Daily fantasy (DFS) brings a breath of fresh air to the industry, with an emphasis on the excitement of drafting a new team every week. We all know that the late summer drafts and the thrill of analyzing the weekly matchups are the best part of playing fantasy football. The daily game merges those two together to form the newest wave rocking the fantasy world.
Here in the weekly daily fantasy roundup column, we'll break down everything you need to know to pick the best plays on the Week 13 slate. If any of the terminology goes over your head. Please refer to the "what you need to know" preview of the roundup.
Top quarterback plays
Aaron Rodgers, QB, Green Bay Packers - Averaging 43 attempts per game over the last four weeks, Rodgers has been on fire of late. This is a tough spot against the tough Texans pass defense, but Rodgers should find success at home. He's also likely to go overlooked with Brees, Brady and Roethlisberger being preferred options.
Top running back plays
Jordan Howard, RB, Chicago Bears - After Matt Barkley surprisingly showed himself to be something of a threat behind center, we don't need to avoid Jordan Howard like the plague in daily fantasy going forward. The 49ers are still bleeding 150 yards per game to the running back position this year. Howard handled 21 touches last week, so the workload is there for a monster game against the 49ers.
Spencer Ware, RB, Kansas City Chiefs - Spencer Ware has not topped 70 rushing, or 35 receiving yards since his return from a concussion. This is a spot for him to get back on track against the Falcons. Atlanta has been targeted a whopping 114 times by quarterbacks throwing to running backs and allowed nine rushing touchdowns so far on the year. The workload is still there with 19 touches in each of Ware's last two games.
LeGarrette Blount, RB, New England Patriots - In games where the Patriots are heavy favorites to win, as they should be against the inferior Rams, LeGarrette Blount usually gets fed and comes up big. It also certainly feels like the Patriots will use the power run to slow down the Rams' pass rush on Brady. Over the last month the Rams have given up a whopping 6.5 yards per carry average to opposing running backs.
Jeremy Hill, RB, Cincinnati Bengals - This is purely a volume meets value play. Hill handled 18 touches last week, including a surprising six catches out of the backfield. If he's going to hold that kind of workload with Giovani Bernard out, he'll be a threat for a touchdown every week even if the efficiency is not there. We can't be too picky while trying to find value plays these days.
Top wide receiver plays
Julio Jones, WR, Atlanta Falcons - Teams have mercilessly picked on the Chiefs from the left wide receiver position, with Emmanuel Sanders the latest to rip them up there. He accumulated 73 percent of his yardage from that position on Sunday night. Marcus Peters has played 94 percent of his pass plays from the left corner position and Jones takes 51 percent of his snaps from left wide receiver. This is a spot where Jones could have a monster outing.
Larry Fitzgerald, WR, Arizona Cardinals - There should be some overcorrection coming for Fitzgerald after he had a season-low four targets in a prime matchup last week. Washington's weakest cornerback plays in the slot, and Josh Norman rarely chases top receivers inside. The Redskins allow 8.44 yards per target to the position as a whole, the fourth-highest figure in the league.
DeAndre Hopkins, WR, Houston Texans - The Packers allow the most yards per target (9.41) and second-highest touchdown rate (8.2) to wide receivers this season. Hopkins has target totals of 12, seven, 13, six and 10 the last five games. He should be able to put together a strong line against this stopgap secondary, especially if the script turns into a shootout.
Top tight end plays
Greg Olsen, TE, Carolina Panthers- Olsen has not gone over 60 yards receiving since Week 6 against the Bucs. However, this should be a solid week for him to get going once again, especially if the Panthers trip to Seattle does turn into a high-scoring affair. The Seahawks have allowed the sixth-most yards and third-most catches to the tight end position over the last four weeks.
Vance McDonald, TE, San Francisco 49ers - McDonald saw six targets in four-straight games before garnering eight targets last week against the Dolphins. He's quietly emerged as Colin Kaepernick's top target, who once shared a strong relationship with Vernon Davis back in the day. If you're dipping into the 49ers pool of pass-catchers when they face the equally dubious Bears, it will be with McDonald.
Ladarius Green, TE, Pittsburgh Steelers - This is a pure undervalued dart throw play. He's not playing a full complement of snaps, but Green is essentially running a route on every play he's on the field. Green made two big catches in Week 12, but the team did not need much more from him as they swept through the Colts with ease. Green could provide a needed counterpunch against a Giants defense that gives up 63 yards per game to tight ends.
Stack(s) of the week
Aaron Rodgers/Randall Cobb/DeAndre Hopkins - As mentioned earlier, Rodgers may go overlooked in a week with several high-end options at quarterback. Yet, Rodgers averages 43.5 pass attempts over his last four games. He's been a productive monster with 23 or more fantasy points and at least 26 rushing yards in all of those contests. If pairing a receiver with him, it makes sense to chase a big game from Randall Cobb, as the outside corners for the Texans are tough. It's also wise to run this stack back with Hopkins, who should be in an excellent spot against the Green Bay secondary.
Drew Brees/Michael Thomas/Willie Snead - The Lions allow league-highs in completion rate (74 percent) and passer rating (106.4) and they'll have to face the Saints at home this week. Detroit particularly struggles on quick passes, which improves Willie Snead's outlook this week. Brandin Cooks vs. Michael Thomas for the multi-stack is a bit of a coin flip. There's a prime squeaky wheel narrative going on with Brandin Cooksupset about not getting a target last week. However, Thomas leads the team in red-zone targets, and certainly possesses a better ceiling/floor combination.
Best contrarian play
Marvin Jones, WR, Detroit Lions - After collecting 11 targets on Thanksgiving, a feat not accomplished since Week 2, Jones is back in our focus. The Saints defense has improved of late, but this is still a beatable secondary with holes at the corner position. Jones' air yards per target (13.6) is a full 4.1 higher than the next highest player on the team. If someone is going to bust a big play, he's the most likely candidate.
Devontae Booker, RB, Denver Broncos- With 24 carries in back-to-back games it's hard to ignore the potential for Booker to eventually have a big game. It has not happened yet, and Booker has not averaged over 3.3 yards per carry in any game since a Week 6 contest where he only rushed five times. However, the potential exists for him to turn that volume into a usable line at low ownership against the Jaguars this week. Jacksonville gives up the fourth-most carries and 94.5 yards per game to opposing running backs.
Best obvious play
Near 100 percent exposure player
Malcolm Mitchell, WR, New England Patriots - On the bottom run of wide receiver values, Mitchell is in a fine spot now that Rob Gronkowski is out. Mitchell led the team with 24 percent of the team's intended air yards, despite only going out for 46 percent of the Patriots' offensive plays. He hauled in both of his Week 12 touchdowns in the red zone, and should own a sizable market share inside the 20-yard line with Gronkowski out. Mitchell will certainly help you gain flexibility to add more high-end plays to your lineup.
Cheat code of the week
Dorial Green-Beckham, WR, Philadelphia Eagles - Taking over for Nelson Agholor as the top outside receiver, Green-Beckham went out for the highest percentage of the team's plays among wide receivers. He led the Eagles with a 38.5 percent share of Carson Wentz's intended air yards and registered 82 yards on Monday Night Football last week. The Bengals secondary can be had through the air, giving up 11 touchdowns to wide receivers. For the minimum value, Green-Beckham makes sense as a dart throw that allows you to access multiple high-end studs.