Who should you start and who should you sit at each position in fantasy football Week 13 in the 2016 NFL season?
Well, here we are. It’s officially the last week before the fantasy football playoffs. Some teams have already clinched a playoff spot and possibly a first-round bye. Others are scrapping their way towards a playoff berth and need a win to get in. It’s do-or-die time.
For the teams who have already clinched a playoff spot, start looking ahead towards Week 14. Even if you need a win this week for playoff seeding you should still try to get ahead of the waiver-wire rush next week. Look at the D/STs available and see if any have a great matchup. If you like to stream quarterbacks, make sure the ones you own have a good matchup. If not, look at the waiver-wire and see if any of the available quarterbacks do.
If you’re an owner who needs a win to get into the playoffs you need to sell out. Do whatever you can do to increase your odds of winning this week. Don’t worry about dropping stashes on your bench if there’s a player on the wire who can help you out this week.
If you’re in a league where trades can still be accepted, trade a player who is on a bye week. Even if that player is somebody valuable like DeMarco Murray, Delanie Walker or Terrelle Pryor. Yes they are great contributors but they won’t do you any good if you aren’t in the playoffs next week. As the great Apollo Creed once said, “There is no tomorrow!”
This is Fantasy Football: Start/Sit, Week 13 Edition.
Teams on a bye: Tennessee Titans and Cleveland Browns
Nov 27, 2016; Orchard Park, NY, USA; Buffalo Bills quarterback Tyrod Taylor (5) celebrates his touchdown during the second half against the Jacksonville Jaguars at New Era Field. Buffalo beats Jacksonville 28 to 21. Mandatory Credit: Timothy T. Ludwig-USA TODAY Sports
Tyrod Taylor, Buffalo Bills vs. Oakland Raiders – I know it’s scary at times starting Taylor because he’s not your prototypical quarterback. The fact is, he gets it done more often than not in fantasy land. He has six-straight games with 35+ rushing yards and has a rushing touchdown in four out his last five games. He leads all quarterbacks in rushing attempts (70), rushing yards (439) and is tied for the most rushing touchdowns (5). Although the Raiders defense is improving, they don’t scare me from a fantasy standpoint.
Matthew Stafford, Detroit Lions vs. New Orleans Saints – Stafford has been great this season in real life football. However, not so much in fantasy football. He only has one game with multiple touchdowns out his last five. That should all change (at least for one week) on Sunday. The Lions will take on the Saints in New Orleans. Anytime Drew Brees is winging the ball at home, he’s almost a lock for three touchdown passes. He’ll give Stafford a reason to throw early and often in this one.
Colin Kaepernick, San Francisco 49ers vs. Chicago Bears – Just like with Tyrod Taylor, a lot of owners have a hard time trusting Kaepernick. He hasn’t been a good quarterback in a while and the 49ers are awful. Just do yourself a favor and ignore all that. The guy is averaging 62 rushing yards per game. That’s more rushing yards per game than Todd Gurley, Jeremy Hill and Frank Gore (no, I’m not counting Week 1 where he came in for three plays with two minutes left in the game). He’s only scored fewer than 17 fantasy points just once out of his six start this season. Play the odds and roll the dice with Kaepernick.
Andy Dalton, Cincinnati Bengals vs. Philadelphia Eagles – In his first game without A.J. Green and Giovani Bernard, Dalton did not fare well. He finished with just 12 fantasy points and now has four-straight games without reaching the 20’s. His ceiling has plummeted without these two and even in a semi-good matchup, he can’t be trusted.
Philip Rivers, San Diego Chargers vs. Tampa Bay Buccaneers – Personally, I hate Rivers ceiling because it’s not that high. He only has two games in 2016 where he has reached 20+ fantasy points. Part of the reason why that is, is his 12 interceptions is just one shy of the NFL lead. After watching what the Tampa Bay just did to the Seahawks on Sunday, I don’t have a lot of faith in Rivers. Not to mention, he could be without his No.1 wide receiver, Tyrell Williams, who is battling a shoulder injury.
Nov 13, 2016; New Orleans, LA, USA; Denver Broncos running back Devontae Booker (23) runs against the New Orleans Saints during the second half of a game at the Mercedes-Benz Superdome. The Broncos defeated the Saints 25-23. Mandatory Credit: Derick E. Hingle-USA TODAY Sports
Devontae Booker, Denver Broncos vs. Jacksonville Jaguars – This one is about following the volume which Booker is getting in heavy doses. He now has 24 touches in three out his last four games. The Jaguars have been playing well against the pass, making it that more likely Booker continues to get his carries.
Tim Hightower, New Orleans Saints vs. Detroit Lions – Over the last five games, Hightower is averaging just shy of 20 touches per game and has 100+ scrimmage yards in four of them. Mark Ingram is dealing with a toe injury, but I fully expect him to play at this point. Yet if he gets off to a slow start or doesn’t look right, there’s a good chance the coaching staff gives Hightower extra touches on top of his already solid workload.
Jeremy Hill, Cincinnati Bengals vs. Philadelphia Eagles – Hill only has one 100-yard rushing game this season and hasn’t eclipsed 62 rushing yards over his last three games. With that said, I don’t care about all of that. With Giovani Bernard not playing, Hill set a season-high in receptions (6) and receiving yards (61). He should see 18+ touches against the Eagles who are coming off a short week.
Robert Kelley, Washington Redskins vs. Arizona Cardinals – Picking against guys who get a ton of volume isn’t smart, but then again, I’m not a smart guy. However, this time I believe it’s justified. Last week we saw Kelley get completely shut down against the Cowboys defense. This week he gets an even tougher matchup against the Cardinals. There’s always a chance he falls into the end zone, but keep in mind if he doesn’t, he’s going to be held to seven standard league points or less.
Rashad Jennings, New York Giants vs. Pittsburgh Steelers – Jennings is another guy who is seeing a good amount of volume, but I also don’t like him this week either. Since coming out of their bye, the Steelers defense has shutdown opposing running backs not named Ezekiel Elliott. I also lost some confidence in him after not getting it done against the Browns last week.
Nov 6, 2016; Baltimore, MD, USA; Baltimore Ravens wide receiver Mike Wallace (17) reacts after scoring a touchdown in the first quarter against the Pittsburgh Steelers at M&T Bank Stadium. Mandatory Credit: Evan Habeeb-USA TODAY Sports
Mike Wallace, Baltimore Ravens vs. Miami Dolphins – I’m a sucker for a #RevengeGame narrative and that’s what we have here. Playing your former team is like seeing your ex. You want to remind she/he what they had and not so subtly rub it in their face when you do well. In Wallace’s #RevengeGame earlier in the season against the Steelers, he finished with four receptions, 124 yards and one touchdown. The Dolphins have given up a touchdown to an opposing wide receiver in seven out of the last eight games. I think Wallace will personally make it eight out nine games come Sunday.
Golden Tate, Detroit Lions vs. New Orleans Saints – Remember when Tate was basically non-existent in the Lions offense? Well, that’s not the case anymore. Over the last six games he’s averaging nine targets, six-plus receptions and 81 receiving yards per game. The Saints at home will undoubtedly put up points and it will force the Lions to keep up and/or catch up. As a result, Tate should see a lot of passes coming his way.
Dontrelle Inman, San Diego Chargers vs. Tampa Bay Buccaneers – Call it a hunch or call me crazy, but I think Inman is set up for success this week. First off, over the last four games he is averaging over seven targets, over five receptions and 73 receiving yards per game. Second, the Chargers No. 1 wide receiver, Tyrell Williams, could miss this game or, at the very least, be limited with his shoulder injury. If you’re looking for a high upside desperation play, Inmann is your guy this week.
Randall Cobb, Green Bay Packers vs. Houston Texans – Out of all the Packers wide receivers, he’s the one you can’t trust. Over the last four weeks he has the least amount of receptions, receiving yards and touchdowns between him, Jordy Nelson and Davante Adams. Since running back James Starks returned in Week 10, he has just as many receptions as Cobb but more receiving touchdowns. Even in PPR leagues, he can’t be recommended at this point.
Jarvis Landry, Miami Dolphins vs. Baltimore Ravens – The Dolphins have changed to a ground-and-pound team and they’ve won six games in a row with that philosophy. So why would they stop now? During that six game streak, Landry only has one game with seven-or-more receptions compared to Weeks 1-4 where he had seven-plus receptions in every single game. The offense has changed and so has Landry’s role, targets and receptions.
Kelvin Benjamin, Carolina Panthers vs. Seattle Seahawks – Benjamin is a big wide receiver who is a big name in fantasy football. Yet, his production has been minimal. He only has one, 100-yard game this season and his touchdown last week was his first since Week 4. Mike Evans did beat Seattle’s secondary for two touchdowns last week but if you think Benjamin and Evans are on the same level, you are sadly mistaken.
Nov 27, 2016; Atlanta, GA, USA; Arizona Cardinals tight end Jermaine Gresham (84) reacts after scoring a touchdown against the Atlanta Falcons during the first half at the Georgia Dome. The Falcons defeated the Cardinals 38-19. Mandatory Credit: Dale Zanine-USA TODAY Sports
Jermaine Gresham, Arizona Cardinals vs. Washington Redskins – Last week Gresham was second on the team in targets with 10 and he now has a touchdown in back-to-back games. The Redskins have given up a touchdown to an opposing tight end in three out of the last four games. Do you have the guts?
Eric Ebron, Detroit Lions vs. New Orleans Saints – Ebron is coming off a game where he had zero receptions. A lot of times, owners want to wait a week and see how a player responds before throwing him in their staring lineup. With Ebron, I don’t think you have to. The three games before last week, he was averaging 80 receiving yards per game. This week he should see a lot of action in a potentially high-scoring game against the Saints.
Martellus Bennett, New England Patriots vs. Los Angeles Rams – The last two weeks, Rob Gronkowski has essentially not played in either game. In that time, Bennett is averaging 3.5 targets, two receptions and 18 receiving yards. He is dealing with an ankle injury so that might be part of the problem but he’ll have a good ceiling by playing in the Patriots offense. However, his lack of production plus his ankle injury makes him a risky play this week.
Jason Witten, Dallas Cowboys vs. Minnesota Vikings – He’s a touchdown-or-bust tight end because he’s averaging fewer than five receptions and 51 yards a game. The Vikings have only given up two touchdowns to an opposing tight end all season. I’m banking on him not scoring a touchdown on Thursday.
Nov 27, 2016; East Rutherford, NJ, USA; New England Patriots linebacker Jonathan Freeny (55) causes New York Jets quarterback Ryan Fitzpatrick (14) to fumble during the fourth quarter at MetLife Stadium. Mandatory Credit: Brad Penner-USA TODAY Sports
New England Patriots vs. Los Angeles Rams – If the New Orleans Saints defense can be a top-eight D/ST unit against the Rams, I don’t think the Patriots can do any worse.
Green Bay Packers vs. Houston Texans – The Packers defense has been awful due to injuries. The fact is, I have no faith in Brock Osweiler. He has more interceptions than touchdowns and he’s just so bad.
Tampa Bay Buccaneers vs. San Diego Chargers – This defense has really turned it around over the last three weeks. In those three games they are averaging three forced turnovers per game and opposing teams are averaging less than 11 points per game against them. Keep in mind, Philip Rivers has turned the ball over in eight out of eleven games this season so there’s a good chance he does it again on Sunday.
Buffalo Bills vs. Oakland Raiders – I have a lot more faith in Derek Carr than I do in Rex Ryan’s defense. Even if Carr had to get his pinky finger amputated, I would still expect him to pass for 250 yards and two touchdowns.
New York Giants vs. Pittsburgh Steelers – The Giants D/ST was the highest scoring unit last week but that was against the Browns. This week they have to play Ben Roethlisberger and the Pittsburgh Steelers. When the Steelers are playing at home, you don’t bet against them.
Nov 27, 2016; Tampa, FL, USA; Seattle Seahawks head coach Pete Carroll reacts against the Tampa Bay Buccaneers during the second half at Raymond James Stadium. Tampa Bay Buccaneers defeated the Seattle Seahawks 14-5. Mandatory Credit: Kim Klement-USA TODAY Sports
Last Week and Season-Long Record of Start/Sit
This week and every week I’ll be keeping track of my recommendations from the week before and total for the entire season. Keep in mind, I’m not going to recommend ridiculously obvious players to sit or start just to pad my stats.
Week 12 QB Starts: Derek Carr, Eli Manning and Colin Kaepenerick – All three quarterbacks had 18+ fantasy points so we will take that all day. Result 3/3
Week 12 QB Sits: Matthew Stafford and Carson Wentz– I’ll give it to Wentz with his 17 points, but not to Stafford’s 16. Result 1/2
Week 12 RB Starts: Matt Forte, Rashad Jennings and Wendell Smallwood– I’m still shocked by Forte and Jennings lack of production. However, I should have never put faith in any player in the Eagles backfield. They constantly zig when we expect them to zag. I have more faith in a blind guy giving me directions than what the Eagles running backs are going to do each week. Result 0/3
Week 12 RB Sits: Jordan Howard, Devontae Booker and Isaiah Crowell – Booker and Howard didn’t find the end zone, but they did enough in a week that wasn’t kind to running back. Result 1/3
Week 12 WR Starts: Rishard Matthews, Jamison Crowder and Tyler Boyd– I’ve only used the 0.5 credit once or twice this season and I’m going to do it here. Crowder finished with eight receptions for 88 yards. In standard leagues, it’s just okay but in PPR leagues you’re more than happy. Matthews found the end zone, so that’s good in all leagues. Result 1.5/3
Week 12 TE Starts: Zach Ertz, Kyle Rudolph and Jason Witten – I’m going to give myself half credit for Rudolph who finished with nine receptions for 64 yards. In PPR leagues, you’re good with this. The same can’t be said for the other two. Result 0.5/3