It’s week 13 boys and girls, and for many leagues this is the last week of the regular season. If you play in a 12+ team league or just have 6 playoff teams this week could be a win or go home scenario. This week’s Thursday night game should have a huge impact on many of those important games as both Atlanta and New Orleans are filled with fantasy starters. Let’s get right to it…
Colin Kaepernick: We’re sticking with Kaep here. St. Louis has been tough against the pass in 2 of the last 3 games, but the first of those three was the game that Kaep came on in relief of Alex Smith. He still managed 16 points in limited time due to his running abilities, so he’s already had success against the Rams. Last week the Rams did pick off 4 passed, but still gave up over 300 yards to Ryan Lindley. Yes, I think Colin Kaepernick > Ryan Lindley. His running ability along should garner him 4-8 points, and I would expect 200+ yards and a passing score as well. As a side note I think that Alex Smith’s days in San Fran will be done at the end of this season. Kaep looks legit.
Matt Schaub: Take out his stinker against Chicago and Schaub has been very reliable as of late. Andre Johnson has come on as well giving Schaub a reliable #1 WR once again. The Titans have also given up 22 TDs in 11 games. I like those chances.
Jacquizz Rodgers: Quizz managed just his 2nd 10+ point performance last week, so this may seem like a bit of a reach. I’ve got to admit it makes me feel a bit uneasy, but I am playing him in several of my PPR leagues this week. I think last week might finally be the shifting of the guard we have been waiting for in the Atlanta backfield. Since busting out against Dallas for 102 yards and a TD, Michael Turner has managed 44 touches for 91 yards (a 2.06 ypt average) and 2 poached TDs. In those same 3 games Quizz has 29 touches for 192 yards (a 6.62 ypt average) and a TD. If that’s not painfully obvious, I think tonight’s game will make things clearer to the Atlanta staff.
Marshawn Lynch: Lynch is a top-10 rusher once again this week, and in the wake of his worst fantasy output of the season many are down on him this week. It’s true that he faces the Chicago bears, a tough defense to be sure. However, the last time Lynch failed to run for at least 50 yards he ripped off 4 straight games of over 100 yards, averaging 114 yards per game. Of those 4 teams he faced, only the Jets were ranked in the bottom half of the league against the run. Another fun fact is that the Bears have allowed 489 yards rushing over the last 4 games against fellow top-10 runners. All this to say, I think Lynch can get to the century mark if the Seahawks give him 20 touches.
Bryce Brown: Brown was an accidental omission from last week’s column as I was a big fan of his going into the Monday night game. I actually used him in two of my leagues. When teams go south, offensive lines and unproven players are the ones that continue to give maximum effort when others seem to quit. Brown had been running very well in a reserve role and then exploded for 189 yards and 2 TDs. LeSean McCoy should be out this week, and the 189 yards make up for Brown’s 2 fumbles last week. I really don’t see anyone else getting many touches.
Ryan Broyles: Another guy I liked last week but didn’t make the column, Broyles capitalized on his chance to start. That’s something we can’t say about Titus Young in his many chances this year. In place of Young, Broyles managed 126 yards on 6 receptions. He has a nice matchup against Indy and Megatron on the other side to ensure single coverage. I’m buying again.
Pierre Garcon: Remember all of that pre-season hype for Garcon? It was there for a reason. He finally looked healthy last week and promptly went for 86 yards and a TD. The Redskins will be out for a bit of revenge against the G-Men this week and Garcon should lead the charge behind RGIII.
Cecil Shorts: How long will it take for everyone to catch on? He’s owned in less than 70% of ESPN leagues and in many formats he has been a top-20 WR. Since stepping into the starting lineup, all he’s done has averaged 90 yards and 12.2 fantasy ppg. Also, check out a comparison between his numbers in just his 2nd year against Mike Wallace’s breakout rookie season: Shorts – 11 games, 36 receptions (72 targets), 747 yards, 20.8 ypc, 6 TDs. Wallace – 16 games, 39 receptions (72 targets), 756 yards, 19.4 ypc, 6 TDs. Nearly identical stats in less games with a worse QB. Shorts might be a sneaky keeper going forward.
Aaron Hernandez: Hernandez looked good in his limited chances last week with his return from the high ankle sprain. The Patriots’ defensive and special teams scores made it so that the Pats didn’t need to use Hernandez much, hence his low scoring output. Stick with him owners, he will be needed with Gronk out.
Martellus Bennett: This is a really rough week for TEs people. It looks though like the week off did wonders for Bennett’s balky knee and Eli Manning’s dead arm. Last week they combined for 44 yards on 3 connections. That’s nothing to write home about, but it is a good sign I think. Washington has been the worst defense in fantasy against TEs, so there is opportunity for Bennett to return to his early season promise in this one.
Panthers D/ST: I barely missed on this unit last week, falling one point short. This week they play the only offense giving up more points to defenses than the Eagles in the Chiefs. Roll them out again this week if you’re streaming.
Josh Freeman: We were right last week in listing Freeman as a sit, and this week things don’t get much better facing a tough Denver secondary. His schedule gets a little better after this week though, so this might be the last week I recommend sitting him.
Joe Flacco: I’m sure there are some owners who have been starting Flacco or have been rotating him in or out based on matchups. This week is not a week to have him in. Facing the Steelers two weeks ago Flaccon only managed 164 yards passing. Not much has changed since then, so it would be unlikely for Flacco to greatly improve his numbers.
Steven Jackson: Jackson squared off against the 49ers #1 ranked defense vs. RBs 2 weeks ago and manage 100+ yards and a TD. So what’s different this time around you might ask? Well Jackson is a bit banged up, missing practice yesterday with a foot injury. I also think that 49ers will be keying in to stop Jackson after allowing him to run over them a few weeks ago.
Matt Forte: This one could blow up on me, and you probably can’t sit him if he plays. I wouldn’t expect big numbers though from Forte as he faces a tough Seattle defense. Seattle was run on last week, but on the two other occasions that has happened this season the Seahawks responded with a good game. Forte is dealing with an ankle injury as well, and hasn’t been very good the last 3 weeks anyway.
Rashad Jennings: Jennings was back last week once Parmele went down with a leg injury and produced a TD. With Parmele now on IR and MJD not yet ready to return, Jennings gets the start in what seems like a great matchup. The Bills have been bottom 5 against RBs this year, but in their last 2 games they have given up just 120 yards on 46 carries and no TDs. Combine that fact that Jennings has not looked impressive in any of his chances this year, and I think you could be let down if you play him this week.
Vincent Jackson: Jackson will be shadowed on Sunday by Champ Bailey. He and Bailey are very familiar with each other from Jackson’s days in San Diego. Jackson has never, never, had 100 or more yards against Bailey.
Dwayne Bowe: Another week of Brady Quinn, another week of leaving Bowe on your bench. It’s now to the point that if you are playing him you have to cross your fingers and hope you win the lottery.
Michael Crabtree: Crabtree had developed into a very reliable option for owners with Alex Smith at the helm. However, as good as Kaepernick has been the last few weeks, he has yet to really click with the 49ers’ #1 WR. It might not come this week either and I might wait until they show some chemistry before inserting Crabtree back into your lineup.
Brandon Myers: Cleveland has routinely stuffed opposing TEs this season. They have only given up 2 TDs all season to TEs, so I wouldn’t feel comfortable rolling Myers out this week.
Heath Miller: I have a feeling Ben Roethlisberger doesn’t play this week, and you can’t trust any Steelers receiver with Charlie Batch at the helm. Miller has been a top-10 option so far this year, but he can’t be this week.
Falcons D/ST: I don’t think Drew Brees throws 2 pick-6s in back-to-back games. This one might be a shootout.
That does it folks. Good luck as the playoffs draw near!
Last Week’s Results: Season Totals in Parentheses
Starts: 5-6, .454 (57-75, .431)
Andy Dalton: 26pts = W, Colin Kaepernick: 21pts = W, BenJarvus Green-Ellis: 18pts = W, Marcel Reece: 9pts = L, Trent Richardson: 16pts = W, Randall Cobb: 4pts = L, Sidney Rice: 4pts = L, Michael Crabtree: 2pts = L, Aaron Hernandez: 3pts = L, Owen Daniels: 8pts = W, Panthers D/ST: 7pts = L
Sits: 5-6, .454 (79-53, .598)
Eli Manning: 28pts = L, Josh Freeman: 10pts = W, Alfred Morris: 17pts = L, Ahmad Bradshaw: 17pts = L, Beanie Wells: 16pts = L, Darrius Heyward-Bey: 0pts = W, Larry Fitzgerald: 3pts = W, DeSean Jackson: 0pts = W, Dustin Keller: 12pts = L, Brandon Pettigrew: 5pts = W, Giants D/ST: 12pts = L
This week’s 10-12 mark brings my season total to 136-128 (.515).