Welcome to Betting the Spread Week 13! We’re officially in nut-cutting time. NFL teams are fighting for playoff positioning. The fantasy playoffs are near. Teams are tanking for draft picks. It’s almost over. We only have six more weeks left guys. And we went 5-8 last week. Our record is a paltry 73-88-5 on the year. We have to be better. I think we will this week.
Green Bay Packers (-3.5) vs Chicago Bears
Pick ATS: Chicago Bears
If you’ve read this article over the season, surely you’re aware that I’ve touched on how bad Green Bay’s run defense is. They are now dead last in run defense DVOA according to Football Outsiders. Only the Texans allow more rush yards per game than the Packers. They just allowed 363(!) yards on the ground to the Eagles last Sunday Night at an unreal 7.4 yards per clip. Sure, they played Jalen Hurts and the Eagles. Not every team has a dynamic mobile quarterback, oh wait, the Bears do.
Justin Fields practiced in full on Thursday and is averaging 6.84 yards per carry this season. He has at least 47 rushing yards in every game since Week 3, at least 60 yards in every game since Week 6, and at least one rushing touchdown in every game since Week 7. David Montgomery ran for 122 yards at an 8.13 yards per carry clip against Green Bay in Week 2. Fields and Montgomery, heck even Darrynton Evans if he gets 10 touches again like he did last week, is set to smash against this Packers’ defense.
Pittsburgh Steelers vs Atlanta Falcons (Pick ‘Em)
Pick ATS: Atlanta Falcons
Depending on how injuries play out, I could end up starting Olamide Zaccheaus in a league. If you’re desperate, you should consider doing so as well. Zaccheaus leads the Falcons in receiving yards. No, seriously. Imagine predicting that in the preseason. He is No. 3 on the team in targets with 39. Drake London has 69, and Kyle Pitts has 59. Khadarel Hodge is next with 17. Pitts’ 21-percent target share just went up in smoke, and London can’t get every single target on the team. Zaccheaus has averaged six targets in the two games Pitts has missed this season to go with 3.5 receptions, 65 yards, and 0.5 touchdowns.
It’s not merely a jump in opportunity lifting Olamide Zaccheaus. He’s playing well this season. He is No. 17 among wide receivers in yards per route run according to playerprofiler.com. He is No. 2 in yards per target. He’s played at least 60-percent of Atlanta’s snaps in all but two games this year. He ranks No. 20 in the NFL in slot snaps, which is important because their opponent, the Steelers, are not good at defending slot receivers. Good things happen when Olamide Zaccheaus gets the ball for Atlanta. He can help your fantasy team this week.
Jacksonville Jaguars (Pick ‘Em) vs Detroit Lions
Pick ATS: Jacksonville Jaguars
Last week was Trevor Lawrence‘s best game as an NFL quarterback. Though his career-high in passing yards came in his first-ever NFL start, a majority of those yards came after he threw two picks and were meaningless garbage time yards. Last week, however, was not that in the slightest.
Trevor Lawrence in the 4th quarter today against the Ravens.
lmao. lmfao. pic.twitter.com/BKCwmOe90u
— Nate Tice (@Nate_Tice) November 28, 2022
Trevor Lawrence diced up one of the best defenses in the NFL and stole a victory from Baltimore. For his troubles, he gets the battered Lions defense that, though they rank No. 19 in pass defense DVOA, also allows the No. 4-most passing yards in the NFL and the most fantasy points to opposing quarterbacks. Lawrence and all his weapons (Travis Etienne or JaMycal Hasty, Christian Kirk; the Lions allowed the No. 3-most fantasy points per game before Isaiah McKenzie balled out on Thanksgiving from there, Zay Jones, and even Evan Engram) make for great starts this week.
New York Jets vs Minnesota Vikings (-3)
Pick ATS: Minnesota Vikings
Thank God for Mike White aka White Mike aka Walter Ehrmantraut. The Jets’ pass offense, and their plethora of options, looked not only alive but lethal once again without Zach Wilson at quarterback. Let’s put it this way, Jets quarterbacks have thrown for at least 250 yards in six of their 11 games. Joe Flacco did it in all three of his starts. Mike White did it in his lone start. Zach Wilson did it twice in his seven starts and only completed 49.35-percent of his passes in those games. Any quarterback not named Zach Wilson has unlocked the Jets’ receiving options for fantasy, most notably Garrett Wilson.
Garrett Wilson (2022) – PPR/G by QB
Mike White: 26.4 FPG
Joe Flacco: 17.1 FPG
Zach Wilson: 8.4 FPG https://t.co/lPYdgWlEiV
— Scott Barrett (@ScottBarrettDFB) November 27, 2022
Wilson is a locked-and-loaded WR2 this week with top-five upside against a Vikings secondary that ranks No. 27 in pass defense DVOA. Tyler Conklin, who has at least 40 yards or a touchdown in every non-Zach Wilson game this season, is a solid streaming option in his revenge game this week. The toughest player to gauge is Elijah Moore. It’s a great matchup, and he made two big plays last week. One of those plays went for a touchdown. But he played 35-percent of the Jets’ snaps, racked up two targets, and ran only 12 routes. He hasn’t run over 20 routes since Week 4. I’ll rattle my brain debating Moore and Olamide Zaccheaus this week, but Moore is a fine upside dart throw if you’re desperate.
Washington Commanders (-2.5) vs New York Giants
Pick ATS: New York Giants
Do you know who else would make for a decent dart throw if you’re desperate? Richie James. In the first Giants game sans Wan’Dale Robinson after he tore his ACL, James took over Robinson’s vacated slot role to solid results.
Richie James without Wan'Dale Robinson (ACL) yesterday:
* 45-of-64 snaps (70%)
* 35 slot, 10 wide
* 34 routes on 39 Danny Dimes dropbacks (87%)
* 6 targets for a 17% share
* 5-41-1 result
— Adam Levitan (@adamlevitan) November 25, 2022
The Commanders’ secondary has stepped up of late. They’re now No. 14 in pass defense DVOA and allow the No. 10-fewest passing yards in the NFL. But they’re not stout in defending the slot. Christian Kirk (12-6-117) and Amon-Ra St. Brown (12-6-116-2) torched them in Weeks 1 and 2, but Quez Watkins (4-4-80) and that guy Olamide Zaccheaus (8-5-91) all had solid games from the slot within the last three minutes. I like Zaccheaus and Elijah Moore more than Richie James, but you can do worse.
Tennessee Titans vs Philadelphia Eagles (-4.5)
Pick ATS: Philadelphia Eagles
Tennessee is No. 17 in pass defense DVOA. However, they allow the No. 2-most passing yards per game in the NFL this season and the No. 2 most fantasy points to wide receivers.
A.J. Brown revenge game. That’s all.
Denver Broncos vs Baltimore Ravens (-9.5)
Pick ATS: Baltimore Ravens
I literally moan every time I have to write about a Broncos game because they’re all the same. Their offense can’t score, and their defense prevents other teams from scoring. If the Broncos had simply scored 19 points in every game this season, they’d be 8-2-1 on the season. Instead, they’ve hit that mark once (of course they lost that one) and are 3-8. Maybe the defense hit its breaking point last week after defensive Mike Purcell let Russell Wilson have it and Baltimore adds insult to injury.
Mike Purcell is from Highlands Ranch CO, he’s been a #Broncos fan his entire life.
If Nathaniel Hackett doesn’t yell at Russell Wilson, he will.
This damn team needs more accountability.
This should be the ONLY take on this situation. pic.twitter.com/kIikoYedmv
— Denver Broncos 365 (@DailyBroncos) November 28, 2022
I think this game is ugly. As a result, I don’t see a ceiling game from Lamar Jackson this week. Jackson actually has scored more than 20 fantasy points five times this season which is fewer than the number of times he’s scored less than 20 (six). The floor is so high, and the rushing will be there. Jackson is averaging 10.1 carries per game, and the Broncos rank No. 17 in rush defense DVOA compared to No. 4 in pass defense DVOA. You can start Jackson and Mark Andrews, but I wouldn’t feel great about starting anybody else but the Ravens’ D/ST in this game.
Cleveland Browns (-7) vs Houston Texans
Pick ATS: Cleveland Browns
For better or worse (definitely worse), Deshaun Watson will return to an NFL field this week. Jacoby Brissett was magnificent in his stead and played well enough to earn starting looks elsewhere in the offseason. But Watson should buoy everyone in this offense, especially Nick Chubb this week. The Texans are No. 30 in rush defense DVOA. Chubb ranks No. 16 in true yards per carry (4.9), No. 5 in yards created (738), and No. 1 in evaded tackles (106) and breakaway runs (17). And now he gets a QB upgrade? Chubb should carry teams to wins himself this week.
Seattle Seahawks (-7) vs Los Angeles Rams
Pick ATS: Seattle Seahawks
You’d think a Rams running back *should* have a good game after Josh Jacobs stomped over the Seahawks to the tune of *303* yards from scrimmage and two touchdowns. Even Ameer Abdullah got in on the fun with a touchdown and scored 14.5 PPR points. The question is: which one? The Seahawks have allowed a running back to register over 100 yards from scrimmage in eight of their 11 games this season and are allowing RB1s to average 4.54 receptions per game against them.
Though Seattle ranks No. 19 in rush defense DVOA, they allow the No. 4-most rush yards per game. This could make Cam Akers a fine start, but I think Kyren Williams is the better one. Akers has six targets in nine games this season. Three of those targets came in Week 2. Williams has eight targets in his first three NFL games. He’s the Rams’ receiving back on a team that Vegas expects to trail and likely won’t be wrong for thinking such. Go ahead and start Williams if you’re in a pinch this week.
Miami Dolphins (+4) vs San Francisco 49ers
Pick ATS: Miami Dolphins
Stop me if you’ve heard this before: the San Francisco backfield is a mess. Christian McCaffrey has been dealing with ‘knee irritation,’ and was taken out of last week’s game because of it. However, Elijah Mitchell once again (poor guy can’t catch a break) injured his knee and will miss 6-8 weeks. Tyrion Davis-Price, San Francisco’s third-round rookie from LSU, was inactive because he doesn’t play special teams.
Jordan Mason, an undrafted rookie from Georgia Tech, was active because he plays special teams and got some run as the lone man standing last week (he got five carries for 25 yards). And of course, Tevin Coleman is always lurking around that facility and had a two-touchdown game back in Week 5. McCaffrey sounds like he’ll play this week but who knows how much. He did have 27 opportunities in the one full game he’s played without Mitchell as a 49er but has averaged 17 opportunities when Mitchell has played. Someone between Davis-Price, Mason, and Coleman will get some burn here. All make for decent stashes to see who will actually get run. I have no clue who it will be, though.
Kansas City Chiefs (-2) vs Cincinnati Bengals
Pick ATS: Kansas City Chiefs
Isiah Pacheco is such a hard player to gauge because he’s being used as a one-trick pony in the Chiefs’ offense. He’s doing it really well as he’s averaging 4.69 yards per carry on the year, 4.86 in his last three games, and his 4.6 true yards per carry ranks No. 19 among running backs this season. The problem is he gets nothing as a receiver and won’t play if the Chiefs trail. He has four targets all year long. Jerick McKinnon has at least six targets in three of his last four games.
The Bengals are about middle of the pack in run defense DVOA (No. 15), but they have an explosive offense of their own that could push the Chiefs into comeback mode and force Pacheco to watch from the sidelines. Or he could just score a touchdown and make none of this analysis matter. But Pacheco needs touchdowns to be worthwhile for fantasy. It’s always nice having pieces of the Chiefs’ offense, but Pacheco is not a must-start this week. I think you could argue someone like Zonovan Knight or Kyren Williams makes for a better start this week.
Los Angeles Chargers (+1) vs Las Vegas Raiders
Pick ATS: Los Angeles Chargers
Foster Moreau is a popular sleeper streaming option this week, and I get why. Since Darren Waller has been out after the Raiders’ Week 6 bye, Moreau has played at least 96-percent of Vegas’ snaps in every game. He’s run no fewer than 28 routes in those games either and is averaging 5.5 targets per game in that stretch. That is great usage and alone is worth a start in this tight-end landscape. But this matchup isn’t as great as it seems.
The Chargers have allowed touchdowns to only two starting tight ends this year: Greg Dulcich in Week 6 and Travis Kelce‘s hat trick last week. Only Waller, Kelce, Dulcich, David Njoku, and Will Dissly have even exceeded 40 yards against the Chargers. This isn’t meant to discourage anybody from starting Moreau. You wouldn’t want to know some of the players I’ve contemplated starting this week. But the Chargers’ fantasy points allowed to tight ends is going to be misleading after what Kelce did last week. Start Moreau, but I wouldn’t expect a monster performance out of him.
Indianapolis Colts vs Dallas Cowboys (-10.5)
Pick ATS: Dallas Cowboys
I don’t even know what else there is to say about the Colts offense anymore. Matt Ryan hasn’t thrown for more than 250 yards in a game since Week 6. Jonathan Taylor has only two 100+ yard rushing games but has at least 76 in each of his last four games. Parris Campbell disappeared last week after his hot streak with Matt Ryan. Michael Pittman Jr. scored his first touchdown since Week 1. Jelani Woods (9-8-98) delivered a breakout performance, but Kylen Granson should return this week in the Colts’ tight end committee. Their offense is an absolute mess, and now they get Football Outsiders’ No. 1-ranked defense in DVOA. Depending on your options and circumstances, I certainly would understand sitting or trading Pittman (the Colts have a bye next week) as he gets shadowed by Trevon Diggs. Taylor is the only Colt you can play with any sort of confidence this week.
New Orleans Saints vs Tampa Bay Buccaneers (-3.5)
Pick ATS: Tampa Bay Buccaneers
The good news: Rachaad White proved fully capable of being a three-down back last week after running for 64 yards on 14 carries and adding 45 yards on nine targets and nine receptions. The bad news is that Leonard Fournette looks like he’ll return and an already decimated Bucs offensive line has lost Tristan Wirfs due to an ankle sprain for 3-4 weeks. White was already playing more than Fournette before Fournette left Tampa’s Week 10 game against the Seahawks, but he surely will eat into White’s workload. New Orleans does rank No. 21 in rush defense DVOA, so White and Fournette both should be solid starts if Fournette plays. However, White looks more like an RB2 than the top ten option he was last week against Cleveland.
BYE WEEKS: Arizona Cardinals and Carolina Panthers
There are only two teams on bye this week. That means there aren’t many players to stash, but that also doesn’t mean that there aren’t guys available that can’t help. Keep your eyes on these going forward.
Keaontay Ingram, Arizona Cardinals (6-percent rostered in Sleeper leagues)
Sam Darnold (6-percent) and Terrace Marshall Jr., Carolina Panthers (15-percent)
After the Panthers’ bye, they get the Seahawks (No. 21 in pass defense DVOA; No. 23 in pass yards allowed per game), Steelers (No. 16 in pass defense DVOA; No. 30 in pass yards allowed per game), Lions (No. 19 in pass defense DVOA; No. 29 in pass yards allowed per game) and Buccaneers (No. 6 in pass defense DVOA and pass yards allowed per game). Both are serviceable in the next three weeks.
Greg Dortch, Arizona Cardinals (6-percent)
Greg Dortch's receiving lines in games Rondale Moore was injured:
17.9% target share in those games compared to 2.3% share in seven games behind Moore.
— John Daigle (@notJDaigle) November 22, 2022
Carolina Panthers D/ST (4-percent)
Good luck in Week 13!