Fri Dec 4 11:15am ET
By BARRY WILNER
AP Pro Football Writer
San Francisco 49ers kicker Robbie Gould (9) is hugged by teammates after making the game-winning field goal as time expires during the second half of an NFL football game against the Los Angeles Rams Sunday, Nov. 29, 2020, in Inglewood, Calif. San Francisco won 23-20. (AP Photo/Kelvin Kuo)
Los Angeles Rams cornerback Jalen Ramsey (20) knocks a pass away from Tampa Bay Buccaneers wide receiver Mike Evans (13) during the first half of an NFL football game Monday, Nov. 23, 2020, in Tampa, Fla. (AP Photo/Mark LoMoglio)
One of only two games matching teams with winning records this week, the Rams and Cardinals go at it in Arizona. Another defeat for either side in the rugged NFC West could cause major problems for any January plans.
Los Angeles (7-4) trails the division-leading Seahawks by one game. The Cardinals (6-5), losers of three of the last four, are in even more dire straits.
The Rams come off a second loss this season to San Francisco, which is last in the division.
''Yeah, it's flush it,'' quarterback Jared Goff says of not letting that sweep linger. ''You can't control it, we play 16 of them and each week's a different week.
''We were bummed about it but we moved forward, and it's really easy to move forward when you have a good team you're playing, another division game, another team that you have to really spend a lot of time on and focus on. So, it makes it a little bit easier.''
Arizona handed away its game at New England last weekend. The Cardinals might need a huge performance from star receiver DeAndre Hopkins, but he's going against shutdown cornerback Jalen Ramsey.
''Yeah, I'm sure it'll be a great matchup,'' coach Kliff Kingsbury says. ''Ramsey is a tremendous competitor, tremendous player, really like watching him play. I like the way they're using him. Not only just matching up at corner, but letting them play in space and chase the football. He's really shown what a complete defensive player he is. So, they'll have a heck of a battle on Sunday, I'm sure.''
We like Ramsey, Aaron Donald and the rest of the Rams, No. 8 in the AP Pro32, over No. 14 Arizona, which is a 3-point underdog at home.
KNOCKOUT POOL: Cleveland made it closer than it should have been at Jacksonville. Now, it's the DOLPHINS we trust.
No. 24 Denver (plus 14) at No. 2 Kansas City
Hey, Broncos, want to see a real quarterback. Look at the other side in KC.
BEST BET: CHIEFS, 38-17
No. 18 New England (plus 1) at No. 26 Los Angeles Chargers
Again, we're going with the pedestrian Patriots against the weak Chargers for ...
UPSET SPECIAL: PATRIOTS, 18-16
No. 20 New York Giants (plus 9) at No. 6 Seattle
New York will keep it close, but it is outmanned minus its starting QB.
No. 5 Buffalo (minus 1) at No. 17 San Francisco , Monday
With this game switched to Arizona, please don't mention ''Hail Murray'' to the Bills.
No. 25 Washington (plus 8) at No. 1 Pittsburgh, Monday
Mike Tomlin is angry about how his team played in the delayed game with Baltimore.
No. 28 Detroit (plus 3) at No. 22 (tie) Chicago
Motor City Mess vs. Windy City Wreck.
No. 30 Cincinnati (plus 11) at No. 12 Miami
Ryan Fitzpatrick beats another of his former teams - if Tua can't go. Regardless ...
No. 11 Cleveland (plus 5) at No. 7 Tennessee
A chance for the Browns to prove they are legit after so many wins against lesser opponents.
No. 31 Jacksonville (plus 9 1-2) at No. 16 Minnesota
The Jaguars are feisty, but still a fiasco. Minnesota won't romp.
No. 9 Indianapolis (minus 3) at No. 19 Houston
Indy must atone quickly for last week's debacle at home.
No. 15 Las Vegas (minus 8) at No. 32 New York Jets
Yeah, yeah, we know how poorly the Raiders tend to play in the East. Still ...
No. 3 New Orleans (minus 3 1-2) at No. 22 (tie) Atlanta
Pro Picks has a funny feeling on this one, though we're not brave enough to pick the upset.
No. 27 Philadelphia (plus 8) at No. 4 Green Bay
No funny feelings here. The Eagles are a major disappointment.
No. 29 Dallas (plus 8 1-2) at No. 13 Baltimore, Tuesday
Yes, the Cowboys are as ugly to watch as anyone, but this spread seems high.
Five Hot Plays: Week 13
The Indianapolis Colts activated defensive tackle DeForest Buckner from the Reserve/COVID-19 list on Friday, and he's eligible to play in Week 13 against the Texans. Without Buckner and sack leader Denico Autry on the defensive line last week, Derrick Henry and the Titans ran all over the Colts Defense and imposed their will. Both Buckner and Autry have been taken off the COVID-19 list and will play on Sunday, so Indianapolis' defense will be much more attractive as a fringe fantasy unit in 12- and 14-team leagues this weekend. Buckner has recorded 40 tackles (23 solo), 16 QB hits, one fumble recovery and 2.5 sacks in his first 10 games for the Colts this year after being a Pro Bowler with the 49ers in 2018. You can insert him back into starting lineups in IDP leagues.
New York Jets wide receiver Denzel Mims has shown promising upside since debuting in Week 7. Mims finished with 42 receiving yards or more in every game he's played in this season. The Jets have been making an effort to get Mims involved in the gameplan on a weekly basis. He should continue seeing targets against the Las Vegas Raiders in Week 13. They have a questionable secondary, so Mims might be able to hold WR3 value in PPR formats this week.
New York Jets running back Frank Gore is expected to remain the lead back through the rest of the regular season. Last week, he rushed 18 times for 74 yards and hauled in three receptions for 12 yards in the loss to the Miami Dolphins. The Jets continue to pound the ball with Gore, so he could hold minimal value in fantasy leagues. He'll get a favorable matchup against the Las Vegas Raiders defense in Week 13. A defense that has allowed the fourth-most fantasy points to running backs this season. Gore can be considered a low-end flex option in PPR formats this week.
New York Jets wide receiver Breshad Perriman (shoulder) was limited during Wednesday's practice, but is expected to play versus the Las Vegas Raiders in Week 13. This isn't anything new since Perriman has been playing through pain all season long. He finished with four receptions for 79 yards in the loss to the Miami Dolphins last week. Fantasy owners should be able to trust Perriman as a low-end WR3 in PPR formats against the shaky Raiders secondary.
New York Jets quarterback Sam Darnold has been an awful fantasy option all season long and that's not going to change anytime soon. The young QB has not thrown a passing touchdown since Week 3. Sadly, that's not a joke, but it's not all Darnold's fault. He has been banged up and the Jets didn't give him many weapons on offense. He'll head into a matchup against the Las Vegas Raiders who have struggled to stop the passing attack this season. However, Darnold has continued to show that he is not a fantasy option in just about any format.
Kansas City Chiefs rookie running back Clyde Edwards-Helaire will look to get back on track versus the Denver Broncos in Week 13. The rookie hasn't been putting up big numbers of late, but much can be attributed to game flow and the Chiefs favoring a pass game over run game. The rookie was able to put up 46 yards on eight carries with a catch for 17 yards in a Week 7 battle and even facing a Broncos Defense allowing 105 rushing yards a game, managers shouldn't be valuing CEH as more than a low-end RB2 or flex option at this point of the season due to his limited opportunities and veteran running back Le'Veon Bell continuing to see around a third of the snaps in the Chiefs backfield.
Kansas City Chiefs running back Le'Veon Bell will continue to see backfield looks versus the Denver Broncos in Week 13. The Chiefs have been giving Bell around a third of the backfield looks with rookie running back Clyde Edwards-Helaire receiving around 60% of late. Bell will face a Broncos team allowing 105 yards per game to opposing rushers, but managers shouldn't expect much out of the veteran. The Chiefs have been pass heavy with quarterback Patrick Mahomes at the helm and that has limited both Bell and Edwards-Helaire in the backfield. Bell is worth holding onto as an insurance policy to Edwards-Helaire, but he remains a shaky flex option with limited opportunities.
Kansas City Chiefs tight end Travis Kelce will look to continue his strong season versus the Denver Broncos in Week 13. Kelce will look for revenge against a Broncos Defense that limited him to just three catches for 31 yards in Week 7. The Broncos have been holding opposing tight ends to just 46 yards and under five receptions a game, but Kelce is in a class of his own when it comes to the tight end position and remains a huge part of the Chiefs offense. Managers shouldn't worry about his performance in Week 7 and can safely fire up Kelce as a TE1 in Week 13 and beyond.
Kansas City Chiefs wide receiver Tyreek Hill is coming off of an incredible performance of 13 catches, 269 yards and three touchdowns versus the Tampa Bay Buccaneers in Week 12 and will look to keep his strong season up against the Denver Broncos in Week 13. Hill has scored a touchdown in every game besides one and caught six balls for 55 yards and touchdown when he faced the Broncos in Week 7. Hill along with tight end Travis Kelce have continued to be the focal point for quarterback Patrick Mahomes and the Chiefs and that shouldn't stop on Sunday. The Broncos have limited opposing wide receivers to around 146 yards per game, but Hill's involvement in the offense and ability to score touchdowns makes him a WR1 on a weekly basis.
Kansas City Chiefs quarterback Patrick Mahomes will look to continue his magnificent year against the Denver Broncos in Week 13. Mahomes only passed the ball 25 times for 213 and one touchdown when the teams met in Week 7, but he leads the league with 3497 passing and is third in the league with 30 touchdowns. Managers shouldn't worry about Week 7 as much was attributed to the game flow in that contest. Mahomes remains one of the best and safest options at any position and should continue to be a QB1 regardless of the matchup.
The Cleveland Browns Defense has been a pleasant surprise for fantasy gamers this season, ranking seventh in the league with 17 total takeaways and 11th with 27 sacks. Despite those strong stats, they will have their work cut out for them against the Tennessee Titans in Week 13. The Tennessee offense is eighth in yards per game and fifth in points per game, setting this up as a difficult road matchup for the Cleveland defense. While they are expected to get star pass-rusher Myles Garrett back, which will help, there should be better streaming options out there as far as fantasy defenses go.
Cleveland Browns tight end Austin Hooper found the end zone last week, although he finished the contest with just two catches. He will look to turn in a bigger performance in a Week 13 road matchup against the Tennessee Titans. Tennessee's defense has struggled to defend against the pass this season and that has carried over to tight ends, where they are allowing the eighth-most fantasy points per game to the position this year. While it is an excellent matchup for Hooper, he has not been seeing the required volume to be a trustworthy play in fantasy this season. The Titans are six-point home favorites so there is a chance they get out to a lead and force Cleveland to throw more frequently than usual. Treat Hooper as a high-end TE2 in fantasy this week.
Cleveland Browns wide receiver Jarvis Landry turned in an excellent performance last week, posting his first 100-yard game and first touchdown of the season in a win over the Jacksonville Jaguars. He will look to replicate that success in Week 13 against the Tennessee Titans. He does have a good shot to be productive again as Tennessee's pass defense has struggled this year, allowing the eighth-most fantasy points per game to the wide receiver position. The Titans are six-point home favorites in this contest, so expect Cleveland to have to throw more frequently than they have been over the past several weeks. Fantasy gamers can treat Landry as a low-end WR2 this weekend.
Cleveland Browns running back Kareem Hunt has been quiet over the past two weeks, having posted just 83 all-purpose yards. He was surprisingly not active in the passing game it was just the second time all season that he was held without a catch in a game. He has a good shot at bouncing back in an excellent Week 13 matchup against the Tennessee Titans. Tennessee's run defense is allowing the seventh-most fantasy points per game to opposing running backs on the season. This game has a 53.5-point over/under with the Titans set as six-point favorites, so it is very likely that the Browns fall behind at some point and have to lean on Hunt in the passing game more than they have over the past few weeks. Treat Hunt as a low-end RB2 in fantasy.
Cleveland Browns running back Nick Chubb has been racking up the yardage since returning from a knee injury in Week 10, having topped 100 yards in each of his three games and finding the end zone twice. He has a good shot at extending that streak in Week 13 against a struggling Tennessee Titans run defense. Tennessee has allowed the seventh-most fantasy points per game to the running back position this season and ranks just 17th in run-defense DVOA. Chubb can be safely started as a top-six running back in fantasy this weekend.
Cleveland Browns quarterback Baker Mayfield broke a streak of three straight games without a passing touchdown when he threw for 258 yards and two scores last week against the Jacksonville Jaguars. He draws an excellent matchup in Week 13 on the road against a weak Tennessee Titans secondary. Tennessee's pass defense has allowed the fifth-most fantasy points per game to quarterbacks and ranks just 27th in DVOA. Despite the plus matchup, exercise caution plugging Mayfield into starting lineups as he hasn't attempted more than 30 passes in a game since Week 5 in the run-heavy Cleveland offense. Treat him as a mid-range QB2 for Week 13.
Chicago Bears TE Jimmy Graham is unlikely to be on the team in 2021, in the opinion of the Chicago Tribune's Brad Biggs, who says he'd be 'surprised' if Graham is back and 'shocked' if he's back on his current deal that's set to pay him $7 million next season.
Fantasy Spin: Graham started fast but has done little recently so unless he rallies in a big way you'd have to think Biggs is correct and the Bears will need that money to plug holes elsewhere. At this point Graham is a TE2 that could be used as little more than a desperation play.
Indianapolis Colts QB Philip Rivers (toe) has 'a really bad problem with his foot,' according to teammate OG Quenton Nelson. Rivers has downplayed the injury publicly, according to the Indianapolis Star's Joel A. Erickson.
Fantasy Spin: Rivers famously played through a torn ACL in the playoffs years ago, and mobility has never been a strong suit. Still, it's worth keeping an eye on Rivers' performance to see if there's any noticeable dip. He's no better than a QB2 most weeks anyway.
Dallas Cowboys RB Ezekiel Elliott has not scored a rushing touchdown since QB Dak Prescott (ankle) was injured, and he is averaging 3.7 yards per carry without Prescott.
Fantasy Spin: Between the injury to Prescott and injuries along the offensive line, Elliott's pedestrian numbers are understandable. Drafted to carry fantasy lineups, he has become a low-ceiling, volume-based RB2.
Kansas City Chiefs rookie running back Clyde Edwards-Helaire and cornerback Bashaud Breeland missed Thursday's practice with a non-COVID-19-related illness. You'll want to keep an eye on Edwards-Helaire's practice status on Friday. If for some reason he can't face the division-rival Broncos in Week 13, Le'Veon Bell would vault into the RB2 conversation. CEH was a bust for his fantasy managers in Week 12 against the Buccaneers and has more bust potential moving forward with Bell in the picture. However, the Broncos Defense is crumbling and has allowed the second-most fantasy points per game to RBs in the last five weeks. If the rookie plays on Sunday night, he's a solid RB2 with upside for more.