Start’em Sit’em Week 13
Start’em Sit’em is back for Week 13 of the NFL season. Along with the other fine tools provided by Gridiron Experts, this article is here to help guide you on who to start and who to sit as you head towards victory in your Week 13 Fantasy Football matchups. There are several matchups worth discussing and we will go through those matchups now. One friendly reminder heading into this Week 13 Start Sit article is that, thankfully, there are no teams on a bye this week. Most importantly, no matter if you are someone who celebrates Thanksgiving or not, I would like to personally thank you for reading and to wish you and your families a safe and happy holiday season.
Recapping Last Week
This past week was a pretty good week for this column, again. For the first time this season, my Start suggestion, Baker Mayfield had a top-5 finish and for just the second time this season, my sit suggestion, Dak Prescott finished outside the top-12. The Jets, the lastest results have me determined to continue on delivering you the best picks that Week 13 has to offer, so let’s get started. As always, if you any other start or sit questions that are not answered here, please feel free to reach me on Twitter.
- Scoring and stats are based on half-point per reception scoring and come from fantasydata.com
- Start percentages originate from ESPN.com
- Start options range from 0-60%
- Sit options range from 50-100%
The following are my Start’em Sit’em Week 13 recommendations:
Start’em Sit’em Quarterbacks
Jets @ Bengals
ESPN Starting Percentage: 9.7%
Most folks would remember a handful of weeks ago when I said that I could no longer endorse starting Sam Darnold. Well, never say never as I’m changing my tune and suggesting that you start the Jets signal-caller in Week 13. It is with good reason that I’m changing my stance as Darnold has been on a roll lately. In Darnold’s last three games, he has thrown for 838 yards with seven touchdown passes and just one interception. It is those sorts of numbers that has propelled the Jets quarterback to finish no worse than the seventh-best quarterback in each of those three weeks. Week 13 will deliver yet another favorable opponent when the Jets head to Cincinnati to take on the winless Bengals. As if being winless didn’t make the Bengals seem helpless enough, their defense is currently allowing the fourth-most points to the quarterback position. Looking a little bit deeper into that ranking, in three out of the Bengals five home games in 2019, the defense has allowed opposing signal-callers to finish no worse than the sixth-best quarterback on the week. Make no mistake, Darnold is still a matchup dependent play. That being said, the Jets opponents for the next two weeks have Darnold looking more and more like a quarterback worth starting.
Titans @ Colts
ESPN Starting Percentage: 5.7%
Much like the previously mentioned Sam Darnold, Ryan Tannehill is yet another quarterback with a low start percentage that no one seems to be capitalizing on. This start percentage should have been on the rise weeks ago as Tannehill has finished as a QB1 in each of his last four starts. On top of throwing multiple touchdowns in three out of those four games, his arm isn’t the only way in which he has been producing for fantasy. Tannehill has also been a threat on the ground during this four-game stretch as he has scored three rushing touchdowns. Digging deeper into those rushing touchdowns, ESPN Stats and Info had tweeted that in Tannehill’s game against the Jaguars last week that it was the first time since Steve McNair in 2001 that a Titans quarterback had two passing and two rushing touchdowns in the same game. Eventually, this magic carpet ride for Tannehill will come to an end but not in his Week 13 matchup against the Indianapolis Colts. While this Colts defense has only allowed the nineteenth most points to quarterback position this season, in the last two weeks, they have allowed the opposing quarterback to finish the week as a QB1. As odd as it might seem, Ryan Tannehill, in 2019, is one of your better fantasy football options.
Eagles @ Dolphins
ESPN Starting Percentage: 44.4%
Between GridironExperts having a Thanksgiving of Start’em Sit’em and the rest of the quarterback options being started in 60% or more of ESPN leagues, I simply could not come up with a player that was worth sitting. With that in mind, I wanted to point out a quarterback with what would seem to be a matchup worth capitalizing on. This week, some of you might feel compelled to start Carson Wentz in a matchup against a Miami Dolphins defense that is allowing the third-most points to the quarterback position. Despite the matchup, I’m urging you to give another week before throwing Carson Wentz back into your starting lineups. Simply put, between injuries and offensive woes, Wentz has little to nothing to work with. Those problems showed this past week in a home game against the Seahawks as Wentz would finish with 256 yards passing along with one touchdown and two interceptions. Needless to say, that performance would have Wentz failing to finish as a QB1 for the fifth straight week. Sometimes choosing a start candidate isn’t as easy as a player’s opponent, this is one of those times so feel free to sit Wentz in Week 13.
Start’em Sit’em Running Backs
Buccaneers @ Jaguars
ESPN Starting Percentage: 47.0%
Throughout the first half of the 2019 season, one of the handfuls of things that the fantasy football universe had been hoping for was that Bruce Arians would anoint Ronald Jones as the primary back for the Buccaneers. Finally, at the start of November, Arians had proclaimed that Jones had ‘earned the right to start‘. Since that day when Arians endorsed his sophomore running back, Jones has been a top-12 running back in two out of their last three games. Now, with 13 receptions and two touchdowns in the past three weeks, Jones and the Buccaneers will now turn their attention to a Jaguars team that with each passing week is moving farther away from their reputation of being a strong defense. While the Jaguars are allowing the eighth-most points to the position, it is their more recent performances that have me excited about Jones’ potential. In the past three weeks, this Jaguars defense has been in the top-5 in points allowed to running backs. This would include this past week when Derrick Henry would rush for 159-yards and two touchdowns. Between Jones having 13 or more touches in each of his last three games and the Jaguars being a prime matchup, I see no reason why Ronald Jones doesn’t deserve some serious flex consideration in Week 13.
Colts vs. Titans
ESPN Starting Percentage: 13.7%
Headed into last week’s Thursday night football game, the Indianapolis Colts backfield was loaded with players that had been tagged as questionable. If you are a frequenter on twitter you would have noticed that as it pertains to Colts running back, Jonathan Williams, timelines on Friday were littered with should have, could have, and would have. For the 13.7% of people in ESPN leagues that went with their gut and started Williams, they were rewarded as the Colts back would finish the week as the sixth-best running back in fantasy. To me, what was more encouraging than anything about Williams’ outing last week was not the yards or the touchdown, it was that he was given 26 carries. Those carries would be the fourth-most by a Colts running back since the 2017 season.
Really, whoever is going to be in the backfield for the Colts is due to get some work. The biggest indicators of this are the Colts sitting at sixth in the NFL in time of possession as well as third in rushing attempts per game. So with Marlon Mack already being ruled out for Week 13, I’m all in on Williams having another fruitful outing against another AFC South team, the Tennessee Titans. While the Titans are twelfth in the NFL in fantasy points allowed to running backs, I’m looking at what they have done more recently for inspiration. In four out of the Titans last six games, their defense has finished in the top-10 in points allowed to running backs. The two games that they fared better against opposing back came against teams that are seventeenth or worse in rushing attempts on a per-game basis.
Seahawks vs. Vikings
ESPN Starting Percentage: 83.9%
Since Rashaad Penny was drafted in the first round of the NFL draft two years ago, there was always a handful of instances where we thought that Penny would force his way into a larger workload. This past Sunday might have been the biggest indicator that the time is finally now. This past Sunday, against the Eagles, Penny would rush for 129 yards and a touchdown on just 14 carries. What might be even more notable than Penny’s outing was the fact that Chris Carson went back to his fumbling ways. Tying all of this in with Pete Carrol hinting at Penny getting more of a workload and the Seahawks opponent, Carson is trending more and more towards a sit candidate. In regards to the Seahawks opponent, the Vikings are currently allowing the sixth-fewest points to the running back position. Even worse, the Vikings have only finished a week in the top-10 in points allowed to the position and that was all the way back in Week 2 against the Packers. One of the biggest reasons for the Vikings were as good as they are against opposing running backs is the fact that they are one of four teams to allow three or fewer rushing touchdowns to the running back position. At the end of the day, if you have fantasy stock in Chris Carson, his league-leading seven fumbles are alarming and dangerous to hinge your fantasy season on. I really like nothing about Chris Carson and Week 13.
Start’em Sit’em Wide Receivers
Bengals vs. Jets
ESPN Starting Percentage: 37.9%
This past week, after an embarrassing outing against the Raiders, Tyler Boyd finally had himself a solid fantasy performance. Against the Pittsburgh Steelers, Boyd would finish tied as the thirteenth best wide receiver on the week as he had 101 yards receiving and a touchdown. On top of the impressive outing, it was announced on Monday that the Bengals would be going back to Andy Dalton in Week 13. While it is unclear if the inclusion of Dalton will miraculously heal A.J Green, Dalton being back under center does put Boyd back in a position to be started in your fantasy leagues. Up next for Boyd and the Bengals will be a matchup against the New York Jets. While the Jets have been playing better from an NFL perspective, that doesn’t necessarily translate to fantasy. This is a Jets defense that is currently allowing the sixth-most points to the wide receiver position and they are also just one of five teams to allow fifteen or more touchdowns to the positi0n. It might bode well for Boyd as well that the Bengals will be playing this game at home. So far this season, 463 of Boyd’s 699 receiving yards, along with his two touchdowns have all coming in games played in Cincinnati. On top of that, in three out of the four road games for the Jets this season, their defense has finished in the top-5 in most points allowed to the wide receiver position. While it hasn’t always been pretty for Boyd, the phrase ‘better late than never’ could never be more appropriate for the Bengals wide receiver in Week 13.
Dolphins vs. Eagles
ESPN Starting Percentage: 42.4%
Prior to last week, in three out five games, DeVante Parker was a player that has finished inside the top-20 in fantasy scoring amongst his position. While last week against the Browns would see Parker finishing just outside the top-20, I love Parker’s opportunity in his next matchup against the Philadelphia Eagles. While most of the focus on the Eagles is in regards to Carson Wentz and his lack of healthy weapons, their secondary has continued to be ineffective. Headed into Week 13, this is an Eagles defense that is allowing the fifth-most points to the position. In the last six games, Parker has hauled in 466 of his 695 yards this season. While Parker is the seventeenth most targeted player in the NFL, in the last three games, Parker has seen 31 of his season 83 targets. As odd as it might seem, in this second half of the 2019 NFL season, DeVante Parker is a valuable fantasy football asset.
Broncos vs. Chargers
ESPN Starting Percentage: 52.2%
Following the trade of Emmanuel Sanders to the 49ers, most folks were of the mindset that this would be the time for Courtland Sutton to shine. While Sutton has had some notable fantasy production in two out of his last three games, I do not think that will carry over into the Broncos Week 13 matchup against the Chargers. So far this season, despite their struggles on the offensive side of the ball, the Chargers are allowing the third-fewest points to the position. This defense has only had one week in which they have allowed top-10 production to opposing wide receivers and more specifically, in the Chargers matchup against the Broncos earlier this season, the Chargers finished that week nineteenth in fantasy points allowed. While three of Sutton’s four touchdowns this season have come at home, I find his yards receiving to be a bit overwhelming. While Sutton has 511 yards receiving on the road, he has just 321 receiving yards at home. For Sutton, PPR formats might his saving grace but in half-point or standard leagues, considering the Broncos opponent, I will be fading Sutton in Week 13.
Start’em Sit’em Tight Ends
Rams @ Cardinals
ESPN Starting Percentage: 0.1%
With the news that Gerald Everett will be missing this week’s game with a knee injury, this now opens the door for Tyler Higbee to take the lead at tight end for the Rams. While Everett has grabbed a stranglehold as the top contributor at tight end, Higbee was able to make his presence felt back in Week 1. Against the Panthers in the season opener, Higbee would finish the week as the number 12 tight on the week. Only managing 20-yards receiving in that game, he did catch four of his five targets and more importantly, wound up in the endzone. While it might seem like an easy call that you play tight ends against the Cardinals, it is with good reason. Even with the Cardinals making some roster adjustments throughout the season, the Cardinals have still finished in the top-10 in points allowed to the position in eight of their eleven games played this season. Despite the Rams struggles, this should bode well for Higbee as more often than not, the injured Everett had been targeted and feasted on positive matchups. So far this season, when Everett had gone up against two other teams that sit in the top-5 in most points allowed to the position. In those two games, Everett finished in the top-5 in scoring. While Everett has become the main man at tight end for the Rams, Higbee is more than capable of filling in those shoes and I expect him to do that in a big way in Week 13.
Ravens vs. 49ers
ESPN Starting Percentage: 82.9%
In what might be my most unpopular pick in Week 13, I’m suggesting that you sit Mark Andrews this week. To be clear, with six games inside the top-10, Andrews has been an absolute beast for your fantasy football lineups. It is with that in mind that I tell you that selecting that you sit him has nothing to do with Andrews himself and has everything to do with his opponent. Week 13 will present a difficult matchup in the form of a 49ers defense that is allowing the second-fewest points to the position. So far this year, the 49ers are allowing an average of 4.8 fantasy points per game to tight ends and have allowed just two tight ends all season long to finish a week inside the top-10. The key to beating this 49ers defense is a mobile quarterback and a strong enough running game that can weaken their front-seven over the course of four quarters. The Ravens realize this and will game plan for it. With linebackers such as Fred Warner on the 49ers side, I truly feel as if Andrews will have trouble getting open. If you choose to start Andrews this week, you may be doing it at your own peril.
Start’em Sit’em D/ST
Ravens vs. 49ers
ESPN Starting Percentage: 46.8%
For whatever reason, some of you gave the Rams too much credit based on past performances as the Ravens were started in just 46.8% of ESPN leagues. Even with the 49ers coming to town, the Ravens are simply a defense that needs to be started each and every week. Earlier this season, the Patriots D/ST was the talk of the fantasy town as they had seven weeks finishing inside the top-5 in D/ST scoring. In the second half of the season, as the Patriots scoring has tapered off, the Ravens have taken flight, pun intended. In a streak that has now reached five games, the Ravens D/ST has finished in the top-5 in scoring. During that stretch of five games, the Ravens have had 14 sacks which are just as many as the Dolphins have had all season. The gameplan on the 49ers quarterback, Jimmy Garoppolo is always the same, apply enough pressure and he will make mistakes. If the Ravens can continue to apply the kind of pressure that they have as of later, Garoppolo could be in line for an interception or two.
Patriots @ Texans
ESPN Starting Percentage: 70.2%
As previously mentioned, the Patriots D/ST was on a roll during the first half of this season. However, since the Patriots undefeated streak came to an end, the once historically dominant D/ST has not performed as well for fantasy. In the past three weeks, the Patriots D/ST has only had one week in which they finished inside the top-10. This selection is more so about their opponent, the Houston Texans. In the last six week, only defenses opposing the Texans have been able to finish the week inside the top-10 in D/ST scoring. From an NFL standpoint, the Patriots will have a defense that will likely carry them to the SuperBowl. That being said, their schedule now is a lot tougher than it was earlier this season. It might be time to stop clinging to the first half of this season and instead, look for a better Week 13 matchup.