Fantasy football in week thirteen features several favorable matchups as many leagues approach their playoff rounds.
December is upon the NFL as well as fantasy football leagues everywhere. Many leagues will begin their playoffs in week thirteen, and for those who haven’t, you’ll surely be looking to lock down a spot. Part of the losers bracket? No one wants to finish last, so remember to stay prudent when it comes to setting your lineup.
Looking at last week’s column, you reeled in the points if you started Kirk Cousins and the New York Giants defense. You were also wise to bench Andy Dalton, Jerick McKinnon, and weren’t fooled by Richard Rogers’s big game from the previous week.
It’s crunch time in week thirteen, so let’s take a look at who starts and who sits.
Alex Smith, QB, Kansas City Chiefs
Marcus Mariota has been on fire over the past few weeks, but his Titans will now enter their BYE week. Need a replacement for this week? Give Alex Smith a look if you don’t have a second quarterback stashed away.
Smith might not be a pro bowl caliber QB, but his Chiefs will face an Atlanta defense ranked dead last against the pass, allowing over 280 yards per game through the air. Owned in just over 24 percent of ESPN.com leagues, there’s a fair chance you can grab him on waivers and insert him into your lineup.
Marvin Jones, WR, Detroit Lions
Jones is probably owned in most fantasy football leagues, however, his production over the last month has been abysmal. He hasn’t caught more than four passes in a game since week four, has failed to eclipse the 60 yard mark since week seven, and doesn’t have a touchdown since week six. Conventional wisdom tells us that a talented receiver like Jones is due for better days, right?
Facing a New Orleans Saints defense that ranks 27th against the pass, Jones could be in line for a bounce back game. He warrants FLEX consideration in week thirteen.
New England Patriots Defense
The Patriots will host rookie quarterback Jared Goff and the Los Angeles Rams next week. Goff played well against a porous New Orleans defense in week twelve, but that’s unlikely to continue in Foxborough.
The thought of a rookie quarterback going into New England and lighting up the scoreboard seems rather unlikely. Star running back Todd Gurely hasn’t found much running room, either. The Patriots defense are a fairly safe play next week.
Sammy Watkins, WR, Buffalo Bills
He was once considered lost for the season with a foot injury, but Watkins has worked his way back to game shape. In limited action last week, he hauled in three passes for 80 yards, showing that his big play ability is still present. As long as Watkins is healthy, he should find a home in your starting lineup.
Oakland’s 28th ranked pass defense is also a tantalizing match-up for the second your pro to regain his form.
Kyle Rudolph, TE, Minnesota Vikings
The Notre Dame product has recorded at least five catches in four of his last six games, and looks to be Sam Bradford‘s safety net, while also serving as a viable red zone option. He isn’t racking up the yards or scores on a consistent basis, but his number of targets makes him a useful play, especially in PPR leagues.
The Dallas Cowboys have allowed the seventh most fantasy points to tight ends this year, making Rudolph a solid play this week.
Allen Hurns, WR, Jacksonville Jaguars
Over the last four weeks, Hurns has totaled four catches for 34 yards with one score. Injuries have likely played a factor (as has Blake Bortles‘s inconsistency), but regardless, he’s not a viable fantasy play until he can establish some consistency.
A date with Denver’s league best pass defense doesn’t help his cause, either.
Matt Barkley, QB, Chicago Bears
Starting in place of the injured Jay Cutler, Barkley threw for over 300 yards and three scores (which should have been four if not for a drop in the end zone by Josh Bellamy late in the game). An impressive showing from Barkley does not mean he’s the guy you want as your BYE week filler, though.
Although the Bears will face the 1-10 San Francisco 49ers, Barkley can’t be trusted until he carries several more productive games under his belt. He did throw two picks last week, one of which in the end zone. Be it a small sample size, the mistakes have to be minimized for any sort of fantasy consideration moving forward.
Pittsburgh Steelers Defense
The Steelers have allowed just 16 combined points over their past two games. However, that came at the hands of the lowly Browns and Andrew Luck-less Colts. Having allowed 27 points or more on four different occasions, you may want to employ another defense next week.
The New York Giants offense has been rather enigmatic in 2016. However, they could be attacking early and often to keep pace with Pittsburgh’s dynamic offense. This game has the potential for a rather high scoring affair.
Rashad Jennings, RB, New York Giants
The Giants possess one of the weaker run games in the NFL, and will travel to face a Pittsburgh defense ranking in the top ten against the ground game (95.9 rush yards per game allowed).
Although the points could be high for both offenses, the run game might not be so successful. To keep pace with the Steelers, the Giants could be airing it out to stay competitive, which doesn’t bode well for Jennings unless he can find success near the goal-line.
Dion Sims, TE, Miami Dolphins
Many fantasy owners will be looking to find a one week replacement for Delanie Walker this week. Sims caught four passes for 53 yards and a score last Sunday, but you’d be better off staying away from him on the waiver wire.
Sunday marked his first score of the season and also a season best in receiving yards. Traveling to Baltimore, who has allowed the second fewest fantasy points to tight ends this year, Sims is no more than a one week wonder, even though he’s available in most leagues.