DFS Early Look: Week 13


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DFS Early Look: Week 13

Week 12 of the NFL regular season just wrapped up, and that means Week 13 is just around the corner. As my readers likely know, DFS is the best version of fantasy football, and since DraftKings and FanDuel have released their Week 13 prices, it’s time to track down the obvious values and best plays.

Here are the plays that jump out to me for Week 13 DFS:

Deshaun Watson, QB, Cleveland Browns (@ HOU)

DraftKings: $6,500 (QB8) | FanDuel: $8,000 (QB7)

Watson has played three full NFL seasons across his career, finishing as the QB6 (2020), QB2 (2019), and the QB6 (2018) – averaging 22.3 FPG across that sample (QB6 this season).

So, Watson immediately pops as a value in his first game back since 2020 given his QB8 and QB7 price tags on DraftKings and FanDuel, respectively.

The Browns tout a 27.25 implied team total this week, and Watson has averaged an incredibly impressive 25.5 DraftKings FPG in his 14 career games with an implied total of 26.0 or more – a mark that would rank 4th-best among slate-eligible QBs.

That said, Watson’s matchup is far from perfect. The Texans are the 3rd-toughest schedule-adjusted matchup for opposing QBs, allowing -5.7 FPG while funneling fantasy points to their opponents' RBs, given their atrocious run defense. But I don’t think that’s enough to fade Watson this week. I’m optimistic the tough matchup will keep ownership down for Watson, who has demonstrated a comparable single-game ceiling to Patrick Mahomes (who is $1,800 more expensive on DraftKings) throughout his career.

Mike White, QB, New York Jets (@ MIN)

DraftKings: $5,400 (QB17) | FanDuel: $6,900 (QB16)

Mike White has four career starts, scoring 26.1, 24.8, 8.1, and 2.0 fantasy points in those games. He’s either finished as a mid- to high-end QB1, or posted a useless score. While White carries significant risk, he’s shown the upside needed to win DFS tournaments.

For Week 13, White faces a Minnesota pass defense that’s allowed the 3rd-most schedule-adjusted FPG (+1.3), the 10th-highest completion percentage over expectation (+4.9%), and the 6th-most fantasy points per dropback (0.51) to opposing QBs since Week 7. He’s far from the best QB play of the slate, but for tournaments, Mike White has a ton of merit as a (hopefully) low-owned dart throw.

Josh Jacobs, RB, Las Vegas Raiders (VS. LAC)

DraftKings: $7,800 (RB6) | FanDuel: $9,500 (RB2)

Jacobs has shown an immense ceiling this season, exceeding 30.0 fantasy points in four contests (the most of any RB) while lighting up the Seattle defense in Week 12 for 229 yards (the most of any player this season) and 48.4 fantasy points (the 38th-best fantasy performance by a RB all-time).

I’d expect Jacobs to soak up a significant portion of RB ownership in Week 13 with a matchup against the Chargers. This season, Los Angeles is allowing the 2nd-most schedule-adjusted rushing FPG (+3.2), the 6th-highest explosive play% (6.8%), and the most yards after contact per attempt (3.2). This is the ideal matchup for Jacobs, who has averaged the 5th-most yards after contact per attempt of all rushers (3.57) while also demonstrating a nearly unbeatable ceiling in roughly half his games this season. I’d anticipate massive ownership this week in the 3rd-highest total game of the slate (51.5).

Joe Mixon, RB, Cincinnati Bengals (VS. KC)

DraftKings: $7,100 (RB8) | FanDuel: $8,500 (RB6)

Mixon missed Week 12 with a concussion, but if we assume he suits up in Week 13, he profiles as a great play. This game against Kansas City looks to be the premier fantasy spot of Week 13, given the slate-leading 53.0 total and the Bengals' strong 25.5 implied team total.

Over the last three seasons, Mixon has averaged 21.6 DraftKings FPG and 19.6 FanDuel FPG in his 18 games where Cincinnati’s implied team total is 24.5 or higher. Among slate-eligible RBs, those marks rank 3rd- and 2nd-best. Plus, Mixon’s ceiling games in that sample have been nearly unbeatable, as he’s posted scores of 58.1 and 45.1 DraftKings points.

Some will argue against this spot for Mixon, given his notable win/loss splits with Cincinnati listed as 2.0-point underdogs. But, we need to remember that Mixon’s receiving role is easily the best it’s ever been – he’s averaging the 6th-most targets per game (5.3) of any RB this season, and is just two targets away from his career-high in targets in a season (55). That’s led to a massive reduction in Mixon’s win/loss splits, as he’s still averaging 17.3 FPG in losses this season and 20.6 FPG in wins. In Mixon’s three prior seasons, he averaged just 13.2 FPG in losses but 22.1 FPG in wins.

Assuming he clears concussion protocol, Mixon is massively underpriced, given he offers the 2nd-best RB workload of the slate (19.2 XFP/G) in the best game of the week from a fantasy perspective.

Dameon Pierce, RB, Houston Texans (VS. CLE)

DraftKings: $5,900 (RB18) | FanDuel: $6,500 (RB22)

Pierce has totally flopped these last two weeks, earning just 16 total rushing yards on 15 carries in a pair of blowout losses for Houston. He’s the definition of a workhorse RB – dominating ground game usage when the Texans can keep games close, but consistently failing when the Texans get blown out due to his lack of a receiving role. On the season, Pierce has a route share of just 46% while averaging a mediocre 3.3 targets per game.

And the Texans' chances of keeping their Week 13 game with Cleveland close don’t appear great, given their status as 7.5-point underdogs.

But if Houston can keep this game close enough to warrant feeding Pierce 20 or more carries, he could go off. The Browns are PFF’s 2nd-worst graded run defense (32.7 team run defense grade), while ranking 5th-worst in YPC allowed (4.9), 4th-worst in missed tackles (74), and 4th-worst in explosive play% allowed (6.8%). So, it’s a great on-paper matchup for Pierce, who averages the 8th-most missed tackles forced per attempt (0.25) of any rusher with at least 100 carries this season. But Houston will need to stay competitive for a ceiling performance to take shape.

Ja’Marr Chase, WR, Cincinnati Bengals (VS. KC)

DraftKings: $7,800 (WR5) | FanDuel: $8,900 (WR2)

Ja’Marr Chase is expected to be back in Week 13, and he picked a great time to return against a weak Chiefs secondary in the highest-total game of the week (53.0).

So far this season, the Chiefs have allowed the 5th-most schedule-adjusted FPG (+4.8) to opposing WRs, the 2nd-most passing TDs (21), and the 2nd-highest passer rating (102.5).

Chase has played in five career game with a total of 50.0 or higher, and he has averaged an absurd 26.1 DraftKings FPG in those contests – a mark that would rank 1st among all WRs this season.

Plus, with the Bengals listed as 2.0-point underdogs, this offense may need to turn even more pass heavy than normal to keep pace with Kansas City.

Chase profiles as one of the best WR plays (at any price) of Week 13, and I’d expect him to be chalky as a result.

Amari Cooper, WR, Cleveland Browns (@ HOU)

DraftKings: $6,400 (WR13) | FanDuel: $7,800 (WR9)

So far this season, Amari Cooper ranks 7th among slate-eligible WRs in DraftKings FPG (17.2) and 4th among all WRs (tied with Tyreek Hill) in games of 20.0 or more fantasy points (5). And he managed all that with Jacoby Brissett throwing for the 17th-most YPG (237.1) and grading out as PFF’s 11th-best passer (75.5 passing grade). A great year for Brissett, no doubt, but a far cry from the upgrade Cleveland now gets at QB with Deshaun Watson.

The last time Watson took an NFL field, he averaged 301.4 passing YPG (a mark that would rank 2nd among 2022 QBs) and posted an MVP-esque 91.2 PFF passing grade. Watson is a massive upgrade over Brissett, even with Brissett playing some of the best football of his career.

Plus, Watson’s WR1 has averaged 18.6 FPG over Watson’s last 3 years as a starter, which would’ve ranked no worse than WR5 over the last 3 seasons. That’s a 16% improvement on Cooper’s current production.

Granted, this Week 13 matchup is a tough one, with Houston ranking as the 4th-toughest schedule-adjusted matchup for opposing outside WRs (-5.3 FPG). Week 13 may not be the optimal spot to player Cooper (and Watson), but ownership will reflect that. And even with the brutal matchup, the upside of Cooper with one of the league’s top QBs is as good as any WR on the slate. He profiles as an elite tournament play in Week 13.

Garrett Wilson and Elijah Moore, WRs, New York Jets (@ MIN)

Jets WRs are back from the dead (at least for fantasy purposes) with Mike White now leading the offense.

If we assume that non-Wilson production holds, Garrett Wilson and Elijah Moore are drastically underpriced at $5,300 (WR25) and $3,700 (WR61), given 17.1 FPG would rank 9th among all WRs and 14.9 FPG would rank 16th. Even if we think that’s a generous estimation, the matchup would certainly suggest another ceiling performance could be on the horizon for this passing attack.

Minnesota ranks as the 7th-softest schedule-adjusted matchup for opposing WRs (+3.2 FPG), and the softest overall matchup for opposing outside WRs (+6.9 FPG), which is where both Wilson and Moore have run the majority of their routes this season.

Both WRs should easily be $1,000 more expensive on DraftKings with the new QB under center, and that’s a discount I plan on taking advantage of in Week 13.

TJ Hockenson, TE, Minnesota Vikings (VS. NYJ)

DraftKings: $5,200 (TE3) | FanDuel: $6,400 (TE3)

Since joining the Vikings, Hockenson has averaged 16.0 XFP/G, 8.8 targets per game, and 0.7 XTD/G. Relative to the usage numbers Mark Andrews has put up over the full season, Vikings Hockenson has been 12% better, 13% better, and 17% better.

The Jets' defense has been absolutely brutal against WRs this season, ranking as the single-toughest schedule-adjusted matchup (-6.3 FPG), giving up the 2nd-lowest percentage of deep throws (6.2%), but ranking as much closer to a neutral schedule-adjusted matchup for TEs (-0.4 FPG). That should funnel targets away from the Minnesota WRs to the still-underpriced Hockenson. He should pop as one of the top projected values at TE in Week 13, and he’s close to a must-play in-game stacks that anticipate a shootout here.

Jake Tribbey is the 2022 FSWA Football Writer of the Year and the leading Spring Football expert in the fantasy industry. He is a lifelong football fan obsessed with extracting every edge possible from DFS, Best Ball, and player props/futures.