Week 13 of this season gets started early with three games on Thanksgiving, but with everyone past their bye weeks there are still 11 games on the main slate Sunday. With five weeks left of the regular season, every team will play every week, which provides plenty of drama coming down the stretch. Eight games kick things off in the early window with three games starting in the second slot. All three of the later games and two of the early games are divisional clashes, which carry even more impact in the standings.
With 22 teams in action, there are lots of different options to consider as you construct your lineup and many different trends to account for. As you find the stars you want to build around, though, you may run short of salary for a spot or two. Check out my favorite plays of the week that have good matchups and form but come at affordable salaries.
QUARTERBACK($6,000 and under)
Ryan Tannehill, TEN at IND, $5,700 – Tannehill has carried the Titans to the edge of playoff contention and emerged as a consistent fantasy contributor since taking the starting job from a struggling Marcus Mariota ($4,900) before Week 7. Tannehill has produced more than 19 DKFP in each of his five starts since, culminating in a dominant performance against the Jaguars in Week 12, which made him the top QB last Sunday with 33.36 DKFP on 259 yards passing with two touchdowns and two more touchdowns on the ground while piling up 40 yards on seven carries. He leads the Titans into a critical game against the Colts this week and will look to keep producing top-tier production at a mid-range salary.
Kyle Allen, CAR vs. WAS, $5,500 – After an embarrassingly awful Week 11 loss to the Falcons that included four interceptions, Allen bounced back with a strong showing against the Saints, throwing three touchdowns and completing 23-of-36 passes for 256 yards and 23.14 DKFP. It was Allen’s best fantasy game since his debut in Week 3, although he has had more than 15 DKFP in three of his past four contests. Allen has found a great connection with DJ Moore ($6,800) and has the elite option of Christian McCaffrey ($10,500) to check down to as well. Allen gets a great matchup against Washington and can be a great cost-saving option even though he doesn’t have quite as high a ceiling as Tannehill since he doesn’t add many rushing numbers.
RUNNING BACK($5,000 and under)
Chase Edmonds, ARI vs. LAR, $4,500 – After a bye week, it looks like the Chase is back on for the Cardinals since Edmonds was able to return to practice Monday and coach Kliff Kingsbury said he expects Edmonds to return against the Rams. Edmonds had a major breakthrough in Week 7, dominating the Giants for 126 yards, three touchdowns and 38 DKFP. He struggled the following week in New Orleans before leaving with a hamstring injury that has kept him out of action since. While he has been out, Kenyan Drake ($5,600) has joined the team and carried the load with David Johnson ($4,600) still minimally involved. Edmonds’ role with Drake on the roster is unclear, but he was very involved as a rusher and receiver before the injury and should challenge Drake for the lead job if he’s back at full strength.
Nyheim Hines, IND vs. TEN, $4,200 – The Colts already ruled Marlon Mack (hand) out against the Titans, so Hines, Jonathan Williams ($5,300) and Jordan Wilkins ($3,300) will again share the workload. Williams has been effective in early-down work with Hines staying in his role as primarily receiving back. However, Hines also set season-highs in carries and rushing yards against the Texans last week, totaling 51 yards on nine carries to go with his two catches for 10 yards. Hines should get enough touches to be a factor with Mack out again this week and could go off if the Colts are forced into more passing situations.
WIDE RECEIVER($5,000 and under)
James Washington, PIT vs. CLE, $5,000 – With JuJu Smith-Schuster ($5,900; concussion/knee) sidelined against the Bengals, Washington led the team with seven targets and came up with a big play when Pittsburgh desperately needed it. His 79-yard touchdown catch-and-run was the difference in the game and helped him finish with 98 yards, a touchdown and 18.8 DKFP. Washington is averaging a solid 76.5 receiving yards per contest over his past four with double-digit DKFP in three of those games. He’ll look to keep rolling with whichever QB the Steelers decide to go with, although Devlin Hodges ($5,100) seems to offer more upside for both Washington and the rest of the offense.
Chris Conley, JAX vs. TB, $4,500 – The Jaguars get a great matchup against the Buccaneers’ porous secondary this week, and Conley has been quietly growing into a very utilized role in Jacksonville’s passing game. He has at least seven targets in five straight contests and has double-digit DKFP in three of those outings. He has been targeted 17 times over the two games since Nick Foles ($5,700) returned to starting QB, converting 10 catches for 107 yards. Conley has big-play potential and a high volume in a good matchup, which gives him a very high ceiling for a player at $4.5K.
Greg Ward, PHI at MIA, $4,100 – With Alshon Jeffery ($5,100; ankle) and Nelson Agholor ($4,400; knee) inactive against Seattle, the Eagles were extremely thin at WR. Ward was called up from the practice squad and ended up leading the WR corps with six catches on seven targets for 40 yards. He played well enough to force the Eagles to release Jordan Matthews, which should leave him in the mix even if either Jeffery or Agoholor return this week as expected. Ward will get a good matchup against the Dolphins as he continues to try and establish a regular spot in the Eagles’ offense.
Alex Erickson, CIN vs. NYJ, $4,000 – The Bengals are going back to Andy Dalton ($4,700) at QB after a disastrous three-week trial for Ryan Finley ($4,700). Erickson has had only three catches over those three games despite averaging five targets a game. However, the past two games Dalton was under center, Erickson had eight catches for 137 yards and 24.5 DKFP against the Jaguars followed by six catches for 97 yards and 15.7 DKFP against the Rams. While Dalton isn’t a great option long-term for the Bengals, he definitely does improve the short-term outlook of the Bengals’ WRs, and makes Erickson worth a look as a bargain option.
TIGHT END($4,000 and under)
Jack Doyle, IND at TEN, $3,300 – With Eric Ebron (ankles) hitting IR on Monday, Doyle is set to step into a much larger role in the Colts’ offense, which relies heavily on its TEs — especially near the goal line. Doyle was already a solid play since he has at least four targets in five of his past six games but with Ebron’s work now coming his way as well, he has a higher ceiling combined with less risk due to the increased volume.
Tyler Eifert, CIN vs. NYJ, $2,800 – Eifert is another Bengals pass-catcher who gets a boost with Dalton’s return. He had six catches for 74 yards and 13.4 DKFP in Dalton’s most recent start and should have a good rapport with the veteran signal-caller. He’s a high-risk play but is the TE under $3K with the most chance to go off for a big game.
DEFENSE/SPECIAL TEAMS($2,800 and under)
BAL vs. SF, $2,800 – The matchup isn’t good against the red-hot 49ers offense, but the Ravens defense has been playing well enough to still be the best option under $3K. Baltimore’s defense had 13 DKFP against the Rams on Monday and now has double-digit DKFP in five straight games despite playing solid opponents like the Texans, Patriots, Rams and Seahawks during that run. The 49ers also will be traveling from the West Coast to the East Coast and playing the early game, which sets them up for a letdown against the surging Ravens defense at home.
KC vs. OAK, $2,700 – The Chiefs won last Monday night before their bye week thanks to four interceptions against the Chargers, which resulted in 11 DKFP. They’ve been a boom-or-bust play all season but did have 11 DKFP against Oakland on the road in Week 2. With Derek Carr ($5,500) struggling badly last week in New York, the Raiders’ offense could be a better matchup than it looked like initially.
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I am a promoter at DraftKings and am also an avid fan and user (my username is Z.Thompson) and may sometimes play on my personal account in the games that I offer advice on. Although I have expressed my personal view on the games and strategies above, they do not necessarily reflect the view(s) of DraftKings and I may also deploy different players and strategies than what I recommend above. I am not an employee of DraftKings and do not have access to any non-public information.