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Erickson: NFL Week 13 fantasy football start'em, sit'em

Atlanta, Georgia, USA; Washington Football Team quarterback Taylor Heinicke (4) celebrates after a go-ahead touchdown throw to running back J.D. McKissic (not pictured) against the Atlanta Falcons in the second half at Mercedes-Benz Stadium. Mandatory Credit: Brett Davis-USA TODAY Sports

Stop second-guessing yourself with fantasy football start/sit decisions — let PFF’s fantasy football rankings, projections and tools do the heavy lifting.


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My Week 12 start/sit picks went 21-6-2, with the tight end position nearly perfect aside from the Dan Arnold injury. Let’s keep this heater rolling with fantasy football playoffs in close sight. 

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QUARTERBACKS

START

KIRK COUSINS, MINNESOTA VIKINGS

Cousins is fantasy football’s QB10 on the season in fantasy points per game and the QB5 in fantasy points per game since Week 6 (20.8). The often disrespected and overlooked Minnesota Vikings passer is PFF’s third-highest-graded quarterback in 2021.

Fire him up with confidence versus the Detroit Lions. PFF’s strength of schedule tool has the Week 13 contest as the No. 1 most favorable matchup for quarterbacks.

PFF Greenline uses exclusive game and player data to make projections on NFL game spreads, moneyline, and over/under.

TAYSOM HILL, NEW ORLEANS SAINTS

The Saints are preparing to start Hill on Thursday night against the Dallas Cowboys after Trevor Siemian‘s underwhelming performance versus the Bills on Thanksgiving.

When Hill got the nod in 2020, he posted the league’s highest adjusted completion percentage (83%) and performed admirably within the structure of the offense. For fantasy purposes, he was a revelation.

The tight-end-turned-quarterback averaged 22.6 fantasy points per game — sixth-best over that time. His rushing production — 209 yards and four touchdowns — massively boosted his numbers. Hill's rushing upside alone makes him a potential top-12 option at the position as long he's a starter.

Hill also gets a favorable matchup against the Cowboys. New Orleans has allowed the most fantasy points per game to quarterbacks in its past four contests, so Hill and company will have to stay aggressive on offense to keep pace with Dak Prescott — my No. 3-ranked quarterback for Week 13. 

Unless you have a locked-and-loaded stud at quarterback, Hill is the must-play option off the waiver wire. There’s also a chance that Alvin Kamara makes his long-anticipated return for Thursday, which would provide a massive boost for Hill’s fantasy outlook.

TAYLOR HEINICKE, WASHINGTON FOOTBALL TEAM

The Las Vegas Raiders‘ defense is hardly one to fear in fantasy football, especially for Heinicke. The Old Dominion product ranks sixth in expected fantasy points per game since Week 7, whereas Las Vegas ranks fifth in fantasy points per game to quarterbacks over the past four weeks. 

All signs point to Heinicke having a productive outing versus the Raiders in the third-highest projected game total on the Week 13 docket. Derek Carr — who should also be started as one of the week’s top quarterback streamers — should be able to move the ball against a leaky Washington Football Team defense, opening the doors for a West Coast shootout. 

CARSON WENTZ, INDIANAPOLIS COLTS

Wentz bounced back for fantasy football managers in Week 12 after back-to-back finishes outside the top 20 quarterbacks. He posted a top-five fantasy day and PFF’s third-highest grade on the week (79.8) versus the Tampa Bay Buccaneers

The only concern for Wentz in PFF’s No. 5 matchup for quarterbacks against the Houston Texans is running back Jonathan Taylor hogging all the production. However, that didn’t stop Wentz from scoring 17 fantasy points in this same spot back in Week 6 when Taylor finished as the overall RB2.

SIT

RUSSELL WILSON, SEATTLE SEAHAWKS

I’m doing whatever I can to get far away from Wilson in fantasy football. He has been abysmal in his return from injury, averaging 11.9 fantasy points (29th) and 17.3 expected fantasy points (16th) en route to being PFF’s 34th-ranked quarterback by grade.

He managed to deliver for fantasy managers in Week 12 with a late touchdown strike to Freddie Swain, but don’t be fooled by the box score. Wilson was constantly missing throws. The whole offense in general looks broken, as suggested by the team’s 32nd-ranked PFF grade on offense (56.3) since Week 10. 

The best-case scenario versus the San Francisco 49ers is that Wilson channels his inner cook and does exactly what he did the last time he played them — a 21.5-point fantasy performance. But the most likely outcome is we get another week of a “meh” Seahawks offensive football. No thanks. 

MAC JONES, NEW ENGLAND PATRIOTS

Jones has been everything and more than the New England Patriots could have desired in the post-Tom Brady era. He is PFF’s highest-graded quarterback since Week 5 (86.7) and has his team near the top of the AFC playoff seedings through Week 12.

His real-life success has finally translated into fantasy points, with the rookie quarterback finishing as a top-12 option in three of his past six games.

However, his fantasy success is not destined to continue in a brutal road matchup Monday night against the Buffalo Bills. Buffalo ranks No. 1 in the league in fantasy points per game allowed to quarterbacks, so be sure to keep Jones on the bench. 


RUNNING BACKS

START

DAVID MONTGOMERY, CHICAGO BEARS

It’s been a frustrating few weeks for Montgomery since his return from injured reserve. His fantasy production has not matched his high-end usage.

Montgomery has averaged just 9.4 PPR fantasy points per game with zero touchdowns. And that’s despite him commanding 83% of the team running back rushing attempts. He has also run a route on 63% of offensive dropbacks — the fourth-highest rate among running backs. 

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