No matter how you did in Week 12, that all gets erased as of today. We start to prepare for Week 13, and I have you covered from top to bottom. Let’s get right to all the information and get you ready to build those lineups. As always, you can get me on the ol’ Twitter machine @SBuchanan24.
The Vegas Lines
Highest Scoring Games
Below are the three highest scoring projected games and individual teams based on Vegas Lines.
1) Carolina Panthers at New Orleans Saints
Over/Under: 49.5 points
Line: Carolina -7
Vegas was favoring the Cowboys to dethrone the Panthers and their perfect season last week. Didn’t work out so well now did it? Heading into week 13, the Panthers are heavy favorites against the flimsy Saints defense. The Saints did seemingly hold the Texans in check last week, it what was wildly predicted to be a shoot out. After a heavy buildup (this article included), the Texans were only able to muster 24 points. Not a bad score by any means, but with the Saints giving up 34+ the past few weeks, it was a disappointment. That being said, at least on paper, Newton is in a good spot here. He has thrown a touchdown pass in every game this season besides last week, where he only threw for 183 yards. He did at least rush for 45 yards with a touchdown. That was the saving grace of last week.
With this game projected to be the highest total of the week, it would be wise to take a look at this one. Brees should be forced to throw throughout the entire game, which should bode well for the Panthers defense and their 18 interceptions on the season. I’m a bit skeptical to look at the Saints offense with how good the Panthers defense has been performing, but at least Brees will be at home, where he has historically performed bounds and leaps better than on the road.
2) Philadelphia Eagles at New England Patriots
Over/Under: 48.5 points
Line: New England -9.5
This would be a huge spot for the Patriots, WOULD be a huge spot. But, with so many injuries plaguing the team right now, I don’t know how much I love this matchup. With the Eagles as the worst defense against opposing wide receivers, the Pats wide outs will be in consideration. It’s just a matter of WHO? If Danny Amendola is back in action, he automatically becomes one of the top targets of the week. If not, that when it gets awful dicey. Tight end Scott Chandler of all people, lead the team in targets against a tough Denver defense. You’d think Brandon LaFell would be the obvious option, but when is anything on the Patriots obvious? I would watch the status of the Patriots through Sunday to really decide who to target from them on this one. Regardless, they have the biggest line of the week at -9.5.
As for the Eagles, it’s been tough to trust anyone, even when they are healthy. At least according to Vegas, they should be playing from behind, which would indicate a lot of passes coming from Mark Sanchez. In a nice matchup against the Lions last week, Sanchez completed 19/27 for 199 passing yards with two touchdowns and no interceptions. He’ll have plenty of opportunities this week, but no one has really stepped up in the receiving game for us to consider. But as some may say, volume brings value.
3) Green Bay Packers at Detroit Lions
Over/Under: 47 Points
Line: Green Bay -3
Just like his production, Aaron Rodgers continues to see his price drop on DraftKings. Once the most expensive quarterback on what felt like a weekly basis, Rodgers check in at $7200 for his week 13 matchup against the Lions. Rodgers has been disappointing in his last two matchups against the Bears and the Vikings, where he’s thrown for no more than 212 yards in this game with three touchdowns and one interception. If you think the loss of Jordy Nelson hasn’t been affecting his play, you’re crazy. On paper, he has a great matchup against a so-so Lions defense, but especially for this game being on Thursday night, it’s hard to love him at this point.
From one end of the spectrum to the other, Matt Stafford has looked fantastic these past two weeks. Stafford is coming off a 27/38 performance for 337 yards with five touchdowns and no interceptions against the flimsy Eagles defense. The Packers haven’t been anything fantastic and Calvin Johnson and company have been feasting lately. In a weird turn of events, the Lions offense looks to be the most enticing option at this point. Vegas might love the Packers in this one, but I think the Lions might be the safer bet.
NFL Thursday Targets
Defense vs. Position Matchup Breakdown
Worst DvP Matchups – Quarterbacks
1) Denver Broncos vs. San Diego Chargers – Another week, another spot for the Broncos to be up at the number one spot when facing opposing quarterbacks. Even after a game against New England, the Broncos defense continues to show their dominance. On the season, The Broncos have only allowed 11 passing touchdowns, which is tied with Seattle and Dallas for the least in the league. The Broncos have grabbed ten interceptions while allowing a 60% completion rate on 384 attempts.
2) Atlanta Falcons vs. Tampa Bay Buccaneers – The Falcons have really become a solid defense against opposing quarterbacks. On the season, the Falcons have allowed 13 passing touchdowns while grabbing 13 interceptions, which is the fourth-most in the league. The Falcons are allowing a 65% completion rate on 396 attempts.
3) Carolina Panthers vs. New Orleans Saints – If you were hoping for a bounce back week from Drew Brees, you might be setting yourself up for disappointment. The Panthers have allowed 13 passing touchdowns while nabbing a league leading 18 interceptions. The Panthers are allowing a 58% completion rate on 444 attempts.
Best DvP Matchups – Quarterbacks
1) New Orleans Saints vs. Carolina Panthers – From one of the worst to one of the best, the Panthers and Cam Newton are in a great spot here in week 12. The Saints have allowed 30 passing touchdowns this season, which leads the league by five. The five interceptions they’ve caught this season is only higher than the Detroit Lions and Baltimore Ravens who own four. The 67% completion rate is one of the highest in the league.
2) Baltimore Ravens vs. Miami Dolphins – Even though Ryan Tannehill hasn’t been great this season, you have to like this spot for him at just $5300. The Ravens have allowed 21 passing touchdowns this season while only grabbing four interceptions. They’re allowing a 62% completion rate on 407 attempts.
3) Jacksonville Jaguars vs. Tennessee Titans – Marcus Mariota is another name that could be thrown around when we talk about inconsistency, but he’s also poised for a nice matchup here in week 13. The Jaguars have quickly ascended up the ranks as one of the worst teams at defending against opposing quarterbacks. They’ve allowed 21 passing touchdowns while only intercepting five. They’ve allowed a 66% completion rate on 418 attempts.
Worst DvP Matchups – Running Backs
1) Pittsburgh Steelers vs. Indianapolis Colts – I still believe the Steelers don’t get enough love when it comes to their run defense. Even while being ranked number one in the league. On the season, the Steelers have allowed three rushing touchdowns while holding opposing running backs to an average of 3.8 YPC on 228 attempts. The Steelers are also one of five teams that have now allowed a receiving touchdown to a running back.
2) Seattle Seahawks vs. Minnesota Vikings – Coming off a week where Adrian Peterson scored 35.7 DraftKings points, his highest total of the season, Peterson gets a tough matchup against Seattle. On the season, Seattle four rushing touchdowns while holding opposing running backs to an average of 3.6 YPC on 220 attempts.
3) New York Jets vs. New York Giants – I can’t imagine anyone getting too cute with rostering a Giants running back, as the Jets have been one of the best at defending the run. The Jets are the only team that has still only allowed one rushing touchdown on the season while holding opposing running backs to an average of 3.5 YPC. One interesting note is that the Jets have allowed four passing touchdowns to opposing running backs, which is tied with seven other teams for the second-highest total in the league. Shane Vereen could be a sneaky play this week.
Best DvP Matchups – Running Backs
1) San Diego Chargers vs. Denver Broncos – A nice spot here for CJ Anderson and Ronnie Hillman from Denver. The Chargers still rank as the worst defense against the run. On the season, they’ve allowed eight rushing touchdowns and opposing running backs are averaging 5.1 YPC.
2) Miami Dolphins vs. Baltimore Ravens – Buck Allen gets back to back easy matchups to show off his skillset. After rushing for 67 yards and grabbing five targets for 48 yards, he faces a Dolphins defense that’s allowed nine rushing touchdowns and an average of 4.2 YPC on 316 attempts. Running backs have also caught 65% of their targets on 76 attempts with four touchdowns.
3) Atlanta Falcons vs. Tampa Bay Buccaneers – You’d love to throw Doug Martin into your lineup with a nice matchup ahead, but he’s a tough one to trust. The Falcons are allowing 12 rushing touchdowns this season, which is the second-most in the league behind the Detroit Lions. They’re allowing 3.7 YPC on 258 attempts. The Falcons really falter in the passing game as well, as opposing running backs have caught 82% of their targets with three touchdowns.
Worst DvP Matchups – Wide Receivers
1) Denver Broncos vs. San Diego Chargers – Tough spot for the Chargers, who are depleted as it is on offense. The Broncos are the only team that has allowed only one passing touchdown to opposing wide receivers while they catch 58% of the passes coming their way. The 1217 passing yards are the least amount allowed in the league by the Broncos.
2) Atlanta Falcons vs. Tampa Bay Buccaneers – The Falcons don’t get the love they deserve for their defense. Maybe that will play to your advantage this week. The Falcons have only allowed three passing touchdowns to opposing wide receivers with a 57% completion rate on 190 targets.
3) St. Louis Rams vs. Arizona Cardinals – Carson Palmer had been consistent this entire season until last week, where he failed to throw a passing touchdown for the first time this season. This week, he faces a tough Rams defense. On the season, the Rams have allowed six touchdowns to opposing wide receivers as they bring down 65% of their targets on 197 attempts.
Best DvP Matchups – Wide Receivers
1) Philadelphia Eagles vs. New England Patriots – After a tough matchup last week against the Broncos, the Patriots have a MUCH easier matchup against the Eagles. The Eagles have allowed the most touchdowns to wide receivers this season with 19. It certainly doesn’t help that they’re allowing a 63% completion percentage on 265 targets. The biggest question going into this matchup is who will be on the field for the Pats.
2) Kansas City Chiefs vs. Oakland Raiders – The Chiefs defense has been vastly popular across the board as of late. Aside from this past week, the Chiefs haven’t allowed over 20 points since week five. Nonetheless, the continue to struggle against opposing wideouts. They’ve allowed the most receiving yards in the league with 2212 on a 59% completion rate. Mix in 19 touchdowns and there you have it.
3) Baltimore Ravens vs. Miami Dolphins – Well, we’re all familiar with the Ravens struggle against the pass. The Ravens have allowed the second most touchdowns with 18 on a 59% completion rate. Again, this could be a nice spot for Ryan Tannehill and company.
Worst DvP Matchups – Tight Ends
1) Kansas City Chiefs vs. Oakland Raiders – Do I have to give my weekly reminder to take these stats with a grain of salt? Yes? Fine. The Chiefs have at least been in this spot for awhile, so we can give them some credit. On the season, they’ve held opposing tight ends to just two touchdowns and 325 yards on a 46% completion rate. Impressive.
2) Philadelphia Eagles vs. New England Patriots – Ha. So my point exactly. The Eagles might be good against the tight end position now, but let’s see how it looks after a little Gronkowski plays them (if he’s good to go of course.) The Eagles have allowed two touchdowns with a 68% completion rate for 468 yards.
3) New York Jets vs. New York Giants – The Jets are another team that has been hovering in the top three for awhile. Against opposing tight ends, they’ve allowed two touchdowns and a 64% completion rate on 451 yards.
Best DvP Matchups – Tight Ends
1) New Orleans Saints vs. Carolina Panthers – The Saints aren’t really good at defending anyone at this point, although last week against the Texans went a lot better for their defense than we expected. Against tight ends, the Saints have allowed ten touchdowns and 860 yards on an absurd 76% completion rate. To say Greg Olsen won’t be heavily targeted would be an understatement.
2) Oakland Raiders vs. Kansas City Chiefs – The narrative that the Raiders are brutal against opposing tight ends is starting to lighten up a bit. They’ve been patching it up. However, it was SO bad before, that the numbers still look ugly. On the season, the Raiders have allowed the most touchdowns to tight ends with 11 with a 62% completion rate on 664 yards.
3) New York Giants vs. New York Jets – In terms of giving up the most yards to opposing tight ends, the Giants take the cake on this one. The 919 leads the league over the Saints by 59. The Giants have allowed seven touchdowns on the season with a 71% completion rate.
Last Week’s Target Leaders
Last Three Week’s Target Leaders
Lineup Quick Hits
One Quarterback You Should Build Lineups Around…
Cam Newton ($7,400) – I feel like I’m cheating all of you with this pick. I mean, anybody can pick a quarterback against the Saints defense. It doesn’t take anything special to figure that out. However, I do really like Newton because of what he’s already done to the Saints defense this season. The Saints defense that wasn’t looking half as bad as it was in week three when these two teams first met. In that game, Newton was 20/31 with two touchdowns. On top of that, Newton rushed for 33 yards and a touchdown. I love that Newton has the ability to effectively contribute in both aspects of the game, which makes him all the more valuable. He’s going to be heavily owned, so be aware of that as he had into this matchup. Besides Newton, I do really like Ryan Fitzpatrick this week as well with his matchup against the Giants.
And the Wide Receiver You Should Pair Him With…
Greg Olsen ($6,400) – I don’t even follow the rules of my own article. Olsen is not a wide receiver, but he’s certainly the top option this week against the Saints. The Saints are the worst defense against opposing tight ends, allowing 10 touchdowns and 76% of their targets to go for catches. When these two teams met up in week three, Olsen scored 36.4 DraftKings points where caught 8/11 targets for 134 yards and scored two touchdowns. Even with the production of Olsen trailing off since then, he’s still averaging 8.4 targets per game. He should receive plenty of volume in this one.
The Highest Scoring Running Back This Week Will Be…
LeSean McCoy ($5,700) – Loving this spot for Shady this week. He’s quietly been putting together a monster end to the season, In his past four weeks, McCoy has put up 22.9, 23.9, 24.3 and 18.1 points. He’s reached the end zone twice and has at least 16 rushes per game. It certainly doesn’t hurt that he’s been seeing some targets as well, as he’s averaging 5.5 targets per game. At the salary cap friendly price of $5,700, McCoy could bust out another solid game against a team that is allowing over 113 rushing yards per game this season. In a position that is riddled with injuries, McCoy sure seems like a solid pick for week 13.
The Biggest Bust of the Week Will Be…
Todd Gurley ($7,300) – The days of 100+ rushing yards for Todd Gurley may be over this season. After four straight weeks of at least 128 rushing yards, Gurley hasn’t hit the magical 100-yard mark since week eight. Since then, Gurley has rushed for 89, 45, 66 and 19. With his production crashing back down to earth, his price tag hasn’t. At $7,300, Gurley faces a good Cardinals defense in week 13. This Cardinals defense is averaging 91 rushing yards per game, which ranks as the 4th best in the league. Gurley is one of the best bets to reach the end zone on this lackluster Rams offense, but I don’t think it’s worth the $7300 price to find out.