The fantasy Gods smiled on us all last week, with 9 of 16 games going over their projected totals. Let’s hope the offensive production continues as we head to Week 13, and gear up for the NFL playoff push.
The elites outside – Week 13 wide receiver matchups
Seattle Seahawks vs. Dallas Cowboys (TNF)
Despite their offensive struggles, the Seahawks find themselves in another fantasy-relevant matchup in Week 13, taking on the Cowboys.
DaRon Bland is having an all-pro season and will be stationary on the right side of the Cowboy defense. DK Metcalf is playing opposite of this spot on 73% (PFF) of his snaps thus far in 2023. A fade of Metcalf should be no surprise this week. DaRon Bland leads all NFL corners this season in interceptions with seven (PFF) and in competitive passer rating allowed at just 36.9 (PFF). Metcalf does have the deeper aDoT at 14.9 (PFF) and will lean heavily on a shot deep to produce for fantasy managers.
Tyler Lockett tends to move across formations; the majority of his wide snaps should come against Stephon Gilmore, and he will see Jourdan Lewis out of the slot. Against Gilmore, Lockett will need to make contested catches, a category where he cracks the top 25 among receivers in 2023, hauling in 6 thus far (PFF). All things considered, fade Lockett this week. Stephon Gilmore allows receptions on just 50.0% of targets he receives (PFF), his aDoT of 11.0 (PFF) is in range of routes 10 yards or less, the depth where Tyler Lockett has been the most productive in 2023.
Jaxon Smith-Njigba will draw the most lenient coverage assignment in the slot against Jourdan Lewis of the Cowboys. Buy JSN this week; Lewis allows receptions on 73.7% of the targets he has received this season and has conceded three touchdowns (PFF). The Seahawks should be aware of the challenge out wide in Dallas and may be looking underneath come Thursday Night.
CeeDee Lamb has a challenging matchup in the slot on Thursday Night against Seahawks’ rookie corner Devon Witherspoon. Witherspoon ranks 5th overall among corners in forced incompletions with 11 on the year (PFF). Lamb’s fantasy output may not be built from the slot but potentially outside against Tariq Woolen and Tre Brown. Buy CeeDee Lamb. He out-grades both of these players, and they are likely to cover him on routes between 10 and 20 yards. At this depth, Lamb has compiled 427 receiving yards and four touchdowns (PFF).
Jake Ferguson has emerged as a top-10 fantasy tight end and splits his snaps between the inline spot and the slot. Buy Jake Ferguson going up against Jordyn Brooks and Bobby Wagner of the Seahawks. Both of the Seattle linebackers are in the top 15 at their position in the NFL this year in YAC allowed (PFF), and Ferguson will stretch their coverage with a deeper aDoT of 7.1 (PFF).
Matchup Winners: Jaxon Smith-Njigba, CeeDee Lamb, Jake Ferguson
Matchup Losers: DK Metcalf, Tyler Lockett
Denver Broncos vs. Houston Texans
The Broncos have risen from the dead. Now 6-5, they take on the Texans Sunday and will deploy Courtland Sutton out wide and Jerry Jeudy out of the slot.
Courtland Sutton will split time against Steven Nelson and Shaquill Griffin of the Texans, with the majority of snaps likely coming against Nelson. Fade Courtland Sutton, Nelson holds the second deepest aDoT of all NFL corners at 15.9 (PFF), in comparison to the aDoT of Sutton at 11.1 (PFF). Sutton is yet to eclipse 100 yards (PFF) in a game this season, and it is hard to see him hitting that mark this week with Nelson holding him underneath in coverage. Collectively, Nelson and Griffin have allowed just two scores in 2023 (PFF). The Houston scheme could very well try to force Russell Wilson to look for anyone but Sutton in this game.
Jerry Jeudy is working primarily out of the slot, taking 64.9% (PFF) of his snaps from that spot this season. This sets up a matchup that Jeudy should win against Tavierre Thomas of the Texans, who is allowing receptions on 82.1% of the targets he sees (PFF). Thomas also holds an aDoT of 6.0 (PFF) in comparison to 12.6 (PFF) for Jeudy. Thomas will certainly be out of his comfort zone when Jeudy is targeted, and Russell Wilson should take advantage of the 110.6 rating (PFF) that Thomas is allowing in coverage.
The Texans appear to be up and coming in the AFC and draw upon four skill players in the passing attack: receivers Nico Collins, Tank Dell, and Noah Brown, along with tight end Dalton Schultz. Collins and Dell will take turns on the outside against Pat Surtain II and Fabian Moreau. This pair of corners for the Broncos have allowed just two touchdowns on the year (PFF), and neither allow receptions on over 65% of targets (PFF).
Nonetheless, there should be opportunities for Tank Dell with the balanced attack from Houston and with Patrick Surtain II likely sticking with Collins to combat him physically. Tank Dell has an elite aDoT at 14.4 (PFF), and Fabian Moreau has defended just 27 targets (PFF) in 2023; Dell should be testing him down the field. Buy Dell and fade Collins on the outside. Noah Brown’s aDoT of 10.9 (PFF) is double that of Ja’Quan McMillian of the Broncos out of the slot this week (PFF). McMillian has been stingy, allowing receptions but has conceded three touchdowns this season (PFF). Bet on Brown continuing his hot streak, and finding the end zone for his second touchdown of the year.
Dalton Schultz’s status is up in the air this week, but if is able to play, he is set up for a big day on his inline snaps against Broncos’ linebackers Alex Singleton and Josey Jewell. Singleton has allowed five touchdowns, as well as a competitive passer rating of 125.4 (PFF). His teammate, Jewell, is allowing receptions on 82.6 % of targets he defends(PFF). Schultz is an outlying advantage for Houston this week.
Matchup Winners: Jerry Jeudy, Tank Dell, Noah Brown, Dalton Schultz
Matchup Losers: Courtland Sutton, Nico Collins
San Francisco 49ers vs. Philadelphia Eagles
The premier matchup in the NFL week 13 will be in Philadelphia, as the 49ers travel east to face the Eagles.
Brandon Aiyuk ranks third overall among all NFL receivers in aDoT at 15.1(PFF) and will take Darius Slay and James Bradberry of the Eagles down the field. Slay and Bradberry’s strength is limiting receptions, but they are prone to allow yardage. Both are inside the top 25 in receiving yardage allowed in 2023 (PFF). This matches Brandon Aiyuk’s profile well, and he should have an opportunity for a long touchdown this week against Bradberry, who now leads the NFL in touchdowns allowed at the corner position with seven (PFF).
Deebo Samuel is a buy this week also. He will have his chances against Slay and Bradberry as well, with the more favorable matchup coming against Slay. Darius Slay ranks 11th among corners in YAC allowed (PFF), an area where Deebo Samuel can impact the game significantly. Deebo should get some looks out of the slot against Eagles’ rookie corner Eli Ricks as well. While Ricks has done well limiting production this season, he has defended just 17 targets in 2023 (PFF). With a deeper aDoT than Samuel, he will be forced to bring the 49ers receiver down in space, which is a tall test for any NFL corner, let alone a rookie.
Fade George Kittle this week; the Eagles have a great duo of linebackers who cover tight ends on inline snaps, an alignment where Kittle has taken 60.2% of his snaps this year (PFF). Said linebackers Zach Cunningham and Nicholas Murrow have yet to concede a touchdown in coverage this season (PFF). Kittle’s best chance will be against Kevin Byard in the slot, but his opportunities could be capped in that alignment.
AJ Brown and Devonta Smith have a tall order this week, taking on a 49ers coverage group that is graded 3rd overall this season (PFF). The receiving duo for the Eagles will have an advantage with slightly deeper aDoTs than both wide corners of the 49ers. Charvarius Ward and Deommodore Lenoir are great at limiting touchdowns, but Lenoir could yield receptions, as he allows them on 72.5% (PFF) of targets he defends. Both Ward and Lenoir should be up for the challenge, but AJ Brown and Devonta Smith rank in the top 15 among receivers in contested catches this season (PFF). It would appear one of the Philadelphia receivers will produce, but not both. Buy Brown with the bigger body up against the physicality of the San Francisco defense, and fade Smith in week 13.
Matchup Winners: Brandon Aiyuk, Deebo Samuel, AJ Brown
Matchup Losers: George Kittle, Devonta Smith
Cincinnati Bengals vs. Jacksonville Jaguars (MNF)
The Jaguars sit at 8-3 and look to extend their excellent 2023 season against the Bengals on Monday Night.
With Joe Burrow on IR, the Bengals will be leaning on Ja’Marr Chase and Tee Higgins to move the ball down the field. Chase and Higgins will take shifts matched up with Darious Williams and Montaric Brown of the Jaguars. Brown is filling in for Tyson Campbell, who did not play in Week 12 and is listed as questionable this week. Williams is a first-class coverage corner, allowing just a single touchdown on the season and a passer rating of only 69.8 (PFF). With a backup quarterback in, it is hard to see Chase producing a ton against Williams, but on his snaps against Montaric Brown, he will have a sizable advantage. Brown is allowing 15.2 yards per catch and has given up three touchdowns on just 34 targets on the season (PFF). Seeing as Williams moves around with alignments, there is a chance he sticks with Chase, limiting these snaps against Brown.
It’s unfortunate to say, but fade Chase. Tee Higgins will stretch the comfort zone of Brown with an aDoT of 11.3 (PFF), but the chances of Higgins regaining form after the exit of Burrow seems unlikely now. The fade is on for Higgins as the Bengals’ woes continue.
Calvin Ridley will be out wide for the Jaguars on Monday night, splitting his snaps against Cam Taylor-Britt and DJ Turner II of the Bengals. Ridley has flourished since the return of Zay Jones in week 11, scoring three touchdowns and tallying 192 receiving yards (PFF). He will be tested on Monday as Taylor-Britt carries an aDoT of 16.9 (PFF), the deepest of all NFL corners, and Turner II comes in at 13.8 (PFF), the exact same as Ridley. The Jaguars’ receiver will need to catch the ball in front of these two and make plays to be productive; this Bengals duo out wide has conceded just three touchdowns on over 600 coverage snaps in 2023 (PFF). Notwithstanding, buy Ridley this week.
The Bengals’ defense is likely to be on the field often with their offense struggling, and Zay Jones seems to be clearing defenses out for Ridley to run crosses between 10 and 20 yards, a depth where his aDoT is 14.4 and he has scored twice this season (PFF).
In the slot, Christian Kirk will see Chidobe Awuzie. Fade Christian Kirk this week. Awuzie is not allowing YAC with just 92 total yards (PFF) allowed this year. Kirk is in the top 20 among receivers in YAC per reception this season and should be held underneath with an aDoT of 10.5 in comparison to 13.0 for Awuzie (PFF).
Matchup Winners: Calvin Ridley
Matchup Losers: Ja’Marr Chase, Tee Higgins, Christian Kirk
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