December brings holiday cheer and cold temperatures. Only one of those things actually impacts a football game. Now is a good time of year to spend a couple of minutes each week checking the weather reports before finalizing your lineups. Cold temperatures will impact dome teams and squads that usually play in warm weather cities. Snow isn't a big deal unless it's coming down in heaps. Rain also isn't that big of a deal unless it's pouring. Wind, however, is the biggest factor. We've seen it already this season. If you're starting players in a game with winds blowing at 25-plus mph, think twice.
More Week 13 help: Start 'Em & Sit 'Em | Start 'Em & Sit 'Em: QB | Start 'Em & Sit 'Em: RB | Start 'Em & Sit 'Em: WR | Trade Values Chart | FFT Newsletter | RB Preview | QB Preview | WR Preview | TE Preview | Waiver Wire | Panic About Struggling Stars? | Winners and Losers | Believe It Or Not
All lines from William Hill Sportsbook.
The line wants us to believe: It's Derrick Henry season! The public might be more dialed in to Henry, but it's not like the Browns have a bad run game, either. And both defenses struggle defending the run. I think the line is designed to get people to take the Titans, so I like the Browns' side, but here's the hang-up: Every Browns loss has been by seven-plus points, and each of the Titans' past five wins have been by -- you guessed it -- six or more points.
Jonnu Smith TE
TEN Tennessee • #81
Age: 25 • Experience: 4 yrs.
How did Smith go from six targets in consecutive games to none? Two big factors: One, the Titans leaned plenty on the run in Week 12 against a depleted Colts defense. Two, Ryan Tannehill's receivers were getting open faster than he was. And yeah, Geoff Swaim was too. You'd have to hope that the Titans keep Smith in mind in red-zone packages against a Browns defense that ranks fifth in Fantasy points allowed to opposing tight ends on the season and first in Fantasy points allowed to tight ends over the past three weeks. Smith is among the best touchdown-or-bust Fantasy tight ends out there, which is to say he's at best a borderline non-PPR starter with a bad floor.
Corey Davis WR
TEN Tennessee • #84
Age: 26 • Experience: 4 yrs.
Davis has a good, safe floor, with 10-plus PPR points in eight of nine games this season (six-plus in non-PPR). The Browns' beat-up secondary -- the one that let up a season-high 17.1 yards per catch to the Jaguars (!!) -- is what provides lots of optimism. He's making a handful of nice plays per game and teammate A.J. Brown is beginning to draw coverage away from him. Eliminate the three matchups the Browns defense was helped by poor weather, and they've been attacked for 12 scores by receivers over eight outings (mostly with star cornerback Denzel Ward). Davis makes the cut as a low-end No. 2 choice.
The line wants us to believe: Las Vegas' blowout loss last week was meaningless. I don't think the general public would consider the Jets at minus-6 or less, but eight points at home is generous. The Raiders have injuries on their O-line and D-line and their defense really hasn't been that great all year anyway. This might be the Jets' last game they can feasibly win. I love getting the points here, and I think the Jets can win.
Derek Carr QB
LV Las Vegas • #4
Age: 29 • Experience: 7 yrs.
A matchup versus the Jets is the best thing for a quarterback who wants to bounce back after a bad game. New York has allowed the fifth-most Fantasy points to rival quarterbacks on the season (fourth-most in the past three weeks). Six of the past seven throwers to face the Jets have hit 22 or more Fantasy points. And since their secondary became depleted, the Jets are not capitalizing on quarterbacks' mistakes -- they have zero interceptions in five straight games. It's exactly what Carr needs, especially if more of the offensive focus will be on his arm with Josh Jacobs out.
LV Las Vegas • #23
Age: 28 • Experience: 5 yrs.
As talent goes, Booker is a serviceable replacement for Josh Jacobs because he loyally follows his blockers and runs hard. That makes up for his speed, which is solid; it's impressive he's had seven or more yards on 31% of his carries this season. The opportunity is tough to beat -- he figures to be the Raiders' lead back in a decent matchup against the Jets. Vegas' running backs have averaged 25.7 carries per game this season, fourth-most in football, so assume Booker gets a hefty majority of those. New York's improved against the run, letting up just one score to a running back in its past six games. They've also given up the third-fewest Fantasy points to rival rushers in the past three weeks. You're hoping for Booker to rack up a nice amount of total yards if you start him (he's OK in the passing game). Consider him among your No. 2 running back choices.
LV Las Vegas • #11
Age: 21 • Experience: Rookie
Last week Ruggs played 67% of the snaps (highest in three weeks) and saw five targets (highest since Week 1) including three deep balls (he caught one). No one else on the Raiders, including Nelson Agholor, saw more than one deep throw from Carr. The Jets allow the sixth-most air yards completed on the season. Fire up Ruggs in your DFS tournaments, and if you're desperate for a boom-or-bust choice in deeper-league lineups.
Frank Gore RB
NYJ N.Y. Jets • #21
Age: 37 • Experience: 16 yrs.
Yes, really. Gore's been at the helm of the Jets' run game for the past two weeks, handling at least 17 touches in each matchup with a floor of eight non-PPR/11 PPR points. Don't expect incredible efficiency -- only one-third of Gore's carries last week went for 4-plus yards -- but the number of touches should help him boast at least modest numbers. The Raiders have given up at least 15 PPR points to a running back in three of their past four games, and of the eight rushers with at least 15 touches versus Las Vegas this year, seven have hit nine-plus non-PPR/15-plus PPR points. The Raiders playing on the road in consecutive weeks won't hurt things for Gore, either.
The line wants us to believe: Jacksonville just isn't any good. This is wild: The Jaguars are bigger underdogs against the Vikings than they were last week against the Browns, and they hung with the Browns! If Minnesota were the kind of squad that was willing to outscore their opponents by running up 30-plus points per week, then this line would make sense. But they're a little more conservative than that. They have one win this year by 10-plus points. It almost feels like a trap to take the Jaguars, but I'm thinking they can score two or three touchdowns, which their 21-point implied total suggests.
Kirk Cousins QB
MIN Minnesota • #8
Age: 32 • Experience: 9 yrs.
It's time to trust Cousins. The Jaguars defense he'll take on has been incredibly soft all season but has yielded a minimum of 20 Fantasy points to every quarterback it has seen over its past five games. Four of them made it to 22 points and three hit 28. Cousins has scored 21 Fantasy points in four straight games as well as five of his past six. He's getting the job done with incredible efficiency (a touchdown every 9.2 completions!), even as his pass attempts per game have risen to 37.0 per game in his past three because his team's defense continues to struggle. With the matchup easy and offensive coordinator Gary Kubiak proclaiming that Dalvin Cook is "beat up," don't be surprised to see Cousins shine again.
Tyler Eifert TE
JAC Jacksonville • #88
Age: 30 • Experience: 8 yrs.
By now you know about Eifert connecting with Mike Glennon for a touchdown last week. Did you know he nearly connected for a second? Late last week, Eifert was streaking to the end zone with a half-step on a Browns defender but couldn't reel in the 24-yard throw from Glennon. That's two end-zone targets. I'm liking that Eifert is one of Glennon's go-to targets. I'm also liking the matchup against the Vikings, who have surprisingly allowed 11-plus PPR points to six of seven tight ends who have garnered at least four targets against them. Eifert has four-plus targets in six of his past seven games and may have some rapport with Glennon. Consider him among your top tight-end streamers and cheap DFS plays.
The line wants us to believe: Even with Tua Tagovailoa starting, the Dolphins are massively better. Before you think that the Dolphins have a better chance to rack up points with Ryan Fitzpatrick, recognize that they scored at least 28 points in each of Tagovailoa's first three starts, all wins. And in none of them did they cover 11.5 points. However, the Bengals are every bit as bad as their 15.25 implied point total suggests. The oddsmakers had to make this line large just to try to get some action on the Bengals. It's not large enough.
Tyler Boyd WR
CIN Cincinnati • #83
Age: 26 • Experience: 5 yrs.
Brandon Allen is no Joe Burrow. He's not even Jon Kitna or David Klingler. Last week he was credited for being off-target on four throws, which actually isn't so bad, but his intended air yards registered at 202. For context, consider that Burrow threw more than 225 intended air yards in all but one game and over 290 intended air yards in eight games. If Allen isn't chucking it deep, his receivers will need touchdowns (or a slew of accurate targets) to be helpful in Fantasy. Of Higgins' 44 yards last week, 21 came on third-and-very-long plays where the prevent defense allowed easy pickups to bring up fourth down. You shouldn't count on those plays to bring up big numbers. Boyd was a regular target of Allen, but the quarterback had accuracy issues throwing his way, especially over the middle. The Dolphins secondary has been ballhawks all year and is certain to make things tough on both receivers. Higgins is only in play as a flex; Boyd should be sitting.
The line wants us to believe: Philip Rivers won't be a liability -- like he was last week. He threw the ball last week like his arm was 50 years old, he's got a banged up toe and a beat-up offensive line. I know the matchup is cake but Rivers cannot be considered a safe passer. If the Colts defensive line is without DeForest Buckner again, it's a big-time trap to take them even if the Texans don't have field-stretching receiver Will Fuller anymore.
IND Indianapolis • #11
Age: 23 • Experience: Rookie
Rivers was awful last week -- he had a 27.5% bad ball rate and was off-target on four of seven throws to Pittman (Jacoby Brissett was off-target on two other passes). Had Rivers been even a tad more on point, Pittman may have had five grabs for 43 yards. OK, not great. But this matchup is super-easy to buy into: The Texans already rank 10th-worst against the pass with at least one score to a receiver in all but two games, and now they're playing the rest of the year without respectable cover corner Bradley Roby. It sounds magical, but if Rivers and/or Brissett can't make accurate throws to Pittman, he can't rack up numbers. It doesn't help that Jonathan Taylor will be back and that T.Y. Hilton seemed to get back on track last week.
Duke Johnson RB
HOU Houston • #25
Age: 27 • Experience: 6 yrs.
Statistically, Johnson wound up being great for Fantasy thanks to one play -- a 33-yard rainbow from Deshaun Watson for a score. That happened to be the longest completion Watson has thrown to a running back since September of 2017, a rarity by any measure. Expecting that type of play to happen again seems foolish. Aside from that grab, Johnson was a colossal disappointment particularly because of a lack of touches. That's been the trend with him for pretty much his entire career but certainly during his stint as the Texans' top running back (three games with 15 or fewer total touches). The Colts were steamrolled by Derrick Henry last week as they played without their top two defensive linemen. Don't expect Johnson to resemble Henry in any way, but count on the Colts run defense playing like it did before last week when it ranked sixth in fewest Fantasy points allowed.
The line wants us to believe: Detroit can keep things close. One of my favorite stats from the year: The Lions have yet to lose a game by three or fewer points this season. Another favorite stat, because it's random: Mitchell Trubisky has three passing touchdowns in each of his past four against the Lions. Detroit's defense lost big DT Danny Shelton and cornerback Desmond Trufant to injuries -- it's finally a win-able matchup for Chicago.
CHI Chicago • #32
Age: 23 • Experience: 2 yrs.
Sixteen-plus touches in six straight games. Five or more targets in six of his past seven games. Don't ask about efficiency or touchdowns, but at the bare minimum, Montgomery is being given the chance to get things done. Last week saw his offensive line play a little bit better against a favorable matchup and he went off. Don't be surprised to see the same thing happen this week as the Lions rank first in Fantasy points allowed to rival running backs and yielded a cool 4.9 yards per carry to Montgomery back in Week 1. It also helps the Bears that massive defensive tackle Danny Shelton won't play for the Lions. Montgomery has RB1 upside.
The line wants us to believe: Despite what happened two weeks ago in New Orleans, the Falcons will keep things close. This is a tricky game to project because the Falcons defense looked outstanding last week and because they've digested two weeks of film on Taysom Hill. But the line seems set to attract people to take on the Saints. Who wouldn't take them after they annihilated the Falcons literally 14 days ago?! That's what the oddsmakers want you to do! This fishy line makes me want to actually, wittingly, knowingly put my faith in the Falcons. It feels gross but I'm following the signs.
Taysom Hill QB
NO New Orleans • #7
Age: 30 • Experience: 4 yrs.
Had Hill's first game as a starter been the one we just saw against Denver, there's no way anyone would confidently trust him in Fantasy. He was off-target (21% bad-ball rate), slow to get rid of the football (sacked three times on 23 dropbacks) and saved by his rushing touchdowns. The Broncos didn't allow big plays because of their zone coverage, which is the exact opposite of what the Falcons did two weeks ago. That's one change to expect from the Falcons. Another is to tighten coverage on Michael Thomas, who seems to be the only guy Hill has some chemistry with (18 targets, 13 receptions in past two). Please note: The Falcons defense was very good last week against an explosive Raiders offense that played with a depleted offensive line. If the Saints play without their starting left tackle and left guard, it's a similar set-up for the Falcons -- except this time they're at their place and they'll know what to expect.
Hayden Hurst TE
ATL Atlanta • #81
Age: 27 • Experience: 3 yrs.
Hurst hurt his ankle two weeks ago against these Saints, likely contributing to his donut stat line in the game. Last week he was more involved (eight targets, four grabs, 48 yards) but failed to score for the fifth straight week. The rematch with New Orleans should keep the targets coming, but this defense has been among the stingiest to tight ends, not allowing a touchdown or even 65 yards to a player at the position in six straight games. New Orleans also has given up one passing touchdown through its past four games. It's not a great idea to blindly trust Hurst, especially in half- and non-PPR. Julio Jones' return sure won't help his target share spike.
The line wants us to believe: Daniel Jones' injury will lead to another embarrassing Giants loss. While I suspect the Giants offense will be hindered with Colt McCoy under center, I also think their defense isn't that bad. Seattle, meanwhile, seems to be pulling the reins in on Russell Wilson. It feels like it might take a defensive touchdown, or multiple turnovers from the Seahawks defense, for their offense to win comfortably. I don't think their defense is quite good enough to count on that. The Giants should cover.
NYG N.Y. Giants • #22
Age: 26 • Experience: 4 yrs.
I get it if you're starting this touchdown-streaking running back against a run defense that's allowed seven rushing scores to backs in its past five games. But if you're starting Gallman hoping for an efficient and voluminous session, think again. The Seahawks have been stung by touchdowns but kept rushers at bay with 3.2 yards per carry allowed in their past five games. Every single back they've faced has been held to under 80 total yards. I don't mind starting Gallman as a No. 2 option, but don't do it blindly, especially in a PPR setting. Daniel Jones' injury will make it easier for the Seahawks to focus on slowing Gallman down, plus it's not such a good sign that Gallman had 35 yards on 10 carries with McCoy under center against the Bengals last week including an 8-yard tote on a third-and-long give-up play.
The line wants us to believe: The Rams loss last week was a mirage. Maybe it was, but there are no mirages over what's happened to the Cardinals offense since Kyler Murray hurt his shoulder. They simply aren't attacking downfield as much and they're leaning on their running backs more. That makes the matchup easier for the Rams defense to deal with. That's the side I'd like to be on.
Cam Akers RB
LAR L.A. Rams • #23
Age: 21 • Experience: Rookie
There's no official word on Akers taking over for Darrell Henderson in the L.A. backfield, but if last week's usage and film mean anything, the rookie's time is coming. Henderson looked like he regressed, bumping into his linemen and running to contact. Perhaps the coaching staff noticed it too because after halftime, Henderson played all of six snaps while Akers took on 14. And Akers wasn't bad, running with the physicality we saw at Florida State while also finding his way into the open field on a 61-yard run. Though he got caught from behind, the Rams left him in to finish the drive two plays later with a goal-line carry and score (his second-straight week with a touchdown inside of the 10-yard line). Coach Sean McVay praised him for those plays after the game without being prompted. Malcolm Brown's job as the passing downs guy is safe, but everything else is up for grabs as the Rams look for some offensive stability. In their past five games, the Cardinals have allowed at least one touchdown to a running back in four with a 4.3 yards per carry against average. It's risky to start Akers, but there's some hope he brings in some nice numbers on perhaps as many as 13 touches.
Kenyan Drake RB
ARI Arizona • #41
Age: 26 • Experience: 5 yrs.
The Rams have allowed a running back to rush for a score in four straight games. That used to be all that Drake was good for in Fantasy, but since Kyler Murray has hurt his shoulder, Drake's carries and targets have increased. Over his past two games he's had 33 carries and a stunning seven receptions (Drake caught eight passes in the eight games prior). It's almost as if the Cardinals seeing Chase Edmonds as their main back for a week convinced them to utilize Drake more, and then the injury to Murray added more work on his plate. This won't be easy for Drake -- the Rams haven't let a single running back compile 80-plus total yards in seven straight games -- but his touchdown-scoring upside makes him a worthwhile No. 2 runner.
The line wants us to believe: The Chargers have a chance. So the team with the greatest coach of this era is on an even playing field with a team that's coached its way out of multiple wins this year?! Candidly, the line is an indictment of just how underwhelming the Patriots have played on both sides of the ball, and if you haven't seen them play then you wouldn't know it and you'd bet on the Patriots. You shouldn't.
Cam Newton QB
NE New England • #1
Age: 31 • Experience: 10 yrs.
Four straight quarterbacks -- Derek Carr, Tua Tagovailoa, Joe Flacco and Josh Allen -- were held to under 20 Fantasy points each by the Bolts. Even if we pencil in Newton for a rushing score (which he hasn't done in the past two weeks), he would still need success in the passing game to come through. And in just digesting his weekly game log, he's been above 20 Fantasy points just once since coming back from his illness seven weeks ago. The Chargers secondary isn't special by any means but Joey Bosa's hustle creates problems for quarterbacks. You should be able to find someone with more upside.
NE New England • #37
Age: 23 • Experience: 2 yrs.
Losing two short-yardage scores to James White last week stung. It's proof that the Patriots rotation includes using White on pretty much every single third-down play. That keeps Harris to a touchdown-needy running back on a team with a rushing quarterback and a pass-down specialist. Sounds kind of crummy when you think about it. So when I see that the Chargers have allowed a touchdown to a running back in five of their past six games, I get a little intrigued. When I see that the Chargers run defense has collapsed for 5.6 yards per rush allowed to running backs, I get interested. The Patriots will play to their opponents' weaknesses every week, and they're fully aware of their own offensive shortcomings. Utilizing Harris to the tune of 14-touches, which has happened in four of his past five, seems to make logical sense.
The line wants us to believe: The Eagles are just as bad as the Bears were last week. The Packers are favored by 8.5 for the second week in a row. Philadelphia is in a major rut -- three straight losses -- but only one was by more than eight points ... though one could argue it should have been two. It's hard to believe anyone would take the Eagles if they were given fewer points, so the oddsmakers are probably putting out a fair line. Six of the Packers' eight wins this season have been by nine-plus points. That's the side I'll be on.
PHI Philadelphia • #88
Age: 26 • Experience: 3 yrs.
Zach Ertz's imminent return might make Fantasy managers nervous, but it shouldn't seriously impact Goedert much. When the two tight ends were playing together earlier this year, Goedert was still wrangling north of 75% of the snaps and eight-plus targets per game. Without him, Goedert has been the only bright spot of the Eagles offense with 70 yards and a score in consecutive games. It's almost as if Carson Wentz values plus-sized targets he can chuck the ball to before getting slammed by a defender. The Packers have allowed just three touchdowns to tight ends all season, but this is more about how the Eagles operate than the matchup itself. When we last saw Ertz, he was unable to ditch single coverage and saw a small share of targets from game to game. Until that changes, Goedert is the Eagles' tight end to go with.
The line wants us to believe: Uh, that the Chiefs can't win by three scores? What am I supposed to say here? Denver is an interesting team that shouldn't be penalized by anything that came out of last week's quarterback-less game. But they stunk up the joint against the Chiefs earlier this year and figure to do so again. So why isn't the spread 17 or 20 points? Forget I asked and just take the Chiefs.
DEN Denver • #25
Age: 27 • Experience: 6 yrs.
Denver's offense won't put up enough points to win, but it's pretty clear that the Chiefs defense will give up some stats. For example, a running back has scored at least 11 non-PPR points on the Chiefs in five of their past seven games. Gordon is clearly Denver's lead back with Phillip Lindsay ailing. He always has a shot to score (touchdowns on four of five tries of three yards or closer to the goal line this season) and he contributes in the passing game (he leads all Broncos running backs with 29 targets and 20 receptions). Expect him to be involved in the Broncos game plan.
The line wants us to believe: Washington is a crummy team. In each of their past six games, Ron Rivera's crew has either lost within a three-point margin or won. And on five days rest and without pass rusher Bud Dupree (and maybe without center Maurkice Pouncey), the Steelers are ripe for a let-down game. Washington's defense has managed to play well and actually set up nicely to contain the Steelers passing game. Taking the points feels safer.
PIT Pittsburgh • #7
Age: 38 • Experience: 17 yrs.
I've waited too long to give Washington's pass defense the credit it deserves. Not that it has faced a murderer's row of signal-callers, but five of the past six quarterbacks Washington has faced have posted 15 or fewer Fantasy points. Washington does a good job of corralling receivers with its zone coverage and then getting after the quarterback with its pass rush. Not to say the Steelers' offensive line is an impenetrable wall, but it should hold up well enough for Roethlisberger to continue conducting Pittsburgh's quick passing game. JuJu Smith-Schuster typically plays his best ball against zone coverage and should see a lot of work to help Roethlisberger finish as a top-10 quarterback.
The line wants us to believe: The Niners' win last week was legit. It helps that San Francisco is getting healthy on both sides of the ball. The team also got great play from its front seven. We're starting to see Josh Allen struggle as the leader of the Bills offense, and I doubt their run game can be much of a counter-punch. I've touted Buffalo's lines as unfair for much of the year, but this one is begging you to take them as road faves. Don't do it.
Deebo Samuel WR
SF San Francisco • #19
Age: 25 • Experience: 2 yrs.
Try not to think of Samuel as a traditional wide receiver. He can be one, of course, but the 49ers have deployed him in a myriad of roles that have helped improve his Fantasy profile. Last week, for example, he caught six passes (three pop passes, two flares and one screen pass) either around or behind the line of scrimmage. The 49ers are doing this to take advantage of his unique ability to make plays after contact, not to mention take pressure off of their run game and, theoretically, their backup quarterback. The Bills defense did play better last week, but it must be prepared for all the ways Samuel can beat them. Paired with Brandon Aiyuk, it's going to be difficult to consistently do it. Expect another high-volume game for Samuel.
The line wants us to believe: Dallas is toast. The line (BAL -6.5) is based on Lamar Jackson starting for the Ravens, but who else is available? If the defense gets Matt Judon, Brandon Williams and Calais Campbell back then this game is gonna get ugly. If not, it could still get ugly because Dallas' O-line is ugly. Seriously, who would take the Cowboys here?! It's not enough points. Hmm, maybe that makes it a sucker line, but all but one of the Ravens' wins have been by at least seven points. I'd trust them.
DAL Dallas • #21
Age: 25 • Experience: 5 yrs.
His offensive line consists of three backups. He has as many fumbles lost as he has rushing touchdowns. A 100-yard game? He has one on the season and it came when his O-line was reasonably healthy in a favorable matchup. But the biggest fear of all is that Elliott's ineptitude will lead to more work for Tony Pollard, pushing Elliott into a timeshare situation that may result in right around 15 touches. Baltimore's run defense was stout against the Steelers' backup running backs but has allowed a score to a running back in the four games prior. If only we could be certain that Elliott would play a lot and play well ...
CeeDee Lamb WR
DAL Dallas • #88
Age: 21 • Experience: Rookie
It's tough to complain about Lamb's targets, but what he's done with them over the past two weeks is worth whining over. With seven throws going his way on Thanksgiving, Lamb averaged 4.2 yards per catch with a drop in the end zone. The week before he did score, but his receiving average was 8.5 yards per grab. Andy Dalton is now tasked with throwing behind a further-depleted offensive line, and in this case it's against the Ravens with a very strong secondary. So even if Dalton had time to throw, and even if he threw at Lamb six or seven times, it's very likely Lamb would have to fend off a cornerback like Marlon Humphrey to make the completion. JuJu Smith-Schuster just had a hard time dealing with the Ravens secondary on Wednesday, so it's totally conceivable Lamb will struggle for the second week in a row.