By: Tyler Jesih @Autobreaks
Predicting the Perfect Lineup
Predicting a perfect fantasy lineup is similar to playing poker. It doesn’t take a lot of insight to get lucky and do well, yet even the great players will lose… a lot. So, no matter how much research I put in, no matter the amount of matchup data I view, the end result is just a huge gamble.
That being said, let’s take a peek at the perfect fantasy lineup for Week 13.
QB: Alex Smith (37.6) (vs NYJ)
RB: Alvin Kamara (29.6) (vs CAR)
RB: Le’Veon Bell (29.2) (vs CIN)
WR: Tyreek Hill (36.5) (vs NYJ)
WR: Nelson Agholor (27.1) (vs SEA)
TE: Travis Kelce (25.4) (vs NYJ)
K: Greg Zuerlein (17) (vs ARI)
D/ST: Dolphins (27) (vs DEN)
Wow. Obviously an overwhelming amount of Chiefs players. How many would have predicted a struggling Chiefs offense to claim a spot in nearly every position on the perfect fantasy lineup?
It’s like gambling on a 2 and a 7, the Chiefs may have had a good matchup against a mediocre team, but, the Chiefs have also looked quite mediocre themselves lately. So, the gamble on the seemingly sub-par players may pan out, meanwhile your pocket aces could be worthless. (Brady finished with 8.3 points… there goes your aces. Enough gambling metaphors now.)
Now, the attempt to build the perfect fantasy lineup:
QB: Derek Carr (vs KC)
After having torched them earlier in the season for 417 yards and 3 TDs, for a total of 30.2 fantasy points, Carr returns against a KC defense that gives up the 5th most points to QBs (18.8 points, on average). I’m believing in the repeat performance. Amari Cooper’s potential absence may be something to monitor, but even without the young star, I think he still hits top 3 production this week. Carr has relied on Crabtree all year, and he is slotted for a big role Sunday with the Chiefs missing Marcus Peters after that flag throwing routine that earned him a suspension. Derek Carr has been consistently in the mid-teens for points as of late, but the possibility of a revamped Chiefs offense creates a higher chance of a close game, meaning more reason for Carr to throw the ball against severely lackluster defense.
RBs: Melvin Gordon (vs WAS)
Slotted at the top of the AFC West, the Chargers have been rolling as of late, and Gordon remains a staple in the offense. Melvin Gordon is coming off a tough week against Cleveland’s defense with 19 carries for 77 yards. He slid way down in rankings last week against a sneakily good run defense. This week against Washington, he looks to exploit a beat up defense that is consistently poor against the run. As long as Ekeler stays on the sideline, Gordon will carry his huge workload to a big fantasy day.
Le’Veon Bell (vs BAL)
Le’Veon Bell is just crazy good. The 2nd best running back this fantasy season is coming off 2 straight weeks with top 3 fantasy performances. He is the backbone of this Steelers offense, and if he goes down it doesn’t function the same. In Baltimore in week 4 Bell put up 144 yards and 2 touchdown on a whopping 35 carries (34.6 PPR). The Ravens may have a tough run defense, yet if the Steelers offense gets them up early Bell will take over the game with a huge workload.
WRs: Marvin Jones Jr. (vs TB)
Tampa Bay is just awful against the pass. (Refer to Julio Jones 12 catch, 253 yard game in Week 12). Despite Marvin Jones fighting for #1 WR duty with Golden Tate, Jones has cemented himself as a top 15 play nearly every week. Detroit has had some tough matchups recently, but, this one proves an easy game to slot Marvin Jones for a top fantasy play. He’s my pick as the top wideout this week, but at the very least, his floor is a top 10 WR.
Larry Fitzgerald (vs TEN)
Another defense known to give up big games to big name receivers. Let’s flashback to weeks 10 and 11. In week 10, AJ Green traveled to Tennessee and dropped a stellar 5 catches, 115 yards, and added a touchdown for 22.5 PPR points. The following week, Antonio Brown thrashed the Titans for 10 catches, 144 yards, and 3 touchdowns for an insane 42.4 PPR points. Tennessee is no stranger to allowing top tier wideouts to have big days, and Fitz is undoubtedly a top tier guy. You may have some doubt in the Arizona offense, but with 10 catches for 98 yards and a score last week, this offense clearly still knows how to get him the ball.
TE: Travis Kelce (vs OAK)
Kelce, coming off last week as the #1 fantasy tight end, is slotted for a great matchup against this Oakland defense. Last week against the Jets (Allowing the 8th most points to TEs) he exploited an easy matchup for 25.4 PPR points. He has an easier matchup against an Oakland defense who gave up 7 catches for 99 yards and a score to Evan Engram just last week. Kelce is a rare talent, and he is relied on in this Kansas City offense. With Gronk down this week, you can easily slot Kelce as a top 3 TE play at the very least, but he is my top pick at the position for the perfect fantasy lineup.
K: Harrison Butker (vs OAK)
Predicting the top kicker (and defense, for that matter) is even more of a dart throw than predicting the top performers for all other offensive positions. I’ll take Butker this week, and I’ll hope for a nice offensive showing in this Chiefs and Raiders game to propel Butker to #1.
D/ST: Jaguars (vs SEA)
Probably the easiest pick to make here, only due to the fact that the Jaguars are consistently one of the top scoring defenses this season. The Seattle offense may not give much to opposing defenses, but I have trust in “#Sacksonville” this week to make something special happen.
“Perfection is not attainable, but if we chase perfection we can catch excellence.” – Vince Lombardi.
Completely true, the chances of my prediction of a perfect fantasy lineup may be extremely slim. This is all just what’s most probable to happen based on matchups and recent statistics. Hell, Robby Anderson could have a career day against an extremely tough Denver defense that no one would predict, because that’s not even close to what’s most probable to happen.
May the fantasy gods on Sunday determine who will be at the top in Week 14’s perfect lineup, and who will be sent to the bottom.