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Dan Podheiser

Dan  Podheiser

Dan Podheiser has covered the gambling industry since 2013, but he has been an avid poker player for more than a decade, starting when he was just 14 years old. When he turned 18, he played online poker regularly on U.S.-friendly sites until Black Friday in April 2011.

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Dan's DFS picks for NFL Week 13

3 Dec 2015

By Dan Podheiser
Another week, another gutter ball.

After hitting rock bottom with my Week 11 picks, my Week 12 lineup didn't really perform much better in the DraftKings Millionaire Maker. I mustered just 130.66 points, good for 162,125th place. Hey, at least I beat 107,996 other lineups!

But this week, I'm feeling a big score. You know the feeling. It comes around every Tuesday night or so, after you've finished licking your wounds from the previous week's miseries and are back in full degenerate mode. This is what the NFL and fantasy football do to people. It's a disease (the NFL, that is).

Oh well. I'm not looking for a cure. Just a good sweat.

For a full explanation of the differences between DraftKings and FanDuel scoring, read this blog post by Daily Fantasy Sports 101.

Quarterback: Ben Roethlisberger, Pittsburgh Steelers (DK: $6,600; FD: $8,100)

Roethlisberger is like the villain in the horror movie that cannot be killed. Just when you think you've defeated him by taking out his legs, he comes back stronger than ever and torches you for 400 yards and three touchdowns. That said, starting Roethlisberger is always a risky play in fantasy, because he's always susceptible to tweaking one of his dozen or so injuries and sitting out the rest of the game (and then returning the following week and crushing your spirit).

But I'm going to take that risk this week, both because he's insanely affordable and because he's absolutely on fire right now. And if you recall, last year Roethlisberger torched the Indianapolis Colts, his Week 13 opponent, for a mere 522 yards and six touchdowns. Yeah, I'd take that this week from Big Ben.

Running Back (DK): Jonathan Stewart, Carolina Panthers ($5,300)

This is the game where everyone's going to be stacking Panthers, who visit the Superdome to take on the defensively challenged New Orleans Saints. Cam Newton and Greg Olsen will be heavily owned in GPPs, for sure. But I think Stewart is actually the best play from a Carolina team that should be able to handle New Orleans easily in this game.

The Panthers have the best defense in football and a strong running game. It stands to reason that they will get up early in this one and feed the rock to Stewart 20-25 times to close out the game. And the Saints defense is so bad that Stewart should be able to reach 100 yards and find the end zone. I love this play, especially at this price.

Running Back (FD): LeGarrette Blount, New England Patriots ($6,900)

Blout, like Stewart, plays for a team that should win in blowout fashion, as his Patriots host the Philadelphia Eagles in what should be a redemption game for the Pats. Many likely expect Patriots quarterback Tom Brady to go off in this game, but I think head coach Bill Belicheck is going to rely on Blount to bludgeon the Eagles' fifth-worst ranked rush defense.

The Patriots have maybe the best passing offense in the league. But when Belicheck wants to demoralize an opposing team – which he'll look to do Sunday to avenge his team's loss against the Broncos – he pounds them into submission on the ground. Insert Blount.

Wide Receiver (DK): Alshon Jeffery, Chicago Bears ($6,900)

Jeffery has played just six games this season, but he's been fantastic in all but one of those contests, in what turned out to be a blowout win for his Bears anyway. He has two 10-catch games this season and three with 100 or more receiving yards. This week, Jeffery and the Bears get a tasty matchup against the 49ers, who have played well on defense of late but still have holes in their secondary. Plus, the Bears actually have the fourth-highest projected team points total this week, according to oddsmakers. I think Jeffery is a great play as a premium wide receiver in a good offense at a solid price.

Wide Receiver (FD): Brandon LaFell, New England Patriots ($6,600)

Well, it's not going to be all ground-and-pound for the Patriots on Sunday. LaFell has emerged as the de facto No. 1 wide receiver in the New England offense now that Julian Edelman, Danny Amendola and Rob Gronkowski have all been bitten by the freak injury bug. And if you've watched the Eagles' secondary lately, you'll have noticed that even I could start for an opposing offense and reel in a half dozen catches for 90 yards and a touchdown. Put me in the slot, coach.

But seriously, LaFell at this price is crazy good. Lock him up.

Tight End: Travis Kelce, Kansas City Chiefs (DK: $4,700; FD: $6,200)

There might not be a more consistent tight end in the NFL than Kelce, who remains among the two most targeted receivers in the Chiefs' offense week after week. On Sunday, Kelce has the fortune of playing the Oakland Raiders, who have been sliced and diced by opposing tight ends all year. Look for him to get looks in the red zone all game long.

Defense: Washington Redskins (DK: $2,300; FD: $4,400)

Matt Cassell is Dallas' starting quarterback, and the Cowboys have the third-lowest projected team scoring total this week, according to oddsmakers. What else is there to say?
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