Let’s not mince words here, many fantasy football teams need a checkmark in the win column this week. For many, it’s the difference of a playoff spot or a ride on the better-luck-next-year gondola. That my friends is a boring ride.
The best way to get a leg up is to scrutinize the expert consensus rankings (based on scoring format) and minimize potential bad matchup plays while finding the players with the higher fantasy floor.
In this week’s article, we’re going to look at more of the steady producers, some rising talent, and some players that are in negative matchups that may be best avoided. These articles typically focus on players outside of the weekly starters.
Fantasy Football Week 13: Starts and Sits Featuring Gus Edwards
Lamar Jackson vs. Atlanta Falcons
Lamar Jackson is the last of the first-round rookie quarterbacks to start this season. While no one is sure how long, or short, his leash is, he’s won two straight games and Joe Flacco doesn’t appear to be healthy enough to practice. What Jackson lacks as a passer he makes up for with his legs, which keeps his floor not only safe but higher than some other middling quarterback options.
This week the Baltimore Ravens travel to Atlanta to face a falcons defense that is allowing the third-most points to the position. Lamar Jackson is a solid upside play with a high floor. He could creep into the top 12 at the position this week and should be started in most formats. Especially anything that offers two quarterbacks.
Case Keenum vs. Cincinnati Bengals
For many who stream the position, finding the right quarterback based on matchup is somewhat of an art. Denver Broncos signal caller Case Keenum has yet to make an appearance in this prestigious weekly article this season. His play has been spotty as he has thrown for under 200 yards in two of his last five games.
However, if there’s a week to right the ship, it’s this one. Keenum and company square off against a Cincinnati Bengals defense that is allowing the most fantasy points to quarterbacks. They are allowing an average of over 300 passing yards-per-game. Keenum makes a strong start in two-quarterback leagues, and as a streamer or DFS play.
Baker Mayfield vs. Houston Texans
Cleveland Browns fans should be rejoicing in the streets. They were aggressive with during free agency and made some good choices during the draft. They also recently parted ways with both their head coach and offensive coordinator. Since then, Baker Mayfield has flourished and is playing above where rookie expectations should be. However, playing the Houston Texans defense at home will be no easy task. The Texans are allowing the eighth-fewest points to quarterbacks and know how to bring pressure quickly. While Mayfield is playing very well for a rookie, owners should look for better options in single quarterback leagues this week.
Starts: Running Backs
Gus Edwards vs. Atlanta Falcons
Gus Edwards burst on the scene in week 11 and pounded his way into lineups immediately following his 17/115/1 line against the Bengals. The undrafted power back muscled his way to 118 rushing yards in the following contest. Edwards represents the right back for the situation with Lamar Jackson under center. He’s a no-nonsense style of runner that wants to operate between the tackles and power his way to positive yardage. The Falcons are giving up the fourth-most fantasy points to the position. With Alex Collins shaping up to be questionable, owners should be able to trust Gus Bus for another week. He’s a strong RB2 play this week.
Chris Carson vs. San Francisco 49ers
A lot of what Pete Carroll says at the podium should be immediately dismissed as being either inaccurate, wrong, or a bald-faced lie. We typically label these as “coach-speak.” After the Seattle Seahawks spent a first-round pick on running back Rashaad Penny, Carroll continued to talk up Chris Carson. Throughout the preseason Carroll praised Carson as being the best back on the roster. To many writers and analysts surprise, Carroll did exactly that. When Carson is healthy, he’s the lead dog in Seattle’s run-first (and second) offense.
The matchup is decent as the 49ers are middle-of-the-pack against the run. Expect Carson to see 14-20 touches in a game where the Seahawks are heavily favored. Carson is an RB2 with touchdown upside in a decent matchup this week.
Sits: Running Backs
Adrian Peterson vs. Philidelphia Eagles
The Eagles run defense has been shredded recently. They gave up big games to Saquon Barkley, Ezekiel Elliot, and Alvin Kamara. All three of those are currently among the fantasy points leaders at the position. This may look like a juicy matchup, but it has bust-alert written all over it for Adrian Peterson. The Washington Redskins offensive line has been decimated by injury. Alex Smith suffered a gruesome, season-ending injury leaving Colt McCoy to run the offense. Peterson has worn down as the season has gone on, and hasn’t eclipsed more than 68 rushing yards in his last four contests. While Peterson still has flex appeal based on touches, he’s hard to trust as anything else this week.
Starts: Wide Receivers
Emmanuel Sanders vs. Cincinnati Bengals
Piggy-backing on Case Keenum as a solid start this week, Emmanuel Sanders is set up nicely for a good outing as well. Last week he ended a three-game scoreless streak with one touchdown and 86 receiving yards. He’s solidified himself as the top option in the Broncos passing game since the departure of Demaryius Thomas. He’s averaging 8.6 targets-per-game this season. Consider Sanders a high-upside WR2 this week in an easy matchup.
Amari Cooper vs. New Orleans Saints
Amari Cooper is settling in nicely as a Dallas Cowboy. The rapport between him and Dak Prescott was on full display on the Thanksgiving day game where he exploded for 180 yards and two scores. The New Orleans Saints are allowing the most points to wide receivers. Expectations are that the Saints score early and often, forcing Dak to go into a pass-happy mode. This bodes well for his new number-one receiver. Cooper is also in the high-upside WR2 conversation this week.
Adam Humphries vs. Carolina Panthers
Adam Humphries comes in as a sleeper pick for this week. He’s been on a roll in an offense that passes a lot. Humphries has remained nearly unaffected by multiple quarterback switches this season. He has four receiving touchdowns in the last four weeks, two of which came against the Panthers in their last meeting. He’s not a must-start, but offers a flex-worthy glance in 12-team and deeper leagues.
Sits: Wide Receivers
Golden Tate vs. Washington Redskins
There’s something…well…off about the Philadelphia Eagles passing offense recently. While Carson Wentz hasn’t been terrible, he hasn’t played up to what we’ve come to expect from him. The Eagles negotiated a trade that basically rented Golden Tate for the remainder of the season. Since then, despite Wentz trying to force the ball to Tate, it hasn’t bloomed into good production. He’s getting the targets but hasn’t been productive with them. In PPR formats, Tate is a risky flex option this week.
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