We're excited to announce the start of our own private FanDuel fantasy football league.
How does it work?
It's quite simple, actually. Just click on this link and choose your team for Week 13.
The first-place winner will receive $200.00. Second place gets $50.00, and third receives $25.00. The entry fee is $5.
You'll be competing against us and other readers, and we've listed our picks below to help give you an edge. In addition, we will also be posting a recap each Tuesday that will include an announcement of the weekly winners and a scoreboard with reader rankings.
It's a $60K salary cap league, in which all players are available to every team. And you make picks on a weekly basis. Thursday night players are not included.
Again, just click here to get started.
Frank Gore going down last week might have revived the career of former Eagles running back Brian Westbrook. Although it is largely unknown how Westbrook will perform, we can bet on one thing: he is fresh.
Westbrook only had a handful of carries heading into last week's game against the Cardinals. This week he will face the Packers, but his low price and big upside should be factored when filling in your roster.
There are plenty of other bargains out there, as well as busts. Here are some players to keep your eyes on heading into Week 13.
Week 13 Bargains
QB - Sam Bradford (STL@ARI) - $6,500
Bargain picks are often about the matchup, and this one isn't any different. The Cardinals are one of the worst teams in the NFL in both passing and rushing yards allowed, and after a strong performance last week, look for another good game out of Bradford. The only thing that could hurt his numbers is the possibility that St. Louis will get out to a big lead and hand the ball over to Steven Jackson.
RB - Brian Westbrook (SF@GB) - $3,900
Westbrook is now a feature back again. With Gore out of the lineup, it looks like he will be shouldering much of the load in the Niners' backfield. For such a low price, he is almost impossible to pass up on. The amount of flexibility Westbrook gives the rest of your lineup should pay for itself, even if he only has a mediocre game.
WR - Johnny Knox (CHI@DET) - $6,000
Knox is averaging 71 yards in his last three games and had 68 yards and a touchdown last week against the Eagles. This week, Knox and the Bears head into Detroit. Detroit has allowed big games to opposing quarterbacks each of the last two weeks. In Week 11, the Lions were torched by Jon Kitna for three touchdowns (and a rushing touchdown), and last week, Tom Brady put up a near-perfect performance against them on Thanksgiving. Needless to say, Jay Cutler could be in store for a big week, and look for Knox to benefit.
TE - Tony Moeaki (DEN@KC) - $4,800
Another team struggling defensively is the Denver Broncos. The Broncos have allowed 40 points per game in the last three weeks. The Chiefs, on the other hand, have scored an average of 34 points a game in that same period. Moeaki will be a threat in the red zone, and if things go as expected, the Chiefs could find themselves with a lot of snaps in Broncos' territory.
K - Robbie Gould (CHI@DET) - $5,500
It's hard to find bargains at the kicker spot, since there isn't much difference between the most and least expensive players. Gould should be a solid play this week, and since he only costs $5,500 he won't take up too much of you cap. Like Knox, Gould should get quite a few chances to score against the Lions' defense.
D - New York Giants (NYG@WAS) - $6,100
The Giants' defense has only allowed 16 points per game the last month, and they are ranked first in the league in passing yards allowed and ninth in rushing. This week they will welcome the Redskins to the Meadowlands. The Redskins may have only turned the ball over 5 times in the last three weeks, but they have also allowed two defensive/special teams touchdowns, so there could be some opportunities for the Giants to put up some big numbers.
Week 13 Busts
QB - Ben Roethlisberger (PIT@BAL) - $8,100
Steelers-Ravens football is your grandfather's football - meaning, it is not fantasy-friendly, especially for quarterbacks. Roethlisberger has shown occasional flashes of his old self since returning from suspension, but largely has been just another guy. Big Ben is also nursing a sore foot, and though the Ravens' defense hasn't quite been what it was in past years, we expect this matchup to be more of what this rivalry has meant in the past: hard-hitting, low-scoring, smash-mouth football.
RB - Maurice Jones-Drew (JAC@TEN) - $8,800
MJD started the year off slowly but has come on of late, with four straight 100-yard games, heading into Sunday's matchup with Tennessee. In their first meeting, Jones-Drew was held to 57 yards on 17 carries and no touchdowns - not terrible numbers, but far from what's expected of a top-five running back. Call it a hunch, but with the Titans coming off an embarrassment at the hands of the Texans last week, we expect a strong effort out of them in this game. That starts with stopping MoJo. For the price, he's not worth it.
WR - Calvin Johnson (CHI@DET) - $7,400
Johnson has had a very productive season despite the rotating carousel at quarterback. That carousel spins again this week, with Shaun Hill forced out by injury for the second time this season. In comes backup Drew Stanton to face the Bears' defense, and out goes the hope of Johnson performing up to expectations with his price tag this week.
TE - Todd Heap (PIT@BAL) - $6,100
Heap's week was made by a long touchdown catch against Tampa Bay. Don't expect that to happen against Pittsburgh. Heap is the third-most expensive option at tight end this week, and only the second healthy option. There are plenty of enticing picks cheaper than Heap - and best of all, they don't play Pittsburgh (unless you're thinking of selecting Dennis Pitta at $4,200, which we're not recommending).
K - Dan Carpenter (CLE@MIA) - $6,900
Carpenter is the second-most expensive option at kicker this week, behind only the red-hot David Akers. The Dolphins' kicker is not getting nearly the number of opportunities Akers is, though, which is best exemplified by a game two weeks ago in which he did not attempt a single field goal in a shutout loss. It's not so much Carpenter as it is the Dolphins' offense, but at this price, it's best to look elsewhere.
D - San Francisco 49ers (SF@GB) - $6,600
The 49ers allowed six points to the Smiling Derek Andersons on Monday Night Football, and that was six points too many considering what they were up against. This week, San Francisco faces a much tougher challenge in traveling to Green Bay to face Aaron Rodgers and the Packers. They won't come close to matching last week's effort, and aren't worth the price, which is tied with the Steelers for third-most among defenses.
We tried to exploit some juicy matchups this week, including Peyton Hillis vs. any NFL team. Sometimes, though, you have to go with guys who produce, no matter whom they're playing against. That is the theme this week - production from producers.
We felt Westbrook was worth the risk, considering what his nominal price allowed us to do at other positions. That includes a wide receiver corps consisting of Brandon Lloyd, Steve Johnson and Reggie Wayne, each of whom have favorable matchups.
Aaron Rodgers is light-years ahead of Derek Anderson, so he's a comfortable choice at QB, especially at Lambeau Field. He should feast on the Niners, as should Brian Urlacher and the Bears on Drew Stanton, much like we will feast on our opponents with this unstoppable-force-meeting-an-immovable-object fantasy squad:
QB - Aaron Rodgers (SF@GB) - $9,100
RB - Peyton Hillis (CLE@MIA) - $8,900
RB - Brian Westbrook (SF@GB) - $3,900
WR - Brandon Lloyd (DEN@KC) - $8,200
WR - Steve Johnson (BUF@MIN) - $7,400
WR - Reggie Wayne (DAL@IND) - $6,600
TE - Tony Moeaki (DEN@KC) - $4,800
K - Ryan Longwell (BUF@MIN) - $5,000
D - Chicago Bears (CHI@DET) - $6,100
Salary cap remaining: $0
Don't forget to sign up and join our league by clicking here. Rosters must be submitted before 1 p.m. on Sunday. Good luck.
Andrew O'Brien works on the sports desk at philly.com and can be reached at firstname.lastname@example.org.