4 FanDuel NFL Studs for Week 13
Spending your available salary in any DFS lineup on a stud can make or break your lineup. These high-salaried players will take up the majority of your budget, so it’s critical to carefully consider which ones you’ll want for each slate. Whether it’s trying to capture a safe floor in a cash game or chasing a huge game to help you win a tournament, nailing the expensive players is one of the keys to making winning NFL lineups on FanDuel.
Week 13 has to be better than what Week 12 offered us, so let's look at the best players at each skill position on the main slate.
Lamar Jackson, QB, Baltimore Ravens
FanDuel Salary: $8,500
Projected Points: 23.0
It's been a few weeks since we've had a great fantasy performance from Lamar Jackson. His last two games were down weeks for him, and he missed a game in between. We tend to believe Lamar will once again bounce back, so we can keep doing that this week.
Despite the lack of production over the past three weeks, Jackson is still having a good season. He's the QB2 on the season by fantasy points per game. Jackson leads all quarterbacks in rushing yards, but we might be able to expect more from him on the ground. He only has two rushing touchdowns on the season -- both coming in Week 2. He has seven rushing touchdowns in each of the last two seasons, so we could see him find the end zone more for the rest of the season.
The Baltimore Ravens have a rivalry matchup against the Pittsburgh Steelers in Week 13. This may feel like a tough matchup, but the numbers say it's not one we should be too worried about. The Steelers are 18th in overall schedule-adjusted defense according to numberFire's metrics, and 27th against the run. Jackson may be able to produce on the ground, and also shouldn't have much difficulty through the air.
Baltimore is favored by four points on the road. With how inept the Steelers offense has been, it wouldn't be surprising if the Ravens control the ball for much of this game. This could lead to a big rushing game from Jackson. He leads our projections for points by QB this week and is a great play in all formats.
Joe Mixon, RB, Cincinnati Bengals
FanDuel Salary: $9,400
Projected Points: 17.0
For the last few seasons, Mixon has disappointed fantasy managers. Lately, he's been getting great volume and performing with it. In the last two games, Mixon has 62 touches. This commitment to him has been earned, as he has been on a serious roll. He has a touchdown in eight straight games, and two touchdowns each of his last four games. This run has helped score at least 23 FanDuel points in five of his last six games.
The spot couldn't get much better for the Cincinnati Bengals to keep up the same game plan and feed Mixon. They'll face the Los Angeles Chargers at home as three-point favorites. The Chargers have been a run-funnel defense, as head coach Brandon Staley has admitted. They rank 31st in adjusted fantasy points per carry against running backs this season. Teams love to run on the Chargers, too; they've faced the second-most rush attempts on the year.
There are a lot of good plays at the top of running back this week and also some great value plays, so it's unlikely Mixon will be egregiously popular. In another week, Mixon might be one of the most popular players on the slate with his recent form and his spot in this game. This makes Mixon a fantastic tournament play.
Justin Jefferson, WR, Minnesota Vikings
FanDuel Salary: $8,000
Projected Points: 15.8
It's been quite the start to a career for Justin Jefferson. He's had one of the best first two years for a receiver in league history. He'll have a great opportunity to keep it up this week.
Jefferson is third in the NFL in receiving yards, behind only Cooper Kupp and Davante Adams. While Adam Thielen has done a lot of the scoring, Jefferson actually has more red-zone targets than anyone on his team. He should be able to improve on his six total touchdowns if he keeps up this red-zone volume.
The red zone isn't the only place where Jefferson's usage is strong. He sees a whopping 42.1% of his team's air yards. That's in the 99th percentile for receivers in the league.
The Minnesota Vikings play the Detroit Lions in an NFC North battle this week. The Lions remain winless and struggle in most aspects of football. They are 31st in adjusted pass defense and are 26th in adjusted fantasy points per target allowed to wideouts.
Jefferson spoke out about his lack of targets a few weeks ago, and he's seen more of the ball since then. He's had at least nine targets in each of the last three games. The Vikings will also be without Dalvin Cook due to a shoulder injury, and that could increase his workload even further.
If he gets that kind of volume in this matchup, he has slate-breaking potential.
Rob Gronkowski, TE, Tampa Bay Buccaneers
FanDuel Salary: $7,000
Projected Points: 10.4
Many people have written off Rob Gronkowski for the past few years.
His last season with the New England Patriots in 2018 saw him often injured and not very productive. He's had health problems since joining the Tampa Bay Buccaneers but has gotten the job done when on the field.
To some people's surprise, Gronk is tied for second in half-PPR points per game for tight ends. That includes a game in Week 8 in which he played five snaps and caught no passes. He's seen a target on 28.6% of his routes -- an elite number. For context, Travis Kelce has only seen a target on 21.6% of his routes this season.
The Bucs get a great matchup against the Atlanta Falcons this week. The Falcons have struggled on defense all season, ranking 28th in schedule-adjusted pass defense. They are also 22nd in adjusted fantasy points per target to the tight end position.
The last time these teams met, Gronkowski scored two touchdowns. With Tampa Bay having the highest implied team total on the slate, there's a chance Gronk could find the end zone again. He's one of a few tight ends with a true ceiling, and that makes him a great play at the position this week.