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.
Tim Fuller-USA TODAY Sports
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
Week 6 Vibe Check (2-3) This past week offered us a worthy entry into the Bad Beat Hall of Losers.
A brutal 22 point fourth quarter by the Eagles killed an easy -7.5 point cover by the Ravens, who haven't quite looked as dominant as we expected them to heading into this season. Meanwhile, the Panthers and Packers decided to make my big sweeping proclamations that Carolina's good and the Tampa Bay Bucs are bad look very silly.
As for my two wins, they were decent nail biters, too. The Titans, thanks to some creative coaching, managed to secure us a cover with a King Henry wildcat TD and the Chiefs showed us all a different dimension they have to crush people, their running game. This kept the game a little closer than most would've liked, but imagine adding Le'Veon Bell to this team. Yeah, start checking Super Bowl futures.
Speaking of the future, let's get a look at Week 7…
To be honest, there aren't a ton of games that I love on this slate. Seems like oddsmakers have this week dialed in and a lot of these match ups just seem a little off. However, the games that do call out to me all have one thing in common.
Road Favorites for the Win
Packers -3.5 over Texans
The Packers are coming off a brutal road loss, in which their offense got full on exposed by Todd Bowles and the Bucs. What's the best medicine for an offense still nursing their pride and trying to rebound? Playing against a defense allowing 5.4 yards per carry and having Aaron Jones on your team is a good start. The line on this should be higher, but the Texans playing a home drops the spread by a couple points. I expect and hope everyone will take advantage here. Heck, double up and bet Aaron Jones overs on yards, TDs, and anything else you can find!
Aaron Rodgers will look to bounce back from a tough loss in Tampa Bay.(Photo by Dylan Buell/Getty Images)
Browns -3 over Bengals
The Browns are coming off a brutal road loss, in which their offense got full on exposed by Keith Butler and the Steelers. What's the best medicine for an offense still nursing their pride and trying to rebound? Playing a defense allowing 5.1 yards per carry and having Kareem Hunt on your team is a good start. Whoa. So, that's what Deja vu feels like. The only way this could be better for the Dawg Pound was if Nick Chubb was healthy. On the flip side, the Cleveland D has been porous, at times, but against the rookie Joe Burrow and a struggling Cincy offense, whom they've already handled once this year with ease, they'll have a chance to get right.
Seahawks -3 over Cardinals
Russell Wilson has cemented himself as the odds-on favorite for MVP on the strength of his glorious arm and ability to extend plays behind his middling offensive line. The Cardinals and Kyler Murray, the briefest of MVP candidates, have shown flashes, but thrown some duds in for equal measure. However, the biggest concern is their strength of opponent. In the past four weeks, they've lost to the Lions and Panthers, while beating up on the Darnold-less Jets and Dak-less Cowboys. The Seahawks are, by far, the best opponent this young and inconsistent team has faced and it's time for the real contender to do away with the pretender.
D'Andre Swift to Score a TD (+135)
The Georgia stud and rookie running back is coming off of his best game as a professional against the Jacksonville Jaguars. This feels like the moment he takes the leap towards being a consistent fantasy play and genuine offensive threat. He put up 116 yards on 14 carries for a gaudy 8.2 average with two touchdowns to boot. He's about to face another weak bottom half of the league rushing D, one who's let up the second most receptions to backs. Swift got four of those last week, so he's just as likely to punch one in via the air as the ground. For a little (lot of) extra value, you can always bet him to score the first TD at +1100.
Jimmy Garoppolo receiving some hands on coaching from Bill Belichick, his former mentor and current opponent. Mark J. Rebilas-USA TODAY Sports
San Francisco vs New England over 43.5
The 49ers and Patriots are both having themselves some odd seasons. Cam Newton looked like his former self in the early going, but a COVID diagnosis derailed any momentum he or the team had before getting the Chiefs, an early bye, and the Broncos. Belichick isn't taking a three game losing streak without a fight, and will be working overtime to return his offense to their early season success. Not to mention, the mastermind is going up against his former backup, who he's definitely sick of having to talk about trading. Meanwhile, the 49ers have been ravaged by injuries, having the most guys on IR this season. This rash of bad luck included their starting QB, RB, WR, TE, CB, DE, and LB all missing time. It culminated in an ugly loss to the Dolphins, which seemed to be the wake up call the team needed to bounce back to beat the Rams. I could easily see this game scoring up into the high 20's with a pair of highly motivated offenses going against defenses, which haven't reached the heights of last season's former glory.
Week 5 Vibe Check - Apologies for my Apple repair-induced vacation last week. For those curious, my offline picks kept me afloat at 3-2, while waiting to hear exactly how much a new keyboard for a MacBook costs.
The Carolina Panthers, Pittsburgh Steelers, and Arizona Cardinals all chipped in for me, but the Seattle Seahawks and Jacksonville Jaguars nearly cost me letters "Q" through "T."
What did we figure out this last week? Well, Tom Brady's favorite number is four and like I've been saying all year, "THE BUCS AREN'T THAT GOOD." Meanwhile, down in Atlanta, the Panthers once again showed us that they ARE a competitive football team by smacking down the Falcons so mercilessly that Dan Quinn got the ax. You could've gotten pretty good odds on his firing. Or if you're like me, you lost money for the second time that Adam Gase hasn't cleaned out his office yet.
Moving onto new business…
Titans -3.5 over Texans
The Ryan Tannehill experience keeps on rolling from town to town, even if a couple performances had to be delayed. The Titans wiped out an undefeated Bills team on the second ever Tuesday Night Football game on the strength of their passing game, which finally had its young, talented receiver, AJ Brown back in fighting shape and Jonnu Smith mid-breakout. This allowed them to leave Derrick Henry, Ford F-150 with a Ferrari engine, in the garage most of the night, tallying a season low in carries, two TDs, and one of the nastiest stiff arms in recorded history. The Texans may have managed to beat up a flailing Jaguar team, but they'll have a lot more trouble handling a surging offense, even if Deshaun Watson will be able to do some damage against a subpar pass rush.
Panthers -1.5 over Bears
THE! PANTHERS! ARE! GOOD! I've been trying to say it all year. Matt Rhule gets it. Joe Brady gets it. Teddy Bridgewater gets it. They've looked competent in every game this season and the offense keeps improving with each start, seemingly not missing a beat without McCaffrey. (Imagine what happens when he gets back). Meanwhile, the Bears are statistically one of the worst 4-1 teams in NFL history. They've lucked into a Charmin soft schedule that still required multiple collapses, a Foles' comeback, and a Brady blunder to get to where they are, which isn't that impressive.
Mike Davis has taken up the torch for his injured teammate and looked like a star in his own right. AP Photo/John Bazemore
Ravens -7.5 over Eagles
The Eagles have proven themselves to be a bit frisky, having found a gem in Travis Fulgram and benefited from the health of Miles Sanders. However, everything still hinges on Carson Wentz and his protection, currently averaging just a shade under four sacks let up a game. Bad news: the Ravens are coming off a seven sack performance against the Bengals. As for their offense, Lamar Jackson's run production has dropped this season, and with it, the overall effectiveness of their offense, which currently ranks 17th in DVOA. That's a ranking for a team whose victory has come by at least two scores. If this is a team who hasn't hit anything close to their stride, watch out.
Packers -1 over Buccaneers
This is QB matchup everyone's been talking about. Aaron Rodgers is a man on a no holds barred, take no prisoners, scorched earth mission to assert his dominance. Tom Brady is a man on the edge of a fall down, flat out, faltering 43 year old's breakdown. Rodgers has continued to elevate playmakers like Allen Lazard and Robert Tonyan well above their ceilings. Brady has continued on without playmakers like Chris Godwin or Mike Evans from week to week and looked more human with each passing possession. The Bucs are destined to go 8-8 and you can hang this one up in loss column towards that unavoidable reality.
Aaron Rodgers has looked ten years younger orchestrating his offense this season. The Associated Press
Chiefs -4 over Bills
Patrick Mahomes has only lost back-to-back games in his career twice, once in 2018 and 2019. I wouldn't bet on this being the third. The Bills were left reeling after that thorough shellacking, while the Chiefs got caught trading punches with a scrappier Raiders team than anyone expected, leading to the largest loss in Mahomes' career. If the Bills couldn't keep the Titans under wraps, watch out for a motivated Chiefs offense that's talking about going back to basics and refocusing their play around the fundamentals. The star quarterback himself said that he can't rely on his scrambling and broken-plays-turned-good to win games. Do you hear that? It's the sound of 31 NFL defensive coordinators slamming their heads against the wall of their office in concert. The only interesting competition in this game should be who has the bigger arm.
Welcome back to "Picks, Parlays, and Props," in which I'll be going over the NFL slate every week of the season. How do we find value in these games? What favorite is getting too many points on the road? Who's going to score the first TD on Monday Night Football?
Coming off of a hot week going 4-1, I'm hoping to keep you winning into Week 4 with these picks.
The Niners, Pats, Seahawks, and Packers did us well last week. The last of which taught us an important lesson that can be applied to all facets of life: ACT ON SPITE. Did the Saints hurt you last week by laying an egg? Learn from that. Put the hex on. Get payback by having them pay you back.
Other observations from this past week. Kyler may have let the Lions prove that he's human and not about to go 16-0 on charm and dance moves alone, but there's still a larger lesson to glean here. It's pretty safe to bet the NFC West. As a division, they have a combined point differential of 100, leading far and away are the 49ers, who are currently in last place, and have played 1.5 games without their starting QB and RB, 2 without their most impactful offensive and defensive players, and 3 without their best WR. Not to mention, they had their team plane hit on the runway before spending two weeks in the Eastern time zone. The most important part of all that might be "East," because the NFC East has a combined point differential of -97. Thank the scheduling gods, those West teams will play those East teams this year, which leads us perfectly into this set of picks.
West Coast Best Coast
49ers -7 over Eagles
The Niners are back at home. Deebo Samuel and George Kittle are returning. Thanks to Kyle Shanahan's scheming, the dropoff between Garoppolo and Mullens appears minimal. The man's drawing up plays for first round draft pick Brandon Aiyuck that make scoring all but inevitable. Not to mention, the defense has seemed to relish the opportunity to prove themselves sans Nick Bosa and Dee Ford. It helps when Fred Warner has entered another stratosphere of linebacking by lowering his missed tackle rate, upping his pass coverage skills, and honing his ability to rush the quarterback. A player taking a leap like this, along with depth pieces, is how you weather an injury hurricane. Meanwhile in Philly, they had exactly one healthy wide out at practice on Thursday, Wentz has shriveled into a husk of his former self, and their coach punted with 19 seconds left in overtime to preserve a tie. We saw what the Niners just did to the Jets and Giants, who rank 31st and 30th in DVOA respectively, and guess who happens to be 29th.
Rams -13.5 over Giants
Brandon Aiyuck crosses the goal line for his first career score on end around play during which he wasn't touched by a defensive player.Elsa/Getty Images
Having just finished the eulogy for the Giants' season, allow me to kick off some dirt on their grave. The McVay-led Rams, and Jared Goff especially, have seen a resurgence this season, a Seanaissance, if you will. They narrowly missed out on starting 3-0 after a borderline pass interference call set up the Bills with a fresh set of goal line downs. In a post-Gurley/11 personal world, this team has quietly been the most efficient in DVOA (ranking 4th in passing and 2nd in rushing). Give them a home game against a miserable team traveling cross country and, yeah, the 13.5 doesn't scare me.
Seahawks -6.5 over Dolphins
Nobody thought it would be like this. A Russ allowed to cook has been unleashed and we were not ready. 14 touchdowns in the first three games of a season puts Wilson in a class by himself. The absurdity of nearly averaging five (5!) touchdowns a game can hardly be quantified. This game like any one involving the Seahawks could get absolutely wonky, given the long trip to Miami and a little Fitzmagic in the air. However, it seems more likely than not that this iteration of the Dolphins peaked against the Jaguars during the post-game interview with a deeply unbuttoned shirt.
Russell Wilson just keeps on cooking.Abbie Parr/Getty Images
Gimme Those Points
Lions +4.5 over Saints
The Saints offense continues to look very un-Saint-like with the absence of Michael Thomas and the rapidly aging Drew Brees. The connection between Emmanuel Sanders feels shaky and Jared Cook hasn't looked like himself since last year's injury. Only Alvin Kamara, literally, making something out of nothing has made this offense go. Now this team will be down six starters, including their top two CBs, on the road against a frisky Lions team. Matt Stafford has the offensive weapons to make big plays, especially against some second stringers. There's no reason to start taking the Saints until they prove us all wrong.
Chargers +7.5 over Buccaneers
I thought I was done betting against the Bucs and their inflated spreads, but they've pulled me back in for one more job. Look, I would never take the Chargers to execute a two minute drill to win a game with my life on the line. There must be something deep in the institutional fabric of the team that doesn't allow them to achieve something beyond tantalizing mediocrity. However, the defense has been solid, even without Melvin Ingram, as the other half of the league's premier pass rush duo. If Bosa, fresh off his own ankle issue, can create some havoc for a Tom Brady offense without Chris Godwin or Leonard Fournette, I think there's a real chance Justin Herbert keeps it close. They've shown implicit trust with him running the show, looking at 82 attempts in two games proves as much. This will finally be the week that giving Tom Brady too much respect pays out big, he said again.
Texans -4.5 over Vikings
Here's a terrible thought to type out for the world to see. The Vikings are getting screwed by COVID protocols and we must capitalize as gamblers. There it's done and said and out of the way. A team who's hardly been allowed into their facility this week will be going on the road to face a team with Deshaun Watson as their quarterback. He's not going to let the Texans slide much further and if there was ever a game to pull out all the stops, this is it.