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Whos Hot Whos Not 2016 Week 13
By Jen Ryan
We all have big decisions to make this week, and fast! The clock is ticking on those playoff hopes in redraft leagues so let’s get right down to business for this week, where will be without some serious studs with the Tennessee Titans on bye, and some not so serious studs with the Cleveland Browns also being on their bye week. That’s right, no Marcus Mariota, DeMarco Murray, Delanie Walker, Rishard Matthews, or Terrelle Pryor. There is no one else really worth mentioning. Remember, I am not going to get into obvious calls here, that you can handle on your own. Here we go!
Fire Starter: Alex Smith, QB – Kansas City Chiefs @ Atlanta Falcons
I know, all you have heard all week is how you are supposed to be plugging-and-playing Colin Kaepernick. You probably even got him off waivers on Tuesday. This is understandable, considering how Kaepernick has been playing and his matchup against the Chicago Bears, but how Alex Smith isn’t being mentioned more blows my mind. The 20.4 points per game the Falcons are giving up to quarterbacks are a league high. If Smith was able to put up 15 points against the stout Denver Broncos on the road last week, we have to figure he can top that against the Falcons. Over the past three weeks, his offensive weapons in Travis Kelce and Tyreek Hill have been heavily involved in the passing game, and should contribute to a big day for Smith this week.
Tim Hightower, RB – New Orleans Saints vs. Detroit Lions
Mark Ingram returned to practice today, but let’s keep in mind that he is dealing with a toe injury which could limit his ability this weekend. Hightower, for his part, has proven to be a big factor in the Saints’ offense as of late even with Ingram on the field. He has posted 38 PPR points over his past two games, and gets another home game against the Lions. We all know the Super Dome is where teams shine in terms of scoring fantasy points. All of these factors, including the highest Vegas line of the week at 53.5 points, are reason enough to fire up Hightower this week.
Malcolm Mitchell, WR – New England Patriots vs. Los Angeles Rams
Julian Edelman is the top receiving option in New England, no question. Without Gronk for the better part of the past two weeks, many assumed Chris Hogan would see an uptick in usage, but it is Mitchell who has been making the most of his opportunities. Mitchell has been an irrelevant fantasy option until Gronk went out, and now we know Gronk is done for the season. In (close to – Gronk did play in the beginning of the Jets’ game last week) two games without Gronk, Mitchell has turned 9 receptions into 140 yards and three touchdowns. The Rams have allowed five receiver touchdowns over their past two games. If Mitchell can make it a third week in a row where he is in Tom Brady’s sights, he will be an option for the fantasy playoffs.
Jermaine Gresham, TE – Arizona Cardinals vs. Washington Redskins
In my Targets and Snaps article (http://www.footballdiehards.com/fantasy-football-columns/html/Target-and-Snap-Analysis-Week-13-2016.cfm) this week, I included a visual of the Arizona Cardinals target distribution over the past three weeks. That data has firmly put Gresham on my radar this week. Over the past three weeks, he is third on the team behind Larry Fitzgerald and David Johnson with 14% of the Cardinals’ targets. With John Brown ailing, it has been Gresham and not Floyd or Nelson who has stepped up, and he has also scored two touchdowns in back-to-back games. The Redskins have a weakness when it comes to opposing tight ends, rank 21st against the position, and have allowed two 100-yard games as well as three touchdowns in their past four games. I may be higher than most on Gresham this week, but I am looking for a few receptions and a hat trick out of him.
Ice Cold: Vernon Davis, TE – Washington Redskins @ Arizona Cardinals
Let’s keep it rolling with this game. When the Redskins announced the Jordan Reed will miss this week’s game, I saw Twitter explode with Davis takes. Sure, he will have an opportunity, but not a great one. Let’s not forget that this is the top defensive unit in the league against tight ends, and that no tight end has scored a touchdown on the Cardinals this season. No tight end has even racked up more than 53 receiving yards. We should not let one player replace the other here, and I say that because if Reed was healthy you would be playing him regardless of the numbers telling you otherwise. Vernon Davis is not Jordan Reed.
Andy Dalton, QB – Cincinnati Bengals vs. Philadelphia Eagles
There is no getting around the fact that Dalton struggles without A.J. Green and rightfully so. Beyond that, he is the fourth-most sacked quarterback and has been put on his back 32 times this season. The Eagles are 11th in the league in sacks with 26. With no Giovani Bernard to dump off too, Dalton could be in for a rough day against the Eagles. With much softer matchups elsewhere on this slate, I think you can plug in a handful of other guys over Dalton. Prior to the Week 9 bye he eclipsed 20 fantasy points in six of his eight games. He has not done so since.
Brandon Marshall, WR – New York Jets vs. Indianapolis Colts
I went on a bit of a rant about Brandon Marshall last night when I crashed the SiriusXM Football Diehards show with Bob Harris and Mike Dempsey. He is, in my opinion, the biggest bust in fantasy football this season. I realize he had a decent game against the New England Patriots last week, but bear in mind that was just his third score on the year. The Jets’ receivers have a soft, home matchup against the 20th-ranked Indianapolis Colts but it is Quincy Enunwa you will want to play, not Brandon Marshall. We should have accepted the fact weeks ago that he is not the WR1 we drafted him to be.
Latavius Murray, RB – Oakland Raiders vs. Buffalo Bills
I never feel confident in each of my calls each week. I don’t have a crystal ball, after all. Each week, there is one player that I am not so sure about and that is Murray for me. He ran for a season-high 66% of the teams’ snaps last week and scored, but he could only muster up 45 yards on 19 carries. Despite that, he does have 102 receiving yards over his past two games. For these reasons I don’t feel confident in benching Murray, but I also don’t feel confident in starting him. Buffalo is a tough atmosphere and if I am in a win and in scenario (which I am in more than one league), I am not trusting Murray to get me there.
As always, consult our Ease of Schedule tool (http://www.footballdiehards.com/fantasy-football-columns/html/Target-and-Snap-Analysis-Week-13-2016.cfm) before making any of your own gut calls. Remember, I am just providing you with mine, but if you have gotten this far you should rely on yourself as well. I know I say it each week, but with this being the final week of the fantasy regular season, I mean it when I say good luck!