Start ‘Em Sit ‘Em Week 13
As we now approach the final game before the playoffs, every single lineup decision matters just that much more for fantasy football managers looking to keep their postseason aspirations alive. We saw another week of devastating injuries, breakout performances, and disappointing results across the league. With two teams on bye this week, there is a near-full plethora of players to choose from, making decisions that much harder. We will take a look at the players and the matchups to take advantage of and the ones to shy away from.
Teams on bye: Carolina Panthers, Tampa Bay Buccaneers
Recapping last week
It was a rather strong week for our last week’s picks, although a couple of players didn’t play (making our recommendations null). Cam Newton did struggle with a performance outside the top-25, Tua Tagavailoa did not play due to injury and Matt Ryan finished outside the top-15. Latavius Murray was a top-five play while Jonathan Taylor did not play due to COVID-19 and Gio Bernard predictably struggled to a finish outside of the top-30. Curtis Samuel finished just outside the top-30 while Sterling Shepard finished just inside of it but Tee Higgins had a top-24 performance. Evan Engram was a top-three play while Jared Cook dropped a goose egg. With that, let’s look at Week 13.
Start ‘Em Sit ‘Em Week 13 QB’s
Saints vs Falcons
ESPN Starting Percentage: 22.6%
While Hill only has 311 passing yards to go with zero passing touchdowns and one interception through his two games as a starter, he has 93 rushing yards and four rushing touchdowns. Hill is by no means a conventional quarterback and has been used more as a rusher than a passer. He does face the same Falcons squad that gave him 233 passing yards and 49 rushing yards with two touchdowns on the ground. Hill’s rushing ability and matchup makes him a solid low-end QB1 in Week 13.
Vikings vs Jaguars
ESPN Starting Percentage: 7.4%
Even without Adam Thielen, Cousins put up his second-straight game of 300+ passing yards, three touchdowns, and zero interceptions. He now faces a Jaguars defense that has given up 258 passing yards and two touchdowns to an opposing quarterback in each of their last five games. They’ve only pulled in two interceptions during that time as well. If Thielen returns, that could push Cousins towards mid-tier QB1 upside but he’ll be a low-end QB1 regardless of his star wide receiver’s status.
Falcons vs Saints
ESPN Starting Percentage: 50.5%
While he had two passing touchdowns in Week 12, he threw another interception and only had 185 passing yards on 56.4% passing. He also threw an interception for the fourth straight game and now faces the same Saints defense that allowed him to only manage 232 scoreless passing yards with two interceptions in Week 11. Whether or not Julio Jones returns, Ryan has played poorly as of late and now faces one of the best defenses in the league for the second time in three weeks. He isn’t a recommended play.
Start ‘Em Sit ‘Em Week 13 RB’s
Patriots vs Chargers
ESPN Starting Percentage: 25.3%
While Harris only finished with 47 scoreless rushing yards in Week 12, he still had almost triple the number of carries that James White had (14 to 5). White did have two rushing scores near the goal-line, which is discouraging for those beginning to trust Harris. He does have a rebound matchup against the Chargers, who just gave up 141 rushing yards to Devin Singletary and Zack Moss in Week 12 and 94 rushing yards with two touchdowns to Frank Gore and La’Mical Perine in the last two games. Harris should continue to see the bulk of the rushing work and have more opportunities to score this weekend. He’s a high-end RB3/FLEX option.
Jets vs Raiders
ESPN Starting Percentage: 8.1%
Speaking of Gore, he has actually been playing decently as of late. He has at least 18 total touches and 71 scrimmage yards in each of his last two games following Perine’s injury. He keeps getting work and even scored his first touchdown of the season in Week 11. He now faces a Raiders defense that has given up 75 or more scrimmage yards and a touchdown to an opposing running back in each of their last two games. Gore is certainly one that is hard to trust but he is seeing guaranteed volume and now has a plus matchup. He’s a low-ceiling RB3/FLEX in Week 13.
Any Falcons RB
Falcons vs Saints
ESPN Starting Percentage: N/A
With Todd Gurley sitting out in Week 12 after missing practice all week for a knee injury, the workload was split between Brian Hill and Ito Smith. Both played well against a weak Raiders defense as each of them had 13+ offensive touches and 55 scrimmage yards. However, they face the same Saints defense who only gave up 56 scoreless scrimmage yards combined to all Falcons running backs in Week 11. If Gurley sits again (which is a definite possibility), Hill and Smith splitting work only hurts both of their little fantasy value in a bad matchup. It’s best to avoid both of them.
Start ‘Em Sit ‘Em Week 13 WR’s
Chargers vs Patriots
ESPN Starting Percentage: 25.7%
Williams had another stinker of a performance in Week 12 against the Bills. He does still have 72 or more yards receiving in four of his last seven games, which further proves his boom-or-bust ability in this offense. He does have a favorable matchup against the Patriots, who have given up seven receiving touchdowns to opposing wide receivers in the last four games. With Keenan Allen expected to see a lot of Stephon Gilmore, that could open up more looks for Williams. He is yet again a high-ceiling, low-floor WR3 in a plus matchup for Week 13.
Raiders vs Jets
ESPN Starting Percentage: 15.5%
Even in a poor team performance against the Falcons in Week 12, Agholor still put up 54 yards on five receptions. He now has at least 54 yards receiving in three of his last four games as the team’s number one receiver. He has been playing as one of the best big-play threats this season and should be part of a team-wide rebound performance against the winless Jets. New York has given up at least 119 yards receiving to an opposing wide receiver in each of the last two games and with the Raiders fighting for a playoff spot, you can expect to see them pull out all of the stops. Agholor is a mid-tier WR3/FLEX play in Week 13.
Bengals vs Dolphins
ESPN Starting Percentage: 45.2%
With Joe Burrow out for the season, it was clear that Boyd would see a dip in value, just like every other Bengals skill player. Brandon Allen is a massive downgrade at quarterback and Boyd only pulled in three receptions for 15 yards in a pathetic performance from the Bengals offense. Even with the potential for garbage time, Boyd just isn’t trustworthy while Allen (or anyone not named Burrow) is under center. The Dolphins have been playing better as of late and provides a tough match-up for the Bengals. Boyd shouldn’t be viewed as more than a low-end WR3/FLEX.
Start ‘Em Sit ‘Em Week 13 TE’s
Broncos vs Chiefs
ESPN Starting Percentage: 30.9%
It’s entirely fair to chalk up Fant’s performance in Week 12 as a mulligan as we saw them use an undrafted free agent rookie who hadn’t played quarterback for two years as their starter this past weekend. Drew Lock should be back this week and help return some normalcy to their offense. Before Week 12, Fant had at least 45 yards receiving in three of his previous four games with 24 targets during that span. He faces a Chiefs defense that gave up 88 yards and a touchdown to Darren Waller in Week 11 and 106 receiving yards to Rob Gronkowski in Week 12. He’ll be a low-end TE1 for Week 13.
Falcons vs Saints
ESPN Starting Percentage: 41.7%
In Jones’ absence, Hurst saw eight targets and turned that into four receptions for 48 yards in Week 12. While Hurst has 50+ receiving yards in six of his 11 games this season, he has three games with eight or fewer receiving yards as well. He had one game with zero receptions and that was against the same Saints team he faces in Week 13. Plus, Julio Jones came close to playing in Week 12, hinting at him potentially returning in Week 13. If that is the case, Hurst’s target share should dip. He’ll be tough to sit but if there are any options with even some semblance of upside, they would likely be the better play.
Doug Moore is a fantasy football writer for Gridiron Experts. He has previously written for sites such as ESPN, SBNation, FFToday & Inside The Pylon. He also was the co-host for the highly-rated fantasy football podcast Overtime Ireland for several years. You can find him on Twitter at @DMooreNFL