Fantasy Football Start/Sit: Week 13
Fantasy football’s regular season is nearly over, just as if it were a blink in time — a pebble of sand on the beach. Much like that pebble, your season is the result of immense hard work thanks to facing pressure from all sides on every decision. That said, our work is far from over! Week 13 stands as the final regular season game in traditional fantasy football formats, so let’s ship those must-win games, yeah? Friendly reminder that if your league plays through Week 17 then you need to thwack your commissioner with a rolled-up newspaper.
Catering to all formats is impossible, but I’ll do my best to provide context as I go. The ECR given is for standard leagues since that’s what we are scored on. Please note that I’m using Tuesday night’s ECR and updates will surely roll in from Wednesday morning on, as well as injury news. I’ll use players that I’m higher or lower on against the consensus within a start/sit range from 10- to 14-teamers, or so. Let’s dive in.
Mitch Trubisky (at NYG): Mariano Rank: 11, ECR: 18
There’s an obvious injury caveat here, but if Trubisky plays then I’m starting him. Reports last week indicated that Trubs would’ve played had Chicago not had a short week due to playing on a Thursday, so my concerns are low. His pass-catching corps is healthy and he’s averaging 36 rushing yards per game with three ground TDs, so I’ll take Trubisky with Chicago favored by 4.5 points on the road by Vegas.
Dak Prescott (at NO): MR: 13, ECR: 16
The Cowboys host the Saints as seven-point underdogs with a game total that’s already been bet up to 53 from a 51.5 open. Dak has clear rapport with Amari Cooper, as well as a receiver that can finally give him some YAC playmaking abilities. With rushing touchdowns in five of his last six games — as well as just one interception over that stretch — Prescott makes for a solid back-end QB1 that those in 12-teamers can feel comfortable with even in a tough matchup. The Saints defense is no joke and New Orleans can stack the odds quickly, but the shootout upside here cannot be ignored.
Philip Rivers (at PIT): MR: 17, ECR: 10
Rivers started Week 12 with 25 straight completions, setting the record to open a game and tying the overall record, but was still just the No. 13 QB thanks in part to an early exit as the Chargers stomped on the Cardinals. Rivers must now head to Pittsburgh for a Sunday night tilt without Melvin Gordon to suck the defenses in. The Steelers haven’t allowed an opposing QB to top 230 yards in any of their last six contests, which has me pumping the brakes on Primetime Philip in Week 13.
Carson Wentz (vs. WAS): MR: 18, ECR: 14
Wow, Wentz followed up his Week 11 stinker in New Orleans with an atrocious 236-yard, one-touchdown performance in Week 12. The Eagles did enough to beat the Giants, but Wentz was the No. 24 QB on the week and likely sunk many fantasy owners. He didn’t look as bad as the box score indicates, as he did complete 20-of-28 throws, but there are simply other QBs offering more consistency right now that I’d rather target. I can see the Eagles defense and run game carrying them against a broken Washington team on Monday Night Football.
Josh Adams (vs. WAS): MR: 18, ECR: 22
Despite missing a chunk of the first half with an injury and scaring all of us Adams backers on Sunday, the rookie finished out the game with a 22-84-1 line plus a two-point conversion. To his credit, Corey Clement ran well and got 76 yards on just seven touches, but that’s a 75-25 split in favor of Adams even with an injury. And now we have Eagles head coach Doug Pederson telling reporters that they plan on boosting Adams’ workload each week down the stretch, which makes Adams an RB2 lock for me going against a Washington defense that gave up 143 yards to Ezekiel Elliott last week and 154 to the Lamar Miller–Alfred Blue tandem in Week 11.
Jordan Howard (at NYG): MR: 24, ECR: 30.
I understand if you’re feeling queasy, but Howard still played on 60% of Chicago’s snaps in an ugly Week 12 tilt where backup QB Chase Daniel showed his rapport with Taquan Mizzell. I do not expect Mizzell to suddenly cut in and while Howard has embodied the term “disappointment” lately, he and the Bears should have a positive gamescript against a soft Giants defense. Ever since dealing away run-stuffer Damon Harrison, the G-Men have bled fantasy points to opposing RBs. They’ve given up six TDs and an average of nearly 125 yards to the last four starting RBs they’ve faced, so I’m in for one last ride. If Matt Nagy doesn’t get Howard’s confidence going soon then they have to abandon ship.
Adrian Peterson (at PHI): MR: 27, ECR: 22
Peterson deserves better than this in the twilight of his career. Not looking nearly as quick as he did at the season’s outset, AP hasn’t broken 70 rushing yards in his last four games and is entirely TD-dependent now. While the Eagles defense is currently a joke, Washington’s own offensive line is fighting just to stay on the field and leaning on a Colt McCoy-led offense on the road is a tough pill to swallow, even if AP were 100%.
Tevin Coleman (vs. BAL): MR: 33, ECR: 29
Coleman turned 11 touches into just 25 yards and a day-salvaging TD while playing on 50% of Atlanta’s snaps in Week 12 — his lowest tally in a week where Devonta Freeman wasn’t active — which bodes terribly for another brutal matchup. The Ravens have only allowed James Conner and Joe Mixon to hang more than 65 rushing yards against them, and they avenged that Mixon line by holding him to a paltry 14 yards in Week 11. One piece of encouragement is that Atlanta opened as three-point underdogs and have already become one-point favorites at some Vegas books, but that’s not enough for me to trust Coleman anywhere.
Adam Humphries (vs. CAR): MR: 30, ECR: 35
Humphries has made his presence known in Tampa Bay lately thanks to four TDs across his last four games and an average of seven targets in his last six. The slot receiver has shown chemistry with Jameis Winston that DeSean Jackson can only dream about and now he gets a rematch versus Carolina at home after catching all eight of his targets for 82 yards and two scores against them in Week 9. While DJax is off visiting a thumb specialist and posting vague sassy images on social media, I’ll gladly slot in Humphries, who has seven red-zone opportunities over the past five weeks — more than Evans (5), Cameron Brate (3), Jackson (2) or Godwin (2).
Marquez Valdes-Scantling (vs. ARI): MR: 37, ECR: 50
If I didn’t already lose you with the Jordan Howard blurb, then MVS truthing probably shakes the rest of you. He’s been nearly invisible in the box score with back-to-back one-catch games, but still played on 83% of Green Bay’s Week 12 snaps compared to Equanimeous St. Brown‘s 68%. MVS going against Minnesota’s big-body DBs was a tall order and if Randall Cobb is once again out in Week 13 then I’m ready to ride with Valdes-Scantling against Arizona’s terrible slot DB Leonard Johnson (PFF Grade: 34.3).
Jarvis Landry (at HOU): MR: 38, ECR: 29
Landry has seen just 17 targets in three games since Cleveland got off Hue Jackson’s Crazy Ride. Baker Mayfield is rounding into form with Freddie Kitchens featuring Nick Chubb, while Landry’s 10.4 average depth of target trails Antonio Callaway (16.8), Rashard Higgins (12.4) and Breshad Perriman (16.7) since the coaching switch. Unless Landry’s target share jumps above 20% (currently 19%), he’s difficult to trust here. Let alone against a Texans team that has given up just seven TDs to opposing WRs so far, tied for the fewest with Jacksonville.
Golden Tate (vs. WAS): MR: 45, ECR: 36
Tate is hanging around the WR3 real-estate market for most, but I’m seeing through the eight targets in these last two weeks and looking at the awful 11-97-0 line across three games. It’s difficult for midseason trades to pan out, but when your offensive coordinator says working Tate into the offense has been difficult then I’m going to take that seriously. The targets are there, sure, but the opportunities being terrible correlate with an OC that doesn’t know how to use him and we covered how Wentz looks off. All-in-all, this is a frightful recipe.
Jared Cook (vs. KC): MR: 6, ECR: 9
Cook only saw five targets in Week 12, but he made them count by catching two of them for 32 yards and a touchdown. I’d mark five targets as a safe floor with Oakland as whopping 15-point underdogs at home, with the expectation that they will have to abandon the run early. The Chiefs just gave up two touchdowns to Rams TE Gerald Everett and in a tight-end landscape known for its barren nature, I’ll sign off on Cook’s volume being worthy of mid-range TE1 territory.
Matt LaCosse (at CIN): MR: 16, ECR: 21
LaCosse caught his first career touchdown in Week 12 along with two other receptions for a 3-34-1 line on four targets in Denver’s 24-17 victory. Jeff Heuerman joins fellow TE Jake Butt on the IR now, which means LaCosse is the unquestioned starter heading into a date with Cincinnati — the team allowing the second-most fantasy points to TEs in 2018. If you need a dart throw then I suggest this six-foot-six Illinois native.
Kyle Rudolph (at NE): MR: 18, ECR: 14
Rudolph’s 7-63-0 Week 12 performance on Sunday night likely perked some ears, but I’m of the mind that Rudolph is not the best choice to guide your sleigh here. While he saw seven targets, none of them came within the red zone. Dalvin Cook had three, Stefon Diggs had two and Adam Thielen saw one. Yes, the Patriots are susceptible to TEs, but the massive games came out of far more athletic TEs such as Eric Ebron, Travis Kelce and Trey Burton. According to FootballOutsiders’ Defense-adjusted Value Over Average metric, the Patriots -14.2% is ninth-best against TEs.
Benjamin Watson (at CHI): MR: 29, ECR: 19
Watson has a grand total of eight targets over his last five games, tied with Josh Hill and trailing Dan Arnold’s 12. Here are Watson’s snap count percentages over the season: 80%, 82%, 57%, 53%, 55%, 49%, 26%, 46%, 37%, 30% and 32%. Simply put, Watson is no longer a real part of this offense and needs to be taken off of the fantasy table, while Arnold deserves to be put on watch lists.