Start 'em, Sit 'em, Smash 'em
I’m currently visiting my parents in Del Boca Vista Phase III and will be on a cross-country flight Sunday morning during our normal live chat time, so this week’s Q&A session is off. However, feel free to reach out via twitter @JoeFortenbaugh or email at Joe.Fortenbaugh@NationalFootballPost.com with any questions you may have heading into Week 13.
Best of luck to you all.
COLLEGE FOOTBALL BETTING PRIMER
The CFB betting primer will return to its normal format next week. For now, here are our top plays entering this weekend’s slate of action:
Last week: 2-3
Season: 44-28-1 (.611)
Pittsburgh Panthers (+2.5) over Miami Hurricanes
Ohio State Buckeyes (-16) over Michigan Wolverines
TCU Horned Frogs (+13) over Baylor Bears
Florida State Seminoles (-27) over Florida Gators
Colorado State Rams (-15) over Air Force Falcons
**We’re going to wait/shop for Pittsburgh +3 and TCU +14.
CLICK HERE to check out all of the current lines.
WEEK 13 SURVIVOR PICK
Leans to (in order): Buffalo, Carolina and Minnesota.
…but we’ve been ice cold in this department over the last couple of weeks, so take these recommendations with a grain of salt.
MISFIRE OF THE WEEK
Last week: St. Louis Rams (-1) vs. Chicago Bears (won)
PICK: BUFFALO BILLS (-3) vs. Atlanta Falcons (in Toronto)
Analysis: Buffalo is rested coming off the bye week, is familiar with the Toronto game and, at 4-7, still alive in the hunt for the postseason. Atlanta has dropped eight of their last nine contests and during the team’s current five-game losing streak is averaging just 14.8 points per game with 13 turnovers. We’ll back the rested team with something to play for over the guys who have packed it in for the season any day of the week.
LVH SUPERCONTEST SELECTIONS
Last week: 3-1-1
BUFFALO BILLS (-3) vs. Atlanta Falcons (in Toronto)
MINNESOTA VIKINGS (PK) vs. Chicago Bears
DENVER BRONCOS (-4.5) at Kansas City Chiefs
NEW ENGLAND PATRIOTS (-7.5) at Houston Texans
SEATTLE SEAHAWKS (-4.5) over New Orleans Saints
**Card not final yet, so a couple of these picks are subject to change.
CLICK HERE to check out all of the current Week 13 lines.
START ‘EM UP
Andy Dalton, QB, Cincinnati Bengals (at San Diego): A risky play considering Dalton’s track record on the road in 2013 (10 TDs, 10 INTs, QB rating of 79.6), but the Cincinnati signal-caller had an extra week of rest to get ready for a San Diego secondary that currently ranks 28th in the league against the pass (276.0 yds/gm) while surrendering an average of 23.6 fantasy points per game to opposing quarterbacks in 2013 (fourth-most in NFL). Remember, this is the same Chargers defense that was torched by game manager Alex Smith last Sunday to the tune of 294 yards and three touchdowns (68.4 percent completion percentage).
Frank Gore, RB, San Francisco 49ers (vs. St. Louis): Hasn’t found the end zone in three weeks, but should enjoy more success Sunday against a Rams defense that is giving up an average of 22.9 fantasy points per game to opposing running backs this season (second-most in NFL). The last time these two teams got together, Gore ran wild for a season-high 153 yards and a touchdown.
Larry Fitzgerald, WR, Arizona Cardinals (at Philadelphia): Fitz has found the end zone in four of his last six starts (five total TDs during that span) and faces a Philadelphia secondary on Sunday that currently ranks dead last in the NFL in pass defense (300.1 yds/gm) this season while surrendering more fantasy points to opposing wide receivers than any other team in the business (30.0 pts/gm). You couldn’t ask for a better matchup for the future Hall of Famer.
Gore ran wild against the Rams earlier this season. Look for him to do it again in Week 13.
Andre Brown, RB, New York Giants (at Washington): Has carried the football 69 times over his last three starts with two 100+-yard rushing efforts. Expect another big outing Sunday night at Washington against a Redskins defense that has been gashed for an average of 21.5 fantasy points per game by opposing running backs in 2013 (seventh-most in NFL).
Stevie Johnson, WR, Buffalo Bills (vs. Atlanta in Toronto): Johnson has reached double digit targets in three of his last four starts and should run free north of the border on Sunday against a terrible Atlanta defense that currently ranks 24th in the league against the pass (251.2 yds/gm) while giving up an average of 25.8 fantasy points per game to opposing wideouts this season (sixth-most in NFL). For those of you in deeper fantasy formats looking for help at the quarterback position, Buffalo’s E.J. Manuel makes for a nice sleeper option in Week 13.
Jordan Cameron, TE, Cleveland Browns (vs. Jacksonville): Only the Arizona Cardinals (14.5) are surrendering more fantasy points per game to opposing tight ends this season than the Jaguars (11.2), so anticipate a big effort from Cameron in Week 13. The stud tight end hasn’t found the end zone since October 20, so we’ll be on the lookout in Vegas for any proposition bets that have Cameron scoring a touchdown this Sunday.
Miami Dolphins, D/ST (at NY Jets): Certainly not the most appealing matchup on the Week 13 board, but note that the Jets have already surrendered 38 sacks (t-fourth-most in NFL) and coughed the ball up 24 times (third-most in NFL) in 2013. In addition, be advised that in his last two games alone, rookie quarterback Geno Smith has committed six turnovers and been sacked seven times.
SIT ‘EM DOWN
Andrew Luck, QB, Indianapolis Colts (vs. Tennessee): Luck isn’t a terrible option in Week 13, but it’s worth noting that the second-year signal-caller has thrown just two touchdown passes over his last three starts, with four interceptions. The Stanford product will try to right the ship Sunday against divisional foe Tennessee, who just so happens to rank eighth in the NFL against the pass (217.4 yds/gm) while surrendering an average of just 16.2 fantasy points per game to opposing quarterbacks this season (fifth-fewest in NFL).
Ryan Mathews, RB, San Diego Chargers (vs. Cincinnati): Mathews is dealing with a hamstring injury sustained in Week 12 at Kansas City, so he won’t be operating at 100 percent Sunday against a rested Cincinnati defense that currently ranks tenth in the NFL against the run (102.0 yds/gm) while permitting an average of only 14.0 fantasy points per game to opposing running backs in 2013 (t-fourth-fewest in NFL).
Luck's last three performances have left fantasy owners scratching their heads.
Vincent Jackson, WR, Tampa Bay Buccaneers (at Carolina): Has found the end zone just once over his last five starts and goes head-to-head with a red-hot Carolina defense Sunday afternoon that currently ranks seventh in the NFL against the pass (215.9 yds/gm) while allowing an average of just 15.8 fantasy points per game to opposing wide receivers this season (third-fewest in NFL).
Pierre Thomas & Mark Ingram, RBs, New Orleans Saints (at Seattle): New Orleans makes the trek to the nastiest road venue in the NFL Monday night for a possible NFC Championship game preview against the Seattle Seahawks. Pete Carroll’s team is currently permitting an average of just 15.0 fantasy points per game to opposing running backs this season (seventh-fewest in NFL) and has surrendered just two rushing touchdowns on 136 carries at CenturyLink Field in 2013.
Marques Colston, WR, New Orleans Saints (at Seattle): Ditto goes for New Orleans wide receiver Colston, who has found the end zone just twice in 2013 and has eclipsed the 100-yard receiving mark only one time (November 10). Seattle will have the benefit of record-breaking crowd noise to back a defense that currently ranks second in the NFL against the pass (180.4 yds/gm) while giving up an average of just 16.1 fantasy points per game to opposing wide receivers this season (fourth-fewest in NFL).
Tony Gonzalez, TE, Atlanta Falcons (at Buffalo in Toronto): Has topped 65 receiving yards in a game just once over his last six starts with only one trip to the end zone over his last seven starts. Tony G is riding a cold streak that should continue through the weekend against a Buffalo Bills defense that is giving up an average of only 6.4 fantasy points per game to opposing tight ends this season (seventh-fewest in NFL).
Kansas City Chiefs, D/ST (vs. Denver): Surrendered 27 points to this same Denver offense two weeks ago, but will be without pass rushing specialist Justin Houston (elbow) for the rematch. And after the way the Broncos blew that game at New England last Sunday night, do you really want to roll the dice against a pissed off Peyton Manning in Week 13?
Hit me up on Twitter: @JoeFortenbaugh