15 Fantasy Football Transactions for Week 13
When Christmas music is allowed to be listened to (after Thanksgiving), this column starts to change. Because around this time of year, your fantasy lineups can't be manipulated or changed a whole lot given most league traded deadlines are past.
Basically, the voice of Bing Crosby is a reminder to us all that our fantasy football lineups -- the players in our lineups -- will be looking nearly identical throughout the fantasy playoffs.
As a result, 15 Transactions, which generally looks at players to buy and sell, becomes more of a waiver wire column. Well, sort of -- I'll still be looking further into the future than most waiver wire articles out there, and I'll randomly throw in guys for you to drop.
But, please, don't be disappointed when you see fewer buys and sells. It's sad that trading is over with, but it's still the most wonderful time of year.
Add David Johnson
Andre Ellington had his chance. During Sunday's contest against San Francisco, veteran and workhorse Chris Johnson left with what's now known to be a fractured tibia, which paved a nice path for Ellington to see significant work. But Ellington hurt his toe, and he could miss time, too.
That opens things up for the rookie David Johnson.
Johnson was a late-round favorite by many of us here at numberFire entering the season -- his physical profile is unmatched, and Ellington was coming off one of the most inefficient seasons, according to Net Expected Points (NEP) among relevant backs. And while some of Ellington's ineffectiveness had to do with a foot injury, it also came during a season where he was seeing a ton of volume, which is something he wasn't used to. Volume, of course, equates to fantasy success, which put David Johnson on everyone's radar.
CJ1K spoiled the potential breakout, but with both Cardinal backs ahead of Johnson on the depth chart hurting, David Johnson becomes a top priority off the waiver wire. Who wouldn't want a physically gifted back who can catch passes in one of the best offenses in the league?
Add DeVante Parker
Rishard Matthews played three snaps in yesterday's game versus the Jets before exiting with a rib injury, and that opened things up for rookie DeVante Parker, who had seen no more than 53.8% of Miami's snaps in a single game this year. On Sunday, that number jumped all the way to 81.9%, turning into 4 catches for 80 yards and a touchdown. If Matthews is out an extended period of time -- or even just next week, considering Miami gets Baltimore -- Parker could be a nice waiver wire start for your squad.
Add Robert Turbin
I'm not expecting Robert Turbin to have standalone value without a Darren McFadden injury, but he's certainly next in line if DMC does go down given he's seen nine carries to Rod Smith's zero over the last two weeks. There may be no McFadden health issue, but he's seen double-digit carries each week since Week 7, topping the 20-carry mark in four of those six contests. We know he's a fragile back, and having insurance isn't a bad idea. It's handcuff season, after all.
Drop Washington Running Backs
Remember a couple of weeks ago when Matt Jones was a hot waiver wire pickup after his big game against New Orleans? For the record, I brought him up as a "sell" after that game, and I think it's about time we sell this entire backfield. And that includes Alfred Morris, who saw 23 carries against the Giants on Sunday.
There are a couple reasons to rid yourself of this backfield. First is volatility -- we've only seen two instances all year where a Washington back played more than 60% of the team's snaps, which is an outside-the-top-15 type of number at the position. Moreover, if you look at the fantasy points scored and the volume seen by these guys, it's a freaking roller coaster. They're unpredictable.
But there's also the fact that they've been ineffective. The Washington backs have a combined four top-20 PPR performances this year, with two coming in their contest against the Saints. Meaning, when you're trotting these running backs out in your fantasy lineup, they've got about an 11% chance to finish as a top-20 running back in PPR leagues.
With a schedule that's nothing to write home about, shallow leagues can move each of these backs to the waiver wire.
Add Jay Ajayi
Back in Week 9's edition of this column, I wrote up Lamar Miller as a sell. In Week 9, he went off for over 28 fantasy points, and in Week 10, he posted another 18.
This is my job. I should be better than this.
In my defense, what Miller did in Weeks 9 and 10 simply wasn't sustainable. Though he scored a ton of fantasy points, he was fortunate to score two ground touchdowns on just 12 carries and 44 yards in Week 9, and in Week 10, Miller found the end zone after catching 6 passes for 50 yards. Despite the touchdowns, fantasy points and happy fantasy owners, Miller had rushed the ball 28 times for just 87 yards.
Regression has hit hard over the last two weeks, and there's now another reason for Miller owners to be worried: Jay Ajayi.
Miller has 12 carries to Ajayi's 7 over the last two weeks, but in Sunday's contest against the Jets, Ajayi actually out-snapped Miller, seeing 56.9% of the team's snaps versus Miller's 31.9%. Whether that's part of the reason offensive coordinator Bill Lazor was fired on Monday or not, it's certainly something, especially when you consider the Dolphins were trailing, which is usually Miller's time to shine in the passing game.
With all this being said, things are trending towards a true running back-by-committee in Miami. Whether it happens or not remains to be seen, but you should be ahead of the game and have Ajayi rostered.
Add Dan Herron
Yeah, I'm pretty into adding handcuffs when we're talking fantasy football playoffs, but Dan Herron could be more than just a handcuff as early as this week. Ahmad Bradshaw is out for the year with a wrist injury, and it was reported today that Frank Gore, according to coach Chuck Pagano, is "beat to crap". That might explain his 33 carries for 58 yards over the last two weeks.
Considering Bradshaw is done and Gore is becoming a shriveled geriatric, Herron has a lot of rest-of-season upside.
Add Bilal Powell
Powell played over 45% of New York's snaps on Sunday, and since returning from injury two weeks ago, he's played over half of New York's snaps. He's certainly the Jets' primary passing-down back, but with Chris Ivory not playing all that well (-0.05 Rushing NEP per rush, a low rate among high-volume rushers), Powell has more value than just a guy who'll get work when his team is trailing. Not only that, if Ivory goes down, you're looking at a running back who has three-down potential, catapulting him to start-worthy running back territory. He's worth an add at this point in the season.
Hold Spencer Ware
There's a chance Charcandrick West comes back this week, which will force fantasy owners to want to dump Ware to the waiver wire. Don't. Over the last two weeks, Ware has an absurd 0.29 Rushing NEP per rush, which is by far the best rate of any back with more than 30 carries. And it's not as though he's doing this on just long runs, which would skew his average -- his Success Rate, or the percentage of positive runs made in terms of NEP, is a beastly 50.00%.
When healthy, West will more than likely still be the lead back, but don't think the Chiefs are simply going to phase Ware out of their offense.
Add Ryan Fitzpatrick
Fitzpatrick has scored fewer than 13 fantasy points once this year, and it came in a contest where he left in the first quarter with a hand injury. So he's got the floor, which is great for a quarterback streamer, but he also has a nice ceiling this week against the Giants, who rank 24th against the pass according to our schedule-adjusted metrics. Though Fitzpatrick isn't a plug-and-play fantasy quarterback, he's got plenty of upside in Week 13 for quarterback streamers.
Sell Markus Wheaton
The word "sell" here means something different than in past 15 Transactions articles. No, you're not trading Markus Wheaton to anyone -- the deadline is more than likely over, and who's trading for Markus Wheaton?
In this case, I'm referring to selling his Week 12 performance.
The word "anomaly" means "something that deviates from what is standard, normal, or expected." That's exactly what Wheaton was against Seattle -- an anomaly. Entering the game, he had accumulated just 16 catches for 273 yards all season long. Exiting, his season-long numbers turned into 25 catches for 474 yards.
Wheaton hasn't been efficient this season, which is partially the reason he's not seeing the volume many thought he might entering the year. His 0.56 Reception NEP per target ranked 91st among the 143 wide receivers with 10 or more targets on the season entering Week 12, which really isn't close to Antonio Brown (28th) and Martavis Bryant (17th), who are both in the same situation. That's consistent from what we saw last season as well.
Overall, he's not worth a waiver wire add in any sort of regular sized league -- his production will be sporadic, and your bench spots should be used for handcuffs and higher upside players at this point in the season.
Add Dontrelle Inman
The San Diego wide receiving corps is a mess, and Dontrelle Inman has had to step up as a result. In two games without Keenan Allen, Inman has now seen five targets in each contest, but more importantly, he actually saw all snaps -- that's 100 percent -- for San Diego against Jacksonville. Though the Chargers face Denver next week -- a game you should definitely bench him -- they still get Kansas City, Miami and Oakland down the stretch, who have all been beatable in the secondary this season. It all makes Inman a worthwhile look off the waiver wire this week.
Hold and Drop Matt Ryan
Ryan has just two top-10 quarterback performances this year, people. Two. Alex Smith, Kirk Cousins, Joe Flacco -- the list goes on and on when searching for guys who have more than two top-10 quarterback performances.
I'm holding him this week simply because the Falcons get the Buccaneers and their 26th-ranked secondary, but after this week, Ryan's droppable. During the fantasy playoffs, the Falcons get the Panthers twice, and while the Jaguars are sandwiched in between those two matchups, what has Matt Ryan done this season to make you feel like he's a guarantee? After all, he posted a sub-10 point game against Tennessee and a 6.16 fantasy point performance against Washington.
Add Shaun Draughn
On Sunday, Shaun Draughn became the first running back this season to play all 100% of his team's snaps in a single game. Shaun Draughn did that. And he's available in roughly 65% of ESPN leagues.
As the 49ers' lead back, Draughn has been surprisingly effective from a fantasy standpoint, posting 13.6, 15.7 and 13.6 PPR points. Those are mid-RB2 numbers, folks.
If you use Draughn, though, don't watch him actually play. His fantasy success has been completely volume-driven, as he's rushing to a -0.15 Rushing NEP per rush average. That's the same rate as the ineffective Melvin Gordon.
But there's no timetable for Carlos Hyde's return, and it would only make sense for the 49ers -- who aren't in the playoff picture -- not to rush their young runner back from injury. And with a reasonable schedule down the stretch, Draughn should have decent fantasy value given he's always on the field.
Add the Redskins' Defense
Matt Cassel will be under center for the Cowboys on Monday night as they face off against the division-leading Redskins. On the year, Washington's been an up-and-down squad, but they've put together top-10 performances in two of their last four games. Meanwhile, Cassel's Cowboys haven't been strong offensively when he's been under center -- from Weeks 7 through 10, fantasy defenses facing Dallas ranked 3rd, 17th, 7th and 3rd in weekly defensive scoring. Given the Redskins are at home, they're a nice defensive streaming option.
Add the Dolphins' Defense
Another defense to target off the wire is Miami. No, they haven't exactly been strong of late -- they haven't ranked higher than 15th in weekly defensive scoring since Week 7 -- but the matchup is perfect, as they'll face off against the second stringers of the Baltimore Ravens. We saw Cleveland take advantage of Matt Schaub on Monday night, picking him off twice (one for a touchdown), and there's little reason to think Schaub, who now has 4 interceptions over his last 44 attempts, will pick them apart.