15 Fantasy Football Transactions for Week 13
The majority of trade deadlines have passed, meaning this column - which often goes through players to buy low and sell high on in fantasy football - has essentially become a simple waiver wire, add/drop one. We're sadly at that point in the football season.
But hopefully I can still uncover things you wouldn't have realized otherwise, despite this change in format. Or, at the very least, hopefully I can entertain you for 10 minutes while you try and find anything to do outside of the report that's due on your boss' desk in 45 minutes.
Let's get at it.
Drop Colin Kaepernick
For those of you who know me, you know I like to draft my quarterbacks late. There's math and stuff that backs up the idea, but there's also a psychological side - one that's not talked about a whole lot - to this as well.
You see, when you draft your quarterback late, you generally don't have an attachment to said quarterback. You don't care if he doesn't perform - you'll drop him, play the waiver wire, and find replaceable production. Or you'll trade your scarce wide receiver and running back resources for one.
The dude who drafted Colin Kaepernick hates you, because he can't quit his quarterback. He can't quit him despite the fact that Kaepernick has failed to score 15 fantasy points in every game since Week 6, being outscored by waiver wire assets regularly. And he did next to nothing with one of the best fantasy matchups imaginable in Week 12.
As I tend to say, there are only three or four true plug-and-play quarterbacks in fantasy football. Colin Kaepernick doesn't even come close to them. Considering he'll face Seattle twice in his next four games, I'm not holding onto hope that the 49ers passer becomes anything trustworthy in fantasy football. To the 63% of ESPN.com teams starting Kaepernick: move on.
Drop Vernon Davis
I understand the tight end position isn't very strong this year, but that doesn't mean you should be continuously destroying your fantasy hopes and dreams by throwing Vernon Davis in your tight end slot each week.
Davis has one game with more than 6.9 PPR fantasy points this year, and it came in Week 1. One game. One. He's scored a combined 32.7 fantasy points in PPR leagues since Week 1 concluded, which is about two more points than what Larry Donnell scored in Week 4 alone.
Davis should not be owned in over half of ESPN.com leagues. Like his quarterback, it's time to drop him.
Add Jarvis Landry
Alright, enough with the depression - let's take a look at someone to add this week off the wire. The first guy is Jarvis Landry.
I've mentioned Landry before in this column, but he's even exceeded my expectations. He's now dipped below the five-target mark just twice since he became relevant in Week 2, and in PPR leagues, Landry's scored double-digit fantasy points in each of his last four games. During this stretch, he has 24 receptions. Money.
Among Miami wide receivers, Landry ranks second in Reception Net Expected Points (NEP), but first when you look at things on a per target basis. In other words, he's been more efficient than Mike Wallace this year, but hasn't been as worthwhile in fantasy football due to volume (Reception NEP is a cumulative statistic).
If Landry's still out there, you need to add him, especially in PPR leagues.
Add Dan Herron
Herron made the 15 Transactions list last week, but when I wrote him up, I had no idea he'd have the role he had against Jacksonville on Sunday.
Herron ended up seeing 12 carries to Trent Richardson's 13, running for 23 more yards. Herron saw five catches to T-Rich's zero as well. Plying in an offense that's fifth best in the league according to our schedule-adjusted rankings, Herron is a must add.
Add Latavius Murray
Perhaps the most important breakout game of Week 12 came from Oakland running back Latavius Murray, who rushed for 112 yards and 2 touchdowns on just 4 carries before leaving the team's Thursday night contest with a concussion.
Murray's an exciting, athletic back who dynasty owners have been waiting to see get a significant load in the Raiders backfield since he was drafted last year. The running backs competing for touches against him in Oakland rank last (Maurice Jones-Drew) and 11th from the bottom (Darren McFadden) among 30-plus attempt backs in Rushing NEP per rush, so it's not as though he needs to do a whole lot to be better than them.
As I mentioned though, Murray did suffer a concussion in Thursday night's game. Fantasy football legend Marcel Reece came in and ran eight times for Oakland afterwards, meaning he could be a decent add if you're in desperate need of some running back help this week.
I should mention that, in general, it's tough to get excited about the Oakland running game, not just because it ranked 30th in the NFL entering Week 12, but because the team's schedule is one of the worst in the league moving forward. Temper your expectations.
Add Stedman Bailey
I wouldn't feel confident fielding Stedman Bailey in fantasy football right now, but he showed positive signs in Week 12 against San Diego. Bailey led the not-very-good St. Louis Rams offense in targets with nine (tied with Jared Cook), and caught seven of them for 89 yards and a touchdown. The next two games for St. Louis are against Oakland and Washington, who rank 21st and 32nd against the pass according to our metrics, respectively. He's worth a flier.
Add Charles Johnson
Another flier add at wide receiver comes in the form of Charles Johnson, who now has nine catches and a score over his last two games for Minnesota. Johnson is a metrics freak who has a lot of potential from an athleticism standpoint, but hasn't been able to bring it all together for a team yet. Considering the Vikings' receivers are so ordinary, there's a chance he can continue to develop a rapport with rookie Teddy Bridgewater and hold some fantasy value down the stretch.
Drop Jay Cutler
This is painful for me. At the beginning of the season, I wrote about how Jay Cutler would be a top-five fantasy quarterback, as long as health was on his side. Health's been on his side, but playing good football hasn't.
Cutler's been much more serviceable in fake football than real football this year, let's be clear, but his up-and-down nature can't be trusted in the fantasy playoffs. Moreover, the Bears still have to face Detroit twice from here on out, who have been able to stop (most) offenses this year, ranking eighth against the pass. Not good.
I wouldn't drop Cutler if there weren't stream-worthy options on the waiver wire, to be clear. But in shallower leagues, letting him go is fine.
Add Andy Dalton
One of those stream-worthy options could be Andy Dalton, who will face a Buccaneers secondary this week that ranks 30th against the pass when adjusted for strength of schedule, surrendering the 12th-most points in the league to opposing signal-callers.
Dalton's the kind of player who takes advantages of non-divisional bad defenses (we saw that against New Orleans two weeks ago), so he has upside in this one. If he's available - which he is in about half of leagues - go ahead and grab him for a nice streaming option this week.
Add Jason Avant
If you didn't hear, Jason Avant is no longer a Carolina Panther. He is, however, a Kansas City Chief, now playing for a team that needs wide receiver help even more than his old one.
We all know that Alex Smith doesn't like throwing the ball downfield, and that the Chiefs group of wide receivers still don't have a touchdown reception this season. I'm not pretending that Jason Avant is some savior, because he's not. He actually was the worst wide receiver in Carolina this year, per our Reception NEP per target metric. But it's worth a speculative add given his history with Andy Reid and the lack of competition in Kansas City.
Add John Brown
If you're in the fantasy playoffs, you probably don't want to trust the Arizona Cardinals offense. Drew Stanton is a hot mess, Andre Ellington is the least effective running back in the entire league (per NEP), and the team's schedule is pretty tough down the stretch.
But little John Brown continues to ball, and now has 9 or more PPR points in four of his last five games. With Larry Fitzgerald nursing a knee injury, Brown's opportunities could continue to grow when a more favorable matchup - not one against the Seahawks in Seattle - is presented. He's somehow still out there in 75% of ESPN.com leagues, and is a strong depth add.
Drop Pierre Garcon
The case surrounding Pierre Garcon is a little similar to that of the aforementioned Vernon Davis. Garcon was a high fantasy draft pick in August, but has posted just three relevant fantasy performances this season. Since Week 1, he has just two games where he's ranked higher than 36th in weekly PPR scoring at his position, and over his last five games, Garcon has totaled just 23 targets.
Clearly dropping Garcon isn't an option in deeper leagues, but for owners in shallow ones, letting him go will relieve a potential headache as you inch into the playoffs. There's really no way I'd trust him in a Redskins offense that now ranks 25th throwing the ball in the league, even if the matchup is a good one.
Add Kyle Rudolph
A healthy Kyle Rudolph should be a low-end TE1 in fantasy football, and that's more or less what we saw this weekend against Green Bay.
Rudolph ended up seeing five targets, playing a solid 88.4% of the team's snaps. As a result, he caught 3 balls for 50 yards - a strong tight end score given the struggles the position has had this season and of late.
The Vikings get the Panthers and Jets over their next two games, so they could have some success throwing the ball. Rudolph is still out there in over 80% of leagues, and should be a top priority add for tight end-needy teams.
Add Alex Smith
Another good streaming option at quarterback this week is Alex Smith, who gets a Denver defense that's capable of stopping the pass, but generally sees a lot of volume against. In fact, the Broncos have faced 31 more passing plays this season than any other NFL team.
Smith played this Denver defense back in Week 2 and scored a little less than 15 fantasy points, but that was without a touchdown pass. If he can find the end zone this weekend - probably a touchdown pass to Anthony Fasano, let's be honest - he should be in good shape.
Add the Giants' Defense
The Giants' defense hasn't been a great fantasy asset this year, finishing higher than 16th in defensive scoring just twice - they've scored the third-fewest points among all team defenses.
But Week 13 presents a matchup against the hapless Jaguars, who continue to surrender top-10 finishes to opposing defenses - Cincinnati is the only defense that hasn't finished in the top 10 in a given week against Jacksonville. Get the G-Men, and hope Blake Bortles is Blake Bortles.