Studs, Duds, & Sleepers: Week 13

December 3, 2020

Well folks, if the NFL can switch things up and play on a Wednesday afternoon, and take away Thursday night games, then we here in the SDS lab sure as hell can switch things up and drop our magic a day late, eh? All I know is that it’s Week 13, and for many, that means playoff time…and I have you covered!

So sit back and indulge yourself in a playoff edition of my 100% guarantee, can’t possibly miss, stone cold/room temperature ‘Studs, Duds & Sleepers.’




Patrick Mahomes, KC:

The Broncos have a good pass defense, but Mahomes has 30 touchdowns and just two interceptions. It doesn’t matter who he plays, he is a ‘Stud’ and now the hands down frontrunner for NFL MVP. 

Aaron Rodgers, GB:

The only other player with a potential case for the MVP would be Rodgers. He has two more touchdowns (33) on about 50 less passes. Rodgers is averaging three touchdowns and 280+ yards per game. 

Others receiving votes:

Russell Wilson, Sea:

Over his last four games, Wilson has only five touchdowns to four interceptions and has surpassed 300 yards just once – and hasn’t gone for more than 250 yards in his last three. That being said, he still has 31 touchdowns, one of the most uncoverable wide receivers, and gets a mediocre Giants defense this week.  

Deshaun Watson, Hou:

The Texans are not having a good season, but Watson is. Even with the loss of Will Fuller (PED suspension) and going up against a good Colts defense, I still like Watson to continue his hot play. Watson has gone six straight games (and seven of his last eight) without an interception. Over those six games, he has four 300+ yard games and has thrown 15 touchdowns. 


From The GetSportsInfo Podcast:



Running backs:

Aaron Jones, GB:

Between injuries and Green Bay’s pass heavy offense, Jones’s numbers haven’t been great this year, but he’s still putting up an impressive 4.8 yards per carry and last week saw his most carries (17) since returning from injury. With a matchup this week against a bottom ten run defense (Eagles), I like Jones to have a big day. 

Dalvin Cook, Min:

Cook leads all running backs with 13 rushing touchdowns, and trails only Derrick Henry in rushing yards per game (113.0 vs 114.3). Cook should have a huge day against a Jaguars defense which has surrendered 14 rushing touchdowns on the season and ranks 29th in rushing yards per game (136.2). 

Others receiving votes:

Antonio Gibson, Was:

Having a rookie running back on a 4-7 team in the ‘Studs’ category may seem odd, especially in a week when he is going against the 11-0 Steelers, but Gibson is on fire and the Steelers defense ranks in the bottom half of the league in terms of yards per carry (4.4). Gibson now has 11 rushing touchdowns on the season, eight in his last five games! He may not be your RB1 this week, but he should be in your lineup if you have him.

David Montgomery, Chi:

With just two touchdowns on the year (one rushing, and one passing) and barely cracking the top 20 in terms of rushing yards, Montgomery has been a disappointment this year for most fantasy owners, but for the first time this season, he cracked 100 yards and for the second time in the past three weeks, he put up 100+ all-purpose yards. I like his matchup this week against a Lions team that: 1) just fired their head coach, 2) ranks in the bottom four in terms of rushing yards per game, and 3) is tied for last with 17 rushing touchdowns surrendered. 

Pass Catchers:

DK Metcalf, Sea:

Don’t look for the Giants defense to slow down Metcalf. He leads the league in receiving yards (1,039), is coming off a 10 catch, 177 yard performance against an Eagles defense, which, though far from great, is better than the Giants. 

Davante Adams, GB:

Speaking of the Eagles, after giving up that 10 catch 177 yard performance to Metcalf, they now get Aaron Rodgers and Davante Adams. Don’t expect them to fair much better against Adams. I like him to extend his touchdown streak to seven games. 

Others receiving votes:

Justin Jefferson, Min:

All the talk around the Rookie of the Year award has surrounded Justin Herbert and Joe Burrow (and rightfully so), but let’s not forget Jefferson. He is top ten – among all receivers – in both yards and yards per catch, and leads all rookies in catches (52), targets (72), yards (918) and trails only Chase Claypool in touchdowns (eight to six). He should have another big day against a Jaguars team which ranks in the bottom five in terms of passing yards and passing touchdowns surrendered.

Travis Kelce, KC:

Kelce trails only Metcalf and his teammate – Tyreek Hill – in terms of yards (978), and ranks in the top ten in terms of receptions (74), targets (98) and touchdowns (7). He, Hill and Mahomes should continue their hot streaks this week against the Broncos.



Carson Wentz, Phi:

If you are debating playing Wentz this late in your season, you are probably not making your league’s playoffs. Wentz continues to lead the world in interceptions (15)…and turnovers in general (21). Wentz hasn’t thrown for 250+ yards in four games, has only surpassed 300 once this year, and has only made it through one game without a turnover…and in that game, he still fumbled twice!  

Justin Herbert, LAC:

Herbert has had a great rookie season and with Burrow out, is the odds on favorite to win the Rookie of the Year award. That being said, as I said last week with Kyler Murray (and was correct), I don’t like quarterbacks playing against Bill Belichick and I especially don’t like young quarterbacks facing him for the first time. That is what Herbert will be doing this week. I look for Herbert to have his first game of more interceptions than touchdowns. 

.Others receiving votes:
Alex Smith, Was:

There is no better story in the NFL, but I don’t like Smith’s chances this week against the Steelers defense. They put too much pressure on quarterbacks, and Smith’s ability to escape the pocket is no longer a strength. 

Cam Newton, NE:

Cam’s only value is running. He is not a good passer of the football. Through 10 games, he has four passing touchdowns and nine interceptions. Last week, he threw for an embarrassing 84 yards and completed just 50% of his 18 passes. Sadly, that is the second time this season he has failed to pass for 100 yards and seventh time he has failed to reach 200 yards passing.

Running backs:

Ito Smith, Atl:

With Todd Gurley likely to miss another game – or at least see limited touches – Smith may be tempting to play, especially since he averaged 5.4 yards per rush, while pulling in four passes and a touchdown. But as Lee Corso would say, “not so fast my friend!” Last week he faced a Raiders defense which is tied with the Lions for most rushing touchdowns surrendered (17) and ranks in the middle in terms of yards per carry. The Saints defense is a different beast, surrendering a league low five rushing touchdowns on the season and ranking second in terms of yards per carry (3.3) and yards per game (76.6). Don’t look for a big day from this 195 pound scat back. 

Melvin Gordon III, Den:

Hard to hold Gordon’s 12 carry, 31 yard performance against him last week. When your starting quarterback is an unemployed wide receiver and goes 1/9 for 13 yards, the defense can tee off on the run. What we can – and we will – hold against Gordon is his other five games he has failed to hit the 50 yard mark. Gordon’s inconsistency and disappearance in the passing game has rendered him an emergency start only at this point. He is on pace for just 806 rushing yards, crazy for a running back they are paying $7 million. For all you math fans, that is $8,684.86 per yard…nearly $2,000 more per yard than Derrick Henry or Dalvin Cook.

Others receiving votes:

Josh Jacobs, LV:

Jacobs ranks fifth in the NFL in terms of yards (782) and touchdowns (9), but his 3.8 yards per carry have him ranked t-39th and he is coming off a game where he had just seven carries for 27 yards. Sure, some of that was due to the fact the Raiders were getting blown out, but it was a 13 point game at halftime. Last week was the fifth time in eleven games he has failed to rush for 70 yards, the third time in the past four games and fourth time the past six. The Jets team may suck, but they are t-4th in terms of rushing yards per carry (3.8). 

Duke Johnson, Hou:

With David Johnson likely to miss another week due to a concussion, you may be tempted to make a sneaky play with Duke…don’t. No Texans running back has hit 100 yards this season, and only once has a Texans back surpassed 63 yards this season. With David out, Duke did find the endzone on one of his three catches for 43 yards, but he put up just 37 yards on nine carries, and goes from a bottom five defense last week (Lions), to a top five defense this week (Colts).

Pass Catchers:

Tyler Boyd, Cin:

You could really have all Cincinnati pass catchers on this list again. With Burrow out and no Joe Mixon, the Bengals were starting a guy named Brandon Allen last week. Said guy steered the offense to 155 yards…on the game! To put that in perspective, Tyreek Hill had 203 yards by himself last week…in the first quarter alone! For the rest of 2020, any Bengal pass catcher should stay on your bench unless their is an emergency.

Darius Slayton, NYG:

In two of his last three games, Slayton has pulled in one or fewer passes for six or fewer yards…including a goose egg last week against the hapless Bengals defense. I don’t expect things to get much better with Colt McCoy at the helm this week. 

Others receiving votes:

JuJu Smith-Schuster, Pit:

“Technically,” he is the Steelers number one receiver, but I don’t think fantasy owners would agree. Through 11 games, JuJu has failed to break 20 yards twice, failed to break 50 yards six times, and has yet to break 100 yards. I don’t see his fortune changing this week against the Football Team, which ranks 1st in terms of passing yards allowed per game (194.6) and is t-2nd in terms of sacks (36).

Terry McLaurin, Was:

We are staying in the same game here with the McLaurin. He has made our list a lot this year, mainly in the ‘Studs’ and ‘Sleepers’ category, but this week, finds himself as a projected ‘Dud.’ Why you say? Because of the matchup. The Steelers lead the league in sacks (38), interceptions (15) and opponent’s quarterback rating (71.8) and are second in terms of passing yards allowed per game (203.5). Smith is a veteran, but given his limited mobility, when the Team passes – which I think will be infrequent – it will be quick routes, not giving McLaurin much opportunity for big plays. 



Andy Dalton, Dal:

This may come as a shock for two reasons: 1) the Cowboys play the Ravens, and 2) the game is on in prime time. We all know Andy’s struggles under the lights, but he is also pretty good against the Ravens. His eight wins and 21 touchdowns against the Ravens are topped only by his numbers against the Browns – 12 wins and 28 touchdowns. I am not predicting a huge day for the Red Rifle, but a solid performance would not be a surprise.

Josh Allen, Buf:

One of the hottest quarterbacks to start the season, Allen cooled off for a while, but has been playing well again as of late. After back-to-back weeks of no passing touchdowns against the Jets and Patriots, he has thrown for six touchdowns in his last three games and run for two more. He gets a 49ers defense which is playing well, but still shorthanded. 

Kirk Cousins, Min:

Most laugh anytime you bring up Cousins in fantasy football, but that is because they go off the national narrative on Cousins rather than digging into the details. After a slow start, Cousins is second only to Deshaun Watson in terms of yards per attempt (8.6), sits in the top half in terms of yards (2,768) and is t-7th in terms of touchdowns (23). Not bad for a guy most won’t think about starting. Over the last four games, Cousins has 11 touchdowns and one interception…outside of Mahomes and Rodgers, there may not be a hotter fantasy quarterback at the moment. 


Running backs:

Raheem Mostert, SF:

For the first time in what seems like forever, the 49ers had an NFL running back in their backfield again. Mostert didn’t have a big game last week, but he did find the endzone against a top six Rams run defense. With one game under his belt and a significantly easier matchup this week (Bills), Mostert is worth a Flex play. 

Giovani Bernard, Cin:

Ok, I looked like a fool on this call last week, but I am going back to the well. After watching Brandon Allen lead the Bengals offense, there is no way Bernard doesn’t see 25+ touches this week! If that is the case, I would expect 3-5 receptions and 100+ all-purpose yards at a minimum. 

Johnathan Taylor, Ind:

Taylor is back from the COVID list and gets a soft opponent for his first game back. Only the Cowboys are giving up more yards rushing per game (156.4) than the Texans (154.7). Look for Taylor to put up only his second 100+ yard game of the season. 


Pass Catchers:

Deebo Samuel, SF:

Speaking of being back, Samuel played in his first game since Week 7 and pulled in 11 of his 13 targets for 133 yards in a surprising win over the Rams. With few other options on this 49ers offense, look for another high volume day for Deebo.

Corey Davis, Ten:

I feel like he has been a ‘Sleeper’ all year. While never living up to his lofty draft position, Davis is on pace for his best season yet – his 619 yards receiving rank him in the top 30. He pulled in all three of his targets last week for 70 yards and while the Titans are a run first offense, Davis should get plenty of opportunities this week against the Browns. In one point PPR leagues, Davis has put up 10+ points in all but one game this year.  

Mike Gesicki, Mia:

If Fitzmagic plays this weekend, this could be the ‘Sleeper of the year’ pick! The Bengals suck at covering tight ends. Last week, despite Colt McCoy playing half the game, they allowed Evan Engram to tie his season high in catches (6) and post his season high in receiving yardage (129…nearly double his previous high). Gesicki is a big and athletic tight end and has averaged nearly five targets and 40 yards over his last four games. Against the Jets last week, he pulled in his third touchdown of the season and against the Bengals, I could easily see him pulling in four or more balls for 70+ yards and touchdown. 

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