In Week 13, the last week before most fantasy playoffs get underway, the last thing you want to deal with is injuries to your stars. But if you own Tyreek Hill and James Conner, that’s what you’re putting up with. For savvy fantasy owners, injuries create opportunities, and in this case, two of our Week 13 sleepers. If Hill is out, it’ll free up Mecole Hardman to show off his blazing speed. And if Conner is inactive, Benny Snell Jr. could see another 20 carries and factor heavily into start ’em, sit ’em decisions.
Opportunity is the theme for a few other players on our list. There’s Jonathan Williams taking advantage and then some of the absence of Marlon Mack (hand) and probably looking at another 20-plus touches this week. Jack Doyle should see an increase in the Colts’ passing attack, too, now that Eric Ebron (ankle) is on Injured Reserve. And Nick O’Leary joined Jacksonville off the street, caught four passes, and is now looking at a dream matchup against the Buccaneers.
It’s a weird time of year for quarterback sleepers and streams because we’re past bye weeks and you might not need to sit your stud. But if you’re really in need of one, Sam Darnold continues to take advantage of good matchups, and the disappointing Jared Goff might bounce back.
Some of our Week 12 sleeper picks were spot on. Both Bo Scarbrough and Benny Snell Jr. were great, although neither found the end zone. Baker Mayfield and Sam Darnold both took care of bad opponents, as expected. James Washington delivered, too.
We were let down by Derrius Guice against a bad Lions’ run defense, which is not an encouraging sign for him. Hunter Renfrow, Allen Lazard, and Jeff Driskel all proved to be too much of long shots, too.
Week 13 Fantasy Sleepers: Running backs
Jonathan Williams, Colts vs. Titans (Billy Heyen). Williams’ 29 touches from a week ago suggest his usage will remain heavy with Marlon Mack already ruled out for Week 13. If you’re wondering whether his Week 12 performance was a fluke, all it should take is realizing the volume he had to make you stick with him.
Jamaal Williams, Packers @ Giants (Vinnie Iyer). This backfield should go back to featuring plenty of Aaron Jones and Williams after Aaron Rodgers spots Green Bay a lead. New York’s front seven won’t either stop the run or cover either back well out of the backfield
Benny Snell Jr., Steelers vs. Browns (Matt Lutovsky). We liked Snell last week, and we’re back on the train this week. Pittsburgh proved with Snell’s 21 carries last week that it will feed him when James Conner (shoulder) is out, and it sounds like Conner is slated to miss another game. Cleveland is allowing 4.6 yards per carry to RBs, so Snell will put up numbers will decent volume again.
Week 13 Fantasy Football Sleepers: Quarterbacks
Sam Darnold, Jets @ Bengals (Heyen). Darnold has carved up bad defenses the past three weeks, throwing nine touchdowns in that psan. Another bad opponent should equal another good performance.
Kyle Allen, Panthers vs. Redskins (Iyer). Washington’s pass defense isn’t as good as it showed against the Lions and might be without Ryan Kerrigan (concussion) to get after Allen. They can’t cover his main weapons, so it should be another solid day.
Jared Goff, Rams @ Cardinals (Lutovsky). You know him…you hate him…but this is a good spot for Goff. He’s been held without a touchdown pass in each of the past three games, but that was against the Bears, Bears, and Ravens. The Cardinals allow the most fantasy points to QBs, and Goff has generally put up stats in favorable matchups this year, averaging 385.7 yards and 2.3 TDs in three games against the Bucs, Falcons, and Bengals.
Week 13 Fantasy Football Sleepers: Wide receivers
Larry Fitzgerald, Cardinals vs. Rams (Heyen). Jalen Ramsey should spend a lot more time on Christian Kirk as Fitzgerald avoids him by working out of the slot, and we saw Marquise Brown work his way to two touchdowns over the middle of the field in Week 12.
Dede Westbrook, Jaguars vs. Buccaneers (Iyer). This should be a high-scoring affair through the air for Nick Foles vs. Jameis Winston, and he’s the piece to consider after DJ Chark, Mike Evans, and Chris Godwin
Mecole Hardman, Chiefs vs. Raiders (Lutovsky). Tyreek Hill (hamstring) is playing, but he could see reduced snaps. Hardman has always shown big-play upside, and that was especially on display in Week 2 against the porous Raiders pass defense (when Hill was out) when he caught four passes for 61 yards and a score and had another long TD called back on a questionable holding penalty.
Week 13 Fantasy Football Sleepers: Tight ends
Dawson Knox, Bills @ Cowboys (Heyen). The Cowboys struggle against tight ends, and Knox has made the starting job in Buffalo his again. Whether it’s at the beginning of the game or potentially in garbage time, the rookie should get a chance to make a few athletic plays.
Jack Doyle, Colts vs. Titans (Iyer). The Titans can give up numbers to the position, and now Doyle no longer needs to worry about sharing key snaps and targets with Eric Ebron (ankle).
Nick O’Leary, Jaguars vs. Buccaneers (Lutovsky). The Bucs allow the second-most fantasy points to TEs, and O’Leary caught a season-high four passes on four targets last week. He could get one target and do nothing this week, but if you’re going for a boom-or-bust fill-in, he works because of the great matchup.
Week 13 Fantasy Sleepers: Defenses
Los Angeles Chargers @ Broncos (Heyen). Brandon Allen doesn’t scare me, and the Broncos still can’t decide what to do with their rushing attack. Derwin James (foot) is slated to return for the Chargers, giving it some upside to go along with a high floor.
Philadelphia Eagles vs. Dolphins (Iyer). Their defense is doing its part to produce and try to lift the offense, and it can blitz Ryan Fitzpatrick into key mistakes.
New York Jets @ Bengals (Lutovsky). You might think the Bengals offense will be better with Andy Dalton back under center, but in his eight games as a starter, Cincinnati turned it over 15 times (1.9 per game), gave up 29 sacks (3.6 per game), and averaged just 15.5 offensive points per game. The Jets have put up big numbers the past three week, piling up 13 sacks, five takeaways, and two defensive TDs. This should be another high-floor, high-ceiling perofrmance for the Jets.