Fantasy Football Week 13: Players to start or sit

Dalton Del Don
·11 min read

Sit and start is relative and league dependent, so consider some of these suggestions more “fliers” and “fades” (note that some are targeted for DFS).

Good luck with your Week 13 lineups.

Detroit Lions @ Chicago Bears

Sit: Marvin Jones

Start: Darnell Mooney

Jones remains Detroit’s No. 1 WR with Kenny Golladay not appearing any closer to returning, but Jones has looked washed this season, ranking #80 in yards per target and #94 in yards per route run. Volume is nice, but Jones managed fewer than 50 receiving yards on 12 targets last week versus the Texans, and Sunday he goes outdoors to face a Bears defense that’s ceded the third-fewest fantasy points to wide receivers this season.

[Week 13 Fantasy Rankings: QBs | RBs | WRs | TEs | FLEX | DST | Kickers]

Mooney ranks #16 in air yards this year — more than DeAndre Hopkins — and while he’s struggled to cash them in, he gets a Lions secondary that’s allowed the third-most fantasy points to his primary side. Mooney comes with a low floor, but Week 13 is as good as any to gamble on his upside.

Cincinnati Bengals @ Miami Dolphins

Sit: All Bengals

Start: Dolphins D/ST

Brandon Allen got 4.7 YPA last week and now goes on the road to face a Dolphins pass defense that ranks top-10 in DVOA. Gio Bernard had just eight carries last week, so no Bengals can be trusted in fantasy lineups right now.

Miami enters as 11.5-point favorites and with the third-best point differential in the NFL, and Allen looks like a major problem at quarterback for Cincinnati. The Dolphins are arguably the top fantasy defense in Week 13.

Indianapolis Colts @ Houston Texans

Start in DFS: Michael Pittman Jr. ($18), Brandin Cooks ($18)

Pittman was quiet last week but actually saw a career-high nine targets, as he’s emerging as Indy’s #1 wideout. Facing a Houston defense that’s allowed the 10th most fantasy points to wide receivers and now will be missing Bradley Roby (suspension), Pittman is a borderline top-25 WR and strong DFS option this week.

Cooks is an even better DFS target at the same salary, given his likely target share boost with Will Fuller suspended. The Texans will struggle badly trying to run against the Colts, and their defense will likely cede a bunch of points, so Cooks should see a ton of volume in a game that projects to be fast-paced (Jordan Akins and Keke Coutee are sleepers).

Jacksonville Jaguars @ Minnesota Vikings

Start in DFS: Collin Johnson ($11)

Start: Kirk Cousins

Johnson is a deep sleeper if you’re looking for a cheap wide receiver in DFS this week, especially if DJ Chark doesn’t return. The Jaguars will be throwing plenty while playing mostly from behind, and Mike Glennon looked competent last week. The Vikings have allowed the second-most fantasy points to wide receivers this season.

Cousins hasn’t required much volume this season (last week was his first game with 40 pass attempts) to rank as a top-15 fantasy QB, and he’s gotten 9.3 YPA and thrown 17 touchdowns over six games at home. He’ll get Adam Thielen back on Sunday, and Jacksonville has allowed the third-most fantasy points to quarterbacks while continuously adding players to the IR.

Minnesota Vikings quarterback Kirk Cousins (8)
Kirk Cousins has been excellent at home this season. (AP Photo/Jim Mone)

Las Vegas Raiders @ New York Jets

Start: Derek Carr, Denzel Mims

Expect Carr to rebound from last week against a Jets funnel defense that ranks #8 versus the run yet last against the pass in DVOA. Josh Jacobs is also banged up, so Carr should be throwing frequently Sunday in a highly favorable matchup (it should also help the Jets have been especially vulnerable to tight ends). Also, fire up Devontae Booker should Jacobs have to sit.

Mims is already the Jets’ best offensive weapon, and the rookie wideout actually ranks #5 in WOPR this season among all receivers. Mims has recorded a catch for 25+ yards in four straight games (Tyler Boyd hasn’t recorded one catch for more than 25 yards all season) and is going to be an extremely popular target during fantasy drafts next season in Year Two and with big upgrades at coach and quarterback.

New Orleans Saints @ Atlanta Falcons

Sit: Taysom Hill

Start in DFS: Falcons D/ST ($10)

The Falcons have played much better since firing Dan Quinn, going 4-2 after an 0-5 start. The defense has completely shut down the run, which means Hill will be asked to beat them Sunday, and there’s now more game film on the limited passer. The Saints’ offense didn’t have to do much last week while facing a Denver team without a quarterback, yet Hill quietly has four fumbles and a pick (with seven sacks) over 2.5 games since Drew Brees got hurt. Meanwhile, Atlanta’s defense quietly has the fourth-most QB pressures (hurries/knockdowns/sacks) this season, and Sunday’s game script could prove favorable with Julio Jones likely to return on offense. The Saints have also been dealing with injury issues along their offensive line, so I have the Falcons as a top-12 fantasy defense this week, making them a DFS target at the minimum $10 (and Hill a bench candidate).

Cleveland Browns @ Tennessee Titans

Start in DFS: Jarvis Landry ($15), Derrick Henry ($34)

Playing through a rib injury and three straight games with strong winds helped lead to a slow season from Landry, but he erupted last week while looking healthy and should be just as busy Sunday with the Browns 5.5-point underdogs in a game with a high over/under (53.5 points). The Titans have yielded the fourth-most fantasy points to the slot this season, and $15 is affordable for a receiver with Landry’s projected volume.

Henry once again looks unstoppable during the second half of a season, and he’s one of the few remaining true workhorses. Dalvin Cook ($41) has a great matchup but is banged up and could cede work to Alexander Mattison in a blowout, while Alvin Kamara ($37) has completely disappeared as a receiver since Drew Brees went down and quietly gets the toughest current matchup for fantasy backs. Henry, in addition, is more affordable than both ($34).

New York Giants @ Seattle Seahawks

Sit: Sterling Shepard

Start: Jacob Hollister

Shepard has clearly overtaken Darius Slayton as New York’s WR1, and he may seem like a fine start since Seattle has allowed by far the most fantasy points to wide receivers this season, but he’s best on fantasy benches if Colt McCoy starts as expected. The Seahawks’ defense has also played much better since trading for Carlos Dunlap, recording 19 sacks over four games (and allowing just 4.8 yards per play over the last three). Dunlap is questionable for Week 13, but this is going to be a tough environment in Seattle for McCoy and company either way.

If you’re searching for a sleeper at a thin tight end position, it’s been Hollister and not Will Dissly who’s seen an increased role since Greg Olsen went down, and there’s potential here given Russell Wilson’s presence and James Bradberry shadowing DK Metcalf this week.

Los Angeles Rams @ Arizona Cardinals

Start: Jared Goff

Sit: Christian Kirk

Goff has produced far more on the road (15 touchdowns) than at home (three TDs) this season, and he gets a game indoors against a Cardinals defense allowing a healthy 5.8 yards per play in Arizona this season. The Cardinals lead the NFL in pace (neutral situations) and no-huddle rate, so this game should feature a bunch of plays, and I like buying players coming off ugly performances like Goff’s last week (Derek Carr also applies).

Kirk could see extra action this week with Jalen Ramsey shadowing DeAndre Hopkins, but LAR has multiple tough corners and has yielded the fewest fantasy points to wide receivers this season. Kirk hasn’t surpassed 50 yards in any of the last three games, and Kyler Murray doesn’t appear right while dealing with a shoulder injury.

Philadelphia Eagles @ Green Bay Packers

Start: Dallas Goedert, Robert Tonyan

Goedert has emerged as Philadelphia’s only reliable weekly pass catcher, and he should be started with confidence even if Zach Ertz returns this week. Goedert ranks #2 in Dominator Rating this season and is the only member of the Eagles whose fantasy value isn’t on the decline (Miles Sanders’ snap share is down to 60% over the last two weeks).

Tonyan is TD dependent, but he’s a must-start at an extremely weak tight end position thanks to Aaron Rodgers having such a terrific season (while receiving league-best pass protection). This week Tonyan gets an Eagles defense that’s been vulnerable to tight ends, so you’ll want him in your fantasy lineup.

New England Patriots @ Los Angles Chargers

Start: Damien Harris

Start in DFS: Austin Ekeler ($27)

The Patriots enter with big advantages in the trenches on offense and at head coach. Harris has impressed this season and should have a nice game versus a Chargers run defense that’s allowed 4.8 YPC and ranks #31 in DVOA.

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Ekeler saw a career-high in touches during his first game back off IR (Anthony Lynn is doing performance art at this point), and he’s seeing a crazy number of targets from a budding superstar as his new quarterback. I have Ekeler as a top-three fantasy back this week and moving forward, and his DFS salary hasn’t caught up.

Denver Broncos @ Kansas City Chiefs

Sit: Jerry Jeudy

Start in DFS: Clyde Edwards-Helaire ($25)

Jeudy no doubt has a bright future and has flashed during a rookie season that’s seen him rack up the fourth-most air yards among all receivers, but he’s banged up and questionable to play Sunday night versus an underrated KC defense that’s ceded the fourth-fewest fantasy points to wideouts. And while getting Drew Lock back is without question an upgrade from last week, it’s still a bottom-three QB situation in the league right now.

Edwards-Helaire ($25) has disappointed this season, but he’s coming off arguably the toughest matchup for running backs with the Bucs and now faces a run-funnel Denver defense that ranks #5 against the pass but #19 versus the rush in DVOA. Le’Veon Bell has actually averaged fewer YPC in Kansas City than with the Jets and continues to look washed. While CEH’s upside is limited coming off the field on passing downs, he’s a threat to score multiple touchdowns any game as a feature back in this offense, and Sunday night the Chiefs are 14-point home favorites.

Buffalo Bills @ San Francisco 49ers

Start: Cole Beasley, Jordan Reed

Beasley should see increased volume this week with John Brown out and facing an SF defense that’s stingy against the run and has two outside corners playing extremely well in Jason Verrett and Richard Sherman, leaving Emmanuel Moseley (who’s allowed among the most fantasy points per route this season) trying to cover him in the slot.

Reed remains a huge injury risk, but Nick Mullens loves targeting him, and the Bills have allowed the fifth-most fantasy points to tight ends this season. The 49ers’ offense should be productive on Arizona’s fast turf and with Brandon Aiyuk, Deebo Samuel, and Raheem Mostert finally all healthy together.

Washington Football Team @ Pittsburgh Steelers

Sit: J.D. McKissic

Start: Eric Ebron

After seeing 29 targets over Alex Smith’s first two games, McKissic has just six over the last two contests, and he finished with only three touches last week. He’s fallen well behind Antonio Gibson, so McKissic is best benched even in PPR leagues Monday against a Steelers defense that’s yielded the second-fewest fantasy points to running backs this season (Bud Dupree was just lost for the season, but PFF graded him very poorly).

Ebron has scored in three of the last five games and saw 11 targets last week, and his underneath game meshes well with this version of Ben Roethlisberger, as the two are clearly developing chemistry. Pittsburgh really struggles running the ball, and Washington has allowed the second-fewest fantasy points to wide receivers this season, so Monday sets up for another heavy target game for Ebron, who’s a top-10 tight end option this week.

Dallas Cowboys @ Baltimore Ravens

Sit: Amari Cooper

Start: J.K. Dobbins

Cooper is coming off a nice game but has a tough matchup outdoors against a Baltimore defense that’s allowed the second-fewest YPA (6.5) this season. Cooper has yet to score away from home this season and has just three touchdowns over his last 20 road games, and Dallas’ offensive line issues will be a major problem Tuesday night.

Assuming Dobbins is ready to return, don’t forget he had emerged as Baltimore’s feature back when the rookie last played in Week 11. With fresh legs in a home matchup with the Ravens as big favorites over a Dallas team that’s allowed the sixth-most fantasy points to running backs and ranks #29 in rush defense DVOA, Dobbins should be treated as a top-15 fantasy back this week.

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