This is it, the final week of the fantasy football regular season (if your league does it right). Some of you may be playing out the string, or hoping to throw the playoff bracket into disarray with an upset, or you’re trying to get that last needed win to either clinch a spot or secure a preferable seed. This week matters, and we're here to help you win again.
Now, you're not going to find "start Tom Brady" here. If you drafted a player in the first five rounds, chances are those are your go-to players, so we'll try to give you some less-than-obvious choices to bolster your lineup every week.
On that note, here we go for week 13:
Jarvis Landry, Miami wide receiver at New York Jets
It’s time to stop ignoring the diminutive possession receiver, as he’s emerged as Ryan Tannehill’s clear No. 1 choice in the passing game, surpassing Mike Wallace. Tannehill just isn’t pushing the ball downfield, instead checking down more often than not. Landry has seen 31 targets the last four weeks and has caught four touchdowns. His yardage total isn’t going to be very high, so his value is higher in PPR leagues, but he’s finding the end zone now and always seems to be open underneath. It’s a divisional game on the road in New York, so it may be tough(er) sledding than the Jets record indicates, but Landry is a solid play.
Travis Kelce, Kansas City tight end vs. Denver
Kelce has probably been an every-week starter if you play in a league that requires a tight end to start, but in most leagues where one isn’t required, he’s not a great start. But, against the Denver Broncos, he probably will be. The Broncos give up a ton of fantasy points to opposing tight ends, including Kelce way back in week 2 (6 targets, 4 catches, 81 yards). But as the year has gone on and trends have turned into facts and the Broncos continue to face injuries on the defensive side of the ball, tight ends have blown up. In six of the last seven weeks in which the Broncos faced a legitimate tight end (Miami’s Charles Clay was hurt last week) tight ends have seen 48 targets and caught five TDs. Kelce has also become more involved, seeing at least five targets in five of the last six Chiefs games.
Last week: Jordan Matthews (8 targets, 6 catches, 77 yards); Packers defense (21 points allowed, 2 sacks, 1 INT).
Delanie Walker, Tennessee tight end at Houston
I get that it’s important to find out who a new quarterback identifies as his primary target (see Mark Sanchez and Jordan Matthews) but while Delanie Walker had a big week last week, the Houston Texans still defend the tight end position well from a fantasy-perspective. Tight ends have scored just three times against Houston, though Walker was one of them back in week eight. That score made it a worthwhile fantasy play though (4 catches, 37 yards) and now it’s the second time around. Like the guy who is next on this list, it’s just not a solid play if you have something riding on the results of this week’s matchup.
Isaiah Crowell, Cleveland running back at Buffalo
Someone was going to have to get the ball after the Browns released Ben Tate, and Crowell was the guy against the Flacons last week. His production was bolstered by two touchdowns but me and six buddies could run for two scores against just an awful Atlanta defense. He definitely was a high-upside play last week, but this week it’s not a smart bet on the road against the Bills. Terrance West is still in the mix there and the Browns won’t hesitate to go with the hot hand. It’s not worth pinning an important game on Crowell.
Last week: Jonas Gray (did not play); Kenny Britt (6 targets, 2 catches, 37 yards).
Tim Wright, New England tight end at Green Bay
This is the first time the Patriots second tight end has appeared in this column in a spot other than "bench ‘em." He’s just not a consistent play, instead vulcharing some red zone touchdowns here and there. But in Green Bay, he could see a lot more work between the 20s. The Packers linebackers just can’t cover good tight ends, and Wright should be running free all day on Sunday. Now, that doesn’t mean he’ll see a lot of work – Bill Belichick may decide to run the ball 60 times, but Wright is a great sleeper pick this week.
Last week: Andre Caldwell (4 targets, 3 catches, 31 yards).
Jim Owczarski is an award-winning sports journalist and comes to Milwaukee by way of the Chicago Sun-Times Media Network.
A three-year Wisconsin resident who has considered Milwaukee a second home for the better part of seven years, he brings to the market experience covering nearly all major and college sports.
To this point in his career, he has been awarded six national Associated Press Sports Editors awards for investigative reporting, feature writing, breaking news and projects. He is also a four-time nominee for the prestigious Peter J. Lisagor Awards for Exemplary Journalism, presented by the Chicago Headline Club, and is a two-time winner for Best Sports Story. He has also won numerous other Illinois Press Association, Illinois Associated Press and Northern Illinois Newspaper Association awards.
Jim's career started in earnest as a North Central College (Naperville, Ill.) senior in 2002 when he received a Richter Fellowship to cover the Chicago White Sox in spring training. He was hired by the Naperville Sun in 2003 and moved on to the Aurora Beacon News in 2007 before joining OnMilwaukee.com.
In that time, he has covered the events, news and personalities that make up the PGA Tour, LPGA Tour, Major League Baseball, the National Football League, the National Hockey League, NCAA football, baseball and men's and women's basketball as well as boxing, mixed martial arts and various U.S. Olympic teams.
Golf aficionados who venture into Illinois have also read Jim in GOLF Chicago Magazine as well as the Chicago District Golfer and Illinois Golfer magazines.