Welcome to The Gauntlet. We are going to break down each and every game to find our NFL DFS Week 13 top plays on what is considered the main slate on DraftKings and Fanduel. This consists of the games only on Sundays. If you are playing other slates, such as the primetime slates, be sure to check out our other DFS content for plays in those games. In this breakdown, we are going to dive deeply into each matchup which is why we are going to stick to just the main slate of games. The numbers in parenthesis are the Vegas implied totals for each team. All of the stats in this breakdown are from Football Outsiders, while all of the player grades are from Pro Football Focus. Let’s get to it…
Bucs (21.25) at Packers (23.75) Total 45
This is actually an awesome tournament spot for this Packers offense. They actually looked like a somewhat decent offense against a respectable Steelers team. Now they return home and play the worst pass D in the NFL. If Brett Hundley can repeat his past performance, at his price he is going to be one of the best plays on the slate. Regardless if you play Hundley or not, the top play from this game is Davante Adams. Adams has been Hundley’s go to target and is seeing consistent production every single week and gets one of the best matchups of the week. Fire up, Adams. Jamaal Williams workload is also too large to ignore. If Jones or Montgomery are active, I won’t have much interest in him. But if neither of them are active, Williams is a top play.
On the Bucs side, this may finally be the Mike Evans blow up spot. The Packers defense just gets shredded by opposing pass games, and this matchup sets up well for Evans. He finally gets Winston back here, and it couldn’t come at a better time. With Winston back, Brate is also on my radar, as Fitzpatrick absolutely ignored Brate over the last couple of weeks. Brate is one of Winston’s favorite targets.
Top Plays: Adams, Evans, Brate
Vikings (22) at Falcons (25) Total 47
This is not a Julio blowup spot like last week. Xavier Rhodes is really good. Marvin Jones just torched Rhodes, but I am chalking that up to an outlier and not the norm. This Vikings team has been solid, so I don’t want to go crazy with the Falcons here. Freeman will be back this week, so they will likely lean on the run slightly more than the last two weeks since they can mix Coleman and Freeman in and out as they please, and not just rely on one of the two. If I am playing someone here, it will likely be Sanu, but he isn’t the most exciting option as Trae Waynes have been good on the other side of the field as well.
On the Vikings side, I don’t know how you ignore Adam Theilen at this point. The dude is a monster and is one of the most consistent players every week. He is a top play for me as the Falcons get absolutely torched in the middle of the field, and Theilen has twice as many targets to the middle of the field as anyone else on the Vikings. Almost all of Diggs’ deep targets have come on the right side of the field and that is where the Falcons have defended the best, so we can temper the ceiling for Diggs here, but he is still going to see high volume and have a solid floor.
Top Plays: Theilen, Diggs (cash)
49ers (19) at Bears (22) Total 41
This is the best matchup Jordan Howard will have all season. If you are a believer in RB volume, then you have to play Howard here. The 49ers are one of the worst teams against the run and Howard should have plenty of room to operate in this one and is relatively cheap for his workload.
On the 49ers side, it will be interesting to see if the gameplan is still to utilize Hyde in the passing game pretty heavily with Garrapolo under center. Beathard loved throwing to Hyde, but we aren’t sure how this 49ers offense is going to look. Supposedly Garrapolo has been a quick learner, but they have already said they are going to scale back the playbook for him. I am going to take a wait and see approach with this offense.
Top Plays: Howard
Lions (20.25) at Ravens (22.75) Total 43
This game is going to be an all-around fade for me unless Ameer Abdullah sits. If he sits, I am going to play Theo Riddick as he will be their main RB and will be utilized heavily in the pass game if he is on the field more than he has been all year. Outside of that, if Stafford sits, I want the Ravens D at home here.
The Lions D is also interesting because the Ravens offense isn’t very good, and the Lions D has actually been solid this year. They are one of the highest scoring defenses as they have scored 7 defensive TDs. I think they can make Flacco uncomfortable and force some mistakes in this one.
Top Plays: Riddick (if Abdullah sits), Lions D, Ravens D
Broncos (20.5) at Dolphins (19) Total 39.5
With Paxton Lynch no longer being the starting QB here, I actually have interest in Thomas and Sanders. I don’t advise playing both in the same lineup, but both guys should be heavily involved, and if you can play the one who catches the 1-2 TDs, you are going to have one of the top WRs of the week. Both players are in a great spot here. The QB play for the Broncos is what limits both from being in play on the same lineups.
I want no part of the Dolphins side of this game. Drake should see a heavy workload, but this matchup is horrendous.
Top Plays: Sanders or Thomas (not both in the same lineup), Broncos D
Colts (15.75) at Jaguars (25.25) Total 41
When narrowing your player pool, there are going to be games that you want no part of. Games you think are not very predictable or are going to be low scoring with not much fantasy relevance. This week, this is one of those games for me. Fournette has not been the same since his suspension, and the way you attack the Colts is actually through the air. With that being said, there is one guy I want to play this game and that is Dede Westbrook. He is in a great spot here, and is already seeing the Lion’s share of targets in this offense and is still relatively cheap for DFS. For those of you playing season long, Marquise Lee has a pretty safe floor, but he is too high of a price for me in DFS.
On the other side of the ball, I will just go ahead and insert my copy and paste: the Jags D is always in play.
Top Plays: Westbrook, Jags D
Texans (18.25) at Titans (25.25) Total 43.5
It is getting to the point where you can play Deandre Hopkins in every single format, regardless of opponent. He has faced a pretty brutal schedule in terms of matchups recently and is still just dominating every week. The targets and production are there, and this matchup is one of the best he will have all season. He is still priced as if he is facing the Ravens, and we need to take advantage of that.
On the Titans side, the biggest news will be to monitor the backfield situation. If Murray is ruled out, or Henry gets the start in general, you can play him here at a cheap price. He is a very talented back and would likely see 20 carries. Outside of Henry, Mariota has looked pretty bad recently. If you like taking chances, his matchup is awesome, but his recent form has not been.
Top Plays: Hopkins, Henry (if he starts)
Chiefs (23.5) at Jets (20.5) Total 43.5
Anytime the Jets are going to be highly owned, I want no part of them. I think that ends up being the case this week. McCown and Anderson have been smashing recently and are still relatively cheap. However, this is a trap situation. While KC has played bad recently, their woes have been on the offensive side of the ball, not the defense. They are still limiting opponents in terms of yards and points and this is not a spot I want to target an offense against them, especially at high ownership.
On the other side, fellow DFS DegeNation Podcast host Kevin Steele made an interesting point on the pod. You can play the Chiefs defense and pair it with Tyreek Hill this week and hope for a punt return TD and get a double dip. While this isn’t predictable, it is still possible. I am not recommending Hill solely for this reason. He is in a good matchup and Hunt has done nothing on the ground recently. They will continue to find ways to get the ball in his hands. If he just so happens to return a punt for a TD, that is a nice bonus.
Top Plays: Hill
Patriots (28.5) at Bills (20) Total 48.5
Gronk smash week is upon us. In his 11 career games against the Bills, he has 813 receiving yards which is an average of 74 yards a game and has 11 TDs which is obviously 1 TD a game. That is an absurd history against a single team. I don’t expect anything to be different this week. Brady is always in play as well if you can find the salary to fit him.
On the Bills side, the only guy I can even consider playing is McCoy, however, at his DFS price, it is too steep of a price for me to pay and this Patriots defense has actually been very good recently and I wouldn’t mind them as a tourney defense.
Top Plays: Brady, Gronk
Browns (15) at Chargers (28.5) Total 43.5
The Browns are a tad banged up on defense, but over the course of the season, they have been a top 3 run defense. If they are fully healthy here, then I want 0 Melvin Gordon. Regardless of if the defense is healthy or not, I want all of the Hunter Henry. The Browns are at the very bottom of the league with the Giants in stopping opposing TEs. Hunter Henry is a cheap way to get exposure to this Chargers passing attack since I most likely won’t be paying over $8K for Keenan Allen.
On the other side, we have the most exciting storyline of the day. The return of Josh Gordon. He is going to absolutely fly past whoever is trying to cover him. This team total of 15 for the Browns is too low as they now have a full offense of playmakers and make for an underowned interesting stack. Kizer is dirt cheap. Coleman is dirt cheap. Gordon is dirt cheap. All of these guys are talented and fantasy relevant. Sure, the Chargers are able to get a ton of pressure on the QB, but with how cheap these guys are, they can pay off for you in a big way, and I am actually considering this stack on my main team this week. Go Browns?
Top Plays: Rivers, Henry, Kizer, Gordon, Coleman
Panthers (21.75) at Saints (26.25) Total 48
Also on the pod, my boy Ryan Williams agreed with me that the Saints are the top tournament defense on the slate. Cam Newton is very inaccurate and careless with the football. When you play a defense you are trying to capture defensive touchdowns and not necessarily care about points against. This is a great spot for just that. The Saints should be close to full health here and will likely give Cam fits all afternoon long.
On the other side of the ball, Michael Thomas is way too cheap. He needs to be rostered in all formats. His floor is high enough for cash games and if he just catches one touchdown, he will be a great tournament value. I am fading the Saints RBs as they are due for regression, and I am playing Thomas as leverage.
Top Plays: Thomas, Saints D
Rams (25.75) at Cardinals (18.75) Total 44.5
If I am paying up at QB this week, it is for Goff. He is in the best matchup of the highest priced QBs and Gurley actually has a somewhat tough matchup. This means Goff should throw a little more than usual. We know where the production is going to come from with Goff. Josh Reynolds and Cooper Kupp are going to be his 2 favorite WRs to target here and are the two that I would pair him with. Watkins is going to see Patrick Peterson, and I would avoid him like the plague.
On the other side, you have to consider Larry Fitzgerald. Father time is undefeated, but Larry is giving him a run for his money. Gabbert should be throwing to Larry a ton here and he makes a great correlation play.
Top Plays: Goff, Kupp, Reynolds, Fitz
Giants (16.75) at Raiders (25.25) Total 42
Some people are going to recommend Geno Smith this week. While I am not recommending him, I am not going to say fade him. He is near minimum price and gets one of the best matchups on the board. He also has a couple of weapons to throw to with Engram and Shepard, as well as having rushing upside. I wouldn’t invest all of your hard-earned dollars into Geno Smith, but if you want to take a chance on him, I don’t hate it.
On the other side, this is the same situation as TEs against the Browns. You just play TEs against the Giants. Jared Cook is now the main pass catcher here, with Crabtree and Cooper both out this week. Marshawn should also see an increased workload here. He saw 20 carries last week with both receivers leaving the game early.
Top Plays: Cook, Marshawn