentage of positive runs made, per NEP -- which is above average. West, meanwhile, has a 37.91% Success Rate, a number below the league's average.
Given the upward trend in volume this season, there's reason to believe Dixon is now the Ravens' top running back.
Drop Gary Barnidge
This past week, Gary Barnidge had the matchup, as the Giants have surrendered six top-eight PPR tight end performances this year. And he had his quarterback, Josh McCown, who's helped Barnidge score 0.40 more touchdowns per game versus when McCown isn't starting.
Barnidge ended the game with just 3 targets for 1 reception and 11 yards. The emergence of Terrelle Pryor and the return of Corey Coleman isn't helping Barnidge's target totals and, on the year, Barnidge has now ranked outside the top-20 in tight end scoring (PPR) in half of his games. That's tough to do given the awful tight end landscape.
Add Rex Burkhead
Jeremy Hill left Week 12's game with an ankle injury, but he was able to return without missing much game time. Even when you consider this, it's pretty surprising to see that Rex Burkhead actually out-snapped Hill 51% to 49% in the contest, the first without Gio Bernard since he sustained a season-ending injury.
Hill ended up with six targets, which was a career high for him, but Burkhead's presence on the field -- especially late in the game when the Bengals were in obvious passing-down situations -- is intriguing for those of you in PPR leagues. I wouldn't prioritize him over some of the other looks off the waiver wire this week, but Burkhead isn't a bad stash, especially because he also serves as a handcuff.
Add Alfred Morris and DeAngelo Williams
Speaking of handcuffs, Alfred Morris and DeAngelo Williams need to be owned in more leagues. At this point in the season, you should be looking strictly at upside. And that comes in many different forms -- most owners will look at a situation like the Kenneth Dixon one above, but his taking over Terrance West is no different than Morris or Williams getting the lead duties in their backfield if something were to happen to Ezekiel Elliott and Le'Veon Bell.
Morris and Williams are naturally the two best handcuffs out there. Morris would inherit the league's best offensive line and fourth-best passing attack (according to NEP), while we've seen Williams as an RB1 in the Steelers offense already. Get rid of your unused bench space and add handcuffs for your playoff run, even if you don't own Zeke or Le'Veon.
Add Charles Sims
Hey, remember this guy?
Charles Sims is eligible to return from IR in Week 14, but he's back and practicing with the Bucs. If he regains his old role -- which is very possible -- he could be an intriguing PPR play down the stretch (he finished as the 9th-best back in Week 3 and the 22nd-best in Week 1), as Tampa Bay will face New Orleans twice in the fantasy football playoffs (Week 14 and Week 16). If you've got room on your bench for a stash, Sims isn't a bad choice.
Drop Blake Bortles
Blake Bortles hasn't been as bad as you probably think from a fantasy standpoint this year. He's averaging 17.9 points per game, which is 13th-best in pretend pigskin. But trusting him isn't fun, nor is it advisable down the stretch, as the Jags are going to be facing Denver (fewest fantasy points allowed to quarterbacks this year), Minnesota (third-fewest), and Houston (fifth-fewest) over their next three games. You're better off streaming the position.
Add Tyler Lockett
If there was one positive thing to take away from the Seahawks offensive performance against the Bucs this week, it's that Tyler Lockett, who was a strong sleeper in August for a lot of fantasy analysts, played 78% of the team's snaps, which is a season high. He didn't catch a single pass, but he did see six targets, the second-highest total of the week. He's strictly a flier, but the snap rate is encouraging.
Add Phillip Dorsett
There's optimism surrounding T.Y. Hilton being able to play in Week 13, but if he's unable to go, Phillip Dorsett stands to benefit. The problem here is obvious, though: Dorsett had an opportunity earlier in the season with Donte Moncrief sidelined, but he was unable to take advantage of it. With that being said, Moncrief and Dorsett complement each other much more than Hilton and Dorsett do -- Dorsett profiles more like Hilton as a small, speedy receiver. Filling his role could be interesting for fantasy purposes, especially against a Jets team (their Week 13 opponent) that's allowed the 12th-highest yards per pass attempt average this year.
Add the Houston Texans Defense
The Texans are currently available in over half of ESPN.com leagues, and their playoff schedule is very nice (Borat voice). Though Indianapolis could be tough for them in Week 14 -- especially since it's on the road -- the Colts have been pretty generous to opposing defenses all year long, surrendering a top-15 performance in half their games. Then the Texans get Jacksonville and Cincinnati in Houston, two teams they shouldn't have a ton of trouble with, as they rank 13th and 28th, respectively, in overall offense this year, per our numbers. And keep in mind the Bengals could still be without A.J. Green.
The problem is that there isn't an obvious, clear-cut Week 14 to 16 streamer this season, so this is sort of the direction you've got to go in. Unless, of course, you want to stream a different one each week (recommended), or go with the next recommendation for Weeks 15 and 16 (also recommended).
Monitor the Buffalo Bills Defense
The reason we're talking about monitoring the Bills' defense here is because their ownership is pretty high (71.2%), so I can't pretend they're on the waiver wire. But -- but! -- the Bills are at Oakland this week, and then they'll host Pittsburgh, two of the toughest matchups for opposing defenses in the NFL.
That's where the monitoring comes into play -- there's a chance the Bills' ownership drops over the next week or two, but you'll know to snatch them up. In Week 15, the Bills are at home to face Cleveland (2nd-most points to opposing fantasy defenses this year), and in Week 16, they'll face the Dolphins (15th). At least hold them for their game against Cleveland.
Add the Green Bay Packers Defense
For a streaming defense strictly for Week 13, you can take a look at the banged-up Packers, who are hosting the Texans. Houston is quarterbacked by Brock Osweiler. I could probably stop writing here, but I'll give you some numbers. Osweiler has been the league's worst non-Case Keenum passer, per our metrics, and Houston is allowing the eighth-most points to fantasy defenses.