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Week 13 Boom and Bust Candidates: Russell Wilson, Doug Martin, Alshon Jeffery & More!


It’s do or die time for millions of fantasy football players this week. Week 13 marks the end of the fantasy regular season for many leagues, and finishing 8-5 or 7-6 will make the difference between playing meaningful games in Week 14 and the losers’ bracket. The boatload of injuries that have plagued the league have put a lot of fantasy owners in tough predicaments this week, but all you need for a fantasy football win is for a few players to blow up.

Deciding which players are ready to erupt and which ones will have a down week is the beautiful yet maddening part of weekly fantasy football. This is why we use matchup data and other statistical trends to create this weekly boom/bust list, detailing who you should be counting on to carry you to victory and who you should avoid.

Potential Booms for Week 13

Quarterbacks:

Jay Cutler, QB, Bears: He’s come back down to Earth a bit over the last two weeks, but Jay Cutler has six games this season with at least 17 fantasy points. Meanwhile, the 49ers have been below average against QBs, surrendering an average of 18.5 points per week to the position.

Andy Dalton, QB, Bengals: Three weeks ago, fantasy owners might’ve been feeling a bit panicky at Dalton’s ugly performance against the Texans – turns out the Texans defense is that good and Dalton is back to playing well. With five TDs over the last two weeks, Dalton is primed for a big day in Cleveland, as the Browns have given up 12 passing TDs in the last four games.

Ben Roethlisberger, QB, Steelers: Big Ben has been money over the last three games, with 1,169 passing YDs during that span and six TDs. The Colts have been somewhat vulnerable to the pass, especially on the road where they’ve allowed an average of 290.4 yards per game in five contests this season and a total of 10 TDs.

Running Backs:

Javorius Allen, RB, Ravens: This projection is more about the matchup and Javorius Allen’s projected usage than it is about his talent. The Ravens are decimated on defense, so the rookie runner should be a lock to rack up big touches this week. Making things even sweeter, the Dolphins have allowed an average of 145.25 rushing YDs per game to RBs over the last four games.

Doug Martin, RB, Buccaneers: Surprisingly enough, Doug Martin has reestablished himself as a Top 5 RB this season with 1,038 rushing YDs and a 5.1 yards per carry average. The Falcons have not been great against the run, having allowed at least 90 rushing YDs or a TD in eight of 11 games this season.

Wide Receivers:

Alshon Jeffery, WR, Bears: If we’ve learned anything about the Bears offense this season it’s that when Alshon Jeffery is on the field, he will get the ball a lot. Jeffery has at least seven receptions and 90 receiving YDs in four of the six games in which he started this season. Jeffery is going to start, and the 49ers have allowed at least one TD to a receiver in seven of 11 games played this season.

Allen Robinson, WR, Jaguars: Allen Robinson has established himself as a Top 10 WR this year and has at least five catches is his last seven games. He also has six TDs during that stretch. Tennessee just got destroyed by Oakland’s receivers a week ago (18 receptions, 256 YDs, three TDs), so I’m predicting more of the same in Week 13.

Tight Ends:

Travis Kelce, TE, Chiefs: Travis Kelce has been solid this season, and over the last five contests he has at least five receptions in four games. While his stats don’t jump out at you like Rob Gronkowski’s or Gary Barnidge’s, when you have a TE facing the Raiders, he becomes a must-start. The Raiders have given up 11 TDs to the position so far this season.

Julius Thomas, TE, Jaguars: With two TDs over the last two weeks, it seems as though Julius Thomas is finally becoming the offensive weapon many assumed he’d be in Jacksonville. The injury to Allen Hurns likely means an increase in targets for Thomas against a Titans team that has allowed eight TDs to TEs this season.

Defenses:

Carolina Panthers: The fact that New Orleans is playing at home gives me some pause, but the Saints have allowed double digit fantasy points to four opponents this season and the Panthers have scored at least 10 in three consecutive weeks.

Houston Texans: After four straight games scoring double digit fantasy points, it’s clear that Houston has emerged as an elite fantasy option. The Bills haven’t been exactly turnover prone, but they have fumbled three times in the last two weeks and been sacked 14 times in the last five games.

Potential Busts of the Week

Quarterbacks:

Tyrod Taylor, QB, Bills: Ever since giving up four TD passes to the Dolphins in Week 7, Houston has allowed just one TD pass. Since then, three signal callers have been held to single-digit fantasy scores. Tyrod Taylor has been a nice story so far this season, but the way Houston is playing on defense should scare you off of starting him.

Russell Wilson, QB, Seahawks: It will be hard not to trust Russell Wilson again, being that he has thrown eight TDs in the last two weeks. Just be aware that Minnesota has only allowed two 300 YD passing games this season and five multi-td games (no three TD games).

Running Backs:

T.J. Yeldon, RB, Jaguars: T.J. Yeldon has struggled as of late, failing to top 64 rushing YDs in each of the last four games. Things don’t appear likely to improve this week against a Titans team that has allowed just two rushing TDs since Week 5.

Lamar Miller, RB, Dolphins: Lamar Miller has just 12 carries for 46 rushing YDs in the last two weeks. While he is always a threat in the passing attack, it appears to be too risky to count on that without a guaranteed base of expected backfield carries. Baltimore has allowed just four rushing TDs and two 100 YD rushing games to RBs this season.

Wide Receivers:

Brandin Cooks, WR, Saints: Brandin Cooks has been coming on strong down the stretch with five TDs in his last four games, but he faces Carolina’s Josh Norman this week. Norman has shutdown every receiver he’s faced this season and is likely to see a lot of Cooks on Sunday.

Mike Evans, WR, Buccaneers: While the yardage has been there (615 receiving YDs over last six games), the TDs have not been (two TDs over last six games). Meanwhile, Atlanta has been filthy against WRs this season, allowing just three scores to the position all year long.

Tight Ends:

Jason Witten, TE, Cowboys: After catching two TDs during the opening week, Jason Witten has been shut out of the end zone ever since. With Matt Cassel under center for Dallas and the Redskins excelling against TEs this season (only two TDs allowed), this is a bad matchup for Witten.

Defenses:

New York Jets: The Giants have only allowed an average of four fantasy points per game to defenses and the Jets have allowed offenses to score at least 20 points for seven consecutive weeks. While Eli Manning certainly has a habit of turning the ball over, the Jets inability to consistently get pressure on the QB and the absence of Darrelle Revis makes me shy away from starting the Jets.

Diamonds in the Rough:

With your season on the line, you can’t afford to let injuries and bad matchups keep you from getting a win. Here are some waiver options to help you get by for a week.

Alex Smith, QB, Chiefs: Alex Smith may not be the most exciting start in the world, but he’s consistent and offers a high floor. The Raiders have also been generous to QBs this year.
Alfred Morris or Matt Jones, RB, Redskins: Dallas has been better against the run as of late, but this is still a decent matchup at a thin position.
Marvin Jones, WR, Bengals: Andy Dalton looks poised to have a big game and the Browns have been awful against receivers.
Kyle Rudolph, TE, Vikings: Kyle Rudolph has been pretty productive over the last two weeks and faces a Seattle defense that is vulnerable to TEs.
Washington Redskins: Not only is the Redskins defense improved over the last three weeks (28 total fantasy points), they are facing a weak and decimated Cowboys team.

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