2020 Season: Week 13 Heat Check


Malcolm McMillan (@McLateralFF)
The Lateral Writer

Week 12 only just ended! That is right, it is a Thursday, and waivers have not even been processed for many leagues!

It is the final week for most fantasy football regular seasons, so we at The Lateral are doing something different with the Heat Check this week. Instead of the normal three-week window, we are looking at players rostered in less than 10% of either Yahoo or ESPN leagues as of Wednesday and were fantasy relevant in Week 12. Then we sprinkle in some #analysis as to whether or not you can rely on them in Week 13 only. These are meant to be dart throws for the desperate, not necessarily league winners you are rolling with the rest of the season, nor sleepers that you bench a starter with a bad matchup for. This article is for those who are searching for diamonds in the rough.

As always, no kickers or DSTs here. If you want some great picks for that, go check out Tuesday's waiver wire article.

Week 13 Heat Check: Dart Throw Edition


Mitchell Trubisky (CHI): Charles and I talked a bit about Trubisky Tuesday and for both of us the concern was largely the Nick Foles-sized elephant in the room. Trubisky is not exactly the definition of a fantasy starter... or an NFL starter, but in a Week 13 matchup against the Detroit Lions, he would be a viable streaming option if he got the start. Luckily, 24 hours provided us with some clarification, as Foles returned to practice Wednesday as the number two QB. Heat Check: Trubisky was QB8 against the Lions in Week 1, and the Lions remain a good matchup for QBs. Stash Trubisky now and then drop him if Foles gets the start for Week 13, which is an increasingly unlikely possibility.

Mike Glennon (JAC): Glennon, rostered only in 1% of leagues, was quietly QB13 last week. That not only was a borderline starter but 0.66 more points than fantasy darling Chargers QB Justin Herbert. The most important stat was the zero interceptions thrown by Glennon in his 2020 debut, especially since turnovers played a major role in derailing Glennon's early career. Given that Glennon has not thrown an interception since 2017, and Minnesota in Week 13 is a comparable matchup to the Browns defense Glennon saw in Week 12, there is a chance he could perform well enough to be a fantasy starter in Week 13. Heat Check: Mike Glennon is a low ceiling play, but guaranteed to be the starter in Week 13 in a decent matchup. If you cannot handle the risk of Trubisky, Glennon is a viable second choice.

Running Back

Ito Smith (ATL): "You've got to ask yourself one question: 'Do I feel lucky?' Well, do you, punk?" Those are the famous (often misquoted) words of Inspector Harry Callahan, and frankly, you may get as many points from Clint Eastwood as you get from Ito Smith in Week 13. We all saw what happened last week when you trust a Falcons RB, and it can kill your season. Brian Hill was a fantasy darling, and despite getting more rushing attempts than Smith finished a paltry RB38 to Smith's RB10. Add in the fact that Falcons starting RB Todd Gurley II was back at practice yesterday, and Smith is in danger of seeing the minuscule 1.3 rushing attempts per game and 1.1 targets per game he had seen with Gurley and Hill both in the lineup. Heat Check: Not only can you not take a chance on Smith, but you also cannot even stash him given the two RBs ahead of him in the pecking order. Hopefully, your league has better options on waivers.

Wide Receiver

Collin Johnson (JAC): Johnson is tricky because he is so dependent on injuries. Last week he led the Jaguars in targets, and if fellow WR D.J. Chark Jr. remains out, it should be Johnson who benefits for a second week in a row... unless WR Chris Conley comes back. To me, that is the real problem. If it was just Chark that needed to remain out, I would feel more comfortable about Johnson connecting with QB Mike Glennon for a second week in a row, but with Conley and Chark both in line to usurp Johnson's role if healthy, there is a good chance Johnson becomes a wasted waiver add. Heat Check: Against Minnesota in Week 13, Johnson has the highest ceiling of the WR dart throws. Add him now, and slot him into the FLEX if Chark and Conley sit out. If Chark is in, you cannot play Johnson this week If only Conley is healthy, then you could risk Johnson, but I would prefer someone like Gabriel Davis at that point.

Gabriel Davis (BUF): Davis got some coverage in this week's waiver column, so I recommend you go there to check it out, but the long and short of it is that he simply does not have the targets to be anything more than a dart throw. Most weeks he is usually the third option at best. Heat Check: Last week showed why Davis can be a viable dart throw, and Week 7 showed why he can lose you a game despite having a great opportunity on paper. Target someone like Denzel Mims instead.

Chad Beebe (MIN): Chad Beebe has quietly become the WR3 for the Minnesota Vikings, emphasis on the quietly. Turns out, being WR3 for the Vikings has not been that valuable. You know what is valuable? being the WR2 on the Minnesota Vikings, which Beebe got a taste of in Week 12. Unfortunately, with real WR1 Adam Theilen back in the lineup, that role now belongs to WR Justin Jefferson again, relegating Beebe to a blindfolded dart throw. Heat Check: Against a defense as poor as the Jaguars and if RB Dalvin Cook is potentially limited with the injury he sustained in Week 12, there is a scenario where Beebe sees more work than usual. Unfortunately, when usual is only two targets, more than usual is still at best a dart throw. You are better off looking elsewhere.

Mohamed Sanu (DET): Maybe Sanu has finally found a home on his fourth team in two years. Unfortunately, I think last week was Sanu's ceiling for 2020, and that ceiling relied on WR Kenny Golladay, WR Danny Amendola, and RB D'Andre Swift all being out, Matt Patricia being coach, negative game script, and doing the most with his targets. Even with all that working for Sanu, Lions WR Marvin Hall still saw just as many overall targets and Quintez Cephus saw just as many red zone targets. Heat Check: There is no guarantee that with WR Danny Amendola back at practice that Sanu will remain a top-3 option for the Lions, with Marvin Jones Jr., Amendola, and Marvin Hall all likely ahead of him. Against Chicago, I would not start Marvin Hall, so I definitely would not start Mohamed Sanu.

Olabisi Johnson (MIN): Remember in Week 1 when we were not sure if fellow WR Justin Jefferson would be able to get ahead of Johnson on the depth chart? Well, that was the last week that Johnson saw more targets than Jefferson, who took off in Week 3 and never looked back. In fact, Johnson is now behind Chad Beebe in the pecking order, with 10 targets since Week 4 compared to 18 for Beebe. Heat Check: Despite a WR22 finish in Week 12, Johnson failed to get ahead of WR Chad Beebe despite having star WR Adam Thielen out. With Thielen back in the lineup for Week 13, the over/under for Olabisi Johnson targets is at one.

Denzel Mims (NYJ): Mims was the unanimous waiver recommendation for The Lateral this week. The steady 7+ targets per game are so tasty, and he has the talent to make the most of them. Heat Check: You need to get Mims on your roster, and he can be considered a WR4 at minimum this week.

Tight End

Richard Rodgers (PHI): Rodgers has been a fantasy starter in the absence of fellow Eagles TEs Zach Ertz and Dallas Goedert. Even with Goedert back in the lineup for the last few games, Rodgers was TE9 to Goedert's TE10 from Week 7 to Week 12. Unfortunately, while the Eagles are known for having two viable TEs, they are not known for having three. Zach Ertz's return in Week 13 would put an end to Rodgers' fantasy relevance. Heat Check: You could maybe stash Rodgers in case of an injury to one of the Philly TEs, but if Ertz plays this week you cannot start Rodgers.

Tyler Eifert (JAC): I covered Eifert in this week's waiver column, but given his high availability, he also gets mentioned here. The logic I laid out there still applies here; Eifert has a solid target floor, but not in the red zone, which crushes his value. Heat Check: Eifert is the definition of a fantasy dart throw in Week 13. With QB Mike Glennon under center in Week 12, he was TE14 with 10.6 PPR points. Glennon gets the start this week as well, so Eifert can be played if you have exhausted all other options, but 10-11 PPR points feel like his ceiling.

Trey Burton (IND): At TE10 over the past three weeks, Trey Burton would have qualified for a normal heat check. He was also my waiver recommendation at TE this week. The red zone usage, while not amazing, is favorable for him. Since Week 4 when Burton started his season, Week 9 was the only week that Burton was not in the lead or tied for the lead in red zone targets amongst the Colts' three TEs. Heat Check: If Burton scores a TD he is usually also a TE1 (Week 11 is the lone exception, where he was TE14 with 10.5 PPR points). Given that Burton is 19th among 89 TEs to receive a red zone target this season despite missing three games, he is definitely worth a start unless you have a TE with a higher ceiling.

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