Start 'Em, Sit 'Em: Early Fantasy Lineup Advice for Matchups of Week 13

Kristopher Knox@@kris_knoxFeatured ColumnistDecember 1, 2021

Start 'Em, Sit 'Em: Early Fantasy Lineup Advice for Matchups of Week 13

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    Phelan M. Ebenhack/Associated Press

    Hopefully, you spent Thanksgiving weekend making some fond memories and getting that all-important fantasy win. It's back to a more traditional schedule for Week 13, though the tough lineup decisions aren't going anywhere.

    This week's action kicks off with a Thursday night game between the Dallas Cowboys and the New Orleans Saints. Injuries could impact decisions for that contest, as Alvin Kamara (knee) has been limited in practice. Amari Cooper, who missed two games on the reserve/COVID-19 list, is expected to play.

    If Kamara and Cooper play, both will deserve to be in the starting lineup. Other decisions, though, won't be as simple as that. Here, we'll dive into some of the best and worst matchups of the week.

    To avoid obvious sits, we'll be looking specifically at players rostered in at least 50 percent of Yahoo and/or ESPN leagues, according to FantasyPros. All picks are based on point-per-reception (PPR) scoring.

    The Cleveland Browns, Carolina Panthers, Green Bay Packers and Tennessee Titans are on bye this week.

Week 13 Start 'Em, Sit 'Em

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    Tony Avelar/Associated Press

    Start 'Em

    Jalen Hurts, QB, Philadelphia Eagles

    Kirk Cousins, QB, Minnesota Vikings

    Antonio Gibson, RB, Washington Football Team

    Cordarrelle Patterson, RB, Atlanta Falcons

    CeeDee Lamb, WR, Dallas Cowboys

    Brandin Cooks, WR, Houston Texans

    Logan Thomas, TE, Washington Football Team


    Sit 'Em

    Matthew Stafford, QB, Los Angeles Rams

    Russell Wilson, QB, Seattle Seahawks

    Saquon Barkley, RB, New York Giants

    Zack Moss, RB, Buffalo Bills

    Elijah Moore, WR, New York Jets

    Marvin Jones Jr., WR, Jacksonville Jaguars

    Tyler Higbee, TE, Los Angeles Rams

Start 'Em: Jalen Hurts at New York Jets

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    Adam Hunger/Associated Press

    Philadelphia Eagles quarterback Jalen Hurts had a poor outing against the New York Giants in Week 12. He did rush for 77 yards, but he also threw three interceptions and no touchdown passes. On top of that, Hurts is dealing with an ankle injury.

    "Obviously, we are going through that process with Jalen, and we're working through that right now," offensive coordinator Shane Steichen said, per Chris Franklin of

    Managers would be smart to scoop up Eagles backup Gardner Minshew II just in case, but Hurts finished the Giants game after suffering the injury and it would be a surprise if he doesn't start. If he does, expect him to rebound.

    The Jets have allowed the 13th-most fantasy points to opposing quarterbacks this season, but they've also allowed at least 270 passing yards in six of their last seven games—not counting an outing against the lowly Houston Texans.

    Have a backup plan for Hurts but start him if he's able to go.

Sit 'Em: Matthew Stafford vs. Jacksonville Jaguars

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    Matt Ludtke/Associated Press

    The Jacksonville Jaguars are not a good football team. If the Los Angeles Rams cannot end their three-game losing streak against the visiting Jags, they don't deserve to be considered title contenders. However, this doesn't mean that quarterback Matthew Stafford is a safe start.

    Stafford has been struggling lately and isn't the weekly must-start that he was early in the year. He did have 302 yards and three touchdowns in Week 12, but he's tossed five interceptions over the last three weeks.

    And, while the Jaguars aren't an intimidating opponent, they've been a bad matchup for fantasy quarterbacks. With opponents looking to attack Jacksonville on the ground, the Jaguars have surrendered fewer than 200 passing yards in four of their last five games.

    Josh Allen is the only quarterback over the last five weeks to go over 200 passing yards against Jacksonville, and he had three turnovers. On the season, Jacksonville has allowed the eighth-fewest fantasy points to opposing quarterbacks.

Start 'Em: Cordarrelle Patterson vs. Tampa Bay Buccaneers

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    Gary McCullough/Associated Press

    On the surface, the Tampa Bay Buccaneers are a daunting matchup for fantasy running backs. Tampa ranks first in rushing yards per game allowed and has surrendered the fourth-fewest fantasy points to opposing backs.

    However, Cordarrelle Patterson is not a typical back. The converted receiver/returner has been phenomenal for the Atlanta Falcons this season and is one of the best PPR plays in fantasy. The last time he faced Tampa Bay, Patterson caught five passes, had 69 scrimmage yards and found the end zone twice.

    A week ago, Patterson only caught two passes but rushed 16 times for 108 yards and two scores.

    Expect Atlanta to attack the Buccaneers with the underneath passing game, which should lead to PPR points. A week ago, Indianapolis Colts running back Jonathan Taylor caught four passes. Giants back Saquon Barkley caught six passes against Tampa two weeks ago.

    This might not be a high-yardage game for Patterson, but managers should view 5-6 receptions and 50-plus scrimmage yards as a reasonable floor.

Sit 'Em: Saquon Barkley at Miami Dolphins

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    Steve Luciano/Associated Press

    Barkley is always going to carry some amount of PPR upside, so managers without solid alternatives should view him as a serviceable flex option. However, Barkley should no longer be viewed as a high-level play even in mediocre matchups. The Miami Dolphins have become tougher than that.

    The Dolphins have allowed the 16th-most fantasy points to opposing running backs. However, they've allowed no more than 102 rushing yards in a game since 5. Last week, Carolina Panthers running back Christian McCaffrey notched a mere 35 yards on 10 carries.

    This is about what managers can reasonably expect from Barkley on the ground. He's averaging 3.6 yards per carry this season and is still sharing carries with Devontae Booker. Against the Eagles, he carried 13 ties for only 40 yards.

    Managers might pencil in a handful of receptions for Barkley in this one, but he hasn't found the end zone since Week 4.

    Against a Dolphins team making a strong push for playoff contention, Barkley appears to be an average play at best. I'd recommend looking elsewhere in Week 13.


    *Fantasy roster information and points allowed via FantasyPros. Statistics from Pro Football Reference.