Exploiting the Matchups: Week 13 Start/Sit & Fantasy Streamers

Exploiting the Matchups: Week 13 Start/Sit & Fantasy Streamers

This article is part of our Exploiting the Matchups series.

Given the combination of need and timing, picking the right streamer or bench plug-in is more important than ever this week. For only the second time this season, six teams have a bye simultaneously, and those teams (Bears, Bills, Giants, Ravens, Raiders and Vikings) have no shortage of fantasy star power that needs replacing. A silver lining for some managers is that injuries have already forced them to find alternatives to the likes of Justin Jefferson (hamstring) and Mark Andrews (ankle), but plenty are scrambling for one-week replacements for lineup staples just as playoff races are heating up in most formats.

Between having fewer games to choose from and numerous offenses being held back by injuries to QBs, it feels like quality streamers are few and far between, but a bit of digging will hopefully uncover some under-the-radar guys at every position that can help you pick up a key Week 13 victory and propel you to the fantasy playoffs. Perhaps even more important than adding the right player off waivers is picking the right players to start between your lineup and bench options, and we've got you covered in that regard as well with advice regarding some of the players most likely to be involved in tough lineup decisions.

Zooming out beyond this week, and even beyond this season, there's reason to believe the current landscape of star WRs thriving with healthy QBs, RBs being held back by timeshares and QBs getting hurt more frequently could remain the status

Given the combination of need and timing, picking the right streamer or bench plug-in is more important than ever this week. For only the second time this season, six teams have a bye simultaneously, and those teams (Bears, Bills, Giants, Ravens, Raiders and Vikings) have no shortage of fantasy star power that needs replacing. A silver lining for some managers is that injuries have already forced them to find alternatives to the likes of Justin Jefferson (hamstring) and Mark Andrews (ankle), but plenty are scrambling for one-week replacements for lineup staples just as playoff races are heating up in most formats.

Between having fewer games to choose from and numerous offenses being held back by injuries to QBs, it feels like quality streamers are few and far between, but a bit of digging will hopefully uncover some under-the-radar guys at every position that can help you pick up a key Week 13 victory and propel you to the fantasy playoffs. Perhaps even more important than adding the right player off waivers is picking the right players to start between your lineup and bench options, and we've got you covered in that regard as well with advice regarding some of the players most likely to be involved in tough lineup decisions.

Zooming out beyond this week, and even beyond this season, there's reason to believe the current landscape of star WRs thriving with healthy QBs, RBs being held back by timeshares and QBs getting hurt more frequently could remain the status quo for years to come. Tom Brady recently said there's a lot of mediocrity in the NFL due to QBs not being taught to read defenses and change plays at the line like they used to, and former Giants linebacker Carl Banks brought up an interesting point on ESPN New York's Michael Kay Show on Wednesday: offensive linemen aren't being taught proper technique until they get to the NFL, and with less allowed practice time these days, linemen take longer to both develop individually and gel with teammates as a unit. Add up those factors, and while the QB position is as athletic as ever, it's also more injury prone due to linemen giving up free rushers, even with all of the rules to protect QBs in place. 

Perhaps drafting a backup QB will be back en vogue next year after all the injuries at the position this season, but that's neither here nor there for fantasy managers looking for the right starters and streamers to help them win here and now. Without further ado, here are this week's start/sit suggestions and fantasy streamers:

Unless otherwise noted, references to 'fantasy points' are based on PPR scoring with 25/10 yards per point and 4/6 points for TDs. Start % comes from Yahoo, as of Thursday morning.

Start/Upgrade 👍

Quarterback 👍

Start Over — Jared Goff (at NO), Sam Howell (vs. MIA), Jordan Love (vs. KC) 

Given what we have seen from Wilson's Broncos this season compared to the Jets' offense with Nathaniel Hackett as OC, it's safe to say that Hackett's presence was the major factor in Wilson's poor play last season. After posting an ugly 16:11 TD:INT last season, Wilson has bounced back with a 20:4 TD:INT through 11 games under Sean Payton, and while he's not the runner at age 35 that he once was, Wilson still contributes value with his legs. Wilson has at least 30 rushing yards in six games this season and just scored his first rushing TD last week on a season-high 11 attempts.

Wilson's dual-threat skill set should allow him to thrive against a Houston defense that has quietly been quite generous to QBs recently.  Joe Burrow, Kyler Murray and Trevor Lawrence combined for 925 passing yards and four passing TDs, plus 71 yards and two TDs rushing in Houston's last three games, and the Texans allowed 37 points to the Buccaneers in the game preceding that stretch.

Running Back 👍

Start Over — Javonte Williams (at HOU), Brian Robinson (vs. MIA), Jerome Ford (at LAR)

If you held onto Moss in case Jonathan Taylor got hurt again or scooped him up off waivers after news of Taylor's thumb injury broke, start him. Moss is currently being started in just 55 percent of Yahoo lineups, but that number should be closer to 80 percent with the likes of Kyren Williams, David Montgomery and Rhamondre Stevenson based on what Moss did as the Colts' lead back earlier this season. In Moss's first seven appearances, he averaged 101.7 scrimmage yards on 20.2 touches and found the end zone six times, including a 195-yard, two-touchdown performance in Week 5 against these same Titans. That success came while Taylor was first sidelined by an ankle injury and then being eased back in, and Taylor is doubtful for Sunday's game, as he's scheduled to undergo thumb surgery.      

Start Over — Zach Charbonnet (at DAL), Aaron Jones & AJ Dillon (vs. KC), Chuba Hubbard (at TB)

Achane is worth taking a chance on. He had just two touches in his NFL debut and only two touches in Week 11 before a player landed on the same knee that previously required an IR stint. But in the three full games before going on injured reserve, the rookie piled up a sensational 518 scrimmage yards and seven touchdowns. Achane has an RB1 ceiling against a Commanders defense that allows a league-high 29.2 PPG, and considering the speedster's production has come despite only once getting more than 12 touches, a possible lack of volume if he's eased back isn't as large a concern as it would be for less explosive RBs.    

Wide Receiver 👍

Start Over — DK Metcalf & Tyler Lockett (at DAL), Puka Nacua (vs. CLE), Christian Kirk (vs. CIN)

Thielen is coming off just his second clunker of the season, with the other coming in his Week 1 Panthers debut. In nine other games, Thielen had 74 catches for 714 yards and four TDs. He ranks seventh in the NFL in catches this season and is the clear No. 1 option in Carolina's passing game. The Panthers likely will go pass-heavy against a Buccaneers defense that hadn't allowed a rushing TD to a running back prior to last week but allows a league-high 197.5 yards per game to wide receivers. Thielen should bounce back with the Panthers likely to put forth a spirited effort in the first game under interim head coach Chris Tabor after firing Frank Reich earlier this week.

Start Over — Amari Cooper (vs. LAR), Drake London (at NYJ), Rashee Rice (at GB)

A rising tide lifts all boats, and the Steelers just snapped a 58-game drought without a 400-yard offensive performance last week in the team's first game since firing offensive coordinator Matt Canada. Najee Harris and Pat Freiermuth stepped up last week, but it could Pickens' and Diontae Johnson's turn against an Arizona secondary that has allowed the sixth-most catches (158) and sixth-most yards (2,032) to WRs. It's more a question of opportunity than ability for Pickens, who has 549 receiving yards in five career games in which he's been targeted at least eight times. Even with limited volume, Pickens is often good for at least one splashy catch, as he's registered at least one reception of 28-plus yards in six of 11 games this season, including a 43-yard grab last week.

Tight End 👍

Start Over — Jake Ferguson (vs. SEA), Logan Thomas (vs. MIA), Cade Otton (vs. CAR)

Hill's listed as a tight end in most formats, but the majority of his production comes as a rushing threat from under center. Detroit's notoriously bad at defending mobile QBs, so the Saints could go with a Hill-heavy game plan, especially with New Orleans' injuries at WR; Michael Thomas (knee) is on IR, while Chris Olave (concussion) and Rashid Shaheed (thigh) both left the team's previous game. The Lions' 283 rushing yards allowed to QBs are fifth most in the NFL, and Detroit's defense has struggled in all phases recently, allowing 31.0 PPG in the last three games. Hill does his best work near the goal line, with three rushing TDs, one receiving TD and one passing TD in the last five games, and he also had a season-high 55 receiving yards last week, benefiting from the Saints' lack of healthy pass catchers.

Sit/Downgrade 👎

Quarterback 👎

Start Instead — Matthew Stafford (vs. CLE), Derek Carr (vs. DET), Gardner Minshew (at TEN)

The 1-10 Panthers are bad, but they aren't bad at everything. Carolina's pass defense has actually been quite stingy, even if some of that success is due to opponents running the ball while playing from ahead. Only the Browns and Cowboys have allowed QBs to throw for fewer yards than the Panthers, and with Mayfield potentially limited by the ankle injury he suffered last week, you're better off streaming either a bigger name in a tough matchup or a fellow journeyman facing a softer defense.

Running Back 👎

Start Instead — Najee Harris (vs. ARI), James Conner (at PIT), Devin Singletary (vs. DEN)

There were two trains of thought with Mixon after star QB Joe Burrow (wrist) went down. Either the RB would benefit from Cincinnati's offense becoming more run-heavy, or he would be dragged down with the rest of the offense in Burrow's absence. So far, it has been the latter. Mixon had 100 scrimmage yards and a TD in Week 11, but his TD came before Burrow got hurt. In backup QB Jake Browning's first start last week, Mixon had just 60 scrimmage yards, with just 21 yards on nine touches outside of a 39-yard catch that salvaged his day. Cincinnati's passing game will probably keep struggling with Browning under center, and running room likely will be scant against a Jacksonville defense that has held running backs to a league-low 651 rushing yards this season.

Start Instead — Jerome Ford (at LAR), De'Von Achane (at WAS), Chuba Hubbard (at TB)

Anyone who either had Charbonnet stashed or scooped him up was surely excited to use Seattle's 2023 second-round draft pick after Kenneth Walker (oblique) got hurt in Week 11, but Charbonnet has unfortunately been thrust into a starting role during a particularly tough portion of Seattle's schedule. He turned 18 touches into just 58 scrimmage yards in last week's loss to the 49ers, and a decline in volume is likely with Seattle a significant underdog in Dallas this week. The Cowboys have allowed the seventh-fewest rushing yards (840) and seventh-fewest receiving yards (285) to running backs, and just six scrimmage TDs to the position. The jury's still out on whether Charbonnet is good, as he has averaged only 3.3 yards per touch in the last two games after seeing an uptick in usage and is still searching for his first NFL TD.

Wide Receiver 👎

Start Instead — Nico Collins (vs. DEN), Amari Cooper (at LAR), Courtland Sutton (at HOU), 

Benching Godwin might sting a bit more than benching Mayfield, but it should be done if you have a viable alternative, while Mike Evans has been too good to bench even in this difficult matchup. Godwin has been held to 54 or fewer receiving yards in each of his last five games, and he has only one TD all season. He's unlikely to turn things around against a Carolina defense that has allowed the fourth-fewest yards (1,417) and sixth-fewest TDs (seven) to wide receivers.

Start Instead — Diontae Johnson & George Pickens (vs. ARI), Josh Downs (at TEN), Christian Watson (vs. KC)

The Jets' offense is a mess, but New York's secondary remains the best in the business, allowing league-low yardage (1,282) and TDs (three) to WRs. Coach Arthur Smith doesn't need an excuse to take deep shots to WRs off the table in favor of short passes to RBs and backup TEs, but he actually has a good reason to run Atlanta's offense that way in this particular matchup. London has 36 or fewer yards in four of 10 games — including one goose egg — and this should be another floor game for the inconsistent wideout. 

Tight End 👎

Start Instead —David Njoku (vs. PIT), Dalton Schultz (vs. DEN)

You're probably starting McBride if you have him, but if you're lucky enough to have another serviceable TE on the roster, this is a good week to look elsewhere, even before considering the groin injury that sidelined McBride for Wednesday's practice. In his last four games, McBride had 131 yards in one and 125 yards in the other three combined, and he didn't reach the end zone in that span. Pittsburgh's 473 yards allowed to TEs are seventh fewest in the NFL, and the Steelers' pass defense will get a boost this week with the return of star safety Minkah Fitzpatrick (hamstring) following a four-game absence.     

Week 6 Streaming Picks

For Shallow Leagues (Under 60 Percent Rostered)

QB Derek Carr (vs. DET)

RB Antonio Gibson (vs. MIA)

RB Ezekiel Elliott (vs. LAC)

WR Jerry Jeudy (at HOU)

WR Rashid Shaheed (vs. DET)

WR Noah Brown (vs. DEN)

WR Curtis Samuel (vs. MIA)

TE Chigoziem Okonkwo (vs. IND)

K Jake Moody (at PHI)

D/ST Atlanta Falcons (at NYJ)    

For Medium-depth Leagues (Under 35 Percent Rostered)

QB Gardner Minshew (at TEN)

RB Samaje Perine (at HOU)

RB Tyjae Spears (vs. IND)

WR Zay Jones (vs. CIN)

WR Jameson Williams (at NO)

TE Jonnu Smith (at NYJ)

K Matt Gay (at TEN)

D/ST Los Angeles Rams (vs. CLE)

For Deep Leagues (Under 15 Percent Rostered)

QB Bailey Zappe (vs. LAC)

RB D'Ernest Johnson (vs. CIN)

RB Clyde Edwards-Helaire (vs. GB)

WR Jalen Guyton (at NE)

WR Greg Dortch (at PIT)

WR Jonathan Mingo (at TB)

WR DeVante Parker (vs. LAC)

TE Mike Gesicki (vs. LAC)

K Chase McLaughlin (vs. CAR)

D/ST Carolina Panthers (at TB)

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ABOUT THE AUTHOR
Sasha Yodashkin
Sasha has been contributing NFL, NHL, NBA, MLB and Tennis content to RotoWire since 2015, with an emphasis on DFS. He is a huge New York sports fan who has been playing fantasy sports since middle school.
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