Target Risers and Potential Breakouts, Week 13

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With Week 12 in the books, there are quite a few names to get to, particularly at the wide receiver position, who managed to post noteworthy target totals, and in some cases week-winning fantasy lines, perhaps portending the kind of big December finish that can conclusively redeem an early season disappointment.

With more players to cover, we'll go a bit more rapid fire this week, to make sure to take stock of as many eyebrow-raising performances as possible.

This Weeks Target Risers and Potential Breakouts column combs through some of these high-volume pass catchers and attempts to identify some possible widely available candidates to post big box scores in Week 13.

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Rising Target Grabbers

WIDE RECEIVERS

Julio Jones (WR, ATL) - 15 Targets

There isn’t a whole lot to say about this dynamite performance. With 12 catches for 253 yards and a pair of touchdowns, Julio more than doubled his season high in receiving yards to date and he tripled his TD total for 2017. We know he’s capable of outbursts like this, but he also has been extremely frustrating for his ability to disappear just when he’s needed most. Even so, this game serves as a reminder that you can’t bench him in any matchup and it also gives his owners hope, if they’ve made it this far, that he might continue to produce like a WR1 in the fantasy playoffs.

Keenan Allen (WR, LAC) - 14 Targets

Allen made the list last week with a massive breakout, 159 yard, two touchdown torching of the Buffalo Bills. He followed it up this week with 11 catches for 172 yards and a score against the suddenly reeling Dallas Cowboys. Like Julio Jones, Keenan Allen has spent most of the 2017 season looking like a disappointing fantasy pick, but is perhaps peaking at the right time. He’s a set it and forget it WR1 in any matchup for the time being.

Devin Funchess (WR, CAR) - 12 Targets

The 12 targets for Funchess were a season high, as he caught seven balls for 108 yards. Next up is a matchup against the Saints suddenly leaky, banged up secondary. You’re firing him up as a WR2 going forward, but keep an eye on his status. He has a toe injury that shouldn’t keep him out of the lineup, but with Greg Olsen suffering what is being characterized as a minor setback with his own foot injury, we can expect Cam Newton to continue to lean on Funchess.

Ted Ginn Jr. (WR, NO) - 11 Targets

Setting or tying season highs in targets (11) and catches (7) in week 12, Ted Ginn has actually shaken off his boom/bust reputation in 2017 to become a more consistent option with Drew Brees throwing him the football. Ginn has six games with at least 13 fantasy points (PPR) over his last nine and is the overall WR27 for the season, with plenty of ceiling for a blowup game in any given contest. He’s a high end WR3 with a surprisingly decent floor. A home date with the Carolina Panthers, who were absolutely demolished by the Jets WR tandem this past Sunday, is on tap for Week 13, and the sudden resurgence of passing game volume from Drew Brees has been a welcome sight for Ginn owners over the last two weeks.

Cooper Kupp (WR, LAR) - 11 Targets

With Robert Woods sidelined with a shoulder injury, Kupp figured to be one of the natural beneficiaries in the Rams passing game and he capitalized on his Week 12 opportunity by setting season highs in targets (11), catches (8) and yardage (118) against the Saints banged up secondary. With Sammy Watkins more likely to draw the coverage of Patrick Peterson on the outside, Kupp should once again be peppered with Jared Goff targets for a road date against the Arizona Cardinals in Week 13 and can be fired up confidently as a WR3. Kupp now has at least six catches in each of his last three games, a streak I believe will stay alive this week.

Jermaine Kearse (WR, NYJ) - 11 Targets

Kearse snapped a streak of four consecutive single-digit fantasy outputs by catching 7 of 11 targets for 105 yards and a TD in a loss to the Carolina Panthers in Week 12. He hasn’t been consistent enough to rely on as a WR3 in 2017, but this effort could be the first step to putting him back on the fantasy map. There are worse fliers for Week 13 as Kearse faces a Kansas City Chiefs defense surrendering the second most points to the wide receiver position.

Robby Anderson (WR, NYJ) - 10 Targets

As good as Jermaine Kearse was against the Panthers in Week 12, Robby Anderson was even more impressive, continuing his white-hot streak of five straight games with a touchdown, on this occasion catching six balls for 146 yards and a pair of scores. As I mentioned with Kearse, Week 13 brings the sieve-like Kansas City Chiefs pass defense to town which should place Anderson firmly in the top 15 among all WRs for this weekend’s slate.

Jamison Crowder (WR, WAS) - 10 Targets

Crowder accumulated 149 yards receiving over his first six games played on the season, but in Thursday night’s effort, he nearly matched that by catching 6 of 10 targets for 141 yards and his first touchdown of 2017. Crowder has now racked up a staggering 412 yards over his last four games played, good for fifth among all WRs over that span. It’s no easier to explain his recent resurgence than it is to explain his miserable start to the season, but whatever the explanation, Crowder deserves every week WR2 treatment until further notice.

Dede Westbrook (WR, JAX) - 10 Targets

Westbrook is a player we’ve been tracking in fantasy circles since this summer, and we’ve been anticipating that a return from injured reserve might see him take on a significant role in a Jaguars passing game short on weapons, with injuries to Allen Robinson and Allen Hurns. It’s difficult to trust Westbrook with the modest results he’s produced thus far (9 catches for 76 yards over his first two career games), but the matchup is right against a Colts team giving up the ninth-most points to wide receivers, as his role continues to expand. He’s probably best limited to use as a DFS punt play for the Week 13 slate, but there are few better stashes heading into the fantasy playoffs.

 

RUNNING BACKS

Le'Veon Bell (RB, PIT) - 14 Targets

Bell is the premier fantasy football play at any position in 2017 so there’s no particular reason to dive too deep in analyzing him, but it is worth noting that he has posted consecutive top 7 RB weekly finishes without scoring a TD over his last two games. He’s the only top 7 RB in either of the last two weeks not to have scored and simply can’t be contained for fantasy purposes.

Carlos Hyde (RB, SF) - 13 Targets

Though he’s had very few blowup weeks through the season’s first three months, Carlos Hyde has maintained rock-solid volume that hasn’t been game flow dependent, as he stands third among NFL RBs in targets (73), and fifth in catches (49). This passing usage has helped vault Hyde to his current slot as the overall RB9 for the season in PPR formats. Sunday’s divisional matchup with the Seahawks was not pretty for Hyde, as he only managed to parlay his 13 targets into seven catches for 21 yards, but for PPR purposes, he’s been an RB1 despite only four trips to the end zone on the season.

 

Potential Week 13 Breakouts

Austin Ekeler (RB, LAC)

From the point of view of someone who was facing Melvin Gordon in a handful of leagues during Thursday’s matchup with the Cowboys, I was borderline astounded at the number of times I saw Ekeler in the game as the Chargers moved into scoring territory. With 50 fantasy points in PPR formats over his last three, Ekeler has been more involved than Gordon owners are likely comfortable with, and with a matchup against the hapless Cleveland Browns on deck for Week 13, there could be ample opportunity for both backs to see significant volume. Even with Ekeler’s usage and production trending slightly down from his monster Week 10, a home date against a winless opponent should see him post his fourth consecutive double digit fantasy point effort.

Cordarrelle Patterson (WR, OAK)

With Oakland virtually assured of being without each of their top two wide receivers, Cordarrelle Patterson, ordinarily reserved for trick plays and high leverage situations, stands to be a natural beneficiary. His role already set to expand in the passing game, it’s also worth noting that he boasts a pair of long TD runs, of 43 and 47 yards on the season. There’s peril to using Patterson here, as his floor is a potential goose egg, but there is a huge ceiling available for the adventurous fantasy owner, and Patterson is available in 94% of Yahoo leagues. There’s nothing particularly intimidating about a matchup against a Giants defense that will be missing CB Janoris Jenkins and potentially going into full rebuild mode with Geno Smith standing in for Eli Manning.

Rod Smith (RB, DAL)

Alfred Morris hasn’t done anything especially bad in his two-game stint as the Cowboys starting running back, but the team around him has been an unmitigated disaster. Even at his best, Morris is a one-dimensional runner who stands to be replaced in virtually any passing situation, but at worst he’s a plodder who doesn’t have the game-breaking speed to be anything more than a stopgap replacement for Ezekiel Elliott. Rod Smith has already managed to siphon off 19 touches over the past two weeks, including the team’s only touchdown during that post-Elliott span. There’s a chance Smith, not Morris will be the back to own until Zeke’s return from suspension. In what I expect to be a close game between the Cowboys and the division rival Redskins, both backs should have ample opportunities to touch the football.

 

Bonus Stash

Wayne Gallman (RB, NYG)

As well as Orleans Darkwa has played in a “starting” role over the Giants’ past seven games, it’s a wonder the team hasn’t given him an opportunity to take on true feature back duties. Wayne Gallman, meanwhile, has recorded double digit touches in four of his last eight games played, and outsnapped Darkwa in a 20-10 loss to the division rival Redskins a week ago. Fantasy owners attempting to be ahead of the curve might note that with the team installing Geno Smith at QB over Eli Manning, the focus of the remainder of 2017 might very well shift to simply taking stock of what assets they currently have on roster. This could entail a longer look at the rookie Gallman, who probably represents the closest thing the Giants have to a potential three-down workhorse. He’s not worth a start in Week 13, but there are worse uses for your last bench spot.

 

More Week 13 Lineup Prep