by Eric Stashin (aka The Rotoprofessor)
Trying to decide who you should start or sit this week? Let’s take a look at a few potential decisions owners have and try to sort through them:
Start – Ben Roethlisberger – Pittsburgh Steelers – at Cincinnati
Roethlisberger certainly wasn’t playing like a superstar early in the season, though he’s started to light things up in recent weeks. Here’s just a few of his recent numbers:
- 4 TD in back-to-back games
- 2+ TD in four of his past five
- 299+ yards in three of his past four
While the matchup might make some hesitant, with the Bengals giving up the 21st most points to opposing QB overall, over the past four weeks their 1,045 yards are the eighth most. They have avoided the TD (3 TD over that span), but with the way Roethlisberger and company are rolling it’s easy to envision them finding the end zone early and often.
Sit – Drew Brees – New Orleans Saints – vs. Carolina
Coming in at #13 on our rankings for this week we obviously wouldn’t call him a “must sit”. At the same time he’s hardly a must start option, as the Saints offense has developed into an attack centering around Alvin Kamara and Mark Ingram. While Brees has thrown the football at least 30 times in each of the past two weeks, he had been at 28 or fewer in the previous three. He also hasn’t thrown for more than 2 TD in a game since Week 3 (coincidentally against the Panthers). The fact is the name makes you think that he’s a can’t miss option, but the results aren’t there. It all comes down to your alternatives, but Brees is hardly a set him and forget him for Week 13.
Start – Dion Lewis – New England Patriots – at Buffalo
We never want to trust a New England running back, because too many things can go wrong when it comes down to game plan (and the sheer number of options). However Lewis has received 10+ carries in six consecutive games, so it would appear that the workload will be there. So is the matchup, with the Bills allowing 621 rushing yards over the past four weeks (second most is Miami at 507) as well as 9 TD. Obviously the fear is Rex Burkhead getting the vulture TD (or Tom Brady simply throwing the ball instead), but as a RB2 there’s too much upside to ignore (as long as you know that there’s still risk).
Start – Kenyan Drake – Miami Dolphins – vs. Denver
Since trading Jay Ajayi the Dolphins have been utilizing Drake and Damien Williams in a backfield committee. However Williams is expected to miss this week’s game (as is Senorise Perry, who had been operating as the third back), leaving Drake as the last man standing. While he hasn’t gotten more than 9 carries in a game, it’s easy to envision 12-15 this week against a defense that’s allowed the second most points per week to opposing RB over the past four weeks (441 yards and 5 TD) and have especially been torched by those who can catch the football (4 receiving TD). With Drake having 12 receptions over the past four weeks, fire him up as a RB2 in all formats.
Sit – Ameer Abdullah – Detroit Lions – at Baltimore
Everything seems to be working against him heading into Week 13:
- Recent struggles – 17 carries for 36 yards over the past two weeks
- Difficult matchup – Over the past four weeks the Ravens have allowed the third fewest points per week to opposing running backs
- Injury – Abdullah sat out Wednesday’s practice with what was described as a neck injury (and that needs to be monitored)
- Other options – Dwayne Washington, who missed the past two weeks, is expected to return and should play a role
You put that all together and you get a running back that you don’t want to consider.
Sit – Jay Ajayi – Philadelphia Eagles – vs. Philadelphia
We all hoped that Ajayi would operate as the lead back upon arriving in Philadelphia, but that hasn’t happened. He’s sharing the backfield with LeGarrette Blount and Corey Clement, needing the big play to deliver any value. With Seattle allowing the fifth fewest points per week to opposing RB, as well as being banged up in the secondary (meaning the offensive focus could be on Carson Wentz and company), Ajayi is simply impossible to trust.
Wide Receiver (Two-Receiver Formats)
Start – Robby Anderson – New York Jets – vs. Kansas City
It’s easy to say that Anderson is coming off a career day, with 6 receptions, 146 yards and 2 TD against the Panthers, but he’s been playing well for longer than that:
- He’s scored TD in five straight (6 TD over this span)
- 85+ yards in three of his past four (75+ yards in four of his past six)
Couple those numbers with a Kansas City defense that has struggled against opposing wide receivers this season (16 TD allowed is the most in the league) and it’s easy to slot Anderson into your lineup in all formats.
Sit – Sammy Watkins – Los Angeles Rams – at Arizona
Watkins is coming off a big game (4 receptions, 82 yards, 1 TD) and has now scored in three of his past four. Throw in what would appear to be a favorable matchup and it would be easy to slot him into lineups. That said he’ll likely draw Patrick Peterson, and that could mean a lot less opportunity to produce as Jared Goff steers things towards Cooper Kupp and others.
Wide Receiver (Three-Receiver Formats)
Start – Marquise Goodwin – San Francisco 49ers – at Chicago
Over the past two weeks the Bears have allowed the fifth most points per week to opposing wide receivers, with 351 yards and 3 TD. While you would expect the San Francisco offense to be one to avoid, Jimmy Garoppolo is going to get his first start at QB and that should mean a boost to everyone involved. Goodwin has had 68+ yards in three straight weeks and is a big play threat who will now have a better quarterback targeting him. There is some boom or bust at play, especially with questions about the rapport, but in deeper formats he’s worth rolling the dice on.
Sit – Kenny Stills – Miami Dolphins – vs. Denver
Stills was a hot add heading into last week, though he didn’t produce big numbers (3 receptions for 47 yards). Now he’ll likely take a back seat to DeVante Parker, with Jay Cutler having cleared the concussion protocol and set to return. The formula is pretty simple, with Stills being the favored target of Matt Moore and Parker for Cutler, so set your lineups accordingly.
Start – Hunter Henry – Los Angeles Chargers – vs. Cleveland
The Browns have allowed the third most points per week to opposing tight ends this season, and while Henry has disappointed overall he’s been targeted 5 times in each of the past two weeks (and is coming off a 5 catch, 76 yard, 1 TD performance). Given the matchup he has a good chance to keep the momentum going, and unless you have one of the truly elite he’s worth rolling the dice on.
Sit – Austin Seferian-Jenkins – New York Jets – vs. Kansas City
He was a hot add a few weeks back, having scored in three straight games, but he’s now gone four straight without a TD and has topped 46 yards just once all year. His slowdown has come as Robby Anderson has exploded, and there’s a good chance Seferian-Jenkins continues to struggle. Don’t buy him based on what he did a few weeks ago.
Sources – ESPN, NFL.com
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Make sure to check out all of our Week 13 rankings:
|1)||J.T. Realmuto||Philadelphia Phillies||Realmuto benefited from a better lineup around him, setting career highs in both runs (92) and RBI (83) in 2019. That's not about to change and he'll continue to play in a hitter friendly ballpark, so there's little reason to think he won't remain the one true elite catcher.|
|2)||Gary Sanchez||New York Yankees||While he's unlikely to maintain last year's power pace (34 HR over 396 AB) and could see his AVG plummet (concerns in his strikeouts, flyball-centric approach and "luck metrics), considering he hit .194 on the road, he still brings more than enough to consider him one of the best at his position.|
|3)||Will Smith||Los Angeles Dodgers||Smith arrived with a bang, hitting .253 with 15 HR over 196 PA. While the power will likely slow down, he brings a strong approach and should be able to hit .250+ with 25 HR.|
|4)||Yasmani Grandal||Chicago White Sox||He bet on himself when he signed a one-year contract with the Brewers, and it paid off in a big way. He should entrench himself as a fixture in the middle of a strong lineup, and with his power and approach that should yield another impressive season.|
|5)||Mitch Garver||Minnesota Twins||There's risk that he's not going to play every day, especially after the team added Alex Avila, but there's no questioning the power and approach. He's not going to maintain the pace he set last season, with 31 HR over 359 PA, but he's establishing himself quickly.|
|6)||Omar Narvaez||Milwaukee Brewers||Narvaez was acquired to replace Yasmani Grandal, and while he can't be expected to match that production he should be a solid option even in a platoon role (.227 with 2 HR against LHP).|
|7)||Carson Kelly||Arizona Diamondbacks||Fantasy owners have been waiting for Kelly to get out from under Yadier Molina's shadow, and this looks to be the year he gets his opportunity. He showed the signs last season (.245 with 18 HR over 314 AB), and with a full-time role should take the next step forward.|
|8)||Willson Contreras||Chicago Cubs||Will the be traded? Won't he be traded? The rumors are going to continue and where he calls home could ultimately impact his perceived value (especially with his poor 15.1% SwStr% hanging over him).|
|9)||Salvador Perez||Kansas City Royals||There's going to be questions after he missed all of 2019, but Perez also could spend significant time at 1B and that adds value. Can he quickly rediscover his power after Tommy John surgery, though? Hopefully his return goes smoother than Didi Gregorius' a year ago.|
|10)||Sean Murphy||Oakland A's||Overshadowed by the debut of Will Smith, Murphy hit .245 with 4 HR in 60 PA in the Majors (after hitting .308 with 10 HR in 140 PA at Triple-A). He has a strong approach and the power is developing, and he has the potential to mature into an elite option.|
|11)||Christian Vazquez||Boston Red Sox||Was the power breakout for real? He saw a downturn in the second half (9 HR in 228 AB), though even at that pace there would be value.|
|12)||Wilson Ramos||New York Mets||There are going to continue to be questions about his ability defensively, and the issues catching Noah Syndergaard could limit his playing time, but Ramos has proven he can handle the bat and make an impact. That's enough to make him a viable option, but it does drag him down a little bit.|
|13)||Travis d'Arnaud||Atlanta Braves||He's going to be part of a platoon with Tyler Flowers, though if healthy he has significantly higher upside. That's the million dollar question, and has been for some time.|
|14)||Kurt Suzuki||Washington Nationals||He's a platoon player, and that's not going to change. His power outbreak is for real, though overall his second half pace (.256 with 6 HR over 117 AB) is a fair expectation.|
|15)||Danny Jansen||Toronto Blue Jays||He fell flat in 2019, so it's fair to be down on Jansen. However we have to give him time to adjust and learn how to hit while also managing an MLB pitching staff. The underlying metrics support so much more, though.|