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NFL DFS Week 13: Picks, Plays and Values

Matthew Stafford ready for a get-right game against Jaguars.

After researching the NFL player pool at quarterback, running back, wide receiver, and tight end each week over the past few seasons, I will go on a new path for the daily games in 2021. I continue to make the projections for Sports Illustrated, and this baseline will be used to identify possible values at each position during the season.

In the daily games, we see each week players with low salaries post difference-maker scores. The key to winning is mixing a core of studs with some undervalued options that post impact scores for their price point.

Depending on the format, the goal is to find players that will score three or four times their salary to have a shot at GPP (grand prize pool).


Matthew Stafford throws a pass.

Top Tier: Matthew Stafford, Los Angeles Rams ($7,300/$7,800)

After 12 weeks, Stafford ranks fifth in quarterbacks scoring (272.60 fantasy points) in four-point passing touchdown leagues. He scored between 27.00 and 33.15 fantasy points in six starts. Stafford passed for more than 300 yards in five matchups while averaging 319 yards and 2.6 touchdowns at home.

Jacksonville improved to eighth in quarterback defense (20.19 FPPG) after allowing less than 18.00 fantasy points over their past three matchups (IND – 180/0, SF – 176/2, and ATL – 190/1). In addition, they’ve allowed fewer than 200 yards passing in five of their previous seven contests. Over the first four games, the Jaguars struggled to defend wide receivers (13/200/1, 14/216/1, 17/238, and 18/238/2).

The Rams come into this week’s matchup with a three-game losing streak. Over this span, Stafford has been sacked nine times (eight over his first eight games). The 49ers and Packers held the ball for more than 39 minutes, keeping the Rams’ offense on the sidelines. Stafford projects to pass for 306 yards and three touchdowns.

More: Lamar Jackson – 28.57 fantasy points

Value: Derek Carr, Las Vegas Raiders ($6,000/$7,500)

Over 11 starts, Carr has yet to deliver more than two touchdowns in a game despite averaging 310 passing yards. He has already set a career-high in completions over 20 yards (58). Carr offers almost no value in the run game (27/73). This week, the Raiders will be without their star tight end (Darren Waller).

Washington ranks last in the league defending quarterbacks (26.97 FPPG). Most of the damage came over a three-game stretch (BUF – 387/5, ATL – 303/4, and NO – 305/4) from Weeks 3-5. Over the past four games, they held quarterbacks to 217 passing yards with seven touchdowns. Three opponents had success with their wideouts (LAC – 24/278/1, BUF – 23/277/2, and KC – 19/239/2) against Washington.

With 300 passing yards and two scores, Carr would produce enough fantasy points to fill his salary bucket. Foster Moreau offers a decent floor at tight end as Waller’s replacement, while Las Vegas has sneaky depth at wide receiver.

More: Joe Burrow – 20.50 fantasy points

Running Back

Top Tier: Jonathan Taylor, Indianapolis Colts ($9,200/$10,500)

Taylor extended his scoring streak to nine games (16 touchdowns). Over this span, he gained 1,300 yards with 28 catches while averaging over 28 fantasy points. Last week, Taylor failed to reach 100 combined yards for the first time since Week 3. He averaged 27 touches over his previous three weeks. In Week 6, Taylor gained 158 yards with two touchdowns and one catch against the Texans.

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Houston sits 24th against the running back position (25.15 FPPG), with struggles vs. the run in six matchups (CLE – 34/156/3, BUF – 40/199/2, IND – 26/174/2, ARI – 37/172/1, LAR – 31/165/2 and NYJ – 34/157/1). They allow 4.5 yards per rush with 14 touchdowns by running backs.

Taylor has a massive salary, but his matchup points to multiple scores while delivering well over 100 combined yards. His early projections come to 150 yards with 1.6 touchdowns and two catches.

More: Joe Mixon – 25.65

San Francisco 49ers Elijah Mitchell

Value: Elijah Mitchell, San Francisco 49ers ($6,000/$7,600)

The 49ers have run the ball well over the past three weeks (44/156/1, 42/171/1, 39/208/3), but their wide receivers accounted for 185 rushing yards on 20 carries with four touchdowns. San Francisco gave him 27 carries in each of his last two starts, leading to 259 yards with one touchdown and five catches or 36.90 fantasy points in PPR leagues. Twice over his previous three starts, Mitchell was more active in the passing game (5/43 and 5/35). The 49ers had him on the field for a season-high 70 percent of their snaps in Week 12.

<div class="metabet-gametile metabet-size-300x250 metabet-query-485187"></div> Jamaal Williams – 20.63 fantasy points

Wide Receiver

Top Tier: Cooper Kupp, Los Angeles Rams ($9,000/$9,000)

Kupp has gained over 90 yards in 10 of his 11 starts while offering a floor of seven catches in 10 games. He failed to score in his past three matchups after delivering 10 touchdowns and four impact games (9/163/2, 9/96/2, 9/103/2, 10/156/2) over the first eight weeks.

Wide receivers have 151 catches for 1,833 yards and 10 touchdowns on 201 targets against the Jaguars. Six wideouts (Brandin Cooks – 5/132, Courtland Sutton – 9/159, A.J. Green – 5/112, Christian Kirk – 7/104, Tyler Boyd – 9/118, Tyler Lockett – 12/142) gained over 100 yards. Jaylen Waddle (10/70/2) and DK Metcalf (6/43/2) were the two wideouts that scored twice.

Kupp should break his three-game scoring drought while being active again in the passing game. His matchup points to nine catches for 121 yards and one touchdown.

Value: Chris Godwin, Tampa Bay Buccaneers ($6,600/$7,600)

Over the past three weeks, Godwin received only 19 targets, leading to 17 catches for 146 yards and one score. His best success came in three matchups (9/105/1, 8/111/1, 8/140/1). Godwin only has one touchdown on the road, coming in Week 2 vs. the Falcons (4/62/1). On the year, he averages eight targets.

Atlanta ranks 27th vs. the wide receiver position (141/1,670/15 – 37.19 FPPG). Two offenses gained over 200 yards from their wideouts (WAS – 12/204/2 and DAL – 15/212/2). Terry McLaurin (6/123/2) and CeeDee Lamb (6/94/2) have the two impact games. The Falcons faced nine opponents (PHI, NYG, WAS, NYJ, MIA, CAR, NO, NE, and JAC) with questionable depth at wide receiver and below-par quarterback play.

For Godwin to come in, he needs Atlanta to play well offensively. The improved running back production by the Bucs will draw attention this week, but I expect the game script to shift back to Tampa’s wide receivers. SI Sportsbook lists this week’s match with the highest over/under (50.5) of the week. I set Godwin’s bar at seven catches for 102 yards and one touchdown.

George Kittle, San Francisco 49ers ($5,900/$6,300)

San Francisco struggled to get the ball to Kittle in Week 12, leading to one catch and 13 yards on two targets. His scoring streak ended at three games. Over his first seven starts, the 49ers gave him 47 targets (6.7 per game), highlighted by two games (7/92 and 6/101/1). The Seahawks held him to four catches for 40 yards on 10 targets in Week 4.

Seattle ranks 23rd defending tight ends (61/569/5). Most of their struggles came in three contests (7/70/1, 5/61/1, and 8/88/2). Tyler Conklin (7/70/1), Pat Freiermuth (7/58), Dan Arnold (8/68) and Zach Ertz (8/88/2) had the highest success in catches.

With Deebo Samuel injured, Kittle expects to be more active in the passing game. However, he needs 25.00 fantasy points to pay off, which requires a step up from his Week 13 projections.

More: Travis Kelce – 18.72 fantasy points

Value: Tyler Higbee, Los Angeles Rams ($3,800/$5,300)

After 16 games, Higbee is the 16th-highest scoring tight end (8.34 FPPG). He has yet to score over 15.00 fantasy points in any matchup while averaging only 5.1 targets. For him to fill his salary bucket, Higbee needs to score more than 14.00 fantasy points.

The Jaguars played better against tight ends over the last five weeks (1/7, 2/10, 5/52, 4/34/1, 3/33), pushing them up to 20th in tight end defense (54/618/5). They struggled vs. tight ends in three games (9/64/1, 5/95/2, 14/182) earlier in the year.

The injury to Darrell Henderson may lead to a better goal-line opportunity for Higbee. In 2019 and 2020, he caught 113 passes for 1,255 yards and eight scores over 30 games. With a touchdown, Higbee only needs five catches for 40 yards.

More: Rob Gronkowski – 15.23 fantasy points

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