Two more bye weeks remain, and then it’s all-in for your fantasy football playoff push. As we get set for Week 13 in the NFL, we welcome back fantasy studs Patrick Mahomes, Travis Kelce, Tyreek Hill and Kyler Murray from their week off. But with four teams on a bye this week, there will definitely be some lineup issues -- especially at running back.
Week 13 byes: Panthers, Packers, Browns, Titans
What you’re missing
Panthers: Fantasy managers with Christian McCaffrey on their roster waited patiently (or not) for the Panthers’ running back to get healthy -- and now he's done for the season. He averaged 110 scrimmage yards per game between Weeks 9-12, but an ankle injury will sideline him for the rest of the season. Cam Newton, D.J. Moore and Robby Anderson won’t be missed all that much this week, but it will be interesting top see if those guys can pick up the slack when they return from bye without CMC.
Packers: Neither Aaron Rodgers nor Davante Adams have carried fantasy squads this season as they did a year ago, but both will be missed. Fantasy managers with Aaron Jones have been dealing with his injury for a few weeks. As far as fantasy playoffs are concerned, it’s probably a good thing that Jones gets another week to recover, but his Week 13 absence must be dealt with.
Browns: Two more running backs who can use the week off to rest and get healthier are Cleveland’s Nick Chubb and Kareem Hunt. Both will be key contributors during the fantasy playoffs, but both will be missed in Week 13.
Titans: It wasn’t that long ago that fantasy managers might have looked at Week 13 and dreaded the Titans’ bye week because they had Derrick Henry or perhaps A.J. Brown. But Henry’s been out of commission for a month, and Brown was just added to the injured reserve. Ryan Tannehill certainly hasn’t picked up the slack, so Tennessee on a bye this week is actually no big deal for fantasy.
Week 13 waiver options
Some fantasy squads might be deep enough to have a satisfactory fill-in on their bench when it comes to bye week replacements. If not, you’ll need a short-term waiver add -- and it’s not about fighting for the hottest waiver-wire candidates. You just want a stand-in who happens to have a favorable matchup in your week of need.
Here are some Week 13 options:
If Jimmy Garoppolo stays healthy, he’s a potentially sneaky good start this week against Seattle. Garoppolo got injured midway through the 49ers’ Week 4 game against the Seahawks, but he and Trey Lance combined for 322 yards and three TDs in that game. ... Believe it or not, Raiders QB Derek Carr is still available in about 25% of fantasy leagues, so if you’re in a smaller league in which he isn’t rostered, grab him. Carr passed for 373 yards on Thanksgiving, his first 300-yard game since Week 7, and he faces a Washington squad that allows the most fantasy points per game (FPPG) to quarterbacks. … Miami’s defense has allowed the fifth-most FPPG to quarterbacks, so this could be a big opportunity for Giants QB Daniel Jones.
The Eagles have been one of the weakest run defenses in the league this season. Tevin Coleman saw his most action of the season Sunday for the Jets, so he might be poised for a big game against Philly. … Atlanta gave up five TD passes to Tom Brady when they played the Buccaneers earlier this season, but the second meeting might be different. The Falcons allow the third-most FPPG to running backs, so Tampa Bay may take a different approach to this game. If so, perhaps Ronald Jones -- who averaged 4.5 yards per carry on six attempts in the first meeting -- might be worth a flier. Even with Leonard Fournette going off Sunday against the colts, Jones did find the end zone. … Some veteran fantasy managers remember a time several years back when David Johnson was fantasy relevant. He has been anything but that with Houston, but the Texans face a Colts defense this week that has been kind of opposing running backs. Can Johnson wake the echoes?
Brandon Aiyuk had just one reception in San Francisco’s Week 4 win over Seattle, but he’s played much better of late and should see more action against the Seahawks’ 30th-ranked pass defense. … Miami’s defense has played better in recent weeks, but the Dolphins still allow the second-most FPPG to wide receivers. Giants WR Kenny Golladay is still available in more than 55% of fantasy leagues, and this could be the week he breaks out. … Lions rookie Amon-Ra St. Brown had seven receptions for 65 yards in Week 5 against the Vikings. Minnesota allows the third-most FPPG to receivers, so it could be another solid day for St. Brown.
With Logan Thomas missing so much time this season due to injury, he’s currently still available in about 43% of fantasy leagues. If he’s available in your league, pick him up and start him against a Raiders defense that allows the second-most FPPG to tight ends. … The Jets have made very little use of their tight ends in the passing game, but they face an Eagles defense that has allowed the most FPPG to the position. That could be an opportunity for Ryan Griffin to make a splash. … Bengals TE C.J. Uzomah has done very little in his last four games, but a matchup against the Chargers, who have been very kind this season to tight ends, could see Uzomah rival his Week 7 outing, when he had 91 yards and two scores at Baltimore.
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