2022 Fantasy Football Week 13 Sleepers Heat Check

by Malcolm McMillan
2022 Fantasy Football Week 13 Sleepers Heat Check

Week 13 of the 2022 NFL season is here! This means it's time for the 2022 Fantasy Football Week 13 Sleepers Heat Check!

This week on The Lateral Show we did a way too early 2023 fantasy football mock draft and debated which weeks you should start Dameon Pierce or D'Onta Foreman. I definitely tipped my youth-forward draft strategy, taking Jaylen Waddle, Rhamondre Stevenson and Kenneth Walker III quite early. With running backs in particular, youth is the key — a point I'll be screaming to from the rooftops all off-season long.

But you come here because you need some players you can get now to help you win this week. Luckily, a couple of players are still out there that could be genuinely useful.

2022 Fantasy Football Week 13 Sleepers Heat Check

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Week 12 Heat Check Recap

In the 2022 Fantasy Football Week 12 Sleepers Heat Check I told you to pick up Samaje Perine, but to leave Chris Moore and Austin Hooper in the free-agent pool. Perine was definitely a great add, exceeding my expectations en route to an RB9 finish in half-point-per-reception (half-PPR) scoring. Meanwhile, Chris Moore scored just 1.7 half-PPR points and Austin Hooper crashed back to Earth with a TE23 finish in half-PPR leagues. I am calling that one a perfect three-for-three.

As always, I covered my methodology for the Heat Check in the Week 1 article, so read that if you want to know how the Heat Check is done. The only difference this week is our sample size is strictly Week 10 to Week 12 of the 2022 NFL season.

Quarterback

Ryan Tannehill, Tennessee Titans

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At one point this season it looked like Ryan Tannehill might lose his job as the Tennessee Titans starting quarterback. Week 2 ended with a 41-7 loss to the Buffalo Bills and Malik Willis getting some snaps. Since then, aside from two missed weeks from injury, Tannehill has held onto the job and not looked back. In fact, over the past three weeks, he's been the QB11 with two Top 12 finishes in Weeks 10 and 11.

But the experts think Week 2 may not have been a blip. Granted, the Philadelphia Eagles are the toughest fantasy matchup for opposing quarterbacks, but FantasyPros Week 13 expert consensus ranking (ECR) has Tannehill all the way down at QB23, below even Mike White. The rest of season outlook isn't rosy either; FantasyPros rest of season ECR has Tannehill at QB22, four spots lower than Marcus Mariota, whose job Tannehill took all those years ago.

Ryan Tannehill 2022 Fantasy Football Week 13 Sleepers Heat Check

Look, while I think having Ryan Tannehill behind New York Jets backup quarterback savior Mike White is a bit much, the Philadelphia Eagles are a terrible matchup. Especially in Philly, where Eagles fans could attack Titans players and Santa Clauses alike. So maybe don't start Tannehill this week.

However, if you can get through this week, Tannehill could be a great play for a large chunk of the fantasy football playoffs. The Jacksonville Jaguars in Week 14 and Los Angeles Chargers in Week 15 should be good matchups, and the Houston Texans could be a solid matchup if Derrick Henry doesn't run for 200 yards on them (a real possibility).

Ultimately, if you need a quarterback for Weeks 14 and 15, you could do a lot worse than Tannehill. While Tennessee isn't a pass-heavy team, Tannehill is consistent and rarely makes mistakes.

He should be good for 17 to 20 fantasy points those weeks, which is enough from a streaming option to get you by. Just don't play him this week if you can help it.

Wide Receivers

Nico Collins, Houston Texans

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Nico Collins is quickly becoming the lead target for the Houston Texans. He's out-targeted an elite wide receiver in Brandin Cooks each of the past three weeks and averaged over eight targets per game in that time.

All of that has contributed to the second-year wide receiver putting up half-PPR WR29 numbers since Week 10. An ascendant young talent like that has to be a weekly starter now, right?

Well, the experts disagree. For what it's worth, they don't disagree by much; Collins is ranked WR41 in half-PPR Week 13 ECR and WR48 in half-PPR ROS ECR, so the experts think he's locked in as a WR4. But if you are the lead wide receiver on a team, and see over eight targets a game, you have to be a starter. Or, are the experts right to downgrade him?

Nico Collins 2022 Fantasy Football Week 13 Sleepers Heat Check

Nico Collins is someone who is just crippled by an ineffective offense. The idea that you could average over eight targets per game and struggle to finish above WR36 each week is tough to fathom, yet that is exactly what has happened to Collins the past two weeks.

The good news is that Collins has a run of good to great matchups between now and the end of the fantasy playoffs. The Dallas Cowboys in Week 14 are the only matchup Collins has that isn't a Top 12 fantasy matchup for opposing wide receivers.

While I'm not sure that Collins is a lock-it-in starter, he's much closer to a Top 36 wide receiver ROS for me than Top 48. I have been playing him in the FLEX spot as an injury fill-in for Marquise Brown after trading away Brandon Aiyuk, and it's largely worked out.

If I'm making a playoff run, I want Collins on my roster so I can use him as a WR3/FLEX in any given week. I'll just probably avoid playing him in Week 14 unless I have no other option.

Van Jefferson, Los Angeles Rams

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When Cooper Kupp went down, everyone was wondering who would step up for the Los Angeles Rams. A lot of people thought it could be Allen Robinson II, except he's now out for the season with an injury. So maybe we shouldn't be surprised that over the past three weeks the top-producing fantasy Rams wide receiver is Van Jefferson. If the other options are Tutu Atwell and Ben Skowronek, Jefferson is the clear choice to be the WR1.

But that doesn't mean he has to be any good — especially with Bryce Perkins throwing him the ball. But Jefferson has been a fantasy starter over the past three weeks, putting up WR34 numbers in half-PPR scoring.

So if Jefferson is producing with subpar quarterback play why is he ranked so low? Especially if he's the only healthy wide receiver who would normally have a role for the Rams' offense. Week 13 ECR has him as the half-PPR WR49 and ROS ECR has him as the half-PPR WR64. Neither of those numbers feels starter-worthy.

Van Jefferson 2022 Fantasy Football Week 13 Sleepers Heat Check

Personally, my interest in Van Jefferson is tied to his quarterback. If his quarterback is Bryce Perkins, I'm out. If his quarterback is John Wolford, he becomes matchup-dependent. For what it's worth, Jefferson has put up top-34 numbers with both quarterbacks.

He was half-PPR WR33 in Week 10 with Wolford under center, and WR34 last week catching balls from Perkins. Oddly enough his worst game was with Matthew Stafford at quarterback in Week 9. The Rams starting quarterback missed Jefferson a whopping five times in that game.

So maybe I should be less concerned about the quarterback play. Well, except then I go to PlayerProfiler, and I don't like what I see. Jefferson has a catchable target rate of just 60%. It's a big reason why he has a true catch rate of 75% despite an actual catch rate of 45%. His QB rating per target is an atrocious 51.5 as well. In short, the target quality is not great. This is a problem when he only gets five targets per game despite everyone being out.

In the right matchup, I could play Jefferson in a pinch. In particular, Week 14 against the Las Vegas Raiders is intriguing as they are a Top 13 matchup for opposing wide receivers. But outside of that matchup, I'm not particularly interested. I'd much rather pick up Nico Collins, despite Jefferson's apparent lack of competition for targets.


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