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Fantasy Football Week 13: Time for a Showdown!

Heath explores his home league matchup. A big win could bring a coveted first-round bye in the playoffs.

NFL: Kansas City Chiefs at New York Giants
Was Kareem just a dream?
Robert Deutsch-USA TODAY Sports

My wife’s fantasy football team will move to 12-0 after Monday night. This is not a joke. If she wins in Week 13, she will complete an undefeated fake football season. I have played fantasy football for over a decade, and I have never accomplished said feat.

First off, this is a good thing. The wife is more interested in fantasy football than ever before, which means she is (maybe) more understanding of the time I devote to the fake game. Maybe not. One can hope.

Still, though, I need to prepare to defeat her in the playoffs. I currently sit in third place at 8-4 overall, and she is the top overall seed who could lose Week 13 and still have a bye in Week 14. She is locked in as the #1 seed.

My path to the playoffs is still up in the air. The current #2 seed lost this week, which means a showdown is afoot for Week 13. Archer’s Archers (9-3) and The Smash (8-4) will do battle for the #2 seed and a bye in Week 14. The Smash (yours truly) needs the bye week badly, as I have lost three of the last four weeks and nothing is a given in this crazy fake game. If I want to make it to the big dance in Week 16, it would be nice to not have to risk losing it all in Week 14. It would also be nice to leave the showdown for Week 16.

Unfortunately for me, the Archers have outscored me by 3.20 points so far this season (crazy to be that close after 12 weeks) and scored about 28 more points than me in Week 12. So my Week 13 task is not only to beat the Archers, but to beat them by a resounding 32.07 points. This is a tall order, even for a fanatic like myself. But I want to take a look at the rosters as they stand and determine what moves (if any) can be made in anticipation of Week 13. Sidenote: I know no one cares about this like I do. I am mainly doing this because it is FUN, which is what the fake game should ultimately be about.

***There are no kickers or defenses in my league, and it is standard scoring. Eat dirt, PPR people. Also, we start 1 QB, 2 WR, 2 RB, 1 TE, and 2 W/R/T. This is a 16-team league.***

My guys (The Smash): Eli Manning, Dede Westbrook, Paul Richardson, Le’Veon Bell, Kareem Hunt, Jordan Reed, Jamaal Williams, Randall Cobb.

Bench: Taywan Taylor, DeVante Parker, JuJu Smith-Schuster, Kenyan Drake, Ty Montgomery, Elijah McGuire, Austin Hooper, Ricky Seals-Jones.

His guys (Archer’s Archers): Tom Brady, Davante Adams, Alshon Jeffery, Jordan Howard, Samaje Perine, Adam Shaheen, Marquise Goodwin, Frank Gore.

Bench: Seth DeValve, Taylor Gabriel, Deonte Thompson, Brice Butler, Seth Roberts, Chester Rogers, Eddie Lacy, Paxton Lynch.

On my end of things, I am doing a little projecting. Dede Westbrook saw 10 targets on Sunday, which is volume I can’t ignore as he enters into a showdown with the Colts (who allow the seventh-most points to opposing wide receivers). Part of that was due to Patrick Peterson’s coverage of Marqise Lee, but if Allen Hurns remains out it is encouraging to know that Westbrook is the next best option. I don’t love Paul Richardson, but he is my safest bet at WR2 against Philadelphia. You laugh, but P-Rich is the WR23 through 12 weeks of the NFL season. Not bad for a Round 12 pick, right?

I am leaning towards Dede/P-Rich due to tough matchups for DeVante Parker (vs. DEN) and JuJu Smith-Schuster (@ CIN). We’ll see how the week shapes up, but for now that is my inclination. JuJu may be out again with his hamstring injury and make my decision that much easier.

The rest of my Week 13 lineup seems fairly easy to decipher. I don’t have an option at QB besides Eli Manning, primarily because I bought into his late-season schedule a couple of weeks ago. That rationale has cost me dearly over the last two weeks, but Manning can atone for everything if he roasts the Raiders on Sunday. The return of Sterling Shepard would be a very good thing.

Le’Veon Bell (@ CIN) and Kareem Hunt (@ NYJ) have middling matchups but I don’t have better options in a 16-team league. I’d never bench Bell, but I would darn sure consider benching Hunt if I had another alternative. Jamaal Williams (vs. TB) is looking like a strong play after his epic Sunday night showing, which has me more than a little excited for Week 13. Editor Pete was right about Williams in the preseason. It just took a little time, is all. Williams is locked in as one of my two flex plays. My other flex guy is Randall Cobb, who is fresh off of a strong showing on Sunday night. As difficult as it has been to find talent to fill all of my roster positions this year, I am currently behind Cobb as my other flex play against Tampa Bay. The Buccaneers hemorrhage points to opposing wide receivers, and we know the Seahawks won’t establish the ground game. Brett Hundley is peaking at the opportune moment, too!

I have no interest in starting Austin Hooper (vs. MIN), so if Jordan Reed misses another week it will be Ricky Seals-Jones (vs. LAR) as my guy. Blaine Gabbert and Seals-Jones are going to win someone a fantasy league, somewhere. You better stash those guys before your competition does.

As for the Archers, I suppose we should do a cursory survey of the opponent. My takeaway is that his team is extremely top-heavy. Tom Brady, Davante Adams, Alshon Jeffery, Samaje Perine, and Jordan Howard...after that it falls off a cliff.

Since we are looking at one week in a vacuum, I like that Brady has tough matchup (on paper) against the Buffalo Bills. This is not an ideal game for Tom Terrific. And while I can’t expect the Bills to shut him down completely, I do think it is logical that Brady has an average day at the office--say, under 300 yards and only two scores, as opposed to his usual asinine video game numbers. It helps that Buffalo is more vulnerable to opposing running games, too. Hopefully this is the Dion Lewis/Rex Burkhead show.

Other than Brady’s matchup, I can hang my proverbial hat on Perine playing in the Thursday night game. We have definitely seen some bad Thursday night football this season, so maybe that trend will continue for my sake. Perine has also shown an ability to be inefficient at times. We shall see.

I primarily fear Brett Hundley’s favorite target (Davante Adams), Jordan Howard against the garbage 49ers, and Alshon Jeffery against a reeling Seattle defense. Adams has been consistent (even in Hundley’s poorer starts) and Jordan Howard is going to be motivated after getting shut down in Week 12. We’ll see how Alshon fares against Seattle...I am a little hopeful that this defense can at least take away one or two of Philadelphia’s options. At least make Nelson Agholor or Torrey Smith have to beat you. Or Jay Ajayi. Or LeGarrette Blount. Okay, the Eagles are loaded.

Top-to-bottom I think I have more depth on my team than the Archers do. If a couple of his key guys don’t perform I think I can steal the victory. I do not believe winning by 33 points is probable, but I do think it is possible. The entire season has built up to this moment. The Smash isn’t about to hang up his cleats now. I’m no Tim Riggins, after all.

My toughest decisions will come at wide receiver. So why don’t you all help a brother out? Before you vote in the poll below, know that my entire fantasy football season has come down to this moment. Bragging rights are on the line. My wife will NEVER let me hear the end of it if she goes undefeated AND bests me in the playoffs. I need this bye week to increase my chances at even having an opportunity to knock her off her pedestal. Please choose wisely.

Remember, we start two WRs and have two flex spots. One flex spot is reserved for Jamaal Williams, which leaves room for Dede Westbrook, Paul Richardson, and Randall Cobb. That means JuJu Smith-Schuster and DeVante Parker are currently my odd men out.

What say you, fake sports gurus? Am I making the right decision? Vote for the guy you would LEAVE OUT of the rotation and help a brother get one step closer to taking down the wife’s perfect team in Week 16!

We’ll finish up with what I hope is my eventual opponent. Here is the wife’s squad:

Russell Wilson, Melvin Gordon, Todd Gurley, DeAndre Hopkins, Marvin Jones, Zach Ertz, Alfred Morris, Kenny Stills. (Bench: Austin Ekeler, Gerald Everett, Benjamin Watson, Mike Tolbert, Kirk Cousins, Phillip Dorsett, Jaron Brown, Lance Dunbar).

I’m doomed, aren’t I?


Which receiver would you leave out?

This poll is closed

  • 9%
    JuJu Smith-Schuster @ CIN
    (4 votes)
  • 58%
    DeVante Parker vs. DEN
    (25 votes)
  • 16%
    Randall Cobb vs. TB
    (7 votes)
  • 13%
    Dede Westbrook vs. IND
    (6 votes)
  • 2%
    Paul Richardson vs. PHI
    (1 vote)
43 votes total Vote Now