Hi, hello & welcome to everybody’s favorite column about everybody’s favorite sport! It’s a huge week in fantasy football, as Week 13 marks the end of the regular season in most leagues. Some leagues already have most of their playoff teams decided and are playing for seeding. Some leagues still have a muddled playoff picture where anything can happen.
The Official offtheteam.com Fantasy Football League that the Voodoo Penguin & I podcast about is one of the latter. It’s the last week of the regular season and we’ve got one team clinched with seven teams competing for the final five slots. Week 13 will decide the fate of our season. For many owners, making the playoffs determines whether or not the year was a success. Those of us with higher expectations consider it a speed bump on the way to the ultimate goal of winning a championship. And those of us with money on the line can’t win any if we don’t get in the playoffs.
Now, more than ever, you need my help. So of course my computer decided to explode last weekend. I’m on my brand new laptop…I haven’t gotten my headset to work for podcasting purposes yet, but I can still help you here. Let’s get to it.
Philip Rivers: One QB from the Class of 2004 finally got benched after years of success with the New York Giants. The other main names from that year are still doing just fine, including Rivers. 434 yards & 3 touchdowns last week against the Cowboys shows that Rivers still has what it takes. Most of his main weapons are healthy & ready to go against the inept Cleveland Browns, so go ahead & dial him up if he’s part of a QB timeshare on your squad. It seems like every team I see Rivers on has a difficult decision to make at QB every week. It’s not hard this week.
Jordan Howard: It’s an understatement to say that things are a bit of a mess in Chicago right now. However, messes can sometimes lead to great results for your fantasy team, and I think Howard will rebound from a dreadful Week 12 performance against the Eagles. Sometimes you just gotta play the matchups, and you can’t ask for a better one than the San Francisco 49er rush defense.
Adrian Peterson: Old people do well in Arizona. We’ve discussed this before. AP follows a cavalcade of veteran stars to go to the desert and show flashes of their past glory. He’s had some good weeks & bad weeks in Arizona, and you can expect a good week in Week 13 as he goes up against the Los Angeles Rams. Most things about the Rams are legit, but their rush defense is absolutely sorry. AP won’t quite do what his former teammates Alvin Kamara & Mark Ingram managed in Week 12, but he’ll do more than enough to help you win.
Mike Evans: Evans hasn’t lived up to his potential in 2017, but I wouldn’t blame him for most of it. The entire Tampa Bay Buccaneer team hasn’t lived up to its potential, including the quarterback position. Evans is still getting you at least 7 points most weeks, which I’d take from some of the sorry guys I’ve got filling WR slots, and this week he gets a Green Bay Packer team that can’t stop the pass against anybody. Even the Bucs should get something going against them, and Evans could have his breakout week like Julio Jones did last week.
LAC DEF: They’re playing the Browns. You know what to do.
I hate to be the bearer of bad news, but these guys just might end up costing you a playoff slot. You have to start them because the options on your bench probably don’t look a lot better, but something’s likely to go terribly wrong in the process.
Ben/Brown: Ben’s recent resurgence has been great for Steelers fans and great for my Dynasty League team, especially after losing Deshaun Watson for the season. He’s got a tough matchup this week though, as the pesky Bengals usually do just enough to make Ben average. He’ll be good enough to win the game, but don’t expect the kinds of numbers you’ve been getting out of Big Ben & his favorite WR, which seems to be a pretty popular double-dip in leagues that I’m in. I got em on that aforementioned Dynasty League team, and I’m happy my #1 seed is already clinched & the week means nothing to me there.
Saints RBs: There have been more than enough points to go around for the Saints running game lately. Mark Ingram & Alvin Kamara are both easy RB1 plays & have been carrying teams to victory the last few weeks. Not this week. The Carolina Panthers have gotten over that Super Bowl hangover & are right in the thick of playoff contention, mostly in part due to their tough defense. Don’t expect these guys to go off for 20-30 each this week.
Falcons RBs: A popular debate on offtheteam.com is who exactly is the right Falcon RB between Devonta Freeman & Tevin Coleman. It’s obviously Freeman when he’s healthy, but there really isn’t a good choice this week. The Vikings are the best in the NFL against the run & have shut down anybody in their path. It’s the worst matchup you can hope for in a week like this one, and I’d advise you to avoid it if you can.
Seattle DEF: Don’t you hate it when you draft a top-notch defense & they draw the wrong opponent at the worst possible time? Seahawks owners face that issue this week with Carson Wentz & the Eagles facing off against them. The Seattle D hasn’t been terrible with most of the Legion of Boom out of commission, but I chalk that up to them playing the 49ers more than anything else. The Eagles are a level up in competition, and the absence of Sherman, Chancellor & others will be evident this week.
If ever there was a time to scour the waiver wire looking for an edge, this is the week. These gentlemen are owned in less than 50% of Yahoo leagues, and just might be the missing ingredient to victory & a spot in the playoffs.
Miami DEF (7%): The Dolphins have definitely been up & down this season, but the Broncos have been down all season, especially on offense. Trevor Simeian is back at the QB spot for Denver, but whoever’s back there has been struggling all season & you can expect that to continue this week.
Cordarrelle Patterson (6%): The Raiders’ WR corps is in a bit of flux at the moment. That sorry ass Michael Crabtree got himself suspended for a game last week for fighting. Amari Cooper might not even play after getting taken out of the Denver game with a concussion. Somebody will have to catch the ball in Oakland if those guys can’t, and Patterson has gotten seven points the last two weeks. A bit of a shot in the dark here, but I’ve suggested worse.
Devontae Booker (32%): Booker is getting the most touches in Denver. It hasn’t exactly worked out so far, but if that amount of volume is out there against a team that’s seventh worst against the run, you might as well take your chances with it. Matchup & volume is usually a reliable combination this time of year.
Picks Against The Spread
Washington (-1) at Dallas: YA LIKE THAT? The Cowboys aren’t gonna like it.
Detroit at Baltimore (-3): Ravens are going to quietly make their way into the playoffs and surprise some people if they keep it up.
San Francisco at Chicago (-3.5):
Minnesota at Atlanta (-3): Defense travels well.
New England (-8.5) at Buffalo: The Patriots travel well.
Denver (-1) at Miami: As bad as the Dolphins are, it has to be a pretty big insult in their eyes when Vegas favors this Broncos team over them in their own crib. Expect Matt Moore/Jay Cutler/Dan Marino to do just enough to win.
Houston at Tennessee (-7): Still not buying into this Titans team. But the Texans are bad enough that I can’t pick them.
Indianapolis at Jacksonville (-9.5): The Colts have close games. They usually lose them, but they at least make these other teams work for it. Seeing the Jags at -9.5 against anybody is still a major shock to the system.
Tampa Bay at Green Bay: Flip a coin.
Kansas City (-3.5) at NY Jets: No way the Chiefs lose to two New York teams in one season at Metlife Stadium, right?
Carolina at New Orleans (-4): It would be the most NFC South thing ever for the Panthers to beat the Saints in New Orleans in the same season that the Saints beat the Panthers by 21 points in Charlotte.
Cleveland at LA Chargers (-14): I think the line’s a little too high here. Sometimes extended time off is a bad thing, especially after a game where everything went right & you’re feeling real good about yourself. The Chargers still win because LOL Browns, but it’ll be closer than you might think.
LA Rams (-7) at Arizona: The Blaine Gabbert Era continues. This feels like a Cardinals team that gets hot at the end of the season so Bruce Arians can keep his job for at least one more year.
NY Giants at Oakland (-7): I feel sorry for anybody stuck watching this fiasco. The reason the NFL’s ratings are down have more to do with these types of games than the things people love to talk about.
Philadelphia (-5.5) at Seattle: Fly Eagles Fly? Yeah, probably. But if you’re giving me the Seahawks at home as an underdog I’m taking it every time. The Eagles, the 1985 Bears, whoever you wanna throw out there.
Pittsburgh (-5.5) at Cincinnati: Bengals fans know better than to get their hopes up. Everybody talking about this playoff junk are outsiders that don’t know the Bengal way. They randomly start winning games. They get a little hot. Then the Steelers come along and ruin everything. It’s happened more times than I care to remember. It’ll happen again. The Bengals will make it worse by actually being close.
Week 12 Results: 6-9-1
2017 Season Results: 73-96-7