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Fantasy Football

Rank's 11 Week 13 fantasy sleepers: Trust Darnold

I rage-dropped Matt Ryan this week. Partly because I'm a petulant child. But mostly because his performance against the Tampa Bay Buccaneers was so egregious, I had no other recourse. And not to say that it's all Ryan's fault. The offensive line has struggled. Devonta Freeman was out. But I'm that same person who needs to have a scapegoat in situations like this, so he's out. I think he would understand where I'm coming from.

But we should have seen it coming. Ryan had some great fantasy performances early in the year. It was always a high-wire act, though. It was like watching a thematic superhero drama on television. Every week, he looked like he was on the brink of failure, only to rally in the closing minutes to save the day. But he was benched late on Sunday. He didn't even get the normal garbage-time points like he normally did because Matt Schaub was in the game.

I can't stand that indignity, so he's out.

The good news for me is that on a few teams, I have a reliable player like Dak Prescott. (And if you're reading this on Friday morning, you'll know whether this was great or not.) But there is a school of thought you could use to help get you through the playoffs.

The first idea would be to just roster Sam Darnold. He's been amazing the last couple of weeks. He was the QB2 last week with 28.2 fantasy points against the Raiders. Was he assisted by a roughing-the-passer call in the first quarter? Sure. But dude had a career high in fantasy points. And the most by a Jets quarterback since Ryan Fitzpatrick in 2015. And it was not just one week. He's the QB5 since Week 10 with an average of 25.11 fantasy points. So he's great. Maybe even gone from your talent pool.

Ryan Tannehill is another great option. He's been the QB3 since Week 7. He has the easiest playoff schedule remaining with games against the Colts, Raiders, Texans and Saints in Week 16. You might look at that game against the Saints and say, "don't want that" for your fantasy Super Bowl. Which is fine. You could also go with Daniel Jones. He's the QB8 since Week 8. He plays the Dolphins and Washington in Weeks 15-16. I know, he's prone to fumble the ball. With small hands that might remind you (or at least me) of Baby Hands Rex Grossman. But the numbers!

And if I'm throwing out one more quarterback to look at, Nick Foles belongs in the mix, too. He's averaging 16.36 fantasy points per game. About the same as Gardner Minshew, but without the cool mustache. That's the kind of thing that could land him in Chicago next year. (Either one, I'm not picky.) The Jaguars have a lot of great matchups remaining which could make him a great play down the stretch.

Here are the rest of Rank's 11 to help guide you through Turkey Week:

Benny Snell, RB, Pittsburgh Steelers

He received the most touches of the Steelers running backs last week (22). He had nearly half the snaps as well. And I don't hate the matchup against the Browns this week. But it does look like he's going to emerge as the lead back for the Steelers because Jaylen Samuels sort of disappeared. He's more than a solid flex option after posting more than 100 scrimmage yards last week on his 22 touches.

Chris Conley, WR, Jacksonville Jaguars

You're all starting D.J. Chark. And that's great! Conley has scored at least 11 fantasy points in three of his last five. The Buccaneers have allowed the most fantasy points per game to receivers this season. The most passing yards. And this is likely a cut-and-paste to what I was saying about Russell Gage last week. But I'm much more confident about this one this week. Well, maybe not.

A.J. Brown, WR, Tennessee Titans

If we are excited about Tannehill, we should look at his receiver as well. He had five targets and four receptions for 135 yards and a touchdown against the Jaguars last week. That led the entire team and looks like the No. 1 receiver for the Titans this year. I had high hopes for him coming into the season (check my IG), but Marcus Mariota kind of killed his value. But Tannehill is making him a star. Like the way Jon Moxley helped elevate Darby Allin on AEW last week.

Zay Jones, WR, Oakland Raiders

This is a low-key desperation heave for the Raiders since Hunter Renfrow is out. Renfrow had pulled in 5+ targets in four straight games and those targets have to go someplace. And this is sort of a revenge game for Zay Jones. I know he didn't play for the Chiefs. But hear me out. Jones went to Steven F. Austin High School in Austin, Texas. The same high school that produced Don Baylor, the 1979 AL MVP for your California Angels and former MLB manager. After a stint with the Colorado Rockies, Baylor was the Cubs manager from 2000-2002. That final season, on his pitching staff, was a journeyman pitcher named Pat Mahomes. Father of Patrick Mahomes who is the quarterback for the Kansas City Chiefs.

Andy Isabella, WR, Arizona Cardinals

Hey man, you noticed all the mid-carders who scored touchdowns for the Ravens on Monday night, right? The Rams have allowed the eighth-most fantasy points to wide receivers since Week 8. Isabella has scored at least 10 fantasy points in two out of his last three games. So with an opportunity of another huge letdown by the Rams defense, I'd try to cash in here.

James Washington, WR, Pittsburgh Steelers

The Steelers made the switch at quarterback, which was one they shouldn't have had to have made in the first place. Like we all witnessed Duck Hodges throw for 318 and a pair of touchdowns against the Chargers, right? Like, that really happened? Well in any event, I'm going with Washington here who is expected to get the most targets of this group. Although JuJu Smith-Schuster's possible return could dampen that. As well as the Browns, who are ninth against receivers in the past month. However, this is a volume play to keep an eye on. And realize, you're not picking up Michael Thomas from the waiver wire so you have to have a little bit of faith.

Jack Doyle, TE, Indianapolis Colts

He scored less than six points on Sunday against the Texans. He was still the TE14. WTH? But, Eric Ebron is out for the rest of the season and they have a great slate of games remaining. So if you've tried to extinguish the dumpster fire of the tight end position with Doyle so far, things could be heating up for you. But looking back at that, I might have got that metaphor incorrect. In case you're wondering, Gerald Everett has the Cardinals this week. He's an unofficial member of Rank's 11 this week because that is just way too easy.

Follow Adam Rank on Twitter at @adamrank

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