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Fantasy Masters predictions for Week 13

Minnesota Vikings wide receiver Stefon Diggs (14) stiff arms Detroit Lions strong safety Isa Abdul-Quddus (42) as he picks up a first down during the second quarter on Sunday, Oct. 25, 2015, at Ford Field in Detroit. (Jerry Holt/Minneapolis Star Tribune/TNS)

Game: Seattle Seahawks (6-5) @ Minnesota Vikings (8-3) – Sun. Dec. 6 @ 12 p.m.

Tyler’s Pick: Minnesota Vikings

Why: Minnesota has looked fearsome on both sides of the ball this year, which is a stark contrast to a Seattle team whose defense has appeared mortal and who has struggled with injuries on offense. Look for Minnesota to hone in on stopping Russell Wilson with Marshawn Lynch and Jimmy Graham out and unable to cause the defense to focus on them.

Charlie’s Pick: Minnesota Vikings

Why: Without Marshawn Lynch, the Seahawks discovered a potent aerial assault, totaling 345 yards and 5 touchdowns last week, but against one of the best defenses in the league, in Minnesota, and without their big offseason pickup, Jimmy Graham, the Seahawks may struggle to find an offensive identity this week.

Fantasy Impact: Adrian Peterson is one of the best running backs in the league, and Seattle’s vaunted run defense has looked fragile this year. Peterson is a must-start RB1 who should get plenty of touches and room to run behind a solid offensive line. Minnesota WR Stefon Diggs has been a breakout player during the second-half of the season, but his upside is limited by the talent in Seattle’s secondary. Although they haven’t been as great as prior seasons, they should still limit Diggs to a WR2 play. For Seattle, Russell Wilson remains a must-start as he’ll likely get plenty of opportunities to pass and run. Running back Thomas Rawls looks like a solid RB2 as he sees plenty of action through the air and on the ground. Wideout Doug Baldwin could be a sneaky flex-play in deeper leagues, he has a lot of big play potential and is one of Wilson’s favorite targets.

Game: New York Jets (6-5) @ New York Giants (5-6) – Sun. Dec. 6 @ 12 p.m.

Tyler’s Pick: New York Jets

Why: Neither team is formidable on offense, but the Jets defense is far superior to the Giants. Ryan Fitzpatrick is an average QB at best, but wideouts Brandon Marshall and Eric Decker are studs who always find ways to get open. Giants wide receiver Odell Beckham Jr. is a legitimate superstar but he’s been inconsistent this year and the Jets’ secondary will hone in on him, forcing Eli Manning to use bench players to win.

Charlie’s Pick: New York Giants

Why: The Jets recipe for winning comes from maintaining time of possession and locking down on defense. They maintain possession of the ball by running heavily and throwing short passes to their big possession receivers. This is usually a good plan, but against a potent Giants offense and stellar run defense, the Jets will feel uncomfortable sticking to it.

Fantasy Impact: Beckham Jr. remains a must-start in every league. He’s proven that he can be as good as any other receiver, and even his off-days are often still in the high-end WR2 platform. Manning is a solid start if you are missing a quarterback to injury, but he’s inconsistent and the Jets defense has a strong pass rush that can take advantage of his porous line. For the Jets, wide receivers Brandon Marshall and Eric Decker remain must-starts. Both garner large amounts of targets and are frequently looked at in the red zone. Running back Chris Ivory is a low-end RB2 play this week, as he has looked a step slower after injuring his hamstring and the Giants come into the game with an above-average run defense.

Game: Carolina Panthers (11-0) @ New Orleans Saints (4-7) – Sun. Dec. 6 @ 3:25 p.m.

Tyler’s Pick: Carolina Panthers

Why: Carolina has been the most dominant team this year, and that shouldn’t change against a Saints team that has struggled on both sides of the ball. Cam Newton should absolutely destroy one of the worst defenses in the league, even with his limited offensive weapons. Carolina’s defense is just as good as it has been in recent years, if not better, and Josh Norman provides them with a bonafide shutdown cornerback who will shadow any star receiver. Linebackers Thomas Davis and Luke Kuechly are as good as they come in the NFL and have the speed to man-up shifty running backs and big enough to go to battle with tight ends. Expect this one to be a lopsided victory for the Panthers.

Charlie’s Pick: Carolina Panthers

Why: Carolina’s defense has been just as dominant as expected. Against a Saints offense that has underperformed this year, nothing should change this week. The Panthers have also had a surprisingly good offensive attack. Against one of the league’s worst defensive units, Carolina should be in for a nice week.

Fantasy Impact: Carolina’s offense should feast against a New Orleans team that has allowed the second most yards to opponents this season, 418.6 per game, allowed the most points against, 30.8 per game, and has allowed the third-most rushing and second-most receiving yards per game this season. Whichever way you slice it, New Orleans is a bad defensive team. Players like Jonathan Stewart, Cam Newton, Ted Ginn Jr., and Greg Olsen should see nice production this week. On the other hand, Carolina’s defense is one of the few elite in the NFL, ranking in the top 5 in rushing yards allowed, passing yards allowed, total yards allowed, and points allowed. Case in point, the Panthers are a bad fantasy matchup for your Saints players. If you have Drew Brees or a saints receiver, you may want to find another receiver. Mark Ingram may be focused on heavily by Carolina’s elite linebacking core, so production may dip this week. He is a RB2 this week.

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