Week 13 Preview

Thursday, Nov 27, 2008 at 12:00 pm ET

Happy Thanksgiving to all my Nerds. What's better than turkey and a football game? How about turkey and 3 football games? This is the first year that I get to try deep-fried turkey. I've always heard good things, but have never had an opportunity to try it myself. Hopefully my fantasy day is as tasteful as the meal I expect to have. This is a do-or-die week for me. I'm in 7th place in a 10-team league where I will be officially eliminated with a loss this week. On a purely matchup perspective, my opponent has the easier matchups with guys like Rivers vs ATL, T. Jones vs DEN, and T.O. vs SEA. I do have Adrian Peterson against Chicago and a broken up Jason Witten to lean on (extra dose of sarcasm needed here). Wish me luck! I'm clinging to 3rd in an 8-team league and I'm in 3rd in the Stinky Tee Experts League which is a 12-team league of fantasy site owners and all die-hards.

Here's what the experts are looking at this week.

Week 13 Quarterbacks

Welcome back to #1 Tony Romo. The Niners couldn't stop him last week and the Seahawks shouldn't pose too much of a problem for him this week. I think Drew Brees and Romo could easily switch places in the rankings as Brees made stuffing out of my beloved Green Bay Packer secondary on Monday and I can't imagine the Bucs doing any better.

Peyton Manning comes in 3rd against a soft Browns defense. Jay Cutler faces a Jets defense that holds up against the run but gives up mucho yards through the air (Matt Cassel and Kerry Collins got 643 yards and 4 TD's). Warner comes in at #5 against a Philly defense that Boldin and Fitz can pick apart. Rivers, McNabb, Favre, Garrard, and Matt Ryan round out the Top 10. I think we'll see a different McNabb this week. He shouldn't have been benched last week at halftime and I think he'll light it up against a Cards defense that loves to give up TD's to opposing QB's. I'll be surprised if he doesn't get 2 TD's this week.

It's Chad Pennington's (#11) turn to beat up the St Louis secondary and he should still do well even without Greg Camarillo. It looks like the experts expect Trent Edwards (#12) to repeat last week's performance, but I'm disagreeing with them here. He'll do OK, but I don't think he'll repeat, even if it is San Fran that he's playing.

Remember earlier this season when Jeff Garcia threw and threw and threw? Well, those were happy days. Don't expect that this week.

Matt Cassel - WOW. 2 400-yard games in a row!! Here's when I need those points the most, but I just don't believe you'll be able to reach the 200 or 300 yard mark against the #1 pass defense in the league.

Cassel barely edges out Aaron Rodgers (#16) who faces a Carolina defense that should be better than the N.O. D from Monday. Sage Rosenfels follows at #17 and his production is so hard to predict. Flip a coin.

Kerry Collins comes in at #18 against the hapless Lions. Detroit can't stop anything so he gets my sleeper alert this week. I'm starting him in front of Matt Cassel in my do-or-die league and my fingers will be crossed.

Eli comes in at #19 this week against the Redskins. Washington kept him in check in Week 1 and they've only gotten better. I would expect more running in this game.

Joe Flacco hits the #20 mark this week and I would anticipate Baltimore running, running, running.

Thigpen falls to #21, probably based upon the fact that he scored poorly the last time he faced Oakland. Dwayne Bowe gets Nnamdi again and that hurts Thigpen's value.

My last comment on QB's this week deals with Shaun Hill and Kyle Orton, ranked 22 and 23. If you're relying on either of them this week, I'm sorry.

Week 13 Running Backs

Adrian Peterson at #1? I'm not sold on that. He rushed for 121 yards the last time he met the Chicago defense, but talk this week has been on getting Chester Taylor involved more. I think AP is a Top 10 candidate and obviously a must-start, but I disagree with the top ranking spot. In fact, I like Ronnie Brown (#3) against the pathetic Rams defense, DeAngelo Williams (#4) likely to see a fifth straight 100+ yard performance, Thomas Jones (#6) running through Denver's front, and Marion Barber (#2) both running and catching yards against Seattle. Even Jamal Lewis (#14) has a better matchup.

Frank Gore (#11) was a major disappointment last week. Maybe it was because Dallas really came to play. Maybe it was because Hill couldn't stay vertical enough to hand off the ball. Whatever the reason, Gore should be able to bounce back this week against Buffalo and their poor rush defense.

Michael Turner won't score 4 TD's this week, but he'll still get at least 1. With one eye on Matt Ryan and the other eye on Roddy White, Turner's run game should be set up nicely.

Larry Johnson and Darren McFadden show up in the Top 20 this week. Turf toe didn't seem to slow down McFadden last week and he's got a great matchup against KC. LJ could see the century mark this week.

How's this for an upside down year? Clinton Portis drops to #20 and Brian Westbrook sees #21. Ouch. Not just for these two but for all fantasy owners. Both are still hurt. Portis sees the Giants D this week and Westbrook is coming off a short week (although Buckhalter's absence should mean a bigger workload).

Brandon Jacobs falls all the way to #22, primarily because he's still a game-time decision. This was easily the most annoying decision I heard from fantasy owners last week. Who knew that he wasn't going to play? Lack of information is what frustrates and angers owners the most. He's a roll the dice type of situation again this week.

I almost fell out of my chair this morning when I saw Steven "I can't drop him but I can't play him either" Jackson actually ranked at #31. He's likely to be a game-time decision and I can't afford to take the chance with him. He's been my bust pick this year.

Reggie Bush has Steven-Jackson-itis. He says he's going to play, but with a Nerd rank of 38, the experts don't think so.

Week 13 Wide Receivers

It's hard to disagree with the T.O. rank of #1. He spanked San Francisco and Seattle's worse against the pass. In fact, the Seahawks have NO ANSWER for a Romo-Owens combo.

Roddy White gets a sweet potato matchup against the league's worst rated pass defense and that means a big day for Roddy.

Fitzgerald is a numbers man. He gets a lot of targets and he can turn those targets into solid numbers.

Reggie Wayne was a disappointment last week, but he should rebound this week in a wonderful matchup that pits him against the lowly Browns.

Brandon Marshall hits #5 this week and Jay Cutler should be able to find him for some points. There's basically no backfield in Denver so Cutler will have to go to the air.

Lee Evans racked up the points last week (much to my dismay) and he and Trent Edwards will do well this week.

Greg Jennings (#8) is easily the favorite target of Aaron Rodgers. On Monday night, I needed to keep Jennings under 21 points to claim victory, but Jennings and my opponent racked up 28 points (it's a PPR league) knocking me out of the playoffs. It won't be easy against Carolina, but Jennings will find a way.

Hines Ward lands in the Top 10 this week and I've seen him ranked as high as #2 on some sites.

Calvin Johnson (#11) is every bit of the machine that we expected him to be this year. If you've been following my posts since the Nerd was launched, you'll recall that I predicted him to out-perform Roy Williams this year and he hasn't disappointed.

Randy Moss won't have 3 TD's this week, but he seems to be connecting with Matt Cassel and hits #13 this week.

Houshmandzadeh comes in at #15 and he remains the go-to-guy in Cincy. There's only so much one superman can do when you have a poor QB throwing at your feet.

Steve Smith had a monster game last week but he could have a tougher time repeating against the Packers, although Lance Moore didn't seem to have a difficult time.

Colston's #17 ranking is unwarranted. Lance Moore is the favorite target in New Orlean's passing game and he's much more capable than his #28 ranking would indicate. I think the rankings could easily be reversed here.

Wes Welker and Santana Moss fall to 26 and 27 respectively. Both have difficult matchups this week and you'll probably see their values go up next week. Use them if you have to but temper your expectations.

Week 13 Tight Ends

Any surprise to see see Antonio Gates at #1? Nope. He's that good. Don't dwell on the past two weeks.

Tony Gonzalez, Kellen Winslow, Bo Scaife, and Dallas Clark round out the Top 5 and each is a good play this week.

Dustin Keller hits #6 this week and he's quickly becoming a favorite target for Mr. Favre.

Jason Witten makes the Top 10, but I'm not holding my breath that he'll earn that spot. I saw that shot he took last week and even I felt the pain. The Seattle D will have to keep an eye on him, but that just opens up other options for Romo.

Jeremy Shockey actually saw some action on Monday night and he did quite well. He should provide a satisfactory performance this week.

Chris Cooley falls to #13 this week with owners praying that he does better than he did the first time he met the Giants this year. Don't expect anything more than average numbers in this game.

Week 13 Defenses

There's pretty solid consensus that the top 2 defenses this week belong to Tennessee and Baltimore. The only differences are in just how much each will score.

The Dolphins (#4) could make for a nice play this week, particularly if Bulger and Jackson don't play.

Green Bay (#5) will lineup against Delhomme and company. This is an angry defense that will up their play to show that the Saint's domination was a fluke.

The Steelers #1 defense actually comes in ranked #6 this week with Matt Cassel on a role.

I completely, whole-heartedly disagree with the Nerd's consensus that places Tampa Bay at #7. Drew Brees isn't the #1 rated passer in the NFL for no reason. If Reggie Bush doesn't suit up, Brees will go to the air and that spells disaster.

Oakland has stunk for much of the year, but they are ranked #15 this week because of Nnamdi Asomugha. He's that good.

Good luck to all and enjoy your turkey and football!!

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