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I like to think that our readers have a certain degree of fantasy acuity before they arrive, so my hope is that this start and sit week 12 list – which avoids the obvious – will be useful for all of you. I’ve made my opinions on start/sit implicitly known via my weekly rankings, so, you won’t see a lot of QBs inside my Top 6, etc. listed here. The idea of this post is to give you some deep names that will yield start worthy value and some entrenched starters that should be riding the virtual pine.
Week 13 QB Starts
Ben Roethlisberger at Cleveland – Big Ben is coming off a stretch of games where he’s posted nine touchdowns and well over 900 yards passing in the past three contests. He’ll draw a Browns defense that boasts one of the league’s best cover corners but hasn’t fared all that well against the pass in general this season. Yes, the Browns just shut down the Bengals passing offense but they still yielded three passing TDs to Andy Dalton (and one to Mohamed Sanu) as part of a season where they’ve given up 16 touchdowns to just eight interceptions. While Haden may take Antonio Brown out of the game (he’s not discussed below, but, is ranked as my 21st WR, well behind ECR) there are other options in the passing game here, particularly with Emmanuel Sanders looking healthy. Four of the last five QBs to face Cleveland have posted more than 20 fantasy points.
Colin Kaepernick at Washington – It’s been a rough season for Kap and a rough stretch for those who invested in him as he hasn’t thrown for 200 yards in more than a month. Last week against the Saints the situation seemed ripe for a big game from CK and he under delivered. Though, the fantasy line wasn’t terrible. This week, against Washington, the matchup is much more appealing. Their secondary has given up the 10th most points per game to the position over the last four weeks as part of a top five number on the season. They held Nick Foles out of the endzone last week and are still giving up 2 passing scores per game on average over their last four outings. With another week under Mario Manningham‘s belt, Kaepernick should have options against a leaky secondary.
Reboot reward? Case Keenum vs. Jacksonville – We, as a fantasy community, missed on Keenum in a nice matchup against Oakland last week. Coach Gary Kubiak‘s transient-benching-attack (a TBA instead of a TIA) caused major disappointment in those who were counting on Keenum as a bye week fill in. This week, he’s my highest ranked player in that category sitting right at QB 12 ahead of Scott Tolzein, Mike Glennon et.al. With a willingness to throw the ball up to Andre Johnson and a matchup against Jacksonville, who yield the 2nd most points in the league to the position, Keenum should post starter-worthy numbers. He was on his way to doing so last week, a decent if not outstanding fantasy line, before being inexplicably removed.
Week 13 QB Sits
Philip Rivers at Kansas City – The Chiefs are coming off a game in which they held Peyton Manning to just one passing touchdown and give up an average of just 13.61 fantasy points per game to QBs. They did so last week without getting pressure, too. If they can get to Rivers behind the San Diego offensive line, the result could be a quiet game from a QB who is coming back down to earth in terms of fantasy production (four TDs, three interceptions since their Week 8 bye, under 300 yards per game after averaging above that mark before it). With Keenan Allen limited, Rivers may not have the weapons he needs to best a strong KC defense.
Matt McGloin vs. Tennessee – I’ve expressed, via a last name association that no one else seems to get, that I am McLovin’ McGloin. With that said, the Titans defense is a different beast than that which he saw in his pro debut. Tennessee has allowed just one passing TD in six games, so, expecting McGloin to pass for three again is a massive stretch, particularly with Denarius Moore looking uncertain for the game.
Week 13 RB Starts
Zac Stacy vs. Chicago – Coming into last weeks outing with Chicago Ray Rice had topped 50 yards rushing just once, and hadn’t come within 25 yards of 100. Last week, he averaged 5.2 yards per carry, double what he’s put up in half his games this season, and had 131 yards on the ground. For what it’s worth, I didn’t realize just how bad things had been for Rice until typing that last paragraph… I knew it was ugly, but, wow. The short answer on Stacy is that if Rice can do so against the Bears, than you’d better believe the rookie rusher can do the same in Week 12. We discussed the situation in more depth in our fantasy points per touch review this week.
Rashad Jennings vs. Tennessee – He’ll be without DMC for another week, ensuring a full workload. We’ve mentioned how strong the Titans are against the pass this year, but, they’re beatable on the ground. Giving up 117.1 rushing yards per game and 128.5 on the road (relative to 109.5 at home) the Titans can be run upon. In four of their last five games the Titans have seen a rusher go over 20 fantasy points against them and the guy who didn’t, MJD, still posted almost 14. As coach Dennis Allen points out, he has been a tough tackle this season, so there is little reason to think the Titans defense will suddenly have a turn around against him. Jennings’ numbers in terms of yards after first contact (3.4 average) are enough to make me comfortable with the fact that opponents may stack the box against him with an unproven rookie under center.
Week 13 RB Sits
Knowshon Moreno at New England – The New England defense performed admirably against Carolina’s run game last week (unless you factor in Cam Newton, of course). If, as it looks, the Broncos may involve Montee Ball more in general and inside the 20 specifically, Moreno carries a cap on his value.
Ray Rice vs. New York Jets – Comparing the fantasy points per touch yielded between last week’s Chicago matchup, Rice’s overall production, and this week’s opponent in New York tell us all we need to know. I’m sure that Rice owners are thrilled to see him finally produce, but, we can’t take it as a sign that he is suddenly a top 12 back again. He certainly won’t be this week against a Jets defense that is the best in the league at limiting opposing fantasy RBs.
Week 13 WR Starts
Kendall Wright at Oakland – averaging 9.5 targets per game over the past four and with a 72% catch rate on the season Wright has been incredibly consistent for Tennessee regardless of who is playing QB. The only knock has been that he isn’t finding the endzone. Still, his yardage totals are sufficient for WR2/3 level production and this week against the Raiders, he has as good a chance to score as any. The Raiders give up the 7th most fantasy points to WRs and are yielding passing touchdowns at the 6th highest rate in the league.
Dwayne Bowe vs. San Diego – Please don’t read this as a ‘he scored a TD last week so he’s good again’ endorsement. It’s not. Bowe’s game against the Broncos was less than perfect, he caught just four of 14 targets and left yards on the field. I discussed in the aftermath that even with those 14 looks, Kansas City wasn’t using Bowe in the right situations (he’s open deep, they aren’t throwing). With that said, they showed against the Broncos that they are going to turn to Bowe in games where they need to move the ball through the air. This week against San Diego, they should need to do so as while I don’t like the Chargers to hand them their second straight loss, I do think San Diego can keep the game within reach. Factor in a defense that has given up the 9th most fantasy points to WRs over the past four weeks and the 4th most on the season and Bowe could find himself with another low catch rate, high production day.
Week 13 WR Sits
Terrance Williams vs. New York Giants – I know the kid scores touchdowns and for the most part I’ve been really impressed with his rookie season, but, Miles Austin is finally healthy again. Initially, I was of the impression that that wouldn’t have a significant impact on Williams but my thinking has changed. To begin with, the prevailing wisdom is that he’ll draw the start opposite Dez Bryant, limiting Williams to three man sets. Beyond that, it’s not going to take him much to be viewed as more reliable than Williams by the Quarterback and the play callers. Over his last three games Williams has caught four of the 22 balls thrown his direction. That’s not exactly a number that suggests the QB will be looking his way again if a more established option is available.
Steve Smith at Miami – The 34 year old Smith is fun to watch and great to quote on a tshirt but he’s also a 34 year old receiver who may be getting past his prime a bit. As Brandon LaFell continues to emerge over the second half of this season, I’m expecting him to draw more and more attention from Cam Newton, starting this week against Miami. Smith hasn’t topped 70 yards this season and against a Miami defense that has allowed just 11 passing touchdowns this season, he’s not incredibly likely to score (he’s caught just three of Newton’s 16 on the season and Miami gives up just over 1 per game) so logic suggests a seven point ceiling. I’d start LaFell over Smith in an all Panthers league this week.
Week 13 TE Starts
Garrett Graham vs. Jacksonville – Graham is finally coming off the type of game we had hoped for after stepping in for Owen Daniels and he gets the most generous TE defense in the league. While one would assume that the targets come down a touch as the Texans get DeAndre Hopkins back involved after a limited workload (as part of the TBA episode referenced earlier) last week, there should still be plenty of opportunity for Graham. Graham had just six catches in the two prior weeks combined so counting on a seven catch repeat from Week 11 seems like a bit of a stretch, but, the Jags have given up seven points or more to a TE in every game but three this year so the floor is fairly low here and we saw the ceiling last week.
Week 13 TE Sits
Martellus Bennett at St. Louis – Dating back to Josh McCown‘s first game replacing Jay Cutler things have gotten very quiet for Bennett with 11 catches through four games. I know Cutler was involved for a period as well, but, the point is that since Week 7 there has been a drought. This week, facing a Rams team that allows just 5.01 points to TEs on average, those 2.25 catches won’t go very far.
Of course, there are those who disagree:
@checkdownNFL More about injury issues at the position. If Gonzo had been healthy, and if we knew status on Reed & Julius, they'd be ahead.
— Andy Behrens (@andybehrens) November 22, 2013
Week 13 DSTs to Stream
Pittsburgh Steelers at Cleveland – 34% owned – While weather played a factor, all you had to do was watch the Browns/Bengals tilt to understand my ranking on Pittsburgh this week. The Steelers D has been far from fantasy gold this season, but, Cleveland with 16 turnovers and 34 sacks yielded has been generous to opposing defenses this year. Against a pass D giving up the 8th fewest passing YPG this season, I’d expect Jason Campbell to struggle moving the ball through the air again.
Tennessee Titans at Oakland – 60% owned – I mentioned that this week could be a coming down to earth party for Matt McGloin. He’s still a kid in his second career start and finds himself facing a passing defense that has allowed the fewest passing touchdowns in the league. If Oakland gets behind and he is asked to do too much, we could see a few mistakes and are almost assured of a low scoring game.