Fantasy Football: 5 Bold Predictions for Week 13
One of the things that makes fantasy football so captivating is the variance. Even throughout Cooper Kupp's historic, unflappable season, he was the top wideout for the week just three times in 2021. That means, on individual weeks, some very strange players may pop in terms of fantasy points at their positions.
That opens the door for some room to be "spicy" and make some fun predictions. In a landscape increasingly set ablaze by "hot takes," it can be difficult to understand the difference between a bold prediction -- based on a particularly strong spot for a team or player -- and a senseless take with the prayer of becoming correct based on variance.
Let's shoot for the former with five interesting spots to target during this weekend's NFL games.
Note: All predictions are for half-PPR formats (and FanDuel scoring for quarterbacks).
1. Goff to the Races: Jared Chucks Over 275 Passing Yards Against Jacksonville
There's a 51.5-point total in Detroit between these two squads, and this game also rates out above average in situational-neutral pace. It's a stellar environment for fantasy football, and if you're streaming quarterbacks, access to it might not be far away.
Jared Goff is available in 54% of Yahoo leagues, but he could finish as a QB1 this week given his matchup. The Jags are numberFire's fifth-worst passing defense, but they're also the seventh-best defense against the rush.
Detroit's strong ground game and Jamaal Williams' tendency to score touchdowns might be halted this week, funneling more passing scores and opportunities to Goff.
Surprisingly, Goff is an adequate passer at home as it is. He's averaged 0.23 Passing Net Expected Points (NEP) per drop back at Ford Field this year, which would rank fifth in the NFL if translated to the full season. Add in this excellent matchup, and the former Cal signal-caller is an excellent streamer if you can snag him.
2. In the Nick of Time: Chubb's 125+ Rushing Yards Steal the Show in Watson's Return to Houston
The maligned quarterback returns from his 11-game suspension to help a Cleveland squad that's still alive. The Browns are 4-7 with numberFire's third-ranked rushing attack. This could be an offense that rivals the Chiefs' attack if Watson helps them build on what we have ranked as the 16th-best passing game so far.
However, I think Nick Chubb steals the headlines in H-Town this weekend.
Chubb leads the NFL in rushing yards over expectation per game (27.9), and that's a volume-based ability stat. It's remarkable considering he's still played just 54.0% of Cleveland's snaps this year. He's -- for my money -- the best back in football, and he is facing one of the NFL's worst rushing defenses.
Any way you slice it, Houston can't stop rushing attacks. They're the seventh-worst run D by our numbers, and they've allowed the most rushing yards per game (186.8) by a wide margin.
Kyle Allen and the Texans' offense were lifeless last week, and Chubb should dominate a positive rushing script in this matchup.
3. Hot Sauce: The Jets' Rookie Corner Holds Justin Jefferson Under 90 Receiving Yards
I don't think what Sauce Gardner is doing is getting enough credit.
The rookie has been a throwback to Darrelle Revis in New York. Following number-one targets who primarily play from the "X" (or outside) position, Sauce has largely been a lock-down corner for Gang Green:
|Week||Top Wideout |
(Most Snaps at "X" Position)
However, if Sauce is in his proverbial freshman year, this latest exam will be a brute. Justin Jefferson will be his draw in Minnesota, and the star wideout has failed to eclipse 98 receiving yards in only three games this year.
I like the rookie corner's chances, though. Those three down games for Jefferson came when he was facing Darius Slay, Jeff Okudah, and Trevon Diggs. Gardner's small body of work has shown he belongs in that group, and I -- one of Jefferson's strongest proponents -- wouldn't expect the best Sunday from the Vikings' star wideout in this matchup.
4. King George: Kittle Returns to Double-Digit Fantasy Points Against Miami
George Kittle's last three weeks have been total feast or famine. We might return to the former the week after Thanksgiving.
He's sandwiched a two-touchdown effort in Mexico City around two games failing to exceed five fantasy points. There's reason to believe he can have another big game this week.
That's largely due to the fact San Francisco's wide target tree might be a bit narrower in Week 13. Deebo Samuel may not be 100% after having to come out of the game briefly on Sunday, and Christian McCaffrey and Elijah Mitchell both left the contest worse for wear, too.
Plus, the Dolphins are an excellent matchup for tight ends. They've ceded the sixth-most adjusted fantasy points per target to the position, including letting Jordan Akins go for 12.6 fantasy points last week.
It's hard to say this about any of the Niners' bevy of weapons outside of McCaffrey, but I'm still starting Kittle with confidence this week.
5. Left Hand Up: Washington's D/ST Posts a Top-5 Week Versus the Giants
The Giants are in really rough shape.
Not only have they lost three of their past four games, but Big Blue is now in a position to face the Washington Commanders in both of Washington's next two games (surrounding the Commanders' bye). The Commies are a nightmare matchup for the Giants.
First, the Washington D/ST is excellent against the run. They own the best rush defense by our metrics, which should help contain the already fledgling Saquon Barkley. In three matchups with above-average run defenses (per those same rankings), Barkley was held to fewer than 55 yards rushing in all three.
Plus, the Commanders get enough pressure (33% rate; tied for seventh in the NFL) to exploit the Giants' key weakness -- their pass protection. New York has ceded a league-worst 33% pressure rate themselves.
As a result, the Washington D/ST is an excellent streamer. Plus, if you have the bench room to hold a second defense, you can stash the Commanders (assuming all goes well this week) for this identical matchup in Week 15.