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Fantasy Football Week 13 Start 'Em & Sit 'Em

A look at suggested starts and sits for week 13 of the fantasy football season

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Start ‘Em

Alex Smith, KC – Since coming out of the Week 10, bye, Smith has been on fire, throwing for 524 yards with five touchdowns and just one interception over his last two games. He matches up against Denver’s 22nd-ranked pass defense for the second time in three weeks and will continue to exploit the mismatches in coverage that allowed him to throw for 230 yards and two touchdowns the last time they met. The Broncos give up an average of 283 passing yards per game and have allowed 21 touchdowns through the air this season. If the Chiefs play another strong game in this battle for the AFC West, Smith should help your fantasy squads as well.

Josh McCown, CHI – Call it a 2013 swan song if you will, although with the frailty of Jay Cutler’s body, we still may see more of McCown this season. But he couldn’t have asked for a better send-off here as he gets to face the Vikings who are allowing an average of 282 passing yards per game and have coughed up a league-worst 24 passing touchdowns this year. The Vikings secondary has been burned like yesterday’s toast all year and their whopping eight interceptions on the year aren’t scaring anybody. McCown should also have plenty of time to stand in the pocket here as the Vikings pass rush has produced just 24 sacks all season. Not a bad note to go out on here.

Sit ‘Em

Nick Foles, PHI – For those who have been riding the Foles-Train recently, be aware of the fact that it already started to derail right before the bye week. Sure, he threw for 298 yards, but it was the Redskins, people and even I could throw for 298 yards against that secondary. And if it wasn’t for that poached TD-run in the first quarter, he would have put up a huge letdown performance against a team he was supposed to treat like he treated the Raiders. Now he faces a much tougher Cardinals pass defense that may allow 236 passing yards per game, but opposing quarterbacks have just a 77.8 passer rating against them and their 15 interceptions is tied for second in the NFL. Foles may not go completely belly-up here, but I’ll bet that most people’s back-ups have a better day.

Andrew Luck, IND – There’s just no good way to say this: Luck has looked like dog crap these last three games and another match-up with the Titans, who held him to 232 yards and no passing touchdowns two games ago, isn’t exactly what the doctor ordered to cure him of these woes. The Titans are giving up just 217 passing yards per game and they’ve allowed just eight touchdowns through the air this season, lowest in the NFL.  Luck is really missing Reggie Wayne on the field as T.Y. Hilton is now his only guy, and even he [Hilton] is nowhere near as reliable as Wayne ever was. With strong coverage in the secondary, Luck will have to look for Coby Fleener all day and that’s not racking up big points for anyone; not even Fleener.

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Running Backs

Start ‘Em

Ben Tate, HOU – It’s been a tough road for Houston recently and a match-up with the Patriots certainly does seem to be helping much either. But given the Patriots troubles stopping the run, should Tate get off to a hot start to the game, then the Texans have a chance to control the game, at least in the first half. The Patriots may have only allowed five rushing touchdowns this season, but they’re giving up an average of 139.7 rushing yards per game. The likelihood of the Texans keeping the Pats down completely is unlikely, but Tate is certainly capable of doing some damage in the first half, making him a fairly decent flex option in most leagues.

Andre Brown, NYG – For me, he’s a must-start, especially against a soft defense like that of the Redskins. They rank 17th in the league against the run and while teams are continuously exploiting their struggles in the secondary, establishing the run early to open up for play-action later is a must for the Giants this week. The Skins are giving up an average of 111.5 yards per game on the gorund, but they’ve also given up a league-worst 15 rushing touchdowns this season. Eli Manning and Victor Cruz may get the glory in the end, but it will be Brown’s continued efforts that pave the way for fantasy owners.

Sit ‘Em

LeSean McCoy, PHI – You know my feelings here. I hate sitting a guy like McCoy, regardless of the match-ups. However, for those in leagues of 10-teams or less where the rosters are loaded with high-end talent, it just might be better to use an alternative if you have one. Arizona is the fourth-ranked run defense in the league and they’re giving up just 81.3 yards per game. They’ve also only given up four rushing touchdowns all year. Given their recent offensive surge and the fallibility of the Eagles pass defense, the Cards could jump out to an early lead in this one and force the Eagles to air it out more in the second half. If that’s the case, then McCoy’s value starts to look more like what a McRib sandwich does to your colon.

Ryan Mathews, SD – He’s making his way back from a hamstring injury, yet another on a humongous laundry list of ailments he’s dealt with over the last few years, and now faces a match-up against a vicious Bengals run defense. Cincinnati may rank 10th against the run, but they give up just 102 rushing yards per game, have given up just four rushing touchdowns all year, and are holding the opposition to just 4.0 yards per carry. The Chargers will try to get him going early on, but they’ll likely have to defer to Danny Woodhead for much of the game, particularly in the second half.

Bonus Sit: Lamar Miller, MIA – So this is a no-brainer for me, but some of you have written in and asked about starting Miller. The best way to explain my thoughts would simply be to link you to something I wrote on my personal site,, that basically said that I would sacrifice pain and my genitals over starting Miller in any fantasy league. I don’t care if Daniel Thomas is out. That just gives Miller more opportunities to show you how much he sucks as a running back. Add in the fact that he’s playing the stingiest run defense in the NFL, the Jets, he becomes an even worse play, if that’s even possible.

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Wide Receivers

Start ‘Em

Steve Johnson, BUF – There’s plenty to love about starting Johnson this week even though he’s been a disaster for much of the season this year. First off, the game is heading to Toronto which will be indoors and away from the nightmarish weather of that calamity of a village they call Buffalo (it’s like the Cleveland of the northeast). Second, in the three games Johnson has played in Toronto, he’s combined for 317 receiving yards. And third, there’s the Atlanta pass defense which ranks 31st in the league, has allowed 23 passing touchdowns this year, and is giving up an average of 83.3 receiving yards to opposing No. 1 wideouts. Have I made myself clear?

Anquan Boldin, SF – While Michael Crabtree is making his return to the field this week, Boldin is still considered the No. 1 receiver on this team and will line up as such when the 49ers take on the Rams. I’m not saying that Crabtree won’t be stealing away a little bit of thunder, but Boldin has re-emerged over these last two weeks since the arrival of Mario Manningham and Colin Kaepernick is ecstatic about having him back. Working in Boldin’s favor as well is, of course, the fact that the Rams rank 31st in the league against opposing No. 1 receivers and give up an average of 87.3 yards per game to them. Boldin has 150 receiving yards and three touchdowns over his last two games and is looking to pad those stats with a third.

Sit ‘Em

Andre Johnson, HOU – The probability of Houston having to air it out in the second half is high, but Johnson is going to have to deal with a strong New England secondary that did a pretty good job against Peyton Manning and the trio of Denver receivers last week. From a numbers standpoint, it just doesn’t look too promising as the Patriots defense is ranks fourth in the league against No. 1 wide receivers and is holding them to an average of 52.2 yards per game. Considering how often most teams have to pass against them, those numbers shine even brighter.

Pierre Garcon, WAS – I’ve always been on the fence about Garcon, but the amount of work he gets from Robert Griffin III gives him a tremendous value in both standard and PPR leagues. However, this is not the RG3 we are used to seeing and this is also a much-improved New York Giants secondary. In fact, the Giants rank fifth in the league against opposing No. 1 wideouts and are holding them to an average of just 63 yards per game. The Skins will likely be forced to keep plugging away in the second half, hoping he’ll find some stretch of open field at some point, but don’t expect a big day from him.

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Tight Ends

Start ‘Em

John Carlson, MIN – After blowing up for 98 yards and a touchdown during the Vikings’ Week 10 match-up with the Redskins, Carlson has gone back to tight end anonymity. Until this week, that is. Carlson gets a super soft match-up with the Bears this weekend as Chicago ranks 32nd…yes, dead last…against opposing tight ends and gives up an average of 79.6 yards per game to them. The Bears secondary does a little ebetter job containing the wideouts, so Christian Ponder’s focus should be on Carlson most of the time. Atleast when Adrian Peterson isn't running roughshod all over them.

Anthony Fasano, KC – The Chiefs tight end may niot rack up a whle lot of yardage, but he’s found the end zone in each of his last two games, giving him a bit of fantasy relevance, if you will. Alex Smith has Dwayne Bowe to lean on, but beyond that, his options become greatly limited., That bodes well for Fasano, especially with him facing the Denver defense which ranks 21st in the league against opposing tight ends and is allowing roughly 85 yards per game to the position.

Sit ‘Em

Tony Gonzalez, ATL  -- I’d say you never want to sit Gonzalez, but with the way the Falcons have been playing lately, it’s a wonder anyone would start any of them. But while Matt Ryan is busy hitting his receivers downfield against a suspect Bills secondary, Gonzalez will be wrapped up by a Buffalo pass defense that actually ranks second in the league against tight ends and is allowing an average of just 36.3 yards per game. Gonzo may hit pay-dirt on a short red zone route, but he won’t be pulling in many points via yardage bonuses.

Jared Cook, STL – Just when you thought it was safe to get Cook back into your lineup on a full-time basis, thanks to two touchdowns in his last three games…BLAMMO! He gets knocked on his ass by the 49ers defense. Well, not yet, but it will happen this weekend. Mark my words. The Niners have super-stud linebacker Aldon Smith back in the lineup regularly and already rank fourth in the league against opposing tight ends. They’re holding them to an average of just 34.2 yards per game and should keep Cook out of the end zone in this one.


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