It’s that magical time of the year when fantasy playoffs are either underway already or getting ready to begin next week. Hopefully some of the start/sit options we’ve presented here over the season have helped IDP teams to secure those coveted playoff positions.
The cream has risen to the top as many preseason high-ranked players, such as Landon Collins and Reshad Jones, have stepped up of late. Remember when I suggested to keep riding the proven “stud” players with solid track records? Keep doing that at this crucial time of the season.
Let’s take a look at the Week 13 start/sit options.
The emergence of Ngakoue as a fantasy force continues, as the youngster has been putting up top-five numbers over the past three games. More impressively, he’s posted those totals having put up a goose egg in Week 10. Ngakoue has put up at least one sack in back to back weeks, posting 3.5 sacks and four forced fumbles in that time. Keep in mind that in the Week 7 matchup between these teams, the youngster put up four total tackles and 2.5 sacks.
This is a nice matchup for Hicks’ solid tackle numbers to come into play as well as a chance for him to snap out of a sackless streak. Hicks hasn’t registered a sack since Week 8 but has racked up 11 solo tackles and a fumble recovery in the past three games. The 49ers have been generous to the defensive line position in their past two games, allowing 41 total tackles (28 solo), three sacks, one interception and a forced fumble. Despite not having a sack, Hicks does have five quarterback hurries as well as a hit in the past three games.
There may be the inclination to roll out Ansah after he put up a sack on Thanksgiving. Do not do it. Ansah is still dealing with back and knee issues, which have the Lions keeping him on a pitch count — he played just 32 snaps last week. The sack was his first since Week 5 and Ansah does not put up enough tackles to make him fantasy relevant on a weekly basis. The Ravens are among the stingiest offenses against defensive linemen allowing just 2.5 sacks over the last four games and no other big plays at all to the position.
The rookie broke a two-game sackless streak last week, posting his fifth of the season against the Bengals. Garrett has been impressive despite battling through multiple injuries but faces a tough matchup this week as the Browns head out west. While the Chargers have given out tackle numbers to defensive linemen (55 total) over the past four games, they have been protecting Philip Rivers very well. They’ve allowed just one sack in that time and only six on the season to defensive linemen. Garrett doesn’t post the tackle numbers to warrant a start in this negative matchup.
Tahir Whitehead, Detroit Lions (at Baltimore)
There’s been a shift at linebacker for the Lions as Whitehead has supplanted rookie Jarrad Davis as the play-caller, with Davis is leaving the field on some passing downs. That leaves Whitehead as the only three-down linebacker and he put up 13 total tackles last week. Over the last three games Whitehead has now put up 30 total stops and has a nice matchup this week. The Ravens have allowed eight linebackers to top double-digit tackles this season and have been a top-10 matchup in giving up fantasy production to linebackers over the past month.
The veteran linebacker has been having a bounceback season but is currently in a mini slump, having put up just 12 total tackles and zero big plays in the past two games. Fortunately, a trip to Green Bay is just the matchup for David to get back on track. Since losing quarterback Aaron Rodgers with a shoulder injury, Green Bay has been among the top offenses in handing out points to linebackers. In the last four games the Packers have allowed 95 total tackles (81 solo), eight sacks along with three forced fumbles and two fumble recoveries.
Since returning from an ankle injury Perryman has posted solid numbers, with 21 total tackles in the three games he’s played. While he’s yet to register a big play, it’s encouraging that Perryman played 90 percent of the defensive snaps last week for the first time since his return. Unfortunately, this is not a matchup for Perryman to shine as Cleveland has been stingy in allowing points to linebackers. Over the past four games the Browns have allowed just 18 total tackles per game and have given up a total of two big plays to the position.
After a hot start to the season Lee has hit a rough patch of late. Teammate Demario Davis continues to eat up the lion’s share of the tackles. Over the last four games, Lee is averaging just 5.75 total tackles per game and hasn’t reached double-digit stops in a game since Week 7. He has retained some fantasy value by notching a sack in two of the last three games but is trending in the wrong direction. The Chiefs have been limiting big plays to linebackers allowing just three sacks and one forced fumble over the past four games.
After missing Weeks 10-11 with a groin injury, Burnett returned with a vengeance last week, racking up nine solo tackles and a forced fumble against the Steelers. The best news is that Burnett played every defensive snap and played like the disruptive force at strong safety that IDP owners have come to know and love. Look for another big game in a matchup against a Buccaneers offense that is giving up an average of 21.2 solo tackles per game to defensive backs in their last five outings. Tampa Bay has also given up five turnovers to defensive backs in that time.
A knee injury suffered in Week 1 kept Cyprien out until Week 9 and it’s taken some time for him to return to form. He seemed to be back on track with a double-digit tackle performance two weeks ago, but took a step back with just five stops last week. Cyprien is lining up within 8 yards of the line of scrimmage on run snaps 75.6 percent of the time, so tackle opportunities will be there. This is a prime matchup for Cyprien to jump start a late-season surge as back in Week 4 Kevin Byard put up nine total tackles and in interception against Houston playing strong safety in place of Cyprien.
In his first season as the starting strong safety for Pittsburgh, Davis has been putting up numbers that land him in the DB3 range, which isn’t terrible. What is terrible is the matchup this week against division rival Cincinnati. Over the last five weeks the Bengals allow an average of 15.2 total tackles to defensive backs while not allowing a sack and turning the ball over to the position once. There are better options out there and Davis can safely be benched in all scoring formats.
Glover Quin, Detroit Lions (at Baltimore)
While Quin still sits in the top-20 in most scoring formats for the year a closer look shows that it’s been a tale of two seasons for the veteran. From Weeks 1-8 Quin was putting up top-10 totals due to his big-play production. In that time, he had two forced fumbles with three interceptions (one returned for a score) and a fumble recovery. In Weeks 9-12 Quin has 18 total tackles with zero big plays and ranks outside the top-80 in most scoring formats. Relying on big-play production to suddenly reemerge is not a viable strategy at this point in the season.