Throughout the season, Jake Ciely (*@allinkid*) will give you the expert takes on New Orleans Saints players from fantasy perspectives, while letting you know which performers will help you take home a championship. The Saints have a crucial home matchup with the undefeated Panthers this week.
Week 13 brings us an important divisional game for the Saints, as they host the Carolina Panthers. Week 12 was the first time this year that Drew Brees didn't throw a touchdown. It was actually the first time since Nov. 29, 2012 that Brees didn't have a touchdown (47 games including playoffs). He'll get back on track with a new streak of touchdown games against the Panthers. As good as the Panthers have been against the pass, they still let Luke McCown throw for 310 yards in the first matchup, which is something Brees can certainly match, or even eclipse. He is still a QB1 on the season with 3,200 yards and 20 TDs in 10 games.
Quarterback Ryan Tannehill (Dolphins) had a big day in Week 12, and you can keep him in the lineup for Week 13. The Ravens allow the second most FPPG (Fantasy Points Per Game) to quarterbacks at 19.82 on NFL.com with 21 TDs and just four INTs. The same goes for the Titans' Marcus Mariota. He had 19.42 points with three touchdowns against the Raiders and the Jaguars are just .01 point behind the Dolphins in FPPG allowed to QBs. This is the week where you should consider benching Philip Rivers (Chargers), whether for another option on your team or one of the quarterbacks mentioned. Rivers isn't as hot as he was earlier this year, and the Broncos' defense has dominated most opposing quarterbacks, allowing just 11.5 FPPG. Even with a tough matchup of his own, there is no way you bench the Cardinals' Carson Palmer at home against the Rams.
Even without a high number of touches, Saints running back Mark Ingram remains productive. He had 97 yards against the Texans with just 15 touches and earlier this year had 99 total yards and a touchdown against the Panthers. He's the fifth best running back on the year with more than 1,000 total yards already. Ingram remains a weekly must-start with at least 9.4 PPR points in every game. The Panthers are just mid-pack against running backs, so you shouldn't worry at all.
C.J. Anderson (Broncos) looked terrific Sunday night and now faces the league's most forgiving defense for running backs. The Chargers allow 23.7 FPPG, and even if the Broncos still split time between Anderson and Ronnie Hillman, Anderson is still worthy of being a RB2 in most leagues. Javorius (Buck) Allen of the Ravens had 14.4 standard points in his first start. He did some damage in the passing game, and that's where he scored. The Dolphins have allowed the second most rushing yards this year, making Allen a strong candidate for RB1 status again. Meanwhile, you likely want to avoid Frank Gore (Colts) where you can this week. The Steelers have locked down the run, allowing just 12.78 FPPG to running backs with just three rushing touchdowns allowed. The same goes for the Jaguars T.J. Yeldon. It's harder to bench him than Gore, but the Jaguars rarely use him in the red zone, and the Titans allow the fifth fewest points to RBs and have just five rushing touchdowns against them.
As with Brees, the Saints receivers will look to rebound. Of course, Brandin Cooks takes center stage in that department, as he had five TDs in the three games before the bye. Some might worry about Carolina cornerback Josh Norman, but Cooks works out of the slot enough to not see Norman in coverage the entire game. Cooks and Willie Snead both saw eight targets against the Texans, and Ben Watson led the team with nine targets and 53 yards. In the first Panthers matchup, Cooks had seven catches for 79 yards on eight targets, and Snead chipped in five catches for 44 yards. Having Brees at quarterback this time gives both receivers potential for more, along with Watson continuing his weekly consideration as a TE1. Don't forget about Marques Colston in deep PPR leagues. He has at least 5.2 fantasy points in each of the last three games.
No team is more forgiving against receivers than the Eagles. They have given up 19 receiving touchdowns, which gives Brandon LaFell (Patriots) terrific upside this week. The Chiefs have been much better in the second half against the pass, so think twice before you automatically plug in the Raiders' Michael Crabtree. However, the Ravens haven't been able to stop receivers at all this year. The Dolphins' Jarvis Landry is a WR2 with WR1 potential, and DeVante Parker makes for a sneaky, high-upside play after his 10 targets last week. Back to those Chargers, Stevie Johnson is a PPR machine most of the time, but he's benchable against the Broncos. The Falcons' defense quietly allows the second fewest points to receivers with just three touchdowns allowed. That makes Mike Evans and Vincent Jackson of the Bucs riskier than normal. You can't sit Evans, but Jackson should be on your bench.
For those needing tight end help, Kyle Rudolph (Vikings) has played well of late, and the Seahawks defense allows the fourth most FPPG to tight ends. Coby Fleener (Colts) and Matt Hasselbeck have a good rapport, and the Steelers have given up 705 yards and eight touchdowns to opposing tight ends. The Raiders Clive Walford is very touchdown dependent, so you don't want to risk him against the Chiefs. The Eagles are actually very good against tight ends with just two touchdowns given up to date, so Scott Chandler (Patriots) could have a tough time putting up big numbers.
The Browns give up the most points to opposing defenses, making the Bengals one of the top DST plays this week. The Titans are near the top in turnovers, which always gives defenses the potential to score. That makes the Jaguars a decent option in Week 13. You'll want to avoid the Eagles, Lions and even Rams defenses this week. They face the Patriots, Packers and Cardinals respectively, and each team can put plenty of points on the board.
For more in-depth Fantasy Football coverage, visit Jake Ciely and the team over at RotoExperts.com. Saints fans get a special discounted rate on the RotoExperts Xclusive Edge premium package for the playoffs by **clicking here*.*