I hope you all had a great Thanksgiving and got to enjoy time with your families. Let’s jump right into the rest of my Week 13 Starts and Sits to get you set for the rest of the action.
*Opening point spreads and O/U’s below pulled from DraftKings.
Cleveland Browns at Pittsburgh Steelers
- PIT -1.5
- O/U 40.5
Did something crazy happen the last time these two played Week 11? I can’t seem to remember. Mason Rudolph has been sent to the bench in favor of Duck Hodges while it seems Benny Snell is the flavor of the week among the Steelers backfield. While most of us expected Jaylen Samuels to resume his leadback role in Week 12, Samuels saw fewer carries than street free agent Kerrith White and tied Trey Edmunds. I’m staying as far away as possible from this backfield until we get another week or two of data to look at. JuJu Smith-Schuster has cleared concussion protocol but still has an ailing knee issue he’s dealing with. The only thing keeping the Steelers from a Bengals level dumpster fire has been their defense. They’re in the top 6 in DVOA for both rush and pass defense, and currently sit behind just New England and San Francisco in Football Outsider’s recency-weighted metric. For Cleveland, their passing defense has been their strength, sitting at 9th in DVOA versus their 22nd-ranked rush DVOA. The Browns haven’t allowed a 300-yard passer all year and I don’t see Hodges breaking that streak. Since his return in Week 10, Kareem Hunt hasn’t seen fewer than 54% of the snaps while averaging 6 rush attempts and 6.7 targets over that period. Nick Chubb is still getting his, however, handling 22.7 rush attempts and 3 targets the past three weeks. Baker Mayfield has been the QB7 over the same stretch, putting up a 7/1 touchdown to interception ratio. The key matchup in this game will be the Steelers defensive line versus the Browns offensive line.
Start: Nick Chubb, Kareem Hunt
Sit: All the Steelers
YOLO Play: James Washington – Washington ran a team-high 30 routes last week with JJSS out. His 98 receiving yards led the team by a wide margin as well, as the next highest receiver (Deon Cain) had just 35.
Green Bay Packers at New York Giants
- GB -7
- O/U 46.5
The Packers are coming off a game where they were absolutely dominated in San Francisco. Aaron Rodgers was held to 104 passing yards on 33 attempts while Aaron Jones and Jamaal Williams combined for 83 yards on the ground. HC Matt LaFleur said this week Jones has to be more involved in the offense after handling 13 carries and seeing no targets in Week 12. After a strong start to the year the Packers defense has been faltering, currently sitting at 24th in FO’s weighted DVOA. Their rushing grade from PFF is 30th, behind only Kansas City and Miami. The Giants defense has been worse and while their rushing defense grades/metrics appear solid (9th in PFF, 14th in DVOA), they can be had on the ground. Golden Tate, Evan Engram, and Rhett Ellison have all been ruled out for this matchup.
Start: Your studs, Sterling Shepard
Sit: This game is pretty concentrated in terms of fantasy assets, there’s nobody you “have” to sit
YOLO Play: Kaden Smith – With the Giants’ tight end injuries, Smith played 98% of the snaps and posted a 5-17-1 line. The Packers allow the third-most fantasy points per game (FPPG) to the position, and the Giants should be behind the majority of this game.
New York Jets at Cincinnati Bengals
- NYJ -3.5
- O/U 41
Our fearless leader Kevin Steele had to call a doctor after he found out his true love Andy Dalton was back in the saddle for Cincy (and he hadn’t taken a Viagra). Neither of these defenses offers much resistance in the passing game and I think we’re looking at a sneaky shootout here. The only difference between the two? The Jets have the 2nd-ranked rush DVOA while the Bengals are 25th, allowing the sixth-most FPPG. Sam Darnold is the QB3 over the last three weeks, averaging over 279 yards and 2 touchdowns, and has one rushing score in two of those games as well.
Start: The Jets offense, Tyler Boyd
Sit: Joe Mixon
YOLO Play: Auden Tate – In his 8 games with Dalton, Tate had at least 3 catches and 50 yards in five of them. The Jets secondary has given up double-digit fantasy points to multiple receivers five times this year, with three of those having at least one top-8 option (Darius Slayton and Golden Tate both finished top 5 in Week 10).
Philadelphia Eagles at Miami Dolphins
- PHI -7.5
- O/U 45.5
Let’s keep this one short and sweet. The Eagles offense has been struggling but the Dolphins are the Dolphins. On the offensive side for the ‘Fins, it’s basically DeVante Parker or nothing (I literally never thought I’d type that). You can take your shots with the Eagles offense wherever you need to.
Start: The Eagles and DeVante Parker
Sit: Ryan Fitzpatrick?
YOLO Play: Mike Gesicki – With injuries to basically their entire pass catching group, Gesicki is a sneaky play here. Gesicki has seen at least 6 targets in four consecutive games and I don’t see that streak ending here.
San Francisco 49ers at Baltimore Ravens
- BAL -5
- O/U 46
We keep saying it, but this should be the first true test for Lamar Jackson and the Ravens. San Fran is second in weighted DVOA, with top three pass rush and coverage grades from PFF. Baltimore comes in at fourth in FO’s weighted metric, and fifth in PFF’s coverage grade. Where both of these teams are vulnerable, however, is on the ground. While both are in the bottom eight for FPPG to running backs, San Fran is 16th in rush DVOA and Baltimore is 24th. The 49ers have also given up the 10th-most rushing yards to quarterbacks. That miiiight be a problem Sunday.
Start: Both rushing attacks
Sit: All WRs
YOLO Play: Just sit back and enjoy this game!
Tampa Bay Buccaneers at Jacksonville Jaguars
- JAX -2.5
- O/U 49.5
Another straight-forward game. Outside of Tampa’s rush defense, there aren’t any matchups we have to avoid in this one. You’re still starting Leonard Fournette, however, based on his touch volume and involvement in the passing game. The Jags rushing defense, however, has allowed over 200 total rushing yards in three straight games. On the opposite side, Tampa has allowed the most FPPG to wide receivers and the second most FPPG to quarterbacks.
Start: Both passing attacks, Ronald Jones
YOLO Play: There really aren’t many here with the concentrated touches and targets for both teams. Scotty Miller has been ruled out due to a hammy, so Breshad Perriman could offer some dart-throw viability.
Tennessee Titans at Indianapolis Colts
- IND -3
- O/U 42
I’ll be honest here. I’m really not intrigued by any of these options for my fantasy lineups this week. T.Y. Hilton was ruled out early this week and there’s not a lot of passing volume going around for either team. Both teams rank in the bottom 9 in neutral pace of play. This game literally makes me feel blah.
Start: Derrick Henry, Jonathan Williams, Jack Doyle
Sit: Everyone else
YOLO Play: none
Washington Redskins at Carolina Panthers
- CAR -9.5
- O/U 41
This game is clearly lopsided in terms of fantasy-viable plays. Washington is ranked 21st in both rush and pass DVOA and is allowing 40% of offensive drives to end in a score, tied with Detroit for 7th highest in the NFL. We know Carolina is a run-funnel defense, allowing the sixth-most rushing yards per game and the third-most FPPG to running backs. This would normally be exciting if Washington was committing to one workhorse running back. Instead, Derrius Guice and Adrian Peterson have been sharing snaps and touches nearly 50/50 the past two weeks.
Start: Carolina’s offense
Sit: Terry McLaurin
YOLO Play: none
Los Angeles Rams at Arizona Cardinals
- LAR -3.5
- O/U 47
Man, what a disappointment the Rams have been across the board. If there’s a spot where you can load up on them, however, this is it. The Cardinals are in the top-12 for FPPG to every position and are a bottom four DVOA defense. Without being surrounded by top-level talent, Kyler Murray is QB8 on the year. We saw the issues the Rams had with a dual-threat quarterback against Lamar, and Murray did just put up three total touchdowns against San Fran last week.
Start: Rams offense, Kyler Murray
Sit: David Johnson
YOLO Play: Tyler Higbee – Gerald Everett will be inactive Sunday and the Cardinals vs. TE flowchart is very much alive.
Los Angeles Chargers at Denver Broncos
- DEN -1
- O/U 38.5
The Broncos rushing defense had been shutting teams down over the past several weeks until Buffalo happened. Denver gave up 222 rushing yards between Josh Allen, Devin Singletary, and Pappy Gore. The Chargers, on the other hand, have been giving it up on the ground all year. They’re allowing the seventh-most FPPG to backs and are tied for fourth-most rushing touchdowns allowed (9). Both pass defenses have been fairly strong outside of their DVOA numbers, which have Denver at 15th and the Chargers at 22nd. Both are in the bottom six for passing yards allowed per game, wide receiver FPPG, and quarterback FPPG. To bring this offensive matchup down even further, both teams are in the bottom half of neutral pace of play. If you need a win to get in your fantasy football playoffs this week, I might just fade this game if you have better options.
Start: Phillip Lindsay
Sit: I don’t think you have to completely avoid anyone, but this matchup doesn’t bode well for a fantasy bonanza
YOLO Play: none
Oakland Raiders at Kansas City Chiefs
- KC -10.5
- O/U 54.5
Now THIS is the kind of fantasy glory we want to see. Patty Mahomes versus an awful defense? Please and thank you. Tyreek Hill has been practicing in full all week after suffering a hamstring injury in Week 11 while Damien Williams hasn’t practiced at all with his rib injury sustained in the same game. For the Kansas City passing game, there’s literally no stat that says anything but wheels up for this matchup. On the Oakland side, if they can keep this game within reach, we should see a heavy dose of Josh Jacobs. The Chiefs are 30th in run DVOA, give up the most FPPG to running backs, allow the third-most rushing yards per game, and the second-most yards per carry. If this game gets away from the Raiders, Darren Waller should benefit. Kansas City is giving up the sixth-most FPPG to tight ends and Waller should benefit from the injury to Hunter Renfrow.
Start: Kansas City, Darren Waller, Josh Jacobs
Sit: Derek Carr
YOLO Play: Darrel Williams – The injury to Damien opens the door for Darrel, who has performed well when given opportunity.
New England Patriots at Houston Texans
- NE -4
- O/U 44.5
Houston’s weakness defensively comes against their pass defense (26th in DVOA) but Tom Brady is reportedly dealing with an elbow injury and hasn’t looked like the golden goat from years past. The Patriots’ rushing game hasn’t exactly been flourishing either, as they rank 21st in rush DVOA offensively, averaging just 91.9 yards per game and 3.3 yards per carry. We’ve seen the New England defense struggle against dual-threat quarterbacks in recent seasons (sup, Lamar?) and in Watson’s rookie year, he put up 301/2 through the air and 41 rushing yards against the Pats. Bill O’Brien has said this week he wants to focus more on the running game this week, which would be the most BOB thing to do. I mean, why wouldn’t you take the ball out of your best playmaker’s hands? Duh! One final note: the Texans are averaging the fifth-highest yards per play offensively (6.0), while the Pats are allowing the second-fewest defensively (4.4). What gives in this matchup?
Start: Julian Edelman, James White, Will Fuller, DeAndre Hopkins
Sit: All the tight ends
YOLO Play: Kenny Stills – This one makes me a bit nervous given BOB’s running game comments, but with Hopkins having a date with Stephon Gilmore and Fuller taking the safety’s attention deep, it could open things up for Stills.
There’s all of your Sunday Week 13 Starts and Sits! Thanks for reading along and don’t forget to join our free Slack community. We’ll be recording the TFA Podcast through the playoffs to give you all the info you need to make a championship run. If we’ve been any help to you at all, please hit us with a subscribe on our YouTube channel and get notified when we live stream the podcast and you can ask us questions there as well! Good luck this week!