This article is part of our DraftKings NFL series.
I initially thought Week 13 would be dominated by injury fallout, and while that's still the case to some extent, there aren't too many key players who truly appear to be questionable.
Still, let's take a look at a few unsettled injury/starter situations that will be worth keeping an eye on throughout the week:
Charcandrick West (hamstring, $5,100) is poised to return after missing just one game, but with Spencer Ware ($4,900) filling in capably, it's unclear how the Chiefs will divide their backfield work in Sunday's game against the Raiders. West's return would make Ware a no-go at his new price tag, but I'd still have some interest in Charcandrick, assuming his teammate isn't expected to have a huge role. I'll be keeping a close eye on the relevant RotoWire notes and Kansas City beat reporters over the next few days.
Jacob Tamme ($3,700) is a decent option if Leonard Hankerson (hamstring) misses another game, but there's too much value at tight end this week to give Tamme serious consideration unless Hankerson sits.
Although there doesn't seem to be much uncertainty here, I'll still be keeping a close eye on Darrelle Revis (concussion), whose expected absence should lead to another huge day for Odell Beckham (and possibly Eli Manning).
Lastly, all things Patriots will be worth keeping an eye on, even though Danny Amendola (knee, $4,700) is the only injured guy with a real shot to play. Assuming he does, Amendola will be one of the week's strongest plays, along with teammate Scott Chandler ($2,500).
Anyway, here are my favorite plays for Week 13 on DraftKings:
Carson Palmer, ARI at STL ($6,700): If there were some kind of award for being consistently over-owned, Palmer would be the unquestioned winner at his position. However, he'll actually end up significantly under-owned this week, as he faces an overrated Rams defense in the wake of his worst statistical game this season. Not to say that the Rams have a bad defense, but with DE Robert Quinn (back) either inactive or a shell of his usual self, the supposedly fearsome pass rush doesn't have much juice beyond stud DT Aaron Donald. It also looks like the Rams will be missing CB Trumaine Johnson (thigh), who isn't backed up by anyone of note. Furthermore, I expect the Cardinals to come out gunning, as Bruce Arians clearly doesn't trust David Johnson the way he trusted Chris Johnson (leg). David Johnson is still an excellent play in his own right, but there's a good chance he'll be the highest-owned player in most contests.
Ben Roethlisberger, PIT vs. IND ($6,600): Even with all the injury issues, Roethlisberger has been phenomenal when healthy this season, completing 66.5 percent of his passes for 8.9 yards per attempt. He may not be the league's most consistent quarterback, but we've repeatedly seen that his big games are just as big, if not bigger, than those of his positional counterparts. The real dilemma this week is that DeAngelo Williams ($5,600) is my favorite play at any position, making it hard to justify heavy usage of Roethlisberger. I'll have one or the other in pretty much every lineup, with a few lineups that even feature both. I wouldn't typically recommend such a strategy, but we've already seen a bunch of games this season in which both Roethlisberger and his running back thrived.
DeAngelo Williams, PIT vs. IND ($5,600): I don't care if you're a competent professional athlete or a three-legged farm animal; this price is too cheap for any living creature that's getting nearly all of the running-back snaps in Pittsburgh's offense. Williams even put up 24.7 DraftKings points in the nightmare road matchup with Seattle last week, proving once again that he's a top-five fantasy running back in Le'Veon Bell's absence. Of course, while his production is largely a product of role and team context, it definitely helps that the 32-year-old Williams is actually still a good player. He may have lost a step from his top speed, but the power, agility and quickness are all still perfectly intact. He has also developed into a solid receiver, which only creates further questions about how horribly the Panthers mishandled their running backs over the past half-decade. To be fair, the current management team has done a nice job with what it was handed, as evidenced by the 11-0 record.
Shaun Draughn, SF at CHI ($4,000): Although the Chicago defense is kind of growing on me, there's still no need to mistake this for a difficult matchup. And even if it were a difficult one, Draughn's combination of price and expected workload is just too favorable to pass on. He played every single offensive snap against the Cardinals last week, and he has exactly 20 touches in each of the last three games. Despite failing to reach the end zone, he put up 13.6, 15.7 and 13.6 DK points in those games, respectively. Draughn isn't a must-own for tournament lineups, but it would be absolutely foolish not to use him in a cash game or 50/50 lineup.
Odell Beckham, NYG vs. NYJ ($8,900): Despite getting burned last week, I'm again of the opinion that each of the "big-four" wideouts is a strong play in Week 13. Beckham, unsurprisingly, is my favorite of the bunch, facing a Jets secondary that's wholly unimpressive with Darrelle Revis (concussion) sidelined. Beckham should see plenty of extra attention from the Gang Green safeties, but even so, he's a lock for double-digit targets. Also, the Jets finally have an offense that can keep pace in a shootout, so a big first half by Beckham and Eli Manning won't necessarily lead to a quiet second half. On a semi-related note, DeAndre Hopkins ($8,800) will likely have his lowest ownership rate in quite some time, and there's a decent chance the Texans will be playing from behind.
Alshon Jeffery, CHI vs. SF ($6,900): Somehow still wildly underpriced, Jeffery isn't even listed on the Week 13 injury report, after catching seven passes for 90 yards on 11 targets in a Thanksgiving win over the Packers. He's a legitimate No. 1 wideout for fantasy purposes, consistently drawing double-digit targets from a solid quarterback whenever he's healthy. The half-strength games bring down his season averages, but a healthy Jeffery should probably be priced around $8,000, behind only Beckham, Hopkins, Julio Jones and Antonio Brown. This week's matchup is also quite appealing, with the 49ers completely unable to stop the pass (or the run).
John Brown, ARI at STL ($4,800): There are a ridiculous number of strong plays at wide receiver this week, and I can't honestly say that Brown stands out above Martavis Bryant ($5,600), T.Y. Hilton ($5,700), Danny Amendola ($4,700), Anquan Boldin ($4,100) or any number of other players. I do love a Brown-Carson Palmer stack, but the more important takeaway is that you should be combing the wide receiver list from top to bottom. With gems at pretty much every price point, it probably makes sense to fill in wideouts after you've finished the rest of your lineup.
Other options:Julio Jones, ATL at TB ($9,000); DeAndre Hopkins, HOU at BUF ($8,800); Antonio Brown, PIT vs. IND ($8,600); Allen Robinson, JAX at TEN ($7,300); Jarvis Landry, MIA vs. BAL ($6,700); T.Y. Hilton, IND at PIT ($5,700); Martavis Bryant, PIT vs. IND ($5,600); Jeremy Maclin, KC at OAK ($5,200); Brandon LaFell/Danny Amendola, NE vs. PHI ($4800/4700); Donte Moncrief, IND at PIT ($4,600); Kendall Wright, TEN vs. JAX ($4,300); Anquan Boldin, SF at CHI ($4,100); Doug Baldwin, SEA at MIN ($3,800); DeVante Parker, MIA vs. BAL ($3,300)
Scott Chandler, NE vs. PHI ($2,500): Outside of the many Cam Newton-Greg Olsen stacks, the vast majority of Week 13 lineups will use either Chandler or Julius Thomas at tight end. This isn't the spot to get tricky, as Chandler and Thomas are the best values at their position by a very wide margin. Chandler actually went for 5-58-1 (on 11 targets) while playing alongside Rob Gronkowski (knee) last week, and I'm looking for at least six or seven targets and a touchdown in Gronk's absence. Keep in mind: This isn't just some min-priced scrub who has lucked his way into targets because of injuries; Chandler was an efficient mid-volume tight end during his lengthy tenure in Buffalo. I'm not sure that current Bills tight end Charles Clay is actually a superior player, but he's certainly a much wealthier one. Per usual, the Buffalo organization was easily distracted by shiny objects.
Other options:Julius Thomas, JAX at TEN ($4,000)
Team Defense/Special Teams
Miami Dolphins vs. BAL ($2,300): The Miami defense isn't actually…just kidding, it's terrible. But more importantly: Matt Schaub. Also: $2,300. And again, in case you missed it…Matt Schaub! He giveth and he taketh away. But actually, that's only because he's played for a few different teams the last three years. In reality, he pretty consistently giveth the takeaways.
Other options: Cincinnati Bengals at CLE ($3,400); New England Patriots vs. PHI ($3,400); Chicago Bears vs. SF ($2,600); Tennessee Titans vs. JAX ($2,600)
Thursday Night Game
This one is a pretty easy across-the-board fade for me. I don't mind Eddie Lacy ($5,000), Randall Cobb ($6,600) or Calvin Johnson ($7,600), but I don't like any of them quite enough to make up for the Thursday boost in ownership. This should be a low or medium-scoring game, with the defenses likely underrated and the offenses (at least Green Bay's) overrated. If you really must, Lacy is the best option.