Week 13 Daily Fantasy Football: Building the Optimal Lineup
Week 13 in daily fantasy football should be rather explosive, as two high-powered offenses face off in New Orleans and a slew of elite DFS options are at our disposal.
The trick, per usual, will be identifying which studs could go full spare and which values will play up to their potential.
One way to get our daily fantasy football lineup building started this week, however, is to acknowledge where we shouldn’t be spending money.
The two spots that stand out the most are team defense and tight end. Rob Gronkowski and Jordan Reed are both sidelined with injuries and defense just seems to be ridiculously unreliable.
That is our starting point this week. Read on to see where our week 13 daily fantasy football optimal lineup builds out from there:
QB: Drew Brees – Saints ($7.6k)
Paying up for your quarterback isn’t always the way to go, but when it’s Drew Brees at home, it truly is.
Brees is putting up over 30 fantasy points per game at the Superdome in 2016, and last year in this same matchup with the Detroit Lions he gave us over 300 yards and three touchdowns.
The Saints are a different beast on their home turf and a bad Lions defense that ranks just 28th against quarterbacks isn’t going to stop Brees and this passing attack.
RB: Dion Lewis – Patriots ($3.8k)
Lewis feels like a great place to start at running back, as he provides really nice value and it seems like he’s closing in on his first big game of the year.
Even in limited action in his first two games back from injury, the versatile Lewis still rattled off 7 and 9-point fantasy outings. With Rob Gronkowski out for the year, it stands to reason that the Pats might immediately incorporate Lewis even more in week 13.
RB: Carlos Hyde – 49ers ($5.3k)
Hyde doesn’t have a great matchup on paper (Bears rank 6th versus running backs), but matchups have never stopped him before.
Not only is Hyde averaging over 15 fantasy points per game on the season, but he’s been a monster specifically in some really tough spots. In fact, his biggest game of the year (28 fantasy points) came in a blowout loss to the Seahawks (8th against RBs).
The reality is, Chip Kelly runs Hyde into the ground no matter how the game is going, which helps him deliver a strong DFS outing basically every time he’s out there.
WR: Brandin Cooks ($6.4k)
Paying up for stud wide receivers is certainly something to think about this week, but I’m not so sure we need to. The Saints/Lions game has plenty of value and upside, and it starts with Cooks.
Some may be down on Cooks after he didn’t even generate a single target last week, but this Saints offense spreads the wealth like few can.
Look for Drew Brees to appease an apparently frustrated Cooks with a large helping of targets this week.
WR: Golden Tate – Lions ($6.2k)
The Lions and Saints are headed for a very explosive game this week – one in which should include several big plays, lots of yards and a ton of points.
Tate, who has really come back to life lately with 11+ fantasy points in five of his last six games, should be a huge part of that.
New Orleans actually doesn’t rank that badly against wide receivers on the year, but they’re still giving up 23 fantasy points per game to the position – just 5 points away from the Niners, who are dead last.
It should be a fun week for Tate and the Lions.
WR: Will Fuller – Texans ($4.7k)
Brock Osweiler is awful and impossible to trust, but Will Fuller finally got cooking again last week (10 fantasy points) and has the speed to destroy a bad Green Bay defense in week 13.
Green Bay found a way to mask their woes last week, but I’m not sure they can accomplish that in consecutive weeks. On paper, this matchup is sublime for Fuller, as the Packers rank 30th against opposing wide receivers in 2016.
TE: Travis Kelce – Chiefs ($4.7k)
One other tight end I’m considering is Vernon Davis ($3.3k), who is dirt cheap and will be starting for the Redskins with Jordan Reed out. However, he faces Arizona, who is #1 against tight ends (0 touchdowns allowed). That just isn’t a matchup we want to play with.
Because of that, the guy that stands out the most is Kelce. He’s red hot right now, having posted back to back 20+ fantasy point outings. That doesn’t mean he’ll do it for a third straight week, but he’s clicking with Alex Smith and it can’t hurt that he gets a Falcons defense that is just 28th against tight ends on the season.
This week’s Chiefs/Falcons game profiles as a bit of a shootout and the matchup is there, so Kelce could end up being an elite option at a discounted price.
FLEX: Julio Jones – Falcons ($8.8k)
Ideally we’d get 1-2 elite players on our squad this week, but since we’re paying up for a big day out of Drew Brees, the explosive Jones will settle in as our second.
He’s quite the potential stud, too, as he’s at home this week, where he averages a gaudy 22 fantasy points per game. His date with a good Chiefs defense could actually be a little difficult, except for the fact that they can’t stop good wide receivers (31st in the league).
Jones is pretty much matchup proof, anyways, and after a down week with Patrick Peterson draping him, he should be looking to bounce back in a huge way in week 13.
DEF: Tampa Bay Buccaneers ($2.5k)
Something is going on with the Buccaneers lately, as they’ve ripped off two very impressive wins over good Chiefs and Seahawks teams. Their defense has been a huge part of their recent success, too, as they’ve produced 19, 5 and 24 fantasy points over their last three games.
I have a lot of respect for Philip Rivers and the Chargers, but the Bucs have more to play for and their defense has been a driving force for them. If they’re going to keep pace with the Falcons in the NFC South, they’ll need another big performance in San Diego. At this price, I don’t mind betting on it happening.
Defenses are extremely volatile, regardless (Broncos are supposedly elite, yet they have two 5-point or fewer performances in their last three outings), so this is a great dive to open up cash.
That does it for this week’s daily fantasy football optimal lineup. Hopefully this exact squad or at least a few picks you take from here help you win big. Either way, we wish you luck in your week 13 NFL DFS leagues!
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