Fantasy Football Overvalued/Undervalued: Week 13 (2019)
Well, we’ve made it to Week 13, otherwise known as the final week of the regular season in most fantasy leagues. If you’re reading this column, it likely means you’re still alive for a playoff berth if you haven’t clinched one already. So congrats, you’ve earned your turkey feast this year!
This week is shaping up us one that could have several potential shootouts — and several more low-scoring slugfests. Game script is notoriously unpredictable, so it isn’t something we should overrate in our lineup decisions, but it does serve as a useful tiebreaker when comparing two *relatively equal* fantasy options. For this week, that means I’ll generally be leaning towards players in the New Orleans-Atlanta, Kansas City-Oakland, Jacksonville-Tampa Bay, and Seattle-Minnesota games, and shying away from players in the Chicago-Detroit, Carolina-Washington, Chargers-Denver, and Cleveland-Pittsburgh contests. That said, two players in potentially higher-scoring contests — Matt Ryan and Tyrell Williams — still make my overvalued list for reasons I’ll outline below.
As for last week, my best pick was predicting that Vance McDonald would continue to stink, which is a nice way of saying that it wasn’t one of my better weeks. My “start your studs” philosophy certainly didn’t pan out with Dak Prescott, who I might have thought twice about if I knew he’d have to deal with the Patriots D and messy weather conditions. I also picked a bad week to doubt Tarik Cohen, who barely topped 50 yards but salvaged his day with seven catches, and James Washington, who reeled in a 79-yard touchdown catch from Devlin Hodges the minute Mason Rudolph was benched. Neither Derrius Guice nor Marvin Jones came through for me, either, although I do still like both a lot going forward.
Happy Thanksgiving to you and yours!
Overvalued: Matt Ryan (ATL)
My Rank: QB12
Ryan’s fantasy production has fallen off a cliff over the last month, as I detailed in my Week 12 recap. He averaged 335 yards and 2.5 touchdowns per game over the first six weeks, but he’s averaging just 231 yards and 1.0 touchdown over his last four games. It’s possible the ankle injury he suffered in Week 7 is still affecting him. The Falcons’ defense has also played well in two of the three games since their Week 9 bye, which has led to Ryan attempting fewer passes. He’ll go up against a decent Saints pass defense on Thanksgiving that may have shut down corner Marshon Lattimore back in the fold, and he may have to do it without Julio Jones, who is struggling with a shoulder injury on a short week. I wouldn’t be afraid to stream Sam Darnold over Ryan this week.
Undervalued: Kirk Cousins (MIN)
My Rank: QB8
Cousins has been the reverse Matt Ryan. He got off to a very slow start this season but has been the QB4 over his last seven games, throwing for at least 285 yards in five of those contests and at least three touchdowns in four of them. More than half of that production has occurred without any meaningful contributions from Adam Thielen, who is trending towards returning from his hamstring injury this week, giving Cousins another huge weapon in the passing game. A Monday night trip to Seattle sounds this week sounds tough, and crowd noise will surely be an issue. But the Seahawks have actually been a pass-funnel defense that has given up the fourth-most passing yards and 10th-fewest rushing yards in the league. Vegas expects this game to be a high-scoring, closely-contested affair, so it sets up very well for Cousins to once again produce solid QB1 numbers.
Overvalued: Tevin Coleman (SF)
My Rank: RB27
It’s become common knowledge that fantasy owners should always want to invest in the lead running back in a Kyle Shanahan-led offense, but while the 49ers have been the second-best rushing team in the league this year, Coleman really hasn’t been that great. His year-long stats are inflated by a massive 118-yard, three-touchdown game against Carolina in Week 8, but that is one of only two games all year in which Coleman has exceeded 72 yards from scrimmage. Over the last four games, he is the RB39 in 0.5 PPR. Shanahan believes that Matt Breida has a 50/50 shot of playing this week, but even if he doesn’t, it’s clear that the 49ers will continue to mix Raheem Mostert and Jeff Wilson in behind Coleman. Given his limited touches and questionable talent, I have a very hard time envisioning RB2 production from Coleman against a fierce Ravens defense that is third in the league against the run.
Undervalued: Saquon Barkley (NYG)
My Rank: RB5
I’ve heard from a lot of frustrated Barkley owners over the last few weeks, and his sluggish performance against the Bears last week presumably didn’t do much to alleviate their concerns. But a big Saquon game is coming, and this could be the week. We all know that Barkley is one of the most talented backs in the league, and the Giants have a decent enough offense supporting him when all (or even most) of Daniel Jones’ receivers are healthy. This week the Giants face the Packers, who have given up the seventh-most rushing yards in the league and are tied for the third-most rushing TDs allowed. You’re obviously starting Barkley if you own him in season-long leagues, but let this serve as an encouragement to do so confidently — and to give him a strong look in DFS.
Overvalued: Tyrell Williams (OAK)
My Rank: WR42
Like Coleman, Williams could be getting a bit overrated based on his position on the depth chart. Yes, he is technically the Raiders’ number one wide receiver, but he is still getting very little volume — he hasn’t had more than seven targets in a game all year and hasn’t caught more than four passes in a game since Week 2. While his early-season fantasy value was unsustainably inflated by catching a touchdown in each of his first five games, that TD production has dried up over the last four weeks. It doesn’t help matters that Derek Carr is enduring a bit of a rough stretch of his own and played his worst game of the season last week against the Jets. Game script would seem to dictate that Oakland will need to throw the ball a lot to keep up with Patrick Mahomes and the Chiefs this week, but the same could be said of most of Kansas City’s opponents, and yet they’ve consistently given up far more fantasy production on the ground than through the air.
Undervalued: Tyler Boyd (CIN)
My Rank: WR19
I swung and missed badly when I named Boyd as an undervalued pick two weeks ago, but it turned out I was just a week early, as he roasted the Steelers for 101 yards and a TD last Sunday. Now his arrow is pointing up in a major way with the news that the Bengals are benching Ryan Finley and going back to Andy Dalton. Dalton won’t be traveling up Interstate 71 from Cincinnati to Canton when he calls it a career, but he does represent a massive upgrade for the Bengals passing game and particularly Boyd. Boyd is currently the WR26 on the year even though he’s had to suffer through three games of Finley and only caught two touchdown passes. Look for that ranking to rise this week as he and Dalton face a Jets defense that has given up the eighth-most fantasy points to wide receivers.
Overvalued: Gerald Everett (LAR)
My Rank: TE24
Undervalued: Tyler Higbee (LAR)
My Rank: TE15
I’ll discuss Everett and Higbee together here since they play for the same team. The first thing to know is that the Rams play the Cardinals this week, which is far and away the best matchup in the league for tight ends. The second thing to know is that Everett reportedly suffered a knee injury last week and is considered day-to-day. That might help explain why Higbee played 70 percent of the snaps and Everett only played 31 percent against the Ravens, but it doesn’t explain why Higbee also played three times as many snaps as Everett the previous week. At this point, it seems like there is a better than even chance that 1) Everett doesn’t play this week, 2) Everett plays but is limited, or 3) Higbee has simply passed Everett on the depth chart. Jared Goff was truly awful against Baltimore, but Higbee still caught a season-high five passes. If he gets a similar opportunity against Arizona, he could be a nice under-the-radar streaming option for Week 13.