Fantasy Football: Top DraftMaster plays for Week 13
Chris Towers ranks the best picks at each position in a look ahead at Week 13 for DraftMaster.
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Strategy matters for every draft. We talk all about that before the season, but with our DraftMaster game, you have to consider strategy each week as you build your new lineup. You have to take into account positional scarcity in these drafts, just like your season-long, but you also have to take into account matchups and injuries -- an added wrinkle.
And, because we're talking about best-ball scoring, you can take some risks at the position. High-variance pays off, and makes injury risks just a little less risky -- their score won't count if you get a zero this week. Given the high-profile injuries and tough matchups facing some of the big names this week, this might be the best time to go for a high-variance strategy.
, NO vs. DET
2. Aaron Rodgers , GB vs. HOU
3. Ben Roethlisberger , PIT vs. NYG
4. Philip Rivers , SD vs. TB
5. Tom Brady , NE vs. LA
6. Andrew Luck , IND at NYJ
7. Matt Ryan , ATL vs. KC
8. Colin Kaepernick , SF at CHI
9. Matthew Stafford , DET at NO
10. Jameis Winston , TB at SD
11. Derek Carr , OAK vs. BUF
12. Russell Wilson , SEA vs. CAR
13. Kirk Cousins , WAS at ARI
14. Eli Manning , NYG at PIT
15. Tyrod Taylor , BUF at OAK
16. Dak Prescott , DAL at MIN
I never want to go with a quarterback early, because there's so many good ones. Even if you wait a while, you can end up with Kaepernick against a great matchup and Eli Manning in a game where he will likely be chasing points all game long. That could be a very fruitful pairing, and doesn't even get into someone like Ryan Fitzpatrick (unranked), who gets to go against a very vulnerable Colts' defense in a game where he will be chasing points. I'm not drafting a quarterback until I've filled in at least one spot at every other position.
If you do want to reach on quarterback, Brees is the obvious play at home against an easy matchup. The Lions have made a point of slowing their offense to a crawl in order to keep their defense off the field, which has made them a bit less intriguing as a matchup, but Brees at home is worth using against everyone, even if I don't quite love the acquisition cost.
The biggest bust at the position might just end up Brady, who ends up in the top five by default, but who needed a late touchdown against a middling Jets defense last week to provide enough value to justify his cost. The Rams are a pretty tough matchup, and Brady's supporting cast is banged up -- he was also out at practice Wednesday. Buyer beware.
Top Running Backs
, ARI vs. WAS
2. Le'Veon Bell , PIT vs. NYG
3. LeSean McCoy , BUF at OAK
4. Ezekiel Elliott , DAL at MIN
5. Carlos Hyde , SF at CHI
6. Melvin Gordon , SD vs. TB
7. Jordan Howard , CHI vs. SF
8. Devonta Freeman , ATL vs. KC
9. Mark Ingram , NO vs. DET
10. Matt Forte , NYJ vs. IND
11. Doug Martin , TB at SD
12. LeGarrette Blount , NE vs. LA
13. Spencer Ware , KC at ATL
14. Latavius Murray , OAK vs. BUF
15. Lamar Miller , HOU at GB
16. Jay Ajayi , MIA at BAL
17. Devontae Booker , DEN at JAC
18. Thomas Rawls , SEA vs. CAR
19. Frank Gore , IND at NYJ
20. Theo Riddick , DET at NO
21. Robert Kelley, WAS at ARI
22. Jeremy Hill , CIN vs. PHI
23. James Starks , GB vs. HOU
24. Todd Gurley , LA at NE
If you have the No. 1 pick, it's going to be pretty easy to go for Johnson, assuming he is there. He is the most consistent stud in the game and has a solid matchup in Week 13 against Washington, which makes him stand out at the position. He should be the top priority ahead of any wide receivers, and pairing him with Jimmy Graham (more on him later) is probably my favorite strategy this week, given positional scarcity.
If you can't get Johnson, Jordan Howard is a fine option with either your first or second pick, and is a really nice target as well. Adding Martin and a lower-ranked back like Riddick should set you up nicely for the week.
Top Wide Receivers
, PIT vs. NYG
2. Julio Jones , ATL vs. KC
3. Mike Evans , TB at SD
4. Odell Beckham , NYG at PIT
5. Jordy Nelson , GB vs. HOU
6. T.Y. Hilton , IND at NYJ
7. Doug Baldwin , SEA vs. CAR
8. Michael Thomas , NO vs. DET
9. Brandon Marshall , NYJ vs. IND
10. Amari Cooper , OAK vs. BUF
11. Tyrell Williams , SD vs. TB
12. Dez Bryant , DAL at MIN
13. Davante Adams , GB vs. HOU
14. Brandin Cooks , NO vs. DET
15. Demaryius Thomas , DEN at JAC
16. Stefon Diggs , MIN vs. DAL
17. Michael Crabtree , OAK vs. BUF
18. Donte Moncrief , IND at NYJ
19. Jamison Crowder , WAS at ARI
20. Sammy Watkins , BUF at OAK
21. Julian Edelman , NE vs. LA
22. DeAndre Hopkins , HOU at GB
23. Emmanuel Sanders , DEN at JAC
24. Steve Smith , BAL vs. MIA
As always, wide receiver is both the most enticing position to splurge early on, and the one you might be able to wait longest on. If you can't get Evans, Jones or Brown, Hopkins, Sanders and Crowder all have nice matchups, and even some guys not listed like Tyreek Hill , Larry Fitzgerald , or the Lions' duo of Marvin Jones and Golden Tate , could all be sneaky high-upside plays later on. Wide receiver is always deep, and loading up on other positions and targeting high-variance receivers is never a bad strategy.
Top Tight Ends
1. Jimmy Graham, SEA vs. CAR
2. Travis Kelce , KC at ATL
3. Tyler Eifert , CIN vs. PHI
4. Greg Olsen , CAR at SEA
5. Antonio Gates , SD vs. TB
6. Eric Ebron , DET at NO
7. Vance McDonald , SF at CHI
8. Zach Ertz , PHI at CIN
9. Cameron Brate , TB at SD
10. Kyle Rudolph , MIN vs. DAL
11. C.J. Fiedorowicz , HOU at GB
12. Martellus Bennett , NE vs. LA
13. Vernon Davis , WAS at ARI
14. Hunter Henry , SD vs. TB
15. Coby Fleener , NO vs. DET
16. Lance Kendricks, LA at NE
This might actually be a good week to pick a tight end early, because Graham might be out there on an island by himself. Rob Gronkowski and Jordan Reed look unlikely to play, which makes Graham the clear top option at the position, especially against a Panthers defense that has been among the worst in the league. Looking at Graham in the second round isn't a terrible idea this week, because he might be able to give you a huge leg up on the competition.
One interesting potential strategy at tight end is to grab either Reed or Gronkowski late, on the off chance they play and hit it big. We know those two have more upside than anyone at the position on any given week -- and as Reed showed last week in playing through a shoulder injury, even pain won't necessarily slow them down.
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