Fantasy Football Matchups: Kenneth Dixon is stepping up

One week until fantasy playoffs start for most of you. Are you ready? Do you need one win to get into the postseason? Hopefully, this week’s matchup recommendations can help.

Remember that you’ll rarely see suggestions here to start studs like Drew Brees and Antonio Brown. Most of the suggestions below aren’t for must-start or must-sit types.

Note: The fantasy points per game allowed (FPPG) referenced below are from FOXSports.com standard leagues.

Week 13 byes: Browns, Titans

Thursday games: Cowboys at Vikings

Quarterbacks

Stay away: Blake Bortles, Jaguars (vs. Broncos)

Bortles has thrown 11 touchdown passes over his past five games, but completed just 59.5 percent of his passes over that time. He’s still very, very shaky.

Also, while it’s fun to correctly call a garbage-time play, the Jags actually could make a game of it at home against the Broncos, and it’s THE BRONCOS, where the stats of opposing quarterbacks and wide receivers go to die. Wade Phillips’ D has allowed a league-low 12.7 FPPG to opposing passers, and you should avoid Bortles under most circumstances.

Also:

I’ve gotten Dak Prescott wrong more than once, but he’s visiting a Vikings team that ranks third with 13.5 FPPG allowed to opposing quarterbacks in a game with an over-under of just 44. Prescott is outside of my top 12 this week.

Play, play, play: Ryan Fitzpatrick, Jets (vs. Colts)

This spot was tough to fill, as none of the usually borderline QBs has great matchups. Hence, we dug all the way down to Fitzpatrick for his Monday night matchup with the 30th-ranked Colts defense (20.7 FPPG to opposing QBs). I’ve got Fitz at QB18, putting him in play for desperate owners of Marcus Mariota and maybe Carson Palmer.

Running backs

Stay away: Rob Kelley, Redskins (at Cardinals)

Kelley’s Thanksgiving game was his first bad one (14 carries, 37 yards) since taking over as the early-down back, but it might not be the last, as he’s facing a road matchup with the second-ranked Cardinals’ fantasy defense (13.4 FPPG to opposing RBs). Kelley might be busy, but if he runs (for example) 15 times for 50 yards, he’ll be very TD-dependent. At RB24 in my rankings, he’s startable — "stay away" might be a strong term to use in this case — but not someone to get excited about.

Play, play, play: Kenneth Dixon, Ravens (vs. Dolphins)

Dixon’s 17 touches against the Bengals in Week 13 were a season high, and he finally played more snaps than Terrance West. Dixon’s receiving skills will keep him busy, and extra valuable for his PPR owners. He’s at RB26.

Now, you might be asking, “Why should I start Dixon if the Dolphins’ defense ranks eighth with 15.5 FPPG allowed to opposing running backs?” Because the Dolphins have allowed 132.2 rushing yards per game, which ranks 30th in the league. The fantasy numbers disagree with the real-life numbers here due to Miami’s D keeping backs out of the end zone, and we’re going to take the non-FPPG path this week.

Wide receivers

Stay away: Kelvin Benjamin, Panthers (at Seahawks)

Benjamin’s 44-yard touchdown catch Sunday against the Raiders was great … and the first TD he’s posted since Week 4. From Weeks 3-12, Benjamin has averaged 3.9 receptions and 59.7 yards per game while scoring just twice. Starting him on the road isn’t advisable against Richard Sherman and a Seahawks defense that ranks sixth with 21.2 FPPG allowed to opposing wideouts.

Play, play, play: Tyreek Hill, Chiefs (at Falcons)

Hill isn’t here simply because he scored three touchdowns against the Broncos in an electrifying Sunday night performance. It’s also because he’s been targeted 28 times over the past three weeks, which ranks ninth among wide receivers, behind only Julian Edelman, Jordy Nelson, Antonio Brown, Terrelle Pryor, Odell Beckham Jr., Mike Evans, Larry Fitzgerald and DeAndre Hopkins. That’s a pretty good list, and it reinforces the fact that the Chiefs are trying to get the ball into Hill’s hands. Start him if you’ve got him against the Falcons’ 22nd-ranked fantasy defense (25 FPPG to opposing WRs).

Also:

Matt Barkley sure seems to like Marquess Wilson, who caught eight passes for 125 yards and a touchdown in Week 12. Wilson next game is a matchup with the bottom-ranked 49ers’ fantasy defense (28.2 FPPG to opposing WRs). I’ve got Wilson at WR35, making him worthy of a WR3 or flex spot.

Tight ends

Stay away: Jared Cook, Packers (vs. Texans)

Maybe it’s easy to pick on the inconsistent Cook, who went 6-105-1 in Week 11, and caught one pass for 7 yards on Monday night against the Eagles. Which Cook will you get this Sunday? It’s not worth finding out against a Texans defense that ranks fifth with just 5.3 FPPG allowed to fantasy tight ends.

Play, play, play: Coby Fleener, Saints (vs. Lions)

I’m ceding this pick to my colleague Adam Meyer, who talked up Fleener as a Week 13 streamer on Tuesday’s FOX Fantasy Podcast. The reason is simple: The Lions have been gashed by opposing tight ends, allowing more FPPG (11.4) and touchdowns (nine) to the position than any other team. Adam isn’t buying the fact that Josh Hill had more targets (six) than Fleener (four) in Week 12. If this one goes badly, don’t blame me!

(OK, maybe you can blame me if Fleener doesn’t produce. I didn’t like any of the other matchup-suggested options at tight end, so I passed the buck.)

Week 13 Fantasy Football Rankings

QB | RB | WR | TE | DST | K

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