What’s up everyone and welcome to Ben’s Building Blocks! If you’ve never read my content before, welcome. To those that have, welcome back. I truly appreciate everyone that reads and supports during NFL season. This article is designed for me to highlight the top plays of the week, and my overall player pool for the main slate. Obviously, things can change rapidly in the NFL with injury news on the weekends, so I would be sure to subscribe to our premium package for access to my Final Thoughts cheat sheet, our premium discord channel and my core plays. Our Core Plays product gives you the ability to tail all of our analysts in your contests each week. We do the work for you, and you simply plug and play with our premium Core Plays. With that being said, let’s hop into the Week 13 slate…
This is the best slate since the first few weeks of the season in my opinion. There are some clear strong games, but it’s 3-5 of them as opposed to two good games that everyone will be targeting on their DFS teams. This makes it very fun to build lineups, and also opens up more options than usual. I think there are three cash viable plays at QB this week — Justin Herbert, Joe Burrow and Trevor Lawrence. Of the trio, it seems like Burrow and Lawrence are going to catch the most ownership. Burrow is at home, in the game of the weekend against the Kansas City Chiefs, He’s averaging 27 fantasy points per game over his last six games — and actually averaged over 30 DK points per game in two games against the Chiefs last season. KC hasn’t been great vs opposing QB’s, and I do think a shootout is likely. Lawrence is a great play in Detroit – but I just don’t see him having the same type of ceiling that Burrow/Herbert do even in a great match-up. Herbert continues to throw the ball a ton, ranking second-overall in pass attempts. Per Sharp Football, Las Vegas is bottom-three in EPA allowed per pass attempt and I think this is a ceiling-type spot for him in a game with a 50+ O/U.
Mahomes is Mahomes, and I definitely want some exposure to him in GPPs. The same can be said for Deshaun Watson, who gets the ultimate revenge narrative in his return to Houston. I am expecting some rust from him after two years off, but it’s a great match-up for him to come back to especially with Derek Stingley Jr out.
Mike White was one of my favorite tournament targets last week, and I am once again back in. Minnesota is giving up the sixth-most fantasy points per game to QB’s, and this total has gradually moved up since opening. He’s averaged over 20 fantasy points per game in his career as a starter and I think this is one of the best match-ups on the slate. He is pretty much a lock to go low-owned in this game, and I will be looking to stack him up in Week 13.
Core: Justin Herbert, Joe Burrow
Pivots: Patrick Mahomes, Trevor Lawrence, Mike White, Deshaun Watson
This is the first week in quite a while that I consider a spend-up at running back week — and I’m finding it really hard to not force in at least one of Austin Ekeler or Josh Jacobs. Sam did a good job pointing out how bad Las Vegas has been against pass catching running backs. Ekeler had 15 targets last week and has one of the best roles in all of fantasy football. Essentially a WR1 that gets goal-line carries, he is a tough fade in this spot. I didn’t have any Josh Jacobs last week, but it’s super hard to avoid him in this spot. He’s basically been the RB1 in fantasy since the first few weeks of the season, and I don’t buy that he’s really that hurt after he received 30+ touches last week. The Chargers have allowed the fifth-most fantasy points to running backs, and it’s another smash spot. Etienne looks good to go for this weekend, and is too cheap for his role against the Lions. He already is top-eight in carries inside the 5 yard-line, despite not being the full-time starter for the entire season.
Outside of those obvious plays, there are several options projecting as strong values in our Projections Portal. Nick Chubb is a fantastic tournament play, but I can’t choose him over Ekeler in cash games on DraftKings. The Jets have some cheap options in Zonovan “Bam” KNight and Ty Johnson. Knight looks to be kind of chalky, but I’m not sure if we confidently know who would benefit from the expected negative game-script. Running backs have absolutely smashed with Mike White at QB — and taking a shot on one of these guys is viable in tournaments even as a one-off.
Joe Mixon still has yet to clear concussion protocol. If he’s ruled out – Semaje Perine would enter the cash game conversation.
Core: Austin Ekeler, Travis Etienne, Josh Jacobs
Pivots: Nick Chubb, Jets RBs, Aaron Jones, Dalvin Cook
The cash game receiver pool is abundant this week, with plenty of spend-up and mid-tier options. Davante Adams checks in as the top spend-up against the Chargers. You’re going to have to decide between him and Josh Jacobs, but it’s really tough to fade Adams any week. He’s averaging over 25 DK points per game over the last two months — and just posted a 7-74 receiving line in a game that Jacobs topped 300 all-purpose yards…that feels like his absolute floor barring injury. Amon-Ra St. Brown is the top-overall play for me once again, he just continues to be too cheap. He’s essentially had a Cooper Kupp role when healthy, and we always like him at home in the dome. We also have a pair of cheap options in Garrett Wilson and Nico Collins. Wilson smashed last week, and has seemingly went off in every non-Zach Wilson game this season. He’s averaging over 9 targets per game with Wilson out of the lineup — and matches up with a slow and old secondary. I don’t think that this secondary matches up well with these twitchy, quick guys and I think he could really pop off here. Even at high-ownership he’s a virtual lock on my teams. Collins gets a boost with no Cooks — and is probably the cheapest I would go in a cash build.
For tournaments, the non-Adams spend-ups stick out. Given my interest in a Mike White + Garrett Wilson stack I will be running it back with Justin Jefferson. I’m not scared off of the match-up against Sauce Gardner — and I love using Jettas at home. He has scored 22 career touchdowns, 16 of them coming in Minnesota. AJ Brown draws a revenge game against the Titans and one of the best current spots for a WR.
Christian Watson continues to run-hot on touchdowns, but it seems that he is Aaron Rodgers new number one and it’s another strong spot. If he’s low-owned, he’s worth a one-off in tourneys.
I also think Christian Kirk is cash viable, but I will likely only play him if I decide to roll with Trevor Lawrence.
Core: Davante Adams, Ja’Marr Chase, Amon-Ra St. Brown, Keenan Allen, Garrett Wilson, Nico Collins
Pivots: Justin Jefferson, AJ Brown, Christian Kirk, Zay Jones, Christian Watson
I love when there’s a cheap tight end to play in cash games, and that was awarded to us on Friday when David Njoku was ruled out. Bryant has topped 40+ yards just twice this season, but that comes with Njoku playing the majority of games. We saw Bryant receive a designed red-zone TD against Miami, and he’s clearly getting a QB upgrade here with Deshaun Watson back over Jacoby Brissett. I don’t think he is a great play in tournaments at his level of projected OWN%, but in cash games I’ll take the savings and move on.
Travis Kelce and George Kittle are both strong GPP plays, and I think you can even play double-TE with them and another cheap option. What Kelce is doing at this position is insane, and it feels like he never gets owned because of his price. Kittle would receive a bigger bump if Deebo Samuel is unable to play.
Core: Harrison Bryant, Travis Kelce
Pivot: Pat Freiermuth Cole Kmet, George Kittle
Bold Call of the Week
Justin Jefferson tops 200 receiving yards
Written by Ben Hossler (Follow @BenHossler on Twitter)