Leverage PFF’s Week 13 fantasy football rankings and DFS ownership projections as close to lock as possible. Knowing what your competitors are going to do ahead of time provides an edge that simply not enough DFS gamers take advantage of. Focus your attention in cash formats on high-rostered value players and pivot to lower-rostered ceiling players in GPPs.
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Identifying players across all positions with low rostership projections who rank high in PFF’s fantasy projections, fantasy football rankings, high-value targets and route participation will lead to strong ROI weeks.
High Tier ($6,500-plus)
Using a mid-priced quarterback who has posted relatively high expected fantasy points per game has been the leading indicator of the next GPP-winning quarterback, especially when they are facing an opposing quarterback who fits similar criteria.
Week 13’s standout candidates include Taylor Heinicke versus Derek Carr, Justin Herbert versus Joe Burrow, Jared Goff versus Kirk Cousins, Ben Roethlisberger versus Lamar Jackson and Matt Ryan versus Tom Brady.
In terms of matchups that are projected to be high-scoring based on the offensive pace of play: Baltimore Ravens–Pittsburgh Steelers (one vs. seven), The Washington Football Team–Las Vegas Raiders (sixth vs. 28th) and Cincinnati Bengals–Los Angeles Chargers (10th versus 16th).
So the top games for stacking are CIN-LAC, WFT-LV and PIT-BAL. For solo team onslaughts, look at Tampa, Minnesota, Indianapolis and Los Angeles (Rams).
Brady doesn’t have the rushing floor of mobile quarterbacks, but he’s underpriced in a layup spot versus the Atlanta Falcons. He destroyed them to the tune of 29 fantasy points back in Week 2 and should be able to repeat the efforts versus their soft Cover-2 defense.
No quarterback has a higher PFF passing grade versus Cover 2 this season than Brady. Unless Fournette can duplicate his four-touchdown performance from a week ago, it’s hard to see Brady not finishing with at least 20 fantasy points.
Hurts’ streak of top-12 quarterback fantasy finishes finally came to an end in Week 12, as the New York Giants defense forced Hurts to beat them as a traditional pocket passer, and he failed to deliver.
The Eagles quarterback completed just 45% of his passes en route to an abysmal 46.2 PFF passing grade. Woof.
But on the bright side, he did finish the game with 77 rushing yards. And that’s the most important thing to remember with Hurts, as his fantasy value is tied to his rushing production, which is why he has been a staple of winning cash game lineups all season.
Keep playing him in cash — assuming all reports are positive about his ankle injury — in a smash spot versus PFF’s 32nd-ranked New York Jets defense. The Jets defense has allowed the second-most passing yards to quarterbacks over the last four weeks.
It’s OK to forego Jackson in cash for one of the other cheaper $7K quarterbacks if it makes the rest of your lineup work but play him in every single tournament possible. His last two games — 14.9 fantasy points per game, five interceptions— have left a sour taste in people’s mouths.
But that’s par for the course within a unique Ravens offense that experiences a lot of weekly variance based on its style of play. Jackson is still averaging 22.6 expected fantasy points per game in his last two duds, so he should bounce back in a massive way versus a reeling Steelers defense.
The Steelers have allowed the third-most fantasy points to quarterbacks in the last two weeks. And from a rushing yardage regression standpoint, Pittsburgh is primed to give up a boatload of rushing scores. Its defense — along with the Vikings and Lions — ranks top five in rushing yards allowed this season but outside of the top-eight in rushing touchdowns allowed.
Baltimore — as well as Chicago and the Football Team — ranks top 10 in rushing yards but outside the top 10 in rushing scores. Washington (17th) and Chicago (22nd) rank particularly low.
Because Jackson’s fantasy ceiling is tied to rushing scores, we could see him erupt after two down games. With his rostership severely suppressed at sub-5%, the Ravens quarterback is currently my favorite quarterback to play in tournaments.
Baltimore’s defense also gives up a ton of huge plays, so the game environment should remain competitive for Jackson to continuously rack up fantasy points.
Low Tier ($6,500 and under)
Under $7K, sprinkle in some Joe Burrow ($6,300) and Justin Herbert ($6,700) into tournament lineups. The game has talented passers, a high pace of play and a 50.5 projected point total — all the ingredients needed for a shootout.
I do slightly lean toward Burrow for a few reasons: Less projected rostership, cheaper stacking partners and leverage off the chalky Joe Mixon. Burrow is also on the side of regression you want to target, as he has the third-most fantasy points under expectation since Week 8.
On the other hand, Herbert has the most fantasy points scored above expectation.
Cousins is fantasy football’s QB10 on the season in fantasy points per game and the QB5 in fantasy points per game since Week 6 (20.8). The often disrespected and overlooked Vikings passer is PFF’s third-highest-graded quarterback in 2021.
You are going to want to play Jonathan Taylor in cash games this week, and in some early cash builds of my own, I found that playing Carson Wentz ($6,100) let me jam in studs everywhere else to my heart’s desire.
Wentz's matchup is great, and playing him alongside Taylor almost guarantees you at least 40 fantasy points, as the teammates have combined for that many points in eight of the Colts’ last nine games played. It’s a super secure way to approach 50/50 and double-ups in Week 13.
The Las Vegas Raiders‘ defense is hardly one to fear in fantasy football, especially for Heinicke. The Old Dominion product ranks sixth in expected fantasy points per game since Week 7, whereas Las Vegas ranks fifth in fantasy points per game to quarterbacks over the past four weeks.
All signs point to Heinicke producing well versus the Raiders in the third-highest projected game total on the Week 13 docket. Derek Carr — who should also be a solid DFS play — should be able to move the ball against a leaky Washington Football Team defense, opening the doors for a West Coast shootout.
The Raiders offense is a prime candidate for serious positive regression in terms of passing touchdowns. Its ranks second in passing yards this season but just 14th in passing touchdowns. The matchup versus Washington sets up very well for Carr to throw multiple scores, considering the Football Team's defense has allowed the most passing touchdowns this season.
FANDUEL QUARTERBACK VALUES
High Tier ($8,000-Plus)
Play Jonathan Taylor at any price versus the Houston Texans. The Colts running back leads all RBs in fantasy points per game and benefits from facing a Texans defense that ranks 31st in rushing yards allowed this season. He’s the first guy who should be rostered across all cash lineups.
In tournaments, the best approach would be to opt for one of the other higher-priced running backs in smash spots, such as Joe Mixon ($8,100) or Austin Ekeler ($8,300) in addition to a Colts passing attack stack.
Mixon is facing a Chargers defense that ranks last in rushing yards allowed to running backs, and Ekeler is facing a Bengals defense that ranks last in targets to running backs.
There’s a higher probability that if Taylor doesn’t score his 30-plus fantasy points, it's because the touchdowns are scored through the air.