Fantasy Football Overvalued/Undervalued: Week 13 (2020)
I’ve been playing fantasy football for over 20 years, and I can’t remember a week as wild and unpredictable as Week 12, 2020. Normally I’d shy away from recapping the previous week on a Friday, but it just so happens that the longest week in NFL history only ended two days ago!
The madness was headlined by the Broncos losing all three of their quarterbacks to the Covid list and being forced to play practice squad wide receiver Kendall Hinton at QB (it went about as badly as you’d expect). Then, the Ravens’ fiasco involved placing almost half the team on the Covid list and having their game with the Steelers pushed back three times before ultimately landing on Wednesday afternoon. Last but not least, the 49ers had to pack their bags and head to Arizona for their next two games following a two-week shutdown of sports facilities in Santa Clara, CA.
These most unusual Covid-19 headlines drowned out some of the other fantasy-related storylines that would normally dominate our attention heading into the week, such as the absence of Julio Jones and the return of Austin Ekeler. Week 12 also provided some of the most insane stat lines of the entire year, led by three touchdown performances from Tyreek Hill, Derrick Henry, and Antonio Gibson. Whew.
The fact the Ravens-Steelers game did end up happening makes it abundantly clear that the NFL is going to do everything it can to ensure this entire season is played. Whether that is the right decision or not, Roger Goodell says the show must go on.
For the second straight week, my overvalued picks seem to have awoken a slumbering fantasy asset, in this case, the Bears’ David Montgomery, who had his best game of the season. I also misfired on Chase Edmonds, Jamison Crowder, and Sterling Shepard, but I nailed my over- and undervalued tight end picks (Austin Hooper and Kyle Rudolph, respectively), as well as my most high-profile fade, Russell Wilson. Teddy Bridgewater finished in between my ranking and the consensus, albeit closer to ECR. So not a great week, but not a catastrophe, either.
By now, you probably know that my overvalued and undervalued picks for Week 13 come against FantasyPros’ Expert Consensus Rankings for 0.5 PPR formats. I’m happy to field all of your start/sit questions on Twitter @andrew_seifter, and you can catch my waiver wire picks every Tuesday and strategy tips every Saturday on MFSN’s The Hub on YouTube.
Overvalued: Ryan Tannehill (TEN)
My Rank: QB10
I have long maintained that Tannehill is one of the most underrated quarterbacks in fantasy football, so it pains me to have to make a case against him this week, but I’ll do my best.
My primary concern with Tannehill is passing volume. The guy is incredibly efficient — few QBs do more for fantasy with less — but it’s becoming harder and harder to discount the Titans’ run-heavy approach. Tannehill averaged 34.6 pass attempts over the first five weeks, a stretch that included two 300-yard games and three games with 3+ passing scores. But over the last six games, he has averaged just 26.8 pass attempts and has not topped 260 yards or two passing scores. He does add some sneaky value with his legs — a rushing score saved his Week 12 stat line — and his matchup with the Browns’ 20th-ranked pass defense is pretty favorable. But his upside is capped when the Titans throw the ball so infrequently. Derrick Henry is in his typical peak late-season form, so I don’t expect Mike Vrabel to go away from the running game anytime soon.
Undervalued: Kirk Cousins (MIN)
My Rank: QB7
Cousins is one QB I’d play over Tannehill this week, and the reason is that these two teams are trending in opposite directions in terms of their run-pass mix. Cousins attempted 27 or fewer passes in each of his first four games, but he’s attempted 36 or more in four of his last seven. That has translated into bigger passing numbers, especially lately. He’s thrown 11 touchdowns over his last four games and has 290+ passing yards in three straight. This week he faces off with a Jaguars defense that gives up the third-most fantasy points to QBs, and he’ll do so at home, where he’s had all five of his 3-TD games this season. Cousins has also been particularly effective against man defense, and the Jaguars play man at the sixth-highest rate in the league.
Overvalued: Wayne Gallman (NYG)
My Rank: RB26
Gallman has scored six touchdowns in his last five games and is coming off his best game of the season, but I have a few concerns about his outlook for Week 13. First and foremost, his quarterback Daniel Jones has an injured hamstring and is currently on the wrong side of questionable to play against Seattle. Gallman is a very touchdown-dependent player who is averaging just 4.0 yards per carry and has zero 100-yard games, so if backup QB Colt McCoy is unable to move the ball, it is terrible news for Gallman. The other big concern is his opponent. The Seahawks are playing much better defense lately and have not given up more than 65 rushing yards to any back this year. As 10-point underdogs against a high-octane Seattle offense, the Giants may not have the luxury of handing the ball off to Gallman 20+ times as they did against Cincinnati.
Undervalued: Latavius Murray (NO)
My Rank: RB18
The Saints are a fundamentally different team, with Taysom Hill at quarterback, and Alvin Kamara’s loss has been Murray’s gain. Murray has played more snaps in the two games that Hill has started than he did in any of his nine games with Drew Brees, and it’s resulted in Murray’s two best games of the season in terms of yards from scrimmage. Hill rarely checks down to running backs on passing plays, which is a big issue for Kamara, but Murray’s bread and butter is the running game, and the Saints have been the most run-heavy team in the league with Hill under center. This week, Murray will go up against a vastly improved Falcons defense, but part of the reason they’ve been so strong against the run is that they’ve faced the third-fewest rushing attempts. That’s likely to change this week, given Hill’s strengths and Atlanta’s improvements in pass coverage.
Overvalued: Jakobi Meyers (NE)
My Rank: WR38
Meyers broke on the scene in Week 9 with a 12-catch, 169-yard performance against the Jets on Monday Night Football, but it’s been a steady decline since. He salvaged his fantasy day in Week 10 with a touchdown pass but then finished outside the top-40 wideouts each of the last two weeks. Working against him is the Patriots’ bottom-four passing attack under Cam Newton, who averages less than 200 passing yards per game and has thrown four touchdown passes all year. Another obstacle is the emergence of Damiere Byrd, who has 15 targets over the last two games, while Meyers has nine. Finally, Meyers has a matchup with the Chargers, who allow the sixth-fewest fantasy points to WRs and have not allowed any receiver to accumulate over 82 yards since their Week 6 bye. I’d rather invest in a WR3/flex option with more plausible upside than Meyers.
Undervalued: Tim Patrick (DEN)
My Rank: WR33
Putting aside last week’s Kendall Hinton debacle, this is where Patrick ranked among wide receivers over his previous seven games: WR34, WR7, WR23, WR62, WR35, WR34, and WR19. In other words, as long as he’s had an actual QB throwing him the ball, Patrick has been consistently putting up WR3 numbers or better. Drew Lock should be back under center this week, so no worries there. Patrick will be facing a middle-of-the-pack Chiefs pass defense that has been pretty stingy in terms of fantasy points allowed to WRs but has shown some cracks recently. Kansas City has allowed solid production to Curtis Samuel (9-105-1), Robby Anderson (9-63), Nelson Agholor (6-88-1), Chris Godwin (8-97), and Mike Evans (3-50-2) over the last three games.
Overvalued: Evan Engram (NYG)
My Rank: TE10
After much consternation, Engram finally had the big game that everyone was waiting for, hauling in six catches for 129 yards last week against the Bengals. I’m not chasing the stats. That was Engram’s first game with over 65 yards, and he has only found the end zone once this season. Even after the Bengals game, he is merely tied with Dalton Schultz as the TE16 on the year (minimum 6 games played). Engram does continue to get a lot of targets each week, but he’s been very inefficient with them, something that is unlikely to change if Colt McCoy is throwing him the football. Engram’s biggest strength is as a field stretcher running seam routes, but McCoy doesn’t have the big arm to take advantage.
Undervalued: Jordan Akins (HOU)
My Rank: TE13
We admittedly don’t have a lot to go on in terms of statistical production with Akins, but what do you want from me? This is tight end! The Texans just lost leading receiver Will Fuller to a PED suspension, which means they need to make up for over 23 percent of their passing game targets and nearly 33 percent of their air yards to date. Akins, who played wide receiver in college and has occasionally been used in the slot by the Texans, is a logical candidate to step up in Fuller’s absence. He played over 80 percent of the snaps early in the season and could get back to that usage level now.
Akins ranks eighth among tight ends in yards per route run and offers plenty of upside if allowed to catch passes from Deshaun Watson. He’s obviously a bit of a question mark heading into Week 13, but the risk is worth the potential reward if you’re scrambling for an option at fantasy football’s thinnest position.
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