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Fantasy Football Rookie Report: Week 13

Welcome back to the rookie report. It’s crunch time everyone. In most fantasy leagues this is the final matchup before the playoffs start. Hopefully you are just looking to improve playoff position this week, but if you’re like me, you need a win and you need it bad. There is a lot of pressure to get every move right. You can’t play Larry Fitzgerald and have him give you 3 points again. You can’t count on returns to action for Michael Vick, Percy Harvin, DeMarco Murray or several other stars who have been sidelined. You may need to roll the dice on some players you wouldn’t normally want to.

With the importance of this week, I’m going to do things a little differently here at the rookie report. This week and through the playoffs, instead of giving you solid plays, borderline plays, and guys to avoid, I’m going to give a quick breakdown of all the guys you should already know what to do with, and then go a little more in depth on the guys you might not. I’ll still name a few sleepers at the tail end to keep an eye on for deeper leagues. Now that you know that, let’s get rolling.

 

Week 12 Recap:

 

Turkey Day was full of rookie fantasy goodness, at least in the 2 traditional games. Ryan Broyles caught over 100 yards with Titus Young benched in the early game on Thursday. In the late afternoon, the Redskins put on a show. RG3 dominated the Cowboys in the first half and did enough in the 2nd half to hold on for the win while tallying 28 fantasy points. His rookie running back, Alfred Morris ran for 113 yards and a touchdown to keep the good vibes going. On the Dallas side, Cole Beasley came out of nowhere to catch for 68 yards after Miles Austin went down. No rooks made an impact in the night game.

On Sunday, the rookie party continued with plenty of youngsters coming up big. The rookie runners that were supposed to play big did. Doug Martin scored 2 TDs despite limited yards and Trent Richardson ran roughshod over the Steelers for 85 yards and a TD. Unfortunately, Vick Ballard didn’t play so big with just 43 yards rushing and Ronnie Hillman was passed over as starter for Knowshon Moreno against a very weak Chiefs defense. At wide receiver, Justin Blackmon found the end zone for the second straight week and showed a real rapport with Chad Henne, Mohamed Sanu scored 2 TDs and caught 5 passes with Andrew Hawkins out, and T.Y. Hilton caught a TD pass and returned a punt for a score. The biggest surprise at receiver might have been Chris Givens, who made my prediction about him last week look good, getting loose for 115 yards and a score despite Amendola suiting up. Several other receivers had passable days, with Jarius and Kendall Wright both catching for over 40 yards, Rueben Randle finding the end zone, and Josh Gordon catching for 60 yards against the stellar Steelers defense. I said last week to be happy with anything over 5 points out of Gordon.

Monday night brought the best rookie performance of the week, well, aside from RG3. Shady McCoy’s backup running back Bryce Brown went off against the Panthers despite a losing effort. He was the top point scorer of all running backs this week despite fumbling twice. Nick Foles looked much better in start number 2, but the game plan was conservative and the defense was awful against the Panthers. Amongst the rest of the rookie QBs, Russell Wilson had a pretty good day against the Dolphins with 19 fantasy points, and Weeden, Luck and Tannehill were all just Ok this week. Tannehill’s performance was a nice sign after how poorly he played the previous week, but Luck was a pretty decent sized disappointment against Buffalo, but his running game was ineffective and his targets banged up. Okay, enough week 12, let’s push things forward.

 

Guys You Know What to do With:

 

QB Robert Griffin III, WAS (Wk. 13: vs. NYG): You aren’t going to sit him. Period. In case you have any doubts, Griffin put up 22 fantasy points the last time he faced the G-Men and earned the respect of Osi Umenyiora, who insisted on calling him “Bob Griffin” until he proved himself in the NFL. After one game against the Giants, Osi was willing to call Griffin RG3. Play him, expect close to what he did last time.

 

QB Nick Foles, PHI (Wk. 13: @ Dal.): Foles isn’t worth a start, even in a 2 QB league. The Eagles will be content to run with Bryce Brown, and the Cowboys are in the top third of the league in limiting QB fantasy points.

 

QB Ryan Lindley, ARI (Wk. 13: @ NYJ): Do I need to even give a reason? Lindley will start again this week, just not for you.

 

RB Doug Martin, TB (Wk. 13: @Den.): Sure it’s a tough matchup (Broncos give up 26th most fantasy points to RBs), but the Douggernaut has achieved must-start status. You know what to do here.

 

RB Trent Richardson, CLE (Wk. 13: @Oak.): Remember the game Doug Martin had against these guys? He went over 50 points. Hell, even Benjarvus Green-Ellis went over 120 with a TD against the Raiders. Throw in that Brandon Weeden is questionable after a concussion, and the Browns should lean even more heavily on Richardson. Trent is going to run wild this week, probably 20+ points.

 

RB Alfred Morris, WAS (Wk. 13: vs. NYG): The Giants may be the fifth best defense against fantasy running backs to date, but Morris ran for over 120 yards against them in the two teams’ first meeting. It’s hard to believe you have 2 better options on the roster, and impossible to believe you wouldn’t at least use him as a flex. Keep him in there.

 

RB Daryl Richardson, STL (Wk. 13: vs. SF): Richardson hasn’t gone off all season, and he won’t in this one. He did go for 58 yards on 7 carries the last time he faced the 49ers, but I wouldn’t count on a repeat. Keep Richardson clear of the lineup this week.

 

WR Kendall Wright, TEN (Wk. 13: vs. Hou.): You know what Wright will give you on a week to week basis. He’s good for around 50 or so yards and a possible TD. The Texans are a good defense, but much less so without Brian Cushing and maybe Brooks Reed as well. This could be a stronger than expected week for Wright, but he’s still flex fodder as always. Probably a pretty solid flex play in PPR leagues, but there are likely options with more upside if you need a win this week.

 

WR Stephen Hill, NYJ (Wk. 13 vs. Ari.): Hill shouldn’t be near a fantasy roster at this point unless drops are a point scoring category for you. Don’t think about playing him this week.

 

WR Michael Floyd, ARI (Wk. 13: @NYJ): Floyd shouldn’t be near your lineup as long as Ryan Lindley is throwing the ball. He’s got about 50 total receiving yards the last 2 weeks with Lindley flinging it.

 

TEs Coby Fleener and Dwayne Allen, IND (Wk. 13: @Det.): Both guys are tough to trust if Fleener plays as expected and would be low-end number 2 tight ends for fantasy. I would want Allen over Fleener since Dwayne has a more recent rapport with Luck. If Fleener somehow can’t play again, it moves Allen up to at least a low-end number one in deep leagues. The Lions allow the 5th most points to tight ends in the NFL. Watch the injury report, but Fleener is a likely go, which would make both a no-go.

 

All rookie K’s: The only one who is a really solid bet lately is Blair Walsh. He should be owned in just about all leagues. Justin Tucker has been a borderline guy, but Zuerlein and Forbath should only be owned in the deep leagues right now. They just aren’t getting enough FG tries in general.

 

Guys You Might Not Know What to do With:

 

QB Andrew Luck, IND (Wk. 13: @Det.): You might be a little worried about Luck’s recent borderline-starter production, but look for a bounce-back this week. I think he’s a top 10 play at QB and should only sit for a very strong option. He does love to throw indoors, and the Lions can be thrown on. I expect both teams in this one to score in the 20s, and the Colts haven’t exactly been running for TDs unless it’s Luck himself. Go with Luck this week. He’ll be worth it.

 

QB Russell Wilson, SEA (Wk. 13: @Chi.): This is a brutal matchup for Wilson, but over the last few weeks he’s been great in tough matchups. He’s been good for at least 15 points in each of his last 4 and 5 of his last 6, with his only weak outing coming in San Francisco. I would be much more worried here if the Seahawks’ starting corners were suspended for this one since Wilson might try to do too much to keep up with the Bears’ O. Since they will play, I see Wilson as a low-end number 2 QB who could approach that 15 point mark despite how great the Bears’ defense has been.

 

QB Brandon Weeden, CLE (Wk. 13: @Oak.): Weeden is still questionable due to a concussion, but it appears for now that he will play. If he does, he’s probably a mid-to-low QB2. I would play him over Russell Wilson since the Bears’ defense is #2 vs. QBs and the Raiders’ D is #30. Look for a productive day for Weeden if he plays, even if he does pepper in a pick or 2.

 

QB Ryan Tannehill, MIA (Wk. 13: vs. NE): Tannehill has been an enigma of late. He was awful against two really bad defenses in Buffalo and Tennessee, and then solid against the stingy Seahawks’ D. The Patriots have given up the 9th most fantasy points to quarterbacks this year, but I’m steering clear of Tannehill this week. I don’t know that I can trust him. I would put him behind Wilson and Weeden this week, but he might outproduce both.

 

RB Vick Ballard, IND (Wk. 13: @Det.): Many Ballard owners are losing patience at this point. He has just one TD all season, on an acrobatic dive into the end zone, and put up just 43 yards last week against a terrible run defense. The Lions are at least a little better than the Bills, so it’s hard to see Ballard as any more than a flex play. If you are desperate for a win, you might be better served to go with a wide receiver in the flex spot this week than Ballard, who likely will fall short of double-digits again.

 

RB Ronnie Hillman, DEN (Wk. 13: vs. TB): What a letdown last week for the Broncos to move Knowshon Moreno from inactive to starter in the wake of Willis McGahee’s knee injury. Hillman was primed to have a huge breakout game against the Chiefs, and had it ripped from him for bogus concerns about his pass protection. It’s likely that Moreno starts again this week, but if you have the bench spot, keep Hillman handy. The Broncos have a sweet matchup with Oakland next week and Ronnie may find value again quickly if Moreno slips up or gets hurt.

 

RB Bryce Brown, PHI (Wk. 13: @Dal.): Brown blew up last Monday, and I’m sure the Eagles aren’t likely to rush LeSean McCoy back out there. Expect Brown to get the start again and be the focal point of the offense against Dallas. You should absolutely be playing him if McCoy is out again. The Cowboys have allowed 7 rushing TDs in the last 7 games. Brown is a good bet to make it 8 in 8, and likely won’t be carrying the ball like it’s a loaf of bread again.

 

WR Justin Blackmon, JAX (Wk. 13: @Buf.): Welcome to the NFL, for real this time, Justin Blackmon. With Blaine Gabbert in control, Blackmon couldn’t get anything going. With Chad Henne under center, everything has changed. Blackmon exploded two weeks ago against Houston, and followed that up with over 70 yards and another touchdown this past Sunday. I’m finally ready to buy in. I’m riding the hot streak against the hapless Bills secondary. If you need a win and have Blackmon, I think you have to roll the dice that the hot streak continues.

 

WR T. Y. Hilton, IND (Wk. 13: @Det.): Hilton seems to have passed Donnie Avery as the number 2 guy in Indy, and has even been outproducing Reggie Wayne of late. Even though I like the matchup here, I’m a little worried that things start to even out a little this week. I like Wayne to find the end zone, and think the return of Coby Fleener and increasing health of Donnie Avery could also hurt Hilton’s production. I still like Hilton to at least find 6 or 7 points, but I’m not really sure he gets to double-digits. It’s a tough call on Hilton, but I would at least explore other options.

 

WR Ryan Broyles, DET (Wk. 13: vs. Ind.): On the other side of the Lions-Colts game, I think Ryan Broyles goes off again. The Lions’ rookie had a marvelous game on Thanksgiving, and Titus Young is no lock to return this week. I think Broyles finds the end zone this week, and tops double-digits again. I would play him over Hilton, but not over Blackmon.

 

WR Josh Gordon, CLE (Wk. 13: @Oak.): This guy hinges on Weeden a bit. Without Weeden, you shouldn’t play Gordon in anything but a really deep league. If Weeden plays, Gordon is a solid play who should be a solid bet to catch at least one long ball against a suspect Raiders’ D. I like the 3 guys listed above over Gordon, but he could have a strong day.

 

WR Mohamed Sanu, CIN (Wk. 13: @SD): The young Bengal has found the end zone for 3 straight weeks, including 2 scores last weekend, but he needs the TDs to have value. He’s a solid bet to score again this week, but if he doesn’t you probably don’t get more than 3-4 points. I would rather not be so reliant on a TD with my season in the balance.

 

WR Chris Givens, STL (Wk. 13: vs. SF): Givens posted his best day of the season in week 12 with 17 fantasy points due to a limited Danny Amendola. He’s owned in less than 2 percent of leagues on espn, which is ridiculous, but I would avoid him against the 49ers this week. If Amendola plays, Givens is absolutely a bad idea in the lineup since he relies on deep balls and the 49ers don’t allow those. If Amendola doesn’t play, Givens has some value, but I would rather have any of the other receivers listed in this section instead. Givens is a boom-or-bust type in a matchup that doesn’t give up a whole lot of boom.

 

WR Jarius Wright, MIN (Wk. 13: @GB): The Vikings are still saying they aren’t sure when Percy Harvin will return, which makes Wright an interesting option again this week. If Harvin is out, consider Wright a good bet for 5 points with a possibility for a bit more if Ponder can get the passing game going. He is probably safer than a guy like Sanu or Givens as long as there’s no Percy Harvin, but has much less upside.

 

Ok, here’s a quick recap of the order I would want to play the guys above:

 

QB: RG3, Andrew Luck, Brandon Weeden, Russell Wilson, Ryan Tannehill, Nick Foles, then Ryan Lindley

 

RB: Trent Richardson, Doug Martin, Alfred Morris, Bryce Brown, Vick Ballard, Daryl Richardson, then Ronnie Hillman

 

WR: Justin Blackmon, Ryan Broyles, T.Y. Hilton, Kendall Wright, Josh Gordon, Mohamed Sanu, Jarius Wright, Chris Givens, Michael Floyd, and then Stephen Hill

 

TE: Dwayne Allen over Coby Fleener

 

K: Blair Walsh, Justin Tucker, Kai Forbath and then Greg Zuerlein

 

Deep League Sleepers:

 

RB David Wilson, NYG (Wk. 13: @Was.): Wilson is back to fantasy relevance now that Andre Brown is done for the season. The Giants’ backup only needs one injury to Ahmad Bradshaw to gain a huge amount of value. He’s back to the point that he should be owned in deep leagues, especially as a Bradshaw handcuff, and he has done some nice things when he gets a handful of carries in relief. The Redskins don’t have a whole lot of game tape on Wilson, so he may catch them off guard on Sunday.

 

WR Rueben Randle, NYG (Wk. 13: @Was.): Randle has been working his way into the mix with Domenik Hixon banged up, and the Redskins allow the 2nd most fantasy points to wide receivers. Randle could be a sneaky play this week in a pretty favorable matchup, even if all he gets are the leftovers from Cruz and Nicks.

 

WR Cole Beasley, DAL (Wk. 13: vs. Phi.): If Miles Austin can’t play this week, Beasley becomes more than just a sleeper. Anyone who owned Laurent Robinson last season can tell you how valuable a Miles Austin injury replacement can be, and Beasley clearly has a solid rapport with Romo after catching 7 balls on Thanksgiving on 12 targets. The Cowboys likely won’t have to throw 60 times again with the way Philly is playing lately, but keep an eye on the injury report and take a chance on Beasley if you’re desperate.

 

Alright gang, that’s all for this week. Good luck in your regular season finales, and hopefully you’ll have reason to check back here next week for more fantasy advice. Enjoy the games and trust your gut.

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