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Fantasy Football: Top smash plays, upgrades and fades for Week 13

Minneapolis, Minnesota, USA; Minnesota Vikings running back Alexander Mattison (25) is brought down by Detroit Lions cornerback Amani Oruwariye (24) during the second half at U.S. Bank Stadium. Mandatory Credit: Jerome Miron-USA TODAY Sports

Week 13 of the NFL season is here, and so is the weekly look at the top smash, upgrade and fade plays for fantasy football. I'll integrate NFL totals, spreads, implied points and proprietary PFF matchup data each week, looking for players who score highly or poorly across all metrics.

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Rankings & Projections | WR/CB Matchup Chart | NFL & NCAA Betting Dashboards | NFL Player Props tool | NFL & NCAA Power Rankings


We will also look at the projected DFS rostership for additional context for building tournament lineups.

KEY:

  • SOS: PFF's Fantasy Strength of Schedule (SoS) metric provides a league-wide, season-long view of opponent matchups for each fantasy position.
  • OL Pass Block Advantage (OL PBA): offensive-line pass blocking matchup; derived from the OL/DL Matchup tool (pass blocking advantage — the higher the percentage, the better the matchup for the offensive line, and vice versa).
  • OL Run Block Advantage (OL RBA): offensive-line pass blocking matchup; derived from the OL/DL Matchup tool (run blocking advantage — the higher the percentage, the better the matchup for the offensive line, and vice versa).
  • WR/CB Matchup Advantage (WR/CB MU): wide receiver versus cornerback matchup; derived from the WR/CB Matchup tool (matchup advantage grade — the higher the grade, the better the matchup for the receiver, and vice versa).
  • TE Matchup Advantage (TE MU): tight end versus linebackers and safeties; derived from the TE Matchup tool (matchup advantage — the higher the percentage, the better the matchup for the tight end, and vice versa).
  • Projected PPR Points (PPR Proj)

QUARTERBACKS

For quarterbacks, we are looking for big point totals and implied points. The spread doesn't matter as much for pass-heavy teams, but we are looking for trailing scripts that could cause run-heavy offenses to throw more than usual.

Smashes
Player Opponent Total Spread Implied Points QB SOS OL PBA PPR
Tom Brady @ATL 50.5 -11.0 30.75 8.3 50 25.1

Brady is the QB3 on the season and has six top-five finishes to his name despite QB14, QB10 and QB22 performances over the last three. The veteran has three of his top four receiving options healthy in Mike Evans, Chris Godwin and Rob Gronkowski, and the Falcons allow the fourth-most points per game (22.8) to quarterbacks on the Week 13 slate. The Buccaneers are heavy favorites in this one, but they throw the ball 12% more than the league average when leading by four or more points.

Upgrades
Player Opponent Total Spread Implied Points QB SOS OL PBA PPR
Matthew Stafford JAX 48.0 -13.0 30.50 9.0 9 20.5
Kirk Cousins @DET 46.5 -7.0 26.75 10.0 -4 20.5
Jalen Hurts @NYJ 45.0 -7.0 26.00 8.9 9 21.4

Stafford and the Rams are struggling over the last three games, but the veteran QB got back on track from a fantasy perspective in Week 12, finishing as the QB5. The Jaguars are giving up the seventh-least points to quarterbacks on the slate — primarily because they trail by 4 or more points the second-most in the NFL (65%).

Nov 7, 2021; Inglewood, California, USA; Los Angeles Rams quarterback Matthew Stafford (9) throws the ball against the Tennessee Titans in the first half at SoFi Stadium. Credit: Kirby Lee-USA TODAY Sports

Cousins and the Vikings likely won't need to throw much against the Lions, but the veteran knows how to put up points in run-heavy scripts. The Vikings only dropped back to pass on 55%, 54% and 57% of their plays in Weeks 9 through 11 and the veteran nailed three consecutive top-six finishes.

Hurts (ankle) is questionable for the matchup against the Jets but is expected to play after limited practices on Wednesday and Thursday. The Jets allow the fifth-most rushing attempts in regulation, and the Eagles are the sixth-most run-heavy team. Only Lamar Jackson handles as much of his team's designed rushing attempts — tied with Hurts at 24%. However, if his ankle limits his ability to run the ball, his upside would be muted.

Related content for you: Week 13 Fantasy Football Rankings & Tiers via Dwain McFarland
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