3 Players to Avoid in Week 13
It’s the same story, just with a different set of players. That is, we know the deal by now and we know the risks we need to take. If we want to make a move and try to win a tournament, we need to be bold and intentionally avoid some players.
Are these players bad? Of course not. Are they capable of putting together a big game? Definitely. But are they risks we are willing to take because of either the price, matchup, or expected popularity? Indeed.
I also take an additional step when considering how to approach a player pool for the weekend: when combing through games and players, I try to ask how someone would convince themselves that a specific player is the “right play.” If we can tell the story, we can then determine if it’s based on bias or something that can be attacked — by virtue of being wrong.
RB Joe Mixon – CIN $7,000 vs. LAC – Because I usually write these articles in order of salary from highest-to-lowest, the first name on the list is often the most dangerous to avoid. Such is the case with Joe Mixon of the Cincinnati Bengals.
Mixon has become a workhorse which, in any format of fantasy football, is a welcomed sight — and that is enhanced with the high number of teams that split carries in a given backfield. Therefore, we know Mixon will have volume — because he always does. We also know his matchup against the Los Angeles Chargers’ pathetic run defense is tremendously ideal — and we just watched the Broncos run all over the Chargers.
Putting these two elements together, we also know Mixon will be popular.
Popularity, alone, isn’t a reason to avoid a player — some are popular because they are the right play. The key is that Mixon has been vital in winning games for Cincinnati but quiet in the losses. On the season, when he averages at least 4 yards-per-carry, the Bengals are 7-1. Otherwise, they are 0-3.
If you think Cincinnati loses on Sunday, then Mixon is the first big-name players to cut from your list of targets.
QB Tua Tagovailoa – MIA $6,300 vs. NYG – Unlike the aforementioned Joe Mixon, quarterback Tua Tagovailoa is not necessarily someone that people are trying to force into a lineup. Still, his team is riding a four-game winning streak and has one of its more “winnable” games on Sunday. It’s a home matchup against a non-conference opponent either starting an injured Daniel Jones or backup Mike Glennon.
Neither inspires too much confidence in the New York Giants, and that’s a problem if we want to target the opposing quarterback.
Consider how Sunday’s game could unfold. Most likely, there are two paths. The Dolphins either win easily — in which Tagovailoa takes a backseat to the run game — or the Giants play well enough to either win or compete throughout — where past history tells us that New York does its best work when limiting opposing offenses.
Tagovailoa is a tempting option because of his decent price tag and the general expectation that his team will win the game, but there are too many routes to failure for my liking.
RB Jamaal Williams – DET $5,200 vs. MIN – If I wrote that Joe Mixon was a risk for his possible upside with a high price tag, then I am actually scared to avoid Jamaal Williams at his reasonable salary on Sunday. “Scared,” but still committed to doing it. Once again, we can’t win a WFS tournament while remaining in our comfort zones.
Williams is now slated to start in place of the injured D’Andre Swift, but the swap from one player to another in the Detroit Lions’ offense is dangerous. Many will expect that Swift’s replacement will perform exactly as well as the starter did because of the volume that seemingly always flowed through the position. It’s more likely that the Lions, devoid of talent in other areas of the offense, had to ask Swift to carry the workload both as a runner and pass-catcher. Williams is capable of doing both tasks, but to ask him to do it without a misstep is lazy.
There’s also the game, itself, that has to be considered. The Minnesota Vikings are looking to rebound and take aim at a Lions team that is now winless on the season into December. If Detroit starts losing — which is quite an easy expectation to have — then the team probably stops running. Williams would likely see an uptick in passes out of the backfield, but that’s probably his ceiling for the game.