The Loop Fantasy Football Update Week 13: Last-minute moves

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·8 min read
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  • Jalen Hurts
    Jalen Hurts
    American football quarterback
  • Kyler Murray
    Kyler Murray
    American football and baseball player
  • DeAndre Hopkins
    DeAndre Hopkins
    American football player, wide receiver
  • Javonte Williams
    Javonte Williams
    LiveTodayTomorrowvs--|
  • Melvin Gordon III
    Melvin Gordon III
    LiveTodayTomorrowvs--|
  • Sterling Shepard
    Sterling Shepard
    LiveTodayTomorrowvs--|
  • Kadarius Toney
    Kadarius Toney
    LiveTodayTomorrowvs--|
  • Josh Jacobs
    Josh Jacobs
    LiveTodayTomorrowvs--|
  • Corey Davis
    Corey Davis
    LiveTodayTomorrowvs--|

Dec. 5—UPDATE: 10:46 p.m. Sunday

The league-leading Arizona Cardinals probably don't need much help to beat the Bears today in Chicago, but they will get it anyway. Both star quarterback Kyler Murray and wideout DeAndre Hopkins have been cleared to play today for the 9-2 Cards, who are going on 10-2.

The Eagles are not as fortunate as their QB, Jalen Hurts, will miss today's game against the Jets, meaning Gardner Minshew and his moustache make their grand return to the NFL. Philly RB Boston Scott, though, has been given the go-ahead to play.

Denver RB Melvin Gordon has been ruled out, making Javonte Williams a great starting option tonight in Kansas City. And Raiders tight end Darren Waller, Bears WR Allen Robinson the Giants' Kadarius Toney, Sterling Shepard and Kyle Rudolph, and Texans RB David Johnson are also out.

Notables who will be playing in Week 13 include Jacksonville RB James Robinson, Raiders RB Josh Jacobs, Chiefs RB Clyde Edwards-Helaire, Rams WR Odell Beckham Jr., Raiders wideout DeSean Jackson and Jets WR Corey Davis.

UPDATE: 12:31 p.m. Saturday

It's another Saturday of uncertainty for the NFC-leading Arizona Cardinals, as their two biggest stars are again big question marks heading into Sunday's game in Chicago.

Both quarterback Kyler Murray and wide receiver DeAndre Hopkins, who haven't played in several weeks, are said to be game-time decisions. Fortunately for fantasy mavens, the Cards are playing an early-afternoon game this week, so you'll be able to find late waiver replacements if you wake up early enough.

Things are even more dicey in Seattle for the sinking Seahawks. Both running backs Alex Collins and Rashard Penny are listed as questionable, and neither is as questionable as the newest Hawk, ancient running back Adrian Peterson. The former Viking was activated after signing with the Seahawks' practice squad earlier this week and could see action Sunday against San Francisco. Do not even think about him.

Three modestly impactful players have been ruled out over the past couple of days: Washington RB J.D. McKissic, Philly RB Jordan Howard and Giants quarterback Daniel Jones. The absence of the latter, and the start it gives Mike Glennon, makes Miami's defense an especially good play this week.

Not quite ruled out yet, but considered doubtful for now, are Denver RB Melvin Gordon, Chicago wideout Allen Robinson, Giants receivers Kadarius Toney and Sterling Shepard, and Raiders tight end Darren Waller.

The list of the officially questionable includes Jaguars RB James Robinson, Raiders RB Josh Jacobs, Rams RB Darrell Henderson, Houston RB David Johnson, Philly RB Boston Scott and QB Jalen Hurts, Rams WR Odell Beckham Jr. and Jets WR Corey Davis.

ORIGINAL POST: 11:53 a.m. Wednesday

It has taken until Week 13. But for fantasy mavens who used up roster space on premium backup players, this could be your lucky week!

Look no further than the local football squad headquartered in Eagan. Dalvin Cook's shoulder injury has likely thrust Alexander Mattison back into the starting lineup. The timing could not be more perfect for Mattison mavens.

The VIkings are heading to Detroit to face the winless Lions in a rematch of their Week 5 game in Minneapolis. That was when Mattison replaced an injured Cook and tallied one touchdown and 153 yards on 32 touches. Not too shabby, nor will he be this week and beyond.

The Lions, meanwhile, will be without starter D'Andre Swift, moving former Packer Jamaal Williams into the starting lineup for a couple of weeks. Williams hasn't scored in more than two months, but that is likely to change against the Vikings' depleted defensive front.

Carolina has lost Christian McCaffrey for the rest of the season, which means Chuba Hubbard is back at No. 1, where he underwhelmed earlier this year.

A similar story was going down in Dallas this week. Ezekiel Elliott reportedly was going to be rested this week because of his ailing knee, lifting Tony Pollard into the starting lineup for the Cowboys. Owner Jerry Jones cast doubt on that report, but the situation is in flux.

Pollard has arguably been the Pokes' best runner the past month. For the season, he has 787 yards on 129 touches, or roughly six yards per run/catch. And he looked great returning a kickoff a hundred yards for a score on Thanksgiving against Las Vegas.

For those fantasy types like The Loop who have both Elliott and Pollard on their roster, a resting of Zeke would actually be a blessing for Thursday night's game in New Orleans.

As the season winds down, here are some other understudies that are making waves, or are just a starter's injury away from prosperity:

Sony Michel (Rams RB) — Darrell Henderson could be out this week, elevating this former Patriots star back into prominence. Michel has only two TDs so far this year, but he's a proven commodity and could be a huge help to the struggling Matthew Stafford.

Boston Scott (Eagles RB) — He has been getting more play as Miles Sanders has slipped further into the dog house. And with Sanders nursing an injury, Scott is in line for a bigger role. Over the past five games, he has 60 touches for 295 yards and three TDs.

Darrel Williams (Chiefs RB) — Clyde Edwards-Helaire looked good in his return from injury, but Williams is a great insurance policy for you, and for Kansas City. In his last six games he has three touchdowns. For the year, 99 touches for 502 yards.

Ronald Jones III (Buccaneers RB) — Sure, Leonard Fournette looked huge in his four-touchdown game last week, but his understudy reached the end zone for the second game in a row. Jones is a legit No. 1 running back in waiting. Maybe.

Dontrell Hilliard (Titans RB) — Someone has finally filled some of the Derrick Henry void in Tennessee. In his first game he caught eight passes. In the next, he rushed for 131 yards and a TD. But he's on bye this week, so he can't help you until Week 14.

SITTING STARS

The Giants' Saquon Barkley is a shadow of his old self, and he will continue to be against Miami. ... Tampa Bay will finally figure out Atlanta's lone offensive threat, Cordarrelle Patterson. ... Chicago RB David Montgomery will have to fight for every yard against Arizona. ... Pittsburgh's offense is struggling so bad that RB Najee Harris is the only player you should rely on against Baltimore. ... And two young quarterbacks will find tougher sledding this week: New England's Mac Jones vs. the Bills and the Eagles' Jalen Hurts against the improving Jets defense.

MATCHUP GAME

San Francisco RB Elijah Mitchell ran through the Vikings last week and will run through the Seahawks this week. ... Las Vegas' Josh Jacobs has been better lately and should be able to prosper against Washington. ... Arizona's James Connor should be good for at least one touchdown against Chicago. ... Both Denver running backs, Melvin Gordon and Javonte Williams, will be worth starting against the Chiefs. ... Which Buccaneer will do the best this week against the weak Atlanta defense? Why Rob Gronkowski, of course. ... The Tee Higgins revival in Cincinnati will continue against the Chargers. ... As will the Tua Tagovailoa show against the Giants.

INJURY WATCH

The big news involves the Cardinals, who look to be getting back quarterback Kyler Murray and receiver DeAndre Hopkins. ... Players already ruled out this week include Tennessee WR A.J. Brown and San Fran's all-purpose Deebo Samuel. ... The ranks of the currently questionable feature Saints RB Alvin Kamara, Washington RB J.D. McKissic, Dallas WR Amari Cooper, Dallas WR CeeDee Lamb, Tampa Bay wideout Antonio Brown, Giants WRs Kadarius Toney and Sterling Shepard, Rams WR Odell Beckham Jr., Jets wideout Corey Davis, Bears WR Allen Robinson, Steelers tight end Pat Freiermuth and three quarterbacks: Philly's Jalen Hurts, Denver's Terry Bridgewater and Chicago's Justin Fields.

THE DEEPEST SLEEPER

Back earlier in the century when he was in South Philadelphia, Raiders WR DeSean Jackson was something. But that was many years ago, and he looked finished after being cut loose by the Rams last month. He then did little after being picked up off the scrap heap by Las Vegas. But his three catches for 102 yards and a touchdown on Thanksgiving showed there might still be some tread on those tires. Still very fast tires. If you're desperate for a receiver with occasional upside, you could do worse.

THE THURSDAY PICK

Cowboys at Saints (+4 1/2 ):

Pick: Cowboys by 3

BREAKING NEWS

We'll be updating our column, based on the latest injuries and innuendo, right up until Sunday's kickoff. Go to TwinCities.com/theloop.

You can hear Kevin Cusick on Wednesdays on Bob Sansevere's "BS Show" podcast on iTunes. You can follow Kevin on Twitter — @theloopnow. He can be reached at kcusick@pioneerpress.com.

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