Week 13 Starts and Sits
Cam Newton (at Tampa Bay)
The Panthers had a tough-luck loss in week 12, but it wasn’t because of Cam Newton. Newton completed 83% of his passes for 256 yards and a touchdown with an interception. He also added 63 yards on the ground via 8 carries. These numbers are pretty encouraging given how stingy Seattle has been against the pass so far in 2018. Newton has huge potential in week 13 against the Buccaneers defense, coming off a strong performance against Nick Mullens but still allowing 22.1 points per week to quarterbacks.
Dak Prescott (vs New Orleans)
Dak Prescott has been playing his best football since the Cowboys acquired Amari Cooper, culminating in his strongest day so far in 2018. In a rematch against the Redskins, Prescott threw for 289 yards, 2 touchdowns, while adding 18 yards and a score on the ground. He hasn’t thrown an interception in three weeks and has scored a rushing touchdown in 4 of his last 5 games. The Saints have been playing much better defense the past few weeks, but Dak will likely have to throw the ball to keep pace offensively, giving him high week 13 upside.
Lamar Jackson (at Atlanta), Case Keenum (at Cincinnati), Kirk Cousins (at New England)
While Lamar Jackson got going in week 11 due to his legs, he showed some upside as a passer in a week 12 matchup against the Bengals. Jackson completed 56% of his passes, throwing for 178 yards and a touchdown (2 interceptions) while adding 71 yards on 11 carries. He is a playable QB due to his high upside in the running game. He will look to keep that momentum going in week 13 against a Falcons defense that is allowing quarterbacks to average 22.7 points per week this season. Case Keenum put together his most complete game of 2018 in a win against the Steelers, throwing for 197 yards and 2 touchdowns while putting together his third consecutive week without an interception. Keenum has another solid matchup in week 13, facing a struggling Bengals defense that is allowing 23.6 points to quarterbacks this season and is ailing on offense. Kirk Cousins exploded Sunday Night against the Packers, throwing for 342 yards and 3 touchdowns in a big matchup that kept the Vikings playoff hopes alive. Cousins will have a great opportunity to replicate those numbers against a Patriots defense that is significantly kinder to fantasy quarterbacks (allowing 19.4 points per week).
Phillip Lindsay (at Cincinnati)
The Phillip Lindsay experience just keeps getting better and better. Against a stout Steelers run defense, Lindsay was able to rush the ball 14 times for 110 yards and a touchdown while averaging 7.9 yards per carry. Lindsay has explosive potential in week 13 against the Bengals run defense, which is allowing 32.3 points per week to opposing running backs. Lindsay should be in every eligible lineup as he continues to build upon his impressive rookie numbers.
Aaron Jones (vs Arizona)
Despite the Packers sputtering at this point in the season, Aaron Jones has been unleashed. Jones carried the ball a season-high 17 times, collecting 72 yards and a touchdown against a Vikings defense that has shut down running games all season. Jones is also getting work on passing downs, collecting 3 catches for 21 yards. Jones gets an anemic Arizona running defense, ranking 29th in the NFL and allowing opposing running backs to score 31.6 fantasy points per week.
Gus Edwards (at Atlanta), Jalen Richard (vs Kansas City), LeSean McCoy (at Miami)
If you rushed to get Gus Edwards off waivers prior to week 12, you were rewarded with a 23 carry, 118-yard performance against the Oakland running defense. Edwards has another solid matchup against the Falcons, a defense allowing running backs to score 32.0 points per week to rushers. While Atlanta is historically gashed against pass-catching backs (one thing Edwards hasn’t shown the past two weeks), he still should have plenty of upside once again. If desperation forced you to start Jalen Richard in week 12, you were inevitably disappointed. Richard only had 1 carry for 1 yard and 2 catches for 15 yards against the brutal Ravens run defense. However, things look much better for Richard in week 13 against the Chiefs. While he isn’t the primary running back, game script could force him into heavy duty roles as the Raiders most likely play catchup with the explosive Chiefs offense. LeSean McCoy struggled to produce in a win against the Jaguars, rushing 17 times for 46 yards (2.7 yards per carry). While McCoy hasn’t produced at his usual level this season, he still gets a ton of volume in the running game (double-digit carries the 6 of the last 7 weeks). The Dolphins provide a favorable matchup as they allow 4.8 yards per carry to running backs this season.
Corey Davis (vs NY Jets)
I’ve been burned by Corey Davis before, but I just can’t quit the 2nd year wideout. On Monday against the Texans, he had 1 carry for 39 yards and added 4 catches (4 targets) on 96 yards, including a 48-yard touchdown. Davis is far and away the top receiving threat in the Titans inconsistent offense this season and has the consistent target share in this passing game. His upside is too good to ignore (again) in a week 13 tilt against the Jets, a defense allowing 40.9 points per week to receivers and coming off a game where Tom Brady spread the ball around to the tune of 14 catches for 210 yards and a score.
Emmanuel Sanders (at Cincinnati)
Emmanuel Sanders finally had his breakout game in the fallout of the Demaryius Thomas trade, catching 7 of 12 targets for 86 yards and a touchdown against his former team. It was definitely an encouraging effort from Sanders, especially since it would appear he and Keenum are finally on the same page in the passing game. He gets a fantastic week 13 matchup against the Bengals, a defense that is in the bottom 12 in the NFL against opposing wide receivers in regards to total yardage and catches allowed.
DJ Moore (at Tampa Bay), Michael Crabtree (at Atlanta), Josh Doctson (at Philadelphia)
As the season goes on, DJ Moore’s role in the Panthers offense expands. While he didn’t have the impact in week 12 that he did in week 11 (8 catches on 9 targets for 91 yards), Moore is still getting a high volume of targets in the passing game, easily supplanting Devin Funchess as the number one option. DJ Moore has a chance to build upon his explosive emergence in the passing game in week 13 against the Buccaneers and their 28th ranked pass defense in the NFL. Michael Crabtree was highly targeted by Lamar Jackson in his 2nd career start, catching 3 of his 6 targets for 21 yards and his first touchdown since week 6. While Crabtree hasn’t had high upside this season (he hasn’t eclipsed 35 yards receiving in 4 weeks), he does have the hands and route running ability to exploit a weak Falcons secondary that is better against deep threats than intermediate routes. With one start under his belt, it seems clear that Colt McCoy will look to Josh Doctson in the passing game over his other options. In a bad matchup against the Cowboys on Thanksgiving, Doctson was able to shine, catching 6 of 10 targets for 66 yards. He should be a playable asset in week 13 thanks to a combination of trust with McCoy and a matchup against a depleted Eagles secondary looking for bodies to play.
Cameron Brate (vs Carolina)
While Cameron Brate doesn’t offer the explosive, big-play upside of OJ Howard, he still figures to be a solid tight end play in a season lacking top-end options. Brate was targeted 4 times by Jameis Winston, catching 3 of them for 26 yards and a score. While the targets weren’t dramatically better in Howard’s absence, he did still garner valuable looks from Winston in the end zone. He gets a phenomenal week 13 matchup against a Panthers defense that struggles mightily against opposing tight ends, allowing 17.5 fantasy points per week to the position.
Jared Cook (vs Kansas City)
Jared Cook’s inefficient 2018 continued in week 12 against the Ravens as he caught 2 of his 5 targets for 32 yards, but added a valuable touchdown. Cook has struggled to consistently make a connection with Derek Carr in recent weeks, putting together his 3rd consecutive week with less than 50% of his targets caught. On the plus side, he has had scoring plays in back to back weeks, so the upside is still there. He draws a favorable matchup against the Chiefs in week 13 as they allow 16.0 fantasy points per week to tight ends this year.
Greg Olsen (at Tampa Bay), Ben Watson (at Dallas), Kyle Rudolph (at New England)
Greg Olsen hopes to build upon a disappointing outing against the Seahawks, catching only 2 of 4 targets for 11 yards. Olsen is in dangerous boom or bust territory the last three weeks, struggling to generate any real value unless he gets in the end zone as more explosive weapons such as DJ Moore, Curtis Samuel, and Christian McCaffrey flaunt their big play ability. Week 13 is as good a time as any for Olsen to get rolling though as the Buccaneers allow 15.5 fantasy points to tight ends in 2018. Ben Watson continues to struggle in the Saints offense, catching only 1 of 2 targets for 20 yards in week 12 against the Falcons. While Watson hasn’t had a meaningful impact in several weeks, he should have some high upside in week 13 against Dallas, a defense that has done well shutting down opponent wide receivers, but struggled against tight ends (allowing 15.2 points per week). After weeks of subpar performances, Kyle Rudolph finally erupted in week 12, catching all 7 of his targets for 63 yards against the Packers. These totals were over half of his production the previous 5 weeks combined, which is a concern. Rudolph should have plenty of ability to build upon these numbers facing a New England defense with slower linebackers and allowing 15.6 fantasy points per week to the position.
Ryan Tannehill (vs Buffalo)
In his first action in over a month, Ryan Tannehill had a solid showing against the Colts, throwing for 204 yards and two touchdowns in a losing effort. Tannehill was a solid starting option early in the season, although he is very matchup dependent in terms of his upside. This week does not present that upside as the Bills defense allows a league-low 12.6 fantasy points per week to opposing quarterbacks, almost three points lower than the next best team. Feel free to snag Tannehill off waivers if you need a 2nd quarterback, but don’t start him this week.
Nick Mullens (at Seattle)
Nick Mullens is officially back on planet earth. In his 3rd start of the year (against one of the best quarterback matchups you can get), Mullens was able to throw for only 221 yards and 1 touchdown. He also added 2 interceptions to the Buccaneers totals, giving them a whopping three on the year. Now, this isn’t completely on Mullen’s shoulders as he was down his top two receiving options (Marquise Goodwin and Pierre Garcon). Mullens finds himself in a tough road matchup against the Seattle Seahawks, a defense allowing only 15.8 points to opposing quarterbacks on the season.
Josh Allen (at Miami), Baker Mayfield (at Houston), Eli Manning (vs Chicago)
Josh Allen’s return got a lot of media airtime, but mainly due to the pre-season comments made by Jalen Ramsey. In reality, Allen completed only 42.1 of his passes (8 of 19) for 160 yards and a touchdown against a Jaguars defense that just hasn’t been what it was in 2017. An encouraging side is his ability to exploit the aggressive Jaguars defense on the ground, rushing 13 times for 99 yards and a touchdown. The Dolphins have been much stingier against the pass in 2018, allowing only 15 touchdowns passing while generating the 2nd best mark in interceptions (17). They are allowing quarterbacks to score only 16.5 fantasy points per week and have only allowed 116 rushing yards to the position on the season. Baker Mayfield is on an absolute tear, culminating in his dismantling of the of the Bengals last Sunday. Mayfield threw for 258 yards and 4 touchdowns in a game against where his former head coach was serving as a special assistant. Mayfield has been fantastic, but that doesn’t mean he can just be started on a weekly basis. In week 13 he meets a resurgent Houston defense allowing a paltry 16.0 fantasy points to opposing quarterbacks thanks to their devastating pass rush combination of JJ Watt and Jadaveon Clowney. Baker has been everything the Browns need but may be worth a stash on the bench if your fantasy season is riding on week 13. After back to back strong weeks, Eli Manning came back to Earth an in what should have been a plus matchup against the Eagles. Manning was able to throw for 297 yards, but only had 1 touchdown and 1 interception against a secondary that was struggling to put bodies on the field. Manning will see fluctuations on a weekly basis because of the Giant’s insistence on getting Saquon Barkley touches consistently. Making matters worse, Eli faces the 2nd best defense in the league against opposing signal callers, a defense leading the league in interceptions (20) and allowing only 15.2 fantasy points per week to the position.
Tevin Coleman (vs Baltimore)
Whether it was a tough matchup or game script, Tevin Coleman produced very disappointing results in his week 12 tilt against the Saints. Coleman produced only 6 yards on 8 carries, although he did add 3 catches for 17 yards and a touchdown in a game that got out of hand in a hurry. The road doesn’t get any easier for Coleman in week 13 as he goes into a difficult matchup against the 2nd best fantasy defense against running backs in 2018. The Ravens have allowed only 18.0 points per week to the position, and are allowing only 3.5 yards per carry on the season. While the game should be closer, that doesn’t necessarily bode well for the fantasy upside of Coleman this week.
Isaiah Crowell (at Tennessee)
Despite playing in a close matchup against the Patriots, Isaiah Crowell found himself with a lackluster final box score in week 12. Crowell carried the ball only 6 times for 30 yards and caught 3 balls for 30 yards. He split some work with Elijah McGuire in his 3rd game back from injury. Crowell finds himself in a difficult matchup in week 13 against the Titans defense, that despite a poor showing on Monday Night against Lamar Miller, has held opposing rushers to only 19.7 fantasy points per week on the season.
Marlon Mack (at Jacksonville), Sony Michel (vs Minnesota), Peyton Barber (vs Carolina)
For all intents and purposes, Marlon Mack had a disappointing showing against a porous Dolphins defense in week 12, rushing 15 times for 85 yards and adding 2 catches for 11 yards. Some of this can be attributed to a 4th quarter concussion he suffered, but also the Colts found themselves trailing for a healthy portion of the game. If Mack is able to go in week 13, he will have an uphill battle against a Jaguars defense that has become increasingly stingy against the run, allowing a league-best 17.7 yards per game to running backs and held Mack to 29 yards just 3 games ago. Sony Michel picked up where he left off in week 13, gashing the Jets defense for 133 yards on 21 carries and a score while adding 2 catches for 12 yards. It is worth noting that he did leave the game briefly to get his knee checked out after a particularly painful hit. Michel is likely to play in week 13, but the workload does consider monitoring as the Patriots activated Rex Burkhead off the IR (he could take goal-line carries away from Michel) and the fact that the Vikings are allowing only 20.1 fantasy points per week to running backs (6th best in the league this season). Regardless of success, Peyton Barber is the clear lead back in Tampa Bay, collecting double-digit carries in 7 consecutive games and registering at least 2 catches in 3 of the last 4 weeks. Against the 49ers, Barber toted the ball 18 times for a paltry 47 yards but did find the end zone in a winning effort. Barber may not be the most explosive option, but he has been usable for quite some time now. This won’t be the week to try and capitalize on that value though considering the Panthers allow only 20.8 points to opposing running backs and are coming off a week where they held high powered Seattle rushing attack to compile only 73 yards on 24 carries.
DeVante Parker (vs Buffalo)
The Dolphins pass catchers have been decimated by injury this season, and DeVante Parker is no exception. After suffering a shoulder injury against the Packers in week 10, Parker emerged with a 3 catch for 10-yard performance against the Colts. Undoubtedly, this was a disappointing line although it wasn’t surprising since he was only on the field for 45% of the Dolphins offensive snaps. While Parker should continue to see that number rise as long as he avoids any injury setbacks, he figures to have his work cut out for him against Buffalo in week 13. Not only is Buffalo the best defense against wideouts in fantasy (28.6 points per week), but as the most talented receiving option, Parker figures to get a healthy dose of Tre’Davious White when he is on the field. Fade Parker if you have him.
Tre’Quan Smith (at Dallas)
Unfortunately for Tre’Quan Smith (and fantasy owners), he was unable to follow up his massive performance against the Eagles in week 11 (10/157/1) in a short week against the Falcons due to a foot injury. However, Smith was able to practice on Monday and would seem to be able to play given his week off. While his explosive upside is undeniable, the Cowboys pose a difficult matchup given their status as the 2nd best defense in the NFL against fantasy receiver options (29.6 points per week).
Josh Gordon (vs Minnesota), Jarvis Landry (at Houston), Calvin Ridley (at Baltimore)
Josh Gordon’s role in New England seems pretty locked in as their weapons return to health. Against the Jets, Gordon caught all 5 of his targets for 70 yards, although he didn’t find the end zone. The greater concern is the number of mouths to feed as Rob Gronkowski returned (and led the team in targets) in week 12 along with the pending return of Rex Burkhead to game action. Gordon gets a difficult matchup in week 13 against a Vikings defense that has allowed only 30.3 points to wideouts this season and figures to match up Xavier Rhodes against Gordon on the perimeter. Jarvis Landry has struggled to get anything going consistently, even with the recent offensive explosion in Cleveland the past few weeks. Landry was the recipient of 5 targets on Sunday, which was tied for the team lead, but could only muster 3 catches for 30 yards in an overall disappointing performance. That marks 4 consecutive games that Landry has failed to surpass 50 yards receiving. A matchup against the aggressive Texans defense allowing only 30.8 points per week to receivers looms large, making Landry and candidate to find the bench. After numerous weeks where he seemed like he was missing, Calvin Ridley emerged as a viable receiving option once again Thanksgiving against the Saints. Facing a bottom 5 pass defense, Ridley was able to collect 8 of his 13 targets for 93 yards and a touchdown, even though a fumble on the 1-yard line cost him another score. Two things to be aware of before you rush back to Ridley in a starting role in week 13: 1. He averaged 10.5 targets in both games against the Saints but has only been targeted an average of 5 times in all other games. 2. The Ravens boast a stellar defense against wide receivers this season, allowing only 29.9 points to the position on a weekly basis (3rd best in the NFL).
Chris Herndon (at Tennessee)
Chris Herndon had a breakout of sorts against the Patriots in week 12, receiving 8 targets while catching 7 of them for 57 yards in a losing effort. Herndon has continually seen his role expand in the Jets offense as he has emerged as one of their more reliable receiving options in his rookie season. However, be wary of automatically starting him this week as the Titans defense has been stellar against tight ends this season, allowing a league-best mark of 7.3 weekly points to the position. The Titans are also the only team in the NFL to have not allowed a tight end to score this year, suppressing Herndon’s value even further.
Jonnu Smith (vs NY Jets)
Patient fantasy owners who have been waiting for Jonnu Smith to fill Delanie Walker’s role in the passing offense have been rewarded in recent weeks. Smith was only targeted twice in Monday night’s game against the Texans, but he converted on both targets for 63 yards and a touchdown (which are phenomenal numbers given the tight end position this season). While the lack of targets is somewhat disappointing, there is a precedence for Smith getting higher target shares in the Titans offense (he was targeted 8 times in week 11 against the Colts). Unfortunately, Smith draws a daunting matchup against the Jets in week 13, a defense that has suppressed tight end value to the tune of 8.7 fantasy points per week.
Jordan Reed (at Philadelphia), Ricky Seals-Jones (at Green Bay), Evan Engram (vs Chicago)
Even though Vernon Davis got the big reception touchdown on Thanksgiving against Dallas, Jordan Reed still did his part in the Redskins passing game. Reed was targeted 8 times, catching 6, for 75 yards on Thursday afternoon. That marks two consecutive games where Colt McCoy has done his best to feed Reed on a consistent basis, something that was missing from the Redskins when Alex Smith was healthy. Unfortunately for Reed, the Eagles defense has done great against tight ends this season (8.6 points; 3rd best in the NFL), so his upside is more limited this week. If you’re trusting Ricky Seals-Jones in 2018 it’s possible your season already went astray, but he still merits mentioning in this space for week 13. For one, Seals-Jones has only surpassed 50 receiving yards once in his last 4 games (including back to back 5-yard efforts the past two weeks). Also, Seals-Jones finds himself in the midst of a terrible week 13 matchup as the Packers are allowing only 9.0 fantasy points per game to tight ends in 2018. Evan Engram owners were undeniably crushed by Engram in week 12 as he strained his hamstring during pregame warmups and missed the entire tilt against the Eagles on Sunday. All signs point to Engram making a return to the starting lineup in week 13, although the matchup is considerably worse for him as he faces the Bears, a defense that has allowed 9.7 points per week to tight ends this season and figures to give the Giants offensive line fits all game.