Our daily fantasy sports experts are here to provide you with the best player to build lineups around in Week 13. This week’s column features picks from ESPN’s Tristan H. Cockcroft, Field Yates, Eric Karabell, Matt Bowen, KC Joyner and Jim McCormick.
For more daily fantasy advice for this week, check out Scott Kacsmar’s best and worst DFS matchups using Football Outsiders’ metrics.
No need to overthink this one, as Brees at home is almost always a great bet. He shredded the Rams for five total touchdowns in Week 12 and faces an equally enticing matchup in the Lions this week. Brees has not scored fewer than 20 points in a home game this season and has topped 30 points on two occasions. The Saints have innumerable options to distribute the football to and Brees shouldn’t face significant pressure from a Lions defense that has just 20 sacks this season (only four teams have fewer). Don’t be surprised if he pushes for another 30 points this week.
Eric Karabell — Brandin Cooks, WR, New Orleans Saints
I have no concrete proof that coaches immediately aim to appease wide receivers who complain about their lack of touches, but in the case of Cooks, it would be awfully surprising if he were a complete statistical dud yet again. Cooks entered Week 12 as a top-10 wide receiver despite a lower target rate than most in his class. Then he got nary a target. The Saints are again at home, there’s nothing scary about the matchup and the frustrated, wronged wide receiver wants the football. He’ll get it. Don’t be scared of Cooks.
After a monster day versus the Dolphins in Week 12, when Kaepernick produced 296 yards passing, three touchdowns and 113 yards rushing, the 49ers quarterback is now averaging more than 23 points per game. In fact, since Week 9, Kaepernick ranks second overall in total fantasy points with 95. Given the quarterback-designed runs in Chip Kelly’s offense, plus the vertical concepts that target inside-throwing windows on seam routes, Kaepernick is primed to post more impressive numbers this week versus a below-average Bears defense that is working through injuries at all three levels of the field.
Hill produced his third-highest point total of the season on DraftKings’ scoring key this past week despite facing the stingiest rush defense in the league and ending up with just 21 yards on the ground and no touchdowns. Thanks to career highs in routes run, targets and receptions, plus the second-most receiving yards of his career — we must go back to the fourth game of his career for a better receiving performance — Hill still returned value for his investors. Per the matchup metrics, the Eagles have yielded the eighth-most yards per carry and ninth-most receptions per game to opposing backfields. Still reasonably priced and due to consume a heavy workload now that he’s consolidated early-down, goal-line and receiving work in the wake of Giovani Bernard‘s season-ending injury, Hill claims a coveted spectrum of high-floor and high-ceiling outcomes.
I’m going to want at least one discount 15-plus-touch running back in order to afford one of the pricier quarterbacks and WR1s — and Booker has gotten 25-plus touches in each of his past two games and is only the 18th-priciest running back on both DraftKings and FanDuel for Week 13. The opposing Jaguars, meanwhile, have served up big games to LeSean McCoy and DeMarco Murray in the past five weeks and, in fact, have served up a league-high eight rushing scores in the past six weeks.
The primary reason Wilson struggled last week is a Tampa Bay pass rush that ranks seventh in the league since Week 9 in ESPN’s pass-pressure metric, which gauges how often a defense gets a sack, quarterback hit or puts the quarterback under duress (36.4 percent). This is not something Carolina does well, as the Panthers rank 25th for the season in this metric (25.5 percent). Look for Wilson to return to his Weeks 9-11 form that saw him post 25 or more points in each game.