This is it. Likely the final week of the fantasy football regular season. One more game to make it if you’re on the bubble. One more game to move up if you are fighting for that number one spot. One more week to ruin someone’s weekend by being the sleeper spoiler that knocks them out of contention.
It doesn’t matter which category you fall into. Week 13 is where everything is decided. I’m saying this mostly in part to my heartbreak in Week 12. Up by 30 points, I went into Monday night’s game with Darren Sproles remaining, facing a team with Drew Brees and Victor Cruz. Needless to say, I lost. Brees and Cruz combined for about 60 points.
Now for me to even make the top four and get a playoff spot, I need two tough competitors to lose their matchups. My fate is no longer in my hands. But I know that without a win in Week 13, I stand no chance. So, I pull together everything I’ve got for one last push.
In a late week like this, I tend to favor starting players I already have. While there is a certain need for a gamble sometimes, I would rather play a lock and know that I’m getting some points than go out on a limb and make a desperate reach. With that in mind, I will give you some sleeper pickups that you can insert into your starting roster if you are that desperate.
Vince Young, Quarterback, Philadelphia Eagles
I threw his name out there a lot last week for those in need, and he came up pretty big in the fantasy numbers. 400 yards and a score is not bad for a filler. I’m going to stick with him as my QB pickup this week as he faces the Seahawks. This is, of course, if Vick doesn’t come back.
Carson Palmer also appears to be another decent play against a Dolphins team that can be thrown on.
Maurice Morris, Running Back, Detroit Lions
The Lions will be facing a New Orleans team that has been giving up yards on the ground and through the air. This bodes pretty well for a running back that gets most of his work as a receiver. Morris could be a decent play if you are in a PPR league and really hurting at the running back position.
Lots of sites made the claim that Kevin Smith was the must start after his performance two weeks ago, but like many teams in the NFL, the Lions are pretty iffy when it comes to which running back you should choose to start. With the rotating backfield there, Morris’s best chance to put up points will be as a receiver.
It wouldn’t be surprising to see the Lions’ offense come out much like they did against the Packers last week. If the game plan versus a powerful offense mirrors their Week 12 strategy, Morris could again get a good amount of backfield receptions.
C.J. Spiller, Running Back, Buffalo Bills
Spiller has been rotting on a lot of benches all year, but saw a good amount of pick-ups last week after news came out that starting Bills back, Fred Jackson, went down. His stats were not overwhelming, but he did get the brunt of the carries.
Like Morris, a lot of C.J.’s abilities lie in the passing game. While Buffalo did not throw to him much in their faceoff with the Jets, perhaps the Titans will allow the short passing game to shine through a little brighter.
You can expect Spiller to once again have the majority of the carries for the Bills against the Titans offense. And his threat out of the backfield might give him the extra boost to have a good fantasy outing in Week 13.
Riley Cooper, Wide Receiver, Philadelphia Eagles
Might be time for me to give him a bit of credit. He has stepped up as a top receiver for the Eagles with the injury to Vick and the other receivers on the squad.
Cooper’s stats haven’t been outstanding, but he is finding the end zone and making some tough catches for big gains. The Seahawks pass defense has given up some big points to receivers in the past, but they are no New England Patriots.
As long as Maclin is out of the lineup, you can expect to see Cooper getting a good amount of snaps. He has proven to be one of Vince Young’s favorite targets, and against a team that has a chance at holding LeSean McCoy to limited yards, Cooper has pretty good upside as long as the injury situation in Philadelphia remains the same.
Reggie Wayne, Wide Receiver, Indianapolis Colts
Never thought I would use his name in a pick-up list, but chances are that he was dropped by a frustrated owner after 11 weeks of poor numbers. Last week he finally came alive, and I don’t think it is out there to expect that he will continue putting up some nice numbers in this week’s matchup.
Wayne and the Colts are facing a Patriots team that gives up the most passing yardage in the NFL. On top of that, the Colts will inevitably be playing from behind all day and passing the ball. Perhaps this perfect storm will again boost his numbers.
If you are in the position of a spoiler here and Wayne is hanging out in free agency, don’t hesitate to grab him.
The Shuffling Defense Strategy has been pretty killer all year long, I must say. While the NFL doesn’t benefit from so many teams having predictably poor offenses, it does help out the fantasy community. We all know by now which teams consistently have low scores and high turnovers, but here is a list of some of the defenses to claim off Waivers before it’s too late.
Tampa Bay Buccaneers – Panthers have a chance to put up some big points in this game, but Cam Newton’s turnover numbers are still something to watch for. Tampa Bay also has a tendency to return those turnovers for six. I think turnover potential here makes them a decent play.
Kansas City Chiefs – The Bears are not the same team without Orton throwing the ball. If the Chiefs can contain Forte like the Raiders did, Chiefs could have a big day.
New England Patriots – Based on their remaining schedule, the Patriots might be good enough to pick up this week and start from here to the end of the season. They are giving up yardage, but have created a lot of turnovers as of late, they are pressuring the quarterback and creating sacks, and they are keeping the opponents’ scores relatively low. Against bad offenses from here on out, I like the Patriots for the rest of the year.
Denver Broncos – It’s no surprise that I can’t stand Tebow, which is why I cringe when everyone is spewing credit all over him for the Broncos win streak. While it is true that their schedule has been a bit soft, I feel that the Broncos defense is the main reason this team is able to win games. The keep the score low, they create turnovers and have been pressuring opposing QBs like crazy. Start them against Minnesota.