Start 'Em, Sit 'Em Week 13: Lineup Advice, Stars to Exploit and Sleeper Options

Maurice Moton@@MoeMotonFeatured ColumnistNovember 27, 2018

DENVER, CO - NOVEMBER 25:  Quarterback Case Keenum #4 of the Denver Broncos passes against the Pittsburgh Steelers in the first quarter of a game at Broncos Stadium at Mile High on November 25, 2018 in Denver, Colorado. (Photo by Justin Edmonds/Getty Images)
Justin Edmonds/Getty Images

We're going into Week 13, and it's not the time to overthink your starting lineups—insert star players. On the flip side, some intriguing sleeper options have also emerged as viable high-risk, high-reward alternatives.

Of course, there's no justification for benching Drew Brees, Ezekiel Elliott or Tyreek Hill, but managers may have room to lean on matchups at quarterback, WR2/3, flex and defense. 

It would be a terrible mistake not to exploit favorable scenarios for your gain. We'll also take a look at some matchups that fantasy owners should stay away from in the upcoming week. 

Based on point-per-reception league settings, check out the start 'em, sit 'em selections below. Sleeper picks are available in more than 50 percent of Yahoo leagues as of Monday 11 p.m. ET.


QB Advice

1. Deshaun Watson vs. Cleveland Browns: Start 'Em

2. Kirk Cousins vs. New England Patriots: Start 'Em

3. Russell Wilson vs. San Francisco 49ers: Start 'Em

4. Ryan Tannehill vs. Buffalo Bills: Sit 'Em 

5. Carson Wentz vs. Washington Redskins: Sit 'Em


Sleeper Option: Case Keenum vs. Cincinnati Bengals (16 percent owned) 

CARSON, CA - NOVEMBER 18: Case Keenum #4 of the Denver Broncos sets to pass in the game against the Los Angeles Chargers at StubHub Center on November 18, 2018 in Carson, California. (Photo by Jayne Kamin-Oncea/Getty Images)
Jayne Kamin-Oncea/Getty Images

Case Keenum isn't the type of quarterback to rack up 300-plus yards and throw three touchdown passes with consistency. He's only done both in a single game once this season—Week 1 against the Seattle Seahawks. The 30-year-old signal-caller will have an opportunity to accomplish that feat for a second time in Week 13.

The Cincinnati Bengals scoring defense ranks last in points and yards allowed. The unit just gave up 258 yards and four touchdowns to rookie quarterback Baker Mayfield at home. At the least, Keenum should have a solid outing.

Owners won't have to worry about turnovers; Keenum hasn't thrown an interception since Week 8. With his high completion rate at 62.6 percent, the Broncos passing offense shouldn't have a hard time moving the ball up and down the field against the most generous defensive unit in the league.


RB Advice

1. Aaron Jones vs. Arizona Cardinals: Start 'Em

2. Lamar Miller vs. Cleveland Browns: Start 'Em

3. Phillip Lindsay vs. Cincinnati Bengals: Start 'Em 

4. Adrian Peterson vs. Philadelphia Eagles: Sit 'Em 

5. Isaiah Crowell vs. Tennessee Titans: Sit 'Em


Star to Exploit: James Conner vs. Los Angeles Chargers 

JACKSONVILLE, FL - NOVEMBER 18: James Conner #30 of the Pittsburgh Steelers warms up before the game between the Jacksonville Jaguars and the Pittsburgh Steelers at TIAA Bank Field on November 18, 2018 in Jacksonville, Florida.  (Photo by Scott Halleran/G
Scott Halleran/Getty Images

The Pittsburgh Steelers struggled to move the ball on the ground against the Broncos Sunday. Running back James Conner logged 13 carries for 53 yards in a tight matchup. Expect the coaching staff to attack the Los Angeles Chargers' mediocre 14th-ranked run defense rather than their top-eight pass defense in the next outing.

The Steelers have played in a couple of tight games over the last two contests with Conner only handling a combined 22 rush attempts for 78 yards. Keep in mind this is the same running back who notched four consecutive 100-yard games between Weeks 5 and 9.

With quarterback Ben Roethlisberger throwing three touchdown passes and five interceptions in the last two games, the Steelers will likely turn back to the ground attack, which helped open passing lanes downfield during the majority of their six-game win streak.

Furthermore, according to Football Outsiders, the Chargers have allowed the third-most receiving yards to running backs (63.9). It's another reason why owners should expect high fantasy production from Conner in Week 13.


WR Advice 

1. Tyler Lockett vs. San Francisco 49ers: Start 'Em

2. Emmanuel Sanders vs. Cincinnati Bengals: Start 'Em

3. D.J. Moore vs. Tampa Bay Buccaneers: Start 'Em

4. Sterling Shepard vs. Chicago Bears: Sit 'Em 

5. Jarvis Landry vs. Houston Texans: Sit 'Em


Sleeper Option: Curtis Samuel vs. Tampa Bay Buccaneers (9 percent owned) 

CHARLOTTE, NC - NOVEMBER 25:  Curtis Samuel #10 of the Carolina Panthers reacts after scoring a touchdown against the Seattle Seahawks in the second quarter during their game at Bank of America Stadium on November 25, 2018 in Charlotte, North Carolina.  (
Grant Halverson/Getty Images

Owners can dig deep for a sleeper at wide receiver. Quietly, Curtis Samuel has become a productive cog in the passing attack. He has scored touchdowns in three of the last four games. The second-year wide receiver will also have more opportunities if Devin Funchess continues to sit out with a back injury.

Because of his ailment, Funchess couldn't practice last week, which is an indicator the injury could cost him at least another game. For those who missed out on D.J. Moore, shift your attention to Samuel who's primarily a pass-catcher but possesses the speed to break off a huge run. 

Samuel has scored rushing touchdowns in two games and logged a 25-yard run in Week 12. The Tampa Bay Buccaneers scoring defense ranks 31st and 27th in yards allowed, which probably translates to a high point total for the Panthers. Without Funchess on the field, expect Samuel to see an elevated number of offensive touches.


TE Advice 

1. Greg Olsen vs. Tampa Bay Buccaneers: Start 'Em

2. David Njoku vs. Houston Texans: Start 'Em

3. Cameron Brate vs. Carolina Panthers: Start 'Em

4. Jimmy Graham vs. Arizona Cardinals: Sit 'Em

5. Vance McDonald vs. Los Angeles Chargers: Sit 'Em


Star to Exploit: Jared Cook vs. Kansas City Chiefs 

OAKLAND, CA - OCTOBER 28:  Jared Cook #87 of the Oakland Raiders celebrates after catching a long pass for a firs down against the Indianapolis Colts during the second half of their NFL football game at Oakland-Alameda County Coliseum on October 28, 2018
Thearon W. Henderson/Getty Images

In terms of fantasy football, Jared Cook has been one of the biggest stars. He ranks fifth among all players at the position with 114.40 points. Despite the Oakland Raiders' struggles, the 31-year-old's consistency as a pass-catcher gives managers a safe option at tight end.

Cook averages 57.7 yards per contest, and he's scored in his last two outings. The Kansas City Chiefs will likely blow the Raiders out on the scoreboard, but head coach Jon Gruden's group can exploit a weakness in their division rival's defense. 

According to Football Outsiders, the Chiefs have allowed the third-most receiving yards to tight ends per game (76.3). When matching a productive tight end in fantasy football point-per-reception leagues against a susceptible defense, you're probably going to hit a jackpot in the scoring column.

Cook is the most reliable fantasy option on the Raiders roster and belongs in the starting lineup for the upcoming week.


DEF Advice

1. Tennessee vs. New York Jets: Start 'Em

2. Carolina vs. Tampa Bay Buccaneers: Start 'Em

3. Green Bay Packers vs. Arizona Cardinals: Start 'Em

4. New Orleans Saints vs. Dallas Cowboys: Sit 'Em 

5. Baltimore Ravens vs. Atlanta Falcons: Sit 'Em


Sleeper Option: DEF Seattle vs. San Francisco 49ers (25 percent owned)

DETROIT, MI - OCTOBER 28: Bradley McDougald #30 of the Seattle Seahawks celebrates a touchdown during the fourth quarter of the game against the Detroit Lions at Ford Field on October 28, 2018 in Detroit, Michigan. Seattle defeated Detroit 28-14. (Photo b
Leon Halip/Getty Images

The Seahawks no longer field the vaunted Legion of Boom defense, featuring Michael Bennett, Kam Chancellor, Earl Thomas (injured reserve) and Richard Sherman, but the unit ranks eighth in points allowed with 17 takeaways.

Excluding Thomas' three interceptions, the Seahawks have eight picks with safety Bradley McDougald leading the active group in the category with three. The Seahawks pass rush remains solid with Frank Clark (10 sacks) and Jarran Reed (5.5 sacks) providing the most pressure.

After an impressive showing against the Raiders in Week 9, San Francisco 49ers quarterback Nick Mullens has come back to earth with back-to-back performances logging one passing touchdown and two interceptions. In Week 12, the Buccaneers were able to sack him four times.

The Seahawks defense is only owned in 25 percent of Yahoo leagues, but the unit should start in most lineups for the upcoming week. Seattle could feast on Mullens and force multiple turnovers for a strong performance at home.