Week 13 Bounce Back Candidates — by Jamie Zadow

Can you believe it? We made it to the final week (in most fantasy football leagues) of the regular season. For some of you, it’s onto next season (and, you might be trying to play spoiler this week), but for others, the fantasy football playoffs are looming.

You’ve worked hard all season and it comes down to one matchup this week. Sure, you may have started a few players last week that let you down, but that’s all water under the bridge as they say. It’s time to dive into which players can bounce back and put you over the top in Week 13.

QB – Matthew Stafford vs. Los Angeles Rams

Photo Credit: Tim Fuller/USA TODAY Sports

I know he played one of the NFL’s premier defenses on Thanksgiving Day, but it wasn’t pretty for Stafford against the Chicago Bears, finishing 28-for-38 with 236 yards and two interceptions. In fact, since Golden Tate‘s departure to the Philadelphia Eagles, Stafford has struggled mightily in his absence.

Since Week 9, Stafford is averaging 232.3 YPG while throwing just three TD’s to go along with four INT’s and a fumble lost. Why would this week be any different? Well, I’m leaning on the game script. Oddsmakers have the over/under set at 55.5 this Sunday and the Rams defense has surrendered the 10th-most fantasy points to QB’s this season.

Expect the Lions to be chasing the Rams’s high-powered offense all day, and as a result, Stafford should see some soft defensive coverages to allow him to pad those fantasy stats.

RB – James Conner vs. Los Angeles Chargers

I’m not sure what went on at Mile High last week as the Broncos held the Steelers offense in check. Primarily, it seemed that the plan of attack was a heavy dose of the pass from Ben Roethlisberger as he threw the ball 56 times! Oddly enough this was a pretty close game throughout and for whatever reason Conner didn’t really factor into the gameplan enough, finishing with 13 carries for 53 yards and adding four catches for 42 yards.

This week, expect a bounce back from Conner in a highly anticipated Sunday night shootout with the Chargers, who are middle of the pack against RB’s, giving up the 16th-most fantasy points to the position. The Steelers will find ways to get their crafty RB some more looks and he should see a return to fantasy football prominence in your lineups.

WR – DeAndre Hopkins vs. Cleveland Browns

Get your popcorn ready this week for the Baker Mayfield and Deshaun Watson show! As a result, expect Hopkins to bounce back from his pedestrian 9.9 fantasy points on the board in Week 12. The Browns were fortunate not to face A.J. Green last week in the ‘Battle of Ohio,’ but it will be a different story lining up across from one of the NFL’s premier receivers in Hopkins. The Browns are giving up 25.5 FP/G (11th-most in NFL) to opposing WR’s, so this makes for a tasty matchup if you’re a Hopkins owner.

TE – Greg Olsen @ Tampa Bay Buccaneers

NFL: Carolina Panthers at Cincinnati Bengals
Photo Credit: Aaron Doster/USA TODAY Sports

Did anyone see Olsen last week? I think the SOS team is still out searching for him after posting a dismal 2.1 fantasy points against the Seattle Seahawks. Certainly not a bright spot on the year for Olsen, but he gets a golden opportunity to shine this week against a division rival. The Bucs enter Week 13 giving up the fourth-most fantasy points to TE’s, so what better way for Olsen to rebound. In 15 career games against the Bucs, he is averaging 4.1 receptions and 52.3 receiving yards.

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