It’s hard to believe that we’re in Week 13 already. This season has flown by and I am not ready to see it go. At first glance, this is shaping up to be a week where I pay for running back near the middle tier and maybe save RB2 with someone like David Johnson or Shaun Draughn. Then I’ll see where I want to go at quarterback. Depending whether I pay up or down at QB, will dictate how I approach my wide receivers for the week. It’s difficult to fit in Julio Jones if you pay up for someone like Cam Newton at QB, but if you pay down, it makes it more palatable, unless you punt WR3 with someone like Devante Parker for $5,200. You don’t want to force in two studs if it’s really going to lower the floor of the rest of your cash team. Now let’s get to Week 13!
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Cam Newton ($9,000): Playing against the Saints, Cam Newton has to be the No. 1 QB on the board for cash games. Coming in $400 cheaper than Tom Brady, who is missing an abundance of weapons, Cam will be the first guy I am looking at. He’s averaging a league best .67 fantasy points per drop back (PFF), Cam has thrown for 20 touchdowns this year (ninth-most) and rushed for another seven touchdowns. The rushing scores are first among QBs and tied for third if he was a running back, just behind Devonta Freeman and Adrian Peterson. The Saints continue to be the best defense to target for QBs as they rank 32nd in Football Outsiders’ pass DVOA and rank 32nd in 4for4’s schedule-adjusted average fantasy points allowed (aFPA) to QBs. With the Saints giving up a league high in yards per play (6.6) and passing yards per attempt (7.9), including giving up 30 passing touchdowns on the season, I wouldn’t think twice about using Cam in cash.
Jay Cutler ($7,000): For $7,000 Jay Cutler will need just 14 FanDuel points to reach value. 200 yards passing and two touchdown passes is already 16 points, which should be more than attainable against a 49ers’ defense ranked 31st in pass DVOA, and ranking in the bottom-five in passing and total yards allowed. The turnover-prone Cutler will face a defense that has forced a turnover on just 6.7 percent of their defensive plays. Rostering Cutler will allow you to splurge at the WR position.
DeAngelo Williams ($7,200): There really isn’t too much that needs to be said about DeAngelo Williams in his Week 13 matchup. He checks all the boxes we look for in our running backs. He’s a three-down back playing 90-to-95 percent of the snaps, he’s a 6-point home favorite and he has 17 red zone touches in the last three weeks. While the Colts rank 12th in rush DVOA, their run defense ranks in the bottom third of the league in rushing yards allows, yards per carry and rushing touchdowns given up.
Shaun Draughn/David Johnson: ($5,900): At $5,900, Shaun Draughn and David Johnson are an immense source of salary relief. There’s nobody else competing for touches in the 49ers backfield, Draughn played 100 percent of the snaps last Sunday. While playing a running back on a team that is a 6-point underdog is never ideal, Draughn also sees work in the passing game (13 receptions the last two weeks) so he won’t be affected by game script. The matchup is great as the Bears rank 31st in rush DVOA. Combine the matchup with the workload and the price and Draughn makes for a fine cash game play.
Head Coach Bruce Arians has come out and said Johnson is “the lead guy” and at the same price as Draughn he’s also in play as a cheap RB who is receiving starter touches. The Rams rank fifth in rush DVOA, but they have allowed opposing backfields to rush for 105 yards or more in four of the last five games, while surrendering two rushing touchdowns in as many games. I’m having flashbacks of what Jeremy Langford did to them in Week 10.
Julio Jones ($9,200): Last week was very disappointing for Julio Jones. With Devonta Freeman and Leonard Hankerson ruled out, I thought Jones would’ve been a lock for at least 100 yards and a score. Instead he saw just seven targets and sported his worst game of the season. The batch of Tampa Bay corners he gets to face will have a tough time containing the monster that is Julio Jones. The Bucs rank second in rush DVOA and 24th in pass DVOA, so this could be a potential funnel spot for Matt Ryan and the Falcons. It also helps that Julio has massive size advantage on this whole group of corners. He comes in five inches taller and weighs 20+ more pounds than all of them. I’ll be going to the Jones well this week without hesitation.
Alshon Jeffery ($7,700): Priced at WR9, Alshon Jeffery is more than affordable at his price tag. He seems a bit underpriced for his skill set and his matchup. Facing a 49ers’ defense that ranks 31st in pass DVOA, Jeffery should be in for a nice week. When he’s been healthy this year Jeffery has been as reliable as they come. He has just one single digit fantasy outing this year, and that was against the Rams when Jeffery played just 54 percent of the snaps. In games where he has played 60 percent or more of the snaps, he has seen 11 targets or more and caught seven or more passes in that same span, while eclipsing 115 receiving yards in three of those six games.
Greg Olsen ($6,600): It’s hard not to love Greg Olsen against the defensive mess that is the New Orleans Saints. Olsen sees tremendous volume with Panthers, with 27 percent of the teams market share (Daily Roto) and 14.5 percent of the red zone market share. The Saints rank 32nd in pass DVOA against TEs and 32nd in schedule-adjusted aFPA to TEs. Earlier this year Olsen tuned the Saints up for 134 yards and two touchdowns on eight receptions. At $6,600 his price isn’t hard to stomach and TEs are responsible for 34 percent of the Panthers’ receptions. Olsen should make for the safest play at tight end in Week 13.
Scott Chandler ($5,300): After the Sunday night game and Rob Gronkowski’s departure, Adam Levitan mentioned that Scott Chandler set season-highs in snaps (80.6 percent), routes run (39), catches (5), targets (11) and yards (58). With all these weapons disappearing for the Patriots, rostering Chandler is a good way to save money at the most volatile position and get exposure to one of the best offenses in the league. The Eagles and Patriots both rank in the top-10 in pace of play so there should be plenty of offensive opportunities in this one.