Fantasy football owners are always searching for an edge, and this week’s start ‘em, sit ‘em for Week 13 features star players that will falter under pressure and fail during the Thanksgiving holiday weekend.
All of the following players have dominated the fantasy ranks this year, but will fail to live up to those expectations this week. Fantasy owners have been warned.
*Based on standard-scoring leagues. Stats via NFL.com.
Cam Newton, QB, Carolina Panthers
The Carolina Panthers have been playing great over the last two months, but the seven straight victories will not help quarterback Cam Newton beat the improving Tampa Bay Buccaneers, a team that has three straight wins of its own.
Newton played Tampa Bay earlier this season and only managed 221 passing yards and two touchdowns, but he was able to run the ball for another 50 yards and a touchdown. Expect the Buccaneers to adjust to his success and focus a spy defender on the quarterback all day.
Newton’s legs will be neutralized Sunday by Tampa Bay and that will inhibit his passing abilities. Even with veteran cornerback Darrelle Revis recovering from a groin injury and questionable for this matchup, per Rick Stroud of the Tampa Bay Times, the Buccaneers forced Matthew Stafford and the Detroit Lions to turn the ball over five times.
With so much pressure from the explosive Tampa Bay defensive unit, Newton owners should ease their expectations and consider all possible backup options.
Predicted Week 13 Stat Line: 220 yards passing with one touchdown and one interception; seven rushing attempts for 30 yards and zero touchdowns
Marshawn Lynch, RB, Seattle Seahawks
Marshawn Lynch has been one of the best running backs in the NFL this season, but when the New Orleans Saints travel to Seattle to square off against his Seahawks, Lynch will see his production take a big hit.
The veteran running back was able to amass two touchdowns against the lowly Minnesota Vikings in Week 11, but he could only muster 54 yards on 17 carries. Of that total, 23 of those yards came on one big run, which means he had 16 carries for 31 yards the rest of the day.
That’s not good.
New Orleans has been stingy against the run over the last several weeks, and defensive coordinator Rob Ryan has his team playing hard. With Frank Gore held to just 48 yards in Week 11 and the unit giving up 63 yards to Steven Jackson last Thursday, Lynch will face one of his toughest tests of the season.
If Drew Brees and the Saints' second-ranked pass attack can take advantage of Seattle’s issues in the secondary and hang a few points on the scoreboard early, the Seahawks will be forced to air the ball out and limit Lynch’s touches.
Fantasy owners are cringing at the thought.
Predicted Week 13 Stat Line: 21 rushing attempts for 70 yards and zero touchdowns; two receptions for 15 yards and zero touchdowns.
Demaryius Thomas, WR, Denver Broncos
Fantasy owners have been blessed with Denver Broncos wide receiver Demaryius Thomas this season, but his 955 yards and 10 touchdowns will not help him beat the gaudy secondary of the Kansas City Chiefs Sunday.
Thomas amassed an impressive 121 yards receiving against Kansas City in Week 11, but it wasn’t the overall success many had expected. Besides a 70-yard reception, Thomas was only able to complete five of the 13 targets he received and hurt his team as much as helped it.
The fantasy juggernaut received four less targets and only managed 41 total yards last week against a less impressive New England Patriots secondary, and Peyton Manning will be looking to Wes Welker and Eric Decker against the Chiefs.
Thomas is a flex play this week at best.
Predicted Week 13 Stat Line: Five receptions for 70 yards for zero touchdowns.