It's crunch time for fantasy football owners everywhere.
In a season highlighted by unrivaled parity, analyzing matchups and researching trends have become even more crucial to fantasy success.
With kickoff right around the corner, here's some advice for how to handle notable up-and-down performers this weekend.
|Week 13 Start 'Em, Sit 'Em|
|Player||Avg Pts||Week 13 Opp||Fantasy Play|
|Andy Dalton, QB||15.4||at Chargers||Start|
|Eli Manning, QB||11.4||at Redskins||Start|
|Steven Hauschka, K||10.7||vs Saints||Start|
|Vincent Jackson, WR||10.3||at Panthers||Start|
|Geno Smith, QB||9.5||vs Dolphins||Sit|
|Garrett Hartley, K||9.0||at Seahawks||Sit|
|Pierre Thomas, RB||8.9||at Seahawks||Sit|
|Riley Cooper, WR||8.8||vs Cardinals||Sit|
|Tampa Bay Buccaneers, D/ST||7.8||at Panthers||Sit|
|Harry Douglas, WR||7.7||at Bills||Start|
|Mike Nugent, K||7.7||at Chargers||Start|
|Tennessee Titans, D/ST||7.5||at Colts||Sit|
|Garrett Graham, TE||5.5||vs Patriots||Start|
|Lamar Miller, RB||5.5||at Jets||Sit|
|New York Jets, D/ST||4.5||vs Dolphins||Start|
|Chris Ogbonnaya, RB||4.2||vs Jaguars||Start|
|Tyler Eifert, TE||3.5||at Chargers||Start|
|John Carlson, TE||2.3||vs Bears||Start|
Fantasy rankings according to NFL.com.
Pierre Thomas, New Orleans Saints, RB
New Orleans Saints versatile running back Pierre Thomas has touched the ball at least 15 times in each of the past three weeks, but he will be up against a fearsome defensive unit on Monday night in Seattle that may have fantasy owners thinking twice about starting him.
After all, the Seahawks boast the seventh-best fantasy defense when it comes to slowing opposing running backs. Thomas has only faced two defenses that rank better than Seattle in that department and struggled mightily on both occasions, racking up 67 yards on 17 touches against Arizona in Week 3 and 90 yards on 13 touches against the New York Jets in Week 9.
So although Thomas has impressed in recent wins over Atlanta and Dallas, it's unlikely that he'll surpass the 100-yard mark or even find the end zone in the Emerald City on Monday night.
Fantasy Play: Sit
Vincent Jackson, Tampa Bay Buccaneers, WR
Vincent Jackson has been the epitome of up and down in 2013. One week he's hot and the next week he's not. That's been the case for the veteran since the season began, but in Week 13 you can expect Jackson to see numerous opportunities to shine.
Mike Glennon's most dangerous target has exploded in two matchups with Atlanta this season and is sure to be the rookie passer's No. 1 option against Carolina's stout defense on the road this weekend.
The Panthers defense ranks third in the league in terms of slowing opposing wide receivers and held Jackson to just 79 yards receiving on five receptions in the two teams' first meeting, Week 8 in Tampa Bay.
But keep in mind that Jackson ranks sixth in the league in targets this season. The 6'5", 230-pound playmaker has been targeted 116 times in 11 games, and is a must-start for that reason. The matchup may be tough, but Jackson has too much potential to be benched.
Fantasy Play: Start
Garrett Graham, Houston Texans, TE
Unlike Thomas and Jackson, Garrett Graham will be playing at home in Week 13 against a somewhat vulnerable defensive unit in the New England Patriots.
Plus, Graham has shown in recent outings that he has the potential to explode for fantasy owners. Prior to last week's dud performance against Jacksonville, the underrated pass-catcher turned in an impressive 136-yard, one-touchdown performance in a loss to Oakland.
What's more, Oakland ranks slightly better than New England in terms of defending opposing tight ends.
ESPN Fantasy also points out that Graham is averaging 13 yards per catch at home this season compared to just 8.2 on the road. Given those numbers and the fact that the Patriots have surrendered a touchdown to a tight end in each of their past two games (Week 11: Greg Olsen and Week 12: Jacob Tamme), you can anticipate Graham to have a solid day against New England.
Fantasy Play: Start
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