Fantasy Football

Michael F. Florio's Week 13 fantasy football sleepers

Jonathan Taylor was forced to miss Week 12 after being placed on the reserve/COVID-19 list but, prior to that, he had a potential breakout game. He had 26 touches in that game, the most by far he's had since Week 2. He finished with 114 yards, his second most in a game this season. What I like most is that he had four targets and caught all of them. That may not sound like a lot but it's only the fourth game this season he's had more than two targets. The uptick usage both on the ground and in the passing game is encouraging. But if you are still not sold, he also played 56 percent of the snaps in Week 11, the most of all the Colts backs and the most Taylor has played in weeks. Do not forget all of this just because he was out last week.

This week, he has a fantastic matchup against the Texans who give up the most rushing yards per game to RBs (142.2). They are also tied for the most rushing touchdowns allowed to running backs, at 14. No offense to Nyheim Hines, but he won't be able to carry all the work on the ground on his own. There is an opportunity here for Taylor to step back in, get similar work to Week 11 and having a nice day in this great matchup. He is a flex option with a lot of upside this week.

Here are more Week 13 sleepers!

Kirk Cousins, QB, Minnesota Vikings

Kirk Cousins has probably played better than you realize right now. Since Week 9, he is the QB8 in fantasy. He's scored over 20 fantasy points in three of his last four games and has multiple passing touchdowns in all four of those games. But it's not just his hot streak that makes him a sleeper. He is facing a Jaguars who have allowed the third most fantasy PPG to QBs this season (21.99). Oh, and this game is in Minnesota, which is big for Cousins. At home this year, he is averaging 22.48 fantasy PPG, compared to just 11.11 on the road. He is a QB1 for me this week and can likely be had off the waiver wire.

Ryan Fitzpatrick, QB, Miami Dolphins

This one you must keep an eye on as Tua Tagovailoa could return this week, but if not, Fitzy is a nice QB sleeper in a good matchup. Ryan Fitzpatrick had to start last week and scored nearly 20 fantasy points. He has scored over 19 fantasy points in five of his last six starts, with multiple passing TDs in all but one of those games. Fitzpatrick has played very well as the Dolphins QB and was not benched due to his play. This week, he faces a Bengals defense that should not scare you. They've allowed a top-seven fantasy QB in three of their last six games. He has QB1 upside if he is the starter this week. Also, DeVante Parker is a much better fantasy option if Fitzy gets the start!

Carlos Hyde, RB, Seattle Seahawks

With Chris Carson returning last week many, myself included, expected him to return as the lead back. But it was Carlos Hyde who led the backfield with 61 percent of the snaps, compared to Carson's 37 percent. Hyde also had more carries (15 to eight) and more targets (three to two). This could have been a case of easing Carson back into things since it was his first game back from injury, but Hyde did play well in his absence and could have carved out a role in this offense. This week against the Giants, who may be without Daniel Jones, the Seahawks will likely be playing with a lead, meaning we could get a lot of running out of them. Hyde is a flex option with some upside this week.

Cam Akers, RB, Los Angeles Rams

Cam Akers had his best game of the season last week scoring 14.4 fantasy points on nine touches. It was his third game in the last four with nine-or-more touches. He also scored a TD for a second straight game, the first was receiving, last week's was a breakaway run. With Akers playing better as of late and the Rams searching for consistent production at running back, there is reason to think they will give more work to their second-round pick. Of course, Sean McVay could continue to roll with a three-headed attack in the backfield, but Akers has looked like the best runner, at least as of late. I am advocating picking him up everywhere. Starting him, though, should be left for deeper leagues or those having to dive deep.

Sterling Shepard, WR, New York Giants

Sterling Shepard leads the Giants WRs in targets per game this season (7.1) and he led in targets from Colt McCoy last week (four). It is a small sample size, but there is no reason to believe he suddenly will stop seeing those targets, regardless of who is playing QB for the Giants. That is important as the matchup could not get any better going up against the Seahawks who allow the most fantasy points (51.23) and receiving yards (240.3) to WRs in NFL history! Shepard is on that borderline of WR3 or flex option with upside.

Breshad Perriman, WR, New York Jets

Don't look now but Breshad Perriman is the WR15 in fantasy since Week 9. He has scored double-digit fantasy points in each of his last three games and has three total TDs in that span. Last week, he had eight targets, which ties his season high, but he also had four targets of 20-plus air yards and caught two of those, both also season highs. Perriman showed us at the end of last season that he can go on sustained runs like this. Now, I would not expect anything like he gave us with the Bucs last season, but can he be a WR3 against the Raiders this week? For sure. On the season, Vegas ranks in the middle of the pack against receivers, but they have allowed five Top-20 fantasy WRs in their last five games combined. Perriman has some boom-or-bust in him but given the way he's been playing and the matchup, he is an upside flex option this week.

Keke Coutee, WR, Houston Texans

This one hurts. Nothing against Keke Coutee, but he is only included in this article because Will Fuller is suspended for the rest of the season. That leaves 21 percent of the team's targets and 30 percent of the air yards up for grabs. That is big time volume and Brandin Cooks can't take it all, so someone else will have to step up. Coutee has been active the last two weeks manning the slot with Randall Cobb out, running around 20 routes per game and even scoring a TD two weeks ago. Isaiah Coulter is the other WR that could step up here, as the Texans just need healthy bodies at the receiver position right now. But again, there's a lot of volume up for grabs now, for whoever can step up and take it!

Jonnu Smith, TE, Tennessee Titans

Jonnu Smith did not score a fantasy point or even have a target last week! That does everything but express confidence in him as a sleeper. But still, that game looks like an outlier. He saw six targets in two straight games prior, including multiple red zone targets in each. He's scored a TD in the three games before last week and has seven scores on the season, tied for the most amongst tight ends. This week, he faces the Browns who allow the second most fantasy PPG this season (15.69), including eight TDs allowed to the position -- tied for the second most in the league. At this point, all you need out of your TE is a TD and they will likely finish a week as a TE1. I like Smith's chances of finding the end zone this week.

Packers DEF

If you read this article every week, you know the drill by now! Stream against the Eagles each and every week. On the season, the Eagles allow the most sacks per game (4.2) and the third-most giveaways per game (1.9). They've also allowed a Top-12 fantasy defense in every week but two this season. The Packers defense has also been playing well as of late. You can start them with confidence this week.

Follow Michael F. Florio on Twitter and Instagram.

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