While there are four weeks of football left, Week 13 is the last week of the regular season in fantasy.
If you're one of those lucky divisional leaders who have already clinched a bye, read no further. But if you are one of those bubble teams that could easily pop without the right lineup, this is for you.
Featured here are the usual drops and shops with a twist: there are a few players expected to "pop" in coming weeks that you may want to pop into your lineup to secure a season-changing win.
Without further ado, here are the drops, pops and shops to make your Week 13 count.
Joe Camporeale-USA TODAY Sports
You probably already know this, but it's cathartic to say it: John Brown is officially a fantasy dud for 2020, and you don't need to keep his bench seat warm any longer.
After stellar performances in Weeks 1 and 2, Brown's production has only suffered due to lower leg injury troubles. Limited with a foot injury in Week 3, Brown scored less than 10 total fantasy points over six weeks—not good for someone who should have reaped the benefits of a Josh Allen offense. Brown made up for it in Weeks 9 and 10, but after a bye week and a "tweaked" ankle that landed him for three weeks on IR, he's effectively out for rest of the fantasy season.
Somehow, he's still rostered in 50 percent of ESPN leagues, so just make sure he isn't rostered for you.
@OneBillsLive @MSGNetworks @WGR550 @SteveTasker89 @MadGlab @BuffaloBills @EWood70 John Brown is such an important p… https://t.co/4kA9gh5rpz— Mike Vadala (@Mike Vadala)1606755241.0
Scott Galvin-USA TODAY Sports
Perhaps you are a current or former disgruntled Landry owner—he's still available in 23.5 percent of ESPN leagues, a somewhat surprising stat for someone who has been a key player in the Browns passing game for several years.
But truthfully, Landry hasn't popped off this season, his Week 12 performance being his best one to date. Remarkably, Landry didn't score a touchdown or snag more than five catches all season until this Sunday, which could predict a positive trend in usage during fantasy playoffs. After a Week 13 game against the Titans, Landry will face the Ravens, the Giants and the Jets, the latter two being favorable matchups for a strong AFC North team set to cop a wildcard slot. If Landry and Mayfield can capitalize on their playoff-bound momentum, perhaps you can too.
Highest rated Week 12 performances, per @PFF: Offense: Jarvis Landry 94.5 Defense: Darnell Savage 96.3 (Yes, I know there's 1 more game)— Andrew Siciliano (@Andrew Siciliano)1606841608.0
Brad Rempel-USA TODAY Sports
Since joining the Cowboys, Amari Cooper has transformed from dud to stud as he benefited from an underpaid and underrated Dak Prescott. So when Dak was sidelined with a season-ending injury in Week 5, Cooper was left to deal with the kind of inconsistency he dealt with back in Oakland. Cooper scored 13-point half-PPR games for the first three weeks of the season, but after losing Prescott, he only scored 13 or higher in a Week 6 game against the Cardinals—until now.
Air yards per game over the last 4 weeks: 1. Tyreek Hill (183) 6. DK Metcalf (112) 7. Justin Jefferson (110) 11. Ca… https://t.co/FK3MoDSbvy— Hayden Winks (@Hayden Winks)1606835280.0
Landing six catches for 112 yards and a touchdown, Cooper is a favorite of a returning Andy Dalton, who dealt with his own injuries this season. In a Cowboys offense that could slowly be stabilizing, Cooper is a desirable fantasy target with a playoff slate against the Bengals, 49ers and Eagles. Cooper is even a solid start against the Ravens in Week 13, so if you have Cooper, now is the time to use him.
Isaiah J. Downing-USA TODAY Sports
DeVante Parker is owned in nearly 90 percent of ESPN leagues, and for good reason: when FitzMagic is in the air, so are Parker's fantasy numbers. Parker is easily Fitzpatrick's favorite target on the field. After subbing for Tagovailoa in the fourth quarter in Week 11, Fitzpatrick targeted Parker for three catches, two of them being caught for 36 yards. The last pass, an endzone target, was intercepted, but Fitz and Parker bounced back this week with eight catches for 119 yards.
As long as Fitzpatrick is starting, so should Parker, especially against a weakened Bengals squad in Week 13. While the Chiefs and Patriots prove formidable foes in the fantasy playoffs, a Week 16 matchup against the Raiders should fare well for this Dolphins duo.
#ProBowlVote Devante Parker https://t.co/emVZrhya8D— Tua SZN 🏈 (@Tua SZN 🏈)1606838208.0
Troy Taormina-USA TODAY Sports
Chances are you weren't aware of Jacksonville's Collin Johnson before Week 12, but now is definitely time to pay attention to what could be the wide receiver pickup of Week 13.
Collin Johnson in Week 12: 💥 8 Targets 💥 4 Receptions 💥 96 Yards 💥 1 TD 💥 83% Snap Share @QBsMVP gives you his top… https://t.co/jiE6OIN6dW— PFF (@PFF)1606842121.0
Averaging no less than 10 yards per catch all season, Johnson averaged an incredible 24 yards per catch against the Browns with four catches for 96 yards and a touchdown. The rookie fifth-rounder is only seeing this kind of production because DJ Chark and Chris Conley are out and quarterback Mike Glennon is in, but Johnson's Sunday performance should secure him a more prominent role in Week 13 against the Vikings. Whether Chark returns or not is a factor, but Johnson is still someone to watch as playoffs near.
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Mohamed Sanu has had a quiet and challenging 2020 season: the Patriots released him on September 4th after trading a second-round pick for him, with head coach/GM Bill Belichick claiming, "it just didn't work out." The Patriots often field aging players to see if there's any talent left, so such a statement could have tempered hype for the former Falcons receiver.
Sanu bounced from the 49ers, then the Lions, suiting up for the blue and silver in Week 12 against Houston. Despite an embarrassing Thanksgiving loss, Sanu was a winner on Sunday, catching all four targets for 32 yards and a touchdown. As long as Kenny Golladay, Danny Amendola and Marvin Hall are out, Sanu looks to benefit from a Matt Stafford offense that is newly freed of maligned head coach Matt Patricia.
@andyholloway Mohamed Sanu MVP SZN https://t.co/mGj7w6PLby— Stephen Andress ✊🏻✊🏼✊🏽✊🏾✊🏿 (@Stephen Andress ✊🏻✊🏼✊🏽✊🏾✊🏿)1606662427.0
Rich Barnes-USA TODAY Sports
If you finally dropped John Brown, it's time to pick up his replacement: Gabriel Davis.
The rookie third-rounder has had a few decent games all season, his second best being a 15-point game against Seattle in half-PPR leagues. This week, Davis did slightly better, catching three of four targets for 79 yards and a touchdown. With Brown out, Davis will accompany Diggs and Beasely, carving his own role opposite Diggs, who often faces double coverage.
In one of the best NFL passing games, Davis is someone to stash in Week 13 against the 49ers, as well as a Week 15 Broncos match and a Week 16 Patriots rematch.
scary part about the bills receiving core: Diggs is a top 5-7 receiver in the game Cole Beasley is the number 1 slo… https://t.co/SCMiGybyWc— Philip Gong (8-3) (@Philip Gong (8-3))1606765845.0
scary part about the bills receiving core: Diggs is a top 5-7 receiver in the game Cole Beasley is the number 1 slo… https://t.co/SCMiGybyWc— Philip Gong (8-3) (@Philip Gong (8-3))1606765845.0
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It's another eventful week in the NFL.
Four teams -- the Jets, Falcons, Saints, and 49ers -- are the first teams to get a bye week. After Tom Brady and the Tampa Bay Buccaneers narrowly escaped Thursday Night Football with a 28-22 victory over the Philadelphia Eagles, the reigning Super Bowl champs are the first team with five wins in the league. Who will join them on Sunday? We know that we'll get at least a second five-win team since the 4-1 Ravens are hosting the 4-1 Chargers. That is going to be an epic battle, so let's start with that clash of AFC contenders. Welcome to our Week 6 NFL Best Bets.
Playing on the road is a difficult task for any team, but if any team can escape with a victory, it's Justin Herbert and the Chargers. This isn't the Chargers of the last decade. This team is winning the close battles. Herbert is playing at an MVP level this season and already has led this team to big-time wins over the Kansas City Chiefs and Cleveland Browns -- two of the top teams in the AFC. This L.A. team is deep at the skill positions, can rush the passer, has an improved offensive line and a great young coach. What's not to like?
All that said, Lamar Jackson seems to be playing as he did during his 2019 MVP campaign. Not to mention, Marquise "Hollywood" Brown is actually catching passes. He eclipsed 100 yards last week and scored two touchdowns (including the game-winning catch in overtime). Simply put, this is a tough team to bet against. It did take last-second heroics for the Ravens to beat the winless Lions and a pretty pedestrian Colts team. Overall, Baltimore hasn't faced a test like this yet this season. Take the points and the better overall squad. Chargers may win this game, but if they don't, they are not going to lose by more than a field goal.
PICK: Chargers +3.5
It's been a tough start to the season for the Chiefs. They had great odds to return to the Super Bowl and are now last in the AFC West heading into Week 16 with a 2-3 record. They desperately need this game. This is a great opportunity for the Chiefs to prove they are still elite by defeating a team that made the postseason last year on the road. The Chiefs are going to turn it around against a Washington defense that is allowing the sixth-most passing yards and second-most passing touchdowns this season. Patrick Mahomes is going to blow up. Tyreek Hill is going to dominate. Travis Kelce is going to continue to provide a steady source of receptions down the middle of the field. As long as the Chiefs' offensive line holds against Chase Young, it's going to be a long day for Washington's defense. Betting on Mahomes to right the ship isn't a really difficult choice.
PICK: Chiefs -6.5
Yes, the Texans are one of the worst teams in the league. Betting on them on the road against a divisional rival might seem crazy at first. However, the Texans are 7-3 against the spread as underdogs in their last 10 games. Plus, the Colts are emotional after completely giving away the game against the Ravens in which they blew a 22-3 lead late in the game. This is going to cause a bit of a hangover in that locker room. When New England suffered a terrible loss against Tom Brady and the Bucs, the Texans managed to cover the spread the following week. Look for history to repeat itself. Texans coach David Culley has Houston playing hard in spite of its lack of talent and quarterback Davis Mills appeared to take a step forward last week against the Pats. Houston has played pretty good pass defense, too. The Texans have allowed only seven passing TDs this season.
PICK: Texans +9
Sunday night will be an interesting matchup to watch as Geno Smith will make his first start in four years as the Seahawks travel to Pittsburgh to take on the Steelers. I hate betting on Ben Roethlisberger, but it's hard to envision the Seahawks covering the spread without the services of Russell Wilson. And as much as I think Big Ben should hang up his cleats, you have to give him credit for the way he dominated a solid Broncos defense last week. Roethlisberger looked better than he did earlier in the season and was able to get the ball to his playmakers -- Diontae Johnson, Chase Claypool, and running back Najee Harris. Seattle's defense is one of the worst in the league and their secondary is even worse than their front seven. Look for the Steelers to light up Seattle in the passing game.
PICK: Steelers -5
Both of these offenses can put up a lot of points, though they go about it very differently. The Browns are a run-heavy team, and even though they will be without the services of Nick Chubb, Kareem Hunt is more than capable of getting the job done. Meanwhile, Arizona's offense runs through electric quarterback Kyler Murray. Murray is able to move the chains with his legs but he isn't afraid to toss the ball either. He loves getting his guys involved and his weapons are elite in DeAndre Hopkins, Rondale Moore, and Christian Kirk.
The Browns are coming off an 89-point slugest with the Chargers and hit the OVER in their other game against a high-end offense in a 33-29 loss to the Chiefs. Meanwhile, the Cardinals have scored 30-plus points in four of five games this year. Smash the OVER.
PICK: OVER 49.5
Week 2 of the NFL was full of breakout performances, thrilling finishes and potentially the start of the Justin Fields era in the NFC North as the Bears' win over the Bengals finds them in first place in the division.
We cap off the week with a Monday Night Football showdown between the Packers and the Lions with the winner finding themselves tied for first in the North. The Packers put up an absolute dud of a performance last week against the Saints in Week 1 while the Lions looked surprisingly effective while playing catch-up against the West-leading 49ers. The expectations for these two teams couldn't have been further apart coming into the season but with matching 0-1 starts on the books, I think there are a couple of interesting props and roster construction angles to exploit.
NFL DFS Showdown Picks
*Prices are from DraftKings
Captain: TE T.J. Hockenson, Detroit Lions ($9,600) ($14,400)
I'm normally not a fan of playing a tight end in the captain spot, but T.J. Hockenson is not your average tight end. He finished 2020 with an elite 18% target share in the Lions' offense and picked up right where he left off in Week 1, finishing with an 18.2% share on 50 routes run last week. Hockenson has always carried premium TD upside as a red-zone target but what was most encouraging about last week was that he ran nearly 55% of his routes out of the slot, leaving him a matchup against Chandon Sullivan, who's allowing a 67% catch rate in his coverage. In a game where the Lions are projected to be down early, expect Hockenson to get fed once again. His red-zone utilization gives him enough juice to take the captain's chair in my builds.
Core Consideration: QB Jared Goff, Detroit Lions ($10,000)
Two principles I take into Showdown slates apply to this play. Generally speaking, if I have a pass-catcher as my captain, I'm finding a way to get their QB into a flex spot. The second is that your build needs to tell a story. Mine is that the Packers come out with something to prove after getting embarrassed in Week 1 and that we'll likely see upwards of 50 pass attempts from Jared Goff as he attempts to mount a comeback. Goff is a surprisingly effective passer when getting good protection and this unit gave him a clean pocket on 86.7% of snaps last week. Expect that to continue tonight as Goff will continue to feast in garbage time.
Contrarian Play: WR Randall Cobb, Green Bay Packers ($2,000)
I still chuckle at the thought of the return of Randall Cobb being on the short-list of demands from Aaron Rodgers in the midst of his holdout. I do, however, think there is something to be said about the importance of chemistry between a quarterback and his receiver and I expect that in a typical game (which Week 1 was not), Aaron Rodgers is going to find his spots to get Cobb involved. In a game script that figures to have the Packers up by a healthy margin, not many are going to look at the tertiary passing options for Green Bay and I think a $2,000 Randall Cobb could sneak in a handful of receptions at single-digit ownership..
Salary Relief: WR Amon-Ra St. Brown, Detroit Lions ($2,400)
This one fits perfectly into my narrative for the game as well. In a game where the Lions are likely to flirt with 50+ pass attempts and coming off a week where St. Brown ran routes on 75% of the team's passing plays, I will be overweight on Amon-Ra tonight. Lining up in the slot on 74.5% of plays means St. Brown will primarily see coverage from Chandon Sullivan, the most favorable of the options GB lines up in their defensive secondary. Expect St. Brown to see his target volume increase tonight. If Detroit can be more effective in getting to the red zone, he carries decent scoring upside with the way he's utilized in this offense. Plus, who doesn't love the extra motivation of playing against their big bro?
Monday Night Football Best Bets
Taking a look at the wagering side of this game; before we determine anything else we must ask ourselves what we think of these Green Bay Packers. I tend to look at last week's performance as the exception and not the rule. With that being the case, I am laying the 11.5 points and taking GB tonight. Over the past six seasons, oddsmakers have been fairly sharp when it comes to these larger spreads and NFL teams cover double-digit spreads more than 55% of the time. The total for tonight is sitting at 48.5 and given the somewhat surprising ability of the Lions to make up ground last week, I am confidently on the "over" side of that line.
Picks: Packers -11.5, OVER 48.5 points
Taking a look at the prop market, I am again mainly investing in the "GB Blowout" narrative:
D'Andre Swift: OVER 28.5 Receiving Yard
Coming off a 65-yard performance in a very similar game script, this one feels like a no-brainer. Swift averages nearly 8 yards per reception so this really boils down to whether you think he catches more than 3 passes. I certainly do and I'm confidently on the OVER for this prop. FanDuel is currently carrying the best odds at -110.
T.J. Hockenson: Anytime TD
I'm not the biggest fan of these "to score" props, but I'll break from the norm with this one. I am projecting the Lions to at least have a go at it in this game and there simply isn't a scenario where that doesn't involve a score for Hockenson. +220 odds at FanDuel sort of feels like stealing given that I see this game going over the 48.5 total.
AJ Dillon | UNDER 8.5 Rushing Attempts
I know that the betting public is forecasting a fairly comfortable win for the Packers, but let's not get carried away. AJ Dillon would have to nearly double his career average for carries to get to this number. Plus, it's a bit unlikely that this game gets so far out of reach that Green Bay brings in their backups. Even last week when they did bring in the second-stringers, Dillon only saw 4 carries. I'm expecting Aaron Jones to have a monster day on the ground, as evidenced by my Saturday article.
Week 1 is in the books and it's time to move on to the best bets in Week 2.
If you listened to my article earlier this week, you would have started 1-0 for taking the Giants with the points against Washington in that thriller of a matchup Thursday night. Now, let's dive into Week 2's best NFL bets.
Tennessee Titans/Seattle Seahawks Over 54
The Seahawks' offense was high-flying in the first half last week. Because the Colts never really threatened the outcome of the game, the Seahawks were able to take the air out of the ball and finish the game with an easy win while only scoring seven in the second half. While both the Titans' defense and offense looked atrocious, expect Ryan Tannehill and Derrick Henry to have big bounce-back weeks and make this an epic high-scoring game. This has all the makings for a shootout in which both teams put up 30-plus points.
Cincinnati Bengals +2.5 @ Chicago Bears
Until that Monday night game, the Bengals had the honor of winning the craziest Week 1 game over the Vikings in overtime. The Bears' defense, which is supposed to be their strength, looked awful against the Rams, including one of the most blown coverages you'll ever see on Cooper Kupp's long touchdown. It was simply an awful week for the Bears. I don't think it gets any better until they remove Dalton and promote Justin Fields. If they don't do that prior to game time, the Bengals will run away with this one.
Los Angeles Rams -3.5 @ Indianapolis Colts
Coming out of Week 1 the Rams looked great on both sides of the ball. Matthew Stafford had a great first game, going 20 for 26 with three touchdowns. The Colts... They didn't look that great on either side of the ball. While Carson Wentz's overall numbers didn't look bad, most of the yardage and one of his two TDs came in the fourth quarter as they were chasing from two or more scores back, never actually threatening to win the game. I'm leaning towards the Rams winning this in a blowout and would consider alternate spreads.
Arizona Cardinals -3.5 vs. Minnesota Vikings
Kyler Murray appears to be a man on a mission to avenge last season's bitter ending after absolutely torching the Tennesee Titans in Nashville. The Vikings' defense, who hasn't been as formidable as years past, is going to have their hands full with Kyler. Last week they allowed Joe Burrow to complete nearly 80% of his passes, and Burrow isn't a threat to run nor has a receiver as talented as DeAndre Hopkins. If the Vikings offense doesn't step up and make this a shootout, things could get ugly in Phoenix.
Dallas Cowboys + 3.5 @ Los Angeles Chargers
Dak Prescott looked great in Week 1 and if there were any issues with his shoulder after throwing 58 times, he had 10 days to get healed up again and ready for the Chargers. I can almost guarantee, whenever the Cowboys go to play either Los Angeles team in their stadium, that there will be more Cowboys fans than LA fans. So while they aren't playing in Jerry World, they'll have more fan support. My concern for Justin Herbert and the Chargers is their efficiency in the red zone. His most potent weapons in Keenan Allen and Austin Ekeler become less effective as they get closer to the goal line. That leaves Jared Cook and Mike Williams as your bigger bodies in the red zone, which isn't ideal. The Cowboys have a decent chance to win this one outright, but you can take the points for some cushion.
- Cowboys ML (+160)
- Titans +6.5 (-105)
- Steelers ML (-225)
- Rams -3.5 (-110)
Five Props To Consider
- Calvin Ridley OVER 6.5 receptions (+115)
- Tyrod Taylor OVER 34.5 Pass Attempts (-105)
- Aaron Jones OVER 88.5 combined yards (-115)
- Nick Chubb OVER 17.5 carries (-120)
- James Robinson OVER 9.5 carries (-125)
All five of these props have an excellent chance at hitting. I like the idea of wagering a three-leg prop parlay with the last three props listed (Jones, Chubb and J-Rob). Thanks me on Monday.