My Week 13 list features under-the-radar players that are not being started in a majority of fantasy football leagues. These players could produce good fantasy numbers this week due to a favorable matchup, injury, or other circumstances. With that in mind, here are our top fantasy football sleepers for Week 13.
Coming into the season, Marcus Mariota was a quarterback that many fantasy analysts thought could potentially flirt with top five numbers at the position. Long story short, Mariota has vastly underachieved towards that sentiment and has forced many fantasy owners to stream the position throughout the season. While the former Oregon Duck was largely ineffective in a plus matchup last weekend against the Colts, there’s a lot to like about his chances of righting the ship this weekend against the Texans. The Houston defense has given up 29 + points across five different contests this season and have been shred’able through the air this season. Despite holding Joe Flacco and the Ravens ill-equipped passing attack in check on Monday Night, Mariota and the Titans should fare much better on Sunday against the Texans.
After 49ers General Manager John Lynch shocked the league by acquiring Jimmy Garoppolo before the October 31st trade deadline, he has maintained that the former Patriots quarterback would be on clipboard duties until further notice. That seemed to be the case in the early going, as Garoppolo backed up C.J. Beathard each of the three games he’s been in San Francisco. That was until late in the 4th quarter during Sunday’s loss to Seattle. Beathard had to come out of the game after sustaining knee and hip injuries and was replaced by Garoppolo. The former Eastern Illinois star relieved Beathard and threw a touchdown pass in the waning seconds, leaving many people to wonder why he wasn’t an option immediately upon being acquired from the Patriots. With Garoppolo earning the start this week in his native Chicago area at Solider Field against the Bears, he should have a relatively high floor despite a lack of playmakers at his disposal on the offensive side of the ball. Garoppolo will be an intriguing option in DFS and should be considered a QB2 until proven otherwise, in year long leagues.
When the Raiders lured Marshawn Lynch out of retirement this past offseason, there was an instant buzz regarding the return of one of the league’s most polarizing players. The narrative was set for Lynch to be a consistent source of production for fantasy owners, as he was immediately penciled in as the Raiders starting back running behind one of the league’s most talented offensive lines, in one of the league’s most talented offenses. However, Lynch’s 2017 fantasy campaign has been more rocky than anticipated. After rushing for 76 yards on 18 carries in Week 1 against the Titans, Beastmode has failed to eclipse 67 yards on the ground in any other game this season. On the season, he’s run to a pedestrian tune of 457 yards and five touchdowns on 123 attempts. He also dealt with a Week 8 suspension after making contact with an official in a Week 7 game against the Chiefs. Needless to say, it’s always the unpredictable with Marshawn. That all said, the bruising back has totaled his best numbers over the past three weeks, totaling a season-high in carries with 26 last week against the Broncos and adding three touchdowns over the past three games. With a matchup on tap against a hapless Giants team who should still be lulled from the Eli Manning benching news that rocked the league this week, Marshawn has a great chance to keep the streak of effective games intact. With Michael Crabtree suspended for this week, don’t be surprised if Jack Del Rio and the Raiders coaching staff deploys a more run-based attack, which will obviously bode well for Lynch.
This prediction is solely contingent with Doug Martin’s health for Sunday’s game against the Packers. Martin has not yet gained any clearance from the league’s concussion protocol and is questionable at best to suit-up for Sunday’s “Battle of the Bays.” If the muscle hampster ultimately is deemed inactive, it’ll be Jacquizz Rodgers the likely candidate to usurp the majority of the work in the Tampa Bay backfield. While Peyton Barber recorded a pair of touchdowns in last week’s loss to the Falcons, there’s more to like about Rodgers skill set translating to the higher fantasy floor this week against the Packers. Jameis Winston returns this week to a depleted offensive line, as the team lost center Ali Marpet and tackle Demar Dotson for the season. Without two key cogs up front and making a start after sitting out the last three games, I expect Dirk Koetter and the Bucs coaching staff to throw a smorgasbord of screens and check-downs to the backs out of the backfield. Rodgers has solid pass-catching skills and will be the beneficiary of handling the majority of work between the tackles. Even if Barber continues to operate as the team’s goal line back, Rodgers projects to near double-digits on the afternoon. He’ll be a low-risk, high-reward start – especially in DFS lineups.
You know its grim times in fantasy when a stud like Jordy Nelson has to be relegated to “sleeper” status. But, that’s exactly where we’re at with Nelson’s unfortunate fantasy stock. The go-to target for Aaron Rodgers in one of the league’s most potent offenses, Nelson’s value plummeted once Rodgers went down with a broken collarbone. Nelson has failed to reach double-digit fantasy points in standard leagues, since Week 4 against the Bears. Obviously, he’s been a far cry from the elite WR commodity he has been for the last handful of seasons with Rodgers in the saddle for the Green Bay offense. However, this week the Pack return home with Brett Hundley coming off the best game of his early career and his confidence is sure to grow for this week’s tilt against the 31st ranked pass defense of Tampa Bay. I expect Head Coach Mike McCarthy to shake things up a bit and go out of his way to try to re-establish Nelson in what has been a rough season. With Hundley proving to be a competent quarterback, I think this is the week he builds off the positives and is able to get Jordy more involved in the offense. I’ll go as far as predicting a touchdown for Nelson this Sunday.
Charles Clay is coming off his highest receiving yards total since Week 4 when he posted 112 receiving yards against the Falcons. Despite getting off to sluggish return to the lineup in his return from lingering injuries, Clay should be ticketed for a more prominent role moving forward with Kelvin Benjamin remaining inactive. The Patriots have been a solid source of production for opposing tight ends this season and I fully expect Clay to make it two consecutive weeks where he puts up respectable numbers. He’ll be a legitimate TE1 this week and has a great chance of finding paydirt against the Patriots defense that ranks dead last against the pass this season.
San Diego Chargers
It’s always a no-brainer when the Browns are in town for fantasy owners to take note. However, the San Diego Chargers defense has been red-hot lately, so that it’s just a big added bonus that their opponent is the left-for-dead Browns. With Casey Hayward looking like one of the league’s premier corners and the Joey Bosa – Melvin Ingram tandem wreaking havoc on opposing offensive lines, this Chargers defense is about as consistent as it gets right now. They’ll be one of the best defenses on the week, as they look to spoil Josh Gordon’s season debut.