As the NFL regular season comes down the stretch run and gets ready for a fun Week 13, this Sunday brings another big slate for some great DraftKings fantasy football action. The Washington Football Team and the Pittsburgh Steelers were originally on this slate, but that game was rescheduled, leaving seven games in the early wave at 1:00 p.m. ET and four more kicking off around 4:00 p.m. ET. The Tampa Bay Buccaneers and Carolina Panthers are on their regularly scheduled bye week while the Buffalo Bills, San Francisco 49ers, Dallas Cowboys, Baltimore Ravens, Denver Broncos and Kansas City Chiefs have matchups in primetime and are also absent from the main slate.
The early matchups to watch include the first game for the Detroit Lions since the firing of coach Matt Patricia when they visit the Chicago Bears in one of the four divisional matchups Sunday afternoon. In another early game, the Cleveland Browns visit the Tennessee Titans in an important AFC matchup of teams with 8-3 records. At 4:05 p.m. ET, the Arizona Cardinals will look to bounce back from a tough loss to the New England Patriots when they host their division-rival Los Angeles Rams, while the Patriots take on the other team from the City of Angels as they visit the Los Angeles Chargers.
As you look through all the matchups and set your DraftKings roster, make sure to take a look at the affordable plays listed below that come with some great upside at a very affordable salary. Each week, I dive into the bargain bin and give you my favorite cheap plays based on recent form, matchup and expected opportunity. Check out the plays I like the most this Sunday.
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($6,000 and under)
Jared Goff, Los Angeles Rams at Arizona Cardinals, $5,800 – The Rams have had a very up-and-down season, largely due to their inconsistent QB play. Goff has been unpredictable all season and struggled badly on Sunday in the Rams’ loss to the 49ers, finishing with just 198 yards, no touchdowns, just 6.0 DKFP and some very costly turnovers. As ugly as that performance was, Goff should be in a place to bounce back this week against the Cardinals, who have given up the third-most DKFP to opposing QBs this season. This matchup will be a key one for the Rams and Cardinals as they battle for the playoffs and meet twice in the remaining five weeks of the regular season.
Goff had actually been pretty sharp before the letdown, throwing for over 300 yards in three straight games against the Dolphins, Seahawks and Buccaneers. In the Rams’ win over the Bucs, he put up 28.04 DKFP, which was his third performance of the season over 28 DKFP. Maybe it was the short week or the 49ers’ defensive pressure that caused Goff’s tailspin last week, but I think he has a good shot at bouncing back this week.
Mike Glennon, Jacksonville Jaguars at Minnesota Vikings, $4,800 – Glennon made his first start since 2017 last week against the Browns and put together a solid stat line of 235 passing yards and two touchdowns for 18.0 DKFP. The journeyman backup put that performance together despite not having top WR DJ Chark Jr. ($5,400; ribs). Glennon led the Jaguars down the field for a late touchdown and had a chance at a two-point conversion to tie the game but his pass to Collin Johnson ($3,300) fell incomplete and the Jags never got the ball again. Still, it was the best the Jaguars’ offense has looked in a while, and they were able to keep the game competitive to the end even without Chark. In the game, Glennon earned a solid 73.3 PFF grade and completed just under 60% of his passes. While he wasn’t perfect and missed a few chunk plays to open targets, he clearly gives the Jaguars the best chance to win this week against the Vikings, who have given up good games the past two weeks to Teddy Bridgewater and Andy Dalton, while losing to the Cowboys and barely beating the Panthers.
The house-cleaning in Jacksonville began this past week with the firing of GM David Caldwell, so the players and coaches are all trying to prove they have enough value to either stay with this team or find another spot in the NFL. That goes for Glennon too, who is on a one-year deal and will be a free agent after the season. He has proven to be a solid backup option in the past and should be able to add to his resume this week if he gets the nod.
Other Options: Tua Tagovailoa ($5,900), Colt McCoy ($4,800)
($5,000 and under)
James White, New England Patriots at Los Angeles Chargers, $5,000 – With Rex Burkhead out for the year, White stepped into a larger role last week as expected, playing 38% of the team’s snaps. He was able to convert two of his carries into touchdowns, resulting in 14.7 DKFP, which helped cover for the fact that he only had one target. He was the only RB to be targeted in the contest, though, since Cam Newton ($5,800) continued to struggle getting much going through the air. White is definitely the trusted red zone option, though, while Damien Harris ($5,200) continues to operate as the lead back in the always-shifting timeshare.
The Chargers have given up an average of 6.2 receptions for 37.4 yards per game to opposing RBs this season, so White has PPR upside in addition to his red zone potential. He should continue to get plenty of work as the complement to Harris and makes a lot of sense at only $5K as he goes for his third straight week with over 14 DKFP.
Frank Gore, New York Jets vs. Las Vegas Raiders, $4,400 – Gore continues to defy the odds and play at a high level into his 15th season in the NFL. He was taken in the same draft class as blast-from-the-past RBs like Ronnie Brown, Cadillac Williams and Maurice Clarett, but Gore continues to be a solid weekly fantasy option since he’s getting plenty of volume for the Jets. Last week, he had 18 carries for 74 yards and finished with 11.6 DKFP even without finding the end zone. Since rookie La’Mical Perine (ankle) was on IR, Gore played 58% of the team’s offensive snaps and handled all four of the RB opportunities in the red zone.
Gore is lined up for another busy Sunday against the Raiders, who have given up the sixth-most DKFP to RBs this season. Vegas has given up four RB touchdowns over their past two games and 14 RB touchdowns in their 11 games this season. While Gore doesn’t have the high ceiling or big-play potential of the elite options on the slate, his consistent volume in coach Adam Gase’s offense makes him a low-risk, low-salary play with upside in this matchup.
Other Options: Brian Hill ($4,800), Cam Akers ($4,500)
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($5,000 and under)
Michael Pittman Jr., Indianapolis Colts at Houston Texans, $4,900 – Pittman had a quiet week in the Colts’ Week 12 loss to the Titans, but the rookie still led the team with nine targets. On the other side of the field, T.Y. Hilton ($4,300) had a big game with 18.1 DKFP but only had five targets. Pittman has started the past four games since coming back from an IR stint and averaged 6.8 targets per game over that stretch. He broke out with seven catches for 101 yards and 22.2 DKFP against the Titans in Week 10 and followed that with 15.6 DKFP against the Packers before his inefficient Week 12.
The good news for the rookie WR is that the targets are still there for him if he can just convert them into catches. He is a big target that QB Philip Rivers ($5,900) is using both as a possession option and a downfield threat. He leads all of the Colts’ WR with four red-zone targets over the past three games and should be able to get back on track against the Texans in Houston this week.
Josh Reynolds, Los Angeles Rams at Arizona Cardinals, $4,200 – The Rams spend the vast majority of their time on offense in three-WR sets. As a result, Reynolds has played over 80% of the team’s offensive snaps in four straight weeks, including last week when he was on the field for 98% of the team’s snaps, missing just one of 62 plays run on offense. He was targeted six times by Goff and hauled in five catches for 40 yards and 9.0 DKFP. Reynolds has at least six targets in five straight contests and has averaged 52.4 yards per game over that stretch. He hasn’t found the end zone since Week 7 but has gotten a pair of red zone targets since then.
Since he’s almost always on the field and offers the Rams their best deep threat, Reynolds always has the potential to have a big game. The Cardinals have given up the eighth-most DKFP to opposing WRs and lack some depth at CB, which could end up putting Reynolds in a good matchup. If the game opens up and points start flying, Goff could connect with Reynolds on a few deep passes and make both of them great value options.
Denzel Mims, New York Jets vs. Las Vegas Raiders, $4,100 — Another player getting opportunities to make plays down the field is Jets’ rookie WR Denzel Mims. Mims matched Breshad Perriman ($3,900) for the team lead with eight targets last week against the Dolphins. He finished with over 60 receiving yards for the third straight week and has at least seven targets in each of his three most recent games since getting back to full strength after starting the season on IR.
The Jets haven’t had many bright spots this season, but the second-round pick from Baylor has shown some solid potential since getting healthy and looks to have true star potential. The offensive scheme should continue to get him in places to make plays, and Sam Darnold ($5,000) will continue to try and build a rapport with him for the future.
Keke Coutee, Houston Texans vs. Indianapolis Colts, $3,500 – The Texans’ offense was starting to come around and look better in recent weeks, but they suffered a huge loss earlier this week when WR Will Fuller V was suspended for the rest of the season for violating the NFL’s performance enhancing substances policy. With Fuller out, Kenny Stills recently released and Randall Cobb (toe) landing on IR last week, the Texans will be very short-handed at WR, which opens the door for Coutee to step into a much larger role. The Stills and Cobb moves happened before Thanksgiving, when Coutee played 50% of snaps and hauled in 2-of-3 targets for 17 yards against the Lions. He also had two catches the previous week for 10 yards, a touchdown and 9.0 DKFP.
Fuller’s absence opens a lot of looks especially down the field, and if Brandin Cooks ($5,600) absorbs some of those big-shot targets, Coutee could be the go-to option underneath while working out of the slot. He has been with the Texans for three seasons but has battled injuries and produced limited results. However, he has flashed some upside when healthy and will now get a chance to get his career on track over the next few weeks. At least until Cobb returns, Coutee should be poised for a heavy workload.
Other Options: Russell Gage ($4,500), Marquez Valdes-Scantling ($4,400), Golden Tate ($3,800), Darnell Mooney ($3,400), Collin Johnson ($3,300)
($4,000 and under)
Robert Tonyan, Green Bay Packers vs. Philadelphia Eagles, $3,700 – Tonyan’s three-touchdown outburst in Week 4 that netted him 33.8 DKFP looked like an outlier for a while, but the TE has worked his way into a more regular role in the Packers’ passing game lately, even with Davante Adams ($9,000) and Allen Lazard ($5,000) back from their injuries. On Sunday night against the Bears, Tonyan had a touchdown for the second straight week, giving him seven scores on the season and over 15 DKFP in back-to-back weeks.
Tonyan and the Packers host the struggling Eagles this week and should be able to keep putting up points. Over the past three games, Tonyan has 14 targets, and he has played over 55% of snaps in five straight. He won’t get looks ahead of those two star WRs but is slotting in just behind them in the target share and also emerging as a red zone option. If you’d rather have a smaller part on a better offense than a large part of a bad offense, Tonyan is a great way to go for under $4K.
Jordan Akins, Houston Texans vs. Indianapolis Colts, $2,900 – Akins is another pass-catcher in Houston who will have to step up with Fuller out. He didn’t have a catch last week against the Lions but continues to split time pretty evenly with Darren Fells ($2,700). Akins has been a little more involved than Fells as a pass-catcher throughout the season and did have two targets in the end zone last week although he wasn’t able to convert either to touchdowns.
In past seasons, Akins has worked out of the slot and may have to return to that role for the next couple of weeks. He ranks eighth in yards per route run (1.76) among tight ends with at least 20 catches, and could be in for a big boost against the Colts.
Other Options: Trey Burton ($3,500), Drew Sample ($2,900)
($2,800 and under)
Lions DST, Detroit Lions at Chicago Bears, $2,500 – The Lions’ defense has been awful most of the season and just gave up 41 points to the Texans on Thanksgiving, which got their coach fired. However, they’re still worth a look in this matchup since they get a matchup with the Bears, who have 14 turnovers in 11 games this season and multiple turnovers in four of their past five contests. Chicago has also done a bad job protecting whoever is at QB, allowing multiple sacks in five straight games. Detroit could get a little bit of a bump from the turnover at the top, and sometimes teams turn things around with a new voice. The Lions have forced at least one turnover in three straight games and have 11 takeaways in their 11 games this season, so there is some upside to consider at this very affordable salary.
Patriots DST, New England Patriots at Los Angeles Chargers, $2,400 — The Patriots had a great scheme last week for Kyler Murray ($7,600) and the Cardinals last week, and now Bill Belichick will set up for rookie QB Justin Herbert ($6,900). The Patriots have at least 4.0 DKFP in eight of their 11 games and have yet to post a negative score in any week. They have forced 16 turnovers in 11 games and scored a pair of defensive touchdowns. They have struggled a little bit on the road, but the Chargers are a good matchup with 12 sacks allowed over their past five games with at least one turnover in each of those contests as well.
Other Options: Browns DST ($2,500), Falcons DST ($2,400)
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