By The Hudsonian, Joshua Hudson
This has been the longest week of an NFL season, like, ever. Wednesday afternoon football? We did our Wednesday night show to preview Week 13 right as Week 12 was ending. Like, literally minutes after it ended.
But hey, who is really going to complain about football at any time of the week? Not me.
So here we are, heading into Week 13, and all I can think about is making it into the playoffs and making a run for a championship. Because all those league fees need to turn into winnings to make this season worth it, right?
For all of us gambling degenerates out there, let’s make some light-hearted fun at our habit and laugh at some jokes about gambling. Or was losing out on Seattle covering the spread when Carson Wentz connected on his Hail Mary attempt to Richard Rodgers funny enough? Because honestly, why would you bet on the Eagles to do anything these days?
Onto Week 13!
If you read this column last week or in the preseason, you have a good idea as to what my Confidence Plays represent. It’s essentially a start/sit column featuring players I think will boom (play) versus those I think will bust (fade). I try to focus on some middle-of-the-road and streaming options, as you’re likely playing your top guys regardless of the matchup, but some of those top guys may land on the Fade side. (Some matchups suck — what do you want me to do?) Don’t interpret this as “I have to sit Patrick Mahomes to play Derek Carr because Carr is a Play this week.” Don’t be that fantasy player. But maybe put some of them in your DFS lineups to maximize upside or play them as your RB2 or WR2 or in your FLEX. Or, you know, stream them.
QB Kirk Cousins (MIN) – Why wouldn’t the sesame seed leave the casino? Because he was on a roll…
Don’t look now, but Kirk Cousins is a top 5 QB over his last four games. The receiving duo of Justin Jefferson and Adam Thielen are both top 20 options in Fantasy at the moment, and I don’t need to tell you how great Dalvin Cook is. Jacksonville has struggled on defense all year and that should continue against a Vikings team that is looking to win for the 5th time in their last six games. Cousins should be an easy top 10 play this week.
QB Mitchell Trubisky (CHI) – A pickle walks into a casino and sits down at a card table; he says “Dill me in.”
He may have thrown two interceptions in his first start since Week 3, but Mitchell Trubisky threw for three touchdowns and was QB6 on the week. (Stats compiled before BAL-PIT game was completed.) So why would I start him against Detroit? Well, the Lions are the son, and Trubisky is their daddy. He’s on a four-game winning streak against Detroit and has thrown for three touchdown passes in each of the four games. I should also point out that Detroit’s pass defense on the year has been average, at best. They’ve been particularly bad since Week 8, having allowed 11 touchdown passes and three or more in three of five games. As our buddy Mike Faiella’s Twitter handle says, “Daddy’s home.”
RB Miles Sanders (PHI) – What do you call a disabled man when he’s smoking pot at a casino? A high roller.
Miles Sanders’s usage in the last three weeks is laughable. Here are his snap counts over the last three weeks since returning from injury in Week 10:
🗣️ FREE MILES SANDERS pic.twitter.com/eNk71d7vGU
— PFF Fantasy Football (@PFF_Fantasy) December 1, 2020
Sanders has the 8th highest yards after contact/attempt in the league at 3.38; he has the 6th highest number of yards accumulated on runs of 15 yards or more (208), and he’s 27th in touches (127). What does a guy have to do to garner more touches? The lack of consistent usage makes me nervous making this pick, but I just saw David Montgomery break off 103 yards on 11 carries against this same Packers defense — a defense that has allowed the 3rd most fantasy points to RBs on the season — so even if we have a repeat of last week where Sanders only touches the ball eight times, I’m confident he can at least put up RB2 numbers. Let’s face it, if he can’t produce against the Packers, he’s an easy fade the rest of the season because Doug Pederson is a moron and deserves to be fired for incompetent play calling and play design. Signed, a bitter Eagles fan.
RB David Montgomery (CHI) – How do you get out of a casino as a millionaire? You go in as a billionaire.
We found out last week that David Montgomery, while uninspiring as a runner behind what is arguably the worst run-blocking line in football, can in fact produce quality fantasy numbers in a good matchup. The Packers are currently the third easiest defense for running backs in Fantasy. The Lions, this week’s opponent, is the easiest. Montgomery has been a middling RB2 for much of this year. Matchups like these give us his upside. Ride the wave for as long as it lasts.
RB Nyheim Hines (IND) – What’s the difference between a casino and a strip club? You actually have a chance of getting screwed at the casino.
After Jonathan Taylor became a late scratch last week, Hines put up 17.5 fantasy points in a great matchup against Tennessee. Even if Taylor returns this week against Houston, I imagine Hines will still be an integral part of the offense. He is on pace for 64 receptions, which would be a new career-high. The Texans have allowed 22 receptions to RBs over their last four games, including eight last week to the Lions. Hines should have a solid floor this week in just receptions, and if he sees enough carries, has top 15 upside to pair with it.
WR DeVante Parker (MIA) – They just built a steakhouse on the second floor of the casino. The steaks have never been higher.
At the time of this writing, there’s uncertainty about whether Ryan Fitzpatrick or Tua Tagovailoa will be the starting QB for the Miami Dolphins on Sunday. Against the Bengals though, it likely won’t matter. Since Week 7, the Bengals have allowed eight touchdowns to WRs. DeVante Parker is the unquestioned WR1 for the Dolphins. While I like his upside more with Fitzpatrick at QB, he maintains a solid floor even with Tua slinging it. The Dolphins have no semblance of a running game right now, so throw it they must. Parker should eat on Sunday.
WR Brandin Cooks (HOU) – Why are there no casinos in Africa? Because there are too many cheetahs.
This is an absolutely terrible matchup for Brandin Cooks and Houston. So why the love? Without Will Fuller in the lineup, Cooks is the only legitimate threat in the Texans’ passing offense. Since Bill O’Brien was fired, Deshaun Watson has absolutely crushed it, and admittedly, that may be more difficult without Fuller. But Cooks is no slouch. Since Week 5, Fuller may have been WR6 in PPR, but Cooks is WR12. He’s 7th in receiving yards and averaged 16.9 fantasy points/game. He knows how to play and Watson will look for him because he has no one else to look for. Cooks will maintain his WR2 floor with WR1 upside if the game gets out of hand and Garbage Time commences.
WR Corey Davis (TEN) – Why did the deer get mad at his girlfriend when she got back from the casino? She told him that she blew 30 bucks while she was there.
Did you know, that Corey Davis has played in nine games this season and scored 10 or more fantasy points in eight of them? The Titans’ “run-first” offense has become a pretty lethal passing attack this year. While the Browns focus on trying to shut down A.J. Brown, Davis is left to feast. He’s averaging 68.8 yards/game and 4.67 receptions/game. I mentioned he’s basically a lock for 10 points, right? Against a Cleveland secondary that’s a sieve on defense, this could easily be a week Davis scores a touchdown and tops 70 yards.
TE Jonnu Smith (TEN) – I couldn’t believe my local casino had a ‘bring your own custom dice’ night. I just rolled my eyes.
Speaking of that Cleveland secondary, they allow the 2nd most FPPG to TEs on the season. I mean, they gave up a touchdown to the corpse of Tyler Eifert last week. Smith leads all TEs in red zone touchdowns this year with eight (seven receiving). Of the eight touchdowns that the Browns have allowed to TEs this year, six have come in the red zone. Four of them have occurred in their last three games. After missing the bus last week, Jonnu Smith will return with a vengeance this week.
TE Mike Gesicki (MIA) – A local casino is offering marijuana-infused beef to their best bettors. That’s really high steaks for their high rollers.
The Bengals have allowed the 5th most fantasy points per game to TEs on the season and just gave up 129 yards to Evan Engram. Gesicki has been up and down on the season, but over his last four games, he has either 40+ receiving yards or a touchdown. You may debate his consistency, but you gotta play the matchups with TEs these days. Gesicki has it this week against the Bengals.
QB Kyler Murray (ARI) – Why are there no casinos in China? They hate Tibet.
I feel like it should be pointed out that Arizona has lost their last six games to the Rams. Now that I have your attention, only Josh Allen has thrown for more than 300 yards against the Rams this year (Week 3) and they have five interceptions in their last three games. Murray’s upside this week will be on the ground — Russell Wilson had 60 yards against them in Week 10 and Daniel Jones had 45 in Week 4 — except Murray has only 10 attempts in his last two games (76 pass attempts) while nursing a shoulder injury. Yes, you’re not benching Murray. But he’s averaging 30 fantasy points/game this year, and I’d bet the under on that this week.
QB Matthew Stafford (DET) – Do you want to lose weight? Go to a casino in the UK. You’ll lose pounds by the minute.
Stafford has five interceptions over his last three games versus the Bears. He hasn’t thrown for 300 yards against them since 2015. CHI has allowed more than 20 fantasy points to a QB only three times this year (Drew Brees in Week 8, Kirk Cousins in Week 10, and Aaron Rodgers last week). Stafford scored 19.1 against them in Week 1, Kenny Golladay didn’t practice on Wednesday (again), and D’Andre Swift is still dealing with a concussion and is likely questionable. This is not the Matthew Stafford we hoped we’d get in 2020.
RB Alvin Kamara (NO) – The best thing you can do is betting your house in the casino. Because the house always wins.
Is it crazy to go back to this well? Two weeks ago, Kamara was a fade for me against these same Falcons and he finished as RB25. That was also Taysom Hill’s first start. Last week with Hill starting a 2nd straight game, Kamara finished as RB34. Kamara has all of three targets the last two weeks, totaling one catch for -2 yards. With so much of Kamara’s value lying in the receiving game, I don’t think you can trust him this week when you’re likely pushing for a playoff spot. I can’t recommend benching the RB1 in fantasy, but if you start him, you better surround him with upside.
RB Devin Singletary (BUF) – There’s a VERY easy way to leave every casino with a small fortune. Go there with a large one.
Singletary has one touchdown on the year. One. That’s it. He’s the primary receiving option out of the backfield but sees only 3.5 targets per game. Not great, Bob. The 49ers defense has allowed the 8th fewest fantasy points to RBs on the year, and outside of one big run by Cam Akers, they shut down the Rams run game last week. Singletary has seven runs of 15 or more yards, so you’re hoping for a big play to get FLEX level numbers out of him. With so few opportunities (averages 10 rushes a game), the odds are stacked against him.
RB Wayne Gallman (NYG) – I took my masochistic girlfriend to the casino, but she lost all my money. She kept screaming “Hit me!” at the blackjack table.
Seattle’s defense has been better since Week 8. They haven’t allowed an RB to top 33 rushing yards and since Week 9, they have 21 sacks. Wayne Gallman has been a staple in the top 10 at RB since Week 7 (RB6) and has six touchdowns over his last five games. If he struggles to gain yards this week, he’ll need to score a touchdown. If Colt McCoy struggles to move the ball against SEA while filling in for Daniel Jones, I just don’t see a touchdown happening.
WR Cooper Kupp (LAR) – I wanted to be a sexy casino for Halloween… but I was afraid I’d be slot-shamed.
This is probably a reach, as Kupp has played well against Arizona in the past, but have you seen Robert Woods’ numbers against the Cardinals? Woods has 32 receptions in his last four games against them, to go along with 409 yards. As much as Jared Goff has struggled of late — four touchdowns to six interceptions in his last four games, but with three 300-yard games — I’m nervous that McVay will try to run more to take the pressure off of Goff to keep the turnover-worthy plays to a minimum. This is purely a hunch, so fade Kupp at your own risk.
WR Tee Higgins (CIN) – Why didn’t the casino hire the T-rex? They didn’t want to hire a small arms dealer.
Last week’s debut with Brandon Allen wasn’t great, but at least he scored a touchdown. Miami’s front seven can get after the quarterback, which should fluster Allen and force him to make errant throws. Miami allows a ton of yards, but have yielded only eight touchdowns to receivers on the year. Much like last week, Higgins will need a touchdown to salvage his day, and against Byron Jones and Xavien Howard, that won’t be easy.
WR Jakobi Meyers (NE) – Why don’t casinos in Las Vegas hire girls from California? Because they, like, can’t even deal.
Have you seen Cam Newton throw the football of late? It looks about as bad as your dad wearing a wig. The Chargers are allowing the 6th fewest fantasy points per game to receivers. Meyers has 10.9 or fewer PPR points as a receiver over his last three games (he threw a TD pass in Week 10). Combining that with Cam’s inability to throw the ball with any sort of consistency makes Meyers a risky FLEX this week.
TE Hayden Hurst (ATL) – Why was the dietician kicked out of the casino? He was caught counting carbs.
Guess how many points Hayden Hurst had two weeks ago against the Saints? Zero. And in case you’re wondering, no, that bagel did not taste better with cream cheese. Since their bye in Week 6, only Jordan Reed has put up more than two catches against them from the TE position. This isn’t the same Saints defense against TEs as it was earlier in the year. Hurst will likely see more looks than he did in Week 10 (2) if Julio doesn’t play, but I’m not expecting much from him this week.
TE Logan Thomas (WAS) – What did the stressed-out casino worker say to their boss? I literally cannot deal.
This one is for all you numbers geeks out there: since Week 7, Logan Thomas has been a viable fantasy starter every other week. Well, last week, Thomas was TE10 with 13.42 fantasy points. So of course, that means he’ll bomb this week. The Steelers also allow the fewest fantasy points per game to TEs, so it’s not without good reason he’ll bomb.
Good luck in Week 13! As always, tip your servers and take out people, take care of your valets, and wear a mask when out in public. Please and thank you.