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FANTASY PLAYS: Players to start out and sit for NFL Week 13


One other season of fantasy football, one other group of start-or-sit scenarios to reply.

It’s not simply enough to draft the correct team and make the correct moves off the waiver wire. Everyone knows that. We also must be sure that that we’re starting the right players each week.

After all, we have now our studs, anchors, and the players we’re starting virtually regardless of what. We don’t need anyone to inform us to start out Travis Kelce.

But, the further down the lineup we go, the more those questions trickle in.

However, no player is a “must-sit” in every scenario, and maybe the WR3 you’ve been plugging in each week can have a greater alternative.

To reply the query, “Should I sit Player X,” will depend on the reply to the query, “Who are you able to start as an alternative?”

That’s why I like to modify up the everyday start-or-sit column format. I’m going to be listing out all relevant fantasy football players each week and bucketing them into tiers.

Take a number of the guesswork out of setting our lineups weekly, I’ll be leveraging hundreds of slate simulations which are based on numberFire’s player projections with dynamic measures for variance, equivalent to quarterback rushing, running back receiving, and receiver goal depth.

The outcomes will boil all the way down to three tiers: players we must always be confident about starting, players we will consider starting at any time when we don’t have higher alternatives but who aren’t must-plays, and players we must always attempt to bench at any time when we do have higher alternatives (i.e. players listed above them on the list).

These players are listed so as of frequency of hitting the stated threshold (i.e. QB12, RB24, WR24, and TE12 performances), and better on the list means more in a position to start.

The groupings reflect a 12-team, single-quarterback league with the next hypothetical in mind: if I had other viable options on my bench or the waiver wire, should I start this player this week?

Players not listed needs to be presumed sit-worthy in a shallow or standard-sized league, and all fantasy points references and rankings reflect half-PPR scoring.


Start with confidence:

— Patrick Mahomes at CIN (72%)

— Jalen Hurts vs. TEN (71%)

— Josh Allen at NE (69%)

— Justin Herbert at LV (60%)

— Joe Burrow vs. KC (60%)

— Lamar Jackson vs. DEN (59%)

— Deshaun Watson at HOU (52%)

— Trevor Lawrence at DET (52%)

Consider if needed:

— Aaron Rodgers at CHI (47%)

— Dak Prescott vs. IND (45%)

— Geno Smith at LA (45%)

— Tua Tagovailoa at SF (43%)

— Justin Fields vs. GB (41% if starting)

— Jared Goff vs. JAC (40%)

— Kenny Pickett at ATL (37%)

— Jimmy Garoppolo vs. MIA (36%)

— Kirk Cousins vs. NYJ (36%)

— Derek Carr vs. LAC (36%)

— Tom Brady vs. NO (35%)

Bench if possible:

Marcus Mariota vs. PIT (34%); Mike White at MIN (33%); Daniel Jones vs. WSH (32%); Bryce Perkins vs. SEA (31%); Russell Wilson at BAL (29%); Ryan Tannehill at PHI (23%); Mac Jones vs. BUF (22%); Kyle Allen vs. CLE (20%); Taylor Heinicke at NYG (20%); Matt Ryan at DAL (19%); Andy Dalton at TB (18%); Trevor Siemian vs. GB (13% if starting).

Provided that Aaron Rodgers has said he plans to play in Week 13, he’s projected as if he’ll start and play the complete game.

Justin Fields is initially projected for half of his usual workload, which impacts the remainder of the Chicago Bears. If he does start, he is probably going going to be scaled back together with his rushing volume and thus is a Tier 2 play.

Only two teams are on a bye, so we have now lots of the standard options in motion. Which means less probability that your team is counting on a streamer for this week. But if you happen to need one, there are plenty.

An interesting matchup awaits Jared Goff against the Jacksonville Jaguars. Jacksonville ranks twenty eighth in adjusted pass defense, in accordance with numberFire’s metrics, but is seventh in adjusted rush defense.

Subsequently, the pass rate for the Detroit Lions should go up from its usual baseline. Goff has been matchup-dependent this season. Against teams ranked in the highest 12 in adjusted pass defense (six games), Goff has averaged just 217.5 yards and -0.03 Passing Net Expected Points (NEP) per drop-back over expectation. Against other opponents (five games), he’s averaging 275.4 yards and 0.26 Passing NEP per drop-back over expectation.

You’ll probably see Derek Carr ranked higher in different places than within the simulations. Nevertheless it’s essential to recollect how close he’s to other options in the percentages (which is why I like them in comparison with pure rankings). That being said, Carr has been nothing but a fringe QB1 over his past 4 games (QB9, QB15, QB10, and QB10). The Los Angeles Chargers are a mid-level adjusted pass defense, yet they already faced Carr in Week 1.

In that game, Carr did throw for 295 yards, but finished because the QB17 that week. Carr’s top-12 odds are only not that great, given a scarcity of a giant ceiling.

I check in on Tom Brady often, but it surely’s because he’s not a no brainer, Tier 1 start. Nevertheless, it still is tempting to plug him into lineups when we want him — because he’s Tom Brady. This week, Brady faces the Recent Orleans Saints for the second time this season. In Week 2, Brady had only 190 yards and a touchdown against the Saints. Recent Orleans ranks 18th in adjusted pass defense. In six games against teams thirteenth through twenty third — mid-tier matchups — Brady has averaged 16.2 fantasy points on the back of 270.0 yards but just 1.3 touchdowns.


Start with confidence:

— Josh Jacobs vs. LAC (88%)

— Derrick Henry at PHI (81%)

— Rhamondre Stevenson vs. BUF (80%)

— Saquon Barkley vs. WSH (78%)

— Austin Ekeler at LV (77%)

— Christian McCaffrey vs. MIA (76%)

— Kenneth Walker III at LA (70%)

— Nick Chubb at HOU (70%)

— Travis Etienne at DET (70%)

— Dalvin Cook vs. NYJ (70%)

— Jonathan Taylor at DAL (69%)

— Alvin Kamara at TB (69%)

— Najee Harris at ATL (67% at full; 24% at half)

— Rachaad White vs. NO (65%)

— Aaron Jones at CHI (65%)

— Joe Mixon vs. KC (64% at full; 27% at half)

— David Montgomery vs. GB (63%)

— Jamaal Williams vs. JAC (62%)

Consider if needed:

— Miles Sanders vs. TEN (57%)

— Jeff Wilson at SF (56%)

— Dameon Pierce vs. CLE (55%)

— Latavius Murray at BAL (54%)

— Tony Pollard vs. IND (53%)

— Cordarrelle Patterson vs. PIT (50%)

— Samaje Perine vs. KC (49% if no Mixon; 18% with Mixon)

— Zonovan Knight at MIN (47%)

— Ezekiel Elliott vs. IND (46%)

— A.J. Dillon at CHI (45%)

— Isiah Pacheco at CIN (45%)

— Antonio Gibson at NYG (42%)

— Devin Singletary at NE (40%)

— Brian Robinson at NYG (40%)

— Kyren Williams vs. SEA (38%)

— Leonard Fournette vs. NO (35% at full; 11% at half)

Bench if possible:

Jerick McKinnon at CIN (28%); D’Andre Swift vs. JAC (25%); Kareem Hunt at HOU (25%); Michael Carter at MIN (20%); J.K. Dobbins vs. DEN (20%); Tyler Allgeier vs. PIT (18%); Gus Edwards vs. DEN (16%); Cam Akers vs. SEA (15%); Darrell Henderson at DET (13%).

Travis Etienne could play in Week 13 against Detroit.

Joe Mixon is initially projected for a half workload.

Najee Harris’ status is unclear. Jaylen Warren can be still projected for a half workload. If each sit, Benny Snell Jr. is a low-end Tier 2 play (35%).

Make sure not to put in writing off Jeff Wilson’s Week 12 performance. He ran 13 times for just 39 yards and caught one in every of three targets for one more 13 yards.

Nevertheless, Wilson’s Miami Dolphins ran away with their matchup against the Houston Texans and he was limited within the second half in consequence. Wilson played on 76.7% of the team’s first-half snaps and had all seven running back carries and two of 4 running back targets before halftime. He has a game against his former team, the San Francisco 49ers, who rank first within the NFL in rushing yards over expectation per carry. Raheem Mostert may very well be back, but in games they’ve shared, Wilson still has a 55.8% snap rate and appears to be the priority.

Is Isiah Pacheco an every-week, no-brainer start? He’s getting close. Pacheco had only a 54.2% snap rate last week, but saw 22 carries and a goal on those 39 snaps for a 59.0% opportunity-per-snap rate.

Overall on the season, amongst backs with no less than 15 snaps per game and no less than two games played, Pacheco ranks eleventh in opportunity-per-snap rate (52.6%). Added into the Kansas City Chiefs’ offense, that holds lots of added value.

Can we trust Zonovan Knight, a key waiver wire pickup this week, in starting lineups immediately?

Knight, last week, had a 49.2% snap rate in a game during which Michael Carter left early. Knight handled 10 of 15 running back carries and two of three running back targets after Carter left the sport.

But Knight was already involved before then (he had 4 carries and a goal before that). Knight totaled 103 scrimmage yards on those possibilities.

The Recent York Jets are up against a fairly solid Minnesota Vikings defense that ranks fifteenth, on average, across three key rushing metrics.

Still, Knight is predicted to be very involved within the offense, and if you happen to were in a position to add him this week, you’ll be able to start him over lots of other options.

Eager about a running back who played a 70.4% snap rate last week, rating fifteenth among the many position? Then Kyren Williams should pique your interest.

Nevertheless, Williams’ 38 snaps inside the Los Angeles Rams’ offense led to simply 11 carries and three targets for 60 yards from scrimmage. The one red zone rush went to Cam Akers. I feel you’ll be able to do worse than Williams, given the involvement, but just keep expectations in check even against a Seattle Seahawks team that ranks fifth worst in rushing yards over expectation per carry allowed to backs.


Start with confidence:

— Tyreek Hill at SF (75%)

— Davante Adams vs. LAC (73%)

— Amon-Ra St. Brown vs. JAC (73%)

— Ja’Marr Chase vs. KC (73%)

— Justin Jefferson vs. NYJ (68%)

— Stefon Diggs at NE (67%)

— A.J. Brown vs. TEN (66%)

— CeeDee Lamb vs. IND (63%)

— Deebo Samuel vs. MIA (59%)

— Christian Kirk at DET (59%)

— D.K. Metcalf at LA (53%)

— Tyler Lockett at LA (52%)

— DeVonta Smith vs. TEN (51%)

Consider if needed:

— Tee Higgins vs. KC (49%)

— Amari Cooper at HOU (48%)

— Garrett Wilson at MIN (46%)

— Terry McLaurin at NYG (44%)

— Jaylen Waddle at SF (44%)

— Chris Godwin vs. NO (44%)

— Mike Evans vs. NO (44%)

— Michael Pittman Jr. at DAL (43%)

— Courtland Sutton at BAL (43%)

— Keenan Allen at LV (42%)

— Chris Olave at TB (41%)

— Mike Williams at LV (40% at full; 8% at half)

— George Pickens at ATL (39%)

— JuJu Smith-Schuster at CIN (38%)

— Gabe Davis at NE (38%)

— Allen Lazard at CHI (38%)

— Diontae Johnson at ATL (36%)

— Zay Jones at DET (36%)

— Brandin Cooks vs. CLE (33%)

— Brandon Aiyuk vs. MIA (32%)

— Josh Palmer at LV (31% without Mike Williams; 20% with Williams)

— Christian Watson at CHI (30%)

— Donovan Peoples-Jones at HOU (30%)

Bench if possible:

Marvin Jones at DET (29%); Mack Hollins vs. LAC (29%); Adam Thielen vs. NYJ (28%); Marquez Valdes-Scantling at CIN (27%); Drake London vs. PIT (26%); Jakobi Meyers vs. BUF (26%); Michael Gallup vs. IND (24%); Randall Cobb at CHI (23%); Darius Slayton vs. WSH (22%); Treylon Burks at PHI (22%); Van Jefferson vs. SEA (21%); Julio Jones vs. NO (21%); Tyler Boyd vs. KC (20%); DeAndre Carter at LV (20%).

Mike Williams is initially projected with a half workload. His status will impact Josh Palmer’s viability greatly.

Let’s check in on Michael Pittman since Matt Ryan returned because the Indianapolis Colts’ starter. Previously three games, Pittman has averaged 9.0 targets (which is a 30.0% goal share). The outcomes: just 63.0 yards per game and one total touchdown. He now draws a matchup against a Dallas Cowboys team that ranks in the highest 10 in adjusted fantasy points per goal allowed to receivers. It’s really tough to balk at a 30.0% goal share for any player, so I won’t call Pittman a sit. Nevertheless, the expectations are lower than the quantity suggests.

Brandon Aiyuk has been really up and down in recent weeks. He’s finished because the WR10, WR40, WR9, and WR44 over the past 4 games. He has not had greater than 84 yards in a game all season, making him more touchdown dependent than we’d generally like.

Now, Aiyuk does have a decent 27.3% red zone goal share, but he’s got an 11.5% overall red zone opportunity share once we account for the rushes that the 49ers have within the red zone.

Miami’s defense ranks eighth in adjusted fantasy points per goal allowed to receivers, so Aiyuk, averaging just 6.3 targets per game in three post-bye matchups, is a bit overrated entering Week 13.

Zay Jones needs to be a viable WR3 or FLEX-level play in a matchup against the Lions, who rank just seventeenth in adjusted fantasy points per goal allowed to receivers. They’re twenty ninth in catch rate over expectation allowed and thirty first in yards per route run to the position.

Last week, we saw Jones generate a 37.8% goal share (14 targets) for 145 yards with five of those targets traveling no less than 10 yards downfield. Jones also had a 25.6% goal share in Week 10 before a bye, and he’s really separated from teammate Marvin Jones out there share department in recent weeks.


Start with confidence:

— Travis Kelce at CIN (86%)

— Mark Andrews vs. DEN (68%)

— Pat Freiermuth at ATL (62%)

— Tyler Higbee vs. SEA (54%)

— George Kittle vs. MIA (53%)

— Dalton Schultz vs. IND (50%)

Consider if needed:

— David Njoku at HOU (42%)

— T.J. Hockenson vs. NYJ (41%)

— Evan Engram at DET (39%)

— Greg Dulcich at BAL (39%)

— Tyler Conklin at MIN (39%)

— Foster Moreau vs. LAC (37%)

— Dawson Knox at NE (32%)

— Hayden Hurst vs. KC (31%)

— Taysom Hill at TB (31%)

Bench if possible:

Hunter Henry vs. BUF (29%); Logan Thomas at NYG (27%); Robert Tonyan at CHI (26%); Gerald Everett at LV (25%); Isaiah Likely vs. DEN (25%); Noah Fant at LA (25%); Cole Kmet vs. GB (24%); Mike Gesicki at SF (24%); Juwan Johnson at TB (24%); Austin Hooper at PHI (23%).

Isaiah Likely is projected to return.

The highest-12 odds at tight end feature a really slow, methodical drop-off. That’s a giant advantage in the percentages versus pure ranks.

The usage for David Njoku got a lot better in his second week back from injury. In Week 11, he had a 7.7% goal share; in Week 12, that was as much as 19.4%. Njoku faces the Houston Texans, who’ve faced the very best target-per-route rate by tight ends of any team within the NFL.

Evan Engram gets the Lions, who’re thirty second in adjusted fantasy points per goal allowed to the position. Engram’s involvement within the Jaguars’ offense, though, is pretty bleak. He has had single-game goal shares of 6.9%, 10.3%, and a couple of.7% over the past three. Because tight end is so poor overall, he still rates out as a viable Tier 2 option despite that.

Tyler Conklin gets a revenge game — there are many this week — against the Vikings. Minnesota is just twenty fourth in adjusted fantasy points per goal allowed to the position. Conklin has averaged a decent 5.1 targets per game this season, good for a 16.1% goal share.

Taysom Hill played a season-high 47.2% snap rate last week. The fantasy points weren’t there, but Hill has now played 17 and eight quarterback snaps over the past two games, respectively. Although he has a wide selection of outcomes, that’s welcomed at such a weak position.



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