Following the Thursday night game between the Buffalo Bills and New England Patriots, it’s time for fantasy football managers to stare at their lineups contemplating start/sit decisions.
As the weekend approaches, there are only two teams on a bye in Week 13: the Arizona Cardinals and Carolina Panthers.
Doing start/sit articles can be a little challenging. The players featured on the list below should not be taken as “must starts” or “must sits.” Instead, these are more suggestions on what we believe managers should do with fringe players heading into the weekend. The choice is ultimately up to the manager.
Just because a player is listed as a “start” doesn’t mean he should be put in the lineup over the secure, bona fide studs. Vice versa for the “sits.” If there’s no better option on the waiver wire or the bench, a manager shouldn’t automatically sit the player. That’s why these can be tricky waters to navigate.
You also can check out our start and sit bench list for Week 13:
Sit: TE Hayden Hurst, Cincinnati Bengals
Week 13 Opponent: vs. Kansas City Chiefs
Considering the landscape of the tight end position, Hurst is still an upside play compared to some of the other options in Week 13. But we should temper expectations for a few reasons. First, it seems likely that wide receiver Ja’Marr Chase will return from a hip injury this week. That will certainly cut into Hurst’s target share. Second, the Chiefs have been stout against tight ends in recent weeks. Over the last five weeks, the Chiefs have allowed the fewest PPR points per game and receptions to the position. They also haven’t allowed a touchdown over that stretch. Maybe this game turns into a barn burner, which could make this a poor take, but the matchup and usage may not be there for Hurst.
Start: TE Noah Fant, Seattle Seahawks
Week 13 Opponent: at Los Angeles Rams
Like the majority of tight ends, Fant has been mostly unusable this season. Even when does post a solid fantasy outing, it comes on the heels of poor games so no one started him. He’s posted exactly three receptions for 34 yards in each of his last two games but finds himself in a solid situation against the Rams in Week 13. The Rams are in shambles right now and just lost Aaron Donald (ankle) to injury. They’ve also been porous against tight ends, allowing the most PPR points per game and the second-most receptions and yards to the position over the last five weeks. The Seahawks offense has some sneaky plays this week, and Fant could be one of them.
Sit: WR Adam Thielen, Minnesota Vikings
Week 13 Opponent: vs. New York Jets
Coming off his best game of the season in which he posted a 9-61-1 line against a tough New England Patriots secondary, managers may feel the need to start him against the Jets. Thielen’s talent always gives him the opportunity for a big game, but we may want to pump the brakes this week. Thielen has been extremely volatile this season, finishing as a WR2 just twice over his last seven games. On top of that, the Jets defense has been a major surprise, especially against wide receivers. Over the last five weeks, they’ve allowed the fewest PPR points per game, receptions and yards to the position. There may only be enough room for Justin Jefferson to have a solid game this week.
Start: WR Christian Kirk, Jacksonville Jaguars
Week 13 Opponent: at Detroit Lions
It has been an interesting season for Kirk. His peripheral numbers look fantastic, but he’s been extremely volatile for fantasy purposes. Over his last eight games, Kirk has finished as a WR3 or better four times. That includes two top-five finishes. So while he’s been somewhat disappointing, the numbers suggest he should pop off against the Lions this week. Only once this season has he dipped below a 20% target share, and he hasn’t done it since Week 5. Now, he takes on a Lions defense that has allowed the most PPR points per game, receptions and yards to the position over the last five weeks. It’s all there for Kirk to have an explosive game.
Sit: WR Diontae Johnson, Pittsburgh Steelers
Week 13 Opponent: at Atlanta Falcons
It’s probably not going to happen for Johnson this season. He’s failed to hit double-digit PPR points in six of his last eight games. Even though he’s averaging 8.5 targets per game, the quality of those looks are extremely poor. Some managers may be looking at this matchup against the Falcons believing it to be a cakewalk. While the secondary overall has had a poor season, they’ve been better in recent weeks. Over the last five weeks, the Falcons have allowed the 10th-fewest PPR points per game to the position. Maybe this is the week Johnson gives us a vintage performance. It certainly would be fitting that he pops off on the bench, leading to even more frustration for fantasy managers. But it’s simply too much of a risk considering the lack of upside he’s shown.
Start: WR Courtland Sutton, Denver Broncos
Week 13 Opponent: at Baltimore Ravens
Inserting needles into your eyes is more fun than watching this Broncos offense. The unit is in disarray with Russell Wilson leading the way, but Sutton has been solid ever since Jerry Jeudy suffered an ankle sprain in Week 10. Over those last three games, Sutton has gone over double-digit PPR points and has recorded at least six receptions in each of those games. His upside is clearly limited considering the lack of touchdown opportunities, but the Ravens have been gashed by wide receivers. Over the last five weeks, they’ve allowed the fourth-most PPR points per game to wide receivers. Sutton should provide a solid floor with the hopes he reaches the century mark for the first time since Week 2.
Sit: RB Alvin Kamara, New Orleans Saints
Week 13 Opponent: at Tampa Bay Buccaneers
Sitting Kamara may make fantasy managers feel uneasy, but there’s little upside shown in the Saints offense right now. Kamara himself hasn’t been playing well either, seeing as he’s reached double-digit PPR points just once over his last four games. During that span, Kamara’s most rushing yards in a game sits at 42 yards while he’s averaged 3.9 yards per carry. The Buccaneers pose a major threat as well having allowed the sixth-fewest PPR points per game and just two total touchdowns to the position over the last five weeks. It’s tough to bench Kamara, but there’s little upside in this matchup, so we should at least temper expectations.
Start: RB A.J. Dillon, Green Bay Packers
Week 13 Opponent: at Chicago Bears
For the first time since Week 1, Dillon found himself relevant in fantasy football as he posted an RB1 finish. Nothing really changed in terms of his role outside of being more efficient with his carries. While there’s certainly risk in starting Dillon as a flex option, he has an enticing matchup ahead. The Bears have allowed the eighth-most PPR points per game and the most rushing touchdowns to running backs over the last five weeks. Even if Aaron Rodgers can’t play, Dillon could end up finishing in the RB2 range this week considering the matchup.
Sit: RB Latavius Murray, Denver Broncos
Week 13 Opponent: at Baltimore Ravens
While Murray is essentially the only body in the backfield, there’s a chance Mike Boone gets activated from the Reserve/Injured list. Even if that doesn’t happen, managers should steer clear of Murray this week. We mentioned that the Broncos offense is in disarray and, even though Murray should see volume, the quality of those opportunities are low. On top of that, the Ravens have been strong against the run. Over the last five weeks, they’ve allowed the fifth-fewest PPR points per game and the fewest rushing yards to opposing running backs. This could be an extremely inefficient game and one that forces the Broncos to throw more so we should look at other options over Murray this week.
Start: RB Kyren Williams, Los Angeles Rams
Week 13 Opponent: vs. Seattle Seahawks
Starting a running back on a bad offense is typically not a good idea. However, there is some upside to playing Williams this week. We know that volume drives fantasy production, and the rookie took over the backfield following the departure of Darrell Henderson. He led the Rams backfield in snaps, routes run, carries and targets. While the Rams offense is putrid, that workload is feasible for fantasy. Plus, the matchup against the Seahawks is a strong one. They’ve allowed the third-most PPR points per game to the position over the last five weeks. It may not be a fun matchup to watch, but Williams is a sneaky play as a fringe RB2 this week.
Sit: QB Tua Tagovailoa, Miami Dolphins
Week 13 Opponent: at San Francisco 49ers
There’s a chance that Tagovailoa has a strong game simply because of his wide receiver tandem in Tyreek Hill and Jaylen Waddle. However, this matchup could prove to be brutal for the third-year quarterback. The 49ers have allowed the second-fewest fantasy points per game to the position over the last five weeks, which includes just two touchdown passes and three interceptions. He’s probably a fringe QB1, but there are other options with more upside in much more appealing matchups.
Start: QB Jared Goff, Detroit Lions
Week 13 Opponent: vs. Jacksonville Jaguars
I wanted to make Trevor Lawrence the start at quarterback, but that seems too obvious. However, the quarterback on the other sideline may present some sneaky upside as well. Though Goff has finished inside the top-15 quarterbacks just twice in his last seven games, he has a chance to pop off in what could be a high-scoring matchup. The Jaguars are allowing the fourth-most fantasy points per game to quarterbacks over the last weeks. In their last six games, opposing quarterbacks have finished inside the top-15 five times with four of them being top-six finishes. Goff is a fringe QB1 this week with plenty of upside in an enticing matchup.