Welcome to the Week 13 starts and sits. I have plenty of recommendations for both seasonal leagues and for DraftKings. As always, if you are looking for recommendations on players not listed in this space, consult my free lineup rankings over at Rotobahn. They will be fully updated by Saturday night, after final injury reports come out, and they are comprehensive.
I hope you all join Jim Hackett and me for this week’s edition of the Fantasy Football Hour. We’ll be live at 8 a.m. on Sunday morning, and you can listen on WEEI.com if you are a late riser. It’s usually posted on the home page by mid-morning. I’ll also tweet a link to the show once it is up.
Follow @rotobahn on Twitter if you want to keep up with all of our fantasy stuff.
Drew Brees and Matthew Stafford, Lions at Saints, $7,600 and $7,000, respectively
This is about the game itself to some degree, so I am putting these two together. Obviously, these guys both are strong plays in seasonal leagues. You should feel good if you are starting either one of them. The decision regarding their DraftKings viability is just a tick more complex because of cost. Having said that, I will absolutely be constructing several lineups for both of these quarterbacks and I can sum up my reasoning very easily. The Superdome. The Saints score points at home almost without exception. And the Lions are a team that can play shootout football without much trouble. It’s in Stafford’s DNA. So I want plenty of Superdome action this weekend.
Andrew Luck, Colts at Jets, $7,300
Once again, the reasoning here is easy to sum up. The Jets. They just don’t do enough to stop the pass. Will they hit Andrew Luck? Definitely, but unless they knock him out of the game, he will dust himself off and continue to torch New York’s woeful secondary. Playing Luck is good business in Week 13. He’s an obvious strong play in all seasonal formats and he has a big ceiling on DraftKings.
Colin Kaepernick, 49ers at Bears, $6,100
This is getting boring. I put him here every week as a nice low-cost option and he keeps getting it done. Once again, it’s about his style of play (a running quarterback) and the fact that Chip Kelly’s offense runs more plays than other offenses. Kaepernick will get plenty of carries and passing attempts as well. It’s all about the volume.
Trevor Siemian, Broncos at Jaguars, $5,100
It’s a tough week for sits at quarterback. I really don’t hate any of the passers this week. That said, Denver is a team to avoid. If Siemian starts, he’s a hit away from getting knocked out, and it’s impossible to trust Paxton Lynch if he starts. Yeah, it’s a bit of a cop-out, but avoid Denver’s quarterback this week.
David Johnson, Cardinals vs. Washington, $9,500
Le’Veon Bell, Steelers vs. Giants, $9,200
I’m combining these two because the rationale is the same. You play the best players as much as you can. These two backs fit the format perfectly because they can amass big reception totals and because both handle consistently large workloads. Oh yeah, they also are elite talents. Of the backs left on the main Sunday slate, I want to play these two as much as possible. Cost will limit my exposure for sure, but I am jamming them in when I can.
Jordan Howard, Bears vs. 49ers, $7,200
He was a regular on our waiver wire back in September and early October. Look how far our guy has come? He’s now playable — even at a premium price. Why do I like Howard this week? Beyond the fact that he’s good at football, we are back to the Chip Kelly thing. This is going to be a game with a lot of snaps. More snaps lead to more touches, and more touches lead to fantasy production.
Theo Riddick, Lions at Saints, $5,800
He’s in a game that could end up being high scoring, to put it mildly. He plays most of the snaps for the Lions due to Ameer Abdullah’s foot injury. Riddick fits the DraftKings full PPR scoring format perfectly. He has big upside in this game and he’s priced reasonably.
Kenneth Dixon, Ravens vs. Dolphins, $3,700
I’ve been talking up a shift in the Ravens backfield, and I think it’s finally upon us. No disrespect intended to Terrance West, who has run well, but Dixon is this year’s draft pick and he’s now fully healthy — doing the things we saw on his college game film. In Week 12, Dixon finally took the lead in snaps played, and my guess is that he maintains that lead going forward. He should give you RB2 stats this week in PPR leagues and he’s a nice bargain on DraftKings.
T.J. Yeldon, Jaguars vs. Broncos, $3,700
There will be a temptation here because Yeldon will start and get plenty of action due to Chris Ivory’s injury. The thing is, Yeldon also is banged up, so he will give up plenty of snaps to Denard Robinson. The bigger concern is that Denver’s defense is very good and playing better than it did a few weeks back. Avoid Yeldon unless you are desperate.
T.Y. Hilton, Colts at Jets, $7,600
He will have a great matchup no matter how the Jets choose to defend him. The Colts have speed all over the field and play tons of three-wide sets. They will be a nightmare for the Jets secondary, and Hilton should lead the charge. He is well worth his price tag on Draftkings this week.
Brandin Cooks, Saints vs. Lions, $6,400
First off, you have my apologies and sympathies if you took my advice on Cooks last week. He left a nice dent in my wallet, but this is Week 13, not Week 12. I’m getting back up on the horse and riding, dammit. Cooks has a nice matchup this week, as I see the Lions using shutdown corner Darius Slay more on Michael Thomas.
Willie Snead, Saints vs. Lions, $5,100
This one is a bit more concrete than Cooks because Snead has a more concrete matchup. He ought to be lined up with slot corner Quandre Diggs most of the game, and that is a matchup Snead should dominate with Drew Brees on his side. Snead is a must-start everywhere this week in my book.
Sammy Watkins, Bills at Raiders, $5,500
Buyer beware here. I love Watkins as a player, but Buffalo is sending hugely confusing signals, and you could end up with nothing if you play Watkins this week. If you want to use him as a contrarian play in DFS, then go for it as long as you understand the risks. In seasonal leagues, you should consider safer choices seriously. It sounds like he may play a small role this week.
Travis Kelce, Chiefs at Falcons, $4,700
He is, quite simply, mispriced. The tight end position has taken a major hit with both Rob Gronkowski and Jordan Reed out. Kelce is on fire right now, and he is in a good matchup. The Chiefs will have to open things up in this game. While that almost assuredly will lead to defeat, it also should lead to a very nice day for Kelce.
Eric Ebron, Lions at Saints, $3,900
I love him at this price and in this matchup, which I have already gone on about ad nauseam. Ebron has multi-score potential in this game. A season-high fantasy point total would not come as a surprise. He’s a TE1 in seasonal and a potential steal on DraftKings.
Vance McDonald, 49ers at Bears, $2,900
He’s a bargain, and he is playing on a team that is giving him consistent targets. McDonald now is becoming predictable, and I see TE1 stats this week for him or darn close to it. He’s a nice play in 12-team leagues regardless of scoring.
Dennis Pitta, Ravens vs. Dolphins, $3,100
There are better options. Pitta is a name and he can play for sure, but he’s been dead weight for weeks now, and I am not looking to bet on him with my season on the line. He also lacks the kind of upside you want in your DraftKings lineups. He’s for desperate situations only. He only played 41 out of 68 offensive snaps last week.