Fantasy Football Sleepers: Week 13
Fantasy Football Sleepers: Week 13
Fantasy football is nearing the end of its regular season, meaning the stakes are growing higher with each game played. Most fantasy leagues have their fantasy playoffs start in Week 15, with Championships being held in Week 17 due to the extended 18 week schedule implemented a couple of years ago. To complicate matters even more, there are six teams on Bye in Week 13, comprised of Baltimore, Buffalo, Chicago, Las Vegas, Minnesota, and the New York Giants. Most of these teams have at least two top-24 fantasy football players unavailable, meaning there will be plenty of streaming off of rosters and waiver wires in one of the most crucial weeks of the fantasy football season.
We've made it our goal to find quality players who are either undervalued or stepping into an increased usage role due to injury or talent throughout the entire season. Last week, we hit on Samaje Perine, who logged an RB16 outing with 13.1 fantasy points, while Isaiah Likely, Demario Douglas, Josh Downs, and Ty Chandler all disappointed. It's a week-to-week league, filled with parity, so giving up on a prospect after one poor performance is a dangerous strategy to pursue. Kenny Pickett was the recommended waiver wire add at quarterback, and while he didn't throw any touchdowns for the third consecutive game, Pickett recorded a season-high 278 passing yards and 72 percent completion rate, while avoiding turnovers and sacks. Playing the waiver wire in the final couple of weeks before the fantasy playoffs kick off, especially as a team still attempting to seize a playoff berth, can be the difference between going on a run to the Championship round or falling out of the playoffs. Fortunately, we've spent a lot of time analyzing which sleepers to stash and deploy into fantasy football lineups in a hectic Week 13.
NFL fantasy analyst Matt MacKay is back to share his latest analysis using half-PPR scoring to rate each fantasy football sleeper referenced in this article to help fantasy managers maximize points in their lineups in Week 13 and beyond.
Roschon Johnson (RB - Bears)
He may not have the most favorable rest-of-season schedule, but Chicago's rookie running back Roschon Johnson is carving out a nice role in the Bears' backfield. Johnson also benefits playing alongside Justin Fields, who forces defenders to account for his mobility as a ball carrier. He played 52 snaps compared to just 15 for Khalil Herbert, converting 10 carries into 35 yards. The most encouraging production came as a pass-catcher though, as Johnson hauled in all five targets for 40 receiving yards against a good Minnesota run defense, finishing with 10 fantasy points. Johnson is on Bye this week, so stashing him off of waivers could be easier since fantasy managers are dialed into Week 13 availability. A 15 percent target share is quite nice, making Johnson an RB3 with RB2 upside if he scores a touchdown once he returns against the Lions in Week 14.
Ty Chandler (RB - Vikings)
I was big on Ty Chandler after a solid two-game stretch, logging 10.5 and 13 fantasy points in each contest, but he failed to produce on only six touches against Chicago's stout run defense. Chandler only turned four carries into eight rushing yards and caught one of two targets for a three-yard reception during a bad 12-10 loss to the Bears. Chandler's rest of season schedule, although unavailable in Week 14, is too tempting to pass on. The Vikings' second-year running back faces Las Vegas and Cincinnati in Weeks 14 and 15, both ranked as top-14 fantasy running back matchups. Plus, Justin Jefferson's return could open up the backfield a bit more, with a potential quarterback change from Josh Dobbs still on the table. Don't give up on Chandler just yet. Stash him during his Week 14 Bye and although he lost 13 snaps to Alexander Mattison, his versatility and usage in the red zone creates intriguing RB3 value.
DJ Chark Jr. (WR - Panthers)
No doubt it's been ugly in Carolina this year but the offense still has to find ways to compete and move the ball for the final few weeks of the 2023 season. D.J. Chark has been outshined by Adam Thielen's hot start, rightfully so, but he showed signs of productivity earlier in the year before his elbow injury in Week 10, scoring between 11.7 and 16.6 fantasy points against Seattle and Detroit. Bryce Young only played one of those games, but perhaps with the coaching staff changes made due to firing former head coach Frank Reich, play calling could look a bit different for the Panthers against Tampa Bay in Week 13. The Buccaneers are a top-four fantasy football matchup for wide receivers, making Chark a volatile WR3 who could hit WR2 production or dud as a lackluster WR4. Rest of season has Chark going up in three bottom-ten matchups, but he's a viable WR3 candidate against Tampa Bay in Week 13 and Jacksonville, ranked as the ninth most favorable fantasy wideout matchup, in Week 17 during the fantasy championship.
Greg Dortch (WR - Cardinals)
Most of Kyler Murray's targets have been allocated to speedster Greg Dortch in the previous three games we've seen Arizona's former No.1 overall quarterback under center. Dortch has drawn 17 targets across the last two games against Houston and the Los Angeles Rams, churning out 10.6 and 10.2 fantasy points in both contests. Now, he'll face Pittsburgh in Week 13, which is the 14th-best fantasy wideout matchup. Their pass defense has improved, but Dortch is earning quality volume, scoring a touchdown in Week 12, while hauling in six receptions for 76 yards on eight targets in Week 11. He's a viable WR3 to plug into lineups on the road against Pittsburgh in Week 13.
Cade Otton (TE - Buccaneers)
Cade Otton has shown a strong rapport with Baker Mayfield this season. The second-year tight end for Tampa Bay has a nice floor, finishing with 6.5 fantasy points or more in five of his last six games played. He showed a ceiling in Week 9, scoring twice against Houston, but he's a quality Bye Week fill-in at a volatile tight end position in fantasy football. Otton has four receptions or more in consecutive contests, so despite playing in a bottom-six matchup against the Panthers in Week 13, Otton can be considered a fringe to low-end TE1. Otton also gets two top-12 matchups against Atlanta and New Orleans in Week 14 and Week 16, so he's worth a stash at the very least.
Kenny Pickett (QB - Steelers)
Like Ty Chandler, we're running it back with Kenny Pickett as the priority quarterback to add off of waivers ahead of Week 13. Yes, Pickett's inability to throw a touchdown in three consecutive games doesn't translate to a fantasy asset, at least on the surface. Pickett did manage a season-high 278 passing yards and no turnovers or sacks against a divisional opponent on the road last week, which occurred in his first game without former OC Matt Canada. Pickett is due for positive regression and gets the ninth-best fantasy quarterback matchup against the Arizona Cardinals at home in Week 13. Arizona only defends tight ends well, but we saw how Pickett performed with Freiermuth last week, so expect at least one or two touchdown passes in Week 13, as he's thrown four of his six touchdown passes at Acrisure Stadium this season. Pickett also faces three teams ranked as top-15 fantasy quarterback matchups starting in Week 15, meaning he has a favorable playoff schedule, where he could reach new heights and deliver his first 20-point outing of the 2023 season. Stash Pickett and roll him into lineups with relatively high expectations in Week 13 against Arizona.
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Matt is an avid writer and enjoys analyzing the game within the game that is fantasy sports. Music is another constant in his daily life. Matt loves spending time with his fiancé and three pets, which typically involves some type of outdoor exercise or adventure. He likes to read, listen to Podcasts, and is constantly motivated to create the most accurate and engaging content in the fantasy sports industry. Pat McAfee is a massive inspiration to Matt, along with his parents and friends. He is guilty of ordering the same menu item at restaurants.