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The Worksheet

The NFL Week 13 Worksheet

by Rich Hribar

Week 13 is here, and for the majority of seasonal leagues, this is the final chance for teams to secure a playoff spot. If you’ve been unfortunate this season in your leagues, there’s always DFS to keep the fantasy juices flowing.  We’re finally through all of the bye weeks, so look for things to tighten up  here in the article as we cut out some of the fringe options along the way.

 

For those that are new here, the goal of this article is to provide a top-down, statistical snapshot for each game each week, running down weekly point spreads, team totals, play calling splits, and statistical bullet points on the players and teams involved. Although we’re focusing strictly on PPR league scoring here as a baseline, there’s more than enough to spread around across formats and daily leagues. The reason we’re operating under a PPR umbrella is it allows us to cover a larger portion of the players involved in action weekly.

 

As the author, it’s imperative that I note that this is an expectations-based column over a linear start/sit forum. The labels for each subset of players for each game is simply the vehicle for those expectations and have a different context for each player. Players that are high performers week-to-week are held to different standards than a secondary option in an offense. Every player runs into down weeks, and we’re trying to identify those moments, even for the star players you’re going to ride through thick and thin moments that don’t tally many low points during the season. That said, we’re still embracing some of the elements that will go along with a start/sit column as a byproduct of those expectations. I encourage that you use the game by game tables and data points here in conjunction with the Start/Sit column posted weekly by Nick Mensio, Pat Daugherty’s rankings in the Goal Line Stand, Evan Silva’s Matchup’s column, Ray Summerlin's Waiver Wired and most importantly, your own information and thought process.  Remember, you control your own team. If you are curious as to my personal weekly rankings, they can be found each and every week in the Season Pass section.

All lines are taken from VegasInsider on Tuesday nights 

 

Saints @ Cowboys

 

New Orleans Rank @ Dallas Rank
-7.5   Spread 7.5  
30.3   Implied Total 22.8  
37.2 1 Points/Gm 21.3 23
23.3 15 Points All./Gm 19.4 3
66.0 9 Plays/Gm 66.7 23
59.2 3 Opp. Plays/Gm 61.5 13
47.9% 2 Rush% 44.8% 6
52.1% 31 Pass% 55.2% 27
34.4% 3 Opp. Rush % 41.3% 19
65.6% 30 Opp. Pass % 58.7% 14

 

  • New Orleans has won five straight games by double digits, one shy of their longest streak in franchise history set in 2009.
  • The Saints have allowed opposing teams to score on just 19.4 percent (6-of-31) of their drives the past three weeks, the lowest rate in the league.
  • New Orleans has allowed 282 total yards per game over that span after allowing 387.8 per game prior.
  • The Saints rank first in the league in rushing yardage differential per game (59.9 yards) while the Cowboys rank third (40.8).
  • The Saints face the fewest rushing attempts per game (20.4) while Dallas faces 25.4 per game (16th).
  • New Orleans leads the league in red zone touchdowns scored (38). Dallas has allowed 15 red zone touchdowns defensively, tied for second in the league.
  • The Saints have scored on 71.7 percent (33-of-46) of their possessions on the road this season, the highest rate in the league. League average outside of them is 36.1 percent.
  • New Orleans is second in the league in sack rate offensively (2.9 percent) while Dallas ranks 31st (10.1 percent).

 

Trust (spike starting production)

 

  • Drew Brees: He has three or more touchdown passes in four consecutive games, but Dallas is the only team in the league that has yet to allow more than two touchdown passes in any game this season. That said, the Saints have had the league’s most efficient scoring offense this season and that has even carried over on the road. He’s just too hot to not consider as a top-10 option at this stage.
  • Alvin Kamara: He has just two passing targets total over the past two weeks, but still has 98 or more yards from scrimmage in each of his past four games. The lid on his passing use won’t hold forever and the Cowboys are 22nd in receptions allowed per game (6.0) to opposing backfields.
  • Ezekiel Elliott: He’s averaging 26.8 touches for 160.8 yards over the past four weeks. The Saints face the lowest amount of rushing volume in the league, but Elliott’s workload is tough to push away with game script and Elliott quietly has 22 receptions on 26 targets over that same four game span.

 

On the Cusp (proxy of a player’s baseline)

 

  • Michael Thomas: He had his lowest scoring game of the season in a game in which Brees threw just 22 passes. That was a reminder just how much he has lived off historic efficiency since he has hit 100 yards just once over the past eight games while averaging just 7.1 targets per game over that span. Dallas has allowed the fewest points in the league to boundary wideouts this seasn, so look for Thomas to do his damage in the slot, where he's run at least one third his routes in eahc of the past four games.
  • Amari Cooper: He already has posted a 22-349-3 line in four games with Dallas on 32 targets after notching a 22-280-1 line on 32 targets with Oakland through a little over five games played. The most important part is that his target volume has remained stable, receiving at least 25 percent of the Dallas targets in three of his four games since joining the team. The Saints have turned things around defensively, but as evidence of the 314 yards on 23 catches they allowed to Atlanta wideouts  last week, they can still be hit for usable games from receviers.

 

Bust (underperformance)

 

  • Dak Prescott: His efficiency is way up since the Cowboys added Cooper. Prescott has completed 70 percent of his passes for 7.8 yards per pass attempt over the past four games after completing 62.1 percent for 6.9 yards per attempt prior. Still, that has translated to two strong QB1 games and two games in the back half of scoring. Prescott has a rushing touchdown in five of his past six games which can elevate any type of game, but the Saints Defense should no longer be taken lightly, allowing just three touchdown passes over the past three weeks with six interceptions.
  • Mark Ingram: We’re in a tough spot with Ingram because he’s a touchdown dependent option that plays for the league’s most efficient offense in creating scoring opportunities per drive. In his three games with a score, Ingram has been the RB9, RB10 and RB5. In his four games without a score, he’s been the average RB38 with a high of RB28.  This shouldn’t be a game where the Saints run a ton of play volume, leaving Ingram as a lower-end RB2 that needs that touchdown.
  • Tre’Quan Smith: On track to return to the lineup, we typically circle Smith when the Saints are at home and have shootout potential. Dallas has allowed just eight touchdowns to opposing wideouts, tied for third in the league.

 

 

Bears @ Giants

 

Chicago Rank @ NY Giants Rank
-4.5   Spread 4.5  
24.8   Implied Total 20.3  
28.8 5 Points/Gm 21.5 22
19.2 2 Points All./Gm 26.2 25
60.3 19 Plays/Gm 55.0 27
63.9 22 Opp. Plays/Gm 63.5 19
44.6% 7 Rush% 33.4% 30
55.4% 26 Pass% 66.6% 3
35.3% 4 Opp. Rush % 43.9% 27
64.7% 29 Opp. Pass % 56.1% 6

 

  • Chicago is the only team in the league to run an offensive play with the lead in every game this season.
  • The Giants have run an offensive play with the lead in just four games this season, tied with the Jets for the fewest in the league.
  • The Bears allow 2.5 red zone opportunities per game, the fewest in the league.
  • Eli Manning leads the league in third down completion percentage (74 percent) yet ranks 17th in first down rate on third down pass attempts (41.4 percent).
  • The Bears allow the league's lowest rate of completions to gain 10 or more yards (40.2 percent) and rate to gain 20 or more yards (10.4 percent).  League averages in each percentage are 46.3 percent and 14.9 percent.
  • Jordan Howard has 32.3 percent of the Bears offensive touches, but only 16.1 percent of their yardage, the largest gap in rate of touches to yardage gained for any running back in the league.

 

Trust (spike starting production)

 

  • Saquon Barkley: His worst game on the season produced 94 total yards. The Bears still boast one of the league’s stingiest run defenses on the season, allowing 106.2 total yards per game (third) to opposing backs, but we saw LeGarrette Blount put up 103 yards and two scores against them a week ago. Hopefully the Giants just remember Barkley is on the team in the second half this week.

 

On the Cusp (proxy of a player’s baseline)

 

  • Odell Beckham: He’s had four, four and five catches over his past three games and we aren’t placing faith in Eli here, but the Bears have allowed Kenny Golladay (5-90 and 6-78-1), Stefon Diggs (13-126-1) and Adam Thielen (7-66) to have solid games over the past three weeks despite Chicago allowing just four top-12 scoring weeks to wideouts on the season.
  • Tarik Cohen: He matched a team lead with eight targets under Daniel a week ago and has double-digit touches in six of his past eight games.
  • Jordan Howard: You can still hold your nose and sell the matchup and game script here since the Giants have allowed 5.1 yards per carry to backs since dealing Damon Harrison and have allowed a rushing touchdown in six consecutive games. 64 percent of the touchdowns allowed by the Giants have gone to opposing backs, the highest rate in the league. The problem here is Howard is coming off a season-low eight touches and is averaging just 53.1 total yards per game since posting 107 yards in Week 1, so you still have to treat him as only a lower-end option.
  • Taylor Gabriel: He has paced the team with 17 targets over the past two weeks with seven catches in each game, but that was after all but disappearing for the previous four weeks. Gabriel still has potential for a low target floor, making him a lower-end WR3.
  • Trey Burton: Burton has now averaged 24.6 yards on 2.8 catches per game over the past five games. The silver lining is he still leads the team with four targets inside of the 10-yard line over that span while the rest if the team has just five total and his seven targets a week ago were the second -most he’s received on the season. Burton is not a set-and-forget option by any means, but he keeps his hat in the ring as a lower TE1 for his scoring ability and state of the posiiton.

 

Bust (underperformance)

 

  • Anthony Miller: He has scored in half of his games this season but has three or fewer receptions in 7-of-10 games, leaving us a touchdown or bust option against a Giants Defense that has allowed seven receiving touchdowns to opposing wideouts, tied for the fewest in the league.
  • Allen Robinson: The theme with the Bears passing game is that all of their wideouts are going to be frustrating week to week. Robinson has posted fewer than 40 yards in four of his past six games while the Giants have allowed just two 100-yard receiving games on the season. Robinson is a boom-or-bust WR3 that has carried more bust to this stage.
  • Chase Daniel: Entering the week treating him as the starter once again until we hear otherwise. Daniel was a solid mid-QB2 in his start a week ago against Detroit. The Giants aren’t a team to run from, but they are markedly better versus the pass than the Lions, ranking seventh in passing points allowed per game (14.1).
  • Eli Manning: He has had positive streaming moments in selective spots, but this isn’t one. The Bears have allowed just four top-12 scoring weeks and rank fifth in passing points allowed per game (13.5).
  • Sterling Shepard: He’s had 37 yards or fewer in five of his past six games with four or fewer catches in six of his past seven.
  • Evan Engram: After playing zero snaps last week and clearing 50 yards just twice on the season, we can hang it up on Engram if you already haven't until he’s healthy and more involved in the offense.

 

 

Cardinals @ Packers

 

Arizona Rank @ Green Bay Rank
14   Spread -14  
15.3   Implied Total 29.3  
14.1 32 Points/Gm 24.0 17
26.6 27 Points All./Gm 24.3 16
55.3 32 Plays/Gm 51.3 18
67.5 29 Opp. Plays/Gm 64.1 24
40.3% 19 Rush% 33.8% 28
59.7% 14 Pass% 66.2% 5
47.6% 31 Opp. Rush % 43.4% 25
52.4% 2 Opp. Pass % 56.6% 8

 

  • Arizona has the largest gap in in play disparity (-13.2 plays per game) than their opponents this season.
  • Aaron Jones has faced eight or more defenders in the box on just 8.9 percent of his carries, trailing only Todd Gurley (8.6 percent) for the lowest rate among backs with over 100 carries on the season.
  • 50 percent of the offensive touchdowns allowed by Arizona have been rushing, the highest rate in the league.
  • The Cardinals rank last in the league in rushing yardage differential (-67.5 yards) and in passing yardage differential (-64.6) per game.
  • Arizona's 23 scoring drives are last in the league. The next closest team (Buffalo) has 32 scoring drives.
  • The Packers have allowed a touchdown on just 14.0 percent (8-of-57) of their opponent's drives at home this season, the lowest rate in the league.

 

Trust (spike starting production)

 

  • Aaron Jones: He’s done nothing but produce and see his opportunity rise since the bye week. Jones leads all backs in fantasy points per rushing attempt and is coming off a season-high 20 touches last week. This week, he gets one of the best matchups as a large home favorite. The Cardinals are facing a league-high 33.5 backfield touches per game and are allowing a league-high 176.9 total yards per game to the running back position.
  • Davante Adams: He’s been held to fewer than 70 yards receiving in three of his past four games and once again runs into a team with a high-caliber cornerback, but Adams has remained a touchdown machine through all bad matchups, accounted for 50 percent of the Green Bay receiving scores, the highest rate in the league. As mentioned with Rodgers, the Cardinals have started to give up some passing scores of late, with an opposing wideout scoring multiple times in two of their past three games.

 

On the Cusp (proxy of a player’s baseline)

 

  • Aaron Rodgers: He has averaged just 31.2 pass attempts per game since the bye week after 42.3 per game prior and has been the QB15 or lower in three of those five games. His passing volume shouldn’t be leaned on here, but the Cardinals have gotten a touch leaky in pass defense over the past three weeks, allowing multiple touchdowns in each game while allowing 18.7 passing points per game over that span.
  • David Johnson: I expressed caution on Johnson being back to his old self last week after games against the Chiefs and Raiders and the pessimism was warranted as his passing game use is still underwhelming. Johnson now has a game with nine targets surrounding a total of 10 targets in his other three games since the change up in Byron Leftwich calling plays. That said, while he may still be matchup dependent to hit his ceiling, he still managed 19 touches a week ago and has accounted for 51.2 percent of his team's offensive touches, the highest share in the league. 

 

Bust (underperformance)

 

  • Jimmy Graham: He has just nine catches on 16 targets over his past five games with one touchdown over his past seven games played. Playing through a broken thumb, he cannot be relied upon.
  • Larry Fitzgerald: He has four catches over the past two games, but three have gone for touchdowns. He’s now scored in four of his past five games, but he’s also had 50 or fewer yards now in nine of his past 10 games. Once he fails to score again, his floor will revert to WR4 status.
  • Josh Rosen: He’s been the average QB24 over his eight starts.

 

Colts @ Jaguars

 

Indianapolis Rank @ Jacksonville Rank
-4   Spread 4  
25.8   Implied Total 21.8  
29.5 4 Points/Gm 17.9 28
24.8 18 Points All./Gm 22.1 9
59.0 6 Plays/Gm 68.3 7
63.8 21 Opp. Plays/Gm 60.4 6
38.0% 22 Rush% 40.6% 18
62.0% 11 Pass% 59.4% 15
42.2% 21 Opp. Rush % 45.5% 29
57.8% 12 Opp. Pass % 54.5% 4

 

  • Andrew Luck has scored over 20 fantasy points in eight consecutive games, the longest active streak in the league.
  • Luck has thrown three or more touchdown passes in eight consecutive games, matching the franchise record set by Peyton Manning in 2004.
  • Luck has thrown at least one touchdown pass now in 34 consecutive games, the longest active streak and eight-longest streak in league history.
  • Luck has thrown 25 red zone passing touchdowns, tied with Patrick Mahomes for the most in the league.
  • The Jaguars rank 20th in yards allowed per completion (11.0 yards) after ranking fourth in 2017 (9.7 yards).
  • The Jaguars have run the ball 56.6 percent of their offensive plays since Leonard Fournette returned to the lineup, third in the league and lead the league with 38.7 rushing attempts per game over that span.
  • The Jaguars have scored a touchdown on just 14.7 percent (10-of-68) of their drives at home this season, 31st in the league.
  • Jacksonville averages just 1.6 red zone opportunities per game at home, fewest in the league.

 

 

Trust (spike starting production)

 

  • Andrew Luck: The consistency speaks for itself and eventually he won’t hit his lofty touchdown marks in a week, but the Jaguars are a team that is packing it up this season and Luck just went 21-of-29 for 285 yards and three scores against this defense two weeks ago.
  • Eric Ebron: He’s averaged 5.2 receptions on 10 targets per game in the five games that Jack Doyle was absent this season and is tied for league lead with 11 touchdown receptions. Colts tight ends lead the league in red zone targets (28), receptions (19) and receiving yards (159).

 

On the Cusp (proxy of a player’s baseline)

 

  • T.Y. Hilton: He has 26.5 percent of the team targets over the past three weeks and has had back to back 100-yard games for the first time since 2016. Hilton hasn’t hit 100-yard versus the Jaguars since 2015 and has just eight catches versus them over his past three meetings but managed a 3-77 line two weeks ago and the passing volume could spike a bit here with the Colts potentially not having Marlon Mack on the field.
  • T.J. Yeldon: Yeldon will surely play behind Hyde in the rushing game, but this should set up as a passing game through matchup and potential game script. Yeldon caught 4-of-5 targets for 36 yards and a touchdown from Kessler when he played in Week 7 and caught five passes versus the Colts for 51 yards in Week 10. Indianapolis is allowing 7.3 receptions per game to backfields, 31st in the league.

 

Bust (underperformance)

 

  • Colts RBs: Assuming Marlon Mack is held out, the Colts will turn to a combination of Jordan Wilkins and Nyheim Hines once again. Hines carries some appeal as a stop gap option through receiving output, but neither are above pedestrian FLEX status splitting opportunities with the Jaguars ranking fifth in yards from scrimmage allowed to opposing backfields.
  • Cody Kessler: Kessler is the kind of dink-and-dunker that can have an efficient passing game here against the all-zone pass defense of the Colts. Kessler has a career 64.5 percent completion rate on 248 NFL passes while the Colts are allowing opposing passers to complete 71.8 percent of their passes, 31st in the league. They’ve also allowed 17 or more points to six of the past eight quarterbacks they’ve faced. The problem for Kessler here is that the Jaguars are circling the drain and they just another offensive lineman this week for the season in Andrew Norwell. At the end of the day, Kessler is an intriguing QB2 dart in leagues that start two passers, but cannot be trusted in 12-team lineups on a full week given his surrounding team conditions.
  • Jaguars WRs: In his Week 7 game action, Kessler targeted Donte Moncrief six times while targeting D.J. Chark five times and Dede Westbrook four times. Jaguar wideouts combined to catch just nine passes when these teams met in Week 10 while opposing wideouts have been targeted just 48.7 percent of the time against the Colts, the lowest rate in the league.

 

If You Must (Swing on a bench option/deep league play)

 

  • Carlos Hyde: With Leonard Fournette suspended, Hyde will get the opportunity to lead this backfield in the running game. Hyde has out-carried T.J. Yeldon 18-8 over the past two weeks and 4-1 after Fournette left the game last week. The downside is that Hyde offers almost no receiving upside and the Colts have allowed just 3.4 YPC to backs over their past three games and haven’t allowed a back to rush for more than 72 yards in a game since Week 7, leaving Hyde as a shaky RB3 option attached to an underdog working through a quarterback change.
    Rich Hribar
    Rich Hribar is a husband, father, sports meteorologist and a slave to statistics. A lifelong sports fan and fantasy gamer. You can find him on Twitter @LordReebs.