The Week 13 NFL main slate kicks off on Sunday, Dec. 6, at 1 p.m. ET.
In this piece, I highlight wide receivers who stand out in our large suite of analytical fantasy tools, most specifically our FantasyLabs Models. While the Models are built for daily contests, this is an all-purpose fantasy article with actionable information for all formats.
As news breaks throughout the week and we adjust our projections, where players rate in our Models will change. For updates, visit the Models directly.
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Top Wide Receivers in the FantasyLabs Models
There are five wide receivers atop the individual Pro Models that Jonathan Bales, Peter Jennings (CSURAM88), Sean Koerner, Chris Raybon, Kevin McClelland (SportsGeek), Ryan Hodge and I have constructed.
Here’s where they place within our Week 13 fantasy football rankings (as of Thursday afternoon).
- Allen Robinson: No. 11 (PPR) | No. 14 (Half PPR) | No. 13 (STD)
- Robert Woods: No. 12 (PPR) | No. 11 (Half PPR) | No. 10 (STD)
- Jarvis Landry: No. 21 (PPR) | No. 21 (Half PPR) | No. 21 (STD)
- Breshad Perriman: No. 33 (PPR) | No. 32 (Half PPR) | No. 27 (STD)
- Darnell Mooney: No. 40 (PPR) | No. 41 (Half PPR) | No. 42 (STD)
Of these five, the two who stand out most to me are Robinson and Woods. The other guys I will highlight as needed in the section on players with week-winning upside.
FantasyLabs Positional Breakdowns
For more in-depth NFL analysis, check out The Action Network.
Allen Robinson: Chicago Bears (-3) vs. Detroit Lions (44.5 Over/Under)
What Robinson really has going for him this week is his matchup: The Lions are dead last in the league with their 34.0 coverage grade (per Pro Football Focus).
On top of that, they have significant injuries at cornerback: No. 1 corner Desmond Trufant (hamstring, IR) is out, and backups Jeff Okudah (shoulder) and Mike Ford (concussion) are both uncertain after missing all of practice and last week’s game. Cornerback Darryl Roberts (hip/groin, IR) might return to action, but at this stage of his career he’s more of a slot man than an outside defender. And with starter Justin Coleman back on the inside, Roberts looks likely to play on the perimeter in Week 13.
While I expect Robinson to run most of his routes against Amani Oruwariye, Robinson will line up all across the formation and get shots against all the Lions corners. And no matter whom he faces on any given snap, Robinson will be going against an overmatched player.
Oruwariye is a second-year fifth-rounder who just allowed 4-133-1 receiving last week and has yielded 9.2 yards per target for his career. Roberts has a career-low 49.7 PFF coverage grade this year. Coleman has missed much of the season with injury, but he has allowed a 76.0% catch rate in 2020, and he was one the league’s most exploited corners in 2019 with 71-869-8 receiving on 112 targets in his coverage.
Although defense-focused Lions head coach Matt Patricia was just fired this past week, the haunting influence of his present absence will be felt within the organization for some time, and I doubt what we see out of the Lions defense for the rest of 2020 will differ much from what we’ve seen for the past two-plus seasons.
And that’s good news for Robinson.
In his four games with quarterback Mitchell Trubisky against Patricia’s Lions, Robinson has dominated (per RotoViz Game Splits App).
With Nick Foles (hip) sidelined, Trubisky returned to the starting lineup last week and is slated to start again this week.
Since last season, when he became a high-volume dominator in the Bears offense, Robinson has averaged 15.1 PPR and 9.0 STD points on 9.8 targets in his 23 full games with Trubisky. Say what you want about the 2017 No. 2 overall pick, at least Trubisky knows to get the ball to Robinson as much as possible.
Here’s the thing: I am going to say whatever I want about Trubisky. He’s bad.
Of all the quarterbacks to target Robinson at least 10 times in his career, Trubisky is the one who has been most comparable to the abominable Blake Bortles (based on adjusted yards per attempt to Robinson, per RotoViz AY/A App).
From Robinson’s perspective, Trubisky’s 2018-20 attempts (6.9 AY/A) have been only just a little bit better than Bortles’ 2014-17 attempts (6.8 AY/A).
You can take the boy out of Penn State and Jacksonville, but you can’t take PSU and JAX out of the boy — even when he moves to Chicago.
In case you ever feel sorry for yourself, here’s a list of Allen Robinson’s No. 1 QBs since his sophomore breakout at Penn State.
– 2012: Matt McGloin
– 2013: Christian Hackenburg
– 2014-16: Blake Bortles
– 2017: Torn ACL
– 2018-19: Mitchell Trubisky
– 2020: Nick Foles (so far)
— Matthew Freedman (@MattFtheOracle) November 2, 2020
But volume matters more than anything else, and Robinson ranks No. 3 in the league with his 108 targets. Thanks to his elite usage, Robinson is on pace to exceed his marks from last season.
- 2020 (extrapolation): 16.7 PPR, 10.3 STD | 103-1,206-7, 157 targets
- 2019 (16 games): 15.9 PPR, 9.8 STD | 98-1,147-7, 154 targets
On the season, Robinson is No. 5 at the position with 16.1 expected fantasy points per game (per RotoViz NFL Player Statistical Summary).
Robinson is a borderline WR1/2 in season-long leagues and the No. 1 receiver in the Bales, CSURAM88, Koerner, Raybon, Hodge and Freedman Models for FanDuel.
Robert Woods: Los Angeles Rams (-3) at Arizona Cardinals (48.5 O/U)
In terms of sports betting, I have almost no choice but to back the Cardinals.
— Matthew Freedman (@MattFtheOracle) December 3, 2020
If you look in the Action Network App, you’ll see that all of our indicators — Sharp Action, Big Money, PRO Systems, Model Projections and Top Experts — point to the Cardinals.
And you don’t need to twist my arm to get me to bet them. Under head coach Kliff Kingsbury, the Cardinals are 12-5-2 against the spread (ATS) as underdogs, good for a 33.9% return on investment (ROI, per our Bet Labs database). You can bet on this game at DraftKings.
But my interest in the Cardinals doesn’t preclude any enthusiasm for Woods, who is on the positive side of his Vegas splits as a favorite since joining the Rams in 2017 (per our FantasyLabs Trends Tool):
- Favorite (46 games): 16.3 DraftKings points | +3.33 Plus/Minus
- Underdog (12 games): 14.3 DraftKings points | +2.56 Plus/Minus
Although Woods is having something of a slow season (61-679-5 receiving), he has been more active than ever on the ground (20-115-2 rushing). And over his past four games he’s looked every bit like the guy who put up 1,376 and 1,249 yards from scrimmage in 2018-19.
- Receiving: 31-328-2, 41 targets | 24% target share
- Rushing: 6-16-1 | position-high 17% opportunity share on team
Since Week 8, Woods is the No. 5 wide receiver with 18.6 expected fantasy points per game (minimum of two games).
He will always need to compete with slot receiver Cooper Kupp for targets, but throughout the post-Sammy Watkins era (since 2018), Woods at a minimum has been Kupp’s equal.
- Robert Woods (42 games): 16.2 PPR, 10.6 STD | 23% target share
- Cooper Kupp (35 games): 16.1 PPR, 10.4 STD | 23% target share
For the year, Woods actually has more fantasy WR1/2 performances than Kupp (5 PPR, 6 STD vs. 4 PPR, 5 STD, per RotoViz NFL Stat Explorer).
A three-time All-Pro corner, Peterson used to be great but has a subpar 50.8 PFF coverage grade this season. Since returning from his PED suspension last year, he’s allowed 9.1 yards per target with a 67.0% catch rate.
Although Peterson has shadowed inconsistently since last season, he’s shadowed in his past five games — he even played a season-high 11 snaps in the slot last week, so he seems highly likely to be on the outside/inside Woods for the supermajority of the game.
Woods didn’t face Peterson much in his first two years with the Rams, but Woods was the receiver Peterson covered the most last year — in fact, Peterson shadowed Woods on 73.9% of his routes in Week 17 — and Woods dominated.
🔥 Robert Woods vs. Patrick Peterson in Week 13 🔥
Woods vs. ARI/Peterson, 2017-19:
– 5-59-0, 7 targets (0-0-0, 1 vs. Peterson)
– 6-81-0, 9 (1-7-0, 2)
– 6-89-1, 7 (Peterson on B. Cooks), plus 2-15-1 rushing
-13-172-0, 18 (4-64-0, 4)
– 7-67-1, 12 (3-49-1, 7), plus 1-9-0 rushing
— Matthew Freedman (@MattFtheOracle) November 30, 2020
Last year, Woods was 20-239-1 receiving on 30 targets against the Cardinals and 7-113-1 on 11 targets specifically against Peterson.
Whatever the Rams want Woods to do this week, he will probably be able to do.
Woods is a borderline WR1/2 in season-long leagues and the No. 1 receiver in the Bales and Hodge Models for DraftKings, where he has a position-high nine Pro Trends.
Wide Receivers With Week-Winning Upside
In this section, I highlight some wide receivers who I think will outperform expectations and whom I especially like as upside season-long and DFS tournament plays.
Davante Adams, Packers (-8.5) vs. Eagles (47 O/U): It’s debatable, but I’m just going to assert that, Adams is the NFL’s best wide receiver. In the post-Jordy Nelson era (since 2018), Adams is No. 1 in the league with 11.0 targets per game. With quarterback Aaron Rodgers, the Packers at home are 56-32-3 ATS (23.9% ROI). You can bet on this game at FanDuel.
D.K. Metcalf, Seahawks (+10) vs. Giants (46.5 O/U): No. 1 cornerback James Bradberry seems likely to shadow Metcalf, and Bradberry is the type of physical, press-man defender with the ability to challenge big-bodied alphas like Metcalf. But the second-year breakout has 100 yards or a touchdown in all games but two. Metcalf is No. 2 in the league with 94.5 yards receiving and No. 3 with 145.8 air yards and yards after the catch (AirYAC) per game.
AirYAC is a leading indicator of fantasy production and can be found in the RotoViz NFL Player Statistical Summary.
Keenan Allen, Chargers (-1) vs. Patriots (47 O/U): In the return of target-dominant back Austin Ekeler last week, Allen was just 4-40-1 receiving. But the longer trend probably matters more, and in his nine healthy games with quarterback Justin Herbert, Allen has dominated.
- Week 2 (vs. KC): 16.6 PPR, 9.6 STD | 7-96-0, 10 targets
- Week 3 (vs. CAR): 30.2 PPR, 17.2 STD | 13-132-1, 19 targets
- Week 4 (at TB): 14.2 PPR, 6.2 STD | 8-62-0, 11 targets
- Week 7 (vs. JAX): 22.5 PPR, 12.5 STD | 10-125-0, 13 targets
- Week 8 (at DEN): 21.7 PPR, 12.7 STD | 9-67-1, 11 targets
- Week 9 (vs. LV): 25.3 PPR, 16.3 STD | 9-103-1, 11 targets
- Week 10 (at MIA): 12.9 PPR, 9.9 STD | 3-39-1, seven targets
- Week 11 (vs. NYJ): 34.5 PPR, 18.5 STD | 16-145-1, 19 targets
- Week 12 (at BUF): 16.0 PPR, 12.0 STD | 4-40-1, 10 targets
In this nine-week sample, Allen is No. 3 with a 31% target share. No longer what they used to be, the Patriots are No. 30 with a 32.9% pass-defense DVOA (per Football Outsiders).
DeAndre Hopkins, Cardinals (+3) vs. Rams (48.5 O/U): Former AFC South nemesis and No. 1 cornerback Jalen Ramsey is likely to shadow Hopkins for most of the game, and Ramsey has historically done well in this matchup.
🔥 DeAndre Hopkins vs. Jalen Ramsey in Week 13 🔥
Nuk vs. Ramsey, 2016-19:
– 5-48-0, 13 targets (5-48-0, 10 vs. Ramsey)
– 8-87-0, 17 (5-46-0, 10)
– 7-55-1, 16 (3-28-0, 6)
– 4-80-1, 13 (4-80-1, 8)
– 3-50-1, 8 (0-0-0, 1)
– 12-147-0, 16 (8-122-0, 11)
– 5-40-0, 8 (4-27-0, 7)
— Matthew Freedman (@MattFtheOracle) November 30, 2020
But Hopkins on occasion has gone off against Ramsey, and in his first year with the Cardinals he is No. 5 in the league with 9.4 targets and 87.9 yards receiving per game.
A.J. Brown, Titans (-6) vs. Browns (53.5 O/U): Since his 2019 rookie season, Brown is No. 1 in the league with 11.3 yards per target. The Browns are without top cornerbacks Denzel Ward (calf) and Greedy Williams (shoulder, IR). In Ryan Tannehill’s 21 regular-season starts with the Titans, the over is 17-3-1 (64.3% ROI). You can bet on this game at BetMGM.
In nine games played this year, Brown has nine all-purpose touchdowns.
Adam Thielen, Vikings (-10) vs. Jaguars (52.5 O/U): The Vikings have a slate-high 31.5-point implied Vegas total, and Thielen (COVID-19) is expected to return to action. This weekend I’m betting on the Vikings, who are 19-7-1 ATS (41.4% ROI) in this “solar eclipse” spot as non-divisional home favorites. You can bet on this game at William Hill.
Last week the Jaguars were without four of their five top cornerbacks, and they might be without them again this week.
Michael Thomas, Saints (-2.5) at Falcons (45.5 O/U): Since 2019, Thomas has an NFL-high 33% target share, and in his two weeks with quarterback Taysom Hill, Thomas has been No. 1 with an orgasmic 49% target share. For the season, Thomas has an NFL-high 0.87 WOPR, and he’s the top receiver in Josh Hermsmeyer’s Week 13 Air Yards Buy-Low Model.
Justin Jefferson, Vikings (-10) vs. Jaguars (52.5 O/U): Since moving from the slot to the perimeter in Week 3, Jefferson is No. 3 in the league with 848 yards receiving. For the season, he’s No. 2 with 2.91 yards per route. The Jaguars are No. 31 with a 27.1% pass-defense DVOA.
Jarvis Landry, Browns (+6) at Titans (53.5 O/U): 2018 All-Pro slot defender Desmond King II will be on Landry, so the matchup is subpar, but Landry might benefit from a pass-heavy game script as a road dog. In his four games without No. 1 wide receiver Odell Beckham Jr. (knee, IR), Landry has a smoking 33% target share. On FanDuel, he has a 98% Bargain Rating.
Brandin Cooks, Texans (+3.5) vs. Colts (51 O/U): In the words of Gandalf, “Alas! there are some wounds that cannot be wholly cured.”
The day I stop being optimistic about Will Fuller is the day I lie dead and buried six feet under in the coffin Will Fuller has put me in. https://t.co/2DekreuV99
— Matthew Freedman (@MattFtheOracle) September 23, 2020
R.I.P. 2020 Will Fuller. Now that Fuller (suspension) is out, Kenny Stills (released) is gone and Randall Cobb (toe, IR) is sidelined, Cooks will be the unquestioned No. 1 receiver on the Texans. In his seven games since the firing of head coach Bill O’Brien, Cooks is 42-581-3 receiving on a team-high 57 targets.
Sterling Shepard, Giants (+10) at Seahawks (46.5 O/U): Quarterback Daniel Jones (hamstring) will likely miss Week 13 … and that might be a good thing for the Giants receivers? Since returning from injury in Week 7, Shepard has a team-high 24% target share across five games. Opposing wide receiver units are No. 1 against the Seahawks with 31.0 fantasy points per game on 222-2,643-13 receiving.
Corey Davis, Titans (-6) vs. Browns (53.5 O/U): The difference between Davis and second-year superstar A.J. Brown has been minimal this season.
- A.J. Brown (nine games): 24% target share | 40-636-8 receiving | 0.58 WOPR
- Corey Davis (nine games): 23% target share | 42-619-3 receiving | 0.56 WOPR
OK, I guess five touchdowns is a big difference — but touchdowns are also pretty random. Davis is the Arbitrage A.J. Brown with his career-high 10.7 yards per target this year.
Michael Pittman Jr., Colts (-3.5) at Texans (51 O/U): Over the past four weeks, Pittman has led the Colts with 27 targets, 251 yards receiving and 419 AirYAC. The Texans are No. 27 with a 45.9 PFF coverage grade.
Tyler Boyd, Bengals (+11.5) at Dolphins (42 O/U): No. 1 quarterback Joe Burrow (knee) is out, but Boyd had 1,046 yards receiving in 2019 with Andy Dalton and Ryan Finley at quarterback and 1,028 yards the year before that with Dalton and Jeff Driskel. With quarterback Brandon Allen, Boyd was just 3-15-0 receiving last week, but he did have a team-high six targets. Dolphins slot cornerback Nik Needham is mediocre at best with his 53.0 PFF coverage grade.
Tee Higgins, Bengals (+11.5) at Dolphins (42 O/U): His matchup with cornerbacks Xavien Howard and Byron Jones is less than ideal, but since his Week 3 breakout, Higgins is 45-638-5 receiving on 70 targets in nine games with a team-high 123.3 AirYAC per game.
So I woke up today, had a medium-sized cup of decaf coffee, did some jumping jacks and pushups, and then finally, while sitting down to write a fantasy article, looked at some stats and said:
“Tee Higgins is the WR1 in Cincinnati, and A.J. Green and Tyler Boyd aren’t.”
— Matthew Freedman (@MattFtheOracle) October 22, 2020
T.Y. Hilton, Colts (-3.5) at Texans (51 O/U): Death, taxes and Hilton vs. the Texans since 2014, when recently-fired head coach Bill O’Brien joined the team.
In Hilton’s 7 games vs. BOB’s Texans without a backup-level quarterback (without Matt Hasselbeck & Jacoby Brissett), he has averaged:
– 9.6 targets
– 6.1 receptions
– 119.4 yards
– 0.29 touchdowns
– 19.8 PPR points
– 13.7 standard points
— Matthew Freedman (@MattFtheOracle) December 3, 2020
Sex, drugs, rock and roll.
Josh Reynolds, Rams (-3) at Cardinals (48.5 O/U): Since Week 3, when Reynolds replaced rookie Van Jefferson in three-wide sets, Reynolds is No. 2 on the team with 98.9 AirYAC and No. 3 with 6.3 targets and 48.7 yards receiving per game. He hasn’t just overtaken Jefferson — Reynolds has also overtaken tight ends Tyler Higbee and Gerald Everett as the true No. 3 receiving option on the Rams.
Denzel Mims, Jets (+8) vs. Raiders (46.5 O/U): The sample is only five games, but Mims is No. 6 in the league with 129.2 AirYAC per game.
AirYAC (air yards + yards after catch) per game entering Week 13:
1. Tyreek: 150.9 🔥
2. Davante: 146.3
3. Metcalf: 145.8 🚀
4. Ridley: 136.1
5. McLaurin: 132.7 💪
6. Mims: 129.2 👀
7. Diggs: 122.7
8/9. Robby & DJM: 118🤷♂️
10. Jeudy: 117.1 📉
11. Keenan: 116.3
12. Hopkins: 115.9
— Matthew Freedman (@MattFtheOracle) December 3, 2020
Since making his season debut in Week 7, Mims leads the Jets with a 26% target share.
Breshad Perriman, Jets (+8) vs. Raiders (46.5 O/U): In his three games alongside fellow starters Denzel Mims and Jamison Crowder, Perriman is 11-234-3 receiving with 138.3 AirYAC per game. The Raiders are No. 26 with a 48.5 PFF coverage grade. On DraftKings, Perriman has a position-high +5.02 Projected Plus/Minus.
Keke Coutee, Texans (+3.5) vs. Colts (51 O/U): In an offense without Will Fuller (suspension), Kenny Stills (released) and Randall Cobb (toe, IR), Coutee is now the No. 2 receiver for red-hot quarterback Deshaun Watson. In his seven career games with a 70% snap rate, Coutee has averaged 8.1 targets, 6.0 receptions, 60.1 yards and 0.29 touchdowns.
Darnell Mooney, Bears (-3) vs. Lions (44.5 O/U): Over his past four games, Mooney has enjoyed enhanced usage, barely trailing No. 1 receiver Allen Robinson in snap rate (94% vs. 90%) and AirYAC (387 vs. 384). The Lions are No. 28 with a 21.6% pass-defense DVOA.
Andy Isabella, Cardinals (+3) vs. Rams (48.5 O/U): If starter Larry Fitzgerald (COVID-19) misses another game, Isabella will fill in once again in the slot. For his career, Isabella has averaged 9.4 yards per target.
Mohamed Sanu, Lions (+3) at Bears (44.5 O/U): If starter Danny Amendola (hip) misses another game…
The Editor-in-Chief of FantasyLabs, Freedman is commonly called the Oracle & the Labyrinthian.
Pictured above: Allen Robinson
Photo credit: Nic Antaya/Getty Images