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In case it slipped your mind, NFL football fans have the opportunity to vote on top performers at the running back and quarterback position following every regular week of action.
Now, without further ado, let's dive into some players who could have huge games in Week 13, both through the air and on the ground.
It almost feels lazy to write up Philip Rivers and Jared Goff as potential Air candidates for Week 13 as they're on the voting ballot for Week 12 after leading the league with 434 and 354 pass yards, respectively, a week ago. But both quarterbacks have favorable matchups for the second week in a row that can't be ignored. So here we go.
Philip Rivers is sneakily the QB11 in fantasy through 12 weeks, and he's been on quite a roll recently. The Chargers quarterback has thrown for at least two hundred yards and multiple touchdowns in four of his last five games and has a 10:2 TD:INT ratio in that span. He's throwing less than he was in the beginning of the season, so his pass attempt volume is down, but his efficiency is up. Finally finding a groove with Keenan Allen helps. In the last three games, Allen is single-handedly helping fantasy owners make a playoff run and has put up some ridiculous numbers (27/379/3). Rivers has peppered his best receiver with targets lately, with 13 and 14 in the last two contests, respectively.
Rivers is coming off a Thanksgiving Day game in which he played some of his best ball of the season against Dallas. Some Next Gen Stats to back up his performance: He was getting the ball out quickly with a 2.39 second time to throw, third-fastest of the week. He had his best game throwing deep, going 4-of-6 for 143 yards and a touchdown along with a 149.3 passer rating on throws of 20-plus yards. He was impressive on short distance throws too, carving up the Cowboys defense on passes of 10 yards or less with a 121 passer rating, 181 yards and a score in that distance range. Rivers even did well on tight window throws, going 4-or-7 for two touchdowns on the 21.2 percent of his throws when a Cowboys defender was within one yard of his target.
That's all very impressive stuff from Rivers, who never seems to get the credit he deserves in fantasy circles. He should keep cooking this week in a matchup against the Browns, too. Cleveland's defense is allowing a 103 passer rating with a 22:6 TD:INT ratio to opposing quarterbacks this season.
The last time Jared Goff faced the Cardinals, it was in Week 7 in London. In that game, Goff put up 18.70 fantasy points in a shutout win that he didn't throw a touchdown pass in until late in the fourth quarter. He did, however, score his only rushing touchdown of the year in that game, which is always a nice boon to a fantasy quarterback's value. It makes sense, too because Arizona has allowed more rushing touchdowns to quarterbacks (five) than any other team this year.
To be fair to Arizona, their run defense is stout. Opposing running backs are averaging just 72 rush yards per game against the Cardinals. Because teams have trouble running against them, opposing offenses are throwing more. Arizona has 402 pass attempts against, fourth-most in the NFL. That's the weak spot in the Cardinals defense, so it makes sense for teams to attack them there. Due to that combination, 18 pass touchdowns and five rushing touchdowns against, Arizona has allowed more combined touchdowns (23) to opposing signal callers than any other team. That's equated to an 18.95 FPPG allowed to quarterbacks, fourth-most in the NFL.
Save for a tough game against the Vikings in Week 11, Goff has been on fire, with at least 18 fantasy points in four of his last five games, two of which were over 26 points. Goff's 361 pass attempts this year ranks him 10th in the league and he's sixth in pass yards with 2,964. It's really the perfect storm of hot quarterback versus weak secondary that should allow for a ton of fantasy points for Goff at home this week.
A few weeks ago, we were all campaigning for fantasy owners to drop Marshawn Lynch. One of the most game-script dependent running backs in fantasy this season, Lynch simply was not getting on the field during the second half of games in which the Oakland Raiders were trailing. The team would pivot to their more versatile, young and explosive backs in DeAndre Washington and Jalen Richard in those negative scripts, leaving Beast Mode watching from the sidelines.
But James Koh hinted at it a few weeks back in an edition of "Koh Knows," and it seems like he was onto something. Maybe Lynch was still finding his legs following an 18-month hiatus from football. You can't expect a 30-year-old back to just hit the ground running at full speed after a long layoff like that. He needed half a season to get warmed up, build his endurance. It's showing now.
Heading into a home game against the New York Giants, there's even more to like about Lynch's situation. First off, the matchup is extremely favorable as New York is allowing 153.5 total yards per game to opposing running backs, that's the fourth-most in the league behind only the 49ers, Rams and Chargers. The Giants are rolling with a turnover-prone Geno Smith at quarterback and one of their best defensive players, Janoris Jenkins, was sent to injured reserve with an ankle injury after Week 12. So it's not very likely that New York wins the time of possession battle. And the Raiders will be without their top two offensive playmakers in Michael Crabtree (suspension) and Amari Cooper (head, ankle). When the team lost both players last week, Lynch, as mentioned, posted season highs in offensive snaps and touches.
Since taking over the featured role in the Packers backfield, rookie Jamaal Williams has been a legitimate bell-cow. He's logged 47 touches in his last two games and has seen 11 targets as a pass-catcher, tying him for second-most on the team in that span. He's not coming off the field either, mostly because Green Bay doesn't have an option. But that doesn't matter in fantasy football. Williams has seen snap shares of 81 and 88 percent the last two games, is getting goal-line carries (leads team with three red zone touches last two games) and looks in the passing game. All of that volume has equated to 230 total scrimmage yards, or 115 per game, and two scores. And this has been against two of the toughest defenses in the league, the Ravens and Steelers, not what one would consider favorable matchups.
But this week, Williams' matchup week is extremely favorable. Tampa Bay has allowed 11 total touchdowns to running backs this season, tied for fourth most. The Bucs are also surrendering 137 scrimmage yards to backs this year, which is about middle-of-the-pack, but the defense's overall fantasy points per game allowed to the position, 18.86 in standard, is a bottom-10 mark. There's no reason to believe Williams will see less volume against the Buccaneers defense this week, so he's a legitimate candidate for top-five running back production for the second straight week.