15 Fantasy Football Transactions for Week 13
It seems like we say it every year -- that this year is different.
This football season has more variance. This football season has seen more injuries.
But, seriously, this football season has been the craziest in a while, hasn't it?
The fantasy football world suffered more injuries to big stars in Week 12, so let's start there this week.
Note: The transactions each week are not in order of importance.
Add Alexander Mattison
Dalvin Cook is going to miss time after dislocating his shoulder on Sunday, and that means Alexander Mattison is pushed back into the starting role for Minnesota. We've got a two-game sample this season of this Vikings' offense without Cook, and in those two games, Mattison saw 26 and 25 rush attempts, accounting for 79% and 93% of the team's running back rushes. And unlike previous seasons when he's been pushed into the top spot, Mattison had target shares of 21.1% and 22.6% in those two contests.
To put this all another way, they've utilized Mattison exactly like Cook when the starter's been out.
I typically don't talk about players who are rostered in about half of Yahoo! leagues, but this is an exception. Mattison needs to be rostered in 100% of leagues after waivers run.
Add Jamaal Williams
Thanksgiving wasn't kind to fantasy managers with D'Andre Swift -- he left Detroit's game with a shoulder injury, finishing the day with just 3.9 PPR points. It looks like the injury, thankfully, is just day to day, but you should still be looking to add his backup off the waiver wire this week.
Jamaal Williams is currently rostered in 39% of Yahoo! leagues, and he saw the bulk of the backfield work against Chicago in Week 12, finishing the day with an impressive 79% running back rush share and 20% target share. If he gets close to that type of backfield share in Week 13, he'll be a worthy start.
Buy D'Andre Swift
It's a little strange to recommend you trade for D'Andre Swift after saying to add his backup, but for teams looking to the playoffs and willing to take on a risk, it makes sense. We know Swift has RB1 upside -- in PPR formats, he's an RB1 when healthy -- and the Swift manager may be a little down on him after he left Week 12's contest early. As we know, that injury seems more day to day than week to week, and that's backed by Pro Football Doc, who says this is likely not a long-term issue.
If you're a playoff team -- especially a playoff team with a bye -- Swift is a good target. (Yes, yes, I'm fully aware that a lot of trade deadlines have passed.) In Week 16, Detroit gets Atlanta, a top-five team in schedule-adjusted fantasy points allowed to running backs. In Week 16, it's Seattle, another top-five opponent. He could have two monster weeks during the most important time of the fantasy football year.
Add Chuba Hubbard and Ameer Abdullah
Chuba Hubbard is the obvious add stemming from the injury. Earlier in the year when CMC was sidelined, Hubbard played five games as the team's top back, and in those games, he averaged a running back rush share per game of 81.5% and a target share per game of 10.4%. Oddly, even with that volume, he never gave us a top-12 running back performance.
That's part of the downside here. CMC was obviously an RB1 when healthy, but even with a pretty strong workload, Hubbard's more of a volume-based RB2. Or, that's what he's been.
And part of the problem for Hubbard is that the Panthers have utilized Ameer Abdullah in a pass-catching role over the last month. Since Week 8 -- a five-game sample -- Abdullah has hit a double-digit percentage target share four times. His target share per game average is 14% during that span. And as my colleague Jim Sannes pointed out, he's out-snapped Hubbard in four straight games thanks to that receiving role.
There's also trouble for the fantasy playoffs. The Panthers have arguably the worst schedule for running backs during Weeks 15, 16, and 17, as they'll face the Bills, Buccaneers, and Saints. At the very least, Carolina will be underdogs against Buffalo and Tampa Bay, and any negative game script means more Abdullah versus Hubbard.
Hubbard is going to be the popular add, and it's understandable as to why. We've seen him get a lot of work already. But you could argue this is actually the time to sell him. Chances are, the Panthers aren't going to give him a full bell-cow workload with Abdullah in the mix. And even if they feed him like they did earlier this year, he's got a real chance to post average numbers in the fantasy playoffs given the matchups.
To me, in PPR formats, while I'd prioritize Hubbard, Abdullah is the better value off the waiver wire this week. While your leaguemates spend a lot of cash to get Hubbard, you can spend little to get Abdullah.
And keep in mind, the Panthers have a bye this week. That makes these backs even less attractive.
Sell Myles Gaskin
Myles Gaskin has been really solid over the last month and a half. He's scored at least 15 PPR points in four of his last six games, and he's finished as an RB1 -- a top-12 running back -- in three of his last four. That includes a 19-point, 2-touchdown performance on Sunday against the Panthers.
During this four-game stretch with a few RB1 outings, Gaskin's seen his rushing usage increase. From Weeks 1 through 8, Gaskin's running back rush share per game was just 48.6%, and his target share per game sat at 12.9%. Over his last four, that running back rush share number has jumped to 75.4%, and the target share has declined a tad to about 10%.
So, why sell? Well, the Dolphins recently signed Phillip Lindsay, and in his first game action with the team -- which came on Sunday -- he ran the ball 12 times for a 36.4% running back rush share. Gaskin actually had his lowest running back rush share this past weekend that he's seen since Week 6.
Perhaps some of this was the result of a nice, positive game script for Miami. Lindsay did, after all, get 5 of his 12 carries in the fourth quarter. But this could be the start of a headache, too. Not only did Miami claim Lindsay last week, but they claimed Lindsay after Gaskin struggled on the ground. During this four-game stretch for Gaskin, even though he's been strong in fantasy, he's been pretty mediocre as a runner: per numberFire's expected points model, he's had a well below average 28.8% Success Rate, which measures the percentage of positive expected points runs made by a running back.
We can't deny that what's helped Gaskin get by of late is touchdowns. He found the end zone twice in Week 12, and he's now averaged a touchdown per game over the last month. And while he's got a really attractive Week 15 matchup against the Jets, he'll face the Titans and Saints in Weeks 16 and 17, two of the better teams in football against running backs.
There just seems to be more working against Gaskin than for him. After his two-touchdown day, it seems like a reasonable time to sell high.
Add Taysom Hill
Hill started four games last season and averaged over 21 fantasy points per game while scoring no fewer than 17.5 points. He was QB13 or better in weekly scoring in each start.
And, as we know, that's all because of what he can do with his legs. He averaged 52 rushing yards per game in those starts to go along with a rushing touchdown per contest. Maybe that rushing touchdown number regresses a tad, but like we've seen with Jalen Hurts this year, the rushing component is nothing to brush off. Taysom Hill could easily be a QB1 now.
Buy Saquon Barkley
Like most transactions, this one needs context.
If you're sitting pretty and feel good about your playoff chances, then there's no reason to take on a player like Saquon Barkley. Because let's be honest here: the Giants aren't very good offensively, and Barkley hasn't been close to special this season when healthy. His highest single-game rushing total is just 57 yards. Not only that, but New York doesn't have a super attractive fantasy playoff schedule for running backs.
This transaction is for folks who need that spark. It's for teams that need a little more variance and, in turn, upside.
Barkley was back to seeing his traditional workload in Week 12. In Week 11, his return from injury, he saw just two-thirds of New York's running back rushes to go along with a strong 16.7% target share. This past week against Philly, that running back rush share number jumped about 15 percentage points, and the target share was 17.2%. He also saw his second-highest snap share of the season at 86.7%.
It's tough to find those types of peripheral numbers at the running back position. And since volume drives this game about a game, it makes sense for teams to try to acquire Barkley for some upside down the stretch. But, again, if you're in a pretty good spot, you don't need to make the transaction. This is all about pouncing on the opportunity to acquire after a down performance.
Add Tevin Coleman
It made sense that Tevin Coleman saw the most work in the Jets backfield in Week 12. In Week 11, we saw him outpace teammate Ty Johnson in touches after Michael Carter's injury, so with Carter on IR, Coleman was going to see at least some work in his backfield. And then the Jets didn't see a negative game script, which meant more Coleman and less Johnson, who's been utilized as their pass-catching back this year.
Coleman didn't score the most points at running back for New York this week, though, with Austin Walter finding the end zone. But Coleman did see 51.6% of the team's running back rushes to go along with a 13.0% target share. Both of those numbers were highs in the backfield.
It's tough to trust anyone on the Jets, and that's even truer when we're talking about Jets running backs. Michael Carter was usable because he was capturing a large share of the backfield, whereas Coleman's numbers weren't as high. So temper expectations. He just should be added because it's tough to find any sort of relevancy at the running back position in fantasy.
Buy David Montgomery
During the three weeks since David Montgomery's return from injury, he's played no fewer than 84% of Chicago's snaps in a single game. He's averaged a running back rush share per contest of 83.6%, and his target share per game is 6.0%.
He's also scored no more than 10.4 PPR points in any of those contests.
Admittedly, there's some concern. For one, the receiving work hasn't been good -- his highest target share in a single game since coming back from injury is just 8.1%. And then, obviously, the Bears don't exactly have a high-powered offense.
Here's the good news: according to Pro Football Focus, Montgomery's ranked in the top-10 in routes run at the running back position over the last three weeks. He's been the only Bears' running back who's been targeted. They just haven't targeted their running backs all that much.
The Bears also have a really nice playoff schedule for Montgomery, where they'll face the Vikings, Seahawks, and Giants. It's actually the second-best playoff stretch schedule-wise in the league, with each of those teams ranking as top-half matchups for running backs.
I'd expect better outings from Montgomery.
Add Dontrell Hilliard
Hilliard outscored Foreman in PPR formats 18.3 to 10.2, and he was the one who was utilized more as a pass-catcher -- he had a 9.5% target share versus Foreman's 4.8%. Foreman, however, out-attempted Hilliard 19 to 12. The snap split between the two was essentially 50-50.
The backfield is a mess for fantasy.
Nevertheless, Hilliard, who's rostered in fewer leagues than Foreman over on Yahoo!, should be added this week. The Titans have gone with a run-heavy approach, running the ball more frequently than they've thrown it in two of their last three games. Some volume should be there in a given week. And if McNichols continues to miss time, Hilliard should keep up a decent target share.
Foreman is who I'd prefer considering he saw a similar snap share in an ultra negative game script for Tennessee in Week 12. That script definitely favored the pass-catching Hilliard. In a better game flow situation, Foreman could be useful.
Add Kendrick Bourne
Across Kendrick Bourne's first seven games of the season, he averaged a target share per game of 11%. He hit a 15% target share in just one game.
Over his last five, that target share per game has risen to 18.6%. He hasn't fallen below a 15% target share in a single contest during this time.
Naturally, Bourne's seen his fantasy performances get better with this uptick in volume. During the first seven games, he averaged a little under 11 PPR points per game. Since, it's been 13.7, including two 23-plus point outings over his last three.
These splits are arbitrary -- he hasn't really been playing more. Bourne has just been getting more work in his offense, and it's paying off in fantasy football. So if you need a little wide receiver help -- one with big-play ability -- he makes sense this week off the wire.
Sell Damien Harris
It's been said in this column plenty of times this year, but Damien Harris is the kind of running back you just don't really want to strive for in fantasy football. He was easier to feel decent about earlier in the year when his running back rush share numbers were in the 60% to 80% range, but that's fallen dramatically over the last couple of games with Rhamondre Stevenson in the mix. In Week 11, Harris saw a running back rush share of 43.5%, his lowest of the season. This week, that was 55%, which is still far lower than his 65% average from Weeks 1 through 8.
Let's face it: he's completely, 100% touchdown-dependent. He's fortunately scored in six of his last seven games, but even still, he's given you just one RB1 performance over that timeframe thanks to a lack of receiving work. With his peripherals only pointing downward, it's hard to feel bullish about Harris across the rest of the season.
Add Rex Burkhead
On Sunday, we saw the Texans backfield for the first time this year without Phillip Lindsay. And it was, as you'd predict, a split backfield: Rex Burkhead saw 12 attempts to David Johnson's 10, and they each had 3 targets.
I'd lean adding Burkhead this week not because he saw two more touches than Johnson, but because he played 61% of Houston's snaps versus Johnson's 39% share. That was the highest snap share of any Houston running back this season.
Should we expect Burkhead to be some fantasy football lineup savior? Definitely not. But he's worth an add.
Add Boston Scott
With Jordan Howard sidelined in Week 12, Boston Scott led the Eagles with a 62.5% running back rush share, running the ball 15 times for 64 yards. That wasn't exactly planned -- he was out-attempted by Miles Sanders six to four in the first half, but Sanders hurt his ankle at the start of the second half, likely leading to more work for Scott. You should be looking to add Scott this week because of that.
If Sanders and Howard aren't able to go, Scott would be in store for a hefty workload while Kenneth Gainwell plays a pass-catching role, as he did in Week 12 with a 13.8% target share.
Add the Minnesota Vikings Defense
The Vikings face the Lions this week in a game where, according to FanDuel Sportsbook, they're seven-point favorites. Detroit's been the seventh-friendliest offense for opposing defenses this year according to adjusted fantasy points allowed. Process-wise -- a favorite against a below-average quarterback -- Minnesota makes a ton of sense off the waiver wire this week.