Noto’s NFL Positional Breakdown & Expert Plays: Week 13

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Slate Updates

Sun 11:05 AM ETJoe Mixon has yet to clear concussion protocol and is “highly unlikely” to play. I am tagging Samaje Perine as an Expert Play and am untagging David Montgomery (though I still like him in all formats).

Sat 10:00 PM ET — I’m coming around on the idea of using George Kittle this week. Deebo Samuel is likely to be limited if he plays, Eli Mitchell is out and the Dolphins have allowed the fifth most fantasy points to tight ends this season.
Sat 10:00 PM ETDavid Njoku was expected to be a popular punt this week, but he has been ruled out. Harrison Bryant will draw the start in his place and stands out as an excellent, albeit popular punt on DraftKings ($2,700).
Sat 10:00 PM ET — It doesn’t sound like Michael Carter is going to play, but the Jets will likely split the work between a few running backs. Zonovan Knight is my favorite of the bunch, but he’s unlikely to get the 20+ touches that we love to see at running back.
Sat 10:00 PM ET — With Kadarius Toney and Mecole Hardman both out, Skyy Moore played on 50% of the snaps last week and saw six targets. He’s an intriguing punt on DraftKings ($3,100) against the Bengals.
Sat 10:00 PM ETBrandin Cooks has been ruled out, which means Nico Collins is the clear WR1 in a nice matchup at home against the Browns. He’s a solid value play this week, especially on DraftKings ($4,200).

Week 13

I got more right than wrong in Week 12, but it was a losing week thanks to one mistake in particular. I’ve been playing DFS as long as it has been around and should have known better than to overreact to the weather forecasts. I was originally planning to use Garrett Wilson in my main lineup and to build a tournament team with Mike White, but the heavy rain and wind scared me off of both plays. After the Jets made James Robinson a healthy scratch, I jumped all over the chance to play Michael Carter against the Bears. Naturally, the rain had no impact on the passing game and Carter ended up getting hurt. The swap from Wilson to Carter was certainly a costly one, as in turn I got off of James Conner. Mistakes were made, but more importantly, lessons were learned.

It’s hard to believe we are already into December and that there are only six weeks left in the regular season. There are times when the NBA and MLB seasons feel like a grind, but that is never the case when it comes to the NFL. The season goes by incredibly fast, which is part of the reason why we cherish each and every football Sunday. Over the last two weeks, the pricing has softened a bit on DraftKings, which has certainly helped from a roster construction standpoint. There are plenty of injuries to monitor, so be sure to check the updates section at the top of the page. I have a feeling it will be needed this week.

Quarterback

Tier 1 (Expert Plays)

I only have one quarterback in the top tier this week, as Burrow stands above the other options on the slate. This week’s game against the Chiefs features a massive total (52.5 points) and the Bengals are playing their best football of the season. After a win on the road against the Titans, they have a chance to improve to 8-4 in the standings with a win at home this week. The Chiefs are certainly an exploitable matchup, ranking below league average in DVOA against the run and the pass. Burrow should have Ja’Marr Chase back from injury and the Bengals will need to score to keep pace with the Chiefs.

Tier 2

The Chiefs offense has largely been matchup-proof over the years, so we shouldn’t be overly concerned about a matchup against the Bengals. Additionally, Mahomes and the Chiefs will certainly want to exact some revenge on the team that knocked them out of the playoffs last season. The Chiefs haven’t been able to run the ball much this season and I expect both teams in this game to rely heavily on the pass. Mahomes is expensive, but for good reason. He has topped 20 fantasy points in each of the last eight games and has topped 30 fantasy points five times during that stretch.

The only reason I don’t have Lawrence in the top tier this week is because I love his running back just as much, if not more from a priority standpoint. Lawrence has made some mistakes in his sophomore season, but he has also turned into a very productive player in DFS. He has topped 20 fantasy points in four of his last six games and is coming off of arguably the best game of his career. He should have no issue moving the ball indoors against the Lions, who are ranked 19th in DVOA against the pass and 27th in adjusted sack rate. How often do the Jaguars have one of the highest team totals on the board?

In the same game, I have interest in Goff as a value play. He may not offer the same ceiling as Lawrence, but he’ll likely garner less ownership and he’s a bit cheaper on both FanDuel and DraftKings. We know Goff has struggled outdoors and in cold weather, but we never have to worry about that when he’s playing at home. The matchup certainly sets up well, as the Jaguars have been one of the biggest pass-funnel defenses in the league — 30th in DVOA against the pass and 13th in DVOA against the run.

The Best of the Rest

I typically like to keep a tight player pool at quarterback, but there are plenty of options at the position this week. Jalen Hurts has essentially been a lock for 20+ fantasy points each week and has racked up 243 rushing yards over the last two games. Deshaun Watson is set to make his Browns debut against his former team. The matchup is elite and he has plenty of weapons to work with, but this is the first time he has played in two years and the Browns still have one of the best running backs in the league. I certainly understand the appeal, but I’ll take a wait and see approach with Watson.

Jimmy Garoppolo is never an exciting name to click on, but the Niners may not be able to rely on their defense in this week’s game against the Dolphins. If Miami is able to put up points, San Francisco will have to match them. Eli Mitchell has been ruled out and Christian McCaffrey is dealing with a knee injury. There’s a good chance we see a more pass-heavy approach from the Niners. All Garoppolo needs to do is get the ball in the hands of his playmakers. Kenny Pickett is also interesting, as he faces the Falcons in a dome. His pass catchers are all affordable and Atlanta has long been one of the better matchups for fantasy production.

Running Back

Tier 1 (Expert Plays)

The Jaguars pulled off a nice comeback win over the Ravens last week and did it without Etienne. He was apparently cleared to return, but never came back into the game. He’s back at practice and fully expected to play this week against the Lions. This is one of the best game environments on the entire slate and you can certainly beat the Lions on the ground. They are ranked 26th in DVOA against the run and 20th in defensive adjusted line yards. Even if JaMycal Hasty has earned a bigger role moving forward, I still expect Etienne to get the bulk of the touches in this backfield.

Is it just me or does Montgomery always crush when he’s set up to be the chalk in DFS? There are so many reasons to like him this week. It really doesn’t matter who is under center for the Bears — Justin Fields is dealing with a shoulder injury and Trevor Siemian doesn’t offer much upside. Regardless of who starts, the Bears will look to run the ball early and often. They are facing a Packers defense that is dead last in DVOA against the run and dead last in defensive adjusted line yards. D-Mont has a good track record against Green Bay and he doesn’t have much competition for touches with Khalil Herbert on injured reserve.

Tier 2

You could include a number of backs here in the second tier, but I settled on two that are facing each other. Ekeler’s usage wasn’t great early in the season, but his role has grown and grown as the season has progressed. He has played on at least 68% of the snaps in five straight games and is one of the only running backs in the league that is capable of commanding double-digit targets. In 11 games this season, he has averaged over seven receptions and nine targets per game. He should find plenty of success against the Raiders, who have allowed the fourth most fantasy points to running backs this season.

Jacobs was on the radar of many DFS players last week before getting injured in practice on Friday. It looked like he was going to be limited or potentially even miss the game, which is why his ownership ended up being so low on Sunday. He ultimately broke the slate by scoring 51 DK points (over 300 yards from scrimmage). The long run in overtime certainly helped, but he was already having a big game. This week he faces the Chargers, who are 29th in DVOA against the run and 28th in fantasy points allowed to running backs. He’s going to be popular, but for good reason.

The Best of the Rest

There are quite a few injuries that we need to keep an eye on leading up to Sunday. Joe Mixon, Michael Carter, Raheem Mostert, Najee Harris, and Christian McCaffrey are all listed as questionable. If Mixon is out, Samaje Perine would draw another start and become a strong option against the Chiefs. If Carter is out, Zonovan Knight would likely draw the start in a favorable matchup against the Vikigns. If Mostert is out, we can expect another big workload for Jeff Wilson in a revenge game. If Harris is out, Jaylen Warren will step in and handle the bulk of the touches in the Steelers’ backfield. As for C-Mac, he could be a very strong play against the Dolphins. Eli Mitchell has been ruled out and this should be a competitive game. His price point really stands out on FanDuel ($8,200).

Based on how all of the injuries shake out, I might have to adjust my running back tiers above. You know I love value at running back more than any other position. As if we didn’t have enough options, I have three more names that I wanted to mention. Dalvin Cook doesn’t have a good matchup against the Jets, but the Vikings are playing at home and they are favorites. The Jets have an elite pass rush, so we could see an uptick in carries and/or targets for Cook. Kenneth Walker is capable of breaking a big play every time he touches the ball and the Seahawks are sizable favorites against the Rams, who will be without Aaron Donald. And finally, Aaron Jones gets to square off against a Bears team that is 28th in DVOA against the run and 27th in fantasy points allowed to running backs.

Wide Receiver

Tier 1 (Expert Plays)

  • Amon-Ra St. Brown: $7,100 DraftKings / $8,000 FanDuel
  • Garrett Wilson: $5,300 DraftKings / $6,600 FanDuel

I believe I had tagged St. Brown as an Expert Play in four straight slates. He’s getting the same type of volume as the superstar receivers, but is always much cheaper on both FanDuel and DraftKings. The savings St. Brown offers really helps solidify the rest of your lineup. He finally caught a touchdown on Thanksgiving and finished the game with nine catches for 122 yards. In the last five games, he has racked up 49 targets. This equates to a 32% target share during that stretch. As noted above, the Jaguars have been a pass-funnel matchup, ranking 30th in DVOA against the pass and 13th in DVOA against the run.

I’m still licking my wounds from pivoting off of Wilson last week, but I plan to make it right by using him this week. I know it was one game and I know it was against the Bears, but the upgrade from Zach Wilson to Mike White was incredible. The whole offense was humming, even in bad conditions. Many view the Vikings as a below-average matchup because of their record, but this is a very beatable defense. Minnesota is ranked 27th in DVOA against the pass and dead last in fantasy points allowed to running backs. The game is indoors and the Jets are underdogs, which could lead to a pass-heavy game script.

Tier 2

While I have a ton of respect for the Niners defense, they are currently vulnerable in the secondary. They have dealt with a number of injuries to cornerbacks and safeties this season. We’ll need the offensive line to hold up, but Mike McDaniel will surely design plays to get the ball out of Tua’s hand quickly. Game script has been a concern for the Dolphins a number of times this season, but they are 4-point underdogs on the road this week. Hill should get peppered with a nice mix of short and deep targets and the matchup should help keep ownership at a reasonable level.

The Best of the Rest

While I like St. Brown, Wilson, and Hill the most this week, there are so many good plays at the wide receiver position. With Burrow being my favorite quarterback, I obviously have interest in Ja’Marr Chase and Tee Higgins. My original lean was to Chase, but it looks like most projection models favor him as well. If Higgins is going to be low-owned, I’m more than fine taking my chances with him. If you can’t afford Ekeler at running back, I wouldn’t hesitate to use Keenan Allen against the Raiders. He has looked good in two games since returning from injury and offers a high floor given his short and intermediary routes.

While I don’t love the game environment as a whole, Tyler Lockett and DK Metcalf are always viable. The problem is trying to choose between them. I plan to have a little exposure to both. The entire Jaguars offense is viable this week against the Lions. If you are playing Lawrence, I like the idea of pairing him with Christian Kirk or Zay Jones. I have targeted Jones a ton the last month, so it stung to miss out on his big game last week. As noted earlier, Pickett and the Steelers are intriguing for tournaments. Most of the wide receiver targets have funneled to Diontae Johnson and George Pickens since the Chase Claypool trade.

The Vikings situation is certainly interesting. Sauce Gardner has quickly become one of the best shut-down corners in the league. The Vikings do a great job of moving Justin Jefferson all around the field, but he will certainly square off against Gardner a lot during this game. I still like Jefferson in tournaments, but the matchup makes me interested in the other receiving options in this offense. Adam Thielen and T.J. Hockenson could see an uptick in targets. This is a revenge game for A.J. Brown and it doesn’t look like anyone is going to play him. We’ve seen WR1s have a ton of success against Tennessee. And finally, Davante Adams has one of the highest ceilings each and every week.

Tight End

Tier 1 (Expert Plays)

I want to play Kelce in all formats this week, but I doubt I’ll be able to get up to him in my main lineup unless some value opens up at the running back position. If a few of the backs that were mentioned earlier end up being out, value opens up and we can spend up for Kelce. The difference between Kelce and the rest of the tight end position is huge — he has averaged 23 DK points per game. The next closest is Mark Andrews at 15 DK points per game. The fact that the Chiefs are playing in a competitive game on the road certainly doesn’t hurt.

If you don’t want to play Wilson at extreme ownership, my favorite leverage play is Conklin. I suppose they are both cheap enough that you can double-stack them with White, but that’s more of a large-field tournament strategy. As noted earlier, the entire Jets offense sees a boost now that Wilson is out of the lineup. Conklin caught all three of his targets for 50 yards last week, he’s extremely cheap on all sites, and he has a nice matchup indoors against the Vikings.

The Best of the Rest

If people are able to find the salary to spend up at tight end, most are going to click on Kelce (me included). However, Andrews has a very high ceiling and is going to be much lower owned. The Ravens have struggled in the redzone, but we can expect some positive touchdown regression moving forward. I already talked about Hockenson and the potential for him to get peppered with targets if Gardner holds Jefferson in check.

Everyone is rushing to play the Browns passing attack, but I’m more hesitant than most. With that said, I do like the price point on David Njoku. I’ve talked about the Steelers passing attack plenty in this article, so I will clearly have exposure to Pat Freiermuth. If you have a different take on tight end, by all means, you should run with it. The position has been so ugly that there’s no such thing as a bad take at this position.

Final Thoughts

Let’s have some fun this week. We only have six main slates left, so we have to make them count. Good luck and be sure to check the updates section as injury news comes out.

Image Credit: Imagn

This DFS content is a part of our Premium Content Schedule and designed to help you build better lineups on DraftKings, FanDuel, Yahoo!, SuperDraft, and other daily fantasy contest providers. Access NFL Projections, Expert Rankings, Projected Ownership, NFL DFS Picks, and other Data Tools using this content hub. For our world-class optimizer that offers a suite of tools and information designed to help you crush the competition, please head to LineupHQ!

Slate Updates

This section will be updated with injury news and DFS thoughts up to lineup lock.

Week 13

I got more right than wrong in Week 12, but it was a losing week thanks to one mistake in particular. I’ve been playing DFS as long as it has been around and should have known better than to overreact to the weather forecasts. I was originally planning to use Garrett Wilson in my main lineup and to build a tournament team with Mike White, but the heavy rain and wind scared me off of both plays. After the Jets made James Robinson a healthy scratch, I jumped all over the chance to play Michael Carter against the Bears. Naturally, the rain had no impact on the passing game and Carter ended up getting hurt. The swap from Wilson to Carter was certainly a costly one, as in turn I got off of James Conner. Mistakes were made, but more importantly, lessons were learned.

It’s hard to believe we are already into December and that there are only six weeks left in the regular season. There are times when the NBA and MLB seasons feel like a grind, but that is never the case when it comes to the NFL. The season goes by incredibly fast, which is part of the reason why we cherish each and every football Sunday. Over the last two weeks, the pricing has softened a bit on DraftKings, which has certainly helped from a roster construction standpoint. There are plenty of injuries to monitor, so be sure to check the updates section at the top of the page. I have a feeling it will be needed this week.

Quarterback

Tier 1 (Expert Plays)

  • Joe Burrow: $6,900 DraftKings / $8,300 FanDuel
  • Trevor Lawrence: $5,900 DraftKings / $7,500 FanDuel
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About the Author

  • Derek Farnsworth (Notorious)

  • Derek Farnsworth, aka Notorious, is one of the most recognizable names and faces in all of DFS, thanks in large part to the great advice he gives on a daily basis in RotoGrinders.com’s Grind Down for NBA and MLB as well as the First Look column that gives a preview of the day’s games from a DFS perspective. Before joining the RotoGrinders team, Derek received a Masters Degree from the University of Utah. When he’s not busy providing content, he’s dominating the industry as evidenced by his consistent top rankings in multiple sports. Farnsworth provides expert analysis for RotoGrinders Premium members on a daily basis during the NBA season and has also been nominated for five different Fantasy Sports Writer’s Association (FSWA) awards.

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