With just two weeks left in the fantasy football regular season, having the right players on your roster and in your starting lineup can make or break your entire season. You may have a spot clinched or are still pushing toward the playoffs. Whatever your situation, consider these risers, fallers, and one player I’m putting on the hot seat ahead of Week 13. Knowing which players you can trust is crucial at this time of year.
Week 13 Risers, Fallers, and Who is on The Hot Seat
Zack Moss, Running Back, Indianapolis Colts
The most obvious riser heading into Week 13 is Zack Moss. With the news that Jonathan Taylor is set to miss at least two to three weeks with a thumb injury, Moss finds himself right back to where he was at the start of the season, the Colts’ RB1.
This is equally frustrating and exciting for fantasy managers. Frustrating because Taylor is coming off of a two-score, 21.0-point fantasy performance and it’s possible whoever had Moss earlier this season, released him in recent weeks. Moss’ resurgence is exciting because we saw him post two, of a possible three, games of 20.0+ points without Taylor this season and even a 33.5-point game upon Taylor’s return.
Moss has a tough matchup against the Titans in Week 13. However, in three games without Taylor, Moss averaged 22 carries per game with a bit of passing game usage drawing eight total targets. He is a must-start based on volume alone. It’s conceivable Jonathan Taylor is out for the remainder of the fantasy football season. Zack Moss could be here to stay and enough of a riser to carry you to a fantasy football title.
Keaton Mitchell, Running Back, Baltimore Ravens
I’m fully aware Keaton Mitchell is on bye in Week 13. That isn’t stopping me from including him on this fantasy riser list. It’s still a crowded backfield in Baltimore, especially with Lamar Jackson getting run of his own. However, I can’t ignore the fact that Keaton Mitchell played the most snaps amongst all Ravens running backs for the first time all season in Week 12.
With the increase in playing time, Mitchell did not disappoint. He totaled 89 yards on just 11 touches including an eye-opening 7.1 yards per carry average. Mitchell passes the eye test and looks like the most explosive back on the league’s run-heaviest team.
The Ravens will likely continue to rotate in Gus Edwards and Justice Hill, as the team prepares for a playoff run. In fact, I expect Edwards to remain the goal line back, maintaining his flex appeal. Just over 40% of Edwards’ fantasy points this season are a result of punching in 10 rushing touchdowns. Coming out of the bye, though, I expect Mitchell to continue to see double-digit touches. We’ve seen the rookie post-bye bump before. Mitchell and his 4.3 speed deserve it.
DK Metcalf, Wide Receiver, Seattle Seahawks
The name of the game of fantasy football is scoring points and winning games. DK Metcalf is a riser in this game I expect to do both as the fantasy football playoffs near. Thus far, his 12.9 points per game average slots him in as the WR30 on the season. If the season ended today, it would be Metcalf’s worst per-game average since his 2019 rookie season.
I believe better days are ahead for Metcalf. While he ranks 24th in targets amongst wide receivers this season, Metcalf is fourth in targets since Week 8. He’s averaging 9.6 per game in his last five contests. The volume is wonderful, but with just one touchdown on 48 targets over the last five weeks, there is still meat on the bone to be had.
I’m making it a point to put Metcalf on the Week 13 riser list because he has a tough road matchup on Thursday Night Football in Dallas against the Cowboys. There’s a chance Metcalf scores less than 10.0 points for the third time in six games. I’m here to urge you against benching Metcalf in the future if that’s the case.
All three of Metcalf’s fantasy football playoff opponents rank inside the top nine in fantasy points allowed to opposing wide receivers. His next three opponents beyond Week 13 rank inside the top six in receptions allowed the position, as well. The Seattle Seahawks are in a great position to continue pushing toward the playoffs. As the team’s top target, Metcalf will continue to see a healthy dose of targets and rise up for the remainder of this fantasy football season.
James Conner, Running Back, Arizona Cardinals
In eight games played this season, James Conner has double-digit PPR points in two of them. Even worse, they were back in Weeks 1 and 2. Following a four-game stint on Injured Reserve, Conner has been back in action for the Cardinals’ last three games. Quarterback, Kyler Murray, returned to the field with Conner, as well. In said three-game stretch, Conner is averaging just 7.6 points.
Now, one could say Conner is just getting back up to speed and better days are ahead. I can’t get on board with that and consider him a faller for the remainder of the 2023 fantasy football season. Conner’s first two games back, he logged 16 touches in each of them. Unfortunately, in Week 12, that number dipped to 10, though four of them were receptions.
What stands out to me is the increase in usage from other Cardinals running backs. Michael Carter, who was recently claimed off of waivers, logged eight touches of his own last week. Conner is also a faller because, of the five weeks left this fantasy football season, he is on bye in Week 14 and has two playoff matchups against the 49ers and Eagles. They rank 31st and 32nd respectively in fantasy points allowed to opposing running backs. Trusting James Conner in Week 13 and beyond is going to be hard to do regardless of league format.
Kyle Pitts, Tight End, Atlanta Falcons
If you want to win your fantasy football league title, it’s time to get serious. Having Kyle Pitts on your roster in Week 13 leads me to believe you are unserious about accomplishing this goal. I know the tight end position is hard to navigate week after week, year after year. However, this isn’t our first time riding the extremely hazardous Kyle Pitts roller coaster. The third-year tight end has 50 or more yards in just two games this season. Kyle Pitts has only scored one more touchdown than you, the reader, this season!
In his first two seasons, I often pointed to Pitts’ volume as a reason to plug him into starting lineups hoping he could make something of it. He averaged 6.25 targets per game. That would rank as the seventh-most targeted tight end in 2023. However, in 2023, Pitts is averaging 5.45 targets per game which drops him into a multi-player tie for 13th in targets amongst tight ends. More importantly, and why Pitts is a faller, he has an average of just over four targets per game in his last five games. The most concerning red flag of all is Pitts’ two targets in Week 12 coming out of the Falcons’ bye week.
Though I feel like I could talk about Kyle Pitts as a faller forever, ironically, it feels like I’ve written too much; I’ve spent too much time and effort on the subject. Multiple start-worthy tight ends have come and gone this season while Pitts has bogged down your team. It’s time to let him go. Even with six teams on bye this week, there are other options I’m investing in to win my Week 13 matchup. They include, but are not limited to Pat Freiermuth, Taysom Hill, and Logan Thomas.
The Week 13 Hot Seat
Cooper Kupp, Wide Receiver, Los Angeles Rams
I’m not the first person to start a conversation about the fantasy downfall of Cooper Kupp, but I am keeping the conversation going nonetheless. He is on my Week 13 hot seat and is not a player I see bouncing back off of it any time soon.
After starting the season on Injured Reserve, Kupp exploded in Weeks 5 and 6 in his return with scores of 19.8 and 27.8 PPR points. Since then, he has five straight games of 6.9 points or less. Read that again! In fact, Kupp has 6.9 TOTAL POINTS in his last two games combined.
In Week 11, we saw Kupp exit the game with an ankle injury to the same ankle that he had surgery on last year, ending his 2022 season. Kupp then suited up in Week 12 and caught three of just five targets for 18 total yards in a game where the Rams won 37-14 over the Arizona Cardinals.
Chalk it up to the injury, but that doesn’t explain Kupp catching just eight of his 24 total targets for 98 scoreless yards in three games prior to the Rams’ Week 10 bye. His next two matchups are against the Browns and Ravens. Both teams rank in the bottom three of fantasy points allowed to opposing wide receivers. Kupp does have two much easier fantasy playoff matchups against the Commanders and Giants, but it’s going to be hard for fantasy managers to trust him if his poor performances continue to stack up in Weeks 13 and 14.