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Fantasy Football: Best and worst DFS targets in Week 13

Arlington, Texas, USA; Las Vegas Raiders quarterback Derek Carr (4) throws a pass in the third quarter against the Dallas Cowboys at AT&T Stadium. Mandatory Credit: Tim Heitman-USA TODAY Sports

Week 13 of the NFL DFS slate is highlighted by a high-floor and exciting play in Washington Football Team running back Antonio Gibson, who has tournament-winning upside in a plus matchup with a potential role increase.

Let’s dive into the best and worst Week 13 DFS plays at every position, based on matchup, opportunity, salary and roster projections.

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Best: Derek Carr, Las Vegas Raiders

DK: $6,000 | FD: $7,500

There are a handful of intriguing plays here, but Carr takes the top spot at the quarterback position in Week 13. He’s been a consistent performer for the most part, though his season has taken some figuring out in recent weeks, given the evolving offense and team situation.

Still, the veteran signal-caller has one of the best matchups on this slate. The Washington Football Team secondary is not particularly strong and ranks 25th league-wide in passing yards allowed, 31st in passing touchdowns allowed and 30th in expected points added (EPA) allowed per play this season. They’ve been very susceptible to big plays in the passing game, and that’s good news for Carr and his new weapon in DeSean Jackson. Carr will be missing Darren Waller in this game, but Waller’s absence factors into his salary volatility and low PFF roster projections (7.5%).

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Worst: Josh Allen, Buffalo Bills

DK: $7,900 | FD: $8,800

There’s a reason Allen is the highest-scoring quarterback this season, and he’s accomplished that feat in just 11 games. Still, he’s the most expensive quarterback on the slate and has a brutal matchup against the New England Patriots‘ elite defense.

This year, the Patriots have allowed the fewest fantasy points among defenses and rank top-10 in every important passing metric, from explosive pass percentage to passing touchdowns allowed. They’re efficient, too, coming in as PFF’s fourth-highest graded defense through 12 weeks.

Allen has almost had a flawless season — outside of the stinker against the Jacksonville Jaguars but I’d let others pay up at this spot. There is too much value at quarterback to risk playing Allen this week.

Running Back

Best: Antonio Gibson, Washington Football Team

DK: $5,700 | FD: $6,200

We’ve entered Gibson season. Fellow teammate J.D. McKissic suffered a scary injury late into Monday’s game and looks set to miss Week 13.

Even if McKissic does play, his presence won’t affect Gibson too much, as the second-year back's workload has still topped 19-plus touches in each of the past three weeks. He's accumulated an absurd 72 rushing attempts and nine receptions since Week 10. He may grab a few more targets with McKissic out, though Jaret Patterson will be close to a 1:1 replacement.

The real upside for Gibson this week is to out-produce his paltry pass-game usage. He’s run a route on just 28.4% of the team’s dropbacks compared to 49% for McKissic.

The matchup against Las Vegas happens to be a good one, as the Raiders rank 20th in yards and 28th in touchdowns allowed to the running position when targeted as receivers.

Gibson is in a major smash-spot and has legitimate tournament-winning upside this week. His reduced salary gives us every reason to roster him across the board.

Worst: Saquon Barkley, New York Giants

DK: $6,300 | FD: $7,200

Barkley is an elite talent, but he cannot be trusted in DFS formats right now. He hasn’t reached 50-plus rushing yards since returning from injury and has yet to rush for 60 yards this season. His passing-game usage is one of the only reasons why he’s still been able to reach double-digit fantasy points in most games, but his upside is so limited and the Giants could be without Daniel Jones this week.

A matchup against the Miami Dolphins doesn’t make it any easier, as Brian Flores' group has defended the position well in recent weeks.

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