NFL

Week 13 fantasy football matchups preview


Baltimore Ravens at Atlanta Falcons, 1:00 p.m. ET, CBS

Ravens

Lamar Jackson: Stream
Gus Edwards: Start
Ty Montgomery: Deep sleeper
John Brown: Beware
Michael Crabtree: Beware
Willie Snead: Deep sleeper
Ravens TEs: Good luck!
Ravens DST: Beware

With Jackson on track to get another start for the Ravens, he’ll once again be an intriguing option for fantasy managers. It will be interesting to see if he gets more responsibility in the passing game. Either way, his running ability should give the Falcons fits. Speaking of running, Gus Edwards is the bona fide RB1 in Baltimore facing one of the league’s worst running defenses. The fortunes of the wide receivers are heavily dependent upon Jackson’s passing volume but the first two weeks haven’t given us reason for optimism. Jackson, however, does target his tight ends but good luck figuring out which of the three will be the one to hit this week. Baltimore’s defense has been a decent fantasy unit but the potential of the Falcons offense makes them an uncertain option this week.

Falcons

Matt Ryan: Beware
Tevin Coleman: Flex
Ito Smith: Sit
Julio Jones: Start
Calvin Ridley: Flex
Mohamed Sanu: Sleeper
Austin Hooper: Stream
Falcons DST: Sit

The Falcons offense has been in a slump recently but has the ability to bust out at any time. Nonetheless, it’s still a scary week to start Matt Ryan against a defense that hasn’t allowed much to quarterbacks all season long. That shouldn’t stop you from starting Julio Jones, obviously. Calvin Ridley also has some value as a player who has been on Ryan’s radar quite a bit this season. The Atlanta running game hasn’t offered much recently, though it might be hard for some to sit Tevin Coleman. If that’s the case, hopefully you can find production elsewhere in your lineup to make up for any deficiencies. Austin Hooper has been nearly impossible to figure but the Ravens‘ recent work against tight ends gives him a chance to produce. You can keep avoiding the Falcons defense.

Carolina Panthers at Tampa Bay Buccaneers, 1:00 p.m. ET, FOX

Panthers

Cam Newton: Start
Christian McCaffrey: Start
Devin Funchess: Beware
DJ Moore: Flex
Curtis Samuel: Sleeper
Greg Olsen: Start
Panthers DST: Stream

This is a game where just about every Panther is startable. Tampa’s porous defense makes this a tantalizing matchup for Cam Newton and nearly all of his pass-catchers. It’s worth keeping an eye on Devin Funchess‘ status heading into the weekend as he recovers from an injury. Funchess hasn’t panned out as we expected but the matchup definitely works in his favor. Christian McCaffrey has been on another level in recent weeks and the Bucs don’t look like the outfit to slow him down. Carolina’s defense hasn’t been a fantasy force this season but Jameis Winston‘s propensity to throw picks gives the Panthers a chance to tally some points this week.

Buccaneers

Jameis Winston: Start
Peyton Barber: Beware
Mike Evans: Start
Adam Humphries: Flex
Chris Godwin: Sit
Cameron Brate: Start
Buccaneers DST: Sit

The Bucs throw the ball more than nearly every other team and that’s not likely to change this week in a match that could be high-scoring. If you’re starting Winston, prepare yourself for the inevitable interception(s) but he should also hit some chunk plays downfield to Mike Evans. Adam Humphries‘ recent play has made him a sleeper option this week against an inconsistent Panthers secondary. Cameron Brate has returned to being a red zone darling. After a couple of decent weeks, it might be tough for Peyton Barber to see a large workload if this game turns into a back-and-forth scoring affair. You can remain confident in keeping the Bucs defense on the sideline.

Chicago Bears at New York Giants, 1:00 p.m. ET, FOX

Bears

Chase Daniel: Sit
Tarik Cohen: Flex
Jordan Howard: Beware
Allen Robinson: Beware
Anthony Miller: Sleeper
Taylor Gabriel: Beware
Trey Burton: Sleeper
Bears DST: Start

The last few weeks have taught us that the Bears offense doesn’t offer enough production from the skill players to take a chance on putting them in your lineup. The lone exception is Tarik Cohen, who seems to squeeze out enough touches to provide a little hope. Jordan Howard continues to be one of the bigger fantasy busts of the year while finding any consistency from Allen Robinson, Taylor Gabriel or Trey Burton is a monumental task. Thank goodness for a defense that has regularly put up DST1 numbers and should again this week.

Giants

Eli Manning: Sit
Saquon Barkley: Start
Odell Beckham, Jr.: Start
Sterling Shepard: Beware
Giants DST: Sit

Eli Manning has struggled to produce good fantasy numbers in positive matchups. Banking on him to do it against this defense is quite the stretch. Nonetheless, Big Blue’s top two playmakers — Barkley and Beckham — should find their way into your lineups this week. As for Sterling Shepard and Evan Engram … the former could find himself locked up by the Bears secondary while the latter might not be healthy enough to go. New York’s defense hasn’t been great enough to earn a start outside of the deepest leagues.

Buffalo Bills at Miami Dolphins, 1:00 p.m. ET, CBS

Bills

Josh Allen: Sit
LeSean McCoy: Flex
Robert Foster: Sleeper
Kelvin Benjamin: Sit
Zay Jones: Sit
Charles Clay: Sit Jason Croom: Sit
Bills DST: Stream

Josh Allen might have had a decent fantasy number last week but asking for another 99 rushing yards feels greedy. Keep in might that the rookie completed just eight passes last week and nearly half of his yards came on one throw. The positive is that the Dolphins are vulnerable to deep throws, meaning Allen and Robert Foster could connect on another big play this week. In that case, say a prayer for the receiver to break out. The best Bills option this week is LeSean McCoy, who gets his crack at a porous Dolphins run defense. Speaking of defenses … Buffalo could be a streaming option against a Miami attack lacking a true identity.

Dolphins

Ryan Tannehill: Sit
Kenyan Drake: Flex
Frank Gore: Sleeper
Kenny Stills: Sit
DeVante Parker: Sit
Danny Amendola: Beware
Mike Gesicki: Sit
Dolphins DST: Stream

Did I mention that Miami’s offense doesn’t have a true identity? Kenyan Drake could be that identity … if the Dolphins would ever commit to giving him a decent workload. Buffalo’s run defense isn’t great but we’ll likely have to endure yet another week of the Drake/Gore timeshare. So far that’s caused more fantasy problems than it’s solved. There’s been nothing from the Miami passing game that should encourage you to start Ryan Tannehill or any of his pass-catchers this week. If you’re hurting for a defense, you can give the Dolphins a spin and hope they can harass Josh Allen into a turnover or two.

Indianapolis Colts at Jacksonville Jaguars, 1:00 p.m. ET, CBS


Colts

Andrew Luck: Start
Marlon Mack: Start
T.Y. Hilton: Start
Chester Rogers: Sleeper
Eric Ebron: Start
Colts DST: Stream

The Colts offense has been a juggernaut recently. More specifically, Andrew Luck has been a juggernaut. That same momentum hasn’t spread equally throughout his pass-catching corps. T.Y. Hilton and Eric Ebron have been the only weapons in the passing game that fantasy managers can credibly rely on. The rest of Indy’s receivers have been a mixed bag in 2018. Marlon Mack has established himself as the Colts RB1 and could see a steady workload against a Jaguars defense that isn’t as feared as it once was. It’s not very often that one can suggest starting the Colts defense but with a depleted Jacksonville offense on tap, this is one of those times.

Jaguars

Cody Kessler: Sit
TJ Yeldon: Sleeper
Carlos Hyde: Sleeper
Donte Moncrief: Beware
Dede Westbrook: Beware
Jaguars DST: Sit

The Jacksonville offense had mostly been reduced to Leonard Fournette in recent weeks. This week, however, Fournette is suspended and unavailable to fantasy managers. Combine that with an offensive line dealing with multiple injuries, the elevation of backup Cody Kessler to the starting quarterback job and a new offensive coordinator after Nathaniel Hackett’s firing and you have the makings of a dismal offense. Once the team’s saving grace, even the Jaguars defense can’t be relied upon this year — especially not against an offense clicking on all cylinders like the Colts are right now.

Cleveland Browns at Houston Texans, 1:00 p.m. ET, CBS

Browns

Baker Mayfield: Sleeper
Nick Chubb: Start
Duke Johnson: Sleeper
Jarvis Landry: Beware
Rashard Higgins: Beware
Antonio Callaway: Beware
David Njoku: Start
Browns DST: Sit

Baker Mayfield has been a fantasy hype bunny this week but it would be wise to note that Mayfield’s two big games in recent weeks have come against bad defenses (ATL and CIN). He’ll face a tougher test this week with Houston. User discretion is advised. Since Freddie Kitchens took over as offensive coordinator, Nick Chubb has become a true workhorse. The matchup isn’t a great one but the potential volume will make him hard to keep out of the lineup. Cleveland’s wide receivers haven’t inspired a lot of fantasy confidence with uneven performances all season, highlighted by Jarvis Landry‘s disappearance recently. David Njoku has gone back to being a favorite target in the offense and is a much-needed tight end option. The Browns defense isn’t an advisable start this week.

Texans

Deshaun Watson: Start
Lamar Miller: Start
DeAndre Hopkins: Start
Keke Coutee: Beware
Demaryius Thomas: Beware
Ryan Griffin: Deep sleeper
Texans DST: Start

Deshaun Watson hasn’t been the fantasy superstar he was last season but he’s still been pretty good and is worth starting in a plus matchup this week. Of course you’re starting Nuk Hopkins but the rest of the wide receiver group is still a bit of a mystery with Keke Coutee trying to come back from an injury suffered last week and Demaryius Thomas still trying to establish himself within the offense. The Texans tight ends are an enigma that is best left alone. Even with the Browns recent offensive uptick, Houston’s defense is worth a look in most leagues this week.

Denver Broncos at Cincinnati Bengals, 1:00 p.m. ET, CBS

Broncos

Case Keenum: Deep sleeper
Phillip Lindsay: Start
Royce Freeman: Sleeper
Emmanuel Sanders: Start
Courtland Sutton: Sleeper
Matt LaCosse: Deep sleeper
Broncos DST: Stream

The Bengals defense has been, in a word, bad. That’s the reason that just about all of the Broncos options are in play. Don’t get crazy, though. Case Keenum is still best reserved for two-QB or superflex leagues. There’s no need for such trepidation with Phillip Lindsay or Emmanuel Sanders this week while Royce Freeman and Courtland Sutton have sleeper potential. With Jeff Heuerman gone for the year, Matt LaCosse will occupy a bigger role in the passing game. With Jeff Driskel getting the start for Cincinnati, the Broncos defense will have extra appeal this week.

Bengals

Jeff Driskel: Beware
Joe Mixon: Start
A.J. Green: Start
Tyler Boyd: Flex
John Ross: Sit
C.J. Uzomah: Sit
Bengals DST: Sit

The Bengals got good news when A.J. Green was removed from the injury report in time to play this weekend. That should boost the fortunes of Jeff Driskel, though he probably shouldn’t be started outside of two-QB leagues. Jeo Mixon should also have an easier time of things now that Green is back in action and Tyler Boyd should see less attention from the Broncos secondary as well. Beyond those options, starting any other Bengals is a questionable enterprise this week.

Los Angeles Rams at Detroit Lions, 1:00 p.m. ET, FOX


Rams

Jared Goff: Start
Todd Gurley: Start
Robert Woods: Start
Brandin Cooks: Start
Josh Reynolds: Sleeper
Gerald Everett: Sleeper
Tyler Higbee: Deep sleeper
Rams DST: Start

You’ve been starting Rams all season long. There’s nothing about this week that should change your attitude about that. The latest additions to the L.A. party — Josh Reynolds, Gerald Everett, and Tyler Higbee — are all nice sleeper options as Jared Goff targets. Despite allowing more than 50 points to the Chiefs, the Rams defense was still a monster two weeks ago and should be able to have the same level of impact against a much less potent Lions attack.

Lions

Matthew Stafford: Beware
LeGarrette Blount: Beware
Theo Riddick: Deep sleeper
Kenny Golladay: Start
T.J. Jones: Deep sleeper
Michael Roberts: Deep sleeper
Lions DST: Sit

Detroit’s defense has been underwhelming this season. While a matchup with the high-flying Rams could force Matthew Stafford and company to throw the ball quite a bit, there are still better quarterback options available to you this week. LeGarrette Blount is likely to get scripted out of this one, though Theo Riddick could have some sleeper appeal. Kenny Golladay is sure to see a large number of targets though there are no other Lions pass-catchers who are sure things to produce. Starting defenses against the Rams has been a bad idea all season long and the Lions aren’t going to be the exception.

Arizona Cardinals at Green Bay Packers, 1:00 p.m. ET, FOX

Cardinals

Josh Rosen: Sit
David Johnson: Start
Christian Kirk: Flex
Larry Fitzgerald: Beware
Ricky Seals-Jones: Sit
Cardinals DST: Sit

The last-ranked offense in the league isn’t the place you go looking for fantasy production. David Johnson has carried the most fantasy value of any Cardinals player all season and even his Week 13 value is limited if the Packers grab an early lead at Lambeau. Christian Kirk has gained in popularity recently but his production is likely capped by an offensive line that can’t protect Josh Rosen. Even Larry Fitzgerald has become hard to start on a regular basis. The Cardinals defense has done its best to keep the team in games but it’s a difficult start against a desperate Packers team needing a win.

Packers

Aaron Rodgers: Start
Aaron Jones: Start
Jamaal Williams: Deep sleeper
Davante Adams: Start
Marquez Valdes-Scantling: Beware
Equanimeous St. Brown: Beware
Jimmy Graham: Deep sleeper
Packers DST: Stream

Green Bay has underwhelmed at times offensively but this matchup could be a shot in the arm. We know that Aaron Rodgers and Davante Adams will find ways to connect repeatedly but there’s a question as to how much we can expect from Valdes-Scantling, St. Brown and even Jimmy Graham. Aaron Jones against a bottom-three run defense is about as sure a thing as there will be in fantasy football this week. Remember when I wrote that the Cardinals offense is the worst in the NFL? That should be all you need to know if you’re considering streaming the Packers defense this week.

Kansas City Chiefs at Oakland Raiders, 4:05 p.m. ET, CBS

Chiefs

Patrick Mahomes: Start
Spencer Ware: Sleeper
Tyreek Hill: Start
Chris Conley: Sleeper
Travis Kelce: Start
Chiefs DST: Start

The Chiefs offense has been nearly unstoppable all year and the Raiders defense does not possess the personnel to slow it down. Any K.C. players on your roster are in prime position to produce in an extremely positive matchup. The Chiefs defense has improved steadily over the past month and should bring plenty of pressure on Derek Carr.

New York Jets at Tennessee Titans, 4:05 p.m. ET, CBS

Jets

Sam Darnold: Beware
Josh McCown: Beware
Elijah McGuire: Sleeper
Robby Anderson: Sit
Quincy Enunwa: Beware
Jermaine Kearse: Sleeper
Chris Herndon: Sleeper
Jets DST: Sit

The Jets have been a frustrating bunch to trust in fantasy this season. As of this writing, we’re unsure which quarterback is going to start and the matchup for just about all of Gang Green’s skill position players is average to bad. As long as the game remains close, Elijah McGuire should see a good number of touches. The targets have mostly gone to the slot receivers … currently the role being occupied by Jermaine Kearse. Chris Herndon has emerged as a go-to in the passing game. Also, we’re desirous of any tight ends that can give us numbers (in case you haven’t noticed). The Jets defense defines risk and reward and is best left aside versus an offense that seems to have found its stride recently.

Titans

Marcus Mariota: Sleeper
Dion Lewis: Sleeper
Derrick Henry: Deep sleeper
Corey Davis: Sleeper
Taywan Taylor: Sit
Tajae Sharpe: Sit
Jonnu Smith: Sleeper
Titans DST: Stream

The Titans have played better offensive football recently, such that Marcus Mariota has become a fringe QB1. The problem is finding consistent targets. We are still waiting for back-to-back solid outings from Corey Davis and there are no other Tennessee receivers turning heads. Jonnu Smith has done quite a bit with just a few targets and has become a sleeper tight end. The Titans defense has been decent his season and a matchup with an inconsistent Jets offense makes them a streamable option.

San Francisco 49ers at Seattle Seahawks, 4:25 p.m. ET, FOX

49ers

Nick Mullens: Sit
Matt Breida: Start
Dante Pettis: Sleeper
Kendrick Bourne: Deep sleeper
George Kittle: Start
49ers DST: Sit

After his sparkling debut, Mullens has been average at best. It doesn’t help that he’s missing some of his top pass-catchers with both Marquise Goodwin (personal) and Pierre Garcon (knee). That should open up chances for Dante Pettis and Kendrick Bourne but you should temper your expectations for them. George Kittle has been the most trustworthy 49er this season but is starting to draw more attention from opposing defenses.

Seahawks

Russell Wilson: Start
Chris Carson: Start
Rashaad Penny: Sleeper
Tyler Lockett: Start
Doug Baldwin: Flex
David Moore: Sleeper
Nick Vannett: Deep sleeper
Seahawks DST: Stream

As usual, Seattle has started to come alive late in the season. Russell Wilson has become startable again and should be in lineups against San Francisco. Chris Carson remains the top running back in the Emerald City but Rashaad Penny is expected to get more work this week. The receivers group has been turned upside down this year with Tyler Lockett taking the lead over Doug Baldwin. Even more of a surprise has been the performance of David Moore, who has been a nice late-season sleeper. The Seahawks defense hasn’t been great but should have a nice opportunity against the Niners.

Minnesota Vikings at New England Patriots, 4:25 p.m. ET, FOX

Vikings

Kirk Cousins: Start
Dalvin Cook: Start
Adam Thielen: Start
Stefon Diggs: Start
Kyle Rudolph: Stream
Vikings DST: Beware

Kirk Cousins rebounded last week after a couple of rough fantasy starts and has a decent (but not great) matchup in front of him. But he’s worth a start in what could be a higher-scoring game. Either way, the trio of Cook-Thielen-Diggs should be in lineups everywhere because of their continued usage rates. Kyle Rudolph was resurrected last week and has a positive matchup this week, making him worth a stream. The Vikings defense will likely be started in many leagues but might not give fantasy managers a great return this week.

Patriots

Tom Brady: Beware
James White: Flex
Sony Michel: Beware
Julian Edelman: Flex
Josh Gordon: Sleeper
Rob Gronkowski: Start
Patriots DST: Beware

Tom Brady hasn’t been a fantasy superstar of late, scoring fewer than 20 fantasy points in four straight games and this week’s matchup isn’t encouraging. Julian Edelman will remain a PPR darling and it appears that Rob Gronkowski is healthy and back to being a homewrecker. Josh Gordon, however, is still a fantasy enigma — either home run hitter or strikeout artist. Start at your own peril. The Vikings have allowed sacks and Kirk Cousins can be turnover prone, which means the Patriots defense could have some value.

Los Angeles Chargers at Pittsburgh Steelers, 8:20 p.m. ET, NBC

Chargers

Philip Rivers: Beware
Austin Ekeler: Flex
Justin Jackson: Sleeper
Keenan Allen: Start
Mike Williams: Flex
Tyrell Williams: Sleeper
Chargers DST: Beware

This game could either be a track meet or a defensive struggle. Either way, it makes Philip Rivers a nervous start this week. Austin Ekeler should get the bulk of the running back touches now that Melvin Gordon is out and Justin Jackson should see more snaps as the backup. Keenan Allen remains the top target in the offense. Mike Williams has been a nice red zone target and Tyrell Williams has weekly sleeper potential. The Chargers defense has more sack potential with Joey Bosa in the lineup but could find themselves chasing Ben Roethlisberger all day.

Steelers

Ben Roethlisberger: Beware
James Conner: Start
Antonio Brown: Start
JuJu Smith-Schuster: Flex
Vance McDonald: Beware
Steelers DST: Beware

A lot of the things I said about the Chargers apply to the Steelers in this instance. Ben Roethlisberger could be a stifled by a Chargers defense with an improved pass rush. James Conner will still see plenty of volume but his production has slowed significantly in recent weeks. The receiver duo of Antonio Brown and JuJu Smith-Schuster should continue to be peppered with targets. Vance McDonald has been up-and-down and this week’s matchup isn’t the best. Beware of the Steelers defense against an offense that can get hot at any time.

Washington Redskins at Philadelphia Eagles, 8:15 p.m. ET, ESPN

Redskins

Colt McCoy: Sit
Adrian Peterson: Beware
Chris Thompson: Sleeper
Josh Doctson: Sleeper
Jordan Reed: Start
Redskins DST: Sit

The Washington offense hasn’t been great for much of the year but losing three offensive linemen certainly hasn’t helped it. Adrian Peterson has faded late in the year and is a tough start every week. Chris Thompson hopes to be back this week and could be a factor if the game script calls for Washington to throw the ball. We’ve waited all year for Jordan Reed to become a thing and it appears that we’ve finally gotten our wish. We’ll see if Josh Doctson can be the sleeper we want against a suspect Eagles‘ secondary.

Eagles

Carson Wentz: Start
Josh Adams: Start
Alshon Jeffery: Flex
Golden Tate: Flex
Zach Ertz: Start
Eagles DST: Stream

The Eagles offense has had a tough time putting things together recently but a shaky Washington defense could be the cure for what ails them. Carson Wentz should finally get Golden Tate integrated into the offense while still feeding Alshon Jeffery and Zach Ertz. Josh Adams is the new RB1 in Philly and should get plenty of touches versus a poor Washington run defense. Give Philly’s defense a spin against a Washington offense still trying to find its footing with a backup quarterback.

Marcas Grant is a fantasy editor for NFL.com and a man who is ready for this day to be over. Send him your tales of things that you can’t even via Twitter @MarcasG. If you read all of that, congrats. Follow him on Facebook, and Instagram.





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