This might be the most challenging article we write until the final week of the season. We say that because this is the worst week of BYEs for the year. We have six teams on BYE, and filling out lineups in some leagues will be nearly impossible. We’re hopeful this article will help you make some of those decisions, so let’s look at the flex smash starts we love for this week!
The premise behind this article is simple. Identifying fantasy football smash plays that are on the fringe of your starting lineup. We rarely recommend a Top 20 player at any position, but we want to help you fill those critical flex spots!
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Smash Starts for Week 13
Brock Purdy (SF) at PHI
There seems to be hesitancy to call Purdy an elite quarterback, but everything on the stat sheet tells us that he is one. The San Fran slinger has scored at least 18 fantasy points in 15 of 17 games since he took over as the starter. That looks even better since he has at least 27 fantasy points in three of his past four outings. One of those upside games could be in play against the Philadelphia Eagles, who surrender the fourth-most passing yards and fantasy points to opposing quarterbacks. This is also projected to be one of the highest-scoring games of the week, and we should see these elite offenses go up and down the field.
Rachaad White (TB) vs. CAR
White found his way on some waiver wires after the opening month, but that’s looking like one of the biggest mistakes of the season. The Bucs back has been playing in nearly 80 percent of the team’s snaps this season, one of the highest totals in the NFL. That role has led to White scoring at least 12 fantasy points in six consecutive outings, registering a 16-point average in that span. His biggest asset is this matchup with the Carolina Panthers, who surrender the second-most fantasy points to opposing rushers this year. It’s also a game where Tampa Bay is favored, so don’t be surprised to see White get at least 20 touches in a favorable game script.
Jaylen Warren (PIT) vs. ARI
This usage of these running backs in Pittsburgh can be frustrating, but Warren is one of the most talented runners in the NFL. This speedster averages 5.4 yards per carry throughout his career and averages 15 fantasy points per game across his past four fixtures. We love that since this offense is changing with Najee Harris and Warren splitting snaps equally in three consecutive weeks. Warren is clearly the more talented back, and it would be scary to think what he could do with 10-15 touches against the Cardinals. Arizona has allowed the third-most fantasy points to opposing backs this season.
Devin Singletary (HOU) vs. DEN
It’s hard to believe that Singletary is fantasy-relevant once again, but here we are. He’s stolen the job from Dameon Pierce and he’s played in more than 75 percent of the team’s snaps in four consecutive weeks. It’s not empty usage either: Singletary averaged 18 fantasy points per game across his past three fixtures. That’s phenomenal production from a guy on the waiver wire three weeks ago, and it should continue against Denver. The Broncos are allowing the most fantasy points to opposing running backs.
Zack Moss (IND) vs. TEN
This was a late addition to the article, but we had to include Moss once Jonathan Taylor had thumb surgery and will miss a few games. That means Moss should be the bellcow back, and he was a stud in that role earlier in the season. He had at least 14 fantasy points in five of his first seven games as the go-to guy and averaged nearly 20 fantasy points per game. That makes him one of the best waiver wire adds of the week, and I hope you were able to claim him off waivers. The matchup with Tennessee isn’t terrible either, with Moss amassing a career-high 23 carries for 165 yards and two touchdowns against them earlier in the year.
Terry McLaurin (WAS) vs. MIA
Scary Terry has been a regular in this article throughout the year, mainly because he sits on too many people’s benches. McLaurin has taken over this passing game over the past two months, averaging nine targets a game across his previous nine outings. That workload has led to McLaurin totaling at least four catches in every game since the opener. Not many pass-catchers have been that reliable, but we’ve seen him do it since he was drafted. A matchup with Miami should keep him rolling because this is a game where Washington will have to throw 40-plus times to keep up with this daunting Dolphins offense. Not to mention, Miami is allowing the 10th-most fantasy points to opposing wideouts.
Marquise Brown (ARI) at PIT
Downtown Brown was horrific in his first two games with Kyler Murray this season, but we’re encouraged by what we saw on Sunday. Brown had a 30 percent team target share and finished with six catches for 88 yards on 12 targets. We saw this guy post a similar role in the final two months of last season, and he was a top-25 receiver in that type of role. He’s still the best wideout in this offense and should continue to grow since Murray gets better each week. Pittsburgh is not as scary of a matchup as it sounds, ranked 24th in passing yards allowed.
Adam Thielen (CAR) at TB
We liked Thielen last week, but he left us with a nasty taste in our mouths. The reason we’re willing to go back to the well is this matchup because Tampa is allowing the second-most passing yards in the NFL over the last month. They’re simply one of the worst secondaries in the league, and it’s an excellent opportunity for Thielen to return to the stud we saw earlier in the season. Thielen averaged 8.2 receptions for 79.3 receiving yards on 10.6 targets through his previous nine games before that stinker on Sunday. That’s the usage you usually see from a top-10 receiver, and it’d be silly to turn on Thielen after one terrible outing.
Dalton Schultz (HOU) vs. DEN
Schultz was another Week 12 disappointment, but it’s an outlier in what’s been a stellar season. The Texans tight end had at least 9.1 fantasy points in six of his previous seven games before that rare dud. Schultz also averaged 13 fantasy points per game in that span, establishing himself as the safety blanket for CJ Stroud. This matchup with Denver only adds to his value, allowing the most fantasy points to opposing tight ends. Look for Houston to exploit that magical matchup and get Schultz back on track.
Tampa Bay Buccaneers D/ST (vs. CAR)
This Tampa defense is nothing to write home about, but Carolina’s offense doesn’t exactly take the cake, either. That Panthers team has just one win, ranked 29th in points scored and 30th in total yardage. They’re also surrendering the fourth-most fantasy points to opposing D/STs, and it’s scary to think how poor they’ll look here after firing most of their coaching staff on Monday. The oddsmakers certainly think they’ll struggle, with the Bucs entering this game as a 5.5-point favorite in a game with a 37-point total. That means Carolina is barely projected to score 14 points.
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