News & Analysis

Week 13 fantasy football start 'em or sit 'em

Nov 24, 2019; Philadelphia, PA, USA; Philadelphia Eagles tight end Zach Ertz (86) before a game against the Seattle Seahawks at Lincoln Financial Field. Mandatory Credit: Bill Streicher-USA TODAY Sports

With another week behind us, and some more fresh stats to analyze, I’m here to help you with your toughest fantasy football start/sit decisions of the week for Week 13.

Note: If you don’t see one of your players mentioned below, please refer to our PFF Fantasy staff rankings.

Shallow leagues

Start

Davante Adams, WR, Green Bay Packers (@ NYG)

Adams has seen double-digit targets in four straight games and over the last month of the season ranks third among all wide receivers in XFP per game (21.2). Although Adams’ production has seemingly been all over the map, it’s actually been quite predictable. Against top-seven defenses (by fantasy points per game allowed to wide receivers), Adams averages just 44.0 yards per game. In his other three games — all against defenses ranking bottom-10 — Adams averages a whopping 134.7 yards per game. That means Adams needs to be valued as a top-five wide receiver this week — the Giants are giving up the second-most fantasy points per game to opposing wide receivers.

Aaron Rodgers, QB, Green Bay Packers (@ NYG)

Rodgers is a top-five quarterback this week for exactly the same reason — he’s averaging 30.0 fantasy points per game against defenses ranking bottom-10 in fantasy points per game. In all other games he's averaging just 13.6 fantasy points per game. The Giants not only rank bottom-10 in fantasy points per game, but also in PFF coverage grade, opposing passer rating, fantasy points allowed per dropback, and pressure rate.

D.J. Chark, WR, Jacksonville Jaguars (vs. TB)

Chark has firmly established himself as not only his team’s WR1, but as a true WR1 for fantasy. Among all wide receivers, Chark ranks fifth in fantasy points per game (17.2) and, since Week 5, eighth in XFP per game (16.7). Now, he gets the most favorable WR1 matchup I ever remember seeing. Tampa Bay has faced 11 wide receivers this year who average at least 12.0 fantasy points per game. Collectively, those wide receivers have combined to average 26.0 fantasy points per game. For perspective, Michael Thomas leads all wide receivers in fantasy points per game with 23.9. Chark is another top-five option this week.

Zach Ertz, TE, Philadelphia Eagles (@ MIA)

Over the last month, Ertz is averaging 23.6 fantasy points per game and 18.9 XFP per game. Those numbers easily lead the position, and rank second- and fourth-best, respectively, among all pass-catchers. Expect this trend to continue in Week 13 against Miami’s league-worst pass defense.

Sit

Christian Kirk, WR, Arizona Cardinals (vs. LAR)

Kirk quietly ranks 24th among wide receivers in fantasy points per game (14.9), but he’s better off left on your bench this week, likely drawing shadow coverage from Jalen Ramsey. Through four shadow games, DeAndre Hopkins, Julio Jones, JuJu Smith-Schuster, and Allen Robinson combined to average just 6.3 fantasy points per game against Ramsey’s coverage.

Tyrell Williams, WR, Oakland Raiders (@ KC)

After busting in a dream matchup last week, Williams now draws a worst possible matchup against the Chiefs — Kansas City leads all defenses in fantasy points allowed to outside wide receivers. However, Kansas City has given up the fifth-most fantasy points and the most targets to opposing tight ends. So, while you should leave Williams on your bench, you can expect a big game from Darren Waller.

Joe Mixon, RB, Cincinnati Bengals (vs. NYJ)

Mixon has now seen 18 or more opportunities while exceeding 75 total yards in four straight games. That’s the good news. The bad news is, he’s still someone you’d want to bench in shallower leagues. The Jets have surrendered the third-fewest rushing yards per game to opposing running backs (64.6) while also ranking best in yards per carry allowed (3.01).

Medium-sized leagues

Start

Jarvis Landry, WR, Cleveland Browns (@ PIT)

Since Week 9, Landry leads all wide receivers in fantasy points, averaging 23.2 per game, and ranks second in targets (43). Keep in mind, one of these games came against the Steelers, who have given up 18.2 fantasy points per game (fourth-most) and 32% of their total receiving fantasy points allowed to opposing slot wide receivers (most). Landry should be viewed as a high-end WR2 this week.

DeVante Parker, WR, Miami Dolphins (vs. PHI)

Since Week 4, Parker ranks 20th among wide receivers in fantasy points per game (15.1), sandwiched in between Amari Cooper (15.4) and Tyler Lockett (15.0). Since Week 10 he ranks seventh in XFP, with a low of just 15.7 over this span. He’s a rock-solid WR2 this week, in a near-perfect matchup — for the third consecutive season, Philadelphia is giving up the most fantasy points per game to opposing outside wide receivers.

Sam Darnold, QB, New York Jets (@ CIN)

In Week 12 Darnold hit a new career high in fantasy points (28.2), besting the number he set just the week before (26.4). Since Week 10, he ranks third among quarterbacks in fantasy points scored, averaging 25.4 per game. Look for Darnold to keep this hot streak rolling against a Bengals defense that has given up the most fantasy points per dropback to opposing quarterbacks.

Gerald Everett/Tyler Higbee, TE, Los Angeles Rams (@ ARI)

Over their last three games, Arizona has given up 24.3 fantasy points to Ross Dwelley, 19.9 fantasy points to George Kittle (who broke a bone in his ankle early in the game), and 14.7 fantasy points to a left-for-dead O.J. Howard. Arizona has more games surrendering two-plus touchdowns to tight ends than games surrendering zero touchdowns. They’re not only giving up the most fantasy points per game to tight ends (21.0), but it’s 26% more than the next-worst team. If Everett plays you start him. If he’s out, Higbee is an equally fine option.

Sit

Courtland Sutton, WR, Denver Broncos (vs. LAC)

Among all wide receivers, Sutton ranks top-five in market share and top-10 in PFF grade. Even so, he’s a shaky start this week. He’ll go against Casey Hayward — our highest-graded cornerback since 2017 — in shadow coverage catching passes from either Brandon Allen or Drew Lock.

Jimmy Garoppolo, QB, San Francisco 49ers (@ BAL)

Garoppolo has been one of the league’s most productive quarterbacks over the last month of the season, averaging 22.5 fantasy points per game over this span. However, since acquiring Marcus Peters, the Ravens have been the league’s best defense against opposing quarterbacks. Since Week 5, no quarterback has reached 15.0 fantasy points against them. Since Week 10, quarterbacks are averaging just 5.8 fantasy points against them. This makes Garoppolo an easy fade.

David Johnson, RB, Arizona Cardinals (vs. LAR)

How did we get here? I have no idea — but Johnson is no longer startable in any league. Since Week 7 he totals just 12 yards on seven touches.

Deeper leagues

Start

Tyler Boyd, WR, Cincinnati Bengals (vs. NYJ)

After a big Week 12 (20.1 fantasy points), Boyd owners get more good news in the return of Andy Dalton. Prior to Dalton’s benching, Boyd was producing like a mid-range WR3 (13.9) on low-end WR1 volume (16.0). That sort of volume should go a long way this week, as the Jets are giving up the second-most fantasy points per game to wide receivers on short passes, while also ranking eighth-worst against opposing WR1s.

Jonathan Williams, RB, Indianapolis Colts (vs. TEN)

Since Marlon Mack’s injury, Williams totals 36 carries, four targets, 230 yards, and a score. Keep in mind, this is all in less than two full games of work. Over this span he’s played on 67% of the team’s snaps while drawing 74% of the team’s touches out of the backfield. In a neutral matchup with favorable gamescript, he needs to be started as a mid-range RB2.

Phillip Lindsay, RB, Denver Broncos (vs. LAC)

The downside with Lindsay is that Denver’s offense is a disaster. The upside is, the matchup is strong and Denver is starting to move away from a two-way committee in order to give Lindsay more work. The Chargers rank sixth-worst in schedule-adjusted fantasy points per game allowed to opposing running backs. Since Week 9 Lindsay has out-touched Royce Freeman 41 to 19 and out-gained him 235 to 88. Still, he’s just a mid-range RB2 this week.

Jack Doyle, TE, Indianapolis Colts (vs. TEN)

In 2018, Eric Ebron averaged only 27.3 snaps per game and 8.3 XFP per game when Doyle was on the field. When Doyle was inactive, Ebron’s numbers jumped to 46.9 snaps per game and 15.7 XFP per game. For perspective, Zach Ertz currently leads the position with 14.2 XFP per game. Based on these numbers, with Ebron out and T.Y. Hilton banged up, Doyle could be in store for a massive uptick in volume.

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