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Start 'Em, Sit 'Em Week 13: Fantasy Lineup Tips Ahead of Thursday Night Football

Chris Roling@@Chris_RolingFeatured ColumnistDecember 3, 2015

Jonathan Stewart of the Carolina Panthers is one of Week 13's top starts.
Jonathan Stewart of the Carolina Panthers is one of Week 13's top starts.Michael Ainsworth/Associated Press

Unlike the last couple of weeks, fantasy football owners don't need much in the way of help with the Week 13 edition of Thursday Night Football.

An encounter between the Green Bay Packers and Detroit Lions isn't tough to figure out. Weapons such as Aaron Rodgers, Matthew Stafford and Calvin Johnson will put on shows. 

The rest of the slate, though, isn't so simple when it comes to start 'em, sit 'em decisions.

Before the NFC North battle rages, let's take a look at value comparisons at each spot and dial up some noteworthy start-sit decisions.

QB 

MatchupVerdict
Tom Brady (vs. PHI) vs. Philip Rivers (vs. DEN)Tom Brady
Cam Newton (at NO) vs. Eli Manning (vs. NYJ)Cam Newton
Carson Palmer (at STL) vs. Andy Dalton (at CLE)Andy Dalton
Aaron Rodgers (at DET) vs. Drew Brees (vs. CAR)Aaron Rodgers
Eli Manning (vs. NYJ) vs. Derek Carr (vs. KC)Derek Carr
Author's opinion.

Start: Ryan Tannehill, Miami Dolphins (vs. BAL)

Ryan Tannehill once again looks like a solid start.
Ryan Tannehill once again looks like a solid start.Bill Kostroun/Associated Press

Owners don't seem too hot on the idea of Miami Dolphins quarterback Ryan Tannehill, who touts a 63.9 ownership percentage despite six showings of 15 or more points and slipping to single-digit production just once this year.

Said percentage needs to take a big jump this week, as almost any owner can benefit from Tannehill's matchup with the Baltimore Ravens.

The Ravens look like shells of their former selves this season, coughing up the second-most points to quarterbacks this season. Eight signal-callers have tossed two or more scores against the unit, and Tannehill will make it a ninth at home.

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Sit: Drew Brees, New Orleans Saints (vs. CAR)

Big-name bias at quarterback is a real thing, which is why Drew Brees still has an ownership percentage above 98.

Brees has struggled with injuries this year, though he has posted 31 or more points twice in favorable matchups. He certainly has his weeks, but don't expect any sort of outburst against the undefeated Carolina Panthers.

Back in Week 3, Brees missed his team's first encounter with the Panthers. It was probably a good thing, too, because the Panthers allow the second-fewest points to quarterbacks, and just three QBs have thrown two or more touchdowns against the unit.

Could Brees shock the world? Of course. But those are not odds owners should want to play.

RB  

MatchupVerdict
Devonta Freeman (at TB) vs. Doug Martin (vs. ATL)Devonta Freeman
Adrian Peterson (vs. SEA) vs. Mark Ingram (vs. CAR)Adrian Peterson
Lamar Miller (vs. BAL) vs. Chris Ivory (at NYG)Chris Ivory
Todd Gurley (vs. ARI) vs. Jonathan Stewart (at NO)Jonathan Stewart
DeMarco Murray (at NE) vs. LeSean McCoy (vs. HOU)LeSean McCoy
Author's opinion.

Start: Jonathan Stewart, Carolina Panthers (at NO)

Stewart's come on in recent weeks.
Stewart's come on in recent weeks.Michael Ainsworth/Associated Press

It's not easy to trust Carolina lead back Jonathan Stewart on a week-to-week basis.

Stewart has five double-digit outings this year but has been held to six occurrences of double digits, too, including a five-point showing against the Saints earlier this season.

Stewart is a must-play option this week, though. The Saints not only allow the fourth-most points to running backs, but four of Stewart's rough single-digit outings came early in the season.

It's a new season for Stewart now, as Rotoworld's Raymond Summerlin pointed out:

Raymond Summerlin @RMSummerlin

Jonathan Stewart has 20 or more rushing attempts in seven straight games. Saints gave up 16/77/1 to Alfred "3 YPC" Blue last week.

Stewart will get it done in all phases against the Saints with his increased workload. Each of the Saints' last four opponents have run it 19 or more times.

Stewart should hit that number on his own, which will lead to obvious production.

Sit: T.J. Yeldon, Jacksonville Jaguars (at TEN)

Jacksonville Jaguars rookie T.J. Yeldon might be one of the league's most consistent from a usage standpoint but hasn't provided elite production. 

A case in point: Week 11, where Yeldon received 14 carries against the Tennessee Titans and only mustered 54 yards and seven points.

Now Yeldon has to deal with those Titans again, whose shutdown of the rookie in the first game wasn't a fluke, considering the unit surrenders just the third-fewest points to backs.

Just two running backs have scored touchdowns against the Titans since their Week 4 bye, and only three teams have seen backfields hit for more than 100 yards against the unit all season. Yeldon doesn't figure to put a dent in either stat.

WR 

MatchupVerdict
Julio Jones (at TB) vs. Brandon Marshall (at NYG)Julio Jones
DeAndre Hopkins (at BUF) vs. Allen Robinson (at TEN)DeAndre Hopkins
Antonio Brown (vs. IND) vs. A.J. Green (at CLE)A.J. Green
Odell Beckham Jr. (vs. NYJ) vs. Jarvis Landry (vs. BAL)Odell Beckham Jr.
Larry Fitzgerald (at STL) vs. Eric Decker (at NYG)Eric Decker
Author's opinion.

Start: A.J. Green, Cincinnati Bengals (at CLE)

A.J. Green should have a field day against the Browns.
A.J. Green should have a field day against the Browns.Rick Scuteri/Associated Press

At this point of the season, as almost always seems to be the case, anyone is a great play against the Cleveland Browns. 

Cincinnati Bengals wideout A.J. Green isn't just anyone, though. He's had a "down year," lost in a spread-it-out attack, which is why owners might shy away—especially considering he only managed five points against the Browns in Week 9.

But the Browns allow the fifth-most points to wide receivers, and Green's main competition for targets, tight end Tyler Eifert, might not suit up after suffering a neck injury last week, according to ESPN's Adam Shefter. 

Cleveland doesn't have anyone who can stop Green, and he might have a, well, green light for one of his highest usage rates of the season. 

Sit: Mike Evans, Tampa Bay Buccaneers (vs. ATL)

The Atlanta Falcons have done a lot wrong in recent weeks, but that hasn't included putting the clamps down on opposing wideouts. 

The situation makes Tampa Bay Buccaneers wideout Mike Evans quite the iffy play in Week 13. Evans had a three-game streak of double-digit outings snapped in Week 12. Before the streak, he mustered just four points on three catches for 48 yards against the Falcons.

Little has changed for the Falcons in that span when it comes to wideouts. The defense has let up just three touchdowns to the position all season, the last in Week 7. Entire wideout corps have reached double digits just once over the unit's last four outings.

Evans is a WR1 most weeks, but there's little reason to put him in lineups this time out.

TE

MatchupVerdict
Scott Chandler (vs. PHI)* vs. Gary Barnidge (vs. CIN)Gary Barnidge
Tyler Eifert (at CLE) vs. Delanie Walker (vs. JAC)Tyler Eifert*
Greg Olsen (at NO) vs. Jordan Reed (vs. DAL)Jordan Reed
Travis Kelce (at OAK) vs. Ladarius Green (vs. DEN)Travis Kelce
Benjamin Watson (vs. CAR) vs. Jason Witten (at WAS)Jason Witten
Author's opinion. *if he plays.

Start: Julius Thomas, Jacksonville Jaguars (at TEN)

A healthy Julius Thomas continues to put up production.
A healthy Julius Thomas continues to put up production.John Raoux/Associated Press

Yeldon might not be the best play in the world this week, but his teammate, tight end Julius Thomas, looks like a smooth move. 

Thomas has eight or more points in each of his last two outings and continues to look like he's coming along in a fantasy-friendly offense after joining the team this past offseason and starting the year hurt.

Back in Week 11, Thomas caught five passes for 28 yards and a score for eight points against the Titans.

It's no shock, then, to find out that these Titans surrender the seventh-most points to the position. If it isn't clear, Tennessee doesn't have anyone who can run with the now-healthy Thomas, so look for him to have another big outing.

Sit: Charles Clay, Buffalo Bills (vs. HOU)

For the first time in weeks, Buffalo Bills tight end Charles Clay received a solid amount of attention in the passing game in Week 12. 

He caught five passes for 31 yards and three points.

It's clear Clay isn't the same guy who had a pair of double-digit outings over his first four games with his new team. Though it isn't all his fault, as his run-first team now has a healthy LeSean McCoy playing well, it makes him a must-avoid option against the Houston Texans.

Those Texans allow the eighth-fewest points to the position and have given up just three touchdowns to it this year, two of which came in Week 1. Clay will still have his big-play moments, but not this weekend in a matchup akin to a fantasy tight end wasteland.

All scoring info courtesy of ESPN standard leagues, as is points-against info and ownership stats as of December 2. Statistics courtesy of ESPN.

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