Time is money. It is also of the essence. You can have a good time. Or a bad time. It can be short, long … or a flat circle. It is a construct, or it is the be-all, end-all.
However you view it, it's running out on the fantasy regular season. Even in The Biggest Season Ever (!!!), you only have a couple of weeks left until the fantasy playoffs begin. That means all of your lineup decisions have even more meaning attached to them. Get it wrong and it might be "see you next year."
No pressure though.
Look on the bright side. If you screw this up, you can enjoy Weeks 15-18 in peace. Y'know, if you're into that sort of thing.
Anyway, here are some sleepers.
Derek Carr is Schrödinger's fantasy quarterback. He began the season on fire, then limped through Weeks 4 and 5 only to get hot again. And so on and so forth. Now, the hot light is on at Carr's fantasy donut shop after a 21-point performance against Dallas on Thanksgiving Day. The next customer is a Washington Football Team defense that is allowing the most fantasy points per game to quarterbacks this season and just surrendered nearly 20 fantasy points to a previously struggling Russell Wilson. It's been a tough schedule for the Raiders quarterback but this soft spot in the slate feels advantageous.
If you want to add some spice to your DFS lineup this week, try a sprinkle of Taylor Heinicke. A quarterback averaging less than 15.5 points over his last four games might be a tough sell in a seasonal league. But he might have more appeal in daily formats -- especially this week against the Raiders. Vegas' defense has gone bust recently on grabbing interceptions with no picks since Week 6. That's good news for a quarterback who has been taking care of the ball recently. Heinicke has thrown five touchdowns with just one interception over the past three weeks. Avoiding those negative plays goes a long way toward decent fantasy production.
Can Alexander Mattison be considered a true sleeper when he's going to be the top add off the waiver wire in Week 13? Sure, why not? If that term doesn't sit right with you, let's just call this a friendly advisory. Mattison was available in more than 80 percent of NFL.com leagues when the week began -- a number that should shrink significantly by week's end. Despite Mike Zimmer's pronouncement that Dalvin Cook is day-to-day, the reality looks much different. Mattison figures to get plenty of work while Cook rehabs his multiple shoulder injuries. That begins this week with a matchup against a Lions defense that is long on effort and short on results. It's hard to envision a scenario where you aren't starting Mattison this week.
Listing Myles Gaskin here feels like point chasing, though I promise it's not. Gaskins' outlook all season has been predicated on his matchups. That's why his two-touchdown performance against the Panthers caught so many of us by surprise. (It's worth noting, however, that he gained fewer than 60 yards last week.) This week, he has a much more running back friendly opponent in the Giants. Big Blue has the NFL's 26th-ranked run defense. They've been gashed by running backs on the ground (seventh-most rushing yards allowed to RBs) and in the air (sixth-most receiving yards allowed to RBs). If you've been riding the Gaskin rollercoaster, this is a week to get in line.
Devonta Freeman has won the battle to be Baltimore's lead running back -- for now, at least. That's good enough to give him starting lineup consideration against the Steelers. Where once we feared Pittsburgh's defense, we now feel comfortable enough to challenge it. Over the last four weeks, no team has allowed more rushing yards or more rushing scores than the Steelers. Now they get to face a Ravens offense that's still in the top 10 of run-heaviest outfits in the league. Yes, Lamar Jackson will still get his opportunities, but Freeman should be in the mix for plenty of work. He has flex appeal in Week 13.
The Raiders pass-catcher du jour is Hunter Renfrow. The Vegas slot receiver has topped 17 fantasy points in three of his last four games -- including a 21-point outburst against the Cowboys in Week 12. With defenses trying to take away Darren Waller this year, Renfrow has flourished. He leads the Raiders in receptions, receiving yards and receiving touchdowns. This week, he takes aim at the Football Team who are allowing the fourth-most fantasy points per game to receivers. Based on Renfrow's past usage, eight or more targets are nearly guaranteed. That kind of opportunity is hard to ignore in a matchup like this.
While we're talking about Raiders pass-catchers, let's turn our attention to Foster Moreau. His viability is obviously tied to Waller's availability this week. The star tight end is dealing with a knee injury that has him considered week-to-week. That could open more chances for Moreau. Moreau's best fantasy outing was in Week 7, scoring 18 fantasy points against the Eagles while playing in place of the injured Waller. In Las Vegas' tight end friendly passing game, another streamable week could be on the way.
It's written into my contract that I can't go too long this season without writing about C.J. Uzomah. Since he didn't make this column last week, I felt like this was a good chance to fulfill my obligation. Or maybe I just think he has a good matchup against the Chargers. Pick the answer that makes you happiest. The Bolts have been struck by tight end touchdown lightning nine times this year and are allowing the fourth-most points per game to the position. Defenses have been trying to take away Ja'Marr Chase and while the rookie's target share hasn't taken a noticeable hit, his production definitely has. That means Joe Burrow has been forced to look elsewhere. Elsewhere this week could mean a few throws to Uzomah. He's back in the stream for Week 13.
A couple of months ago, it would have been laughable to think of the Chiefs DST as a streaming option. But Kansas City has turned things around recently. It's been a top 10 defense over the past month, scoring at least seven fantasy points in three straight games. This week, the Chiefs renew hostilities with their division rivals from Denver. The Broncos offense hasn't been a train wreck, but it doesn't scare anyone, either. If you're looking for a defense off the waiver wire, Kansas City could give you a respectable number.
Not that long ago, the Vikings DST was a weekly must start. Those days have passed but Minnesota could be back in the mix this week against Detroit. The Lions have turned the ball over in nearly every game this season and have had multiple giveaways in nearly half of their contests. Detroit also hasn't scored 20 points in a game since putting 33 on the board in their season-opening loss to San Francisco. If you're streaming a defense, why not pit them against a turnover-prone offense with a major lack of explosiveness? That's just science.