For most leagues, this is the last week of the regular season. Some of you were out of contention a month ago. A lot of you need a win and some breaks to get into the tournament. A few of you are probably licking your chops, thinking there’s no way your beast of a team could be defeated.
If you’ve been playing fantasy for a few seasons, though, you know anything can happen. Sometimes the quarterback that’s carried your team all year gets negative points for the week (anyone start Tony Romo on Thanksgiving?). Or that wide receiver you picked up on a fluke because your team was crippled by injuries has the game of his life. Maybe your opponent’s defense scores thirty points and his kicker chips in twenty, and you have to explain to your wife why there’s a small crack in the television.
Making it to the playoffs in your league probably means you have some fantasy football skill. But to win the championship (and your friends’ love/respect/unending hate) you’ll need a little luck. Just try not to whip a remote control across the living room if your luck runs out. (And if you do, aim for the couch, not the 55″ flat screen.)
Let’s get to Week 13:
Three Players Who Will Wreck Your Opponents This Week:
Jay Cutler, QB, Chicago —Two reasons: 1. The 49ers have allowed the ninth most fantasy points to opposing QBs this season. 2. Cutler loves zigging when you think he’s going to zag. He’s been bad for the last two weeks, which should lead you to sit him. But it’s a trap. He’ll put up 25 points this week in the Windy City. Play him.
Jonathan Stewart, RB, Carolina—Rob Ryan is gone, but his stink is still all over this Saints defense. They’ve allowed the most points to running backs this season. I usually don’t like Stewart because Cam Newton steals goal line carries, but I still think the former Oregon Duck puts up big numbers.
Jarvis Landry, WR, Miami—The Ravens can’t defend wide receivers, and Landry seems to be figuring out how to beat NFL defenses. He’s had 24 receptions in the past three games, so Tannehill is looking his way often. Yes, the Dolphins just fired their O.C. so it’s a bit of a wild card, but Jarvis should have a big game anyway.
Three Players Who Will Wreck Your Team This Week:
Philip Rivers, QB, San Diego—If you really need a win this week, don’t play Rivers. He’s a giant let down when you needs points from your QB. He’s also facing a Denver defense which suffocates opposing QBs and now doesn’t have Chicken Parm Manning putting them in bad field position.
Latavius Murray, RB, Oakland—Murray is facing a Chiefs defense that has allowed the seventh fewest points to running backs this year, and they’ve been playing even better than that lately. Add in the fact that Murray has only rushed for more than 100 yards twice this season and has only posted double digit fantasy points four times, and you should only start him if you’re truly desperate.
Brandin Cooks, WR, New Orleans—Another wide receiver who’s going to get a heavy dose of rising star cornerback Josh Norman and have a bad week. Make sure you don’t get burned by this matchup.
The Guy Who’s Wrecking My Fantasy Season This Week:
I laid off Eli Manning for a few weeks and look what happens. Five interceptions in the last three games? Why do I keep getting basic cable Eli? The last time I mentioned he was RUINING MY FANTASY SEASON in this column Manning threw for six touchdowns. So here’s hoping Eli reads this column and puts the ball in the end zone.
Ben Zajdel is a ProFootballBeast.com contributor. You can follow him on Twitter at @bzajdel. His last name would be a great Scrabble word.