DRAFT Daily Fantasy Helper: Week 13
Approaching Week 13, bye weeks are finally in the rearview mirror. For the first time in many weeks, an expanded player pool should provide depth at previously scarce positions. However, Week 13 also means the fantasy playoffs are approaching and for many the season could already be over.
DRAFT provides a way for people to remain involved through weekly snake or auction drafts, where people pick and choose their own preferred fantasy options each week. Here are this week's notable plays on DRAFT.
Jameis Winston - Not a play for the faint of heart, Jameis Winston finds himself in a positive matchup this weekend, and at a mid-round price at that.
This season, the Tampa Bay Buccaneers' signal callers (Winston & Ryan Fitzpatrick combined) have the second-most pass attempts in the league. This immense volume has led to spectacular fantasy outings. In three games played start to finish, Winston has at least 300 passing yards and another 24 on the ground in each game, respectively. Now that Fitzpatrick has been benched twice, and Winston's fifth-year option looms, the Bucs project to give Winston a long look down the stretch.
Winston should also benefit from facing a porous Carolina Panthers pass defense. According to our schedule-adjusted metrics, the Panthers have the fifth-worst pass defense and have given up the 13th-most passing yards against to date (2,958).
As usual, Tampa Bay comes into this contest as 3.5-point underdogs, which bodes well for Winston's volume. Our metrics also have Tampa themselves pegged as the second-worst pass defense in football, meaning the shootout probability appears high in this contest. It might be difficult to click the button in the mid-rounds, but Winston provides week-winning upside without the high draft capital.
Lamar Jackson - A slightly safer play, Lamar Jackson remains a preferred late-round quarterback due to his rushing upside.
Through two games, Jackson has rushing attempt totals of 27 and 11, leading to 117 and 71 rushing yards in each respective game. Adding 150 and 178 yards each week in the passing game, Jackson provides one of the highest floors at the position. Over this span, Jackson only has two touchdowns, meaning a spiked week with three or more touchdowns would send his fantasy totals into the stratosphere.
There looks like no better week than Week 13 for this to transpire against the struggling Atlanta Falcons' defense. According to our metrics, the Falcons ranks dead-last in efficiency against the pass and 29th in rush defense, which matters with Jackson's skillset. On the year, the Falcons have allowed the eighth-most passing yards (3,130) and the seventh-most rushing yards to quarterbacks (205).
Jackson should rip this one wide open in a game bookmakers project for 49 points. Available in the final round of weekly drafts, Lamar Jackson should be targeted heavily throughout this week.
Kareem Hunt - With Todd Gurley and Christian McCaffrey receiving all of the love this week, Kareem Hunt has fallen to the middle of the first round. However, volume and matchup should put Hunt in contention for the number-one overall pick.
Hunt has at least 17 touches in each of the Kansas City Chiefs' last 5 games, including 84.1% of the Chiefs' backfield touches over their past three. The second-year product out of Toledo notched over 100 total yards in each of these contests, along with four scores.
This week, Hunt draws the absolute best-case scenario from a matchup standpoint, as he goes up against the Oakland Raiders. The Raiders rank 31st in rush defense, according to our metrics, and have allowed the most rushing yards this season (1,481). With KC 15.5-point favorites, with a 35.25 implied team total, game script sets up perfectly for Hunt to absolutely eat this weekend.
Opening the week as a mid-first round pick, Hunt should be considered first overall in weekly snakes.
Austin Ekeler - What if I told you you could draft Melvin Gordon in the second round of weekly fantasy drafts? Well, we can't exactly do that, but Austin Ekeler projects to receive a Melvin Gordon-level workload this week against the Pittsburgh Steelers, and he can be had later in drafts.
In one game without Gordon this year, Ekeler handled 17 touches and played on 95% of the Los Angeles Chargers' snaps. On the year, Ekeler has an impressive 763 total yards on a mere 102 attempts.
Ekeler's matchup against the league's 10th-best run defense, per our metrics, looks imposing. However, the Steelers have shown some cracks recently, allowing 419 rushing yards in their last 4 games, including 95 yards to Leonard Fournette and 110 to Phillip Lindsay. Given Ekeler's projected workload, this looks like a fade matchup but high-volume situation.
Coming with a second-round price tag, Ekeler offers discounted, bell-cow upside and can often be drafted as an RB2.
Gus Edwards - Despite stringing together back-to-back 100-yard games, Gus Edwards remains a late round dart throw in weekly drafts. In two games as the Ravens' starting running back, Edwards has handled 40 touches at 67% of the running back opportunities.
For the same reasons Lamar Jackson looks like a strong play, the Atlanta matchup should provide Edwards a path to fantasy success. Just to reiterate, Atlanta ranks 29th in rush defense, according to our metrics, and has allowed the second-most rushing yards over the last four weeks (511).
While Edwards offers little as a pass-catcher (one target this season), bookmakers favor the Ravens by 3.5, meaning game script should favor a run-heavy approach. Still not receiving the credit he deserves, Edwards remains a solid consolation prize for those missing out on the early-round bell-cow backs.
DeAndre Hopkins - With a deep pool of running backs and many of the league's top wideouts in tough matchups, only a few receivers come off the board in the first two rounds of weekly snake drafts. Often a late first- to early second-round pick, DeAndre Hopkins brings his usual week-winning upside against the Cleveland Browns.
While Hopkins has a mere 12 targets in the Texans' last 2 games, he still ranks 10th in targets (103) and 4th in air yards (1,344). Game script hasn't done Hopkins any favors recently, with the Texans winning eight games in a row. However, bookmakers project this game to reach 48 points, and an improved Browns team could remain competitive after reaching at least 28 points in their last 2 games.
On the year, the Browns have allowed the fifth-most receiving yards to wideouts (1,996), boding well for Hopkins' fantasy output. While standout rookie corner Denzel Ward could shadow him, Hopkins has shown matchup-proof ability and may see an expanded role with Keke Coutee limited by recurring hamstring injuries.
Often falling to the mid-second round, Hopkins' makes a contrarian but high-ceiling play on DRAFT.
Stefon Diggs - With a dearth of talent available on this week's slate, the NFL's fourth-most targeted receiver doesn't come off the board till the mid-third round. Perhaps the biggest edge on the slate, many people continue to view Stefon Diggs as a complimentary piece in the Minnesota Vikings' offense behind Adam Thielen, despite his massive workload.
Noted above, Diggs ranks 4th in the NFL in targets (114) and 17th in air yards (997). Surprisingly, Diggs has out-targeted Thielen in each of his last four games and 54-35 overall in that span. With only 2 games below 10 targets all season, Diggs has arguably the most consistent volume at the position on the slate.
Diggs also draws an unimposing matchup against the New England Patriots. The Patriots currently rank 20th in pass defense, according to our metrics, and have allowed a middling 1,783 yards to the position this year.
As 5.5-point underdogs, the Vikings project to throw the ball early and often. Minnesota currently ranks third in overall pass attempts, due in part to their league-worst rushing offense, per our metrics.
With volume and game script on his side, Stefon Diggs should remain a target in the mid-rounds of weekly snake drafts.
Since the trade, Sanders averages 9 targets per game, 25% of the team targets, and 39% of the team's air yards. While Case Keenum's up-and-down play brings more variance into the equation, Sanders' increase in volume offers an edge to target.
This week, Sanders faces the reeling Cincinnati Bengals, who rank 22nd in pass defense, according to our metrics. On the year, they have allowed the sixth-most yards to receivers (1,978), directly benefiting the yardage eater that is Sanders.
Falling to the final round of weekly drafts, Sanders provides a solid floor with additional upside at the receiver position.