Week 13 of the NFL season is here, and things are getting serious. For some, the playoffs are here or right around the corner. That makes each lineup decision crucial. Let this column be your guide as I share some players I’m starting and some I’m avoiding in this crucial Week 13. But, before we look ahead, it’s time to reflect and look back on how my picks fared in Week 12.
For transparency purposes, we’ll measure quarterbacks and tight ends against Top 12 finishes (QB1 and TE1), and we’ll measure running backs and wide receivers against Top 24 finishes (RB1-2, WR1-2). All finishes come from Fantasy Pros PPR scoring leaders lists found here.
Week 12 Starts
QB: Kirk Cousins, QB13 miss. Cousins was decent in his matchup but came up just short.
RB: Jonathan Taylor, RB10 hit. Taylor is great and finished as an RB1 despite the matchup.
WR: Jaylen Waddle, WR1 hit. I thought Waddle would be good, and he was GREAT.
TE: Dalton Schultz, TE5 hit. Schultz helped fill in the gaps for the missing Cowboys’ receivers.
Start Record: 3-1
Week 12 Sits
QB: Russell Wilson, QB9 miss. Wilson was awful the past two weeks and honestly wasn’t that great this week, but a late touchdown strike got him into the Top 12.
RB: Dontrell Hilliard, RB13 miss. Hilliard popped up into the Top 24 for the Titans despite a lopsided loss.
WR: Kenny Golladay, WR48 hit. I didn’t trust the Giants’ receivers, and that turned out to be the right call.
TE: Cole Kmet, TE7 miss. Every time I’m out on Kmet, he has a great day…
Sit Record: 1-3
Start: Jalen Hurts, Philadelphia Eagles
About: I was all in on Hurts in Week 12 against the Giants, and instead, we got a bummer of a game. He tossed three interceptions against no touchdowns, threw for less than 200 yards, and wasn’t able to truly make up for it with his rushing. The Eagles lost the game in a stunner. No matter, I’m going back to the well in Week 13 as the Eagles battle the other New York team, the Jets. The jury is still out if Hurts is a good NFL quarterback, but he’s been a great fantasy quarterback, currently sitting at QB2. It’s a good matchup, so I’m going to stick with him.
Sit: Ben Roethlisberger, Pittsburgh Steelers
About: Big Ben is QB24 on the season, which isn’t great. He’s coming off a poor game against the Bengals where the Steelers were blown out, 41-10. He mustered less than 11 points in that matchup and now will face the Ravens in Week 13. I don’t want to rely on Ben in a must-win week.
Start: Leonard Fournette, Tampa Bay Buccaneers
About: Fournette has been incredible. Yes, I know his four touchdowns in Week 12 stand out and likely won’t happen again, but Fournette is still RB5 on the season. He’s been a force as a runner and pass-catcher, and he gets the Atlanta Falcons this week. I think it will be a good week for Fournette.
Sit: The Texans’ Backfield
About: First, it was about clarity. There were too many mouths to feed, but Mark Ingram was traded to New Orleans, and Phillip Lindsay was released. Now, it’s about production. Rex Burkhead and David Johnson are splitting the reps, but the fact is neither is producing a big enough return to warrant being in your lineup. The past two weeks—since the pair took over the primary roles—Johnson is RB37 and Burkhead is RB41. In a crucial week, with the Texans facing the Colts, you have better options.
Start: Brandon Aiyuk, San Francisco 49ers
About: I know what you’re thinking but hear me out. While Aiyuk may have been an afterthought early in the season, he’s become a big part of a resurgent 49ers’ passing game during the recent winning streak. The past three weeks, Aiyuk has been WR16, with Deebo Samuel in the lineup. Samuel is out this week as the 49ers are facing the Seattle Seahawks. That frees Aiyuk up to be the focal point of the passing game and possibly get some of Samuel’s carries in the running game. I’m all in.
Sit: Jaguars Receivers
About: Prior to the start of the season, there was excitement about a resurgence for the Jaguars’ passing game. D.J. Chark, Marvin Jones, and Laviska Shenault paired with an improved quarterback in Trevor Lawrence. Chark was injured, and the passing game with Lawrence just hasn’t developed. We’ve often seen some production from Jones, Shenault, or even Jamal Agnew, but it’s not consistent. For the season, Jones leads the Jaguars as WR39. Shenault is WR52 for the season. Neither is a reliable option in a crucial week, especially with the Jaguars battling the Rams in Los Angeles.
Start: Dawson Knox, Buffalo Bills
About: Since coming back from an injury three weeks ago, Knox is TE5. He’s been hot and has been a focal point of the Bills’ pass offense. That included Thanksgiving night when he caught a pair of touchdowns. Heading into a HUGE Monday Night showdown with the New England Patriots, the Bills will need to lean on their stars. That gives me confidence Knox will play a big part in the Bills’ attack despite the tough opposition.
Sit: Jack Doyle, Indianapolis Colts
About: I get it; Doyle looked great in Week 12. He also looked like a focal point of the passing offense for Carson Wentz. The thing is, that game is an outlier for Doyle. He saw seven targets; only the second time in 12 games, he’s seen more than five targets. He also had a season-high six receptions and 81 yards, catching a touchdown for only the third time this season. Doyle is TE22 on the season. His production hasn’t been reliable enough to get sucked into starting him in a crucial week.
Matthew Fox is a die-hard NFL fan and Broncos’ homer. He’s a member of the FSWA. You can find more from him on Twitter @knighthawk7734 or as co-host of the Fantasy Football Roundtable Podcast, a part of the Campus2Canton Network.