The Contrarian returns for Week 13 to help you sort through some of the week’s diamonds in the rough for each position. Before we dig into this week’s selections, let’s take a look at some games and situations that may fall off the radar for the masses and provide some potential hidden gems. We’ll begin our search with the games that fall on the low end of the scale for projected points.
This Week’s Projected Low-Scoring Games
- Seattle Seahawks @ Minnesota Vikings. Even, 42. This game could have a huge bearing on the playoff picture in the NFC when all is said and done and looks to be too close to call.
- Houston Texans @ Buffalo Bills. Buffalo -3, 41 ½. Another game that could have a huge bearing on playoff positioning, this time in the AFC.
- Baltimore Ravens @ Miami Dolphins. Miami -3 ½, 41 ½. Two disappointing 4-7 squads hook up for a matchup that will fall off the radar for many DFSers.
- Dallas Cowboys @ Washington Redskins. Washington -4 ½, 42. Dallas travels to the nation’s capital for a date with surprising Washington after suffering a Thanksgiving beat down at the hands of the Panthers.
There are several intriguing plays in each of these matchups that may not get the attention they deserve for this week. The Seahawks have been rolling offensively but face a stiff test in the form of the Vikings, who will rely heavily on the engine that is Adrian Peterson to keep them humming towards the playoffs. The Texans have really stepped it up defensively over the course of their four-game winning streak, but will be tested by both LeSean McCoy and Sammy Watkins, who have come on strong as of late. Defensively for the Bills, they just allowed the Kansas City Chiefs to drop 30 points on them while moving the ball successfully through the air, pointing us to some opportunity for DeAndre Hopkins to bounce back from last week’s disappointing performance. Finally, the Cowboys should lean heavily on Darren McFadden as the absence of Tony Romo leads to diminished prospects for the passing game.
Matchups That Will Scare People Off
- Panthers vs. QBs. The Panthers have held opposing signal callers in check in nearly every game this season and have only allowed multiple passing touchdowns on three occasions.
- Seahawks vs. RBs. The defense of the Seahawks is not what it once was but has remained pretty strong against the run, although they can be vulnerable to pass-catching backs.
- Broncos vs. WRs. The stout Denver defense has successfully shut down many passing attacks in 2015.
- Bengals vs. TEs. The Bengals have allowed exactly one touchdown to opposing tight ends this season.
- Cardinals vs. DEF. Defenses have not found success against the Cardinals, who have forced opposing defenses into negative territory several times.
A few of the above matchups could lead us to some of the week’s hidden gems. The Saints will welcome the undefeated Panthers to town this Sunday and could come out with guns a blazing in an attempt to stun the current No.1 seed in the NFC, pointing to Drew Brees as a true boom-bust option. It’s hard to call one of the top running backs in the league a contrarian selection, but we can expect expectations to be tempered for Adrian Peterson, who comes in at a very low price of $6,600. Finally, the Browns have handed the keys of the offense over to Austin Davis, who could lean heavily on the productive Gary Barnidge.
Last Week’s Disappointments
- ATL QB Matt Ryan. Ryan and the Falcons have really struggled of late and will look to bounce back against a Buccaneers squad that has been torched several times in 2015.
- TB RB Doug Martin. Martin is only two week’s removed from rushing for over 200 yards, but disappointed many last week as he failed to break 100 yards.
- DEN WR Demaryius Thomas. It was a rough week for Thomas against the Patriots as he was targeted a team-high 13 times but was only able to snag one of them for a 36-yard gain.
- MIN TE Kyle Rudolph. Rudolph had a decent outing in Week 12 but was a bit of a letdown after coming in as one of Week 11’s top tight ends.
- Kansas City Chiefs DEF. The Chiefs defense had scored in the double-digits for four consecutive games before responding with a 5.0-point outing against the Bills.
We’ve stressed many times the importance of having a short memory in DFS and we can make a valid argument for each of the above players to bounce back in Week 13. The game between the Falcons and Buccaneers has one of the week’s highest-projected totals at 46 points, pointing us to a potential nice day for both Ryan and Martin. Thomas had a nightmare of a game in Week 12 and will look to bounce back against the 3-8 Chargers. The Seahawks have allowed some big days to opposing tight ends, making Rudolph an intriguing and probably low-owned selection. Finally, the Raiders have imploded a few times this season which could bode well for the Chiefs prospects of returning to double-digit territory.
On to this week’s selections, we have some players that fall into the above categories and several that required a little more extensive digging. While they all offer plenty of upside for Week 13, some will carry more risk than others and have a potentially low floor, while others are simply solid plays that will not capture the imagination of many DFSers this week. We’ll begin our search for diamonds in the rough with the quarterback position.
Ryan Fitzpatrick, $5,200
Fitzpatrick comes in off of a four touchdown performance against the Dolphins and heads into a potentially high-scoring affair against the Giants. He’s averaging 18.0 points per game on the year and has one of the league’s more underrated receiving combos at his disposal in Brandon Marshall and Eric Decker, who should find some success against a suspect Giants secondary. Fitzpatrick has resided in the lower-end of the salary neighborhood for all of 2015 and delivered a nearly 6x return in Week 12. That may be little too much to ask for again this week, but the potential for a 5x return certainly exists.
Jay Cutler, $5,100
Cutler has gone from a quarterback that was likely not in the Bears long-term plans to one that is playing some solid football under the guidance of Adam Gase and John Fox. He’s averaging a respectable 17.7 points per game and has busted through the 20-point plateau three times in 2015. The 49ers have been torched several times this season, but did manage to hold Carson Palmer and the Cardinals passing attack in check last week. Look for Cutler to fly under the radar in Week 13 while offering the upside of delivering a 4-5x return.
LeSean McCoy, $5,700
Some early season injury issues and the resulting struggles have given way to a return to productivity for McCoy, who is averaging 22.3 points per game over his last four. He’ll face a stiff test this week against an improving Texans team that has returned to their run-stuffing ways after some early season issues. The Bills offense has been a pleasant surprise for a team that was expected to mainly rely on the defensive side of the ball for success in 2015. The recent emergence of Sammy Watkins should continue to open things up for McCoy and afford him the opportunity to hover around his recent average output.
Doug Martin, $5,900
We mentioned that Martin was a bit of a letdown last week, but he’s in line for a solid bounce back performance against a struggling Falcons team. Following a 5-0 start that saw Dan Quinn vault into the early season conversation for coach of the year consideration, the Falcons have dropped five of six and are struggling to keep their flickering playoff hopes alive. Opposing backs have had their fair share of success against the Falcons, who have allowed 12 rushing touchdowns so far in 2015. We’ll take advantage of the short memory theory and look for Martin to exceed 100 yards and find the end zone on Sunday.
Kamar Aiken, $4,800
Aiken is the Raven No.1 receiver by default and has been targeted 32 times over the past three games while averaging 16.8 points per game over that span. He’ll face off with a Dolphins team that was torched by the Jets last week to the tune of four passing touchdowns. Volume, low-price and facing off with a struggling secondary? Sign me up! This game is projected to be one of Week 13’s lower-scoring affairs but there are some potential diamonds in the rough sprinkled throughout this contest.
DeVante Parker, $3,300
Speaking of diamonds in the rough from this game, Parker provided some solid garbage-time stats in last week’s beat down against the Jets as he hauled in four catches for 80 yards and a score. He’s in line to move into the starting lineup this week due to injuries to the Dolphins receiving corps and may not be handing the job back anytime soon. The Ravens secondary has been quite leaky throughout 2015, offering us a nice opportunity to snag a potentially high-upside receiver at a bargain basement price. We touched last week on the value of finding the week’s sneaky shootout. Keep this game on your radar as one that could fit the bill.
Kyle Rudolph, $3,700
We identified Rudolph earlier as one of Week 12’s disappointments that could be in line for a productive Week 13. The Seahawks have allowed seven touchdowns and several big games to opposing tight ends this season. Add in the fact that this game also qualifies as one of the week’s potentially lower-scoring affairs and we just may have found a diamond in the rough in the form of Rudolph, who’s averaging only 8.8 points per game this year but has delivered four outings with double-digit production. If the Seahawks focus their attention on mitigating the damage caused by Adrian Peterson as expected, Rudolph could be in line for a healthy amount of targets on Sunday as one of the top options in the Vikings passing game.
Julius Thomas, $4,000
Welcome back to Fantasy relevance Julius Thomas, we’ve missed you! Thomas has found the end zone in two consecutive games and has been targeted 18 times over that span. Teammate Allen Hurns will miss Sunday’s game against the Titans, pointing us to a solid amount of targets being directed towards Thomas on Sunday. Add in the fact that the Titans have allowed eight touchdowns to opposing tight ends this season and our digging has delivered another hidden gem. Look for Thomas to have little trouble providing a nice return on his $4,000 salary.
New England Patriots, $3,400
While the Patriots defense may have its fair share of supporters, it will come nowhere near the attention that is directed towards the team’s offense. The Eagles offense has imploded over recent weeks and has allowed opposing defenses to deliver 10+ point performances in consecutive games. The Patriots are expected to be in a surly mood after suffering their first defeat at the hands of the Broncos. There should be plenty of points delivered by the Patriots in all facets, we’ll look to the defensive side of the ball for a little uniqueness for our lineups.
Buffalo Bills, $2,600
The Bills defense has been relatively disappointing from a fantasy perspective as they are only averaging 6.6 points and have cracked the 10-point plateau only three times. Many are tired of waiting for the supposed defensive juggernaut to emerge, but we’ll take advantage of their apathy and focus on the Bills potential upside. While the Texans have been much-improved of late, we are still looking at a team with limited offensive capabilities. If the Bills can contain DeAndre Hopkins as the Saints did last week, they may be able to force Brian Hoyer into some mistakes and provide a fruitful return at a low price.
That’s a wrap for The Contrarian for Week 13 and our quest for this week’s hidden gems. By digging just a little deeper, we have found several players that offer plenty of upside and afford us with a little uniqueness to balance out our favorite chalk selections for Week 13. Best of luck this weekend!