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Michael C. Hebert/New Orleans Saints

Week 13 Fantasy: Start/Sit


Week 13 already, which means it's the last week until the fantasy playoffs in most leagues. Good luck to everyone still competing, and make sure you set your lineup even if you're eliminated. Once your game doesn't impact playoffs, go ahead and pickup Tim Tebow if you want.

 

QUARTERBACK

 

START OF THE WEEK: Matthew Stafford (@ NO)

People who think the Saints still have an atrocious defense haven’t been paying attention this season; they actually are giving up under 4.0 yards per carry and are in the top-half of the league in passing touchdowns allowed. Plus, they’re just 16th in fantasy points allowed to opposing quarterbacks. Still, Matthew Stafford is bound to put up points in a duel with Drew Brees, and New Orleans has been more favorable to opposing passers through the air than on the ground. Stafford is an easy QB1 this week.

 

START: Philip Rivers (vs TB)

Rivers rebounded from his four-interception performance in his previous game with a three-touchdown performance against a tough Texans pass defense in Week 12. Things get easier this week as he takes on the Bucs. Fantasy owners shouldn’t be alarmed by what Tampa Bay did to Russell Wilson last week, as the Seahawks have an offensive line that’s barely there.

 

START: Tyrod Taylor (@ OAK)

A shootout with Derek Carr? Yes, please. Tyrod should have Sammy Watkins playing more snaps this week, and while the Raiders have improved in recent weeks on the defensive side of the ball, they’ve faced Blake Bortles, Trevor Siemian, and Brock Osweiler, among others. Also, it helps that Oakland gives significant rushing production to opposing quarterbacks.

 

START: Alex Smith (@ ATL)

How clutch was Smith last week in the Chiefs’ overtime win over the Broncos? The former #1 overall pick might not be a great fantasy asset with his conservative style of play, but he could put up numbers this week; the Falcons have given up three or more touchdown passes in six of their 11 games this season, and are last in the league against opposing fantasy quarterbacks. With Matt Ryan on the other side of the field and playing at home, Smith will have to score a ton.

 

Others: Jameis Winston (@ SD), Ryan Fitzpatrick (vs IND)

 

 

SIT OF THE WEEK: Cam Newton (@ SEA)

What a disappointment this season has been for those who drafted Newton early in their drafts this summer. After dominating the league last season, Cam is just the 15th best fantasy quarterback in 2016. Who would have thought that Dak Prescott (5th) would be 10 spots ahead of Newton? Even Tom Brady will probably catch Newton pretty soon after being suspended for four games. Things aren’t going to get any better this week in Seattle. Pick someone up to start over Newton if you can.

 

SIT: Russell Wilson (vs CAR)

After it looked like he turned things around after three straight games with 20+ fantasy points, Wilson scored just 10 points last week as the Bucs dominated Seattle. Wilson didn’t have much of a chance with the offensive line playing how it played, and it’s unlikely they play better this week with the Panthers being third in the league with 32 sacks this season. The Seahawks should try to get the running game going to take the pressure of him, but it’ll be tough against the Panthers and their league-leading 3.3 yards per carry allowed.

 

SIT: Dak Prescott (@ MIN)

Minnesota has been softer defensively in recent weeks, but not by a lot at all, allowing just over 13 fantasy points per game to quarterbacks since their Week 6 bye (they have lost five of six games since the bye). The Cowboys aren’t likely to dominate the Vikings like they’ve dominated almost everyone else, but if they do move the ball successfully, it’ll probably be through the running game, as Minnesota is allowing 4.2 yards per carry.

 

SIT: Brock Osweiler (@ GB)

You might be doing some research and see that Green Bay is allowing the most yards per attempt to opposing passers by a large margin (8.5 yards per attempt, 0.6 more than anyone else), and think that you’ll look like a genius for starting Osweiler… but I'd have a really difficult time trusting him. Oswiler simply cannot move the Houston offense; there is a chance Osweiler gets benched mid-game this Sunday after throwing zero touchdowns and three interceptions a week ago.

 

Others: Carson Wentz (@ CIN), Andy Dalton (vs PHI)

 

 

RUNNING BACK

 

START OF THE WEEK: Jordan Howard (vs SF)

San Francisco has definitely tightened up their run defense since getting shredded by Mark Ingram, but they are still allowing over 20 fantasy points per game to opposing runners since then. No one seems to be talking about Jordan Howard, but the rookie is averaging 5.1 yards per carry (more than fellow Ezekiel Elliot behind the Cowboys offensive line), and is in the top-10 in rushing yards this season despite not starting until Week 4. Howard is for real.

 

START: Devontae Booker (@ JAC)

Another rookie runner, Devontae Booker has been getting massive workloads since C.J. Anderson got injured. Booker has 24 carries in each of the past two games, which shows the coaching staff is sticking with him despite their belief that he isn’t breaking enough tackles. He started slow last Sunday night, but looked better and better as the game went on. Locked into 20+ touches in a game the Broncos should handle against Jacksonville, Booker is an RB1.

 

START: Tevin Coleman (vs KC)

People who took a risk and played Coleman in his first game back from a hamstring injury were rewarded with a touchdown, but the talented back was held in check yardage wise (13 total yards). He should be better in his second game back, and the Falcons would probably like to give him more touches, especially with Kansas City allowing some production to running backs catching the ball out of the backfield. Coleman is a high-upside RB2.

 

START: Jeremy Hill (vs PHI)

Jeremy Hill was given the opportunity to catch the ball out of the backfield in the first game without Giovani Bernard, and he took advantage with six catches for 61 yards. Hill has always been an effective pass-catcher, so it looks like the Bengals will feature him and use Rex Burkhead as a change-of-pace. With Eagles head coach Doug Pederson all but saying their season is over, Philly might be less-inclined to tackle—especially with a big dude like Jeremy Hill coming at them.

 

Others: Kenneth Dixon (vs MIA), Dion Lewis (vs LA)

 

 

SIT OF THE WEEK: Jay Ajayi (@ BAL)

Ajayi averaged 176.3 rushing yards per game in a tough three-game stretch versus Pittsburgh, Buffalo, and the New York Jets, but then averaged just 67 rushing yards in his next three games against San Diego, Los Angeles, and San Francisco. A big reason why is the health of the offensive line, which has been missing LT Branden Albert, LG Laremy Tunsil, and C Mike Pouncey. If any of the three are back for Week 13, they will not be 100%, and Miami is facing the league’s best run defense. It’s hard to bench a guy averaging 17 fantasy points per game since becoming the starter, but Ajayi is just a low-end RB2 for this week.

 

SIT: Jonathan Stewart (@ SEA)

Historically consistent, Stewart has actually been hit-or-miss since returning from injury. He has three games with 85+ rushing yards and two touchdowns, but 42 or fewer rushing yards in his other three games. This week is probably going to be a miss, as the 4-7 Panthers have to take on the Seahawks in Seattle. With Michael Bennett expected back, it just makes Seattle’s defense even better.

 

SIT: James Starks (vs HOU)

Starks has played three games since returning from injury, but has just 99 rushing yards and is averaging 3.0 yards per carry. The veteran back has been productive in fantasy thanks to a walk-in touchdown on a screen pass and another walk-in touchdown catch on a blown coverage. Houston’s run defense doesn’t look scary looking at the stats, but they’ve been better over the past couple weeks, including last Sunday when they held Melvin Gordon to 70 scoreless yards on 17 carries. Starks should continue to lose work to Christine Michael as he becomes more familiar with the offense.

 

SIT: Jerick McKinnon (vs DAL)

McKinnon owners were saved on Thanksgiving by a 41-yard reception, as he carried the ball just nine times for 31 yards. The Cowboys aren’t great by any means defensively, but their ball control offense keeps the opposing offense off the field. Better fantasy backs can get away with less time on the field, but with McKinnon’s lack of goal line touches and a bad offensive line blocking for him, he’s a low-floor FLEX play.

 

Others: Eagles RBs (@ CIN)

 

 

WIDE RECEIVER

 

START OF THE WEEK: Brandin Cooks (vs DET)

Brandin Cooks had zero targets in Week 12 against the Rams even though the game was at home, Drew Brees threw for 310 yards and four touchdowns, and the Saints scored 49 points. Now, Cooks is reportedly upset with his role in the offense. Fantasy owners would be wise to keep him in lineups, as the Saints will likely make a point of getting him the ball on Sunday. He’s the #5 WR in our Week 13 rankings with an explosion expected against the Lions.

 

START: Sammy Watkins (@ OAK)

Playing for the first time since Week 2, Sammy Watkins caught three passes for 80 yards on limited snaps in Sunday’s win over the Jaguars. This week, in a game that the still-contending Bills will have to score points, Watkins will see an increase in playing time, and the Raiders have one of the worst pass defenses in the league. Sean Smith did a good job guarding Kelvin Benjamin last week, but no one on the Raiders can guard Watkins. Get him in lineups.

 

START: DeVante Parker (@ BAL)

Parker had just three catches for 64 yards in Sunday’s win over the Niners, but it could have been a huge day if a couple plays (including a touchdown) weren’t narrowly overturned on review. The second-year wideout has been making plays all over the field since being deemed healthy by head coach Adam Gase, and Miami will have to throw it against Baltimore’s elite run defense. Fantasy owners should hope the Dolphins’ offensive line gets some guys back to give Parker time to get deep. [UPDATE: Parker is likely out for this Sunday versus the Ravens; Jarvis Landry could be a good option as an extension of the running game this week.]

 

START: Tyreek Hill (@ ATL)

Anyone watching the Sunday Night Football game probably heard that Tyreek Hill became the first rookie since Gale Sayers to run for a touchdown, catch a touchdown, and have a return touchdown in the same game, and the Chiefs needed all of it to get the overtime win. Hill is a dynamic playmaker with the ball in his hands, and Andy Reid was finding ways to get him touches even before Jeremy Maclin’s injury. Averaging 11.0 fantasy points per game since Week 7, Hill deserves consideration for lineups whether or not Maclin returns this week.

 

Others: Tyrell Williams (vs TB), Will Fuller V (@ GB)

 

 

SIT OF THE WEEK: Allen Robinson (vs DEN)

I thought Robinson would have a big day in Week 12 against the Bills, but he was held to two catches for 24 yards. Robinson is averaging just 11.2 yards per catch this season after averaging 17.5 yards per catch last season (a year in which he went 80/1,400/14). Blake Bortles taking a step back has caused the vertical game to be absent for Jacksonville, and there’s probably a 0% chance it comes back against Denver. Robinson isn’t even a top-30 receiver for Week 13.

 

SIT: Kelvin Benjamin (@ SEA)

Benjamin’s day was saved with a 44-yard touchdown in Week 12, giving him his first double-digit fantasy performance since Week 2. Richard Sherman struggled with a similarly big-bodied receiver in Mike Evans last week, but Benjamin isn’t on the same level as Evans. Plus, this game will be in Seattle. Like Robinson, Benjamin isn’t even a top-30 guy this week.

 

SIT: Demaryius Thomas (@ JAC)

Demaryius unfortunately had to do battle with Marcus Peters on Sunday night while Emmanuel Sanders got to face a guy who allowed over 200 yards in the game, and DT will probably see a lot of Jalen Ramsey this week. In a run-first offense against a bad Jaguars team, the Broncos probably won’t test the rising-star rookie cornerback.

 

SIT: Randall Cobb (vs HOU)

There was a three-game stretch where it looked like Cobb was going turn his season around, but a hamstring injury forced him to miss a game and allowed Davante Adams to become the clear #2 option in the passing game. Through 12 weeks, Cobb is 38th in fantasy points, and Adams is sixth. Cobb is not a reliable option behind Jordy Nelson and Adams.

 

Others: Michael Floyd (vs WAS), DeSean Jackson (@ ARI)

 

 

TIGHT END

 

START OF THE WEEK: Rob Gronkowski (vs LA)

It was frustrating to see Gronkowski leave the game without catching a pass on Sunday, but Gronk remains a must-start and the #1 option whenever he’s active. In his completely healthy games this season, Gronk is averaging 15.75 fantasy points per game—or nearly double Delanie Walker, who is the #1 fantasy tight end right now (8.2 fantasy points per game). Fortunately, the Patriots play at 1:00 this week. If he’s active, he needs to be in your lineup. [UPDATE: Gronkowski (back) is likely done for the season; Martellus Bennett needs to be picked up everywhere and is a high-end, albeit volatile, TE1]

 

START: Eric Ebron (@ NO)

Ebron was a huge disappointment on Thanksgiving with zero catches, but it was against arguably the best defense in the league. In the three previous games, Ebron had 70+ yards in each game. He should get back to that and has a good chance of finding the end zone in a potential shootout against the Saints. Ebron is a top-5 option for Week 13.

 

START: Antonio Gates (vs TB)

Gates, too, had zero catches last week, and like Gronk and Ebron, he should bounce back. Tampa Bay has allowed a lot of points to tight ends this season, and Hunter Henry probably helps Gates more than he hurts him, as he will take some attention away from the veteran. Philip Rivers versus Jameis Winston could end up being a high-scoring game.

 

START: Vance McDonald (@ CHI)

Vance McDonald has become a nice weapon for the San Francisco offense, as he is averaging 8.75 fantasy points per game since the bye week. The athletic tight end has two touchdowns in his past four games, and Chicago has surrendered a touchdown to a tight end in three straight games. McDonald is a nice option for Delanie Walker owners, or depending on his status, Gronk owners.

 

Others: Ladarius Green (vs NYG), Lance Kendricks (@ NE)

 

 

SIT OF THE WEEK: Jordan Reed (@ ARI)

It’s probably crazy to sit Reed after he just caught 10 passes for 95 yards and two touchdowns on Thanksgiving (he’s still #6 in our Week 13 rankings), but if Eric Ebron for example is available, it might be a good idea to get him for this week if you need a win to make playoffs. Reed is dealing with a shoulder injury and faces the Cardinals, who are surrendering the least-amount of fantasy points per game to tight ends, and haven’t allowed more than five fantasy points to the position in a game this season.

 

SIT: Greg Olsen (@ SEA)

After a hot start to the season, Olsen has just 10 total fantasy points over the past three weeks. The Seahawks will be fired-up at home after getting beaten-up on the road versus Tampa Bay last Sunday, and Carolina’s offense just isn’t in rhythm this year. Olsen is still in the top-10 with his big-play potential, but don’t expect a great game on Sunday night.

 

SIT: Tyler Eifert (vs PHI)

Eifert was the Bengals receiving leader last week with A.J. Green out, and the Bengals will try to get him the ball again after he led the team in targets in Week 12. Unfortunately, it’s not going to be easy with the Eagles eliminating opposing tight ends for the most part this season. Eifert’s bigger target share might not help this week against Philadelphia.

 

SIT: Zach Ertz (@ CIN)

 Ertz play this season has been as follows:

 

*Run short route. Catch pass. Fall Down. Repeat.*

 

Whether that’s by design by the coaching staff or that’s just how he’s playing, Ertz hasn’t taken the step forward that many thought he would this season. The former Stanford standout doesn’t even have a game with double-digit fantasy points so far this year.

 

Others: Jack Doyle (@ NYJ), Jesse James (vs NYG)

 

 

DEFENSE

 

START OF THE WEEK: New England Patriots (vs LA)

Bill Belichick might crack a smile this week with a rookie quarterback coming to Foxboro. Since 2001, rookie passers are 5-17 with a 19:29 touchdown-interception ratio versus the Patriots, with eight multi-interception games. As I’ve said before, I like Jared Goff’s talent and long-term prospects, but he doesn’t have much help right now. The Patriots haven’t put up a lot of points as a fantasy defense this season, but they have allowed 17 or fewer points in seven of their 11 games. New England’s defense is as solid as they come this week, and carry a ton of upside.

 

START: Baltimore Ravens (vs MIA)

Fantasy defenses facing the Dolphins have averaged less than 1.0 fantasy points per game since the start of their six-game winning streak, but Baltimore is the best one they’ll have faced since then. With the health of the offensive line a big question mark, and the Ravens boasting the league’s top run defense, Miami will struggle this Sunday.

 

START: Green Bay Packers (vs HOU)

Green Bay had a historically bad four-game defensive stretch coming into Monday night’s game with the Eagles, but they held the Birds to 13 points. Jordan Matthews was injured and Nelson Agholor was inactive, but still. This week, back at home and probably scoring a ton of points, the Packers should be able to capitalize on whatever mistakes Brock Osweiler inevitably makes trying to keep up with Rodgers.

 

START: San Francisco 49ers (@ CHI)

We are a long, long way away from Week 1, when the Niners shutout the Rams and looked like one of the best defenses in the league. Since then, they have negative-eight fantasy points. Negative-eight. With Matt Barkley under-center for the Bears, though, there is hope. Chip Kelly should know the strengths and weaknesses of the guy he drafted in Philadelphia. I’m not saying they’re a great option, but I would start the Niners over all the “Sits” I have a description for below.

 

Others: Cincinatti Bengals (vs PHI), Jacksonville Jaguars (vs DEN)

 

 

SIT OF THE WEEK: Houston Texans (@ GB)

Aaron Rodgers at home…

 

SIT: Kansas City Chiefs (@ ATL)

Matty Ice at home…

 

SIT: Los Angeles Rams (@ NE)

TB12 at home…

 

SIT: Buffalo Bills (@ OAK)

Derek Carr at home…

 

Okay, not really descriptions, but you get it.

 

Others: Arizona Cardinals (vs WAS), Tampa Bay Buccaneers (@ SD)

 

 

As always, check out our weekly rankings for who to play at kicker and help with all your lineup decisions.

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