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Fantasy Football Starts and Sits: Matchups Analysis for Week 13

Welcome to our Week 13 matchup analysis and start/sit column for fantasy football. We'll be covering every single contest from the Sunday slate in one convenient location, helping you make the best decisions for your fantasy lineups. Be sure to check back regularly because this article will be updated as news comes in regarding injuries and other important information.

Chris O'Reilly will start off by covering the first set of games that begin at 1:00 PM ET on Sunday, and Spencer Aguiar will take you home with his analysis of the late afternoon and evening games.

If you have any additional lineup questions, follow us on Twitter @Teeoffsports and @cjoreillyCLE and feel free to ask away! Without further ado, let's get started.

Editor's Note: Get any rest-of-season NFL Premium Pass for 50% off. Our exclusive DFS Tools, Lineup Optimizer and Premium DFS Research through the Super Bowl. Sign Up Now!


Matchups Analysis - 1:00 PM ET Games

New York Jets at Cincinnati Bengals

Matchups We Love:

Sam Darnold (QB, NYJ)

Let me level with you here. I am 6-6 in my primary home league. In order to make the playoffs, I need to win and I need another 6-6 team to lose. With everything at stake, I am genuinely considering starting Sam Darnold against the Bengals over Deshaun Watson at home versus New England. Darnold looks to be turning the corner we thought he might after cleaning up against two porous pass defenses the last two weeks. He's completed 66% of his passes for 608 yards and six touchdowns, while finally beginning to display better ball security. In Cincinnati, he'll face his third consecutive exploitable defense--one that allowed the last four quarterbacks it faced to average 285.5 passing yards and 1.75 touchdowns per game before putting the clamps down on a woeful and injury-plagued Steelers offense in Week 12. Darnold is trending in the right direction, and there is nothing fearsome about the 0-11 Bengals. The only detriment to Darnold's value for Week 13 is that bye weeks are over, so you likely don't have to turn to him.

Tyler Boyd (WR, CIN)

As you're about to find out, this is a strange game in that I am high on Darnold, but not quite sold on his pass-catchers. For the Bengals, it's the reverse. I love Tyler Boyd, but I'm not buying the guy throwing him the ball. For Boyd, it all comes down to opportunity. His target share is such that you have to wonder what kind of season he could be having if he played for a better team. Only six players in the NFL have seen more passes thrown their way than Boyd, but only four teams have put a lower percentage of passes on target than the Bengals. Ryan Finley is responsible for his fair share of this, with 61.9% of his passes being considered on target. In other words, on almost four out of every 10 passes he threw, his receiver had no chance. Andy Dalton represents an improvement in this facet, at the very least. Either way, a guy seeing more than nine targets a game is usually going to have a better-than-not chance of producing. With the Jets allowing over 13 receptions per game and 15 total touchdowns to receivers, I'm confident that Boyd will see enough volume to overcome the flawed team surrounding him.

Matchups We Hate:

Andy Dalton (QB, CIN)

I understand why the Bengals gave Ryan Finley a chance to play. They're going nowhere at light speed, and they needed to see if their young quarterback had anything in the chamber as they prepare for the long-term future. The short experiment failed miserably, and now Andy Dalton will finish out the season. It can now be said that Dalton is better than Finley, but it should be noted that Cincinnati's pass offense wasn't especially fantasy-friendly even during the eight games in which the Bengals' veteran was operating it. Dalton gave you a chance from a volume standpoint, offering up over 280 yards per game through the air, but he threw just one more touchdown (nine) than he threw interceptions (eight), and completed just over 60% of his throws. Since being torched for 308 yards and four touchdowns by Daniel Jones three weeks ago, the Jets have shored things up against the pass versus the Redskins and Raiders. There are no more bye weeks, which means Dalton should be nowhere near your fantasy lineup.

Joe Mixon (RB, CIN)

The last player to lead his team in rushing with more than 34 yards against the Jets was Leonard Fournette with 76 in Week 8. The Bengals as a team have accumulated 100 rushing yards in a game just once all season, and are averaging a pedestrian two yards per carry before first contact. Joe Mixon has one rushing touchdown to his credit, meaning even the endzone can't be counted upon to salvage his fantasy outlook. Though his involvement in the passing game has resulted in three receiving touchdowns, it's been sporadic and unreliable on a week-to-week basis. Mixon is a volume-based long shot to produce RB2 numbers in Week 13.

Tyler Eifert (TE, CIN)

I don't know that it's necessary to list Tyler Eifert among the hates, because it's highly improbable you're looking his way in the first place. Just in case, allow this to serve as a reminder that Eifert has been targeted five or fewer times in 10 of 11 games this season, that he's scored just two touchdowns, and that nearly 31% of his season-long yardage total came in one game. The Jets are holding tight ends to fewer than four receptions per game and have surrendered just two touchdowns to the position. If the return of Dalton reignites some chemistry with Eifert and he goes off on the waiver wire, so be it. You can't trust him with a playoff spot on the line.

Other Matchups:

Le'Veon Bell (RB, NYJ)

Speaking of teams whose offensive lines collapse like a folding chair on run plays, the Jets are averaging the worst yards-before-contact per carry of any team in the NFL at 1.4. The Bengals don't offer up much in the form of resistance, but even a favorable matchup isn't enough to blindly trust Le'Veon Bell. To Bell's credit, he's been able to turn occasionally lucrative passing-game work into a top-12 PPR season. But there's something to be said for the fact that his single-game high in rushing yards this season is 70. Without touchdowns and receptions, he's much harder to count on than your typical RB1. Hope that he's able to spring some chunk yardage against a Bengals front giving up 4.73 yards per carry to opposing RBs if you're looking at him as one.

Jamison Crowder / Robby Anderson (WR, NYJ)

The Bengals have been bullied by their opponents' ground attacks often enough that it's fair to label their overall numbers against wide receivers as misleading. That said, if the Jets are able to establish anything on the ground with Bell this week, it could be a relatively slow day for Jamison Crowder and Robby Anderson. Crowder somehow disappeared from the Jets' offense in Week 12 despite the fact that Darnold threw for 315 yards, so it's probably best to cast that dud aside in what has otherwise been a serviceable PPR campaign. He is averaging nearly eight targets a game, which should be enough to keep him in flex territory. Anderson worries me, as his target share has been all over the map and he's produced strong fantasy numbers just twice this year. Turn to Crowder's PPR floor if you need a relatively safe play, but only trust Anderson as a big-play or touchdown-dependent upside option.

Demaryius Thomas (WR, NYJ)

I could have included Demaryius Thomas with his positional teammates, but his floor is lower than Crowder's and his ceiling isn't nearly as high as Anderson's. Again, this must be taken with a grain of salt due to how easy it is to run against them, but the Bengals have allowed the fewest receptions per game to WRs of any team in the league. Is that a formula for PPR success from Thomas, a guy who already can't be relied upon in PPR formats?

Ryan Griffin (TE, NYJ)

Ryan Griffin has come in as a solid option for most of the last month and a half, which is to say he's been slightly less of a migraine for fantasy owners than about 20 other tight ends. He's hauled in all five of his touchdowns since Week 6, and has three games of four-plus catches and 50-plus yards since then as well. I'm not crazy about the matchup; the Bengals are holding opposing TEs to just over four receptions and 54 yards per game. All six of Griffin's red zone targets have come since Week 6, so that's something to hang your hat on if you're rolling him out there this Sunday.

Auden Tate / Alex Erickson (WR, CIN)

Whatever fantasy value Auden Tate was supposed to inherit once John Ross went down with injury and A.J. Green suffered one setback after another, it hasn't materialized. His target share and yardage totals have laid the foundation for what could've been a decent season (and still may turn out to be one), but he has caught just over 50% of passes thrown his way and gotten into the endzone just once. Like Boyd, he's been a victim of poor quarterback play. Recent history suggests he'll see somewhere in the neighborhood of six targets, but with just four double-digit PPR outings, how lucky do you feel? Alex Erickson should benefit from Dalton's return, as he has hauled in just three of 15 targets in his last three games. He's averaging seven targets in since Week 6, giving him a PPR flex ceiling with potential for more if he can rack up big plays or score. Still, with no more bye weeks to deal with, are these really the secondary pass-catchers you want your fantasy playoff hopes riding on?

A.J. Green (WR, CIN)

I'm just listing A.J. Green here on the off chance he plays, but it hasn't looked good all season and doesn't appear to be trending in the right direction. Even if he suits up, you'd be placing a great deal of faith in a guy with no game reps under his belt this late in the season. If you're in the hunt for the playoffs this late in the year, you've obviously gotten this far without him. I'd keep him on my bench no matter what.

***UPDATE: As expected, A.J. Green has not practiced all week and will most likely remain sidelined for Sunday.

Giovani Bernard (RB, CIN)

Giovani Bernard's fantasy value is that of a pass-catching back, but he has no role in Cincinnati's passing game. His last game with more than six touches was Week 2. Leave him where he belongs.


Philadelphia Eagles at Miami Dolphins

Matchups We Love:

Miles Sanders (RB, PHI)

This is dependent upon whether or not Jordan Howard returns in Week 13, but it looks like he's going to be limited in practice throughout the week. If he can't go, the door is wide open for a huge Miles Sanders day. Sanders has been exceptional on a per-touch basis, averaging 6.14 yards on his rushing attempts and receptions. The Dolphins remain one of the most exploitable matchups for running backs, allowing 4.7 yards per carry and 9.3 yards per catch, along with 11 total touchdowns. There is potential for Jay Ajayi to cut into his workload some if this game decays into a blowout, but I'm not worried about Sanders as a volume play in this one. I consider him a high-end flex at worst.

Zach Ertz (TE, PHI)

It's safe to say Zach Ertz is back. In his last three games, he's gone for at least 91 yards on at least nine catches, and he has two touchdowns to boot. Considering his quarterback's near total lack of other options in the receiving game, I'm not sure you can find a better tight end for Week 13 than Ertz.

Matchups We Hate:

Kalen Ballage (RB, MIA)

The Dolphins are putting on a master class in tanking (despite Ryan Fitzpatrick's best efforts) by continuing to allow Kalen Ballage to touch the ball in actual football games. To be fair, he only saw eight opportunities in Week 12, which is a step in the right direction. But no matter what volume he may or may not undeservedly see against the Eagles, there are zero reasonable circumstances under which he should be considered as a fantasy option this Sunday. Philly is holding opposing backs to 3.77 yards per carry, which is somehow nearly twice Ballage's average of 1.9.

Patrick Laird (RB, MIA)

Just on the off chance Miami commits to Patrick Laird instead of Ballage this week, I feel the need to remind you that the Eagles are not the team against which you want to trot out an unproven running back in fantasy lineups. The Eagles have only been gashed by three opponents on the ground: Dallas, Minnesota, and Seattle. Among the things those three teams have in common is that they are all competent offenses with upper-tier running attacks. Now is not the time to get too smart for your own good.

Other Matchups:

Jordan Howard / Jay Ajayi (RB, PHI)

If Jordan Howard gets the green light, we obviously need to re-calibrate our outlook for the Eagles backfield. At the moment, Howard looks like he'd be a limited option for the Eagles even if he is active. But he would still figure to cut into Sanders' workload enough to downgrade the latter to a low-to-mid flex option. Jay Ajayi is a desperation play for me regardless of how this situation pans out, unless you're of the mind Philly wins this game going away and leans on him late (which is certainly possible). Ajayi has been active for two games and seen six total touches, with predictably zero involvement in the passing game. I don't know that I want my fantasy hopes riding on the idea that a guy might get some run in the fourth quarter after the game is in hand.

***UPDATE: Jordan Howard has officially been ruled out.

Carson Wentz (QB, PHI)

It's tough to get excited about a quarterback with a receiving corps as underwhelming as Philly's, but Carson Wentz still has two competent tight ends to throw to. That should be enough to keep him above water in what should be a favorable matchup. Only four teams have had fewer passes attempted against them than Miami, yet the Dolphins are surrendering the 11th-most passing yards per game. Their 7.4% touchdown rate against on pass plays is the league's highest, their 18.4% pressure rate is the second-lowest, and their 6.5% defensive turnover rate is the lowest. Chalk this up as a high-floor fantasy day for the Eagles QB.

Eagles Wide Receivers (All WR, PHI)

What an injury-riddled mess this group is. Nelson Agholor and Alshon Jeffery missed Week 12, and neither is certain to play in Week 13. I wouldn't read too much into the fact that the Dolphins are only allowing 11.1 receptions per game to WRs; as we discussed above, their run defense is porous enough that the passing game is rarely needed against them. No, the reason I want no part of this Eagles WR group is that I'm not willing to play the wait-and-see game on a boom-or-bust play like Jeffery, and no one else in this group deserves our trust in fantasy lineups.

***UPDATE: Both Alshon Jeffery and Nelson Agholor have cleared Philly's injury report as of Friday afternoon, lining them up to play Sunday.

Dallas Goedert (TE, PHI)

Dallas Goedert has fallen back into Zach Ertz's shadow, but he's still the second-best pass-catching option (at worst) in Philly. The Dolphins don't present the most inviting possible matchup, but it could also be worse. Tight ends are catching 4.72 passes for 56.27 yards against Miami. Ertz is a candidate to double the reception total on his own, so Goedert will need to capitalize on fewer opportunities. He's a fringe starting option for Week 13.

Ryan Fitzpatrick (QB, MIA)

The Eagles were one of the league's more brightly burning disasters against the pass earlier this season, but they've taken massive strides toward shoring that up recently. They've held all of their last five opponents under 225 passing yards, and only Josh Allen has thrown multiple touchdowns against them in this span. Three of these games were against the Seahawks, Patriots, and Cowboys. It's fair to say we can't view Philly as the same soft quarterback matchup we saw during the first few weeks. Ryan Fitzpatrick might have to chuck it around a ton on Sunday, but this is not the quarterback you're looking for.

Devante Parker / Allen Hurns / Albert Wilson (WR, MIA)

Based on his recent production, target share, and the possibility that Miami could be down early in this one, I like DeVante Parker as the tried-and-true pass-catching option in this offense. Their total lack of a ground game also lends itself to the potential for yet another productive outing from Parker. Consider him a high-end flex with WR2 upside. Allen Hurns is trending up after being targeted 13 total times in his last two games, but it's not enough for me to believe in him against the Eagles. As we touched on above, Philly has transformed into a much tougher pass defense of late. Albert Wilson should be regarded in the same light as Hurns, though the former is also dealing with a rib injury that knocked him out of last Sunday's game. You're probably noticing a theme so far: trust the guys that got you here, and disregard the rest unless there is overwhelming evidence to support doing otherwise. Parker is your boy; Hurns and Wilson carry too much unnecessary risk.

***UPDATE: Albert Wilson no longer holds an injury designation for the weekend.

Mike Gesicki (TE, MIA)

Opportunity is trending positively for Mike Gesicki, as he's seen 25 targets in his last four games. Unfortunately for his fantasy investors, he's only gone over 28 yards once in this span, and had to salvage an otherwise pedestrian Week 12 outing with a touchdown. The Eagles are holding tight ends to fewer than four receptions per game, albeit on a 69.3% catch rate. If the volume is there, Gesicki could be in line for low-end TE1 value by Sunday's end, but I can't put him inside the top 12 going in.


Cleveland Browns at Pittsburgh Steelers

Matchups We Love:


Matchups We Hate:

Devlin Hodges (QB, PIT)

Devlin Hodges probably doesn't have to worry about getting a helmet swung at his head, but outside of that I don't see him faring any better than Mason Rudolph did against this Browns Defense. Cleveland has held the last three quarterback it's faced to 233.6 yards per game, and has forced three more interceptions than they've given up touchdowns in the same span. Their ability to pressure the QB takes a massive hit without Myles Garrett, but this still doesn't profile as a favorable matchup for Hodges. The Steelers could also be without James Conner and JuJu Smith-Schuster, and center Maurkice Pouncey will be out due to suspension. I'm not sure how much more information is necessary to talk you out of starting Hodges this week. He's probably a bottom-three fantasy QB in the league.

Other Matchups:

Baker Mayfield (QB, CLE)

Things are obviously clicking for the Browns on their three-game winning streak, and Baker Mayfield's improvements have naturally played a role. After failing to throw for multiple touchdowns in any of his first eight games, Mayfield has thrown seven in his last three. After throwing at least one pick in his first seven games, he has thrown just one in his last four. His "worst" game during this three-game win streak came against the Steelers, in which he completed just 53.1% of his 32 pass attempts. The Steelers Defense is still a unit to be reckoned with, even if their offense looks like less of a playoff contender by the day. Pittsburgh pressures the quarterback at the second-highest rate in the league, and forces turnovers at the highest. It's going to be an incredibly hostile environment at Heinz Field after the circus that unfolded the last time these two teams squared up, and I'm expecting a spirited enough effort from the Steelers defense to keep Mayfield from putting up Oklahoma-like numbers.

Jarvis Landry (WR, CLE)

How else are you supposed to classify what Jarvis Landry has done over the last four weeks as anything other than WR1 production? Here are his numbers from Weeks 9-12: 43 targets, 29 receptions, 339 yards, and five touchdowns. The Steelers were the one team in this span to hold him in check to any extent, but he even scored double-digit PPR points in that game. It's one of the more cruel developments in football for anyone who thought Odell Beckham would have his best season ever in 2019, but Landry has been the guy. His target share keeps him in play as a WR2 with upside against a Steelers team that has allowed 12 touchdowns to WRs.

Odell Beckham Jr. (WR, CLE)

The funny thing about Odell Beckham is that if he were just about anyone else, nobody would be all that concerned about his 2019 numbers. He ranks inside the top 20 in targets and receiving yards, and inside the top 30 in receptions. He's on pace for more than 1,100 yards. Unfortunately, he has just two touchdowns, and top-20 or top-30 numbers aren't what you (I) signed up for when you (I) drafted him 12th overall in a 12-team league. With how well things have gone for Cleveland of late, it's tempting to let him creep up in WR rankings. He's averaging nine targets per game in his last six, and hasn't fallen below 52 receiving yards in any game during this stretch. That volume in an improved Browns offense should take him places in Week 13.

David Njoku (TE, CLE)

If David Njoku gets cleared for game action, he's the only Browns tight end I'd bat an eye at for fantasy purposes. The Steelers are allowing five receptions per game to tight ends for an average of 46.8 yards, to go along with six total touchdowns. There could be opportunity for Njoku assuming he plays, but he isn't without risk.

Nick Chubb (RB, CLE)

Even if the matchup isn't fantastic, you have to appreciate the sheer volume you can count on from Nick Chubb each week. The Steelers are holding RBs to 3.8 yards per carry and have surrendered just four total touchdowns to the position, but Chubb isn't a top-five fantasy back for no reason. He rushed for a respectable 92 yards on 27 carries against this same Pittsburgh front two weeks ago, and you can bet the Browns will feel compelled to rely on him early and often in Round 2. The opportunity should be there to offset the matchup.

Vance McDonald (TE, PIT)

I stubbornly held onto the idea (for longer than I care to admit) that Vance McDonald just has to do something of note based on the sheer lack of other guys to throw the ball to in Pittsburgh, but now is the time to let it go. McDonald's best chance at sustained production came in the three-week span leading up to Week 12 when he was targeted 21 times in three games. He caught 11 of them for 74 yards and a touchdown. We'll never know what kind of season he might've had if Ben Roethlisberger didn't get hurt, but it's unlikely we see any glimpses into that with Hodges at the helm.

JuJu Smith-Schuster / James Washington / Diontae Johnson (WR, PIT)

The fact that JuJu Smith-Schuster doesn't get his own write-up as a WR1 or WR2 tells you just about everything you need to know regarding how this Steelers season has gone on offense. As someone who drafted him 13th overall in a 12-team league, no one has lamented this disaster more than me. Anyway, he's still working his way through the concussion and knee injury that kept him out of Week 12, and he will have a third-string quarterback throwing him the ball on Sunday if he's active. Cleveland has done relatively well against wide receivers, so I'd be hard-pressed to justify rolling Smith-Schuster out as anything other than a risky flex play. As for James Washington and Diontae Johnson, the same idea applies. It's not an inviting matchup and Hodges doesn't help his receivers' cases. It's one of the great fantasy tragedies of the last several years, but you almost have to ignore the once-great Steelers' pass offense.

***UPDATE: The concussion is behind JuJu Smith-Schuster, but his knee injury remains a serious concern. He has did not practice this week, and has now officially been ruled out for Sunday.

James Conner / Benny Snell Jr. / Jaylen Samuels / Trey Edmunds (RB, PIT)

There is a decent amount of matchup appeal for whoever occupies the Steelers backfield on Sunday, as Cleveland is giving up 4.64 yards per carry to opposing backs. Unfortunately, Pittsburgh ranks second-worst in the league in yards before first contact per carry at 1.5. Then comes the question of which underwhelming running back(s) the Steelers will actually have available for Week 13. James Conner's status appears very cloudy, which potentially leaves Pittsburgh with Benny Snell, Jaylen Samuels, and Trey Edmunds. I'm aware of Snell's success in Cincinnati last week, but the Bengals are a much worse defense across the board than the Browns. The Browns last allowed 100 or more rushing yards to an opponent in Week 9. At best, this is a murky situation that could easily yield an evenly split workload in a difficult matchup.

***UPDATE: James Conner is listed as doubtful heading into the weekend. Plan accordingly if he's part of your lineup.


San Francisco 49ers at Baltimore Ravens

Matchups We Love:

Lamar Jackson (QB, BAL)

Lamar Jackson has placed himself in a tier of his own as a fantasy quarterback. Yes, the 49ers Defense is the most imposing unit in the league. But unless for some reason you've got Patrick Mahomes wasting away on your bench, who else are you going to turn to? Jackson leads his team in rushing, which is impressive, but he's also ninth in the league. The 49ers boast the highest pressure rate in the league, of course, but good luck making that translate into sacks against Jackson's elusiveness. There's turnover potential for just about any quarterback facing San Francisco, but Jackson doesn't even commit many of those. He's won me over. Matchup aside, Jackson needs to start for your fantasy team in Week 13.

Mark Ingram (RB, BAL)

Mark Ingram has largely been an efficient runner this season, and he's found the endzone often enough to account for the times when he just can't get going. No team is averaging more yards before first contact per carry than the Ravens. The 49ers have become a far less intimidating RB matchup than they were earlier in the season, and Ingram routinely sees the volume necessary to bring back start-worthy fantasy value. You still can't jump for joy at the prospect of facing San Francisco with the fantasy playoffs potentially at stake, but I'm not running scared from this matchup if Ingram is my RB2.

George Kittle (TE, SF)

All I can think about after George Kittle went off for 129 yards and a touchdown with a broken bone in his ankle on Sunday night is the scene in Miracle when Rob McClanahan tells Herb Brooks, "You want me to play on one leg, I'll play on one leg!" If for some reason you haven't seen that movie, add it to your list for the winter. Anyway, if fractured bones in Kittle's own body aren't enough to prevent him from playing well, why should I worry about the Ravens Defense? Baltimore isn't an inviting matchup by any means for tight ends, but Kittle is obviously in his own realm. Start him like you would any other week.

Matchups We Hate:

Other Matchups:

Mark Andrews (TE, BAL)

Mark Andrews has established himself as one of the truly reliable players at a perpetually frustrating position, which means you pretty much have to start him unless you're lucky enough to have been streaming him along with another top option all year. If you have that other guy, this isn't a bad week to turn to him. The 49ers are allowing just over three receptions per game to tight ends for a whopping 22.36 yards. Hope volume works in Andrews' favor and he gets into the endzone if he's your guy for Week 13.

Marquise Brown (WR, BAL)

Marquise Brown's target count on a week-to-week basis is sporadic enough that it's tough to trust him as anything other than a big-play or touchdown-dependent fantasy option. A matchup with a 49ers defense holding opposing WRs to 10.5 catches per game and 11.31 yards per reception makes it difficult to believe a big play is in the cards for the rookie. If I've learned anything from the Ravens this year, it's to doubt them at my own risk. Still, if I need a win to make the fantasy playoffs, I don't know that I want my hopes resting on Brown's shoulders.

Jimmy Garoppolo (QB, SF)

San Francisco has displayed a tendency to trust Jimmy Garoppolo to air it out when game flow calls for it, as was evidenced when the 49ers found themselves in three straight divisional shootouts in Weeks 9-11. At this point, you have to believe there's potential for another high-scoring affair with the unstoppable Ravens offense on the docket. Whether Garoppolo can have the same success against Baltimore's defense as he did against Seattle and Arizona is another story. The Ravens force turnovers at the fifth-highest rate in the league, blitz more than any other team, haven't allowed any of their last three opponents to reach 200 yards passing, and have surrendered just nine passing touchdowns all year. Unlike the QB on the other side of this contest, Garoppolo isn't the most dynamic runner. I'm not placing my faith in him for Week 13.

Deebo Samuel / Emmanuel Sanders (WR, SF)

With a big lead early, San Francisco's wide receivers understandably drifted out of the game plan on Sunday night against the Packers. Deebo Samuel caught a touchdown anyway, but his two targets weren't what you were hoping for after his previous two outings. He and Emmanuel Sanders should be more involved in Week 13, as the Ravens' dynamic offense should keep this game close enough that the 49ers have to maintain a balanced offensive attack of their own. I like Samuel to factor into the fantasy equation as a PPR flex option provided he sees the same volume he saw in Weeks 9-11, and he proved in a couple of those contests how high the ceiling can go when he gets his chances. Sanders' targets are concerning to me, as his count in five games with the 49ers is as follows: five, nine, four, five, one. Especially with Kittle back in the fold, I worry that this trend continues into Week 13, and I'm not enthused about him as a fantasy option as a result.

Tevin Coleman / Matt Breida / Raheem Mostert (RB, SF)

I'm not reading too heavily into Tevin Coleman's touch count from Week 12, as the 49ers naturally didn't feel the need to lean too heavily on their starter once they went up by a hundred in the first half. Coleman is still the guy they prefer in close games, and this game should at least be decided by fewer than four touchdowns. Matt Breida's status remains dicey, which keeps Raheem Mostert in the 7-10 touch picture. Opposing teams have attempted the fewest rushes against the Ravens of any other squad in the league, probably because Baltimore's opponents are always down by multiple scores. When running backs do tote the ball against the Ravens, they are racking up a serviceable 4.34 yards per attempt. The volume should be there for Coleman to turn that into a half-decent fantasy day, rendering him a mid-range flex at worst. I don't want any part of Breida unless he gets a clean bill of health, and I'm inclined to avoid Mostert no matter what.


Tennessee Titans at Indianapolis Colts

Matchups We Love:


Matchups We Hate:


Other Matchups:

Ryan Tannehill (QB, TEN)

Ryan Tannehill isn't just giving the Titans a chance to win, he's also making it difficult to ignore him as a fantasy option. In the five games since taking over as Tennessee's starter, Tannehill has a 71% completion rate, an average of 255.2 passing yards per contest, three interceptions, and multiple touchdowns in all five--three of which are rushing scores. His opponents along the way have been a mixed bag in terms of difficulty, but this span includes impressive outings against the Chargers and Panthers, who are not particularly kind to quarterbacks in fantasy. The Colts represent a similarly uninviting matchup, and with crunch time having officially arrived, I can't recommend Tannehill as a fantasy lock even with the evidence at hand. He'd be among my first choices for a QB2.

Derrick Henry (RB, TEN)

A lot of running backs would be listed among the hates against a Colts team holding them under four yards per carry with just three rushing touchdowns surrendered on the year. Derrick Henry avoids that list due to the fact that he can be penciled in for at least 15 touches per week, along with the fact that he's been remarkably efficient with his abundance of opportunities. The guy has two straight games of eight or more yards per attempt and two touchdowns. Why are you even still reading about him?

A.J. Brown / Corey Davis (WR, TEN)

A.J. Brown is coming off a four-catch, 135-yard performance complete with a touchdown. Is it repeatable on five targets? Sure, but not likely. Brown has alternated between serviceable PPR outings and poor ones since Tannehill took the starting job, and a lot of that has to do with his fluctuation in targets in those five games: eight, three, seven, four, five. I'll let you figure out which of those games he excelled in and which times he fell flat. The point being, when Tannehill looks to Brown, there's enough of a connection to sustain fantasy relevance. Corey Davis is another story, as it's been more than a month since he did anything of consequence in fantasy lineups. I can't recommend him as a Week 13 option. The Colts are a middle-of-the-road matchup for WRs, and Brown is a volume-based flex at best on the low end of the PPR spectrum.

Delanie Walker / Jonnu Smith (TE, TEN)

Delanie Walker appears as though he might play this week, so it's worth mentioning tight ends are catching over five passes per game against the Colts for just under 50 yards. Walker has missed all of Tannehill's starts, so there is at least some risk regarding what rapport the two might have. It's a fairly intriguing matchup if the veteran TE can get back on the field. Jonnu Smith would inherit the matchup if Walker doesn't go, but he's faded from Tennessee's offense in the last two weeks.

***UPDATE: Delanie Walker has been placed on injured reserve. His season is officially over.

Jacoby Brissett (QB, IND)

Jacoby Brissett has almost entirely played himself out of fantasy consideration in recent weeks, but two rushing touchdowns in his last two games have helped keep him treading water. He hasn't topped 150 yards passing in either of his last two contests, and has thrown for just one touchdown since Week 7. The Colts will be missing Marlon Mack and Eric Ebron, with T.Y. Hilton's nagging calf injury once again casting doubt on his status as well. These are all good enough reasons for me to steer clear of Brissett in Week 13.

Jonathan Williams / Nyheim Hines / Jordan Wilkins (RB, IND)

It's not hard to see this backfield taking a turn for fluid on a weekly basis, but for now Jonathan Williams has to be viewed as the guy to start among Colts RBs. After two consecutive 100-yard rushing performances, it's hard not to start him against a Titans team that has recently been run over by Leonard Fournette and Christian McCaffrey. Williams obviously has a ways to go before he's in the same neighborhood as those guys, but after seeing 39 touches in his last game and a half (since Mack went down), he's at least in a similar volume vicinity. Nyheim Hines didn't disappear last week, but his nine carries were by far a season-high, making him a tough sell as a volume play. Jordan Wilkins might as well not have suited up for Week 12 considering he didn't touch the ball once, and that is the evidence we need to rely on regarding his outlook for this Sunday. It's Williams or no one.

T.Y. Hilton (WR, IND)

I'd consider upgrading T.Y. Hilton to a "love" if I had any clarity on his health status. Yes, he played last Thursday night, but in a very limited and not at all helpful fantasy role. If and when he is declared a full go, I have the utmost confidence in his ability to take advantage of a Tennessee secondary that has been susceptible to big damage from wide receivers of late. If he hobbles into Sunday, I'd be worried about the possibility of another pedestrian outing. The good news is he'll have extra time to get himself ready. Just keep an eye out for any updates.

***UPDATE: Hilton suffered a setback and has now been officially ruled out for Week 13.

Zach Pascal / Chester Rogers (WR, IND)

Naturally, the forecast for any other Colts wideout is almost entirely dependent on whether Hilton is active. I pointed this out a few weeks ago, but it's still true today and never not worth mentioning: Hilton has missed four of Indy's games and he still leads the team in targets (tied with Eric Ebron at 52). Zach Pascal saw increased chances in the three games Hilton missed, but without much to show for it (nine catches on 19 targets, 119 yards). He was a non-factor last week even with Hilton limited. Chester Rogers has dropped completely off the map with seven targets in his last three games. Pascal would reemerge as a high-risk, high-reward dart throw in a matchup that offers upside if Hilton suffers any sort of setback.

Jack Doyle (TE, IND)

Jack Doyle and Eric Ebron have combined for 94 targets on the season, which comes out to a little over 8.5 per game. With Ebron on injured reserve, Doyle no longer has to share those targets. Do I think he automatically starts seeing eight and nine targets a game for the rest of the year? No, but he almost immediately becomes Jacoby Brissett's second-best option in the passing game, so at least some sustained increase should be expected. Tennessee is surrendering 11.19 yards per catch to tight ends, along with five total touchdowns on the season. For fantasy owners who have just long ago resigned themselves to streaming tight ends on a weekly basis, there are worse plays out there for Week 13 than Doyle.


Green Bay Packers at New York Giants

Matchups We Love:

Saquon Barkley (RB, NYG)

Things have gone anything but swimmingly for Saquon Barkley in 2019, particularly in his last two games. He's still a top-15 PPR RB on a points-per-game basis, though, so it's not like he's totally ruining your fantasy team all by himself. In the Packers, Barkley will get the defense allowing the fifth-most rushing yards per game to RBs and the second-most rushing touchdowns. Barkley's relatively disappointing season hasn't been for a lack of opportunity, and he should be in line for a ton of it against the Pack. Add in the fact that the Giants are the fourth-best team in terms of yards before first contact per rushing attempt, and Barkley should be viewed as an RB1 as usual.

Evan Engram (TE, NYG)

Evan Engram's status as a love is obviously contingent on him actually playing Sunday, but he appears to be trending that way so proceed accordingly. Green Bay is one of the more intriguing tight end matchups, giving up nearly 70 yards per game to the position (third-most) and six total touchdowns. There's even high-floor potential here, as tight ends are catching nearly six passes a game against the Pack. Engram hasn't even played since Week 9, and he's still a top-10 tight end in terms of total PPR scoring. He's a lock-and-load play this week if he's active.

***UPDATE: Evan Engram has been ruled out for Sunday, regrettably eliminating the opportunity to exploit a great matchup.

Davante Adams (WR, GB)

Is it alright if I refuse to acknowledge the fact that the Packers have other wide receivers than Davante Adams? I mean, what else am I supposed to think of a group that so obviously falls behind him in the pecking order regardless of game script? Since returning from injury in the first week of November, Adams has seen at least 10 targets in all three of his games. Only Allen Lazard has even seen 10 targets combined among other Packers WRs in this same span. Wideouts are hauling in 13.54 catches per game for nearly 200 yards, and have scored 15 total touchdowns against the Giants. I like Adams to give those numbers a run for their money all on his own, as he is among the most powerful target vacuums in the league.

Aaron Jones (RB, GB)

Jamaal Williams put a disconcerting dent in Aaron Jones' touch count for the second straight game last Sunday night, but it's worth keeping in mind the Packers had already lost it by halftime. I wouldn't get too worked up over Williams' rushing opportunities. What I am annoyed at as someone whose playoff hopes are resting heavily on Jones is Williams' reemergence as the pass-catcher in this backfield after Jones did so well with the role earlier on. The good news for Jones this week is that the Giants aren't a particularly friendly matchup for volume-based PPR backs, but they are giving up the eighth-most rushing yards per game to the position. Green Bay is among the league leaders in yards before first contact per rushing attempt, which should help open up some lanes. Jones also still leads the Packers in red zone rushing opportunities by a wide margin, which is part of the reason he is averaging a touchdown per game. We didn't come this far to lose faith in him now.

Matchups We Hate:

Jimmy Graham (TE, GB)

The Giants are a surprisingly dreadful matchup for tight ends, as only the Bills have allowed the position to catch fewer passes. Jimmy Graham hasn't done anything of consequence since Week 7, and he also isn't being given the opportunity to amend that. If you haven't moved on from Graham yet, there's no time like the present.

Other Matchups:

Daniel Jones (QB, NYG)

Turnovers continue to plague Daniel Jones to the extent that you have to hope he throws for 300-plus yards and multiple touchdowns to account for them. Despite only throwing one pick in his last four games, he's lost five fumbles in the same span. Interestingly enough, he's been a boom-play on the three occasions in which he's reached that 300-yard, multiple-TD summit. But he's been mostly a liability in his other starts. The Packers aren't a terrifying pass defense, but they're exploitable enough on the ground that Jones shouldn't be asked to chuck it a ton unless his team falls behind. While that's well within the realm of possibility, it's not enough to trust the Giants rookie with your playoff berth.

Golden Tate / Sterling Shepard / Darius Slayton (WR, NYG)

First and foremost, keep an eye on Golden Tate's injury status heading into the holiday weekend. He's dealing with a concussion, and hadn't practiced as of Wednesday. Regarding this matchup, the Packers are allowing nearly 17 yards per reception to WRs. That appears inviting on the surface, but consider that they've allowed the position to catch the third-fewest passes of any defense in the NFL. Is there enough to go around for Tate, Sterling Shepard, and Darius Slayton all to factor in as PPR options for this week? Their target shares are all fairly promising on a somewhat consistent basis, but with the Packer secondary holding their position under 10 catches per game, this is a risky group. It's hard to ignore these guys as volume-based flex options with upside, and Tate's status will have a lot to say about the forecasts for Shepard and Slayton. I'd prefer Shepard and a healthy Tate as high-floor PPR plays, while Slayton is an enticing big-play threat who is averaging 10.8 yards per reception before the catch.

***UPDATE: Golden Tate is officially inactive. Sterling Shepard becomes a fine starting option in PPR formats with both Tate and Evan Engram out. Darius Slayton sees a boost in value as well.

Jamaal Williams (RB, GB)

As I alluded to above, I'm not sold on the idea that Jamaal Williams is suddenly going to start carving into Jones' rushing workload again. Their efficiency on rushing attempts is largely the same, and Williams has seen considerably less opportunity in scoring position than Jones. As far as his PPR floor, I'd like to point out that Green Bay trailed by multiple scores in two of their last three (Chargers, 49ers). In those games, Williams was utilized heavily in the passing game. In the other one of these three recent games (Panthers), Green Bay held a lead for the entire second half, and Williams didn't catch a pass. I don't know that I like the Giants to jump out to a two-score lead over the Packers, meaning I'm not sure I like Williams to hit the over on New York's five receptions allowed to RBs per game.

Aaron Rodgers (QB, GB)

What a sight for sore eyes the Giants Defense is going to be for Aaron Rodgers after having to deal with San Francisco last Sunday. I'll stop short of calling this New York unit a total circus; they are surprisingly competitive in the red zone, which should at least put Green Bay's third-best 67.6% touchdown rate in the red zone to the test. But with a middling pressure rate on the pass rush and an equally pedestrian propensity for forcing turnovers, I like Rodgers to bounce back in Week 13. The Giants have the ninth-highest touchdown rate against on opponents' pass plays and are giving up the seventh-most passing yards per game. New York is also allowing the sixth-highest completion rate to opposing QBs. All of this adds up well in Rodgers' favor, and he should be in line for a mid-range QB1 outing.

Allen Lazard / Marquez Valdes-Scantling / Geronimo Allison (WR, GB)

As you're no doubt aware, I don't have any faith in this group of pass-catchers. Yes, the matchup is promising, but Marquez Valdes-Scantling and Geronimo Allison have all but disappeared from this offense. Allen Lazard is just barely more involved. If I don't have Adams, I don't want any Green Bay wideouts in Week 13.


Tampa Bay Buccaneers at Jacksonville Jaguars

Matchups We Love:

D.J. Chark (WR, JAX)

D.J. Chark's weekly target haul is enough on its own to keep him in the WR1 conversation most of the time, and now he gets to face the best matchup in the league for receivers. Tampa Bay is allowing wideouts the most yards and the second-most receptions per game, and is tied with the Dolphins for most touchdowns surrendered to the position at 18. If you've been reaping the benefits of Chark's breakout fantasy season, you don't need anymore evidence that he's a lock-and-load play for Week 13.

Nick Foles (QB, JAX)

Nick Foles has played respectably since returning from injury despite the fact that his team has lost both games by at least 20 points. He's completed 68.4% of his passes, which is impressive considering he's thrown nearly 100 of them in just eight quarters. The Bucs are a well-documented mess against the pass, and stout against the run. Foles will be called upon to chuck it early and often to his talented triumvirate of wideouts in what has the makings of a Big 12-style shootout. If I'm the guy in my league who's been streaming QBs ever since Matthew Stafford got hurt, Foles is at the top of my list for consideration in Week 13.

Mike Evans / Chris Godwin (WR, TB)

There isn't much that jumps off the page at you in terms of matchup appeal here, but Mike Evans and Chris Godwin have long since earned the benefit of the doubt as WR1's. If the Buccaneers were any other team, I'd worry about an emphasis on the ground game against a Jacksonville defense that has recently turned into a straight-up disaster against the run. But I'm pretty sure Bruce Arians would tell Jameis Winston to throw the ball 40 times a game even if the NFL outlawed passing plays. This game has as much shootout potential as any on the slate, and you know Evans and Godwin will see their fair share of chances to contribute.

Ronald Jones II (RB, TB)

This is the rare instance in which I don't have a ton of faith in the player, but the matchup is just screaming at me. It simply can't be ignored that the Jaguars have given up at least 200 yards on the ground to each of their last three opponents. Ronald Jones has seen volume consistently enough that he should be able to capitalize here, and he's even begun to carve out a role in the passing game. He's a risky enough option to be viewed as the borderline flex play he's been for most of the season, but there's RB2 upside here for Week 13.

Matchups We Hate:

O.J. HowardCameron Brate (TE, TB)

In case you haven't given up on O.J. Howard yet, this is a matchup in which you can live with yourself if he goes off on the waiver wire. Jacksonville is holding tight ends under four catches for 40 yards per game, with their only real shortcoming being that they've surrendered five touchdowns to the position. Neither Howard nor Cameron Brate have earned our faith as touchdown-upside guys, and they're certainly not guys you can definitively count on to exceed four receptions in any given week.

Other Matchups:

Dede Westbrook / Chris Conley (WR, JAX)

You could very easily make the case for the entire Jacksonville receiving corps as "loves" this week, but I'll defer to Chark as easily the most consistent option in this trio. Dede Westbrook is back on the map as a solid PPR play after seeing 15 total targets in his last two games. Chris Conley remains a big-play threat whose target share in his last five is just under eight per game, keeping him in slightly riskier PPR territory (albeit with a super-high ceiling) as well. You'd like for the week-to-week dependability to be a little higher for both Westbrook and Conley, but this matchup is one of the few on the slate in which I'd be comfortable gambling on guys who haven't been consistent top fantasy plays--especially if I need a ton of points as a tiebreaker for a playoff berth.

Leonard Fournette (RB, JAX)

As bad as the Buccaneers are against the pass, it must be acknowledged that they are just as impressive against the run. Tampa Bay is allowing just under 3.3 yards per carry to backs, and have given up just four rushing touchdowns to the position. They're not much more beatable in the receiving game from RBs, which sets Leonard Fournette up for a tough day. Don't get me wrong, you're starting him as a high-end RB2 at minimum on account of his deathgrip on the Jacksonville backfield. Just bear in mind that it could very well take a high level of PPR work for him to return that value.

Seth DeValve / Nick O'Leary (TE, JAX)

The Jaguars have reached the point of their tight end depth chart at which they might have to ask a concession stand employee to take some snaps if things get any worse, which is a shame considering the matchup at hand. The Buccaneers are allowing almost six receptions per game to tight ends, along with nearly 80 yards per contest and seven total touchdowns. Seth DeValve's status for Sunday looks just as cloudy as it has for the last month, lining Nick O'Leary up to potentially be Jacksonville's tight end of note for Week 13. I'd have to be beyond desperate to consider him as my starter, but he did catch all four of his targets last week in his first game action with the Jaguars. O'Leary is the ultimate Hail Mary that could actually pan out this week if things break right.

***UPDATE: Seth DeValve has been ruled out, keeping Nick O'Leary in play as a desperation dart throw.

Peyton Barber (RB, TB)

You already know I'm high on the matchup with a Jacksonville run defense that has just been obliterated of late, so Peyton Barber could be in line for a boom-day if he's given enough chances. He's averaging 10.45 touches per game despite not being especially efficient. I worry about Tampa Bay's ground game as a whole on account of the Bucs' near total reliance on the aerial attack most weeks, but Barber factors in as a dart throw with upside for the truly desperate at running back or flex.

Jameis Winston (QB, TB)

There's very little to actually dislike about Jameis Winston as a fantasy quarterback except for his tendency to commit turnovers. Just about everything else you need from a QB, you can pencil him in for most weeks based on his sheer number of opportunities. Tampa Bay has attempted the third-most passes of any team in the NFL, with the highest intended air yards per attempt of anyone. In other words, Winston is almost always throwing the ball downfield, and he has Evans and Godwin there to make the plays when he does. The Jaguars can offer some resistance, allowing the 10th-fewest passing yards per game and boasting the ninth-highest pressure rate. In any case, this game should be high-scoring and Winston is going to throw enough to maintain low-end QB1 value at least.


Washington Redskins at Carolina Panthers

Matchups We Love:

D.J. Moore (WR, CAR)

Despite the ups and downs inherent in playing with Kyle Allen, D.J. Moore has been a legitimate WR1 for a month now. In his last four games, he hasn't seen fewer than nine targets, nor has he totaled below 95 receiving yards. I'm not crazy about his matchup with the Redskins, who have been surprisingly effective against the pass, but I'm also not going to cast aside Moore's sustained success. Maybe temper the WR1 expectations, but keep him in your lineup where he belongs.

Christian McCaffrey (RB, CAR)

The Redskins are allowing nearly 160 scrimmage yards per game to running backs. Christian McCaffrey is averaging 155 yards from scrimmage on his own. That's reason enough for me to roll him out there as my RB1, just as I have all season long.

Matchups We Hate:

Dwayne Haskins (QB, WSH)

Turnover-prone rookie Dwayne Haskins will go up against a Panthers Defense forcing turnovers at the seventh-highest rate in the league. Carolina is limiting opponents to a middling 239.6 passing yards per game, and Haskins is a solid bet to hit the under on that average. The Panthers have allowed just 14 passing touchdowns in 11 games. Haskins hasn't given us any reason to believe he's worth the gamble in fantasy lineups, and he's dealing with a wrist injury this week to boot. Steer clear.

***UPDATE: Dwayne Haskins is without an injury designation heading into the weekend.

Other Matchups:

Derrius Guice / Adrian Peterson (RB, WSH)

With Carolina allowing nearly five yards per carry and a league-high 16 rushing touchdowns to RBs, I suppose there's potential for both of Derrius Guice and Adrian Peterson to produce flex-worthy numbers in Week 13 despite the backfield split they've been sharing for the last two weeks. Naturally, I'd feel much better about either one if there wasn't a split to worry about. Since Guice returned in Week 11, Peterson's volume has taken a hit. Unfortunately, Guice hasn't taken over enough of it to then give him the upper hand. As much as you'd like to believe Guice has to stake his claim to the lead role before long, it's not something you can bank on with a fantasy playoff berth at stake.

Chris Thompson (RB, WSH)

Chris Thompson hasn't played since Week 6, and there is no certainty on his status for Week 13. As enticing a matchup as Carolina presents for running backs who actually run the ball, they're among the least favorable opponents for a pass-catching RB like Thompson. Regardless of his health, I would not turn to him even as a low-end flex.

***UPDATE: Chris Thompson remains questionable heading into the weekend. The uncertainty surrounding his health is more than enough reason to continue avoiding him in fantasy lineups for Week 13, but it looks like he will make his return this week.

Terry McLaurin (WR, WSH)

There's a solid PPR day on the horizon for Terry McLaurin if his quarterback can actually get him the ball this week. Carolina is allowing nearly 16 receptions per game to WRs (most in the league) and has also allowed the fourth-most total yards to the position. McLaurin is the only pass-catcher in Washington I trust enough to benefit from that. He's dropped out of the weekly starter conversation on account of the atrocious offense around him, but he's back on the map as a PPR flex option for Week 13 if you're willing to overlook all the external factors that have held him back of late.

Kelvin Harmon / Paul Richardson (WR, WSH)

Kelvin Harmon has somewhat sneakily begun to develop a rapport with Dwayne Haskins, having caught eight of 12 targets for 96 yards in his last two games. If for some reason I need to look this far down the WR list for a desperation flex play, the matchup offers Harmon some PPR appeal. Paul Richardson is hurt again, and this whole Harmon development began when Richardson missed Week 11. I wouldn't trust Richardson in any capacity, but if he's out this Sunday, the door creaks open a little more for Harmon.

***UPDATE: Paul Richardson is officially out for Sunday.

Jeremy Sprinkle (TE, WSH)

If you're trying to signal to your league mates that you've been taken prisoner by foreign spies, then by all means, throw Jeremy Sprinkle in your fantasy lineup and hope your friends are able to decipher the distress call. If not, ignore the unproven tight end facing a defense that has held his position to 3.6 catches a game.

Kyle Allen (QB, CAR)

I'm not exactly afraid of the Redskins, but their defensive numbers against the pass are respectable enough that I'm going to recommend avoiding Kyle Allen this week. The Redskins are allowing the 11th-fewest passing yards per game, and surprisingly are pressuring the quarterback at the third-highest rate in the league. Factor in their sixth-ranked defensive turnover rate of 13.9%, and I'm betting Allen is asked to do just enough not to completely flush Carolina's playoff hopes down the drain against a team destined for a top-three pick at the 2020 draft.

Curtis Samuel (WR, CAR)

D.J. Moore's emergence as a stud has finally begun to cut into Curtis Samuel's opportunity, as Week 12 marked the first time the latter saw fewer than six targets in a game since Week 1. Samuel's production has been fading of late regardless, and I'm no longer in on him as a guy worth serious consideration in fantasy lineups.

Greg Olsen (TE, CAR)

Greg Olsen is steadily maintaining a reasonable PPR floor over his last three games, which is all you can really ask for out of most tight ends. He's hauled in 18 of 22 targets in this span for 199 yards, a workload which, if it keeps up in Week 13, should keep him in the low-end TE1 conversation versus a Redskins Defense allowing almost 13 PPR points per game to his position.

Matchups Analysis - 4:00 PM ET Games

Los Angeles Rams at Arizona Cardinals

Matchups We Love:

Jared Goff (QB, LAR)

Before you jump to hysteria over Jared Goff being included in the love column this week, let me at least try to explain why. Yes, Goff was abysmal on Monday night against the Baltimore Ravens and frankly has been horrible since the teams' bye in Week 9, but he does have a built-in excuse for some of the poor production. Not only has Los Angeles had to face three top-tier pass defenses in the Steelers, Bears and Ravens in the past three weeks, but Goff has been without playmakers Brandin Cooks and Robert Woods in multiple scenarios. While he was able to get the crew back together on Monday night, Woods wasn't exactly an active participant in practice throughout the week, and it showed with some rust early on in the offense. Arizona is ranked dead last in the NFL when it comes to success rate against the pass, and I am going back to the well one last time with Goff this season if I need a win. With all that being said, his playoff schedule is brutal, so don't expect to parlay this into a late-season surge.

Cooper Kupp (WR, LAR)

Cooper Kupp is Jared Goff's favorite WR. That isn't a profound revelation, but it is noteworthy when the QB has struggled immensely in previous weeks and hasn't thrown a touchdown since coming out of the teams' Week 9 bye. Expect Goff to target Kupp often and potentially get his star wideout back onto the WR1 podium for the week.

Gerald Everett / Tyler Higbee (TE, LAR)

One of the easiest cheat codes in fantasy football this season has been playing TEs against the Arizona Cardinals, who have allowed nearly double the leagues average in PPR points surrendered in 2019. Assuming Everett plays, there is always a chance that Tyler Higbee vultures some of the upside away from Everett this week, but there is game-changing potential available if you have Everett on your squad. It is worth noting that the 2017 second-rounder did suffer a knee injury on Monday night, so you will need to pay close attention to his practice availability. Higbee would become a TE1 streamer if Everett isn't able to go.

Matchups We Hate:


Other Matchups:

Kyler Murray (QB, ARI)

I'd assume we see a little fight from the Los Angeles Rams defensively after they laid down during their primetime game on Monday night, but Kyler Murray possesses some of the same issues that drove the Rams wild against the Ravens. Lamar Jackson was able to have his way with the defense because of the running threat that the whole offense presented, and it is difficult to find much of a run game for the Cardinals at times outside of Murray's dynamic playmaking ability, but with Los Angeles entering the contest off of a short week and the Cardinals getting a week to prepare, it is hard to advocate leaving the rookie on your bench come Sunday. Treat him as a high upside QB1.

Todd Gurley (RB, LAR)

Let's erase all images from what we saw transpire on Monday. That is clearly easier said than done, but allowing past ventures to creep into the forefront of our recent memory is a dangerous game. Todd Gurley had the game script work against him facing the Ravens, rushing only six times for 22 yards to go along with three catches for negative three yards. I do realize that these sorts of performances have been draining from the former consensus number one player in fantasy football, but are you really planning on benching him against one of the worst defenses in the NFL? The Rams might fall short again on Sunday, but it won't be because they didn't try to provide a bounce-back effort. Expect Gurley to get involved often in a game where the Rams can't afford to slip up.

David Johnson (RB, ARI)

Don't get me wrong, I am not playing David Johnson after watching him contribute 0.2 total points in his past three games, but it will be interesting to see if the bye week has allowed the All-Pro RB to gain any positive momentum. His role is currently too volatile to expect that to be the case, but cross your fingers that something changed in the week since we last saw him.

Kenyan Drake (RB, ARI)

Similar to David Johnson, just not as pronounced, I am not ecstatic to play Kenyan Drake if I am in a must-win situation in Week 13. There is a chance that we see him hold down the fort as the teams' lead back, but can we be 100% certain that David Johnson isn't going to partially or fully vulture his workload?  There is enough volume in the passing game to keep him on the table as a flex play, but I'm not jumping for joy against a defense that is going to try and make amends for their effort in Week 12.

Brandin Cooks / Robert Woods (WR, LAR)

Both Brandin Cooks and Robert Woods have been in and out of the lineup in recent weeks, and it has hurt with the chemistry between Goff and the rest of the pass-catchers on the Rams. Arizona has been susceptible to both short and long passes, so I wouldn't necessarily discount either this week, but I do view Cooks as the more unstable option of the two. Woods carries some WR2 appeal, while I'd prefer Cooks as a flex play in Week 13.

Christian Kirk / Larry Fitzgerald (WR, ARI)

Christian Kirk has missed a few games because of injuries this season, but if we extrapolated his targets per contest out with his current average to account for missed time, Kirk would be 10th in the NFL in total targets. That sort of consistency in usage makes him someone you should consider weekly as a WR2 kind of option. As for Larry Fitzgerald, he has quietly managed to rank inside the top-30 this season in PPR output at the position, but it has become evident that Kirk has passed him on the depth chart. Fitzgerald has only received more than five targets once in his previous five games, making him a low ceiling option for fantasy squads.


Los Angeles Chargers at Denver Broncos

Matchups We Love:


Matchups We Hate:

Brandon Allen (QB, DEN)

For the sake of this article, I am assuming Brandon Allen draws the start over rookie Drew Lock, who doesn't need to be activated off of IR until next Tuesday. Lock will most likely give the Broncos a slight boost in production once he does enter the lineup, but it is probably Allen's job for one more week since Denver will want to give their first-year QB as much practice time as possible before throwing him in against the wolves. Allen has been horrendous by all statistical measures, failing to exceed a 43.6% completion rate in his past two starts. It probably doesn't need to be stated, but leave the QB on the waiver wire.

***UPDATE: Drew Lock took first-team snaps after being activated from IR, and may be the starter now although that has not been officially confirmed yet. If he does start, consider this an upgrade for everyone on offense. 

Courtland Sutton (WR, DEN)

It appears as if Courtland Sutton's ankle will be fine come Sunday, but that isn't the issue that places him on the hate list. Quarterback Brandon Allen has done an incredible job in tanking the Broncos' offense in general, and I am not so sure how you could stomach playing Sutton if Allen remains in at QB in Week 13. Brighter days will be ahead for the talented wideout, but it is nothing but gloom until we see what Drew Lock can provide the team when it is his chance to start.

Other Matchups:

Philip Rivers (QB, LAC)

We have seen the downside of Philip Rivers in recent weeks, and we have even seen the negative already when these two teams met in Week 5 after the veteran QB scored a season-low 4.1 points. I'm not overly optimistic that Rivers is going to provide QB1 production for owners, but I am also not so quick to leave him for dead as some have been after his pitiful seven INTs during the past two weeks. If you are in a two-QB setting, Rivers does have some upside available to him on Sunday coming in off of a bye.

Melvin Gordon (RB, LAC)

While Denver has been stellar against opposing RBs this season, they have been torched twice by Leonard Fournette and Devin Singletary. That has to at least give Melvin Gordon owners some confidence that their standout back has a chance to become the third member of that club, and the potential game flow points towards that having a moderately decent chance of happening. Gordon has enough TD upside and usage through the air to secure him an RB2 slot for your roster.

Austin Ekeler (RB, LAC)

If you exclude Austin Ekeler from the equation, not much went right for the Chargers when these two teams met in Week 5. However, Ekeler did enough work for everyone by catching an incredible 15 passes for 86 yards. Game flow dictated a lot of what the former Western Colorado product was able to accomplish through the air, but I am not so sure we are on track for a similar usage rate. It seems more likely that the Chargers might have revenge on their minds, which would limit passing down work if the team goes ahead early.

Phillip Lindsay / Royce Freeman (RB, DEN)

Neither Phillip Lindsay nor Royce Freeman has been able to accomplish much in terms of fantasy success recently, but it has been Lindsay who has shown the most promise with his workload as of late. Lindsay has out-touched Freeman 32 to 13 in the past two games and could be in store for another inordinate differential again in Week 13. The second-year back torched the Chargers for 114 yards on 15 carries in Week 5 and should be viewed as an RB2 come Sunday. Unfortunately, the disparity in touches makes Freeman nothing more than an RB3/RB4.

Keenan Allen (WR, LAC)

I am not benching Keenan Allen if I own him this weekend. I am aware that the Broncos held him to a season-low 18 receiving when the two met earlier in the season, but volume and momentum seem to be trending in his direction. That is good enough for me to take my chances with him as a mid-to-back end WR2.

Mike Williams (WR, LAC)

It has been some run from Mike Williams during the past four weeks, even if it hasn't always resulted in exorbitant production. Williams has averaged a whopping 31.1 yards per reception during that time frame and has turned into Los Angeles' big-threat option on the outside. Denver has done its part in preventing explosive plays in 2019, but Williams did receive 13 targets when these two teams met earlier in the year.

Noah Fant (TE, DEN)

If nothing else, poor QB play has allowed Noah Fant to become Brandon Allen's go-to target when he is faced with pressure. Fant has averaged 7.5 targets over his past two games but has still failed to exceed four catches or 60 yards in either performance. A high target share makes the rookie a feasible streamer for desperate teams, but it is far from a lock when it comes to what kind of production to expect.

Hunter Henry (TE, LAC)

It is challenging to find consistent results from TEs every season, but Hunter Henry has been just about as safe as it comes. Through seven appearances this season, Henry is averaging 70 receiving yards per game and has received an average of 8.3 targets over his past six contests. Keep firing him up as a TE1.


Oakland Raiders at Kansas City Chiefs

Matchups We Love:

Patrick Mahomes (QB, KC)

Creating hypothetical narratives is nothing more than making a prediction, but I do believe we see Patrick Mahomes extremely motivated after the football world seems to have forgotten about his excellence and given all his praise to Lamar Jackson. If we are talking about pure QB play, Mahomes is still the best in the game and should prove that against an Oakland secondary that ranks 27th in success rate against the pass.

Tyreek Hill (WR, KC)

If Tyreek Hill is healthy enough to play after suffering a hamstring injury before the teams' bye in Week 11, this could be the matchup that helps propel you into your playoffs. Hill is the most consistent big-play threat in the NFL, which could have Christmas come early for you against the 31st ranked defense in explosive passing plays allowed. Fire Hill up as a high-end WR1 if active.

Darren Waller (TE, OAK)

You never want to see an injury propel someone to greater heights, but owners of Darren Waller just received a massive boost in their breakout TE after Hunter Renfrow suffered a rib injury that might place him out for the rest of the season. Head coach Jon Gruden has said that Waller, Keelan Doss and Zay Jones will all get time in the slot, but it is Waller that should see the most significant increase from this. Before Renfrow became a full-time player for the Raiders, Waller averaged a team-high 26% target share and 8.3 looks per contest. That number decreased dramatically when Renfrow entered the picture, falling to 18% and 5.6 targets. I know you have been frustrated with Waller's production lately, but don't make the mistake of leaving him on your bench.

Travis Kelce (TE, KC)

Touchdown regression has hit Travis Kelce in 2019, but it has been another brilliant season from arguably the best TE in the league. Oakland has struggled to contain the position so far this year, making Kelce one of the premier options on the board once again.

Matchups We Hate:

Other Matchups:

Derek Carr (QB, OAK)

Opportunity should be there for Derek Carr, who threw a season-high 38 pass attempts when these teams first met in Week 2. Unfortunately for Carr and the Raiders, that didn't amount to much in that contest, and the 28-year-old could be in for a similar day of despair. For all the woes that Kansas City has defensively, pass defense is not one of them, so you might want to downgrade Carr into the QB2 range on Sunday.

Josh Jacobs / Jalen Richard (RB, OAK)

The matchup is mouthwatering for Josh Jacobs, but the issue is will the game stay competitive enough for it to matter? Jacobs was able to rush for 99 yards during Oakland's Week 2 meeting against Kansas City but was undone by just 12 total touches - all of which came on the ground. The Raiders have done a better job in recent weeks of getting the rookie somewhat involved on passing downs, but his projected RB1 production will only come if the game stays marginally close. Once it gets out of hand, Jalen Richard has a chance to pilfer some extra work.

Damien Williams / LeSean McCoy / Darrel Williams (RB, KC)

As the week is progressing, Damien Williams is getting further and further away from looking like he will be out there on Sunday. Practicing in a limited capacity on Thursday would change that, but extra touches for LeSean McCoy and Darrel Williams is beginning to look likely. If Damien Williams is out, McCoy propels into the RB2 conversation, while Darrel Williams would carry some volatile RB3/flex appeal.

***UPDATE: Damien Williams has officially been ruled out.

Sammy Watkins / Mecole Hardman / Demarcus Robinson (WR, KC)

It has been a game of musical chairs for these three throughout the season, but when one does go off, fantasy explosions have happened. Sammy Watkins remains the safest one to own and might be able to venture into WR2 conversation, while Mecole Hardman and Demarcus Robinson are nothing more than dart throws for owners in extremely deep leagues.

Tyrell Williams (WR, OAK)

Tyrell Williams' early-season surge is starting to look more like fools gold than anything else, but the loss of rookie wideout Hunter Renfrow might open back up a few targets, even if Williams doesn't run the same sort of routes. I'd prefer to leave Williams on the bench until he can regain some of his positive momentum, but there is flex potential available on Sunday for desperate teams.


Matchups Analysis - Sunday Night Football, 8:20 PM ET

New England Patriots at Houston Texans

Matchups We Love:

Julian Edelman (WR, NE)

There weren't many inside the industry more bullish on Julian Edelman than I was coming into 2019. Ironically, I have been able to cover the Patriots nearly every week of this article since Week 1 by sheer luck of the draw, and it has resulted in some victory laps about Edelman's production. I'll tone back on that this weekend, but it is worth noting that the veteran WR has accrued double-digit targets in his past six games and hasn't recorded a single-digit PPR scoring effort during that time. As long as the volume continues to be there, Edelman should be treated as a PPR WR1.

Matchups We Hate:

Darren Fells / Jordan Akins (TE, HOU)

There are weeks where the Texans TEs are interesting options to receive red zone looks in the passing game, but a showdown against the New England Patriots isn't one of those circumstances. The Patriots have only given up 3.8 catches to tight ends this season, with the majority of that damage coming to Zach Ertz and Dallas Goedert.

Other Matchups:

Tom Brady (QB, NE)

I've alluded to the fact that the New England Patriots are not all they are cracked up to be on offense during recent segments of this article, but there are a few positive circumstances that should be pointed out for Week 13. While Brady is coming into the week off of his third-worst completion percentage of his career last Sunday against the Dallas Cowboys at 45.9%, Houston's indoor stadium will provide the veteran with a rare late-season test that won't include inclement weather.  The offense is still stuck in neutral with only Julian Edelman stepping up to the plate during most recent contests, but the Texans Defense has surrendered at least 16.1 points to the position in eight of their 11 games. That is good enough to recommend Brady as a QB1, even if the team still has holes that will need to be worked out.

Deshaun Watson (QB, HOU)

Deshaun Watson has been somewhat erratic from a fantasy perspective in 2019, but it has been his prior two performances that are most alarming for me. The Ravens are a top-tier defense, so it is difficult to be too critical of Watson's paltry four-point outing in Week 11, but his six rushes for 22 yards in the past two games have stunted his ceiling of production. If you own Watson, you are most likely forced to roll him out as a QB1, but you might want to temper expectations slightly.

Sony Michel (RB, NE)

Better days will be ahead for Sony Michel, and it might even begin this weekend in Houston. Since J.J. Watt's injury removed him from the lineup for the rest of the season, Houston has allowed 124 rushing yards per game to backfields, which is the third-most in the league during the past month. Michel is usually more synonymous with having upside during cold-weather games, but I believe Bill Belichick will find a way to use his back on Sunday, especially considering the fact that New England is desperately searching for an answer on offense. With all that being said, his lack of usage in the passing game does downgrade him to back-end RB2 status this week.

Carlos Hyde (RB, HOU)

There is no doubting that Carlos Hyde has been better this season than most "pundits" predicted, but you always have to be concerned with playing the 29-year-old during contests where the Texans could fall behind early. I do believe this game will remain competitive, so I wouldn't necessarily downgrade him too much because of that fact, but the risk involved still makes him nothing more than a risky flex play.

Duke Johnson (RB, HOU)

The annual case of why is Duke Johnson not used more often? Duke is first in the NFL when it comes to most yards per touch for backs with at least 60 touches (6.5 yards per touch), but those statistics have never equated into the fantasy success that is possible. With seasons on the line in Week 13, it is extremely difficult to trust Johnson to produce with his current workload, even if his talent says otherwise.

N'Keal Harry / Jakobi Meyers / Phillip Dorsett (WR, NE)

With Phillip Dorsett passing the NFL's five-step concussion protocol on Wednesday, he should be on track to enter the lineup after a week off. A healthy body returning will hopefully help Tom Brady to find a little more rhythm for the offense, which does place Dorsett into a risky flex range.  As for N'Keal Harry and Jakobi Meyers, both are not much more than bench stashes right now, although it will be interesting to see if either is able to emerge as a go-t0 target for Brady.

DeAndre Hopkins (WR, HOU)

The Patriots have been hit with the flu bug, and it is worth paying attention to see if CB Stephon Gilmore suffers any regression as the week goes on. Gilmore has been targeted 53 times in 11 games this season, allowing only 19 receptions (36%), 223 yards and no scores. Wideout Amari Cooper was held without a catch for the first time in his Dallas career last weekend, so Hopkins will need to have his best stuff on Sunday to find success if Gilmore is active - which I assume will be the case.

Will Fuller (WR, HOU)

What would a week of football be if Will Fuller wasn't limited in practice with some sort of an ailment? Luckily for Fuller and the Texans, this hamstring issue doesn't appear to be much of a concern, and it seems almost certain the explosive WR will be healthy and ready to go on Sunday. Fuller exploded for seven catches and 140 yards in Week 12 against the Indianapolis Colts, but you are going to want to rein in expectations against the Patriots. Despite the potential to erupt on any given week, Fuller should be viewed as nothing more than a volatile flex play in Week 13.

Ben Watson (TE, NE)

I find Ben Watson intriguing if you are desperate for tight end help heading into the playoffs. Watson's Week 12 debacle of zero catches should be chalked up more to game flow than anything else, and the Patriots being in desperate need for pass-catchers does help his cause. I am not sure if that helps him to produce this weekend, but it might be difficult to find better options on the board than Watson in extremely deep leagues.

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