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12 Sleeper Starts and Duds: Week 13 (Fantasy Football)

Nov 29, 2018

With Dion Lewis struggling, Derrick Henry can do some damage against a porous Jets run defense

It’s your last week to shore up that playoff spot or be the spoiler for someone else. If you’re reading this, odds are good that your season or bye week hangs in the balance. Unfortunately, the loss of Andy Dalton, Jack Doyle, and Marvin Jones for the season, along with Melvin Gordon’s injury and Leonard Fournette’s suspension, have undoubtedly made some fantasy GMs’ chances of sneaking into the big dance that much tougher. The sudden viability of the Chargers’ and Jaguars’ backup RBs, the Chiefs and Rams coming off their bye, and A.J. Green’s potential return do provide hope for those reeling at this crucial time.

Those aren’t the only players who can help you out in a pinch, though. Our featured experts have each revealed their favorite sleepers along with their top potential duds for the final week of the fake football regular season.

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Q1. Who is a player outside of our top 100 flex rankings that is a deep sleeper start and why do you think he has upside this week?

Derrick Henry (RB – TEN)
“Henry stands out as someone who should be a sneaky RB3/flex play this week. The Jets have been a great matchup for running backs, especially as of late, as they’ve allowed back-to-back 200-yard rushing games to the Bills and Patriots. It’s worth noting that each team had 35-plus carries, but you can run the ball against them if you want to. The Titans offensive line has been a mess this year, but if there was a game to get the run game going, it’s this one. There has been at least one top-24 running back in eight of the last 10 games against the Jets, so you kind of have to place your bets here, and with the way Dion Lewis has struggled, Henry should be the one.”
– Mike Tagliere (FantasyPros)

Chris Conley (WR – KC) 
“I would say A.J. Green (currently #114), but that’s just cheating, so I’ll do you one better and name a player outside of the top 150 — Conley. The last time we heard from him, he was catching seven passes for 74 yards and two touchdowns in the game of the year against the Rams in Week 11. Most games won’t have the video game numbers of that one, but Vegas expects KC to score the most points in the league this week. Sammy Watkins (foot) is no lock to play, and even if he does suit up, he could play limited snaps like he did against the Rams, creating more opportunities for Conley. The Raiders have allowed seven TD passes to WRs over the last four weeks, so Conley is an appealing way to buy into an elite offense in a fantastic matchup.”
– Andrew Seifter (FantasyPros)

Quincy Enunwa (WR – NYJ) 
“I’ll go with one-time buzzmaster Enunwa, who is just outside our top 100 right now after catching all four of his targets for 73 yards last week. The Titans have allowed seven touchdowns to opposing wideouts across their last four games yet are eight-point favorites at home, which makes for a solid passing script. Titans DB Adoree Jackson has the wheels to keep up with Robby Anderson, which should leave Enunwa against the burnable Malcolm Butler or on the inside against Logan Ryan.”
– Nick Mariano (RotoBaller)

Josh Doctson (WR – WAS)
“Docston had a season-high six receptions for 66 yards last week. He has at least three receptions in seven straight games. Docston also has double-digit fantasy points in three of four. Doctson has a matchup for more success this week, playing the Eagles. Philadelphia has really struggled against the pass, allowing the second-most fantasy points to receivers.”
– Jeff Paur (RTSports)

Cole Beasley (WR – DAL) 
“Beasley has seen a dramatic drop in targets since Amari Cooper arrived in Dallas, but his matchup this week against the Saints’ P.J. Williams could garner big time fantasy stats. Williams has been torched by opposing slot WRs all year, grading out as Pro Football Focus’ No. 109 corner out of 114 qualifiers. Deep leaguers in need of an offensive jolt would be wise to add and start Beasley in Week 13.”
– Seth Klein (Fantrax)

A.J. Green (WR – CIN)
“I’m going to go with the obvious one and say Green. He does come with risk as he is returning from a toe injury that could cause an in-game setback and the Bengals have to turn to unproven Jeff Driskel at QB now that Andy Dalton has been placed on IR. Like a true elite receiver, when asked about how long it will take for him to gain chemistry with Driskel, he said, “Just put the ball somewhere; I’ll get it,””
– Sean Koerner (The Action Network)

Q2. On the flip side, what player inside the top 40 flex rankings is likely to disappoint fantasy owners this week?

Joe Mixon (RB – CIN) 
“Mixon is likely to disappoint fantasy owners this week. The Broncos are a team that’s turned up the heat against the run, allowing just 309 yards on 99 carries (3.12 yards per carry) with no touchdowns over their last five games, which has included David Johnson, Kareem Hunt, Lamar Miller, Melvin Gordon, and James Conner. That’s a gauntlet they made it through while allowing very limited production on the ground. Through the air is a different story, though. They’ve allowed 26 receptions for 287 yards and a touchdown in those five games. Knowing that none of those running backs topped 69 rushing yards and that Gordon was the only one who finished as an RB1, there are concerns with this matchup. Mixon should be considered just a middling RB2 this week.”
– Mike Tagliere (FantasyPros)

Antonio Brown (WR – PIT) 
“Brown rarely disappoints, however, the all-world wide receiver has become more touchdown dependent the past few weeks with second-year stud JuJu Smith-Schuster emerging as Ben Roethlisberger’s favorite target. Brown has just one 100-yard performance over his last five games, and the Steelers face off against a tough Chargers secondary that’s only allowed one WR to cross the century mark since Week 7, while limiting the position to just two TDs in that span. Will Brown finish outside the top-25 WRs? Probably not. But he’s not an automatic top-10 lock this week.”
– Seth Klein (Fantrax)

Patrick Mahomes (QB – KC)
“Mahomes is my top ranked QB this week and should not be part of any sort of start/sit decisions this week. However, his ceiling is a bit lower this week as the Raiders have only allowed one 300+ yard passer all season and seven out of 11 QBs faced have thrown for less than 240 yards. It’s more of a result of getting blown out than stout pass defense. He has an extremely high floor though. as he should be a lock for multiple TDs.”
– Sean Koerner (The Action Network)

Sony Michel (RB – NE)
“Michel had a 100-yard game last week, reverting back to early-season form. He has struggled at times this year, though, having three games with fewer than 35 yards. He doesn’t get enough work in the passing game (one catch in all but a game), so if he doesn’t run for yards or score, his fantasy numbers can suffer. This week against the Vikings isn’t a great matchup for Michel to post big rushing numbers. Minnesota allows the seventh-fewest fantasy points to running backs.”
– Jeff Paur (RTSports)

Tarik Cohen (RB – CHI)
“Unlike most of the players in the top 40, Cohen cannot be counted on for more than about 10 touches each week, which makes his fantasy value very dependent on big plays. The Giants have not been strong against the run, but they are a top-10 defense in terms of limiting receiving yardage to running backs, which is Cohen’s bread and butter. The scoring upside of the entire Bears offense also takes a hit with Mitchell Trubisky out and Chase Daniel under center again this week. It will only take one big play to make this prediction look silly, but Cohen is a boom-or-bust fantasy asset and this could be one of his down weeks.”
– Andrew Seifter (FantasyPros)

Austin Ekeler (RB – LAC)
“It’s difficult for me to see anyone with a floor lower than Ekeler’s. I know we got the token coachspeak about feeling comfortable leaning on Ekeler between the tackles, but I think Justin Jackson earned some work after tallying 57 yards on just seven totes in Week 12. Plus, traveling to Pittsburgh is no green-light matchup — the Steelers have still given up the eighth-fewest fantasy points to RBs in half PPR even after facing (and getting hit pretty hard by) Christian McCaffrey, Leonard Fournette, and Phillip Lindsay these past three weeks.”
– Nick Mariano (RotoBaller)


Thank you to the experts for giving their sleeper starts and duds for Week 13. Be sure to give them a follow on Twitter if you’re not already doing so and check out our latest podcast below for more great advice.


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