💪 Win Now and Later with this Waiver Wire WR

Points. Playoff wins. Party time.

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  • A Waiver Wire WR for the Playoffs. Go get him now!

  • Rankings Roundtable: Fins’ and Jags’ offense up. Browns down.

  • QUICK HITTER: All the targets for Keenan Allen

  • De’Von Achane? More like De’Von Mystartinglineup. He’s back!

  • DFS Stacks: Having Aiyuk in your lineup is Purdy good.

  • It’s 12/2. Take it away, Chris Allen…

So, on the one hand, I get not wanting to roster players who aren’t the alpha on their team.

Usually, they have a volatile workload. Maybe they rely on touchdowns. And, from a vibes standpoint, if they don’t have a cool name (remember Leonte Carroo?), it’s just not fun having them on your squad.

But have you seen some of the players folks may consider starting this weekend?

While we wait on the final word about Chris Olave’s status, Atorian Perry (A+ name, F- number of targets this season) becomes the next man up, with Rashid Shaheed out.

Travis Etienne has a chest injury. Coincidentally, D’Ernest Johnson, not Tank Bigsby, has seen his snap share rise from 20.4% in Week 10 to 42.6% against the Texans with nine opportunities (targets plus totes) to Bigsby’s one. So, against the Bengals on Monday night, the Jaguars’ RB3 could be a fantasy RB1.

Demario Douglas is in the concussion protocol. Hunter Henry inexplicably earned zero targets last week. As a result, Tyquan Thornton becomes an intere—

Wait. No. Just no.

The point is we’re still dealing with injuries, teams on bye for another week, and, through it all, trying to secure a playoff spot. So, as we’re juggling winning this week while keeping the future in mind, here’s a player you can pick up now that checks both boxes.

🚀 Curtis Samuel, Commanders

I mean, assuming he doesn’t get tossed out of a game again, Curtis Samuel earns enough work to stay in the WR3 discussion but has the talent to be in the Top 24.

Samuel missed Week 9 with a toe injury. Since then, he’s led the Commanders’ WRs in targets on a per-route basis (24.0% and 36.4% TPRR) in his two full games. And while we typically think of slot WRs as having the easiest path to getting looks, in this case, the logic holds.

On the season, Sam Howell has been not just a voluminous passer (+6% dropback over expectation rate, tied for third highest) but an aggressive one. He averaged 8.0 air yards per attempt through the first nine weeks of the season (tenth-most). Since Week 10, it’s down to 6.5.

So, the Howell-Samuel connection looks prime for a repeat. And with Miami’s defensive injuries, the Commanders should test the short area of the field. But the runout for Samuel, as it relates to how many slot yards each defense he’ll face allows, looks tempting, too.

  • Week 15: Rams, 13th -most

  • Week 16: Jets, 7th -most

  • Week 17: 49ers, 14th -most

Rostering Samuel might not be sexy. Washington’s offense might be tough to watch at times as Howell tries to cut back on the sacks. But if you need depth at WR, grab Samuel to help you for your push for a championship.

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Week 13 Roundtable

Debating between two guys on your roster? Need someone to break the tie for you? Matthew Freedman, Dwain McFarland, and Ian Hartitiz dove deep into their rankings to find a few players they’re willing to push into their starting lineup for Week 13.

I can’t believe the fantasy regular season is almost over.

Well, actually, looking at the players on my roster, I can. Having strong starters is one thing. Honestly, it’s THE thing. But at this point, having healthy players in your lineup feels almost as secure. However, we’ve still got to come out on Tuesday with a win. There’s still about a month of action to go.

So, if you’ve got questions about who to start (who doesn’t?), we’ve got you covered. You already know about our rankings and projections. And, for some play-specific analysis, look no further. Three of our best analysts sat down to go through their approach to some of the key players and how you should handle them for this week.

🐬 RB - De’Von Achane (Dolphins) at Commanders

Achane will return to the lineup in Week 13 against Washington on a slate where the Dolphins carry the highest team total (29.75) as 9.5-point favorites. His last outing ended with a whimper, only registering one attempt and one target before reaggravating his MCL injury – which could spook some fantasy managers.

While there is some risk that Achane’s injury could limit his snaps or knock him out of the game early, it’s hard to ignore his ceiling. The rookie averages 34 points per contest in three games where he has played at least 40% of the snaps.

Achane UR

Achane doesn’t need 20 opportunities (combined attempts and targets) to score fantasy points. In Weeks 4 and 5, he scored 27 and 24 points on 12 and 13 opportunities, respectively.

I currently have Achane ranked the highest among Fantasy Life rankers, but the gap will likely close as updates are made based on the news. 

Achane is a mid-range RB2 with RB1 upside and is a top-30 flex option despite the injury and workload risks.

Week 13 Roundtable

🐅 RB - Travis Etienne (Jaguars) vs. Bengals

I’m the highest ranker on Etienne, putting him below only Christian McCaffrey as my RB2.

In the first eight weeks of the season, Etienne put up 849 yards and eight TDs (with two 2-point conversions) on 18.9 carries and 4.4 targets per game with an 81% snap rate (per our Fantasy Life Utilization Report).

But in the three weeks since the bye, Etienne has 189 scoreless yards on 14.3 carries and 4.3 targets per game with a 62% snap rate. His decline in usage is concerning.

This week, though, Etienne could have 20-plus touches with multiple goal-line opportunities as a sizable home favorite against the Bengals, who might be without LB Logan Wilson (ankle) after he exited Week 12 with an injury.

🐶 WR - Amari Cooper (Browns) vs. Rams

Hilariously: Joe Flacco has a chance to save Cooper’s fantasy value down the stretch in the year 2023. The 38-year-old veteran was last seen … kind of putting up decent numbers with the Jets at the beginning of 2022?

  • Week 1: 309 pass yards-1 TD-1 INT

  • Week 2: 307-4-0 (!)

  • Week 3: 285-0-2

Yes, there was also a Week 18 stinker (149-0-0) in there, but clearly, Flacco was still capable of putting up some yardage through the air – even if plenty came down on the scoreboard (he averaged 52 pass attempts per game in Weeks 1 to 3).

So yes, Flacco could actually help things – because the bar literally could not be lower. Whether it be Deshaun Watson, Dorian Thompson-Robinson (concussion) or P.J. Walker: Cleveland has offered arguably the single-worst passing environment for its pass-catchers in fantasy land this season.

Browns team passing marks:

  • PFF pass grade: 46.5 (32nd)

  • Yards per attempt: 5.7 (31st)

  • Adjusted completion rate: 67.8% (32nd)

  • Passer rating: 66.0 (32nd)

Overall, no offense has had a lower rate of catchable passes than the Browns (71%) this season. Not great!

Check out the late Friday edition of The Fantasy Life Podcast for an injury update on Cooper (ribs) and the rest of the week’s banged-up fantasy assets – but it’s possible that the likes of Coop, David Njoku and maybe even Flacco’s former teammate Elijah Moore get going just a bit in upcoming matchups against beatable secondaries in the Rams, Jaguars and Bears.

Don’t get it twisted: None of these pass-catchers deserve must-start treatment by any stretch of the imagination, but I’ve heard worse ideas than targeting them in DFS formats as likely low-owned and low-cost options.

- Ian

Who wants to deal with injuries? That’s right. No one. But somebody’s gotta do it. Lucky for you, we’ve got the best in the biz to break down each fantasy-relevant situation and how they’re playing it for Sunday…

Week 13 Injuries

Jonathan Taylor injury update. Is Freiermuth a key to fantasy championships? Kendall has all the notes you need for Week 13.

🏃‍♂️ Miami’s speedy RB will be back on the field in Week 13. Get him in your lineups!

💪 All’s well with Tank Dell. Everyone breathe easy now.

💕 Zach Ertz clears waivers and wants to sing with a contend. Is the Philly reunion happening?

🚀 Don’t lose faith yet. These RBs are primed for positive regression.

📽 Fantasy analysis. Picks. Game total projections. The Matchups podcast crew has you covered for all the Week 13 action.

🦅 DeSean Jackson talks retirement and his greatest plays in Philly. One of the best to ever do it.

🤣 Texans safety talks about one of his favorite movies. Did we just become best friends?

Week 13 Stacks

Finding the right player stacks can be the key to building a profitable roster in DFS. If you want to get the jump on this weekend, James McCool from Paydirt DFS has the data to guide you for Week 13.

⚒ Value option: San Francisco 49ers

📝 Facts:

  • Brandon Aiyuk has finished with 10+ PPR  points in every full game he has played this year and has 3 top 10 PPR finishes at the position

  • Brock Purdy has the highest yards per attempt of any QB with 50+ dropbacks and is the #9 scoring QB in fantasy while having the 29th highest volume (27.7 attempts per game).

  • The San Francisco 49ers have the second-highest touchdowns per drive at 31% (MIA is first at 34%) and have the highest shift/motion rate at a wild 90% of plays.

📊 Stack info (DraftKings)

Value Stacks

💰 Salary and projections:

  • Combo 1 (Purdy/Samuel/Aiyuk): This lineup commands a $19,500 salary and is distinguished by a Median score of 48.7. It's positioned as the strongest set with the highest potential for scoring.

  • Combo 2 (Purdy/Samuel/Kittle): Slightly less expensive at $18,500, the Median score sees a minor dip to 47.2. The savings here could be invested elsewhere in your roster for a balanced approach.

  • Combo 3 (Purdy/Aiyuk/Kittle): Matching Combo 2 in salary, it presents a Median score of 46.1. This combo is the most conservative in terms of scoring potential among the three.

The medians here, along with pricing, allow you to really pick your poison, as there is no real outlier that is leading the charge and carrying the projection weight. That has pros and cons, with the most annoying con being that you have to rely on some variance of outcomes, but it does help you with flexibility in terms of positional usage.

Week 13 Stacks

‼ Top-5 Finish Potential

  • Combo 1 (Purdy/Samuel/Aiyuk): 

    • Top 5 Finish: This set leads with a 34.10% chance, reflecting a significant likelihood of placing among the top performers.

  • Combo 2 (Purdy/Samuel/Kittle):  

    • Top 5 Finish: Holding a 29.60% chance, it provides a respectable shot at top-tier finishes, though slightly less than Combo 1.

  • Combo 3 (Purdy/Aiyuk/Kittle): 

    • Top 5 Finish: The probability decreases to 25.10%, signaling a modest but still notable potential for high placement.

🚀 Combo 1: Upside and Value

Offering the highest Median score and solid top-5 finish chances, this combo is tailored for those focused on maximizing point potential and aiming for the top of the standings.

🤑 Combo 2: Best Value of the Bunch

Despite a slightly lower Median score, it's a strong contender due to its excellent 3x% Return, making it an intriguing option for those seeking value without significantly sacrificing performance.

🤔 Combo 3: Contrarian Combo

With the same cost as Combo 2 but lower performance indicators, this combination might appeal to those looking for a different mix of players while maintaining cost-effectiveness.

None of these combinations cost more than $20,000 on DraftKings, which signals a nice buy low, especially for an MVP-worth QB and capable receivers. When you add in a playoff-oriented matchup with the Eagles, this makes for the best game environment on the slate. Look to have a lot of exposure here, so you can spend up at premium positions elsewhere.

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