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Week 13 NFL Matchups Analysis (Part 2): Start/Sit for Fantasy Football

Vladimir De Wet breaks down the second 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 earlier 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 two 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.

No more bye weeks and everyone is injured! This is where fantasy superstars are separated from the pack. Time to figure out where those injuries will benefit you best and which players will be most important to their and your playoff push! Check out this week's matchups we love and hate.


Bengals @ Browns - Sunday 12/7 @ 1:00 PM EST

Matchups We Love:

Duke Johnson, RB, Browns - The Bengals have a top-10 run defense that has only given up four rushing touchdowns this year (tied for third in the league). The Bengals held Cincinnati to 69 yards rushing in Week 8. Johnson had a 26-yard receiving touhdown during that game. The rookie back's 44 receptions rank as third-best on the team. Since Week 8 he has become a more consistent part of the passing game and should be a check-down all-star against a good Bengals run defense.

Matchups We Hate:

Isaiah Crowell, RB, Browns - Crowell has the league's lowest YPA right now (2.9). He isn't worth the start against a solid run defense and should be completely avoided this week against the Bengals. Also, Duke Johnson has the league's second-worst rushing yards per attempt which means this Bengals offensive line is the worst run blocking offensive line in the league.

Notable Players:

Tyler Eifert, TE, Bengals - Eifert has been picking up little injuries for the past few weeks. If he starts he should always be in your lineup though because of his consistent presence in the red zone. Eifert's 12 receiving touchdowns leads the league with no one else in double-digits yet.

Jeremy Hill, RB, Bengals - Hill suffered an ankle injury last week but has practiced and should start on Sunday. Although Bernard has taken over lead back duties depending on the week, Hill still offers a lot as a RB3 or flex. He has gotten 15 touches in five of his last six games as the Bengals have stayed committed to Hill despite his slow start to the season.

Austin Davis, QB, Browns - Davis has shown he can be a capable back-up that can come in and move the offense. However, going against a really good Bengals defense for his first start of the year probably won't yield the same production as he had in the fourth quarter on Monday night. With the season basically over in Cleveland, many players will be auditioning for the next job, including Davis.


Chiefs @ Raiders - Sunday 12/7 @ 4:05 PM EST

Matchups We Love:

Travis Kelce, TE, Chiefs - The Chiefs have gone from a five-game losing streak to a five-game winning streak. During both of those the most consistent and reliable offensive player on the team has been Travis Kelce. The Raiders have given up the second-most fantasy points and the most receiving touchdowns to opposing TEs this year. With six straight games of at least four receptions Kelce is a sure bet to have another solid day against Oakland.

Amari Cooper, WR, Raiders - Cooper has had four receptions in every game this season except for two weeks ago against the Lions. The Raiders lost that game, which continued a three-game losing streak. Last week the Raiders won and Cooper had the second-most targets and receptions of his young career. Going against a Chiefs secondary that has given up the second-most fantasy points to opposing WRs Cooper is a locked in WR1.

Matchups We Hate:

Latavius Murray, RB, Raiders - The Chiefs give up a lot of passing yards and passing touchdowns but are the exact opposite when it comes to stopping the run. Kansas City has given up the seventh-fewest fantasy points to opposing RBs. After having one of the league's highest average yards per rushing attempt during the first nine weeks of the season, Murray has averaged a league-worst 2.9 yards per rush over the last three weeks. The Raiders use Murray as a change-of-pace to their pass-oriented offense. He should be benched against a strong Chiefs run defense.

Chiefs RBs - Charcandrick West didn't play last week because of an injury and Spencer Ware looked great as his replacement. This had many thinking Ware might take over as the lead back, but the team has said that they will be using a committee approach going forward. If there were a clear number one back then they would be a good bet to produce, but with both of them cutting into each other's workload neither is worth the start.

Notable Players:

Jeremy Maclin, WR, Chiefs - After Maclin's huge performance last week I still don't trust him to be anything other than a flex. Although he is the only Chiefs receiver worth talking about this year, the scheme and quarterback are just too limiting to Maclin's upside.

Seth Roberts,WR, Raiders - Roberts had the best day of his career last week. On a team that passes so much and with so many weapons, there is always a chance that someone not named Amari Cooper, Michael Crabtree, or Latavius Murray goes off. I don't trust Roberts moving forward because there are just too many healthy Raiders receiving options that are higher on the pecking order.


Broncos @ Chargers - Sunday 12/7 @ 4:05 PM EST

Matchups We Love:

Ronnie Hillman/C.J. Anderson, RB, Broncos - Over the last two weeks both backs have one 100-yard rushing performance. Hillman was declared the starter this week, but Anderson will get his fair share of carries in a renewed running game. Over the last two weeks, while Brock Osweiler has been starting at QB, Denver has 349 yards rushing versus 104 over the two weeks before that. Both backs are good receivers and should be getting a lot of touches against a weak Chargers run defense. Hillman is the RB2 while Anderson slots in as a high-upside flex option.

Steve Johnson, WR, Chargers - Johnson has three straight games with seven receptions. He is the ultimate possession receiver, helping the team move the chains without any big explosive plays. Although he will be seeing his hardest matchup since becoming the team's main receiver he should still see his fair share of targets. Philip Rivers has been hot lately and one of the reasons is because of Johnson's consistency.

Matchups We Hate:

Melvin Gordon, RB, Chargers - The Broncos have the best run defense in the league and the Chargers don't run the ball well. Gordon should be placed on your bench because he simply won't be used enough, and when he is won't be able to do much.

Notable Players:

Brock Osweiler, QB, Broncos - Osweiler has been good in his two weeks as the starter for old man Peyton. He'll get his third start this week and could make a case as a possible streaming candidate for the fantasy playoffs.

DeMaryius Thomas, WR, Broncos - Thomas had the worst game of his career last week with 13 targets but only one reception. Expect him to come back this week with a huge effort as the team continues to force feed him the ball no matter what.


Eagles @ Patriots - Sunday 12/7 @ 4:25 PM EST

Matchups We Love:

No one. The Mark Sanchez-led Eagles have looked awful on offense with every viable fantasy option putting up three straight forgettable weeks. The Patriots are down to Tom Brady throwing the ball to himself at this point. Neither team has a player I would feel good about going into this game, including Brady himself.

Matchups We Hate:

Brandon LaFell, WR, Patriots - LaFell has played enough this year to clearly show he isn't the player from last year. The 29-year-old just hasn't been consistent enough despite seeing some of the most targets in the league during his six weeks back. While he could have a huge game at any point, he has been consistently mediocre at this point that if you have another option don't be afraid to bench LaFell (even though everyone on the Patriots is injured).

Notable Players:

Scott Chandler, TE, Patriots - While Chandler will definitely be getting a lot of Gronk's former targets there's still no guarantee he actually does something with them. The major difference between Gronk and Chandler is an underrated NFL skill: talent. Chandler just isn't skilled enough to be converting big time targets into big time production. I won't call him a hate only because of what Benjamin Watson is doing this season (didn't see that coming) and Brady/Belichick have a voodoo no one truly understands.

Brandon Bolden/James White, RB, Patriots - Both will see more playing time with Gronk out, as the team will use them to pass-protect and as outright receiving options. There is no way to predict which one will be that day's best option, but instead of benching both I would now recommend starting both.


Panthers @ Saints - Sunday 12/7 @ 4:25 PM EST

Matchups We Love:

Jonathan Stewart, RB, Panthers - Stewart has seven straight weeks of 20+ carries. His high usage has lead him to being the NFL's third-leading rusher. The Saints have given up the third-most rushing yards in the league this year including 119 to Carolina as a team in Week 3. Every week the Panthers' run game has been a consistent force, and playing in New Orleans should only help that continue.

Devin Funchess, WR, Panthers - Cam Newton has clearly decided that Greg Olsen is his first and second option, Ted Ginn third, and then Funchess fourth. Unlike the first two, Funchess is only a rookie and still learning the game. He has had a chance to make mistakes and learn without that much pressure because of the team's continued success. As a result, his snaps and usage rate have gone up considerably over the last few weeks without much of a spike in production. Funchess had a three-week stretch as a viable fantasy option but then came back down to Earth again last week. Against an incredibly weak Saints pass defense he should be targeted the most times this year and will have his "breakout" game.

Mark Ingram, RB, Saints - The Panthers have a great run defense and probably won't let Mark Ingram run all over them. But, the former Heisman trophy winner has really played well this season in all phases of the game, including being second on the team in receptions with 46. When these teams met in Week 3 Ingram had 19 touches for 99 yards and a touchdown (including five receptions). Ingram's balance of being able to run and catch while also being the team's goal line back makes him a must-start even against a tough Panthers defense.

Matchups We Hate:

Brandin Cooks, WR, Saints - Cooks has come alive of late by actually getting into the end zone consistently. He also did well against the Panthers in their first game this season with seven receptions for 79 yards. The difference between then and now is how amazing Josh Norman and the Panthers secondary has played. With a pretty healthy defense the Panthers have held each of their last three opponents to under 180 yards passing. I have a lot of respect for Drew Brees and the Saints at home and fully expect them to pass for more than 180 yards--I just don't think Cooks will have a lot to do with it.

Notable Players:

Willie Snead, WR, Saints - Snead is battling an ankle injury and will be a bad bet against the Panthers. If Snead can't go, Marques Colston and Benjamin Watson both will see major increases in their targets.

Colts @ Steelers - Sunday 12/7 @ 8:25 PM EST

Matchups We Love:

Donte Moncrief, WR, Colts - Three of Moncrief's most productive weeks this year have come with Matt Hasselbeck as the starter. Last week the second-year receiver had a career-high eight receptions. Moncrief is clearly the second-most talented receiver on the team but hasn't always played like it. He's going against a middle-of-the-pack Steelers pass defense that has given up three straight 300+ passing performances. Moncrief will be a key piece in a potential shootout between these two teams fighting for the playoffs.

Jesse James, TE, Steelers - Heath Miller hasn't practiced this week and doesn't seem like he will be suiting up on Sunday. If that is the case then James will be worth a spot-start as the team plans on finding out a little bit more about their rookie TE. James has barely seen the field this year but he does have one receiving touchdown. Assuming Miller doesn't play then James will without a doubt see the most targets of his career and will be the most fun "who in the world did I just lose to" candidate of the year.

Matchups We Hate:

No one. Both of these teams have been giving up lots of points lately while being able to put some up themselves.

Notable Players:

Ben Roethlisberger, QB, Steelers - Start him, because even if they say he's getting his leg amputated he will still suit up. Ben might be the only football player to take himself out of a game and not get dragged across the coals for it because everyone understands the guy is a tough freak of nature. Also, am I the only one that notices Ben is a couple of cheeseburgers short of being a right tackle?

Steelers WRs - The Steelers have two guys worth of being in a fantasy line up every week for the rest of the season in Antonio Brown, Martavis Bryant, and Markus Wheaton has come on of late. Brown and Bryant are must-starts and Wheaton is worth flex consideration.

Colts RBs - Stay away from all of them. This team hasn't been able to get a running game going for a few years now and this season looks to continue that trend despite the addition of Frank Gore. Last week Gore had 19 carries for a putrid 24 yards. The team just can't run the ball well, and they have been seriously trying. Gore has seen double-digit carries every game this season including five games with 15+ carries. Despite his high usage he hasn't managed a single 100-yard rushing performance in what has been a forgettable season for the former 49er.


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