In this article we assume that you are starting your WR1s regardless of the matchup.
Each week we will analyze the defenses and provide our take on which WRs you should start and which should be benched based on matchups with stout run defenses, stubbed toes, potential weather problems, conduct code violations etc.
A few big name pass catchers will be dealing with bumps & bruises in week 13. Percy Harvin has been ruled out and will miss his 3rd straight game with a severe ankle sprain. Danny Amendola (foot) is listed as doubtful and Miles Austin (hip) is questionable for the Sunday night matchup with a floundering Eagle defense. On the plus side, the Packers will welcome back veteran Greg Jennings and the Steelers will get Antonio Brown back in the lineup but he’ll be hard pressed to gain fantasy relevance with noodle armed Charlie Batch under center. Jacksonville’s emerging duo of Cecil Shorts (hamstring) and Justin Blackmon (groin) each returned to Friday practice and should be good to go for a favorable matchup against Buffalo’s 18th ranked pass defense.
As always, injuries will surely play a role in your lineup decisions. Be sure to check out our interactive INJURY REPORT with fantasy advice to stay up to date on all of the fantasy relevant injuries.
Wide Receiver Upgrades
Hakeem Nicks / Victor Cruz (@ Washington): The G-men offense used the week 11 bye week to cure their ills and they came out looking like the defending Super Bowl Champs in the week 12 Sunday Night massacre win over the Packers. In week 13, the Giants face a very favorable matchup against a Washington defense that ranks 31st against the pass (301 YPG). The Redskin secondary is allowing the most fantasy PPG to opposing WRs (29 PPG). Washington CB Deangelo Hall was torched by Victor Cruz for 7 catches, 131 yards and a TD in the week 7 matchup. Nicks was far from 100% in that contest and finished with 5 catches for 53 yards. This Monday nighter has shootout potential and Vegas agrees based on the 51 point Over/Under. Both G-men WRs have top 10 week 13 potential in this very favorable matchup.
Stevie Johnson (vs Jacksonville): Mr Why So Serious has just one TD since week 4 but he has a very good chance of racking up yardage and finding paydirt in the week 13 matchup with Jacksonville’s 28th ranked pass defense.
The Jags with be without top CB Derek Cox and are allowing the 10th most fantasy PPG to opposing WRs. SJ is heating up in the 2nd half of the season as he has at least 5 catches in six of his last seven games and has topped 70 yards in 4 of his last 5.
Danario Alexander (vs Cincinnati): The oft injured former Ram is enjoying a career rebirth in San Diego and has emerged as Phil Rivers go to WR. Alexander has at least seven targets in each of the past three games (26 total) – next highest is Malcolm Floyd at 18. Since being named the starter in week 9, Danario is averaging 5 catches for 91 YPG and should be able to attain those averages against aging Bengal CB Terence Newman.
Wide Receiver Downgrades
The Steelers #1 ranked pass defense is also expected to welcome back safety Troy Polamalu. Smith is averaging 64 PG with 7 TDs on the season. He’s had an up & down season and has been held under 50 yards in 5 of his last 7 games. This is a matchup to avoid if you have better matchups to play.
Vincent Jackson (@ Denver): Unless you are loaded at the WR slot, you are liking playing V-Jax but temper your expectations as he’ll be shadowed by CB Champ Bailey. Denver’s 5th ranked pass defense (210 YPG) has allowed the 8th fewest fantasy PPG to opposing WRs. During his time in sunny San Diego, V-Jax and Champ squared off 7 times and Jackson was held to an average of 4 catches for 47 yards – he only scored 1 TD in those 7 meetings.
Denarius Moore (vs Cleveland): The 2nd year WR from Tennessee has bottomed out the past two weeks totaling just 2 catches for 29 yards. The week 13 matchup with CB Joe Haden will not help him break out of his mini-slump. Over the past 5 weeks, the Browns defense is allowing the 2nd fewest fantasy PPG to pass catchers (115 YPG and just 2 TDs allowed). Moore is a just a WR3 option this week and the Oakland weather is also a concern as heavy rain and wind are expected up until the 4pm kickoff.
Wide Receiver Sleepers:
Kenny Britt (vs Houston): Britt is an ultra talented WR but multiple off the field issues and a slow recovery from an ACL injury and pedestrian QB play have sapped his production so far this season. In 9 games, the 4th year WR from Rutgers is averaging just 37 YPG with 2 TDs. The week 13 matchup with a Houston defense that will be without top CB Jonathan Joseph could be just what the doctor ordered to help Britt produce his first fantasy relevant performance of the season. Jake Locker has the arm strength to take advantage of Britt’s downfield skill set and the Texans defense has struggled of late allowing the 3rd most fantasy PPG to opposing WRs over the past 5 weeks. Britt is well worth rolling the dice on as a solid Flex play with upside.
Ryan Broyles (vs Indianapolis): With knucklehead Titus Young suspended (deliberately ran wrong routes for some moronic reason), Broyles shined on Turkey Day hauling 6 catches for 126 yards (11 targets).
The 2nd round pick from Oklahoma has fully recovered from ACL surgery and his former college WR coach (also worked with the Colts) compared his skill set to Marvin Harrison saying “Broyles is similar to Marvin in his intellect and the way that he sees the game,” . “His mind is always racing at 100 MPH, trying to evaluate the next step.” The Colts pass defense is ranked 19th allowing 234 YPG and they have allowed the 5th most fantasy PPG to WRs. Playing in the friendly confines of Ford Field in a game with shootout potential (51 point Over/Under), the pass happy Lions #2 WR could very well finish as a top 20 WR in week 13.
Chris Givens (vs San Francisco): One has to think the 49er defense will be selling out to keep S-Jax from topping 100 yards on the ground like he did in week 10. WR Danny Amendola is listed as doubtful with a heel injury and was a non factor in week 12 despite being active. Givens leads the NFL in yards per reception (21.2 per catch). The rookie from Wake Forest has produced solid WR3 numbers in 5 of his last 6 games (70+ yards and/or a TD). The 49ers defense is ranked 2nd against the pass (187 YPG) but they did allow Danny Amendola 11 catches for 102 yards in the week 1o meeting. In Amendola’s absence, Givens big play ability makes him worth considering as a flex play despite the difficult matchup.