Fantasy Football Week 13 Start Ems

Michael WhooleySenior Writer IDecember 5, 2009

PHILADELPHIA - NOVEMBER 29:  Donovan McNabb #5 of the Philadelphia Eagles in action against the Washington Redskins during their game at Lincoln Financial Field on November 29, 2009 in Philadelphia, Pennsylvania.  (Photo by Al Bello/Getty Images)
Al Bello/Getty Images

In a pinch for a skill player that will produce at a high level for you this week but not sure what route to go?

Well no need to fret the small stuff because the Bruno Boys will help make your lineup decision easier. From Quarterbacks to Defenses we have you covered on who you should feel comfortable about plugging into your Week 13 lineup.

Now, it’s time to cut to the chase and read our Fantasy Football Week 13 Start Ems advice.


Donovan McNabb (Philadelphia Eagles) @ Atlanta

The Atlanta Falcons have been great at home posting a 5-0 record, but whether your quarterback leads his team to victory or not has nothing to do with accumulating fantasy football points.

However, with Falcons’ second year quarterback Matt Ryan deemed out by Head Coach Mike Smith , this should give Philadelphia the edge in a must win game for both teams. The Falcons have allowed 16.5 fantasy points per game to opposing QBs, and let their opponents throw for 18 touchdown passes while hauling in just eight interceptions.

Even without McNabb’s favorite target and stud wide receiver DeSean Jackson (Jason Avant should see more targets), the Falcons secondary will have their hands full containing McNabb and the Eagles. Look for McNabb to make it three of four games with at least 250 passing yards and multiple TD passes.

Kyle Orton (Denver Broncos) @ Kansas City

The fantasy football value of Kyle Orton completely hinges on his matchup at this point. While he has, at times, shown flashes of brilliance against better defenses, Orton’s not the type of quarterback that will chuck the football 40 times a game (just once in 11 games this season).

But in Week 13 against a lackluster Kansas City Chiefs passing defense, he might not need a heavy workload to have a productive outing.

Kansas City has allowed over 700 passing yards and five touchdowns to opposing quarterbacks over the last two games, and on the season they are surrendering 16 fantasy points per contest to quarterbacks in standard scoring leagues.

With nearly every game being a “must-win” for the Broncos from here on out, expect them to find some balance in their offense and let Orton pick apart a disappointing Kansas City pass defense.

Carson Palmer (Cincinnati Bengals) vs. Detroit

Not only are the Detroit Lions the worst team in the NFL at defending the quarterback position in fantasy leagues, but also the Bengals running game is slightly an unknown coming into Week 13. Partner that with Chad Ochocinco saying they plan on throwing 50 times this game, and you have the recipe for what looks to be a breakout game from Carson Palmer .

Even though Palmer has only had one huge game this season (Week Seven against the Chicago Bears —233 yards and five TDs), a matchup against Detroit should put him in line to flirt with 300 passing yards for the first time this season.

The Lions have allowed 27 touchdown passes to opposing quarterbacks, so anything less than two touchdown passes and 200-250 yards should be considered a disappointment.



Matt Forte (Chicago Bears) vs. St. Louis

Maybe, just maybe, Forte will be able to put up a good game. It has definitely been long enough. While Forte hasn’t scored in over a month (November 1st against the Cleveland Browns ), the St. Louis Rams should help his four streak come to an end.

In Week 12, St. Louis allowed 130 yards and two touchdowns to Seattle Seahawks Justin Forsett, and if the Bears’ use Forte in similar fashion, those numbers will hopefully be matched in Week 13.

His struggles have been well documented, but as bad as Forte has been, he does produce against bad teams' running back (Week 4—Detroit Lions & Week 6 — Cleveland Browns ), and as long as the Bears can jump on the Rams early, Forte should post low-end RB1 totals.

Marion Barber (Dallas Cowboys) @ New York Giants

It’s a confusing situation as to which Cowboys running backs should be started on a weekly basis. All three options (Marion Barber , Felix Jones, and Tashard Choice ) totaled over 60 individual rushing yards against the Oakland Raiders in Week 12.

However, because Barber has seen the bulk of the carries (34 carries over last two games), we are expecting good numbers from him in Week 13 against a struggling New York Giants defense.


The Giants are in the middle of the pack in regards to fantasy football running back points at 16.7 per game, but it’s their 15 rushing touchdowns allowed that stands out (fourth worst in the NFL ).

Barber might only hover around 75 total yards in this game, but at the rate New York has been allowing rushing touchdown, you have to like his chances of finding paydirt in what should be a shootout.

Rashard Mendenhall (Pittsburgh Steelers) vs. Oakland

Unless you are swimming in running back depth, Mendenhall is most likely a “must start” in Week 13, but his matchup against the Oakland Raiders can’t be avoided. The Raiders allow more than 160 rushing yards per game and have given up an NFL high 17 rushing touchdowns.

With a concussed Ben Roethlisberger probably starting the game, expect head coach Mike Tomlin to be conservative at times and ride Mendenhall to victory in a must-win game for the Steelers.

When taking a look into the Bruno Boys Crystal Ball it projects Mendenahall to total over 120 yards and score at least one touchdown versus a Raiders team in need of another high draft pick for 2010.



Jason Avant (Philadelphia Eagles) @ Atlanta

It’s not so much that the numbers of Jeremy Maclin won’t improve as well with DeSean Jackson likely inactive, but that Avant has increasingly seen better overall statistics even with Jackson in the lineup.

Avant’s last three games have provided fantasy football owners with 15 points in Week 10, eight points in Week 11, and nine points in Week 12. Taking on an Atlanta Falcons secondary that has allowed 36 receptions to opposing wide receivers over the last three weeks should be enough for Avant to keep that streak alive.

Look for Avant to be on the receiving end of five to six Donovan McNabb passes, and to make the most of his play-making ability (46 & 58 yard receptions in the past three weeks). If you are in a pinch for a WR3 with your playoff hopes on the line, take a gamble on Avant.


Kevin Walter (Houston Texans) @ Jacksonville

After such a promising 2008 campaign, Walter’s prospects were high; however, outside of a 15 fantasy point performance in Week three he has done nothing. Walter has only averaged 50 yards per game and has a single touchdown through nine games played.

After reading this you are probably wondering why we suggest you play Walter as a plug-n-play option this week. It’s simple, he is fresh off a seven reception for 73 yards performance in Week 12 and takes on a below average Jacksonville Jaguars Owen Daniels .

Walter has slowly worked his way into the No. 3 pass-catching option behind stud wide out Andre Johnson secondary. If you watched the Jaguars in the past few weeks you would probably agree that Walter is due for a breakout game.

Jacksonville allows over 173 yards per game to opposing wide receivers and without tight (who should dominate this weekend) and running back Steve Slaton (who has been stealing Walter’s receiving TDs), don’t be surprised if Walter hauls in 75 yards and a touchdown in Week 13.


Steve Smith (Carolina Panthers) vs. Tampa Bay

To be blunt, Steve Smith’s must start status was non-existent ever since Jake Delhomme threw four interceptions in Week 1. Unfortunately for Smith, his value is based directly on which team Delhomme is actually throwing to and judging by the eight touchdown passes to 18 interceptions that Delhomme has produced this year, Smith hasn’t fared well this season.

However, there is good news for Smith and his fantasy football owners. Delhomme suffered a broken finger in Week 12 and backup quarterback Matt Moore is expected to start against the Tampa Bay Buccaneers . By all means we aren't calling Moore the answer in Carolina, but some fresh blood under center can only help a stagnant offense and their best play-maker on the outside.

Tampa Bay has been awful on the road (0-5) this season and has allowed the second most touchdowns to opposing wide outs (17 total). Considering there is no one else in the Panthers receiving corps that has the ability to make a play like Smith, you can expect Moore to lean on him heavily in Week 13.

Look for the veteran out of the University of Utah to make up for his previous meeting against Tampa Bay, when he had one reception for four yards.



Tony Gonzalez (Atlanta Falcons) vs. Philadelphia

Gonzalez’s Hall of Fame numbers just keep getting better, and without quarterback Matt Ryan some of his owners are wondering if he is a risky play in Week 13. This shouldn’t be the case, as we expect Chris Redman to take a once again conservative approach that will rely on Gonzalez to make plays for him.

Gonzalez had nine catches for 83 yards last weekend (all once Redman came in for Ryan), so we like Gonzalez’s chances of overachieving while Ryan is out. With an unknown running game for the Falcons, Gonzalez and Roddy White should be the focal points of the offense and it doesn’t hurt that the Eagles allow the most fantasy points to the tight end position in the NFL (10 per game).

In fact, Philadelphia has allowed 10 or more fantasy football points to opposing TEs on six different occasions this year and we fully expect Gonzalez to add to that total.



Rob Bironas (Tennessee Titans) @ Indianapolis

The Indianapolis Colts have allowed 26 field goal attempts through 11 games, which is the third most in 2009. Opposing kickers are averaging over eight fantasy points per contest against the Colts and the efficiency of the Tennessee Titans should lead to some kicking chances out of Bironas.

The Titans offense is finally moving with Vince Young under center, so don’t blame Bironas if he failed miserably at the beginning of the season. Over the last five weeks (all Titans victories) Bironas has averaged 9.8 fantasy football points per game and has knocked down four field goals of 50+ yards. In short, Bironas is a must start from here on out.



San Diego Chargers D/ST @ Cleveland

There are great D/ST matchups for fantasy football owners all over the schedule weekend, but we will hone in on the San Diego Chargers defense against the Cleveland Browns .

In standard scoring formats, the Browns have allowed 12.5 fantasy points per week to opposing defenses, and the Chargers have decided to start playing good overall team football since their bye week (6-1, 6 game win streak).

With San Diego allowing under 14 points per game in those six victories, the Browns, who are averaging just 11.1 points per game and a league low 230 yards per game, will struggle to punch it in, especially with the news that starting running back Jamal Lewis is out for the season. 

Other favorable matchups (Cincinnati Bengals vs. Detroit, New Orleans Saints @ Washington, Carolina Panthers vs. Tampa Bay, Chicago Bears vs. St. Louis)






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