Five games on the late slate this week, yet only two seem to carry any significant playoff meaning. The Colts and Steelers face off at 6-5 each, and the Raiders sit a game behind the Chiefs who are AFC’s 5th seed through a series of tiebreakers. The Saints look to play spoiler at home against the undefeated Panthers, but have dropped 3 straight and don’t appear to have any answers on defense.
Cam Newton, CAR @ NO, $7,400 – Cam is firmly entrenched in MVP discussions after leading his Panthers to an 11-0 start, with arguably the worst set of WRs in the league. Ted Ginn Jr. leads this cast with just 30 receptions, while tight end Greg Olsen has been the focal point of the air attack hauling in nearly twice as many passes. Newton has had to be creative and rely on his legs more than ever, and his 98 rush attempts put him on pace to break his career-high 127. He has been highly effective running the ball and notched his 40th career rush TD on Thanksgiving. Only Otto Graham (44 TDs) and Steve Young (43 TDs) have higher career marks at the QB position, and it’s realistic Cam could top the list by season’s end. He has an ideal matchup against a Saints defense vulnerable to the run and the pass, ranking 31st in total defense (419 YPG). Newton is 3rd among QBs in with 23.2 PPG, and could easily outscore the field this week in New Orleans.
Amari Cooper, KC @ OAK, $6,900 – Cooper has been head and shoulders above the other rookie wideouts this season, with 58 catches for 851 yards and 4 scores. Only Stefon Diggs’ 40 grabs for 602 yards and 2 TDs are anywhere close. Amari has proven to be well worth the investment at 4th overall and has instantly become the top target of Derek Carr. Although the Chiefs secondary has been stout in recent weeks, they were proven beatable last week by Sammy Watkins, who exploded for 158 yards and 2 scores. Last week, Cooper finished with his 4th career 100-yard receiving effort, and is getting enough looks to sit 12th among WRs in targets. With these trends in mind, he should be fired up as the 14th priced WR this week. If Oakland hopes to make any type of run at the playoffs, Cooper will be the major factor propelling them.
DeAngelo Williams, IND @ PIT, $5,600 – A general rule of thumb in recent years has been don’t start RBs in Seattle. Williams bucked that trend last week finishing with 25 fantasy points. He has a much friendlier home matchup in store against the Colts, who rank 24th in the NFL against the run (115 YPG). DeAngelo is also a threat in the passing game with 7 catches for 88 yards last week, both season highs. With Ben Roethlisberger returning to practice Wednesday after sustaining a concussion last week, Williams’ Week 13 outlook has improved even further. He also comes at a relative bargain of $900 less than his Week 10 price, and carries as much upside as any RB out there. His price tag is $2,400 less than leading RB Devonta Freeman, which should free up some money for you to allocate elsewhere.
Jeremy Maclin, KC @ OAK, $5,200 – It’s hard to get pumped about a Chiefs WR these days, but Maclin is forcing owners to reconsider that trend. This season he has contributed 3 monster games that when averaged, equate to more than 9 catches and 150 yards. Last week against the Bills was one of these performances, where he finished with 9 catches for 160 yards and a score. Maclin looks to build on that momentum with a generous Oakland matchup ahead, against a defense that ranks 29th against the pass (283 YPG). The stigma surrounding Chiefs wideouts seems to be following him, as he is priced outside of the Top 25 among WRs. All arrows point to Maclin making a big impact on Sunday, as a low-cost option with a great matchup in place.
C.J. Anderson, DEN @ SD, $3,500 – It’s unquestioned that Anderson has underperformed all season, with just a single TD and a single 100-yard rushing game entering Week 12. His $7,000 price tag entering the year has been cut in half due to his struggles, but perhaps last week’s success will get him going in the right direction. Against the Patriots, he finished with by far his best line of the year, with 4 catches, 153 all-purpose yards, and 2 scores. One of them was a 48-yard scamper in OT to end the game. With unimpressive Brock Osweiler at QB, the Broncos should focus heavily on the ground game against San Diego’s porous run defense that ranks 26th in the NFL (124 YPG). While Hillman is another option, he will cost you $1,000 more and was outsnapped by Anderson 44 to 27 last week. Anderson is a low-cost flier at just $500 above the RB minimum this week.
Scott Chandler, PHI @ NE, $2,500 – Watching Rob Gronkowski writhing in pain on the ground after a low hit, many feared a season-ending injury. The MRI revealed no structural damage, but the knee sprain/bruise will keep him out of action against the Eagles at the very least. This will create an opportunity for Chandler to step up, after garnering a season-high 11 targets last week. He finished with his most productive game as a Patriot in Week 12 and should be heavily involved again Sunday. Chandler has scored twice in his last 3 games and will face a very beatable Eagles secondary. If Danny Amendola is limited or ruled out, his workload will be even greater. It will literally cost you nothing to plug him in this week compared to any other TE option, at the position minimum price.
More to Consider
Jordan Reed, DAL @ WAS, $5,300
Charcandrick West, KC @ OAK, $5,200
Kirk Cousins, DAL @ WAS, $5,200
Danny Woodhead, DEN @ SD, $4,800
Brandon LaFell, PHI @ NE, $4,800
Devin Funchess, CAR @ NO, $3,700