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Week 13 NFL Matchups Analysis (Part 1): Start/Sit for Fantasy Football

Zach Wilkens breaks down the first half of the Week 13 matchups for the 2015 NFL football season. Be sure to also check out part two of this week's matchups analysis for the later games.

Each week of the NFL season, we will be breaking down each of the NFL matchups and providing you with some fantasy football advice and lineup recommendations based on matchups that we love, matchups that we hate, and some high-risk/high-reward players, as well.

Below, you will find part one of our Week 13 NFL matchups & fantasy football start/sit analysis, which should help you prepare your lineups to win this week. It’s essential to analyze the weekly NFL matchups to find lineup sleepers and gems, while also avoiding those players who may turn out to be busts.


Jets @ Giants - Sunday 12/6 @ 1 PM EST

Matchups We Love:

Ryan Fitzpatrick, QB, Jets - The Giants give up the most passing yards at a whopping 315 yards per game. Fitz hasn’t hit 300 all season, but he just might this week. Even if he doesn’t, the combo of Brandon Marshall and Eric Decker should prove too much for the Giants. I love Fitzpatrick this week and he sneaks into my top 10.

Chris Ivory, RB, Jets - Ivory has been all over the place in recent weeks, ranging anywhere from eight to 23 carries and a YPC that has gone from 1.1 to 5.5 in back-to-back weeks and everything in between. That inconsistency has scared me a bit from a guy who was regularly putting up points early in the season. The Giants have given up 100+ rushing yards to RBs in six of the past seven games, so I like him this week. If just last week Alfred Morris managed to put up 90 yards from scrimmage, I feel very comfortable with Ivory in my top 10 this week.

Odell Beckham Jr, WR, Giants - Darrelle Revis is unlikely to play this week. No Revis Island? No problem.

Matchups We Hate:

Giants RBs - The Giants don’t have a clear lead back and they don’t use Shane Vereen nearly enough as a pass-catching back. The Jets give up the fourth-fewest points to RBs and with the mess the Giants have at the position, it’s a no-brainer to avoid them entirely.

Will Tye / Larry Donnell, TEs, Giants - I’m pretty sure Donnell is still out but I threw his name in there just in case. In deeper leagues it may be tempting to stream Tye after he has had 11 catches for 130 yards the last two weeks. I’d suggest avoiding him this week. The Jets have been great against tight ends all season outside of Gronk (and I’ll excuse them on that one). Will Tye might still see four or five catches but his upside is extremely limited.

Notable Players:

Eli Manning, QB, Giants - Manning is having another solid season and currently sits at QB10. The Jets are not a terrible matchup - they’ve allowed multiple pass touchdowns in five of the last six games - but they aren’t a great one either. Ryan Tannehill for example had three touchdowns last week, but played terribly in the first half and ended up as a top ten QB thanks solely to garbage time. I’m certainly not banking on that for Eli and as a result he is outside my top 12 this week.

Dwayne Harris & Rueben Randle, WRs, Giants - The Jets have shown a vulnerability to WR2s in the past--Allen Hurns, Danny Amendola (pre-Edelman injury) and Michael Crabtree all put up points while Revis was covering a more talented player. Yet these two Giants WRs are so inconsistent that it’s hard to rely on either. Harris has been slightly more reliable lately. Randle did have a touchdown last week but it was his only catch on six targets. Either could be worth a flier if you're desperate, but I’d avoid the situation.

Brandon Marshall & Eric Decker, WRs, Jets - Despite giving up so many passing yards, the Giants aren’t actually a great matchup for wide receivers. That said I still feel very good about these two. It’s a similar situation to the Titans' and the Raiders' WR duos last week. Both defenses are middle of the pack but the Raiders WRs proved to be too talented for the Titans defense. Expect the same here and get these guys in your lineup.


Cardinals @ Rams - Sunday 12/6 @ 1 PM EST

Matchups We Love:

Despite the Rams' poor showing last week, these are two good defenses. There are no matchups that make me jump for joy here.

Matchups We Hate:

Todd Gurley, RB, Rams - What to make of Todd Gurley? In recent weeks he had shown signs of slowing down, but he was still scoring and still putting up decent total yards so I remained optimistic. Last week that came to a screeching halt as he finished with just 30 yards and no score. He now has a 3.1 YPC over his last four games. Basically, the offense around him (including the offensive line) is so bad that even for an extremely talented player, it’s very hard to produce. After some careful consideration, I placed him at RB11 this week. That means I still see him as a starter for sure, but it’s not longer a no-brainer.

John Brown and Michael Floyd, WRs, Cardinals - Despite giving up two touchdowns to A.J. Green last week, the Rams gave up just 94 yards to the Bengals WRs as a whole. I have a hard time seeing any Cards receiver that isn’t Larry Fitzgerald making an impact here. Both are outside my top 25, but if you had to start one it should be Brown.

Notable Players:

Carson Palmer, QB, Rams - This is a bad matchup on paper, the Rams give up the fourth-fewest points to QBs. However, I don’t see any reason why Carson Palmer can’t replicate Andy Dalton’s success from last week. It seemed like he struggled last week, but in the end he threw for 271 yards with no interceptions and a rushing touchdown to have another solid day. He hasn’t had an awful or even a bad game all season, so I’m feeling pretty good about predicting another fine day here.

Larry Fitzgerald, WR, Cardinals - Fitz is having a great season, although last week’s 10-66-0 line was a disappointment in standard. It’s unlikely to get any easier here as the Rams give up the third-fewest points to opposing WRs. As mentioned above we did see A.J. Green score two touchdowns last week but he also had just 61 yards. I definitely think Fitz remains a very strong start every week, but it’s a tough matchup and around 70 yards should be the expectation.

David Johnson, RB, Cardinals - David Johnson will finally get a crack at a starter’s workload after both Chris Johnson and Andre Ellington managed to go down in the same week. Johnson has been a touchdown hound this season with seven offensive scores on 54 touches--that’s one touchdown every 7.7 touches. For comparison, Devonta Freeman leads all RBs with 11 scores.

Outside of the scoring, Johnson has a slightly above-average 4.0 YPC. The Rams have proven to be an average run defense and I see David Johnson as a decent RB2. I don’t think he will pile up the yardage but he should see a lot of touches and some goal line opportunities. I have him at RB20 and might move him up a bit more before the week is over.


Falcons @ Buccaneers - Sunday 12/6 @ 1 PM EST

Matchups We Love:

Julio Jones, WR, Falcons - Julio is coming off a game where he had only 56 yards, but he is averaging a league-best 113 yards per game on the season. No reason to be concerned here.

Jacob Tamme, TE, Falcons - A minor love, the Bucs have given up at least six catches and 50 yards to tight ends in each of the past three games. Additionally, Leonard Hankerson is expected to miss this week. As pointed out several times by people I follow on Twitter, Tamme has seen a notable uptick in production when Hank sits. He currently averages six catches and 67 yards in four games without Hank. He’ll be a very nice PPR play and a top-12 play in all formats.

Matchups We Hate:

Jameis Winston, QB, Bucs - The Falcons are a surprisingly tough matchup for QBs. Only once has a team put up more than 20 fantasy points against the Falcons this season. I say team because it took the combined effort of Brian Hoyer and Ryan Mallett and 57 pass attempts to get there. Winston has a low ceiling this week and although he’s been a solid play most of the season he should be avoided here.

Vincent Jackson, WR, Bucs - The Falcons have a great corner (I won’t call him a total shutdown CB, but he’s close) in Desmond Trufant. Interestingly, the Falcons do no shadow at all--they stick to their sides all game. Trufant plays the left side which is where VJax lines up most of the game. Although VJax had a slightly better game than Evans last week, don’t expect the same here.

Notable Players:

Matt Ryan, QB, Falcons - It’s not a bad matchup, but Ryan has been a huge disappointment this season. He currently sits at QB18 on the season with five interceptions in his last two games. He has played better on the road this season (seven touchdowns and two inteceptions) but he’s still not playing up to the level many expected. I have him at QB20 right now, I just don’t see a whole lot of reason why this might be a great game for him.

Devonta Freeman, RB, Falcons - Freeman will be back after missing Week 12 with a concussion. The Buccaneers are not an easy matchup as they haven’t let a running back score a rushing touchdown since Week 3. They did hold Devonta to just 88 yards rushing in their first matchup, but he still finished with 131 yards from scrimmage thanks to a great day through the air. He may not score but he should go over 100 total yards once again.

Mike Evans, WR, Bucs - It helps that Vjax is expected to line up against Trufant for most of the game but I am still nervous about Evans against the Falcons. They’ve given up just three WR touchdowns all season and allow the second-fewest points to WRs. They held Evans to just three catches for 48 yards in the first matchup. I think Vjax definitely helps Evans chances to do better here but I still see him as just a low-end WR2.


Seahawks @ Vikings - Sunday 12/6 @ 1 PM EST

Matchups We Love:

Kyle Rudolph, TE, Vikings - Believe it or not the Seahawks give up the fourth-most points to opposing tight ends. It also helps that Rudolph has been way more involved lately with 19 targets and 13 catches over the last two games. That gets him in my top ten (right at TE10) this week.

Matchups We Hate:

Teddy Bridgewater, QB, Vikings - Great stat by The FF Engineer on twitter - of all 18 QBs to start every game this season, Teddy Bridgewater is the lowest-scoring. That goes to show just how ‘blah’ he has been this season. Even in two-QB leagues he should be avoided.

Stefon Diggs, WR, Vikings - Has slowed down tremendously after a hot start and this is obviously a terrible matchup. Markus Wheaton of all people destroyed the Seahawks last week, but don’t see take that as a good sign for Diggs. Diggs will see a lot of Richard Sherman, and Sherman did a fantastic job on Antonio Brown in that game.

Notable Players:

Russell Wilson, QB, Seahawks - Wilson is on fire right now with eight touchdowns and no interceptions over his last two games. This game will give us a good idea of what to make of Russell Wilson down the fantasy playoff stretch. Considering how hot he has been vs the tough matchup, I have him at QB11.

Thomas Rawls, RB, Seahawks - The Vikings are a tough matchup (sixth-fewest points to RBs), but the Steelers were even tougher. If he could get 81 yards and a score there, I feel comfortable starting him here.

Doug Baldwin, WR, Seahawks - Baldwin is coming off the best game of his career. and has averaged six catches and 113 yards over his last three games.  For most of his career Baldwin has been very average--in fact, he averaged just 43 yards per game during the first eight games this season. In this matchup with the Vikings I think I will stay away from Baldwin. I have him outside my top 30. If he proves himself once more, he’ll have an awesome matchup vs the Ravens next week.

Adrian Peterson, RB, Vikings - The Seahawks give up the second-fewest points to running backs with just four RB touchdowns allowed on the season.’s Adrian Peterson. Unlike the Rams and Todd Gurley, this team has a solid offensive line and a little bit more to work with outside of Peterson. Peterson is playing so well this year that he is my #1 RB (and the consensus #1 RB) despite the matchup.


Texans @ Bills - Sunday 12/6 @ 1 PM EST

Matchups We Love:

None. This game has the lowest O/U total of the week with good reason. Neither team is an explosive offense and neither team has any major weaknesses.

Matchups We Hate:

Tyrod Taylor, QB, Bills - During the Texans current four-game win streak they’ve given up one passing touchdown total and an average of 203 passing yards per game. It’s been an amazing turn-around for the Texans and they have the defensive firepower to keep it going.

LeSean McCoy, RB, Bills - It’s not just quarterbacks that have been stopped by the Texans' rejuvenated defense. Running backs have also been shut down, perhaps even more so. The Texans have not given up more than 64 rushing yards to RBs in any of the last four games. McCoy is still very startable but I have him just outside my top 10.

Notable Players:
Brian Hoyer, QB, Texans - Hoyer continues to be a middling fantasy QB. In his six full or mostly full games he has put up at least 14 points in each of them. The Bills are an average matchup for QBs but they have given up 20 touchdowns. I would expect 14-16 points from Hoyer here.

DeAndre Hopkins, WR, Texans - An every-week must-start.

Alfred Blue, RB, Texans - I’m not really an Alfred Blue fan but he does have over 80 yards and a score in each of the past two games. That seems to have been enough to pull away from his competition. The touches make him an intriguing start, yet I still feel he is sorely lacking in the talent department and as a result I see him as an average flex and nothing more.

Ryan Griffin, TE, Texans - Griffin should not be started but I am listing him here because he’s on my radar after a 4-72-1 day. He was on the IR to return and came back in Week 10

Sammy Watkins, WR, Bills - Man, Watkins is inconsistent. In the past four games alone he’s gone over 150 yards twice with under 50 yards in between. It’s been incredibly frustrating as a ranker. Ultimately I think his upside is just too much to resist and so I have him in my top 20 this week as somewhat of a risk with a high reward.


Ravens @ Dolphins - Sunday 12/6 @ 1 PM EST

Matchups We Love:

Javorius Allen, RB, Ravens - Allen showed some fantasy potential last week with a 4.6 YPC, 84 yards and a touchdown vs the Browns. He gets a similarly very good matchup this week. I was actually expecting more touches out of him but Terrance West ended up getting seven carries as well which was a little disappointing. Allen is a solid RB2 here.

Jarvis Landry, WR, Dolphins - Landry is coming off career bests in receptions and yards with a 13-165-1 line. This is a great matchup against the Ravens as they give up the third-most points to receivers. Get him in your lineup.

Kamar Aiken, WR, Ravens - I admit it, I have been incredibly dismissive of Kamar Aiken all season. If you’ve been in any of my Wednesday night chats, you may have seen me get a question on Aiken and reply with something along the lines of “Meh, I don’t think he’s that talented.” On Monday night he delivered a strong performance despite Matt Schaub under center. It’s hard to deny Aiken’s fantasy viability anymore. This is a pretty good matchup and I have him in solid flex territory.

Matchups We Hate:

Lamar Miller, RB, Dolphins - The lone strength on defense for either of these teams is the Ravens vs the run. They have an excellent 3.5 YPC vs RBs with just five touchdowns allowed. I do believe the change at OC means they will look to get Miller more involved. That keeps him in RB2 territory for me but I do see him as high-risk/high-reward.

Notable Players:

Ryan Tannehill, QB, Dolphins - I really wanted to put Tannehill in my love section because it is such a good matchup vs the Ravens. However, I find myself shying away. I’m not sure what to expect with the loss of Rishard Matthews plus the OC change. Tanny has a mere 56.7% completion rate and was saved by an extra-long garbage time period last week. I’ll see how he does this week without starting him.

Kenny Stills / Devante Parker, WRs, Dolphins - With Rishard Matthews out, these two will be expected to pick up the slack. Stills has been the WR3 for most of the season but it was Parker who finally delivered last week with his first touchdown. The general expectation is that Parker will be the starter and I agree with that. I don’t see him as startable but he should absolutely be scooped up in all leagues.

Crockett Gillmore, TE, Ravens - Gillmore had just three catches for 20 yards last week. The major downgrade at QB has me staying away from him.


Bengals @ Browns - Sunday 12/6 @ 1 PM EST

Matchups We Love:

Andy Dalton, QB, Bengals - The Browns give up the fourth-most points to QBs. After cruising through his matchup against the Rams, Dalton is a must-start here.

Duke Johnson, RB, Browns - Johnson keeps racking up the catches. He sits fifth in RB receptions despite not nabbing his first catch until the third game. This makes the Bengals a great matchup as they give up the third most receptions to RBs. He is a PPR RB2 and a solid standard flex play.

AJ Green, WR, Bengals - Green has been fairly disappointing this season but I’m feeling a turnaround after his two-touchdown game. Green actually disappointed with just four catches and 53 yards in their first meeting. I do think this matchup will be better.

Matchups We Hate:


Notable Players:

Giovani Bernard & Jeremy Hill, RBs, Bengals - The usage has been a bit frustrating lately. Hill saw 17 touches for 100 yards last week as the Bengals went up big. In another matchup where the Bengals are heavily favored I fear we may see the usage lean towards Hill once again. Gio had 12 touches last week including two receptions for 51 yards. As a result they are both in the low-end RB2/high-end flex range.

Marvin Jones, WR, Bengals - It’s a nice matchup and Jones had five catches for 78 yards last time around. I think he has a pretty good shot at matching that total and he is definitely flex-worthy in deeper leagues.

Tyler Eifert, TE, Bengals - Eifert is closer to the doubtful side of questionable at this point and hasn’t practiced yet. If he starts, you play him. It’s that simple.

Travis Benjamin, RB, Browns - Benjamin seemed to have a pretty good connection with Austin Davis as he had multiple deep targets that resulted in two catches for 56 yards and a touchdown in the fourth quarter on Monday. I’m pretty optimistic on what he can do this week and I have him at WR27.

Gary Barnidge, TE, Browns - Barnidge only had one target on Davis’s 10 passes which is a little troubling. That said, the talent for this team is really limited outside of Barnidge and Benjamin so I am pretty confident in a full game Barnidge will get his. He remains comfortably in my top 10.


Jaguars @ Titans - Sunday 12/6 @ 1 PM EST

Matchups We Love:

Allen Robinson, WR, Jaguars - Robinson is in the midst of a fantastic sophomore season. He put up 113 yards in their last meeting. He definitely needs to be in your lineup, and he should be peppered with targets with Allen Hurns officially out.

Marcus Mariota, QB, Titans - Mariota struggled a bit in their last matchup but I’ll let it slide since it was a Thursday game. The Jags have allowed 21 passing touchdowns to just five interceptions. That makes Mariota a very safe play with a high floor. He is a very solid QB2 this week.

Delanie Walker, TE, Titans - Walker had a season-high 109 yards last time these two teams faced off. The Jaguars are a good matchup and you’ll want him in your lineup.

Matchups We Hate:

T.J. Yeldon, RB, Jaguars - His usage has been maddening. Gus Bradley claims they will get him more involved but it’s not the first time he’s had to make that statement and it hasn’t changed things previously. Yeldon had an excellent 82 yards on 13 touches. Why he wasn’t used more often, who knows. I do still have him at RB19 but the Titans give up the third-fewest points to RBs. If you have another decent option I strongly suggest considering it.

Antonio Andrews, RB, Titans - Andrews did have 94 yards in their previous matchup but he’s been so bad in his other matchups that I have a hard time believing he can match that again. It doesn’t help that the Titans have stated they want Cobb to be more involved as well. Even as a flex, I’d avoid Andrews this week.

Notable Players:

Blake Bortles, QB, Jaguars - Much like Mariota, Bortles didn’t have his best showing in their Thursday Night matchup. It’s the only game in the past seven in which he didn’t throw for multiple touchdowns. I expect a better matchup here and have him just outside my top 10.

Allen Hurns, WR, Jaguars - Hurns has been declared out for this week. Make sure he's not in your lineups.

Julius Thomas, TE, Jaguars - Hurns played most of last week’s game (80% of snaps) but his absence benefits Julius Thomas who has had touchdowns in back-to-back weeks. With Hurns out I think Thomas borders on must-start territory.

Kendall Wright, WR, Titans - He's the only Titans WR I would consider playing, but even then he hasn’t given much reason to want to. He was actually way out-snapped by Harry Douglas last week and I have no interest in starting him. Wright did see seven targets but that’s about all I have for positives from his Week 12 performance. He’s still a guy I’m keeping tabs on, but other than that there isn’t much to do besides wait.


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