15 Fantasy Football Transactions for Week 13
Thanksgiving is a time for friends, family, turkey, and throwing cranberry sauce in the trash where it belongs.
For us fantasy football degenerates, it also marks the time of year where we officially switch into playoff mode. We've been planning all year for the three-week stretch of the NFL's regular season, but around Thanksgiving, it all becomes a little more real.
Your trade deadlines have passed, so perfecting your roster is going to have to come via the waiver wire. Naturally, this column's focus needs to shift in order to help you with that. Instead of a hefty number of buys and sell each week, moving forward, you'll get more adds, drops, and holds to help you navigate the fantasy space through Week 16.
If you see someone listed as a buy, don't fret -- I know you can't trade in your league anymore. That advice is to just tell you that you can feel confident in that particular player moving forward. And then the opposite is true, too.
Cool? Cool. Let's take home that championship.
Buy Phillip Lindsay
The Broncos backfield has been a little frustrating to read this season. Phillip Lindsay's been the most consistent piece, but Royce Freeman's seen spikes in usage throughout the season, limiting Lindsay's upside.
Fortunately for those of you with Lindsay, things have shifted in his favor quite a bit over the last two weeks. His fantasy performances haven't reflected this -- he's ranked outside of RB2 territory in each of his past two games -- but the peripheral numbers have improved. After seeing roughly 56% of Denver's running back carries through their Week 10 bye, Lindsay's averaged a 74% running back rush share over his last two contests, which a near 87% share in Week 12. From Week 1 through Week 10, Lindsay's highest single-game snap share was just 56.2%. His last two games? 64% and 54%.
The worry with Lindsay heading into Week 12 was the fact that, without Joe Flacco under center, Denver hadn't been targeting their running backs as much out of the backfield. That was a real concern given Lindsay's target share with Flacco, which was north of 13%. Fortunately, this past Sunday, Lindsay saw his target share bump back to 12.5%, easily the highest it's been in this post-Flacco era.
If all of this continues, Lindsay should have no trouble producing in the fantasy playoffs. The Broncos get a struggling Houston defense in Week 14, and then they face Kansas City and Detroit in Weeks 15 and 16. Each of those matchups are plus ones when adjusted for strength of opponent.
Add Rashaad Penny
Chris Carson has a fumbling issue. He's now put the ball on the ground seven times, the most of any non-quarterback in the league. And as a result of these problems, the Seahawks featured Rashaad Penny on Sunday, giving him 63.6% of the team's running back rushes, which was easily a season-high. He looked good, too, running for 129 yards and a score.
Penny's a priority off the waiver wire this week. We know things could flip back to Carson as soon as next week, but beggars can't be choosers with the running back position in fantasy football. Plus, Penny's good.
Hold or Sell James White
Upcoming for the Patriots are two matchups that should, hypothetically, help the pass-catching James White. They'll face Houston in Week 13, a team that's surrendered the most running back receptions in the NFL this season. In Week 14, New England gets Kansas City. The Chiefs are a top-10 team in running back receptions allowed, and they've given up the most fantasy points to the position this year.
That's the good news. The bad news is that Rex Burkhead's been a problem. Burkhead returned to action in Week 8, and since then, White's seen his target share go from about 21% (Weeks 1 through 7) to 11% (Weeks 8 through 12). White's been below a 10% target share in two of the four games since Burkhead's return.
This could be nothing. After all, Burkhead was healthy for a few games to start the season, and White's target share was fine. But if you're locked into a playoff spot, New England's contests against Cincinnati and Buffalo in Weeks 15 and 16 aren't necessarily the best for White. If this Burkhead correlation is real, White could underperform when you need him most. You may need to find an alternative option. The next couple of games will be telling.
Hold Aaron Rodgers
It's hard to believe, but Aaron Rodgers has been a fringe QB1 this year. And the way he's accumulated points hasn't been pretty -- he's not got eight performances where he's ranked 19th or worse in weekly quarterback scoring. Really, the reason his points per game average is still in the top-12 is because of a monster 43.8-point outing against Oakland. I generally hate when analysts do this, but I'm going to do it anyway: if you take that game away, Rodgers is averaging 15.3 fantasy points per game. That's worse than Daniel Jones' average.
It's not time to drop him, though. The Packers have faced a pretty tough schedule, and when you adjust for that, Rodgers is 10th (nearly 8th) in quarterback points per game, slightly better than his current QB11 ranking. And things open up for Green Bay schedule-wise over the next two weeks with matchups against the Giants and Redskins, two teams that rank in the bottom half of the league in schedule-adjusted points allowed to the quarterback position.
With that being said, beware of buying Rodgers, as he'll get Chicago and Minnesota during the final two weeks of the fantasy season. The Vikings aren't that tough of a matchup, but you've always got to be wary of divisional matchups.
Drop Josh Gordon
As much as I love Josh Gordon, the probability that he helps your fantasy team win a championship this season is pretty low. He only played about a third of the team's snaps on Sunday, and he's now seen fewer than 10% of Seattle's targets in each of his last two games. Even if he has a big performance from now until the end of the year, you likely won't feel confident enough playing him. So feel free to drop him.
Add LeSean McCoy and Darrel Williams
The last time we saw the Chiefs, Damien Williams suffered an injury to his ribs. If he's sidelined, that'll open things up quite a bit for LeSean McCoy and Darrel Williams. In the two games prior to this rib injury, Williams (Damien) was playing over 70% of Kansas City's snaps. Without him, McCoy and Williams (Darrel) would hypothetically see an uptick in work. Prioritizing McCoy makes sense if he's still on your waiver wire (and it sounds like he didn't sustain a concussion in their Week 11 game), but he's proven to not stay healthy this year, which could lead to a good bit of playing time for the backup Williams.
Hold Jacob Hollister
Week 12 wasn't kind to the Seahawks' offense, and Jacob Hollister didn't have a big performance as a result. But with a banged up tight end group, Hollister was still able to grab hold of a 17.4% target share on Sunday, giving him a double-digit percentage share in his fifth straight game. That's tough to find at the tight end position. Seattle's targeting their tight ends at an above-average rate, and in Week 16 -- fantasy football championship week -- the Seahawks get the Cardinals. No team is allowing more fantasy points to tight ends than Arizona, and it's not even close. Hollister needs to be rostered.
Add A.J. Brown
As some of you know, anytime Corey Davis has had a big game this year, he's found himself as a sell candidate in this 15 Transactions column. Tennessee's offense is a run-heavy one, so trusting production from the team's wide receivers is risky. Even if they have a big target share.
Adding A.J. Brown can't hurt, though. He's actually seen a 22% target share across his last five games, and those are five contests where Ryan Tannehill's been the team's starter. Across those five contests, Brown's actually dipped below an 18.9% share just once.
Tennessee's got plus matchups against Oakland and Houston in Weeks 14 and 15, too. Team wide receivers against the Raiders have scored 4.2 points above their season-long average, while wideouts against the Texans score 3.0 more points than their average. Those are some of the most favorable marks in the league. Brown could be usable in those spots.
Add Ryan Tannehill
Speaking of the Titans, Ryan Tannehill's been an awesome fantasy football asset since taking over as the starter. And when I say "awesome", I really mean "incredible". Since Week 7, which is when Tannehill took over, the only quarterback who's averaged more fantasy points per game has been Lamar Jackson. Some of that is due to a little rushing touchdown fortune (Tannehill's found the end zone three times with his legs), but Tannehill also brings that element to his fantasy game. He's now rushed for 38, 37, and 40 yards over his last three games, respectively.
And like I just explained, Tennessee has a pretty favorable schedule at the start of the fantasy playoffs. We shouldn't necessarily expect Tannehill to maintain his second-best-fantasy-quarterback numbers, but top-10 production? It's certainly possible against teams like Oakland and Houston.
Buy Josh Jacobs
It was a rough week for Josh Jacobs and the Raiders' offense. Because of the blowout in New York, Jacobs carried just 52.6% of the Raiders' running back rushes to go along with a lowly 3% target share. Across the season, those numbers are 72.8% and 7.5%, respectively.
Things were -- and probably still are -- trending in the right direction for Jacobs. Before Week 12, he had seen at least 10% of Oakland's targets in consecutive games to go along with an 81% running back rush share. His usage was there. And once the Raiders are back to normal game scripts, the workload should return. With matchups against the Chiefs, Titans, Jaguars, and Chargers to close the fantasy football season -- teams that are all giving up bottom-half-of-the-league production to the running back position when adjusted for opponent -- Jacobs could go from a meaningless Week 12 asset to a league-winning one over the next month.
Add Benny Snell
The Steelers decided to feature Benny Snell on Sunday instead of the versatile Jaylen Samuels, which led to Snell being on the field for almost half of the team's offensive snaps. That's not a ton, but his running back rush share of 67.7% was pretty high -- he saw 21 carries versus the 10 that went to all other Pittsburgh running backs. Considering James Conner hasn't been able to stay healthy all year, Snell's not a bad add off the wire during what's admittedly a pretty bad waiver wire week.
Hold Noah Fant
Buffalo's been good at limiting opposing tight ends over the last couple of years, and that was no different on Sunday. Denver's Noah Fant was held to just 3 catches for 14 yards, his worst performance over the last month.
He still saw a large percentage of the Broncos' targets in the game, which is a big, big plus. And that's been a trend since wide receiver Emmanuel Sanders' departure. Since Manny left for San Francisco, Fant's averaged an elite 25% target share, and he's yet to finish a game with a target share below 20%. It's impossible to find that at the tight end position -- really, any position -- on the waiver wire. So don't get rid of Fant after a rough outing.
Add Sam Darnold
We've now watched Sam Darnold put together three straight top-10 fantasy performances where he's scored at least 21.7 fantasy points in every contest. Sure, the matchups were cake -- he faced the Giants, Redskins, and Raiders -- but things aren't getting much tougher moving forward. Well, at least over the next two weeks.
Week 13 features a game against the Bengals, who've allowed 3.1 more points per game to opposing passers versus those quarterback's season-long averages. Then, in Week 14, Darnold and the Jets get Miami, who come in even worse than Cincinnati when it comes to quarterback fantasy points allowed. You'll struggle to start Darnold in Weeks 15 and 16 against Baltimore and Pittsburgh, but he can at least help get your team there.
Add the Carolina Panthers Defense
If you need a defense specifically for Week 13, then Carolina's an easy choice. They're playing at home as 9.5-point favorites against Washington. With Dwayne Haskins as starter, the Redskins have allowed over four sacks per game. And on the year, Washington's been sacked at the fourth-highest rate in the league. Meanwhile, Carolina's generating pressure at an above-average rate, and they've sacked quarterbacks at the second-highest rate in football. They're rostered in just a third of Yahoo! leagues, so they're on most waiver wires.
Add the Green Bay Packers Defense
Perhaps you're looking for a longer-term defense, or a defense you can use for multiple weeks. Green Bay might be your best option. As noted earlier with Aaron Rodgers, the Packers have back-to-back games against the Giants and Redskins. Those are two of the top-six best matchups for a fantasy defense when looking at schedule-adjusted fantasy points allowed -- New York's allowing 3.9 points above expectation, while Washington's giving up 2.0. The Packers should be available, as they're rostered in just 24% of Yahoo! leagues.