Most fantasy leagues are down to the final week of their regular seasons, which means some of you may be in a win and get in scenario. Others are simply fighting for playoff positioning, but hey, this isn't the time to let your guard down. Keep that momentum going! Whatever position you may be in, we're here to coach you through.
Before we dive into this week's Sit 'Em/Start 'Em players, let us do a quick accountability check. Last week, TheSportster must have ate a full, hearty breakfast because we hit on 85 percent of our week 12 projections. We're not saying we're psychics, but don't mind us (at least for today) while we pat ourselves on the back. Of course, keeping things in perspective, we're happy if we helped you pull out the week 12 victory.
Last week, we had a couple of huge predictions, which included Latavius Murray and Jeremy Hill having big games. While most were hesitant about starting Murray because of the Chiefs' supposed stout run defense, starting him was actually a good idea. In the three games prior to facing Oakland, Kansas City's defense had surrendered over 150 rushing yards per game. In the case of Hill, many were scared off with the return of Gio Bernard, but Hill still managed 18 carries, 87 yards and a touchdown run.
So, with saying that, we're now onto week 13 of the NFL season. (Note: All projections are based on Yahoo! Fantasy.)
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20 Kansas City Chiefs' Defense – SIT
The Chiefs have been roughed up the past couple of weeks and the trend is likely to continue against the Broncos. Over the past two weeks, Kansas City has scored a combined six fantasy points, and the Broncos are surrendering the second fewest fantasy points to defenses this year. The Chiefs are playing at home, which helps them some, but it's still too risky a matchup this late in your fantasy year.
19 New York Giants' Defense – START
This is less about the Giants' ability to play defense than it is about the Jaguars obviously inept offense. Tom Coughlin's team has owned one of the worst fantasy defenses this year, and in real life, they also have one of the worst defenses period. So, who do we trust here? This week, we'll put our faith in the Giants and believe the turnover prone Blake Bortles continues his streak of, well, turning that ball over.
18 Jordan Cameron – TE, Cleveland Browns – SIT
First, you need to pluck Cameron from the waiver wire, if he's available. He has a couple of plus matchups coming up against the Colts and Bengals, but he does not have such a contest this week. If you haven't noticed, the Bills own one of the top fantasy defenses this year and they've been tough on almost every offensive position, particularly tight ends. The unit surrenders the fourth fewest fantasy points to the position, and while Cameron is an immense talent, he's too much of a risk this week.
17 Charles Clay – TE, Miami Dolphins – START
So, we're going to go back to Clay this week after he didn't play last week (hey, we don't put together the injury reports). Clay has a plus matchup against the reeling Jets, who have given up the second most fantasy points to tight ends. Ryan Tannehill has also used Clay quite a bit, and in a season where solid tight end play is sparse, Clay is a solid week 13 option. You should take a chance on most members of the Dolphins' passing offense this week.
16 DeAndre Hopkins – WR, Houston Texans – SIT
At first glance, this appears like a toss-up. Hopkins has been producing WR 2/3 numbers all year, however, there are a few things going against him this week. One, Houston's quarterback situation is shaky. It could help Hopkins that Ryan Fitzpatrick is back behind center or it could not, see what I mean? More so, Hopkins is facing a sneaky, tough matchup. The Titans are ranked 11th in pass defense and actually sit just outside the top 10 in fewest passing yards surrendered per game over their last three games. The Titans rank 32nd against the run, which the Texans may look to exploit.
15 Mohamed Sanu – WR, Cincinnati Bengals – START
Despite a healthy A.J. Green returning to the lineup, Sanu is still receiving a high amount of targets. In fact, he's seeing about the same number of targets as he was when Green was healthy. The issue has been overall production. In weeks 10 and 11, the Browns and Saints held Sanu to a total of 43 receiving yards on five catches. He rebounded slightly the next week, doubling his receiving yards and scoring a touchdown. Sanu has the opportunity to further rebound against an underwhelming Tampa Bay pass defense, so he's a solid play this week.
14 Michael Crabtree – WR, San Francisco 49ers – SIT
Because this game could be a brutal, low scoring contest, we suggest you sit any receivers who play for the 49ers or Seahawks (Field goals anyone?). Further, Crabtree's fantasy numbers have been up and down all year, which makes him an unpredictable player. For example, he did put up 14.4 points against Arizona back in week three, but only 4.3 against the Eagles in week four, despite receiving a similar amount of targets. Based on the matchup, Crabtree is a must sit.
13 Malcom Floyd – WR, San Diego Chargers – START
If Floyd is on your team, he could be a solid WR3 with number two upside. The Ravens' secondary is ranked in the top 10 in most pass plays of 20-plus yards and Floyd is ranked in the top 10 in yards per catch, with 16.8. Why is Baltimore so bad against the pass? They are without top corner Jimmy Smith. If the Chargers and you are smart, you'll look to take advantage of this juicy matchup at M&T Bank Stadium.
12 Julio Jones – WR, Atlanta Falcons – SIT
Here is our flier of the week. Jones is a tough sit and the thought of benching someone of his caliber seems like crazy talk. But sometimes, in chess, you have to sacrifice your queen to win the game. Patrick Peterson absolutely shut down Calvin Johnson two weeks ago, holding him to five catches and 59 yards on 12 targets. Further, according to Pro Football Focus, for cornerbacks who have played at least 75 percent of their teams' total snaps, Peterson ranks 10th in the fewest receptions allowed and seventh in lowest percentage of receptions thrown at him. Want further proof this is not a good matchup? Last year, Jones was injured when the two teams played, but in 2012, Peterson held Jones to only three catches for 33 yards.
11 T.Y. Hilton – WR, Indianapolis Colts – START
Hilton put up an inspired 122 yard, one touchdown effort last week against the Jaguars. He arrived just 15 minutes before the game due to the birth of his baby girl, and he still put together his best fantasy game since week eight against the Steelers. Hilton faces a Washington team that gives up the second most yards per pass attempt and the fourth most yards per completion over the past three games. Hilton is locked and loaded as a WR1.
10 Ryan Mathews – RB, San Diego Chargers – SIT
It's great to have Mathews back and healthy, and it showed last week when he scampered for 105 yards and a touchdown. The 17,3 point fantasy week was Mathews' highest of the season. However, this week could be a different story. He faces a Ravens' defense that has allowed the fewest fantasy points to running backs. During the past three weeks, the unit ranks in the top 10 for fewest rushing yards allowed in a game and rushing first downs in a game, and they have not allowed a rushing touchdown either during that time.
9 Denard Robinson – RB, Jacksonville Jaguars – START
This season, the Giants are bleeding yards and fantasy points to running backs, as they rank 31st in the league against the run. If that isn't enough to convince you to start Robinson, then consider how in the past three weeks, three starting running backs have totaled over 350 yards rushing against the Giants. Robinson had a down week last week, totaling only 25 yards on 14 carries, however, he was ripping it up against some stout defensive fronts prior to that off day.
8 Trent Richardson – RB, Indianapolis Colts – SIT
The main reason you should bench Richardson is because the Colts clearly have a thing for Dan Herron, who led the Colts in backfield touches last week. Of course, that may have been a one-time fling, but we doubt it. The other reason you should bench Richardson is because the matchup is bad. Washington is stingy against the run. In their past three contests, Washington's defense has surrendered only 2.8 yards per carry to rushers. That ranks third in the league behind only Carolina and New England. On the season, Washington ranks seventh in the league in the same category.
7 Rashad Jennings – RB, New York Giants – START
Jennings is a solid RB2 going forward and has a mouth-watering matchup against the Jaguars this week. Jacksonville has surrendered the ninth most fantasy points to running backs this season, so why wouldn't you start Jennings? New York's running back has shown zero signs of discomfort since coming back from his MCL sprain, and since then, he has averaged around 18 carries per game. He should easily see that number this week.
6 Frank Gore – RB, San Francisco 49ers – SIT
Gore has owned the Seahawks in recent years, posting 110 yards or more in three of the last four games he played against them. However, this week's game is at Seattle and Gore has struggled against some of the better defensive fronts this year. He only put up two fantasy points against the Broncos, one to the Cardinals and 3.8 and 6.8 against the St. Louis Rams. There are much better options than starting the aging running back this week.
5 Isaiah Crowell – RB, Cleveland Browns – START
With Ben Tate now out of the picture, Cleveland's backfield becomes much more clear. It only took around 12 weeks for the running back committee to dissolve, but for those who had stashed Crowell and started him last week, reaped the rewards. In week 13, he'll face a much tougher Bills' defense, but that shouldn't scare you away from starting him. During the past three games, the Bills' have surrendered the fifth most rushing yards per attempt (5.1) in the NFL, and sit just outside the top 10 in rushing yards allowed a game. The Browns will try to exploit that this week.
4 Matt Ryan – QB, Atlanta Falcons – SIT
Dare we honestly request owners to make another bold move and sit someone of Ryan's caliber? He's put up consistent numbers all year and even put up 14 against Detroit's stingy defense back in week eight. However, one could argue that the Cardinals' are the best team in the NFC and have the best defense of late. If you are going to sit Ryan, this would be the game to do it. In the past three games, the Cardinals have surrendered the third fewest passing yards (169) in the NFL, and they are also tied for fifth in interceptions and sixth for total takeaways. This game could be a clunker for the struggling Falcons.
3 Eli Manning – QB, New York Giants – START
Starting Manning against the Jaguars really should be a given, however, his five interception meltdown only two weeks ago could give some folks reservations about whether to ride his arm into the fantasy playoffs. The next few weeks, Manning has some cake matchups, Jaguars included. He and Beckham should be able to feast on Jacksonville in week 13. Start away.
2 Josh McCown – QB, Tampa Bay Buccaneers – SIT
It can be dangerous to use a quarterback like McCown for too long. For the past three weeks, the Bucs' quarterback has put up solid fantasy numbers. He's probably part of the reason some fantasy owners are finding themselves on the cusp of the playoffs. However, for the next two weeks, McCown faces stiff competition. Over the past three games, the Bengals' defense ranks in the top 10 for fewest passing yards allowed, fewest yards per pass attempt and fewest yards per completion, per game. The Bengals' defense has also allowed the fewest touchdown passes per game.
1 Matthew Stafford – QB, Detroit Lions – START
Here is your classic rebound game. Last week, the Patriots made Stafford look pedestrian, and he completed a mere 18 out of 46 passes. He chipped in an interception to top off his forgettable performance. It was one of his worst games of the season, but he should bounce back against a Bears' team that is ranked 28th in the NFL in defending the pass. If you have a couple of Detroit receivers named Golden Tate and Calvin Johnson, I'd look for them to also benefit from Stafford's week 13 revival. Of course, it wasn't like you were going to sit either one of those receivers anyway, were you?
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