Austin’s Fantasy Train: Week 13


Austin West, Staff

I hope everyone enjoyed their Thanksgiving and enjoyed the great football games that came with it. Food comas and football galore all weekend long, including college football rivalry week but that doesn’t exactly pertain to the column. The week was full of great games like Vikings vs Patriots, Jaguars vs Ravens, and even Packers vs Eagles was a pretty good game. Hopefully, everyone’s fantasy team had a good week as well. Except maybe if you played against Josh Jacobs or Josh Allen. Those guys both decided to just go crazy for 30+ points this week with Jacobs getting almost 50. Unfortunately, if you took some of my predictions and put people in or left people out of your lineup it may have cost you your matchup as it’s beginning to feel like the return of the jinx.

Let’s get started with last week’s projection beaters. I had Geno Smith, Jeff Wilson Jr., Donovan Peoples-Jones, and TJ Hockenson. Unfortunately, Jeff Wilson Jr. would leave the game early in the second half due to cramping but did eventually return but only ended up putting up a measly 12 fantasy points thanks to his rushing touchdown. Donovan Peoples-Jones also drew the curse of the jinx as he had his worst performance since Week 3 only drawing two receptions for 16 yards. Geno Smith and TJ Hockenson are able to come in clutch and even out the scoreboard for the day as they both are able to beat their projections. The underperformers did not fare much better as Tyler Conklin and Christain Watson both beat their projections, especially Watson thanks to his 63-yard touchdown reception. Daniel Jones misses his projection but just barely in a great game against the Cowboys on Thanksgiving. Finally, on Monday Night Football Jonathon Taylor would surpass his projection by a point with 86 rushing yards, three receptions for 12 yards, and a touchdown. That means I may have had my worst fantasy week all season with only three predictions coming true. As we approach the playoff push for fantasy football, let’s hope we can help win some championships. 

Ticket to Ride

Quarterback, Trevor Lawrence: What a win last week for the Jaguars over the Ravens, even though that last touchdown should’ve been ruled incomplete, but I digress. He faces the Lions’ defense who are still giving up the most points to quarterbacks, especially these last three games against mobile QBs. Lawrence may not be as mobile as Justin Fields or Josh Allen, but he can definitely move just as well or better than Daniel Jones. In the last three games, Lawrence has gotten better with each game. He has increased his passing yards by 40+ per game and has increased his touchdown total by one each with six in the last three games. With Etienne injured in the game against the Ravens, the Jaguars may rely on Lawrence’s arm more especially with how good JaMycal Hasty has been in the passing game. 

Running Back, Dameon Pierce: I know, I know, Dameon Pierce has been a letdown recently in fantasy and real football. In the last two weeks, Pierce has a total of 15 carries for 16 yards. In theory, Texans head coach Lovie Smith should be able to realize they need to utilize their star running back more, especially with Kyle Allen as the starter. The Texans face the Browns who give up the second most points to running backs so it gives them an optimal chance to utilize Pierce to put points on the board. 

Wide Receiver, Keenan Allen: Only four games so far this season for Keenan Allen but he’s now played two straight and has been a great number-one receiver for Justin Herbert. At least five receptions over 40+ yards in both games. He was also able to haul in a touchdown during the shootout with the Cardinals. Now he faces another shootout winner from Week 12 in the Las Vegas Raiders. The Raiders just gave up 15 and 20 fantasy points to Tyler Lockett and DK Metcalf respectively. If the Chargers can keep the Raiders’ defense focused on their running back Austin Ekeler, it should open up the offense for Allen. 

Tight End, Foster Moreau: After Darren Waller went out with an injury, Foster Moreau has done his part stepping in to fill the role as the Raiders’ number one tight end. He’s played a minimum of 96% of snaps since the BYE week including two games playing 100% of snaps. He has at least 30 receiving yards in each of his games since Week 8 and now faces a Chargers defense that gives up an average of 10.7 fantasy points to tight ends. Part of this is due to Travis Kelce having three touchdowns in Week 11, but if Carr continues to target Moreau in the endzone, he should have some touchdown equity. 

Missed the Train

Quarterback, Deshaun Watson: Deshaun Watson was officially reinstated to play following last week’s game against the Buccaneers. He is currently set to start against his former team, the Houston Texans, but I would hold back your expectations. It’s been two years since Watson has been able to play meaningful football and throwing him straight to the wolves, even if it’s a worse-than-average Texans defense, may not be the best option. The Browns have running backs Nick Chubb and Kareem Hunt to fall back on so as to not force Watson to deliver as many throws, so while he may earn himself a touchdown thanks to Amari Cooper, Donovan-Peoples Jones, or David Njoku, don’t expect a 25+ point fantasy day. 

Running Back, Christian McCaffrey: One of the best fantasy running backs in the past five years, has not been great against his projections since joining the San Francisco 49ers. The last time McCaffrey beat his projection was his hat trick against the Rams in Week 8. He faces the Miami Dolphins who are the exact middle of the league when it comes to giving up fantasy points to running backs. The Dolphins may have given up two rushing touchdowns in the last two games, but they’ve allowed less than 100 rushing yards total. McCaffrey hasn’t reached 40 rushing yards in a game since that Week 8 Rams contest so this matchup leads to a day where McCaffery may have to rely on his passing game usage to get a majority of his points. The only problem with that is he’s been dealing with knee problems following the game against the Saints. 

Wide Receiver, Treylon Burks: You lucked out last week with Treylon Burks falling on a Derrick Henry fumble for a touchdown early against the Bengals. Without it, Burks only has 11 fantasy points from four receptions for 70 yards on the day. Now he faces the Philadelphia Eagles who have been one of the top 10 defenses against fantasy wide receivers this season and second in the league in passing yards allowed. They gave up two receiving touchdowns last week to the Packers which is the odd game out this season as they hadn’t allowed a touchdown to a wide receiver since Week 9. In his last three games, Burks is tied for the most targeted receiver on the Titans with counterpart Robert Woods so look for the Philly DBs to try to lock down one of the receivers and leave Tannehill to focus on the rest of the bunch.


Tight End, Hayden Hurst: Hayden Hurst has been a staple of the Cincinnati Bengals offense this season. He has been off and on with the number of targets he gets in games and that is likely to continue as star wide receiver Jamarr Chase is likely to return this week against the Kansas City Chiefs. No touchdowns since Week 5 for Hurst and no touchdowns allowed since Week 7 for the Chiefs. The Chiefs have been middle of the pack in fantasy points allowed to tight ends but again the real problem for Hurst is whether or not the return of Chase will pull more of his targets away from him as so far this season he has averaged just over five targets a game. Hurst is also only able to average around 36 yards per game receiving so a PPR average of 8.6 fantasy points per game. Be aware of the condition of Chase to increase or decrease Hurst’s target share.