Fantasy Football: 4 Bold Predictions for Week 13
There's nothing quite like the NFL.
Football is one of the most intense, exciting sports on the planet. The source of the now-ubiquitous saying "Any Given Sunday," the NFL is a place where even struggling teams have a chance to topple the best in the league. Anything can happen when you only play 17 regular season games a year.
That uncertainty is a huge driver behind the excitement the NFL generates each and every season. What's more fun than watching something totally unexpected unfold before your eyes?
That's why, this year, we'll be bringing you four bold predictions to watch for in each week the 2023 NFL season.
NFL Bold Predictions for Week 13
Kenny Pickett Will Throw 3 Touchdowns for the First Time
Things are starting to look up for the Pittsburgh Steelers. After suffering through an incomprehensible offensive drought during which they failed to produce at least 400 yards of offense for multiple seasons, they finally snapped that streak in their first game since the firing of former offensive coordinator Matt Canada. It was only one game, but it seems like they dealt with the primary issue holding back their offense.
Even with the sudden outburst of offensive yardage, though, starting quarterback Kenny Pickett was still kept out of the end zone for the third straight game. The second-year signal-caller has thrown just 6 touchdowns all year and has amassed a 1.9% touchdown rate (tied for the second-lowest mark in the league). If we look back through Pickett's career, it looks like this is a bit of a concerning trend -- apart from his fifth and final season with the Pittsburgh Panthers, during which he had the aid of Biletnikoff award winner Jordan Addison, Pickett barely averaged over a touchdown pass per game at the college level.
At the NFL level, Pickett has just one single game under his belt with multiple touchdown passes -- he tossed two against the Las Vegas Raiders earlier this year. So for the first bold prediction of the week, I'm saying Pickett will have the first three-touchdown game of his young NFL career when his team takes on the Arizona Cardinals in Week 13.
The Cardinals' defense has been relatively friendly to opposing passers this year, pressuring them at the second-lowest rate in the league. The wheels have started to come off recently, as well, with the team surrendering more than 400 yards of offense to both of their last two opponents. Frankly, it seems like the Cards' Week 14 bye can't come soon enough.
Pickett and the resurgent Steelers will look to capitalize against the Cardinals' gassed, undermanned defense this week. The 2022 first-round pick will lead the way and will throw three or more touchdowns for the first time in his career.
Tua Tagovailoa Will Top 400 Passing Yards
It's not easy for a quarterback to hit 400 passing yards in a single game -- we've seen it happen only five times this season. A team needs to have both an efficient passing offense and a reason to continue passing the ball past a certain point to get them over that threshold, which frankly just doesn't happen that often.
The Dolphins have boasted one of the most explosive passing offenses in the league over the past two seasons, which helps check the first box for Tagovailoa reaching 400 passing yards this weekend -- he has averaged an absurd 8.8 adjusted yards per attempt since linking up with head coach Mike McDaniel.
The Commanders' defense is going to have an incredibly tough time against Tyreek Hill, Jaylen Waddle, and company. They have already allowed a league-high 3,175 passing yards this year, traded away two of their top pass-rushers at the trade deadline, and may have just lost their first-round pick cornerback for the season.
Maybe the biggest concern for Tagovailoa hitting 400 yards in Week 13 might be that he needs the Commanders' offense to keep pace (at least a little bit) so the Dolphins don't pivot to grinding out the clock via the running game. Fortunately, the Commanders' offense isn't afraid to air the ball out. Howell leads the league in passing yards with 3,339 and should be able to do just enough on offense to pressure the Dolphins on the scoreboard.
With Howell keeping his team in the game, Tagovailoa will take advantage of the Commanders' crumbling defense and will post 400 or more passing yards.
Devin Singletary Will Be a Top-6 Running Back
Houston Texans quarterback C.J. Stroud is deservedly getting a ton of attention right now, but the outbursts of production from the Texans' passing game have overshadowed just how strong their ground game has been recently. Veteran back Devin Singletary has been responsible for much of their rushing attack this year and has had a stretch of serious production with teammate Dameon Pierce sidelined.
Pierce returned to the mix in Week 12, which coincided with Singletary's worst game in weeks. The two split the Texans' limited rushing opportunities almost down the middle, as well, a potential signal that a timeshare could be returning. However, it seems like the starting job is still Singletary's to lose, and he should leverage that role in the Texans' surging offense into a top-six finish at the running back position against the Denver Broncos in Week 13.
While Pierce (5 carries) and Singletary (6) shared the rushing workload last week, Pierce played just 11 offensive snaps while Singletary led the whole team (excluding Stroud and the offensive line) in snaps with 49. This implies that Singletary is still the starter, with Pierce working in as a breather back behind him.
Singletary's strong usage as a receiver bolsters his case, as well -- the former Buffalo Bills back caught 6 of his 7 targets for 54 yards in the loss.
The Texans trailed the Jacksonville Jaguars throughout last Sunday's game and didn't get as many opportunities to run the ball as they've had lately, but things should get back on track against the Broncos. Even with Denver's defense bouncing back from an abysmal start to the year, they have still given up more than 100 rushing yards in each of their last three games.
With a better game script, Singletary will demonstrate that he's still the Texans' lead back by finishing as a top-six fantasy running back against the Broncos.
The Saints Will Produce Two TE1s
Week 12 was not kind to the New Orleans Saints. Shortly after losing veteran wideout Michael Thomas to the injured reserve with a knee injury, the team limped its way through a loss to the Atlanta Falcons that saw both Chris Olave (concussion) and Rashid Shaheed (quad) depart with injuries.
If neither player can suit up for Week 13, that could leave New Orleans with a receiver group of A.T. Perry, Lynn Bowden Jr., and Keith Kirkwood as they prepare to take on the Detroit Lions. None of those wide receivers seem especially likely to carry the team's passing game, which leads me to believe the Saints will run their passing game through their tight ends in Week 13.
Juwan Johnson was the team's second-leading receiver behind Olave a season ago and stepped up last Sunday, catching 4 of 7 targets for 45 yards in the loss. He looks like he's slated for some heavy usage this weekend against the Lions.
Johnson won't be the only Saints tight end to have his usage dialed up this weekend, though. Do-it-all veteran Taysom Hill has been heavily involved in New Orleans' offense for most of the season, and the lack of supporting cast members at other positions could cause the Saints to lean even more heavily on his services in Week 13.
Tight end is a volatile enough position for fantasy that, on a weekly basis, catching a touchdown can often guarantee you a spot in the top 12 finishers at the position. Both of these players are capable of notching touchdowns on their own -- Johnson led the team in receiving scores last season while Hill led the team in rushing scores -- but they could even work together for a strong performance in tandem. Hill has already thrown a touchdown pass to Johnson this season, and the team's lack of receiving weapons could make that happen again this weekend.
The above author is a FanDuel employee and is not eligible to compete in public daily fantasy contests or place sports betting wagers on FanDuel. The advice provided by the author does not necessarily represent the views of FanDuel. Taking the author's advice will not guarantee a successful outcome. You should use your own judgment when participating in daily fantasy contests or placing sports wagers.