Underdog Battle Royale Picks: Week 13
The fantasy football playoffs are drawing nearer by the minute, as we prepare for Week 13 of the NFL season.
Underdog Fantasy's weekly Battle Royale tournament continues to press on, but also be sure to check out The Wild Card best ball tournament that they recently rolled out, along with their 2022 NFL Season: Sophomores + Juniors tournament.
The fact that these new tournaments are rolling out is the first sign that 2021 is drawing to a close, but we still have a few weeks left to tackle the Battle Royale tourney this season.
Here are some players I'm targeting in hopes of bringing down Week 13.
Week 13 Spread and Over/Under
- Atlanta (+11) vs. Tampa Bay - O/U 50.5
- Cincinnati (-3.5) vs. Los Angeles Chargers - O/U 50.5
- Las Vegas (-2.5) vs. Washington - O/U 49.5
- Los Angeles Rams (-13) vs. Jacksonville - O/U 48
- Detroit (+7) vs. Minnesota - O/U 46.5
- Chicago (+7.5) vs. Arizona - O/U 46
- Seattle (+3.5) vs. San Francisco - O/U 46
- New York Jets (+6.5) vs. Philadelphia - O/U 45.5
- Houston (+9) vs. Indianapolis - O/U 45.5
- Pittsburgh (+4.5) vs. Baltimore - O/U 44
- Miami (-5) vs. New York Giants - O/U 40.5
Justin Herbert, Los Angeles Chargers
In what's tied for the second-highest scoring game on the slate, Justin Herbert and the Chargers are in need of a bounce-back against the Bengals in Week 13. After a 4-1 start to their season, the Chargers have gone 2-4 in their last six games, with their only wins coming against mediocre Pennsylvania teams (Philadelphia and Pittsburgh).
Herbert's play has been shaky over that span, as he's thrown 11 touchdowns to seven interceptions, and is averaging just 20.4 fantasy points per game. His per-game point total, which looks good on the surface, is largely inflated by two elite performances in which he totaled 31.6 and 34.3 points, respectively. In his other four games, he scored 19.7 points or less, which also included games of 11.0 and 12.0 fantasy points.
The Chargers continue to throw the ball at a high rate, with Herbert averaging 39.8 pass attempts per game. Herbert should be in line for yet another high-volume day against Joe Burrow and the Bengals, as our rankings project him as the overall QB5 on the week with 19.5 fantasy points.
Jalen Hurts, Philadelphia Eagles
I make this pick but will preface it with the warning that Jalen Hurts is dealing with an ankle injury. Offensive coordinator Shane Steichen shared on Tuesday that the team is preparing Gardner Minshew to start in the event that Hurts can't play.
I'll also say that if Hurts can't play, Minshew becomes an intriguing player for this tournament, given what we've seen out of him over the years. It wouldn't be crazy to think that a combination of Minshew, Devonta Smith and Dallas Goedert could do significant damage to a dismal Jets defense.
But we'll keep the focus on Hurts.
Despite some recent struggles, Hurts has been exactly as advertised this season. He has thrown for 2,435 yards, 13 touchdowns and eight interceptions while rushing 122 times for 695 yards and eight touchdowns. He is averaging 21.24 fantasy points per game on the year (QB6), and now gets a Jets defense that is 14th in overall points allowed to opposing quarterbacks.
Our rankings project Hurts as the overall QB6 on the week with 19.5 fantasy points. If news breaks later in the week that Minshew will start, I'd still be interested in taking a flier on him in the final round of drafts. He could sneak in a top-12 week in a spot start.
Antonio Gibson, Washington Football Team
In Week 12 against the Seahawks, the Football Team gave fantasy gamers what they've been looking for all season in Antonio Gibson. He saw a season-high 29 carries and 111 rushing yards, while also drawing a season-high seven targets which he turned into seven receptions for 35 yards.
From a rushing standpoint, Gibson has feasted on carries for the majority of the season. Over the last three weeks, he has seen 19 or more carries in each game and has rushed for 270 yards and two touchdowns over that span. Since Week 10, Gibson has been the RB9 in fantasy points per game (16.1) and gets a matchup against the Raiders that our rankings suggest as the third-easiest RB matchup on the weekend.
Underdog's rankings are not nearly as high on Gibson as we are this week. They project him for just 12.8 points on the weekend, while we project him as the overall RB8 with 17.3 points. The Raiders are allowing the 13th most rushing yards per game to opposing running backs (96.6) and the fourth most receptions per game to RBs at 7.0/gm.
Boston Scott, Philadelphia Eagles
There is a chance that Eagles RB1 Miles Sanders could miss Sunday's game against the Jets. He left the second half of last week's loss to the Giants with a lower-body injury and didn't return, giving way to Boston Scott. He finished the week with a season-high 15 carries, while also rushing for 64 yards and one touchdown.
Scott benefitted from Sanders and running back Jordan Howard both being injured in this one, and there is a chance that Howard could return in Week 13. However, if Sanders and/or Howard are out next week, Scott is very much in play.
Over the last five weeks, Scott has scored 12.5 fantasy points or more in three of those weeks. He has also seen double-digit carries in four of those five games and has three rushing touchdowns as well.
Again, the Eagles are playing the Jets this week. The Jets have allowed the most fantasy points to opposing running backs this season, which could set up a prime, sneaky smash spot for Scott, who could also benefit from more carries if the Eagles end up starting Minshew over Hurts.
The Eagles' offense as a whole presents some interesting value in regards to their soft matchup and potential injury replacements.
Adam Thielen, Minnesota Vikings
In addition to his scoring upside, Thielen is also seeing a strong target volume, averaging 8.18 targets per game on the season. Over the last six weeks, Thielen has not seen fewer than seven targets in any game, and has gone for nine or more targets in three of those games.
This weekend, Thielen and the Vikings get a familiar foe in the Lions. Detroit has allowed the ninth fewest points to opposing wide receivers on the year, but rank 13th in WR targets per game (19.8) and 17th in WR receiving yards allowed per game (148.4).
The Lions have also faced a very soft passing schedule in recent weeks, with their last four games being against the Bears, Browns, Steelers and Eagles. Three of those four teams rank eighth or worse in passing yards per game, with the best of this group being the Steelers, who have thrown for the 18th fewest yards per game (238.5).
Thielen comes at a nice discount on the week relative to teammate Justin Jefferson, who Underdog fantasy ranks as the No. 2 wide receiver on the weekend. Underdog ranks him as the overall WR6 on the slate at 13.2 points, while our rankings project him at 13.3 points.
Van Jefferson, Los Angeles Rams
Despite the general thought that Van Jefferson's role would all but disappear in Los Angeles after the Rams signed Odell Beckham Jr., Jefferson's role has instead remained intact these past two weeks.
In two games with OBJ, Jefferson has seen seven and nine targets, respectively, and has seen six or more targets in each of his last five games.
In the Rams' Week 12 loss to the Packers, Jefferson had a season-high nine targets, which he turned into three receptions for 93 yards and one touchdown. On the year, Jefferson has caught 33 passes for 580 yards and four touchdowns. He ranks 39th in targets (62) but has caught just 53.2% of his targets on the season.
The Jaguars are allowing the 12th most fantasy points per game to opposing wide receivers, putting Jefferson in line for a potentially strong day. If his catch rate ever were to improve, we would be talking about Jefferson in a much different manner, as his volume suggests that he's capable of much more fantasy production.
George Kittle, San Francisco 49ers
I firmly believe in the edge that an elite tight end can give you in fantasy, and one elite tight end who has underwhelmed this season is 49ers tight end George Kittle. He missed Weeks 5 through 8, but returned in Week 9 and has yielded mixed results.
In his return against the Cardinals, Kittle posted a receiving line of 6/101/1 on eight targets but hasn't gone for more than 50 receiving yards in the last three weeks, despite scoring in two of those three games.
Kittle could see an uptick in production this weekend against the Seahawks however, as offensive weapon Deebo Samuel is expected to miss the next few weeks with a groin injury that he suffered in Week 11.
The Seahawks have allowed the 10th most fantasy points to opposing tight ends this season, including the fifth-most receptions per game (6.0) and the 11th most receiving yards per game (54.4). Our rankings project Kittle as the TE2 on the weekend with 12.9 points and suggest that he has the fourth easiest matchup.
Foster Moreau, Las Vegas Raiders
This paves the way for at least one spot start for Foster Moreau, who filled in for Waller in Week 7, and turned in a receiving line of 6/60/1 on six targets, finishing the day with 15.0 fantasy points (TE4).
Moreau has given us a few surprising weeks in his limited time in the league. As a rookie, he enjoyed a three-week stretch where he caught eight of nine targets for 100 yards and two touchdowns, averaging 8.7 points per game during that time. Last week against the Cowboys, Moreau caught just one pass on five targets for three yards, but has a nice matchup this weekend against Washington, who has allowed the 13th most fantasy points to tight ends.
We know that the Raiders love targeting the tight end position, and that Moreau is capable of churning out elite fantasy weeks when given the chance. As a later-round flier in Battle Royale drafts this weekend, Moreau could be worth the wait. Our rankings project him as the overall TE12 on the week with 7.9 fantasy points.