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Flex Heroes and Zeroes - Week 13 Fantasy Football Picks

If you're like me, and I pray for your soul that you are not, then you tend to occasionally stray from the logical way of thinking and revert to subjective decision-making processes. For example, I just picked up Carlos Hyde in the RotoBaller Experts League because I have Melvin Gordon and now need to fill his spot with someone who has an outside chance of actually producing this week (see you later Jamaal Williams). As I wrote up this week's edition of Heroes and Zeroes, I realize that I subconsciously bumped Hyde way up in my rankings because I want him to have a great week. No, I need him to have a great week. I'm 7-5, tied with three other teams, and need this win. I'm not about to let @NMariano53 win this thing again...

I've also managed to inject my hometown bias in two ways. First, I hate Tom Brady. Not just this week, mind you, but always and forever until the end of eternity. I think most people who aren't Pats fans feel the same way, but as a Dolphin or Jet fan, it's x 100000. I will admit that my feelings toward him are similar to that of Vince Vaughn in Anchorman: "From deep down in my stomach, with every inch of me, I pure, straight hate you. But goddammit, do I respect you!" The other way I realized I'm biased is that I mention a Dolphin. Not in a good way of course, because I'm a cynical Dolphins fan who expects to lose by 30 every week, so of course I'm never starting Kenyan Drake or any Dolphins player for the rest of this season (mainly because I don't own any). The point is, when setting your lineups in this all-important week, don't be biased. Play the matchups, go the logical route, and trust the process. I can't believe I just said that because I totally don't mean it.

Now, here are my fantasy flex and streamer "heroes" and "zeroes" at each position for Week 13 of the NFL season. These players are borderline start considerations for your flex and superflex spots that I believe will perform unexpectedly well or that might fare poorly relative to expectations in this week's matchups. To see how our staff feels about every fantasy-relevant player in the known universe, look no further than our very own RotoBaller consensus weekly rankings.

Editor's Note: Get any full-season NFL Premium Pass for 50% off. Our exclusive In-Season Lineup Tools, Lineup Optimizer and over 150 days of Premium DFS Research. Sign Up Now!


Week 13 Lineup Heroes


Case Keenum, Denver Broncos

You don't need Case Keenum this week. Hopefully you haven't all year. But you want him this week. The Bungles get A.J. Green back but they had to trade in their starting QB in the process. That means Jeff Driskel all day and a decent chance that the Broncos keep the ball on offense for quite a bit of time. That aside, Cincinnati's defense can make any opposing QB look good, as they've done nearly all season long. They have allowed the most fantasy points to quarterbacks and are effectively free-falling at this point, even before Hue Jackson arrived. Keenum has done a far better job playing the role of game manager lately, even without Demaryius Thomas, going three straight games without an interception after starting the year with at least one pick in the first eight games. This seems like a pretty low-ceiling play, but their recent schedule has been tough (Steelers, Chargers, Texans) so it's pretty encouraging to think he finally gets a cake matchup. You don't need Keenum in leagues of less than 16 teams but if you still have someone like Tom Brady or Matthew Stafford slotted in your starting spot, this is the time to make a switch.


Carlos Hyde, Jacksonville Jaguars

Hyde will get another chance to prove he was worth trading for mid-season as he replaces Leonard Fournette in the starting lineup once more. This time it's not for another foot injury, rather for bad behavior as Fournette seemed to forget he was on a 3-7 team before getting into a heated spat with Bills D-lineman Shaq Lawson last week. Aside from a bigger workload, there are other factors at play that could easily lead to a 20+ carry day for Hyde. OC Nathaniel Hackett was relieved of his duty, presumably for allowing Blake Bortles to ever throw the ball in the first place. With a head coach fighting to save his job and former Browns castoff Cody Kessler at QB, there's a fair chance the team will want to control things through the running game. Trying to keep the ball out of Andrew Luck's hands seemed to be their M.O. three weeks ago when they ran it 34 times, with Fournette being the beneficiary and scoring twice that day. If Hyde is even moderately effective, he'll post high RB2 numbers easily.


Chris Godwin, Tampa Bay Buccaneers

I know what you're thinking - another Tampa receiver? Unless Ronald Jones pulls a Willis Reed and comes off the sideline to suddenly solve the Bucs rushing woes, meaning he would suddenly have to become good at football, then the Bucs will still be passing-a-plenty. DeSean Jackson has been ruled out with a thumb injury, so Godwin's target count will increase. Like anyone who's donned a Bucs jersey this year, his production has been sporadic but this is a good spot to take a chance as they will definitely need to play catch-up with the Panthers as they did in a 42-28 loss back in Week 9. Adam Humphries is the more obvious start here but Godwin has a better individual matchup against rookie Donte Jackson, along with a three-inch size advantage. Which is crazy because I always thought Godwin was like 6'4" and then I find out he's the same size as me! We look nearly identical without pads on too. You're going to have to trust me on that.


Kyle Rudolph, Minnesota Vikings

Castoff from fantasy relevance by yours truly after being a massive letdown this year, Rudolph was basically a forgotten man until last week when he matched his season-high with seven receptions. Crazy target totals heading the way of Adam "Can't Stop the" Thielen and Stefon "Do the Dugs" Diggs have cut into his market share all year. Apparently, there is still enough to go around. The Pats have given up huge games to tight ends Eric Ebron and Trey Burton, while Jimmy Graham and Jonnu Smith have reached the end zone in recent weeks against them. Rudolph is no longer the sexy sleeper pick of the preseason but in these troubling times at tight end, he can get you through the week.


Week 13 Lineup Zeroes


Tom Brady, New England Patriots

You can argue all day whether he's the G.O.A.T. (wrong, it's clearly Dan Marino) but we may need to collectively wipe from our consciousness the idea that Brady is an every-week starter or a top-10 fantasy QB in 2018. He's currently the QB14 and is about to be passed by Dak Prescott. While the yardage has been fine, Brady has thrown a total of three TD in his last four games, taking a backseat to the running game in the red zone. The return of Gronk helped last week but the tremendous upside we assume with Brady hasn't been present even when all skill players are healthy. The Vikings are a top-five pass defense and haven't yielded 200 passing yards to a team since Week 6. There's little question you should bench Brady this week. Maybe forever. (Don't @ me, Pats fans)


Kenyan Drake, Miami Dolphins

Repeat after me: it's a trap. A matchup with Buffalo seemed like it would be fantasy gold all season but it hasn't turned out to be true for the most part. After getting crushed in their first two games to the tune of 78 points and 718 total yards allowed, they stymied the Vikings by holding them to six points on 292 yards. Since then, the Bills have held four different opponents under 225 total yards out of seven games. Yes, there were a couple big losses in that mix, but that was to the Colts and Pats. This is the Dolphins we're talking about... Miami was competitive with Indy last week with Drake scoring twice, so this seems like a good spot for him. Those two TD came on 13 touches, however, which makes sense since he averages just under 12 touches per game. We didn't think the label "touchdown-dependent" would apply to Drake but it certainly does. It's a close call here, but as a jaded Phins fan I'm going to bet the under on Drake scoring this week. Remember kids, if you keep your expectations at rock bottom, you'll never be disappointed.


Demaryius Thomas, Houston Texans

For the 27th time this year (OK it was the third), Keke Coutee suffered a hamstring injury, forcing him to leave the Week 12 contest early. That, coupled with some craptacular coverage by Malcolm Butler, led to a two-touchdown game by DT and just like that he's back in the WR3 conversation. Let's cut that convo short though. Thomas caught four of five targets for 38 yards and has a total of seven catches for 99 yards in three games as a Texan. When Coutee was healthy (that one time) in Week 11, Thomas wasn't even targeted. It appears the rookie WR is trending toward playing this week, which is bad news for Thomas. Worse news - he will be covered by possible DROY candidate Denzel Ward. If there are exactly three things (and no more) that fantasy experts know, it's 1) don't chase touchdowns as they vary and are hard to predict, II) don't chase last week's stats, and C) when considering flex plays, you have to play matchups. If you're starting Thomas this week, you're doing all three wrong.


Trey Burton, Chicago Bears

Burton has done enough, should I say little enough, the last couple of weeks to discourage owners from keeping him in the TE spot. In the last five games, he's got a total of 14 receptions for 123 yards, or an average of 2.8 receptions and 24.6 yards. He's got as many fumbles as touchdowns in that span, at exactly one. That started before Adam Shaheen made his return, only to get concussed his first game back. Shaheen has cleared the protocol and will take away some snaps from Burton in Week 13 already. The final kicker is the fact that Mitch Trubisky won't be playing for the second straight game. The Bears managed to eke out an ugly win over the Lions on Thanksgiving and could easily do so again in New York, but the offensive output will be limited. Burton has slid down to the TE2 ranks and can be passed over for better options.


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