When it comes to making start/sit decisions in fantasy football, the advice is simple: Play the matchups, and you’ll win more often than you lose. Now that we’re in the thick of the bye weeks, knowing the matchups to avoid and exploit becomes even more important. Bellow you’ll find the key matchup stats to know from each of the 15 remaining games for Week 13 of the 2017 NFL season.
Devonta Freeman back, but he gets a tough matchup.
After missing the last two games, Freeman managed to clear the concussion protocol this week. He’ll slide right back into his previous roll with Tevin Coleman going back to more of a change-of-pace option. Freeman will likely have to be played in season-long leagues, but fantasy owners should be aware that this is a very rough matchup. Minnesota has shut down the run this season, with no backfields topping 100 yards and just three rushing scores allowed to running backs. Tough sledding is ahead for Freeman.
Yes, the Bills did manage to shut down Kareem Hunt and the Chiefs run game, but who hasn’t? Don’t expect the same result this week from the Bills defense, especially with how Lewis and Burkhead have performed recently. Lewis has seen at least 10 carries in every game since Week 6 and is averaging 5.1 yards per carry over that span. Burkhead’s role continues to increase in the Patriots’ offense, especially in the pass game. Both backs should be considered RB2s with upside in this favorable matchup.
Lean on Jordan Howard this week.
Pay no attention to Howard’s Week 12 stat line. These aren’t the droids you’re looking for. Howard is poised to rebound in a big way with an extremely favorable matchup on tap. The 49ers are currently the No. 1 fantasy matchup for running backs and are giving up a league-high average of 172.5 scrimmage yards per game to the position. Howard is an RB1 in season-long and a strong option in DFS this week.
Brett Hundley is a streamer option.
It hasn’t been all bad for Hundley this season, as he’s coming off a solid outing against a tough Steelers defense. Those in need of a streamer this week may want to dial up Hundley against the Bucs. Tampa Bay currently allows the ninth-most fantasy points per game to opposing quarterbacks with 300-plus yards surrendered to each of the last two signal callers they faced.
Downgrade DeMarco Murray.
The frustrations continue for Murray owners this week, as he draws an absolutely brutal matchup against the Texans. Despite losing J.J. Watt early in the season, Houston has been stout against the run, allowing just 3.5 yards per carry to opposing running backs. The Texans are currently the worst fantasy matchup for running backs, so fade Murray if you can.
Not the best week to use Kenyan Drake.
With Damien Williams sidelined, Drake will serve as the Dolphins feature back this week, but fantasy owners will want to proceed with caution. Denver has played well against the run this season with just three backfields over 100 yards and five rushing scores allowed to running backs. Drake is a risk/reward RB2 with loads of volatility this week.
Downgrade Kareem Hunt.
With the Chiefs offense seemingly in a tailspin, it’s tough to trust Hunt these days. To make matters worse, he draws a relatively tough matchup against a Jets defense that has only allowed two rushing scores to running backs since Week 3. Hunt owners in season-long will likely have to start him, but this could be another frustrating week.
Fade Jacoby Brissett.
Stating the obvious here, but this is a terrible matchup for the Colts passing game. Brissett should be avoided at all costs this week, as the Jaguars allow a league-low 8.3 fantasy points per game to quarterbacks with just nine passing scores surrendered on the season.
Upgrade Alex Collins.
Ravens running back has been limited in practice this week with a calf injury, but he should be good to go and makes for a solid RB2 option. The Lions have allowed a rushing score to nine of the 11 backfields they’ve faced and are currently the No. 4 matchup for running backs in PPR scoring. Collins also has DFS GPP appeal this week.
Philip Rivers keeps rolling.
He was one of the biggest fantasy performers last week, and Rivers is poised to do it again with a plus matchup on tap against the Browns. Cleveland has surrendered at least two passing scores to eight of the 11 quarterbacks they’ve faced this season. Those looking for help at tight end may also want to fire up Hunter Henry. The second-year man has been volatile this season, but the Browns have allowed a score to tight ends in each of their last four games.
Great matchup for both quarterbacks, but …
Here’s the thing, this is a plus matchup for the passing game on both sides of this contest. Oakland currently allows the fifth-most fantasy points per game to opposing quarterbacks and the Giants give up the second-most fantasy points to the position. That being said, it’s nearly impossible to trust Geno Smith as your starter this week. Derek Carr would be a much more stable option, but he’ll be without Michael Crabtree and Amari Cooper is trending toward not playing. Without his top two receiving options, it’s going to be tough to trust Carr as a fantasy option this week.
Tough matchup for the Saints run game.
The Panthers have done a very good job defending the run this season with just four rushing scores yielded to running backs and two opposing backfields topping 100 yards. That being said, one of those two backfields was the Saints in Week 3, so this isn’t a complete nightmare of a matchup. Alvin Kamara’s ideal usage keeps him in play as a top-5 option, and Mark Ingram owners in season-long will want to keep using him. However, the matchup is enough of a concern that it makes Ingram a very risky DFS option.
The Rams have pulled a 180 on the offensive side of the ball this season, and Goff has continually shown the ability to take advantage of good matchups. He makes for a QB1 play this week against a Cardinals defense that allows the third-most fantasy points per game to quarterbacks. However, those looking for a streamer will likely want to avoid Gabbert this week. The Rams do a good job against the pass and have only allowed more than one passing score to one of the last seven quarterbacks they’ve faced.
Fade Jay Ajayi.
The Eagles have yet to ramp up Ajayi’s involvement in the offense, so he’s an extremely risky play this week from a volume standpoint. To make matters worse, the Seahawks haven’t allowed more than 75 yards to an opposing backfield since Week 3.
Can we trust Ben Roethlisberger on the road?
Well, history has said that we can’t. So what do you do this week with Roethlisberger? The Bengals have done a good job against the pass this season, and currently sit as the No. 21 fantasy matchup for quarterbacks. In his previous meeting against the Bengals this season, Roethlisberger managed 224 passing yards and two scores. However, the Steelers passing offense has picked up steam over the last month, which makes Roethlisberger potentially very appealing. With check in both the pro and con categories, Roethlisberger is best viewed as a risky back-end QB1. Fantasy owners shouldn’t look to stream a quarterback over Roethlisberger, but could use a high-ranked option like Philip Rivers this week.