As we wait for the games here in week 13 of the NFL season, some fantasy football fans will be holding their collective breath. This is the last week before the fantasy playoffs and with that being said some of you are in desperate need of some advice. To those of you who are on a win or go home week like I am in my league, I wish you luck. Hopefully, the match ups we go over today are the ones that can help make a difference in your push for the playoffs.
• (NYG) QB Eli Manning vs. Washington Redskins – The last time these 2 teams met was almost a year ago from today, Dec 3, 2012 to be exact. The Redskins squeezed out a victory on the G-men winning by 1 point 17-16. A lot has changed for both teams since then especially expectations of themselves. The Redskins are ranked 28th in defense this year which was never their strong point, but Griffin hasn’t been able to put together the season most had thought he was capable of. Still, the Redskins are the best rushing team in the league averaging 151.5 yards per game. The Giants rank 7th against the run. The Giants average 235 yards against the pass. What do all these numbers mean?? It means the Skins love to run, and the Giants play the run well so expect Griffin to struggle again. Advantage Eli. RB Andre Brown is also back who brings a certain toughness the Giants have lacked while he has been rehabbing. Advantage Eli. As we said before, Eli doesn’t put up a lot of yards per game but he has 7 TDs to 4 INTs in the last 4 weeks and the team as a whole is clearly playing better. With a chance at the playoffs, look for Eli to put up a big game against the struggling Redskins.
• (ARI) QB Carson Palmer vs. Philadelphia Eagles – This is a matchup to watch. Palmer has been firing on all cylinders over the last 4 weeks with just under a 1,000 with 6 TD’s and 1 INT. The Eagles on the other hand have been terrible against the pass ranking 32nd for quite some time now. Look for Palmer to continue his hot streak against the worst pass defense in the league. Expect low end QB1 type numbers.
• (NE) RB Shane Vereen vs. Houston Texans – Vereen isn’t your normal running back. He is more of a WR than anything. In his 2 weeks since coming off of IR he has 16 receptions for 125 yards while only running for 38 yards during that time. For owners in a PPR league this is music to your ears! Brady finally has most of his weapons together so the defense will have to thin out and cover everyone which should leave some windows for Brady to find his man.
• (PHI) WR DeSean Jackson vs. Arizona Cardinals – DeSean has not been playing well recently only accumulating 4 receptions for 82 yards and no TDs in the last 2 weeks. YEESH! So why in the world would I be recommending someone who clearly hasn’t been playing up to his fantasy owner’s standards? The Cards are a middle of the road pass defense and nothing that Nick Foles can’t handle. I think this is the game Riley Cooper goes quiet and Jackson comes back to life. Look for a 100+ yard performance with a TD as a major possibility.
• Buffalo Bills DST vs. Atlanta Falcons – I have to admit I am skeptical of this one but HEY! Sometimes you gotta go with your gut. My gut, as overstuffed with Turkey and all the trimmings as it is is telling me that the Atlanta falcons have virtually given up on their season. Their entire philosophy was to score big and allow the defense to keep them in the game. When you loose the ability to score you put a huge amount of pressure on that suspect defense already and the results are clear. They can’t stack up against most NFL teams. So this is a match-up play on defense. Most of you should be playing defenses that are of a higher caliber than the Bills, but if you hate your matchup this week this is as good as any matchup to play.
Less Appealing Options
• (IND) Andrew Luck vs. Tennessee Titans – Luck hasn’t been able to work his magic this year the way he did under Bruce Arians last year. Pep Hamilton’s systems demands more from the running game of which they still haven’t figured out consistently enough to free up the receivers for Luck to execute the way he was able to last year. Still, of all the sophomore QBs, Luck has been the best option thus far in 2013 throwing for just under 2,600 yards with 15 TDs and 7 INTs, which if you look at the numbers makes you think he could finish with almost identical numbers as last year. The Titans are a team that is finally putting things together. Ranked 11th in defense overall they should give Andrew Luck a tough challenge. Luck will have TY and the gang ready to play, without Reggie Wayne and the power running game they expected this offense is a shell of its potential.
• (ATL) Robert Griffin III vs. New York Giants – Speaking of sophomore QBs. Griffin has spent more time in the press room than he has in the film room in my opinion this year. Between that and him trying to come back too soon from the knee injury has sunk the Washington Redskins dreams for their 2013 season. The Giants on the other hand have been making strides for 5 straight weeks and now have a chance to play for a playoff spot if they can knock off their divisional foes. It’s like the metaphor ”Between a rock and a hard place.” Griffin has too many things working against him to expect him to have a great game. Look for the Giants defense to fight hard against the run and push Griffin out of the pocket making him throw on the run.
• (NO) RB Pierre Thomas vs. Seattle Seahawks – Thomas has been on a tear but we’re talking about the Seahawks defense here. If there was one weakness in the Seahawks it’s their run defense ranking 16th overall. So why would I think he is going to have a bad game? I don’t. I just don’t think he is going to have a great game. Drew Brees is going to attack the Seahawks by air especially with 2 of their corners either injured or suspended. Brees has 28TDs to his 8 INTs and I would expect him to continue doing what he does best and that’s throw. Look for Thomas to be a formidable play in PPR leagues, but someone who won’t be worth more than a FLEX play otherwise.
• (TB) RB Maurice Jones-Drew vs. Cleveland Browns – Jones Drew has less than 600 yards for the season and 3 of his 5 TDs have come in the last 4 weeks. The Browns rank 6th against the run and the Jags rank 32nd in rushing. This match-up is not in favor of Jones-Drew. Maurice has been playing better, but unless you have no other options available, don’t play him in week 13.
• Chicago Bears DST vs. Minnesota Vikings – When these 2 teams played in September it was a high scoring affair 31-30 Bears. Since then much has changed for both of these teams and the Bears defense is not what it has been in years past. Ranked 24th in the league, expect the Vikings to run AP all day while involving Coradelle Patterson into the passing routes. The Bears will win, but it won’t be because of the defense.
Losing to the Cowboy’s last week really put a damper on the hopes Giants fans had of making the playoffs. The balance of the season will be resting on their play against the Redskins this evening. So make yourself that final plate of leftovers, pile on the stuffing and mashed potatoes and get ready to root your Giants to victory! Good luck this week to all those fighting for a playoff birth.