Start and Sit
The best players to target and avoid on your fantasy rosters (with impact from venues, weather forecasts, and opponents).

Start and Sit: Week 13

Baltimore Ravens QB Lamar Jackson
Photo: USA Today Sports Images

In addition to non-football things, fantasy football owners can be thankful that the trio of games this Thursday all take place in domes -- in Detroit, Dallas, and Atlanta -- to help shelter them from the late-November elements that tend to put a damper on fantasy production. That leaves just a handful of cold-weather games on Sunday to contend with, plus the fascinating 49ers-Ravens matchup that has a 77% chance of rain.

The following tables feature the players with the best and worst matchups of the week. Each listed player shows a true-talent (TT) ranking that represents how I would rank him with a perfectly neutral game context. Then, that ranking is adjusted by adding the context of the venue (Ven) -- home and road and dome and outside -- the forecasted weather (Wea), and the defensive tendencies of the opponent (Def). The line beneath those rankings shows how much those contextual factors move projected PPR fantasy points. That total (Tot) number gives you a comprehensive estimate of how many fantasy points the player will score this week more or less than his typical total.


Quarterbacks

Best Week 13 Matchups - Quarterbacks
Player Tm Hm Def Lbl TT Ven Wea Def Tot
N.Foles JAX 1 TB Rk 11 9 8 2  
Pts   +2.0 -0.3 +2.7 +4.4
P.Mahomes KC 1 OAK Rk 2 2 2 1  
Pts   +2.4 -0.6 +1.8 +3.6
J.Goff LAR 0 ARI Rk 17 18 18 10  
Pts   +0.6 0.0 +2.2 +2.8
K.Murray ARI 1 LAR Rk 8 4 4 3  
Pts   +2.5 0.0 -0.1 +2.4
D.Jones NYG 1 GB Rk 12 8 9 6  
Pts   +2.2 -0.5 +0.5 +2.2

Nick Foles has underwhelmed with just three total touchdowns in his three starts since returning from injured reserve with his broken collarbone, but those three starts have come against Chiefs, Colts, and Titans defenses that all cut passing touchdowns per attempt compared to an average team. If a breakout is going to happen, it will probably be this week against the Buccaneers in Jacksonville. The Bucs defense is much better against the run (No. 1 DVOA) than the pass (No. 25), and that encourages their opponents to throw the ball against them. They increase passes by 20%, the most in football, and they also increase passing touchdowns by 33%, fourth-most. All considered, Foles jumps into my top five at the position this week.

As a common refrain of this article, Patrick Mahomes doesn't need any help from game context. But his owners and DFS players will be happy to hear he has some at home against the Raiders this week. The Raiders have the No. 30 DVOA pass defense, and they increase passing yards and touchdowns per attempt by 14% and 42%, respectively. My only concern here are forecasted wind speeds in the high teens, the most across the league this week. But I think that's a much greater concern for Derek Carr than the strong-armed Mahomes. Start him as the No. 1 quarterback option with confidence.

Jared Goff traditionally performs much better at home on than on the road in fantasy, but his matchup against the division rival Cardinals is too appealing to pass up. Their defense is 28th against the pass, increases pass plays by 8%, and increases passing touchdowns by 36%. Meanwhile, across the field, Kyler Murray should be similarly fortunate. The Rams are better against the run (No. 3 DVOA) than the pass (No. 20) and increase passing touchdowns by 16%. Both players are in my top 10 at the position this week.

Daniel Jones is as well, but his ranking there deserves a bit more consideration. The Packers don't seem like an attractive matchup, but their pass defense has regressed sharply from a hot start to just 19th in DVOA. They are neutral for pass plays and passing touchdowns, but they increase yards per attempt by 17%, the most in football. Meanwhile, the Packers pass rush cuts passer fumbles by 36%, a big plus for Jones given his lack of pocket awareness. All told, Jones gets a small boost based on his opponent, and his bigger one for playing at home follows the standard positional trend. Jones himself has actually scored more fantasy points on the road than at home this season, but I suspect that is opponent-driven given that his pair of four-touchdown games came against Lions and Jets teams that increase passing touchdowns per attempt by 21% and 8%.

Worst Week 13 Matchups - Quarterbacks
Player Tm Hm Def Lbl TT Ven Wea Def Tot
D.Watson HOU 1 NE Rk 3 3 3 15  
Pts   +2.1 0.0 -5.0 -2.9
L.Jackson BAL 1 SF Rk 1 1 1 5  
Pts   +2.0 -0.3 -3.7 -2.0
J.Allen BUF 0 DAL Rk 13 19 19 19  
Pts   -0.8 0.0 -0.8 -1.6
J.Garoppolo SF 0 BAL Rk 29 29 29 31  
Pts   +1.0 -0.5 -1.9 -1.4
D.Brees NO 0 ATL Rk 17 30 30 26  
Pts   -2.1 0.0 +0.7 -1.4

As two of the best quarterbacks in football facing the two worst defensive matchups for the position, Deshaun Watson and Lamar Jackson are testing the limitations of my weekly adjustments. I dropped the former from third in true talent to 15th this week and the latter from first in true talent to fifth this week. You probably won't be inclined to actually bench Watson for lesser players like Goff and Jones whatever my rankings say, but I would at least heed them in a daily setting. The Patriots have the No. 1 DVOA pass defense and cut passing yards and touchdowns by 23% and 66%, both the most in football.

The 49ers are about as tough for Jackson with the No. 2 DVOA pass defense, cutting pass plays by 18%, passing yards per attempt by 19%, and passing touchdowns per attempt by 27%. But at least Jackson has his legs. Kyler Murray is the only dual threat quarterback the 49ers have faced this year, and he had more success against them than anyone else, running for 101 yards and a touchdown in his two games against them. That will come in handy for Jackson, especially if it ends up raining in Baltimore on Sunday.

Jimmy Garoppolo will have to face off against Jackson on Sunday, and while the Ravens are a ways behind the Patriots and 49ers in DVOA pass defense, they are still third-best in football. Meanwhile, the Ravens cut passing touchdowns by 57%, third-most in football, and Garoppolo doesn't have the speed to adjust his game plan for possible weather. I dropped him to 31st at the position this week. Bench him in any format you can.

Drew Brees is a typical road bench for me as well, but despite my QB3 ranking for him this week, you could talk me into starting him in a pinch. Brees has generally scored 5.8 more fantasy points per game at home than on the road since 2013, but the dome in Atlanta has been a notable exception. There, he has averaged 18.8 fantasy points per game in his career, within a fantasy point of his overall average since 2013.

Drew Brees in Atlanta, 2009-18
Season Wk Yards TD INT FanPts
2009 14 296 3 0 23.6
2010 16 302 1 2 11.9
2011 10 322 2 0 20.9
2012 13 341 0 5 3.6
2013 12 278 2 0 18.5
2014 1 333 1 1 15.5
2015 17 323 1 0 16.4
2016 17 350 2 1 20.0
2017 14 271 2 1 17.0
2018 3 396 3 0 40.5
Average   321 1.7 1.0 18.8

Brees' inexplicable five-interception game from 2012 came against that year's No. 11 DVOA pass defense. This Falcons defense is not so capable, ranked just 29th against the pass. As such, I think there's a strong chance Brees does better than my prediction.


Running Backs

Best Week 13 Matchups - Running Backs
Player Tm Hm Def Lbl TT Ven Wea Def Tot
C.McCaffrey CAR 1 WAS Rk 1 1 1 1  
Pts   +3.2 -0.6 +1.6 +4.2
S.Barkley NYG 1 GB Rk 3 3 3 2  
Pts   +2.0 -0.3 +1.3 +3.0
A.Ekeler LAC 0 DEN Rk 25 10 10 13  
Pts   +4.1 -0.1 -1.1 +2.9
L.Bell NYJ 0 CIN Rk 18 16 17 11  
Pts   +1.9 -0.3 +1.2 +2.8
D.Guice WAS 0 CAR Rk 37 36 36 31  
Pts   +1.4 -0.1 +1.3 +2.6
M.Sanders PHI 0 MIA Rk 35 31 32 29  
Pts   +2.2 -0.1 +0.4 +2.5

Like Mahomes at quarterback, Christian McCaffrey and Saquon Barkley don't need matchup assistance to land in my top five among running backs. But they both have it this week, the former playing the Redskins and the latter playing the Packers, both at home. The Redskins have the No. 21 DVOA run defense and increase run plays by 21%, second-most in football. The Packers have the No. 28 DVOA run defense and increase rushing yards per attempt by 11% and rushing touchdowns per attempt by 40%, fourth-most in football. Even if my Daniel Jones prediction blows up in my face, I can't see how Barkley disappoints in this spot.

Le'Veon Bell, Derrius Guice, and Miles Sanders are not in the McCaffrey and Barkley tier, but they are still attractive fantasy options this week against even more favorable opponents. Bell draws a Bengals run defense that is No. 25 in DVOA and increases run plays by 23%, the most in football. Guice draws a Panthers run defense that is No. 31 in DVOA and increases rushing touchdowns by 138% per attempt, far and away the most in football. And Sanders draws a Dolphins defense that is No. 29 against the run, No. 32 in pass coverage against running backs (subscription required), and increases run plays by 19%. Guice's and Sanders' tim shares drop them in my flex territory for this week, but Sanders has a chance to vault into my top 15 if Jordan Howard is unable to play with his shoulder injury.

Worst Week 13 Matchups - Running Backs
Player Tm Hm Def Lbl TT Ven Wea Def Tot
N.Chubb CLE 0 PIT Rk 10 11 10 16  
Pts   +0.3 +0.1 -1.7 -1.3
C.Hyde HOU 1 NE Rk 26 30 30 33  
Pts   +0.6 0.0 -1.6 -1.0
S.Michel NE 0 HOU Rk 21 27 26 29  
Pts   +0.2 0.0 -1.2 -1.0
D.Freeman ATL 1 NO Rk 19 20 20 27  
Pts   +1.4 0.0 -2.0 -0.6
D.Henry TEN 0 IND Rk 9 9 9 12  
Pts   +1.1 0.0 -1.6 -0.5
M.Ingram BAL 1 SF Rk 22 24 23 28  
Pts   +0.6 +0.1 -1.2 -0.5

Even with Kareem Hunt taking the bulk of the Browns' receiving load, Nick Chubb isn't exactly benchable. But if you like to ride him in DFS, this may not be the best week. Chubb travels to Pittsburgh in Week 13 to face a Steelers defense that is No. 6 in DVOA against the run. They cut rushing yards and touchdowns per attempt by 17% and 59%, the third-most in football.

That Texans-Patriots matchup is likely bad news for both early-down backs. The Patriots defense isn't as good against the run (No. 9 in DVOA) as it is against the pass, but that doesn't help fantasy backs much. They also cut run plays by 16% and rushing touchdowns per attempt by 46%. I have Hyde outside of my top 30 this week. And Sony Michel has to contend with a Texans defense that is actually better against the run (No. 13 in DVOA) than the pass (No. 26). They cut run plays by 12% and rushing touchdowns per attempt by 47%, fourth-most in football.

Devonta Freeman looks likely to make his return to the field on Thanksgiving night, but you should not return him to your fantasy lineups just yet. The Saints defense is No. 7 in DVOA against the run. They cut run plays by 20%, the most in football, relegating Freeman to just 27th for me at the position this week.

Derrick Henry really isn't benchable, especially with his late-season workloads from the last two seasons. But a Colts matchup may disrupt his streak of 150-yard and two-touchdown games. The Colts cut run plays by 10% and rushing touchdowns per attempt by 38%. That drops Henry from the middle to the back end of my PPR RB1s. And Mark Ingram falls further to 28th at the position this week. Like the Patriots, the 49ers are relatively susceptible to the run (No. 16 in DVOA). But also like the Patriots, that doesn't help their opposing backs in fantasy. The 49ers cut rushing touchdowns by 44%, sixth-most in football.


Wide Receivers

Best Week 13 Matchups - Wide Receivers
Player Tm Hm Def Lbl TT Ven Wea Def Tot
D.Chark JAX 1 TB Rk 14 12 12 4  
Pts   +0.5 -0.3 +2.4 +2.6
C.Conley JAX 1 TB Rk 45 43 43 32  
Pts   +0.4 -0.3 +1.6 +1.7
C.Kupp LAR 0 ARI Rk 17 18 17 9  
Pts   -0.4 0.0 +1.9 +1.5
R.Woods LAR 0 ARI Rk 28 30 28 20  
Pts   -0.3 0.0 +1.4 +1.1
S.Watkins KC 1 OAK Rk 37 33 34 34  
Pts   +0.5 -0.5 +0.5 +0.5

Two pairs of teammates again highlight the best receiver matchups this week. The first two are the Jaguars' D.J. Chark and Chris Conley, both outside receivers poised to take advantage of a Bucs defense that is No. 22 and No. 29 in DVOA against No. 1 and No. 2 wide receivers. The Bucs are actually much better against "other" wide receivers (No. 5 in DVOA). That makes this a bit tougher matchup for Dede Westbrook.

The second two are Cooper Kupp and Robert Woods. The Cardinals are equal-opportunity receiver boosters, showing a No. 29 DVOA defense against other wide receivers and No. 28 DVOA defense against No. 1 outside receivers. They also increase pass plays by 8% and passing touchdowns by 36%, factors Goff may need in his favor to overcome his traditional home/road splits.

Finally, Sammy Watkins is my best guess as the major beneficiary of Mahomes' plus Raiders matchup. Tyreek Hill is the second-most expensive DraftKings receiver despite the hamstring injury he aggravated before the team's Week 12 bye. He should play this week, but he and his primary replacement Mecole Hardman have me nervous because of the uncertainty that fosters. In daily, where you can easily bypass that issue, maybe take a flier on Watkins. He's only $5,400 and has the same matchup benefit against a Raiders defense that is bottom-five in DVOA against both No. 1 and No. 2 wide receivers.

Worst Week 13 Matchups - Wide Receivers
Player Tm Hm Def Lbl TT Ven Wea Def Tot
K.Allen LAC 0 DEN Rk 9 11 11 16  
Pts   -0.8 -0.5 -1.1 -2.4
M.Thomas NO 0 ATL Rk 1 1 1 1  
Pts   -2.9 0.0 +0.5 -2.4
D.Hopkins HOU 1 NE Rk 5 3 3 14  
Pts   +0.8 0.0 -3.0 -2.2
W.Fuller HOU 1 NE Rk 17 14 14 24  
Pts   +0.5 0.0 -2.5 -2.0
O.Beckham CLE 0 PIT Rk 21 26 27 31  
Pts   -0.7 -0.5 -0.6 -1.8

The bottom five receiver matchups are universally brand names. And while you probably aren't benching Keenan Allen at the Broncos, Michael Thomas at the Falcons, or DeAndre Hopkins at the Patriots, you should bench Will Fuller and Odell Beckham. The Patriots defense is No. 1 in DVOA against both No. 1 and No. 2 wide receivers, and both Jason McCourty and Jonathan Jones are in the top five of qualified cornerbacks in coverage success rate (subscription required). Fuller's totals of 36 targets and 401 yards in his last three healthy games have boosted him into my true-talent top 20, but that success was somewhat a product of plus matchups. Definitely own him in every format, but fade him this week.

For Beckham, his opposing Steelers defense seems better against No. 1 wide receivers (No. 16 in DVOA) than against "other" wide receivers (No. 32). Of course I say that based on the general trends, but just two weeks ago, the Steelers held premiere slot receiver Cooper Kupp catchless. This may honestly be a tough matchup for both Beckham and slot receiver Jarvis Landry. In DFS, where you can more easily pick your spots, maybe look elsewhere from both Browns receivers.


Tight Ends

Best Week 13 Matchups - Tight Ends
Player Tm Hm Def Lbl TT Ven Wea Def Tot
G.Everett LAR 0 ARI Rk 19 20 20 11  
Pts   -0.2 0.0 +1.1 +0.9
T.Kelce KC 1 OAK Rk 1 1 1 1  
Pts   +0.7 -0.7 +0.6 +0.6
J.Doyle IND 1 TEN Rk 11 10 10 10  
Pts   +0.4 0.0 +0.2 +0.6
J.Hollister SEA 1 MIN Rk 10 9 9 9  
Pts   +0.4 -0.3 +0.3 +0.4
T.Higbee LAR 0 ARI Rk 31 32 32 28  
Pts   -0.2 0.0 +0.5 +0.3

Gerald Everett and Tyler Higbee have been far from the most fantasy-friendly teammates to each other this season, but if ever there was a weekend to confidently start both players in your deeper formats, it's this one. Their opposing Cardinals are the best matchup in football for tight ends. They are No. 32 against the position in DVOA, allowing 78 yards per game to the position, the most in football. Everett's downtick in target share in recent weeks has dropped him to just 19th in my true-talent rankings, but he jumps back to TE1 consideration for me this week.

The most interesting tight end of the week is probably Jack Doyle. With Eric Ebron unexpectedly landing on injured reserve, Doyle may suddenly re-emerge as a volume target option at the position. I boosted him to 11th in true talent at the position, and he enters my top 10 facing the Titans' No. 26 DVOA defense against tight ends.

Jacob Hollister couldn't overcome a difficult matchup against the Eagles last week, but I think his opponents this week, the Vikings, are more favorable than their No. 2 DVOA ranking against tight ends would suggest. The Vikings are allowing 60 yards per game to the position, nearly three times as much as the No. 1 DVOA tight end defense, the 49ers. That keeps Hollister in my top 10 as well, buoyed by a red zone usage that has resulted in three touchdowns in his last three games.

Worst Week 13 Matchups - Tight Ends
Player Tm Hm Def Lbl TT Ven Wea Def Tot
M.Andrews BAL 1 SF Rk 5 4 4 7  
Pts   +0.6 -0.6 -2.4 -2.4
H.Henry LAC 0 DEN Rk 2 2 2 2  
Pts   -0.7 -0.4 -1.2 -2.3
G.Kittle SF 0 BAL Rk 3 3 3 4  
Pts   -0.8 -0.6 -0.9 -2.3
D.Waller OAK 0 KC Rk 5 6 6 5  
Pts   -0.7 -0.7 +0.2 -1.2
Z.Ertz PHI 0 MIA Rk 4 5 4 3  
Pts   -0.7 -0.3 0.0 -1.0

Like at receiver, the worst tight end matchups this week hit only exceptional options at the position. Mark Andrews probably comes closest to a bench candidate for me. The 49ers have the No. 1 DVOA defense against the position and limit tight ends to just 24 yards per game. But Andrews sees such an enormous target share that I couldn't lower him past seventh at the position. There is a pretty marked dropoff after that point.

The other bench consideration is likely Darren Waller, who has seen just 5.0 targets per game in his last four games after averaging 8.3 over the first half of the season. He'll square off against a Chiefs defense that is strong against tight ends (No. 4 in DVOA) and weak against running backs (No. 30 in DVOA). With forecasted heavy winds, the Raiders may opt to rely heavily on Josh Jacobs. But with slot receiver Hunter Renfrow's rib injury, the Raiders are so bereft of skill talent that they may not have a choice but to throw eight or more balls Waller's way. For the time being, that may land him in my weekly top five even when the matchups fall out of his favor.

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