by Eric Stashin (aka The Rotoprofessor)
Just hours before the start of Week 13 I know many people have questions running through their heads. Who should I start? Who should I sit? Let’s take a look at how some of the recent news changes things:
David Johnson – Running Back – Arizona Cardinals
Both Andre Ellington & Chris Johnson have already been ruled out, leaving David Johnson as the last man standing (more or less). Concerned about the Cardinals limiting his touches? Don’t be, especially given this tweet from Mike Jurecki (BA refers to head coach Bruce Arians):
“BA; RB David Johnson could get up to 25 touches on Sunday vs. Rams.”
While it may not appear to be an ideal matchup, St. Louis has struggled against the run the past few weeks as they are giving up the eighth most points per week to opposing RB. Their 460 rushing yards allowed are fifth most in the league over that span and the 265 receiving yards are the most in the league.
Fire David Johnson up as a must use option in all formats this week.
Sammy Watkins – Wide Receiver – Buffalo Bills
He’s coming off a monster game (6 receptions for 158 yards and 2 TD), so obviously the impulse would be to start him in all formats. However, just look at what the Texans defense has done of late, courtesy of ESPN’s Matthew Berry:
“The Texans have allowed only one touchdown to an opposing wide receiver in their past four games, a list that includes A.J. Green, Brandon Marshall, Eric Decker, Brandin Cooks, Marvin Jones and more. (Marshall caught the score.)”
Considering how well Houston has been playing Watkins is best left for those in deeper formats. If you have a viable alternative, I’d utilize him.
Shaun Draughn – Running Back – San Francisco 49ers
Carlos Hyde has been ruled out once again, leaving Draughn to carry the load for San Francisco. The matchup is promising, as the only reason the Bears defense isn’t among the worst in the league at stopping opposing running backs is because they’ve allowed just 3 rushing TD. That number seems a bit fluky, though, considering the 1,176 rushing yards are eighth most in the league.
Over the past three weeks Draughn has averaged 20 touches and 86.3 yards per game. That’s not going to blow you away, especially since he’s failed to find the end zone, but remember two of those games came against the Cardinals and Seahawks. He’s not going to be a top option, but as a RB2/FLEX he’ll be worth considering.
Matt Forte – Running Back – Chicago Bears
ESPN’s Jeff Dickerson was quoted as saying (click here for the article):
“Langford’s the future, so they’re not going to sit him over the final five games. He’s going to get a lot of carries too,” Dickerson said, though he added he still would recommend Forte ahead of Langford because there is always that possibility of a “typical Forte game.”
Last week the team had a nearly even split in carries, with Forte getting 15 and Langford 12. The 49ers have been bad against opposing running backs this season, so it’s highly likely that both players hold fantasy appeal though there is risk in trusting either. At this point consider Forte more of a RB2 and Langford a FLEX option.
Austin Seferian-Jenkins – Tight End – Tampa Bay Buccaneers
According to Rick Strough (via Twitter):
“TE Austin Seferian-Jenkins is cleared for contact and looks like a go for Sunday’s game vs Atlanta.”
It’s been an extremely long wait, as Seferian-Jenkins hasn’t played since Week 2 (after exploding in Week 1 for 110 yards and 2 TD). The matchup against the Falcons is a promising one, though you have to wonder if Seferian-Jenkins will be on any type of a “pitch count” after missing so much time. Consider him more of a TE2 this week given the uncertainty.
Dez Bryant – Wide Receiver – Dallas Cowboys
While he’s gotten in a few limited practices of late, he’s listed as probable and is in no danger of missing Monday’s matchup with the Redskins. Does that make him a trustworthy play, though? Matt Cassel is going to be under center, which alone is going to help limit him, and Bryant has hardly been producing of late regardless of who has been his quarterback with 11 receptions on 29 targets over the past three weeks.
On paper it is an appealing matchup, but that doesn’t make Bryant a trustworthy option. The upside is there, obviously, but it’s not unimaginable to have him on your bench.
Julius Thomas – Tight End – Jacksonville Jaguars
Allen Hurns is out, leaving Thomas and Allen Robinson to dominate the targets from Blake Bortles. As it is Thomas has seen his role grow over the past two weeks, turning 18 targets into 14 receptions, 144 yards and 2 TD. The Tennessee Titans offer a strong matchup as well, having allowed 8 TD to opposing TE this season. He should be considered a Top 3 or 4 option in all formats at this point.
Kirk Cousins – Quarterback – Washington Redskins
It’s not likely that you were considering using him, but if you were here’s more than enough of a reason not to (courtesy of Matthew Berry of ESPN):
“Simply put, when you don’t send pressure, Cousins is good. When you do, he’s not. To wit:
- When pressured: 39.4 percent completion rate, 3.2 yards/attempt, 2 TDs, 5 INTs
- Not pressured: 74.8 percent completion rate, 8.0 yards/attempt, 14 TDs, 5 INTs
Meanwhile, as you compose yourself over my dropping a “to wit” on you, realize that Dallas has pressured opposing QBs on 31 percent of dropbacks since Greg Hardy’s return in Week 5, the sixth-highest rate in the league. No thanks.”
Sources – ESPN, NFL.com, CBS Sports
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Make sure to check out all of our Week 13 rankings: