Ekeler, Henry Worth Paying For in Week 13 DFS

Los Angeles Chargers RB Austin Ekeler
Los Angeles Chargers RB Austin Ekeler
Photo: USA Today Sports Images

NFL Week 13 - After a week when all the best options seemed to be cheap running backs, Week 13 has presented us with an awful lot of alluring options at the higher-priced end of the scale. It's going to be tricky to build lineups with two or more of them, but thankfully there are some great-looking options in the middle tier of wide receivers that will help us open up salary.

Quarterbacks

Jalen Hurts $8000 vs. Tennessee Titans

Looking back to the summer, it's hard to find many bigger bargains than Jalen Hurts, who was taken in the sixth round of best-ball drafts and is now the QB3, averaging 25.8 DraftKings points per game and ranking fourth in QBR. The Eagles have the sixth-best passing offense in DVOA and face a Titans defense that is 17th against the pass. The Titans have allowed the sixth-most fantasy points to opposing quarterbacks and averaged 21.4 points allowed over the last four games, a number that is kept lower by having faced Russell Wilson in that period.

Usage Suggestions: Hurts is a solid play for both cash games (50/50 and multiplier contests) and tournaments.

Justin Herbert $7200 @ Las Vegas Raiders

Herbert has scored more than 20 points in both of the last two games, throwing for 554 yards and three touchdowns, and now he faces a Las Vegas defense that has allowed the second-most quarterback fantasy points this season, including five games of over 20 fantasy points. The Raiders have allowed the eighth-most deep receptions in the last five games, an area where Herbert thrives.

Usage Suggestions: Herbert can be played in all formats and either be stacked with Keenan Allen or Austin Ekeler, who continues to see a high volume of targets.

Trevor Lawrence $5900 @ Detroit Lions

After a brilliant performance against a Ravens defense that has troubled opponents at times, it's fair to say Lawrence is looking comfortable as an NFL starter these days. Lawrence now travels to Detroit to face a Lions defense that has surrendered an average of 23.8 fantasy points to opposing quarterbacks, which ranks worst across the league. All three of the Lions' last three opponents have finished inside the top six quarterbacks, and Lawrence should be feeling mighty confident heading into this one.

Usage Suggestions: Lawrence can be played in all formats, but I particularly like stacking him with Christian Kirk and Amon-Ra St. Brown in tournaments and hoping a shootout ensues.

Mike White $5400 @ Minnesota Vikings

If you followed last week's advice and stacked Mike White with either of Elijah Moore or Garrett Wilson, then there was a strong chance you finished the day with a winning lineup. This week we can go back to the well against a Vikings defense that has allowed the fifth-most fantasy points to opposing quarterbacks over the last five games. The Vikings defense ranks 28th against the pass in the last five weeks and has given up a league-leading 1,494 passing yards. White put up 27.8 DraftKings points in his season debut, and whilst it might be fair to call that his ceiling, there's no reason to think he can't reach 20 this week.

Usage Suggestions: White is cheap enough for cash games, where he'll likely be very popular. If you're using White in tournaments, be mindful of how much rostership he'll attract.

Running Backs

Austin Ekeler $8500 @ Las Vegas Raiders

Austin Ekeler is the overall RB1 this season despite ranking 23rd amongst all running backs in rushing yards with just 554. Where Ekeler has made his money this year is in the passing game, where his 99 targets are 27 more than the next nearest running back and ranks eighth-most across all positions. The Raiders rank 32nd in defense against running backs as receivers and have also allowed the league's most fantasy points to the position on receiving plays. Since Week 10, the Raiders have allowed an average of 19.5 PPR points to the RB1s they have faced. Ekeler is as strong a play as any on the slate.

Usage Suggestions: Ekeler can be played in all formats. In tournaments he can be stacked with Justin Herbert or correlated with Foster Moreau, who has a strong matchup.

Derrick Henry $8100 @ Philadelphia Eagles

This is normally the time of year when Derrick Henry starts to embarrass his opponents, but this year he has slowed down of late, rushing for 2.8 yards per carry over his last three games and eclipsing 55 rushing yards on just one occasion. Thankfully, Henry has had moments where he has been involved in the passing game, like last week's 69-yard catch-and-run that almost resulted in a touchdown. The Eagles rush defense has performed better in recent weeks with the additions of Ndamukong Suh and Linval Joseph, and after having the 30th-ranked rush defense between from 8 to 10, they now rank 18th over the past two games. Henry, though, is the kind of player who breaks defenses even when they're good, let alone mediocre.

Usage Suggestions: Henry is better suited to tournaments than cash games this week, because of his recent form. There's a good chance people aren't attracted to this play, which makes it an excellent tournament play.

Nick Chubb $8000 @ Houston Texans

It's a true joy to watch Nick Chubb plowing through defenders week after week this season, with him ranking second in DYAR, and his 1,039 rushing yards being the third-highest total amongst running backs. The Texans have allowed the most fantasy points to opposing backs and have allowed eight backs to rush for 75 or more yards in a game. Meanwhile, Chubb has rushed for 85 or more yards in eight of his games played and only failed to score a touchdown on three occasions.

Usage Suggestions: Daily fantasy players never want to play Chubb for his perceived lack of upside in the passing game, but his near certainty to pick up the 100-yard rushing bonus alleviates that somewhat. I would rather play Chubb in tournaments where his low rostership can be good leverage on the field.

Josh Jacobs $7900 vs. Los Angeles Chargers

After notching up 303 total yards against the Seahawks, Josh Jacobs is now the rushing leader with 1,159 yards, as well as ranking first in DYAR and effective yards. The Chargers' poor run defense is no secret these days, with them ranking 30th in DVOA over the last four weeks, having given up the fifth-most fantasy points to running backs in the last five games, and having allowed back-to-back 100 yard games to Isiah Pacheco and James Conner. The Chargers allow 5.4 yards per carry, which is 0.2 more than any other team. It's very hard to see a path to Jacobs failing here.

Usage Suggestions: Jacobs is a solid play for both cash games and tournaments. Typically pairing opposing running backs together isn't a positive move, but with how explosive Jacobs has been, and with Austin Ekeler seeing so much passing-down work, we can make an expensive exception here.

Aaron Jones $6900 @ Chicago Bears

The Packers travel to Chicago, and it remains to be seen if Aaron Rodgers will be healthy enough to play, and if he can play at a good level. The Bears' rushing defense ranks 28th in DVOA and has allowed a league-leading nine rushing touchdowns since Week 8. Aaron Jones has scored over 18 points in four of his last six games and has been the most consistent part of this offense all year. When these two teams met in Week 2, Jones scored 32 PPR points and forced 13 missed tackles, which is the second-most by a running back all year.

Usage Suggestions: Jones will likely be more popular in cash formats than some of the other expensive running backs, but it's with good reason. I prefer him in cash games as it feels like this might be a slow contest that doesn't reach the kind of ceiling we'd like for tournaments.

David Montgomery $6200 vs. Green Bay Packers

On the other side of this game, David Montgomery will be looking to repeat his performance against the Packers from Week 2, which was his second-best of the season so far. The Packers rush defense is 32nd in DVOA and will be trying to slow down the Bears 10th-ranked rushing offense. Over the last three games, the Packers have allowed their opponent's RB1s to average 26.1 PPR points along with an average of 115 rushing yards. Montgomery might not be an exciting running back or even the best back on the roster, but he's healthy and above average, and sometimes that's all it takes.

Usage Suggestions: Much like Aaron Jones, I would rather play Montgomery in cash games than tournaments because of the chances this game is a slow grind.

Gus Edwards $5400 vs. Denver Broncos

The Ravens are a tricky team right now and I wouldn't blame anyone for staying away from them, but against this woeful Broncos side that frequently finds itself trailing, it feels ripe for Gus Edwards to grind the game away, slamming into the defensive line as they remember fondly the days of Drew Lock as the quarterback. Edwards returned from a hamstring injury in Week 12 and immediately supplanted Kenyan Drake, out-touching him 16-to-two. The Ravens love Edwards, and even after he fumbled it didn't stop them from going back to him for the rest of the game. The Broncos had no answer to D'Onta Foreman in Week 12, allowing him 113 rushing yards, and I expect them to have a similar lack of answers this week.

Usage Suggestions: Edwards might lose some snaps to Kenyan Drake, and as such he's a little shaky for cash games, but if it makes a lineup work, don't be afraid of it.

Brian Robinson $5200 @ New York Giants

It makes sense that it has taken Brian Robinson some time to get up to speed after recovering from a gunshot wound in August. Robinson hasn't looked great for most of the season, but he scored over 20 PPR points for the first time in his career against Atlanta in Week 12, rushing for 100 or more yards for the first time and setting a career-high in targets (three). The Giants rank 28th against the run over the last four games and have allowed the sixth-most fantasy points to running backs over the last three games.

Usage Suggestions: Robinson's committee usage with Antonio Gibson is a little worrisome and Gibson is slightly more game-script-proof, but if Washington can stay in this one I like Robinson's chances the best. Because of those aspects, he's a tournament-only play.

Wide Receivers

Tee Higgins $7200 vs. Kansas City Chiefs

The Chiefs travel to Cincinnati for the matchup of the weekend and there are lots of interesting ways to approach this game. With the return of Ja'Maar Chase it should attract enough attention away from Tee Higgins that he becomes an attractive play. Higgins has been a remarkably stable force in the league regardless of whether Chase is playing or not, scoring .4 PPR points more in games with Chase active. The Chiefs have allowed the third-most passing touchdowns in the league and the fifth-most fantasy points to wide receivers.

Usage Suggestions: Higgins is viable for both cash games and tournaments and makes for a great way to start building correlations around what could be a shoot out.

Amon-Ra St. Brown $7100 vs. Jacksonville Jaguars

Amongst wide receivers, Amon-Ra St. Brown's 8.8 targets per game ranks eighth and his 74% catch rate is sixth. St. Brown has averaged 21.7 PPR points over his last three games and now faces a Jaguars defense that has allowed a league-leading 13.5 yards per catch over the last five weeks, a period where their defense ranks 30th in pass defense DVOA.

Usage Suggestions: St. Brown's high floor is a perfect play for cash games, and he can also be used in tournament lineups correlating with Christian Kirk or Zay Jones.

Christian Kirk $6300 @ Detroit Lions

Zay Jones stole most of the headlines against the Ravens and will likely attract plenty of attention this weekend, but the Lions have particularly struggled against slot receivers as Josh Larky pointed out on Twitter. Through 11 games, the Lions have allowed 13 wide receivers lining up in the slot to score at least 10 PPR points, and Kirk has played from the slot on 77% of snaps this season. The Lions have allowed the third-most fantasy points to opposing wide receivers, and after a quiet week against the Ravens, Kirk can get back to the form that saw him accumulate over 50 PPR points in his previous two games.

Usage Suggestions: Kirk is in play for both tournaments and cash games this week. In tournaments, stacking Kirk with Trevor Lawrence or correlating with Amon-Ra St. Brown is a fine start to a lineup. Combing the three is something I will be doing in at least one lineup.

DeVonta Smith $6200 vs. Tenessee Titans

After Dallas Goedert got injured, it seemed like it might open the door for A.J. Brown to see a huge target share moving forward. Instead, Brown's target share has stayed right around his season average of 29%, whilst DeVonta Smith's has grown to 34% over the last two games. Smith has averaged 8.6 targets over his last three games and now faces a Titans defense that ranks 17th against WR1s, but 28th against WR2s. Much will be made about Brown facing his former team, but the smarter play might be Smith.

Usage Suggestions: This game feels tricky in some ways, and Smith has been somewhat touchdown-reliant for his best performances, so he's best kept for tournaments, where he can be stacked with Jalen Hurts or correlated with Derrick Henry. Treylon Burks might struggle against the Eagles pass defense, but he's not a terrible play either.

Tyler Lockett $6000 @ Los Angeles Rams

Every year, Tyler Lockett is one of the most underappreciated wide receivers during draft season, and then every year people act surprised when he has a solid season. Lockett ranks eighth in DYAR and 10th in catch rate amongst wide receivers, averaging 15.5 PPR points over his last four games. The Rams don't always use Jalen Ramsey in shadow coverage, but Ramsey often wants to line up against top receivers, and it's likely that DK Metcalf will see more coverage from Ramsey than Lockett will. Whether that's a good or bad thing at this point in the Rams season is debatable, but the matchup looks slightly more favorable for Lockett against this Rams defense that ranks 29th in pass defense DVOA over the last four weeks and has allowed the most receptions in the NFL in that spell.

Usage Suggestions: Lockett can be used in either cash or tournament settings. There is no need to use a bring-back with Lockett; this Rams team isn't worth the headache.

Garrett Wilson $5300 & Elijah Moore $3700 @ Minnesota Vikings

Elijah Moore was just $3500 last week and somehow was only rostered in 0.9% of contests, despite this column tipping him for a good day. This week Moore's price has risen by $200, which is a reflection of the fact that he only saw two targets and played just 13 snaps, but with Moore rediscovering a small glimpse of form and 14 PPR points, it feels possible that he establishes a larger role moving forward. Garrett Wilson balled out with Mike White at quarterback, scoring 26.4 PPR points, his most since the early days of the season with Joe Flacco starting. The Vikings have allowed the second-most receiving yards over the last four weeks, a period where they rank 25th in pass defense DVOA. So far this season the Vikings have allowed eight receivers to score 15 or more PPR points, and two of the three biggest games they have allowed have come in the last three weeks.

Usage Suggestions: Stacking these guys with Mike White led one lucky person to win the Milly Maker in Week 12. I'd expect a few more people try that this week. Both players can also be used in cash games.

Christian Watson $5200 @ Chicago Bears

After a slow start to the season, Christian Watson has now scored 74.8 PPR points in his last three games and is the WR2 in that period only behind former Packers star Davante Adams. Only five receivers have more touchdowns than Watson's six, and Watson leads all rookie receivers in fantasy points per touch with 3.9 (minimum 10 touches). The Bears defense is banged up and ranks 32nd in pass defense over the last four weeks. Regardless of who is quarterback, Watson can continue his hot streak.

Usage Suggestions: With this game having the potential to get ugly, I'd rather play the running backs in cash games and Watson in tournaments.

George Pickens $5100 @ Atlanta Falcons

The Steelers looked good against a fading Colts defense, and this week they'll travel to Atlanta to face another team that's barely still alive. The Falcons allow the most fantasy points to opposing wide receivers and particularly struggle against WR2s, ranking 30th in DVOA. Pickens has looked good of late, with 14 targets in his last three games as Kenny Pickett starts to look more comfortable as the Steelers quarterback.

Usage Suggestions: Pickens is a stronger play in tournaments and can be played on his own unless you feel daring enough to try and decide which wide receiver not named Drake London will have a good day.

Nico Collins $4200 vs Cleveland Browns

On Friday Brandin Cooks was ruled out for this weekend, which leaves Nico Collins as the WR1 in this troubled Texans offense. Collins led the team with nine targets last week and it's fair to wonder if he's surpassed Cooks even when he's healthy now. Collins has 26 targets in his last three games and has averaged 12.0 PPR points. Cleveland's passing defense has struggled all year, ranking 22nd in DVOA, and it's likely the Texans are in a pass-heavy game script all day, which will favor Collins.

Usage Suggestions: Collins might be projected for good volume, but betting on this Texans team in anything other than tournaments would be a risk.

Skyy Moore $3100 @ Cincinnati Bengals

For three weeks in a row Skyy Moore has seen his snaps increase and has had back-to-back games with six targets. Mecole Hardman is still on I.R, Kadarius Toney's hamstrings are acting up again and outside of Travis Kelce and JuJu Smith-Schuster, nobody seems to have established a big role. The Bengals rank 31st against WR2s, which could result in Moore facing weak coverage. At $3100, in a potential shootout, this looks like a great way to get access to this game.

Usage Suggestions: This is a tournament-only play to help access some of the more expensive options out there.

Tight Ends

T.J. Hockenson $5200 vs. New York Jets

It has been a solid season for T.J. Hockenson, who ranks fourth in effective yards amongst tight ends, and since being traded to the Vikings his 8.5 targets per game trails only Travis Kelce. Hockenson is the TE3 since the trade but now faces a good Jets defense that ranks first against the pass in the last four weeks. However, the Jets defense hasn't faced many top-tier tight ends outside of Mark Andrews in Week 2, and when there's good volume we shouldn't be afraid, particularly when the Jets will have their hands full with Justin Jefferson.

Usage Suggestions: Hockenson feels like a better play for tournaments, where we can hope this game turns into a shootout.

George Kittle $5000 vs. Miami Dolphins

This season has been far from consistent for George Kittle, whose last four fantasy finishes are seventh, 30th, second, and 25th. Whilst that pattern might lead you to believe he's in for a big game, there are some more reliable metrics we can turn to also. The Dolphins' biggest weakness in the passing game is in coverage against tight ends, where they rank 29th and they have allowed the league-most fantasy points to the position over the last five games. Over the last four games, Miami has allowed four touchdowns to tight ends, and on the season they have allowed seven top-12 performances in 11 games.

Usage Suggestions: I would keep this play predominantly for tournaments because of Kittle's lack of consistency.

Gerald Everett $4400 @ Las Vegas Raiders

At the start of the season, Gerald Everett was in great form, but he has tailed off somewhat lately with just one double-digit performance in his last six games, but that might be about to change as he faces a Raiders defense that has allowed the eighth-most fantasy points to the position. When the two sides met in Week 1, Everett finished as the TE3 with 14.4 PPR points, and there's no reason to think this Raiders defense will be able to stop the Chargers from putting up points this week.

Usage Suggestions: Everett isn't quite cheap enough for me to consider him cash game-viable. Instead, he's a better play in tournaments.

Foster Moreau $3600 vs. Los Angeles Chargers

On the other side of this game, Foster Moreau has an equally nice matchup against a Chargers defense that allows the fifth-most yardage to opposing tight ends per game and ranks 26th against the position. Moreau is a touchdown-or-bust option, but he does have two touchdowns in his last three games.

Usage Suggestions: Moreau is a fringe cash game play at the right kind of price if we're punting the position, but he makes for a better play in tournaments where he can be correlated with Chargers stacks.

Hayden Hurst $3500 vs. Kansas City Chiefs

The Chiefs see the 10th-most pass attempts to tight ends per game with 7.2 and have allowed the 13th-most fantasy points to the position. Hurst has been a top-15 option in six of his 11 games, and his 60 targets are the seventh-most at the position. He's not a slate-breaker, but he's reliable, and $3,500 seems very cheap.

Usage Suggestions: I like Hurst for cash games and tournaments at this price.

As ever, this article will be updated until the games kick off, and if you have any questions you can find me on Twitter, or hop into the Football Outsiders Discord and post them there.

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