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Week 13 will have the biggest abundance of under-the-radar booms and busts for fantasy football since the first month of the season.

The NFL schedule is kind to fantasy players from here on out. There are no more byes for any teams for the remainder of the season. If your fantasy squad is shorthanded, it is because your players either got hurt or lost their starting spots. The schedule becomes favorable fantasy-wise just in time since most leagues only have two or three weeks left in their regular season.

Here are some under-the-radar booms and busts for the 13th week of NFL action to help you set a winning lineup. Good luck RotoBallers!

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Week 13 Under-the-Radar Booms

T.J. Yeldon (RB, JAX) vs. IND

Leonard Fournette has been suspended for this week’s game for thinking he was Tyson Fury and that it was okay to run onto the field to throw haymakers at opponents. While that is soul-crushing for millions of fantasy players, the good news is that Yeldon should be able to have a solid week in Fournette’s place even though Carlos Hyde will be running at a three-yards-per-carry clip 8-to-10 times during the contest.

Yeldon has had some prior success against Indianapolis.  He has racked up 100 combined yards or more against the Colts defense three times over the past four seasons since he entered the NFL. Yeldon is shiftier than Hyde and a better receiver out of the backfield than Hyde, so he should end up on the field more often. I just get the sense also that Indianapolis is due for an off game and Jacksonville could be buoyed by the benching of Blake Bortles. Yeldon is angling towards 50 rushing yards, six receptions for 60 yards, and a touchdown in my estimation.

Jared Cook (TE, OAK) vs. KC

There is not much for fantasy owners to be excited about when they look at the Raiders roster. Quarterback David Carr cannot be trusted, Amari Cooper was traded to Dallas, and Marshawn Lynch, Jordy Nelson, Martavis Bryant, and Brandon LaFell are either injured, ineffective or both. Other than the occasional decent game from “Muscle Hamster” Doug Martin, Cook is the only Raider worth any fantasy salt. Cook has caught touchdown passes in three of his past five games and is averaging 40 yards per week during that span.

Cook is going up against Kansas City’s dead-last pass defense on Sunday. Do not think a week off will make the Chiefs defense any stingier on the back end. The only thing that can help them at this point is if Pro Bowl safety Eric Berry finally returns from his heel injury, but right now he is questionable at best for the contest. Oakland should be trailing and throwing for most of the game, so 50-75 yards and a touchdown is definitely within Cook’s wheelhouse. 

Courtland Sutton (WR, DEN) at CIN

The prevailing thought among fantasy pundits when Denver dealt Demaryius Thomas to Houston at the trade deadline was that his departure would open the door for Sutton to blossom into a fantasy superstud. Instead, Sutton was targeted less than pedestrian tight end Jeff Heuerman was over the past three games (19-15) and his fantasy value is stuck in neutral while the Broncos offense has revolved around passes to Emmanuel Sanders and handoffs to revved-up rookie Phillip Lindsay.

Heuerman is now out of Sutton’s way, however, due to season-ending rib and lung injuries suffered in Denver’s victory over Pittsburgh. That means Sutton is second in line behind Sanders in the target department this week against a Cincinnati secondary that has not found many receivers it can cover this season (31st in pass defense). Look for Sutton to break out in a big way this weekend and show why Denver traded Thomas.

 

Week 13 Under-the-Radar Busts

Lamar Jackson (QB, BAL) at ATL

Jackson is 2-0 as Baltimore’s starting signal caller in the wake of Joe Flacco’s balky hip. The rousing rookie has been amazing as a runner (190 yards and a TD) and Nathan Peterman-like as a passer (328 yards, one TD, three INT). While he has been getting the job done in Baltimore’s revamped run-most offense, you have to remember that he did it against the 26th and 32nd ranked defenses in the NFL (Oakland and Cincinnati).

Jackson will have his first road test this week at Atlanta, and while the Falcons secondary rivals Green Bay’s and Philadelphia’s for the most banged-up defensive backfield in the NFL at the moment and is currently ranked 26th in pass defense, they have not allowed any quarterback to throw for more than 220 yards against them in their last three games. Playing on the road is tough, and playing in Atlanta is tougher. Toughest is doing that when you are a rookie quarterback who runs better than he passes. I am not banking on a Michael Vickesque effort out of Mr. Jackson. 150 yards passing, 60 yards rushing, one touchdown and a couple of turnovers sounds more like it to me.

Peyton Barber (RB, TB) vs. CAR

Love is fleeting, especially in fantasy football. While I was enamored with Barber in last week’s column and listed him as an under-the-radar boom (63 combined yards and a TD…not horrible), I am turning on him quicker than Dean Ambrose turned on Seth Rollins in WWE a couple weeks ago.

Barber may have three touchdowns over his past five games and is probably undervalued in many DFS leagues and formats due to his penchant for posting 40-yard flops every other outing, but this is not shaping up to be a week to use him as a bargain-basement back. Carolina has the sixth-ranked run defense and just held the top rushing offense in the NFL (Seattle) to 75 yards last week. The Panthers will be in must-win mode at home and are not going to allow a marginal back to run over them like he is Jamal Lewis circa 2003. Look for Barber to be stuffed as often as an animal is at a Build-A-Bear store.

Jermaine Kearse, (WR, NYJ) at TEN

Kearse was the blue-light special of last week for fantasy players, especially in DFS leagues. After nine contests where he had way more two-or-fewer reception games (five) than touchdowns (zero), Kearse shocked the universe by getting targeted 12 times and converting six passes into 66 yards and his first touchdown of the season. This will not be a trend, though.

New York’s receiving corps is finally at full strength after injuries to Robby Anderson and Quincy Enunwa had robbed them of its depth, and tight end Christopher Herndon has become a viable weapon in the passing attack as well. Whether it is Sam Darnold or Josh McCown or Joe Namath throwing this Sunday, do not expect an encore performance out of Kearse against Tennessee. Kearse has a better chance of receiving a dozen donuts from whomever his quarterback is than a dozen targets.

 

That’s it for another week. Follow me on Twitter @craigrondinone!

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