Week 13 FanDuel Top Shelf & Bargain Bin Plays

Week 12 was full of big performances and none bigger than Matthew Stafford and Calvin Johnson‘s performance on Thanksgiving Day. They certainly gave their owners in DFS and season-long leagues a lot to be thankful for! Stafford tossed five touchdowns in a 45-14 blowout win over the Eagles. Megatron hauled in three touchdowns and finished with eight catches for 87 yards. Stafford wasn’t the only quarterback to throw five touchdowns as Russell Wilson lit up the Steelers secondary for five scores at CenturyLink Field. The unlikely beneficiary was Doug Baldwin with six receptions for 145 yards and three touchdowns. Sammy Watkins and Jeremy Maclin both had monster games with 158 and 160 receiving yards respectively.

Unfortunately, the monster performances didn’t overshadow the list of big name players who went down in Week 12. Tony Romo fractured his collarbone again and is done for the season. If that wasn’t bad enough, Jimmy Graham tore his patellar tendon and will miss the remainder of the season. Chris Johnson, who is 4th in the NFL in rushing yards, fractured his tibia and went on IR this week. Saving the best for last is Rob Gronkowski, who suffered what appeared to be a major knee injury. It turns out it’s not as bad as expected and it’s just a bruised and sprained knee. These injuries will impact their respective teams in a big way moving forward but as we’ve seen time and time again this season, it’s the next man up mentality in the NFL With these massive injuries will come new opportunities for players to step up. Without further a do here are my Week 13 FanDuel Top Shelf and Bargain Bin Plays.

Top Shelf Picks

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Cam Newton– Carolina Panthers $9000

at New Orleans Saints

Cam Newton is right up there with Tom Brady in the MVP discussion this season. Last week the Carolina Panthers defense did all the heavy lifting with Luke Kuechly scoring as many touchdowns as Superman. The game against the Cowboys on Thanksgiving got ugly really fast. Cam wasn’t asked to do much with his arm, finishing without a touchdown pass for the first time this season. In Week 13, Newton gets a dream matchup with the Saints and we all know what that means. Cam shredded the Saints secondary back in Week 3 for 315 yards and two passing scores. There aren’t many guarantees in life except death and taxes, but the Saints giving up yards by the boat loads through the air is one you can bank on. I’d recommend to play Cam Newton this week so you can sit back, pop some popcorn, and enjoy the air show at the Superdome.

Ben Roethlisberger– Pittsburgh Steelers $8100

vs Indianapolis Colts (SNF)

Ben Roethlisberger is one tough SOB as history suggests. Ben took a big hit from Michael Bennett in the 4th quarter but managed to stay in the game afterwards. He wound up having to leave the Seahawks game late in the fourth quarter with concussion-like symptoms. It wasn’t the hit that forced him out of the game, rather a traumatic ocular migraine. In layman’s terms, he had a really bad headache. You can bank on Ben playing on Sunday and the only headache out there will be one he causes for the Colts’ defensive coordinator Greg Manusky. Roethlisberger will feast on a porous Colts secondary that has allowed the sixth-most passing yards in the league. Big Ben prefers the home cooking at Heinz Field with a 9-to-5 TD-to-INT ratio. He’s thrown for multiple scores in three of four home games this season and should be fired up to get a win in Steel City. I’m fine with rolling Big Ben out in both my cash and GPP lineups because I trust that he’s going to ball out in this cake matchup.

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Bargain Bin Plays

Ryan Fitzpatrick– New York Jets $7500

at New York Giants

The Amish Rifle is firing on all cylinders since taking over under center for the Jets. Fitzpatrick is coming off his best game of the season after throwing for 277 yards and a season-high four touchdown passes versus the Dolphins. Fitzpatrick enjoyed rare downfield success this past week, going 5-for-12 on passes 15-yards downfield. Fitzpatrick shaved his beard before the game which could have something to do with his monster performance in Week 12. Over the Jets’ first 11 games, Fitzpatrick has thrown for over 200 passing yards eight times and also has eight games with at least 2 touchdowns. Odds are the Amish rifle stays red-hot facing a Giants defense that has given up an NFL-worst 3,401 passing yards and 20 passing scores on the season. Fitzpatrick is one of the cheaper and safer options at the quarterback position in Week 13. If you roll with Fitz be sure to look at the great stacking options available with Brandon Marshall and Eric Decker.

Marcus Mariota– Tennessee Titans $7100

vs Jacksonville Jaguars

Marcus Mariota has been an all or nothing type fantasy quarterback this year. The prized rookie has thrown for multiple touchdowns in five games this season but has only managed this feat twice since Week 3. Mariota has some nice weaponry at his disposal with Delanie Walker, Kendall Wright, Dorial Green-Beckham, and a serviceable Harry Douglas. The key to using Mariota in DFS is picking and choosing which matchups to exploit on a week-to-week basis. In Week 13, the Titans host the Jacksonville Jaguars who have ceded the third-most fantasy points per game to opposing arms this season. This sounds like a recipe for success and one worth betting on in your cash and GPP contests. Saving money at the quarterback position allows you the flexibility to play three stud wide outs and go with some bargain running backs.

Top Shelf Picks

Running Back

Adrian Peterson– Minnesota Vikings $9100

vs Seattle Seahawks

I was on AP last week and I hope you were too after he gashed the Falcons for 187 all-purpose yards and two touchdowns. Peterson has rushed for over 100 yards in four of his last five games while scoring five touchdowns over that time period. In a season where so many stud backs have hit the shelf AP remains one of the few workhorse backs who is matchup proof. This week you can be sure a lot of people will choose to fade AP versus the Legion of Boom. This should suppress his ownership levels making him an ideal tournament play while continuing to be money in cash.

Todd Gurley– St. Louis Rams $8400

vs Arizona Cardinals

I’ve been off Gurley for a few weeks now in DFS and for good reason. Gurley is coming off his worst performance of the season with a paltry 30 all-purpose yards. He also lost snaps to Tre Mason late in their 31-7 loss to the Bengals in Week 12. I’m expecting a lot of people to hit the panic button and fade Gurley moving forward and if so that’s a big mistake. Gurley is, after all, a rookie and you have to expect some weeks that he disappears due to game-flow. Let’s not forget how explosive Gurley is and that he had his coming out party in Week 4 versus the Cardinals rushing for 146 yards. Guess who the Rams play in Week 13? If you guessed the Cardinals, then you guessed right. Gurley is too good to held down that long so I’m expecting a bounce back performance in Week 13.

Bargain Bin Plays

Jeremy Hill– Cincinnati Bengals $6600

at Cleveland Browns

Don’t look now, but it appears that Jeremy Hill has finally reemerged as the lead runner for the Bengals. Over the past two weeks Hill has 29 carries for 131 yards (4.5 AVG) and two touchdowns. Hill rushed for a season-high 86 yards last week versus the Rams before leaving with an ankle injury. The ankle injury isn’t anything serious and won’t keep him out of action. Before leaving the game Hill was flashing through the line of scrimmage with the explosion and burst he displayed as a rookie last year. He finished off some physical runs, sporting 5.4 yards per carry average in the game. Hill is heating up and is flipping the script by out producing his backfield running mate Giovani Bernard. Over the last three games Gio has 30 carries for 70 yards which isn’t going to get the job done. Hill gets a dream matchup this week in the Dawg Pound against a Charmin-soft Browns rush defense that has allowed the second-most rushing yards in the league. The Bengals should have no problem jumping off to a big lead and riding Hill hard in clock-killing mode.

Spencer Ware– Kansas City Chiefs $6500

at Oakland Raiders

Spencer Ware passed his first test will flying colors last week after going up against the Bills and their 26th-ranked run defense. Ware showcased to everyone that he’s got what it takes to operate as the Chief’s lead back. While filling in for an injured Charcandrick West, Spencer Ware exploded for 114 rushing yards and one touchdown. In doing so, he proved that his Week 11 96-yard rushing performance versus the Chargers wasn’t a fluke. And with the Chiefs set to match up against the Raiders’ 27th-ranked run defense in Weeks 13, he’s primed for an encore performance. Ware has stolen the show in Kansas City and just might have locked down a major role in the backfield even after West returns. He’s dirt-cheap with his current FanDuel salary of $6500 making him an excellent bargain.

David Johnson– Arizona Cardinals $5900


at St. Louis Rams

I’d compare David Johnson to a shiny new car you just bought and drove home for the first time. You want to baby it and keep it clean so you park it in the garage with the cover on. Well that car has been David Johnson in his rookie season. We can finally remove the cover and take David Johnson for a long road trip to St. Louis. He’s been a change of pace back with Chris Johnson performing at an All-Pro level and currently sitting at fourth in the NFL with 814 rushing yards. David Johnson is the perfect blend of Andre Ellington and CJ2K but with more size and softer hands.

Chris Johnson and Andre Ellington both suffered injuries on back-to-back drives in Week 12 against San Francisco. CJ2K was diagnosed with a fractured tibia in his left leg and was placed on IR. I’m optimistic that Johnson will hit the ground running since he’s been extremely productive in his limited touches over his rookie year, with 7 total touchdowns. The kid is electric with the ball in his hands and in open space. He fits the Cardinals offense perfectly since they want a balanced offensive attack and Johnson has the skill-set to pound the rock, pass-protect, and catch the football out of the backfield. Johnson is the best value starting back on FanDuel this week at $5900.

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Top Shelf Picks

Wide Receiver

Odell Beckham Jr. – New York Giants $9400

vs New York Jets

Odell Beckham Jr. is back to his old tricks of making highlight-reel touchdown catches. OBJ is coming off one of his best performances of the season versus the Redskins. He registered a season high in targets (18) and tied a season high in catches (9) while producing his second-highest yardage total (142) on the season. OBJ is a target monster and with Victor Cruz out for the season he’ll continue to be Eli’s go-to guy in New York. He’s currently tied with DeAndre Hopkins and Brandon Marshall with nine touchdowns. In Week 13 Beckham gets a date with Revis Island, but as DeAndre Hopkins showed a couple of weeks ago, he’s not the same shut down corner at this stage of his career. The smart money is on OBJ to use his off the charts athleticism and world-class speed to beat Revis on Sunday assuming Revis is active. He’ll come with a hefty price tag with the highest salary at his position ($9400) this week but is worth every penny.

Antonio Brown– Pittsburgh Steelers $9000

vs Indianapolis Colts (SNF)

Antonio Brown was quiet this past Sunday with Richard Sherman holding him to six receptions for 51 yards. He was targeted 12 times in the game by Big Ben so we have to credit Sherman for winning this battle and shutting him down. Big Ben will be looking Brown’s way early and often this week versus a Colts secondary that has allowed the sixth-most receiving yards and 20 touchdowns to opposing wide outs. It’s worth noting that Brown’s top three performances have come at home at Heinz Field. I’m expecting big things this week from the Steelers’ stud receiver so paying up for Brown should pay major dividends in your cash and tournament lineups.

Brandon Marshall- New York Jets $8100

at New York Giants

Brandon Marshall exploded in Week 12 versus the Dolphins with nine receptions for 131 yards and two touchdowns. It was Marshall’s first game of the season with multiple scores giving him nine touchdowns on the season. Actually, Marshall became the first Jets player since David Nelson in 2013 to tally multiple receiving scores. Fitzpatrick is looking Marshall’s way a lot recently with 31 targets over the Jets’ past three games. Fitzpatrick was also 4-for-5 for 100 yards and a touchdown when targeting Marshall on passes 15-yards or longer. This week there is a lot on the line with the Giants hosting the Jets. This game has a 45-point over/under and could turn into a shootout. The Giants will have no answer for Marshall who will create a matchup nightmare for their secondary. If you’re looking for a good stack this week look no further than a Fitzpatrick-Marshall stack.

Bargain Bin Plays

Travis Benjamin– Cleveland Browns $5900

vs Cincinnati Bengals

Travis Benjamin has been heating up the past couple weeks after being held under 50 yards receiving in Weeks 7-9. The former Miami Hurricane breakout receiver has hauled in 13 of his 24 targets over the Browns past two games while registering 203 yards receiving. While some people may look at his last game versus the Bengals (3-22) and shy away, I’m not concerned. Benjamin has produced with both Josh McCown and Johnny Manziel under center this season and now it’s Austin Davis. Davis connected with Benjamin for a 42-yard touchdown late in the fourth quarter of Monday Night’s game. Also with the exception of Gary Barnidge, he’s the Browns’ most trusted pass-catcher and has the ability to take it to the house. You’ll be hard pressed to find a better bargain at receiver this week or a team’s WR1 for cheaper than Benjamin is at $5900 on FanDuel.

DeVante Parker– Miami Dolphins $5200

vs Baltimore Ravens

We’ve been waiting all season to get an extended look at the Miami Dolphins prized 1st round selection from Louisville. Parker has battled injuries most of the season and has been blocked on the depth chart by Rishard Matthews and Jarvis Landry. Everything changed in Week 12 when Matthews injured his ribs versus the Jets. Parker made the most of his golden opportunity catching four of his season-high 10 targets for 80 yards and a score. Parker is a big target for Tannehill measuring in at 6-foot-3 inches, making him a nice red-zone target. With the breaking news that Matthews suffered multiple fractured ribs Parker will step into a starting role opposite Jarvis Landry. He’ll occupy the Dolphins’ starting X receiver position and should benefit from the extra attention paid to Landry. You can’t go wrong with Parker on FanDuel at his current rock bottom salary of $5200. This makes him my top bargain wide out play in Week 13.

Top Shelf Pick

Tight End

Greg Olsen– Carolina Panthers $6600

at New Orleans Saints

With Rob Gronkowski injured and the latest update reporting that it’s a week-to-week variety, Greg Olsen stands alone as the premier tight end play. Cam has been consistently peppering Olsen with targets this year and he’s currently tied with Gronk with 92 targets on the season. Olsen has only one touchdown over his last three games but this week’s matchup versus the Saints is cause for optimism. The Saints have given up 64 receptions for 860 yards and 10 touchdowns to opposing tight ends this season. They’re allowing an NFL-worst 12.4 fantasy points a game to opposing tight ends and also sport the league’s worst pass defense in terms of yards per attempt. Olsen had his best game of the season back in Week 3 when he roasted the Saints for eight catches, 134 yards receiving, and two scores. I’m expecting a similar performance from Olsen this week making him a slam dunk top-tier option at the tight end position. He’s safe to employ in your cash and tournament games and should be stacked with Cam in your lineups.

Bargain Bin Play

Julius Thomas– Jacksonville Jaguars $5800

at Tennessee Titans

I’ll be the first to admit, I’m not a huge Julius Thomas fan. Having said that I can’t ignore what’s going on in Jacksonville currently. The Jags coaching staff went on record before their Week 11 TNF matchup stating that they wanted to get Julius more involved in the offense moving forward. In the Jags past two games they’ve kept their promise. Over that time period Thomas has caught 14 out of 18 targets for 144 yards and two touchdowns. It’s worth mentioning that Thomas’ three touchdowns this season have all come in games in which he’s seen at least eight targets. The targets are the key and with Allen Hurns in concussion protocol, his chances of continuing to get those opportunities are even higher. They’re especially higher in Week 13 since Thomas is facing a Titans defense that has given up eight scores already to tight ends — including one to Julius two weeks ago. Thomas is a big target for Blake Bortles at 6-foot-5 inches and has a nose for the end zone. Everything is falling into place for Thomas to ball out in Music City this week so get him in your cash and GPP lineups.

Defenses To Target

Cincinnati Bengals $5100 

at Cleveland Browns

Buffalo Bills $4500

vs Houston Texans

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