Things are getting better.
First of all, you, personally, feel better. After devouring tons of food on Thursday, you have hibernated, disappeared from society for a number of hours and now feel very refreshed. As for fantasy football, well, no one is on a bye this week, so that’s good. Then again, tons of owners started players like Tony Romo, Brandon Marshall and Dez Bryant, in which case, I offer my condolences. And if you suffered from the lack of production those players provided, you may need a home run play to win your Week 13 matchup. Scratch that– a grand salami, folks.
Let’s swing for the fences with some sneaky plays for Sunday’s action.
Zach Mettenberger @ Houston Texans- Very quietly, the rookie out of LSU has been pretty solid in fantasy land, scoring at least 17 points in three of his last four starts. He’s coming off a 345-yard, two-touchdown performance against the Eagles, and continues to show promise for the struggling Titans. With a handful of other signal callers drawing tough matchups, Mettenberger makes for a solid pivot this week. Houston is surrendering 274 passing yards per game this season, the second-most in all of football. Teams are also chucking the football 39.1 times per game against the Texans this year, good for the third-most in the league. Combined that with the fact that Tennessee cannot run the football whatsoever, and you give Mettenberger solid expected volume. Mettenberger also isn’t shy to take shots down the field, presenting him with some upside in this matchup against a Houston secondary that has coughed up a healthy 12 passing plays of 40 yards or more.
Marcel Reece @ St. Louis Rams- Many may forget, but Marcel Reece is a pretty good football player, folks. But with Darren McFadden, Maurice Jones-Drew and Latavius Murray in the backfield with him, it’s difficult for him to get much attention. However, last week, Murray suffered a concussion and appears doubtful for Sunday, and the Raiders gave Reece eight carries last Thursday night, which eclipsed his total for the entire season. Oakland is growing tired of MJD and DMC, so Reece could be a sneaky option this week if you’re desperate. Don’t forget, this guy was very fantasy relevant when given opportunity in 2012, hauling in 28 balls over a four-game span. He’s a very capable pass-catcher and if Oakland continues to give him more work, he’ll produce. However, I wouldn’t think about rolling him out there in 12-team leagues. This call is for the deepest of formats.
Joe Banyard vs Carolina Panthers- With the news that Jerick McKinnon will miss this contest against the Panthers, the Vikings backfield becomes very interesting. Matt Asiata has been a full participant in practice this week (concussion), and the Vikings signed Ben Tate, but he didn’t see the field last week. Instead, it was Banyard, who carried the football five times for 26 yards, while also hauling in three passes. Banyard could very well see 10-12 carries in this friendly matchup with the Panthers, who are allowing the sixth-most fantasy points per game to opposing backfields (21.75). Carolina is also allowing about 120 yards per game on the ground this season, and Banyard is a talented back. Running back is relatively ugly, so Banyard may not be the worst option this weekend.
Kenny Stills @ Pittsburgh Steelers- In his first game without Brandin Cooks in the lineup, the talented Stills didn’t really see a major uptick in playing time, playing just 68 percent of the snaps on Monday night. However, it was his uptick in usage that was worth noting, posting a career high in both targets (9) and catches (8). He fell just short of 100 yards on the game, but it was very encouraging not to see Stills just run streaks down the field repeatedly. Instead, he ran diverse routes, getting higher percentage looks from Drew Brees. Meanwhile, Pittsburgh’s secondary is certainly beatable, allowing almost 40 fantasy points per game to opposing wide receivers over the last five weeks. Teams are also averaging a healthy 7.4 yards per pass attempt against the Steelers this season (sixth-most). Don’t be surprised if Stills blows up this week.
Martavis Bryant vs New Orleans Saints- Staying in the same game, I love Ben Roethlisberger and the aerial attack against a very poor Saints defense. The Steelers should be able to score plenty of points, facing a New Orleans defense that has allowed at least 27 points in three straight contests. They’ve also surrendered five passing touchdowns during that span. Bryant, meanwhile, has played extremely well for the Steelers since being activated, scoring a touchdown in all but one game. He’ll see plenty of Corey White in this game, who, according to Pro Football Focus, is the worst coverage corner in football, allowing three scores while in coverage. The Saints safeties are incredibly depleted, too, meaning Bryant should be able to exploit this matchup. New Orleans is also allowing the seventh-most fantasy points per game to opposing wideouts on the year (25.60), allowing 1.5 passing scores per game.