News & Analysis

Sunday morning fantasy football decisions: Rankings, start/sit, sleepers, and busts for Week 13

(It’s Week 13 of the NFL season. This and every Sunday morning, we’ll wrap up the week in fantasy football content with our Study Session, a last-minute guide to our top advice of the week, featuring the highlights of that week’s analysis.)

Process over results. The process, you can control. The results, you can’t.

It’s maybe the most common refrain in fantasy sports, but that doesn’t make it any less true or any less worth repeating. If you started Drew Brees this week over, I don’t know, Jeff Driskel, there’s a good chance it’s not going to end up working out for you. But that doesn’t mean it’s the wrong decision.

Similarly, remember Calvin Ridley’s monster Week 3 game, with 3 touchdowns and 146 yards? If you started him over Julio Jones (96 scoreless yards), it worked out for you. But, my friend, you made a bad decision. You just did.

In my primary league, I’m 5-7. I can still make the playoffs with a win this week and some help from my brother (he’s out of the playoff hunt but I need him to win) despite having the fourth-most points in the league and having a top-half point total in 11 of 12 weeks so far. It happens.

In the Scott Fish Bowl, I missed the playoffs by 0.78 points. One more win or one more point at some point this season would have gotten me there. In Weeks 1-4, I chose wrong between starting Dak Prescott and Ryan Tannehill literally every week. I choose differently any of those times, I’m playing for the crown.

But with the knowledge I had at the time I made every decision in both of those leagues, I’d have done it again. My process was good. My luck was bad.

Hope you have better luck. Here’s the Week 13 advice.

Live chats

Our live chats are a fantastic resource to get

Rankings and start/sit

These are the big-ticket items. Our overall look at what we’re doing and how we make those decisions. On Tuesday, Jeff Ratcliffe breaks down the best waiver claims of the week. Wednesday, he publishes his top 150 for that week. Thursday, Scott Barrett attempts to solve some of the top start-or-sit questions. Tuesdays also feature Mike Castiglione and Walton Spurlin offering advice for the key streamers (QB and DST, respectively). And Friday is the big blowout, where Jeff Ratcliffe highlights all the key lessons of the week and prepares fantasy players for the weekend to come. If you only read one piece of fantasy advice a week, it’s that.

Previewing the weekend in fantasy

There’s no good blurb to pull from this, because the whole thing is gold. Just click. Trust me on this.

A snapshot of the flex rankings

10. James Conner, PIT vs LAC (RB7) — Is Conner fading, or was the last two weeks a minor bump in the road? We’re leaning toward the latter.
11. Davante Adams, GB vs ARI (WR4) — Adams is really the only show in town for Aaron Rodgers and the Packers passing game.
12. Aaron Jones, GB vs ARI (RB8) — This is one of the best matchups of the week for running backs. Jones is a major upgrade.
13. Adam Thielen, MIN @ NE (WR5) — We expect Stefon Diggs to draw Stephon Gilmore, and that should open things up for Thielen.

Two starts, two sits

START Austin Hooper in medium-sized leagues: Since Week 5, Hooper ranks fourth among tight ends in targets per game (7.3) and sixth in fantasy points per game (12.9). This week he gets a Baltimore Ravens defense that has given up 27% of their total receiving fantasy points allowed to tight ends, which ranks most in the NFL.
START Carlos Hyde in deep leagues: Hyde saw 10 carries and zero targets last week (with Leonard Fournette exiting in the third quarter) to T.J. Yeldon’s three carries and four targets. After complaining about a lack of volume on Tuesday, Jacksonville might try to appease him by getting him more work this week.
SIT Dalvin Cook in shallow leagues: Cook hasn’t topped 10 carries since Week 1, and averages just 2.5 targets per game since Week 4. Even in a soft matchup, he’s still hard to trust.
SIT Jarvis Landry in medium-sized leagues: On top of putting together one of the least efficient fantasy seasons from a wide receiver in recent memory (as outlined here), Landry is also no longer seeing the volume that kept him fantasy-relevant.

Sleepers and busts for the week

SLEEPER: Case Keenum: After a string of tough matchups — the Cardinals, Chiefs, Texans, Chargers, and Steelers all rank in the top-half of the league in terms of fantasy PPDB ceded to quarterbacks — Keenum gets a plus Week 13 draw against Bengals, who have given up the third-most fantasy PPDB to quarterbacks.
BUST: Sony Michel: Michel returned from injury in dominant fashion in Week 12, dropping 21-133-1 on the Jets (with two receptions to boot). He’ll have a hard time replicating those stats in Week 13 against the Vikings, who have held enemy backs below 3.7 YPC this season while allowing just three rushing touchdowns against — tied for fewest in the NFL.

Waiver claims to make

ADD Josh Reynolds in shallow leagues: He’s still available in 66% of leagues and is primed for an every-down role in a potent offense down the stretch.
ADD Josh Allen in medium-sized leagues: Allen was a surprise top-10 fantasy play this past week. He offers upside with his legs, but also comes with loads of volatility.
ADD Justin Jackson in deep leagues: Jackson is a deep name to know after a few impressive runs last week.

QB streamers

Jameis Winston, Tampa Bay Buccaneers: Winston has three games this season with a passer rating of 115.0 or better, and three games with a rating below 75.0. Coming off back-to-back solid outings and set to face a Panthers defense allowing the sixth-most fantasy points to QBs, Winston’s arrow is once again pointing up. Tampa Bay also carries a healthy implied total of 26 points according to Las Vegas oddsmakers.

DST streamers

Philadelphia Eagles: The season-ending suffered by Alex Smith is a crippling blow to the Washington offense. There is a reason Colt McCoy has been a career backup and he showed why in the Thanksgiving loss to the Cowboys. McCoy threw three interceptions and was sacked three times as Dallas put up top-10 fantasy defense production.

Deeper dives

You come to use for more than the surface material. Our writers go deeper with thoughts on situations down the road and looking deeper into each week’s games.

Long-term sleepers

Dante Pettis, WR, San Francisco 49ers: I’m not sure four catches for 77 yards and a touchdown qualifies as a breakout performance, but rookie 49ers receiver Pettis has bookmarked his midseason knee injury with enough low-volume but efficient performances to pique my interests.

Snaps, Pace, and Stats

Browns at Texans: The Texans have slowed way down of late. They are handing off significantly more frequently, presumably in an effort to keep their franchise quarterback from getting decapitated. Houston has the second-highest situation-neutral run rate during the last five weeks (55.8%). Prior to that, they ranked 17th (42.6%).

Trade value chart

Leonard Fournette, RB, Jacksonville Jaguars: Fournette is missing critical fantasy time and it’s his own doing, which is sure to frustrate fantasy players.

Weather and venue adjustments

Vikings at Patriots: The Vikings and Patriots late-afternoon game boasts the most fantasy-relevant players of any game on the schedule this week, and so the presence or absence of rain could swing a ton of matchups this week.

RB committee report

Rod Smith trending UP: We don’t have much of a sample size to go on for Smith this season, and that’s kind of the point here. Ezekiel Elliott leads all NFL running backs in snaps and is on pace for 384 touches. While Dallas won’t be in position to rest starters down the stretch, it stands to reason that Smith could eventually get more work in an effort to keep Elliott fresh late in the season.
Adrian Peterson trending DOWN: Entering Week 9, Peterson was the No. 9 fantasy back in standard scoring. In the four games since, he ranks outside the top-30 in both fantasy scoring and elusive rating. In fact, Peterson has forced only five missed tackles over his last 56 rushing attempts (8.9%).

DFS advice

First things first: We’ve introduced a new DFS piece, and it’s a doozy. Scott Barrett’s guide to all things DFS hits Week 13 from every DFS angle, taking you through the process of an expert as he prepares for the weekend. It’s a home run.

We hit weekly DFS from all angles — bargains, stacks, fades, locks. We also look at the best ways to build a DFS lineup on DraftKings (tournament or cash game) and FanDuel (tournament or cash game). And Scott Barrett offers up his favorite tournament plays of the week on both primary sites.


Lamar Miller, RB, Houston Texans: Miller’s second 90-plus-yard touchdown in Week 12 makes him hard to deny as a value at his current DK price of $4,600 and FD price of $6,300. He will also be a high-owned asset this week at that price point given his matchup against a Browns run defense that has allowed the fifth-most fantasy points to opposing running backs.
Kansas City Chiefs DST: The Chiefs don’t have one thing going for them that we like to target — home-field advantage. However, they do have the No. 1 thing to look for when streaming DST — a massive advantage in the pass rush vs. pass protection department. Kansas City is No. 3 in pass rush and Oakland is No. 28 in pass blocking.


Aaron Jones, RB, Green Bay Packers: Jones is coming off a season-high 20 touches, a number he has a good chance of reaching again in Week 13 as the Packers play a 2-9 Arizona Cardinals team … with a rookie quarterback … in Lambeau … in December.
Odell Beckham Jr., WR, New York Giants: We project OBJ to be our second-highest-scoring wideout of the weekend despite being the sixth-most expensive option on DraftKings and fourth-most expensive receiver on FanDuel.


Lamar Jackson, QB; Gus Edwards, RB, Baltimore Ravens: We will keep getting exposure to the Ravens offense with Jackson in the mix in our large-pool tournaments, but at least for now, we’ll avoid throwing any Ravens wide receiver into the mix based on the two-game sample size with the quarterback change. Jackson’s value alone is worth tossing into a stack, and after returning to practice on Thursday, Edwards is also a value-per-dollar play.

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