Another week is nearly in the books, but it’s never too soon to look ahead to Week 13. The Early Look will highlight salaries that jump out on this 13-game main slate.
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Patrick Mahomes, KC at OAK ($7,600) — The appeal for Mahomes is obvious, and I’d expect him to have a good game against the Raiders. The real issue is determining if he’s worth this price tag — up $400 to his highest salary of the year. Could he score another 44 DKFP against Oakland? Probably, but he likely won’t need to with Kansas City a double-digit favorite. Oakland’s defense has been dreadful against the run this season, so the Chiefs could turn to
Kareem Hunt ($7,800) with a late lead in this one, making him a more solid play.
EDITOR’S NOTE: Kareem Hunt was released by the Chiefs
Cam Newton, CAR at TB ($6,600) — Cam has been crazy consistent this season, but does average 2.0 DKFP more on the road this season. That sets him up in an elite spot at Tampa, which ranks 31st against QB on the year. Newton was somewhat of a letdown in this matchup at home in Week 9, scoring just 21.18 DKFP. I expect him to exceed that on the road this time around.
Tom Brady, NE vs. MIN ($5,800) — I didn’t love Brady’s spot at the Jets in Week 12, but he still managed his best fantasy outing since Week 7. Now we get a $700 discount on TB, landing at his cheapest price point of the season. Minnesota ranks 11th against QB this season, but I trust more in New England’s offense at home than I do Minnesota’s defense. The Pats are 5-0 at home, where Brady averages 7.3 more DKFP per game than on the road — 23.4 DKFP. Honorable mention to Lamar Jackson, who makes for a terrific play in Atlanta, but Brady’s salary is too tempting at home.
Other value options: Lamar Jackson ($5,900), Matthew Stafford ($5,400), Case Keenum ($5,200)
Christian McCaffrey, CAR at TB ($8,800) — The 52.7 DKFP against the Seahawks last week were spectacular. Going over 100 yards receiving and rushing, scoring a touchdown both ways, perfectly captures just how special CMC can be. But regardless of what he did last week, going against Tampa is a spot I want to target him. The Bucs rank 30th against RBs, seemingly letting up a big game every week. McCaffrey took advantage for 32.7 DKFP back in Week 9, leaving him in one of the top spots on the entire slate.
Leonard Fournette, JAX vs. IND ($7,200) — Here’s a look at what Fournette has been able to do in three games since returning from his hamstring injury — 70 carries, 243 rushing yards, four rushing touchdowns, 10 catches (on 10 targets), 115 receiving yards and a receiving touchdown. That’s an average of 25.3 DKFP. Keep in mind Fournette was ejected in the third quarter against the Bills, so that production has really come in closer to two and a half games. That leaves him as one of the safest plays on the slate, as the Jags are simply hellbent on getting him the ball. Even with an offensive coordinator change in Jacksonville, we should be able to trust Fournette against the Colts, who surrendered 26.6 DKFP to Kenyan Drake ($4,600) last week.
Editor’s Note: Fournette has been suspended one game for Sunday’s altercation vs. the Bills. He is expected to appeal.
Phillip Lindsay, DEN at CIN ($5,400) — There are some spectacular options to pay down for at RB this week. As is the case with Jackson, Gus Edwards gets the honorable mention here given how horrendous the Atlanta defense has been. But the Bengals have been getting shredded pretty well in their own right, ranking just 28th against the RB position. Lindsay has a vice grip on Denver’s featured RB role, going for 20-plus DKFP in three of his last four. With Denver gaining some momentum, this is a good game for them to pound the ball against a Bengals squad going in the opposite direction.
Other value options: Matt Breida ($5,800), LeSean McCoy ($4,900), Gus Edwards ($4,800), Lamar Miller ($4,600)
Tyreek Hill, KC at OAK ($9,100) — While RB seems clear who the plays are, WR is much more difficult in Week 13. We know what type of upside Ty-Freak has, producing three 40-plus DKFP games this season. With a combined 332 yards and four touchdowns in his last two games, rostering him at $9,100 just isn’t realistic. Regression is coming, and while the matchup against the Raiders makes sense on paper, blowout potential could cap the upside.
Adam Thielen, MIN at NE ($8,000) — Thielen got back on track with an 8-125-1 line in Week 12 against Green Bay. The matchup against the Patriots is clearly favorable, and I also feel Minnesota has a good chance to be playing from behind with how good New England has been at home. The safety of rostering Thielen has me on him over some of the other top WR plays on this slate.
Josh Reynolds, LAR at DET ($4,900) — While Reynolds isn’t Cooper Kupp (out for the season with an ACL), he is the Rams’ WR3. That alone is worth more than $4,900. In the last two games Kupp has missed, Reynolds has caught 9-of-13 targets for 122 yards and three touchdowns. The matchups have been spectacular against Green Bay and Kansas City, but Detroit ranks just 21st against WR. This is a spot we can stay on Reynolds until his price goes up.
Other value options: D.J. Moore ($5,600), David Moore ($4,300), Adam Humphries ($4,200), Curtis Samuel ($3,900), Robert Foster ($3,300)
Rob Gronkowski, NE vs. MIN ($5,400) — Gronk was an unthinkable $5,100 in his return against the Jets, and while he didn’t have a great game, he came through from a fantasy perspective. His 3-56-1 line came on seven targets, and was the first time the Pats really got anything out of Gronk on the road this season. Despite the narrative of a down season, Gronk has averaged 15.5 DKFP in four home games. Now as healthy as he’s been since dominating the Texans in Week 1, this feels like the time to take advantage of an incredibly cheap Brady/Gronk stack that we may never see priced this low again.
Cameron Brate, TB vs. CAR ($3,700) — Brate caught 3-of-4 targets for 26 yards and a touchdown last week, which is the type of stat line we can expect from him with O.J. Howard on IR. Jameis Winston ($6,000) finally looks like himself, and the Panthers rank dead last in DKFP allowed to the TE position.
Other value options: Greg Olsen ($4,100), Kyle Rudolph ($3,600), C.J. Uzomah ($3,400)
Bears D/ST at NYG, ($3,300) — The Bears D/ST have only scored fewer than 12 DKFP this season in three games, and they all came when Khalil Mack was dealing with injury. They’re as safe as is gets in nearly any matchup as long as Mack is on the field.
Rams D/ST at DET ($2,600) — I like this spot a lot for the Rams. Their defense is easy to sleep on when you look at the shootouts they get into this season, but the defense is part of the reason these games are so high scoring. The pressure the Rams are getting on the QB has turned into sacks, turnovers and in some cases touchdowns. The Lions have been terrible protecting Stafford, so I’m expecting the defensive line to have pressure on him all game.
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