Charles Herrmann (@HermsNFL)
The Lateral Chief Editor
Malcolm McMillan (@McLateralFF)
The Lateral Writer
Week 13. For most people, this is the final week of the fantasy football regular season. Fantasy managers are making that final push for the playoffs, locking down their seeding, or maybe just fighting for some respectability. Good thing that the Panthers and Buccaneers are on bye! Yes, that is correct. As if you did not need further proof that nobody associated with the NFL gives a damn about your fantasy team, they went ahead and put a whole slew of fantasy-relevant players on ice for one of the biggest weeks of the year. As if COVID-19 and injuries were not already doing enough damage to your roster.
Luckily The Lateral is here to help! Pickings are slim this week, so you may have some repeats, but we tried to keep it to players with new developments rather than players who confirmed our previous expectations. Let us dive in!
Diving Into Week 13 Waivers
Diving Into Week 13 Waivers
The Pool: Ryan Fitzpatrick (MIA), Mitchell Trubisky (CHI), Kirk Cousins (MIN)
Charles' Pick: Kirk Cousins has averaged 22.57 fantasy points over the last three weeks. Want to know a couple players behind him on that list? Chargers QB Justin Herbert and Seahawks QB Russell Wilson (who's been doing more microwaving than cooking lately). As much as I love Fitzpatrick (possibly) going up against the putrid Bengals, Cousins and the Vikings facing Jacksonville in Week 13 just makes me all warm and tingly inside. Plus, after that they've got the Buccaneers defense we talked about yesterday. The Bears schedule is pretty soft for the rest of the year though. If for some reason you miss out on both you could plug your nose and go with Trubisky but of the bunch, gimme Cousins.
Malcolm's Pick: Fitzpatrick is really tempting to pick here. In his first week back as a starter he picked up right where he left off and finished QB8. Cincinnati is not a defense known for shutting down the QB either, and Fitzy gets to play them in Week 13. Unfortunately, Kansas City and New England in the fantasy playoffs are less than favorable matchups, and Tua Tagovailoa could come back and spoil the whole thing anyway. Bears QB Mitchell Trubisky is in a similar situation, where his comeback could be spoiled by Nick Foles at any moment, though at least Trubisky has an appealing run of matchups to end the season.
That pretty much leaves me with no choice but Kirk Cousins, who unlike the others on this list has not been benched and is not in danger of being benched the rest of the season. Like Fitzmagic, he has a great matchup this week (Jags at home), so he is a good add if you need a win to get into the playoffs. Unfortunately, like Fitzpatrick, he also has a tough run of matchups to end the season. Except... maybe that does not scare me? Coming out of the Week 7 bye, Cousins has been matchup-proof and borderline bulletproof, with only one interception and 19.78 PPG. I do not want to rely on any of these three to win a championship, but Cousins is the least likely to let me down.
The Obvious Add: None
The Pool: James White (NE), Frank Gore (NYJ), Cam Akers (LAR)
Charles' Pick: Well, I kind of made the case for James White last week, and while his production didn't come through the air last week like I thought it would, he still produced. My stance remains the same.
Malcolm's Pick: Only one of these RBs is not in a committee, and that is Frank Gore. Give me 18 rushing attempts any day, and some passing down work is a nice bonus. James White was supposed to be a PPR floor RB and saw only one target to Gore's three. Relying on TDs is not something I want to do with an RB who is supposed to be the passing down back with a run-first QB. Yes, he finished as RB15, but that felt very fluky. Cam Akers is clearly the most talented of the three, but in the RBBC that is Los Angeles, it is tough to trust him. Especially when he has only seen three targets all season. Again, Gore saw that many last week.
Finally, not that Arizona or the Chargers have a world-beating run defense, but Gore's matchup against Las Vegas is clearly the best of the three. Yes, Brian Hill was awful against them this Sunday, but Ito Smith was not. I expect Gore to have enough volume to produce at least a similar line to Smith.
The Obvious Add: Latavius Murray (NO)
The Must-Roster Handcuffs: Devontae Booker (LV), Jamaal Williams (GB), Boston Scott (PHI), Tony Pollard (DAL), Alexander Mattison (MIN)
The Pool: Denzel Mims (NYJ), Keke Coutee (HOU), Gabriel Davis (BUF)
Charles' Pick: I told you to stash Denzel Mims on Nov. 14 and all he's done the last three weeks is give you that sweet, sweet 10.4 PPR points per game en route to being the WR3 he is now. Y'all got me feelin' like Rodney Dangerfield over here. You could've already had Mims. I will say I'm intrigued by Coutee though. He hasn't done much since that two week stretch in his rookie year when he was the WR11 in PPR, but hey, with WR Will Fuller V gone, who knows?
Malcolm's Pick: If this was dynasty Coutee could be dismissed pretty easily. Both Mims and Davis are more talented and could be drafted next year in redraft leagues, particularly Mims. However, with Will Fuller V suspended the rest of the season, Brandon Cooks becomes the WR1 in Houston, and the WR2 spot opens up. That spot has been good enough for a fairly consistent 7+ targets per game, which is a massive opportunity for someone readily available on waivers. Coutee seems primed to take that opportunity with Texans WR Randall Cobb currently on IR, but the activation of rookie WR Isaiah Coulter has analysts wondering if Coulter could step into this role instead of Coutee. This makes Coutee a dart throw, though about as solid a dart throw as one can make.
Unfortunately, not everyone can risk the dart throw, so how about Denzel Mims? He seems to have taken a matchup-proof and QB-proof role in the New York Jets offense. Since Week 9, he has seen a Cooks-like 7+ targets per game, and 10+ PPR points in each game, all without scoring a TD. The bonus? Unlike Coutee, Mims' production is real, not hypothetical. Gabriel Davis is extremely talented but has only seen more than seven targets once the entire season and his 2.1 PPR points against the Jets in Week 7 with fellow WR John Brown out of the lineup shows he is not guaranteed any sort of volume.
The Obvious Add: Allen Lazard (GB)
The Pool: Trey Burton (IND), Kyle Rudolph (MIN), Irv Smith Jr. (MIN), Tyler Eifert (JAC)
Charles' Pick: Well, I guess I'm into the idea on one of the Minnesota TEs here. I don't know which one will be good or if one of them is even healthy this coming weekend, but I'm keeping with the theme of trusting Cousins and the passing game. Either Irv Smith Jr. or Kyle Rudolph is good with me over the other two. Burton makes sense to me here but I'm just really diggin' what Minnesota has in front of them in terms of opposition.
Malcolm's Pick: He may be TD or bust, but Trey Burton is the best bet of the lot unless one of the Minnesota TEs is unhealthy. If Irv Smith Jr. is out, there seems to be enough usage to make Rudolph viable like he was last week against Carolina. Logic dictates that Smith Jr. would be able to capitalize on similar usage if Rudolph was ever out. Unfortunately, neither can be relied upon to miss a game, so it would be better to take Burton who has been TE10 since he debuted for the Colts in Week 4. Double digits for Tyler Eifert earned him a spot in our pool, but unless he can see an uptick in red zone targets, his targets will not be as valuable as Burton's even though Eifert usually sees around five targets.
The Obvious Adds: Robert Tonyan (GB), Logan Thomas (WFT)
The Pool: Green Bay Packers (GB), San Francisco 49ers (SF), Seattle Seahawks (SEA)
Charles' Pick: Which one plays the Jets? Right! Seattle. But don't let that stop you from starting either the aforementioned Mims or WR Breshad Perriman, the latter of whom is the WR23 over the last month. How's that for fancy talkin'? I think I did that right. If not, @ me on the Twitter machine.
Malcolm's Pick: None of these teams are viable ROS based purely on matchups. So despite probably being the best DST of the group, the Niners are eliminated based on their Week 13 matchup against the Bills being decidedly tougher than the Packers getting the Eagles at home or the Seahawks playing the Giants in Seattle. In Week 14 the Seattle Seahawks also get the New York Jets at home, so the two-week run gives them the edge for me. While the Lions are not a scary matchup for the Packers, even with Matt Patricia the Lions were better than the Jets.
The Obvious Add: None
The Pool: Matt Gay (LAR), Jason Myers (SEA), Graham Gano (NYG)
Charles' Pick: I'll take Jason Myers. He's been pretty solid over the last month and kickers are kind of a crapshoot anyway. I don't mind Matt Gay though. He too has been good since he took over for the Rams a couple weeks ago.
Malcolm's Pick: Two weeks from Matt Gay in a Rams uniform has resulted in two weeks with exactly 10 points. Jason Myers regularly struggles to break that barrier, but he did again last night so it was admittedly tough to write him off against the Giants next week. Speaking of the Giants, Graham Gano has been absolute fire the past few weeks, averaging nearly 13 points since Week 9. Unfortunately, the shaky QB play combined with QB Daniel Jones potentially missing this game makes it a stay away with playoffs on the line. Ultimately, Gay feels like a consistent play on a good team and feels the least likely to lose a game for fantasy managers.
The Obvious Add: Tyler Bass (BUF)
The Obvious Add: Tyler Bass (BUF)
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