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UNU’s Picks for Week 13

A Swarm Intelligence Guide to All Things NFL


Hello again, it's your artificially smart, swarm-powered friend UNU, back again this week with some more fantasy football advice. We've had a great week, and hope your holiday season is off to a good start as well. If you followed UNU's advice and picked up the Giants defense last week, we know you did. If you also picked up Eric Ebron...well, we're not sure what happened there. We're not sure anyone on the Lions knows, either.

Each week, UNU harnesses the brainpower of smart folks just like you to help us answer questions, make predictions, and spot interesting trends. This past week our NFL football prediction swarm continued its hot streak with a fantastic showing. And apart from the sports world, we took a hard look at some Cyber Monday deals and picked the strong deals from the pretenders for our users.

But you're here for fantasy football, and UNU is right there with you. For most owners this is it: the last week before playoffs start. Your league is probably already past the trade deadline, so playing the waiver wire is about the only way possible to replace those late season injuries or just plain talent collapses. Every week, we've been getting a group of fantasy owners just like you together to help UNU give everyone a leg up in their respective leagues.

As we usually do, this week we started off with running backs. We're at that time of year when teams out of contention are giving more snaps to first and second year players to see what they've got. It's also a time when bubble teams are in the mood to try just about anything to provide a spark as they head down the stretch. Once again, then, UNU wanted to know if there were any waiver bargains to be found.

We can't get enough of Tim Hightower. UNU has gone to the Tim Hightower well again and again. If you play in a point-per-reception league, you know why, too. Although Tim hasn't been flashy carrying the ball, he's been a steady target for Drew Brees – especially in the red zone. Four out of the last five weeks, Hightower's delivered a 20+ plus performance in PPR formats. He's still unowned in like 65% of NFL leagues, too. Go get him.

Of course Hightower isn’t the only RB that the Swarm often likes. We've also been all over Dion Lewis of New England, too. UNU decided to match those two up against one another. If you can only take one, which should it be?

Yep, we're still big believers in Dion Lewis. The Patriots offense will always go through Tom Brady, and now that Gronk’s out for the season, Brady will rely even more heavily on pass-catching backs to shred the underbellies of defenses. In his second full game back, DL out-snapped James White, and had more targets and touches. That's all UNU needs to know to project Lewis's continued recovery from that bad knees. With that and the season-ending injury to Gronk, Lewis's role is only going to get bigger.

We just mentioned Tom Brady. If you're lucky enough to own a stud quarterback like him, congrats. But this time of year, having a fading QB can make an otherwise good fantasy team look like the Mona Lisa with a mustache. If you're fishing around for a solution, UNU is here to help.

Even though Colin Kaepernick has had a couple of great games recently, we're not completely sold. UNU has seen this movie before, we know how it ends. Instead of Kaep, we're loving Trevor Siemian. He's thrown for 7 TDs in the last three weeks, backed up with 368 yards against the Chiefs on Sunday. Keep an eye on the injury report, but if his ankle looks good to go on Sunday, he's worth a look.

Moving on, this time of year there's no more volatile position than wide receiver (just ask Brandin Cooks' owners). We've got a whole bunch to take a look at, with two recommendations.

We like one rookie...and also one old war horse. Tyreek Hill has emerged as one of the main offensive conduits for Alex Smith and the Chiefs. Scoff if you like at that passing game, but KC hung 30 points on a quality Denver defense Sunday. UNU also scores one for the old guys in Anquan Boldin. He's been up and down, but seems to be a guy that Matthew Stafford is looking to more and more in recent weeks. In fact, of the two it's Boldin that UNU likes best.

For our final position move of the week we're going to bravely take one more look at tight ends. Yes, we know all about Eric Ebron getting nary a point last week. UNU believes strongly in its own swarm intelligence, and so we're putting that whiff on Lions luck. At any rate, which TE do we think you should look for on your league waiver wire?

As you can see, UNU doesn't think stud Washington tight end Jordan Reed is going to be able to go this Sunday, giving a chance for the rising phoenix that is Vernon Davis. Reed has the same injury that put Carlos Hyde on the shelf for a week or three, and Kirk Cousins loves throwing in the slot. That could mean big production for Davis in the near future.

Finally, UNU was curious about actual real life NFL playoffs. You know, the non-fantasy kind. If the season ended after week 12, there would be some pretty surprising teams making it into the postseason, while a few good squads would end up on the outside looking in.

By process of elimination, we gradually pared down a list of teams hovering inside and outside the playoff picture to just two bubble teams left on UNU football island. And of those two, which did our swarm think was the most likely to make the playoffs?

Good news, Bronco fans, UNU really likes Denver to make it into the playoffs, which is interesting because right now they're on the outside looking in. Guess that means UNU isn't buying whatever it is Miami or KC is selling right now.

That's it for this week. As always, we appreciate you reading about UNU's fantasy picks, and we hope your team coasts into the playoffs with a great seed. If you're interested in learning more about us, or participating in our swarms, we'd love to have you join us. Come by and sign up HERE.