Welcome to the Week 13 starts and sits! I hope you all had a good Thanksgiving, and I really hope that none of you started Tony Romo. It’s money time for a lot of us, and I have some suggestions below as I always do. Full Week 13 lineup rankings have been posted at Rotobahn. So, if you want my take on players not listed here, check them out.
Don’t forget to tune in Sunday morning for another episode of the Fantasy Football Hour with my co-host Jim Hackett. If you have last-minute lineup concerns, you should check out my Sunday chat. It takes place right here at WEEI.com and it runs from 11 a.m. to noon every Sunday.
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Eli Manning, Giants at Jaguars
This is not a hard call. The Giants may be out of it, but they still are trying to get their new offense perfected, and the addition of Odell Beckham Jr. has breathed some life into things. I expect starting-caliber numbers from Manning in Week 13.
Ryan Tannehill, Dolphins at Jets
I still have some trust issues with Tannehill, but he has a lot going for him in this game. The Jets defense may not be awful, but you clearly throw to beat them. That will help Tannehill, as will his improved cast of receivers, led by rookie Jarvis Landry, who has given him the go-to option he’s lacked since taking over the job back in 2012. The Jets also will be susceptible to deep threat Mike Wallace, as they have issues on the back end. I see fantasy success for Tannehill on Monday night.
Zach Mettenberger, Titans at Texans
He’s not an option to consider for most of you. Having said that, if you need help in a deep format, Mettenberger has proven worthy of consideration. He’s an interesting case in that his college skill talent was better than his NFL skill talent. The rookie played at LSU and his outside weapons were Jarvis Landry and Odell Beckham Jr. He also had Jeremy Hill and Alfred Blue in his backfield. Not bad, right? The plus in this is that Mettenberger has a natural inclination to trust his receivers, and that’s probably rooted in playing with Beckham and Landry — who both make ridiculous catches with stunning regularity. The point of my long-winded explanation is that Mettenberger has a weapon in Justin Hunter, and the key to unlocking him is trust, because he’s a receiver who is never really covered due to his size advantage and leaping ability. This is a quarterback-receiver relationship that could go either way over the long haul, but if things click, they could click in a major way. This is a connection to watch over the rest of 2014, and Mettenberger is a player to consider in 14-team leagues.
Brian Hoyer, Browns at Bills
Be careful with Hoyer this week. He’s a viable option in 12-team leagues, but Buffalo is a tough place to play right now, and the Bills are going to be fired up after recent events. Hoyer is not likely to have a big game and would be a must-bench without the return of Josh Gordon. Hoyer’s schedule improves significantly going forward, but this is a week to use another option if you can.
Jeremy Hill, Bengals at Buccaneers
We have a bit of a LSU theme going today, and Hill fits right into it. He’s looked very good since Gio Bernard went down, and he has established himself as a force with Bernard active, as we saw last week. Both of these backs have lead-back ability, but this is going to be a time share. It’s also going to be one of the most talented backfields in the NFL. Hill is a solid RB2 play in all leagues this week at Tampa.
Tre Mason, Rams vs. Raiders
I wonder if the Rams learned their lesson last week? In Week 11, the Rams rode Mason to an unexpected win over the Broncos. Last week, they used the rookie as the lead back again, but they went away from the run with the game on the line and the offense on the doorstep. The result was a game-ending interception. A handoff to Mason probably wins the game and certainly would have preserved the chance for a game-tying field goal. The conspiracy theorist inside me wondered if the Rams’ 2015 draft position had anything to do with the call. Of course, with OC Brian Schottenheimer (ex-Jets OC) calling the plays, it might have been perceived as the best chance to win. This is a B-movie I have watched many times before. My gut says that they go back to Mason in a big way this week. Keep him active as an RB2.
Dan Herron, Colts vs. Washington
Last week I told you to stash “Boom” Herron because he’s a good back and because we had doubts about just how much the Colts would use Trent Richardson in the wake of Ahmad Bradshaw‘s season-ending injury. Well, Herron is at worst in a time share, and he potentially is the lead back if he continues to play well. In PPR formats Herron is worth playing right now, and he’s viable in 12-team standard leagues, too. I see him catching five-plus passes this week against Washington.
Jonas Gray, Patriots at Packers
As much as I would like to say that last week’s benching was just a one-week thing, the acquisition of LeGarrette Blount says that Gray is at best a role player going forward. Keep him on benches for now.
Vincent Jackson, Buccaneers vs. Bengals
Some folks are a bit down on him, but I think you should stick with Jackson this week for a few reasons. First, he is healthier than he’s been all year. Second, teams are starting to clamp down on rookie Mike Evans and that will make Jackson that much more dangerous. He’s easily a WR3 in small leagues this week against the Bengals.
DeSean Jackson, Washington at Colts
It’s been a while since he did anything positive, and I am sure there are some folks who are thinking about benching Jackson. I’d re-think that. Jackson had some of his better games when Robert Griffin wasn’t at the helm, and with Colt McCoy starting this week, I like Jackson’s chances of stepping up and posting good numbers — perhaps even WR1 numbers. He’s a good start in all formats.
Martavis Bryant, Steelers vs. Saints
Bryant is a fringe starter in smaller formats, but he should be locked in if you play in a 12-team league. This is because of Bryant’s upside and red zone prowess. Ben Roethlisberger looks for him when they get close to the end zone, and that’s a good time to be a target. Keep the impressive rookie active.
Eric Decker, Jets vs. Dolphins
You might consider him in large formats, but the Jets offense is scary unpredictable right now, and with Geno Smith back at the helm, a meltdown certainly is possible. Keeping Decker’s near lost season away from your big game is sound strategy.
Kyle Rudolph, Vikings vs. Panthers
He got things going last week and was involved as a receiver. I expect the trend to continue this week, and Rudolph is a nice option in all leagues if you need a tight end. If he takes the next step in Week 13, he could be back to lock-starter status by Week 14.
Tim Wright, Patriots at Packers
This is a very interesting player for fantasy purposes in that Wright’s pattern as a Patriot is to be very good or completely nonexistent. The thing is, he’s been trending toward the prior as of late. In fact, since he posted a fantasy bagel in Week 4, he’s had five good games to only two disappearing acts. To me, this makes Wright a pretty good fantasy option in 12-team leagues and above this week. The Patriots will need every scrap of offense they can find, and they will be using the A-team in the red zone. I think Wright is on that team at this point, so use him if you have a need. I am also very interested to see how much Wright’s role grows going forward. Along with Blount, he is one of the players who could take them over the top offensively because of his ability to create mismatches.
Travis Kelce, Chiefs vs. Broncos
Starter Anthony Fasano is nursing a sore knee that could keep him out of action this week. Even if Fasano plays, he could be on a snap count. This makes Kelce more appealing than normal and a viable fantasy play in all formats, especially 12-team leagues and above.
Jordan Reed, Washington at Colts
I simply do not trust him to finish the game right now. I like Reed’s talent a lot, but between the concussions and the hamstring woes, I am avoiding him at this crucial stage of the season.