Fantasy football: Week 13 starters, benchwarmers
Wondering whether or not to start Tom Brady and DeAndre Hopkins, or to bench Mitchell Trubisky and Kenny Britt? The network bozos specialize in that kind of advice. If you’re looking for help with your real starting lineup conundrums, read on.
Here are my picks to roll, and get rolled, in Week 13 of the 2017 season.
Watch ‘em roll
Philip Rivers, QB, Chargers vs. Browns: Rivers is coming off one of the most prolific games of his career, but I’m not expecting a repeat performance. That said, I would ride his hot hand in a home game against a Cleveland secondary that struggles against slot receivers and tight ends. Rivers’ go-to receivers, Keenan Allen and Hunter Henry, are set to soar.
Jordan Howard, RB, Bears vs. 49ers: Chicago’s workhorse is coming off his second pathetic game of the season, but don’t let that discourage you. This offense still runs through Howard, and he’s primed to exploit one of the NFL’s rushing doormats.
Isaiah Crowell, RB, Browns at Chargers: No team has coughed up more rushing yards to its opponents than the Chargers. While he shares the backfield duties with pass-catching specialist Duke Johnson, Crowell gets enough touches to excel in positive matchups. Like this one.
Marqise Lee, WR, Jaguars vs. Colts: Blake Bortles has been stinking it up over the past three games, but he’ll face a generous Indy secondary that he handled well in Week 7. Lee is looking for redemption after a stinker of his own, and he should be targeted early and often in this very favorable matchup.
DeSean Jackson, WR, Buccaneers at Packers: D-Jax gets two pieces of good news this week: Jameis Winston is expected to return from his shoulder injury and they will be facing a Green Bay secondary that has been torched repeatedly of late.
More thumbs up (excluding the no-brainers): QBs Carson Wentz, Drew Brees, Jared Goff; RBs Marshawn Lynch, Leonard Fournette, Alex Collins, Latavius Murray, Alvin Kamara, Kenyan Drake, Kareem Hunt, Christian McCaffrey, Dion Lewis; WRs Davante Adams, Emmanuel Sanders, Tyreek Hill, Alshon Jeffery, Adam Thielen, Robby Anderson, Larry Fitzgerald, Cooper Kupp, Marvin Jones.
Roll ‘em back
Matt Ryan, QB, Falcons vs. Vikings: Minnesota’s pass defense has surrendered just 12 passing TDs all season and Ryan has yet to notch more than two TDs in a game to date. While you can’t bench Julio Jones, even when he’s matched up against shutdown corner Xavier Rhodes, you can (and should) sit Ryan.
Jay Ajayi, RB, Eagles at Seahawks: Not only is he sharing carries with both LeGarrette Blount and, to a lesser extent, touchdown poacher Corey Clement, but Ajayi will be squaring off with Seattle’s dominant run defense. He won’t see enough volume to make up for the short gains he is likely to experience.
DeMarco Murray, RB, Titans vs. Texans: If not for his one-yard TD plunge last week, Murray would have been a bust for the second consecutive game. Derrick Henry has been outperforming the starter during that stretch, and with a tough matchup up next, Murray’s arrow is pointing down yet again.
T.Y. Hilton, WR, Colts at Jaguars: The last time these teams met, Hilton was limited to two receptions for 27 yards. Since then, the Jaguars have cemented their status as the league’s most fearsome pass defense. Jacoby Brissett will be under siege all game, leaving Hilton to run around aimlessly.
Doug Baldwin, WR, Seahawks vs. Eagles: Baldwin was inexplicably targeted just three times last week, and another quiet outing could be looming on Sunday night. Philly CB Patrick Robinson will be shadowing him all game, and the Eagles’ defensive line should overpower Seattle’s struggling offensive counterparts.
More thumbs down: QBs Derek Carr, Andy Dalton, Jacoby Brissett, Jay Cutler, Case Keenum, Joe Flacco, Jimmy Garoppolo; RBs C.J. Anderson, Jonathan Stewart, Jacquizz Rodgers, Mike Davis, Eddie Lacy, Tevin Coleman, LeGarrette Blount, Frank Gore, Ameer Abdullah, Matt Forte; WRs Donte Moncrief, Corey Coleman, Nelson Agholor, Kenny Stills, Mohammed Sanu, Jordan Matthews, Jeremy Maclin, Martavis Bryant, Travis Benjamin.
TAKING A FLIER
Corey Davis, WR, Titans vs. Texans: Arguably the most electric receiver in the 2017 draft, Davis is still looking for his breakout game after missing a big chunk of the season with a bum hammy. His moment in the spotlight could come Sunday, with Rishard Matthews likely sidelined again and Houston’s soft secondary on tap.
DON’T BE THE BONEHEAD WHO…starts Josh Gordon in his first game action in three years. Everything is working against him in this contest, not least of which is the stifling Chargers pass defense. I understand the desire to plug in an “elite” receiver in Week 13, but Gordon hasn’t fit that description since 2013.
Ladd Biro is a two-time winner and five-time finalist of the Football Writer of the Year Award by the Fantasy Sports Writers Association. Follow all his advice daily at the Fantasy Fools blog (fantasy-fools.blogspot.com), on Facebook and via Twitter (@ladd_biro).