Week 13 is upon us, which only means one thing: The playoffs are near. I spoke about a couple of strategies you can implement in my waivers column on Tuesday. I’m not going to tell you how important it is to make the right decisions or spew other overused clichés. Instead, today’s lesson is on the beauties of streaming. (No, this isn’t a Netflix ad.)
You should not be too attached to any player on your roster. That especially includes your kicker and D/ST. Here's one example of why. As it stands, Nick Folk is the highest-scoring kicker in fantasy this season. In fact, he has nearly 30 more points than second place, Daniel Carlson. Do you think that would make Folk a must-start every week, right? Not exactly. While Folk was a top-12 kicker in 9/12 weeks, those other three weeks you started him could have cost you. The same can even be said about weeks where he finished as a low-end K1. Obviously, there is no way of knowing for sure, but my point remains that you can’t let yourself get too attached to players who have been good for you.
If you’re reading this, you’re likely in a normal league, a.k.a. redraft. That means fantasy football is a weekly game for you. Don’t get caught prioritizing the long-term over the short-term when you can’t afford it. And with that little rant, feel free to reach out on Twitter @ZachCohenFB with any more questions. Let’s look at some good players to start and sit in Week 13.
Start: Taysom Hill vs. DAL
I flip-flopped between Derek Carr and Hill here, and though Carr has some upside against Washington’s 32nd-ranked passing defense, I chose Hill for his rushing upside. When in doubt, shoot for rushing upside over passing upside. Quarterbacks who run the ball often establish a safer floor than those who throw the ball often. The only factor working against Hill is the relative uncertainty of his role in the Saints’ offense. He ran the ball a ton in his four starts last season (more on that in a moment), but can we expect Sean Payton to implement Hill the same way this year? Probably, especially since Hill couldn’t beat out Trevor Siemian for the starting job. Back to those four starts in 2020: Hill averaged roughly 20 fantasy points while seeing 10+ carries in three games. Again, there are still some questions about Hill’s ability and full role, but if last season is any indicator, Hill could be a great start Thursday night.
Other Players to Consider: Derek Carr vs. WAS, Carson Wentz at HOU
Sit: Russell Wilson vs. SF
Two weeks ago, Russell Wilson was my sit of the week. He responded with a whopping 8.5 points. This week, Wilson returns to sad, familiar territory after putting up 19.5 points against Washington. On the surface, that's a good performance. Unfortunately, Wilson was not the same player throughout the game—he scored a touchdown on Seattle’s final offensive play while facing the most generous defense to fantasy quarterbacks this season. Where were the points? This week, Wilson gets a 49ers' defense that's only 14th in FPA, but they've also allowed one passer all season to hit 300 passing yards and three touchdowns. It was Jared Goff in Week 1. Wilson’s ceiling is simply too low right now to be trusted moving forward.
Other Players to Consider: Tua Tagovailoa vs. NYG, Mac Jones at BUF
Start: Elijah Mitchell at SEA
If you have Mitchell, then the stars have aligned in your favor. Mitchell is fresh off a massive 27-carry game where he scored 27.8 points on 133 rushing yards. It’s the second-straight game Mitchell’s seen 27 carries. Deebo Samuel will also miss 1-2 weeks, which could mean more targets and a couple more carries for Mitchell. After all, Samuel’s seen 19 carries in the last three games. And now, Mitchell faces the team that’s allowed the second-most points to running backs. It’s too good to be true. Mitchell is a must-start this week and perhaps for the rest of the season.
Other Players to Consider: Jamaal Williams vs. MIN, Myles Gaskin vs. NYG, Boston Scott at NYJ
Sit: Saquon Barkley at MIA
Is Barkley back? That's the big question. It’s nice he saw five targets and 13 carries on 86.7% of New York's snaps. I just worry about him in that bad offense. The Giants haven’t exactly done much to help Barkley return to peak form. While he can still be the old Barkley, he’s averaged about 10 points over the last two games. With a tough upcoming matchup against the Dolphins—who are sixth in FPA to running backs—I’m not so sure you can trust Barkley yet. Unless you have no better options, Barkley's floor seems too low right now to start. There's too much uncertainty with him.
Other Players to Consider: Patriots RBs, Devonta Freeman at PIT
Start: Brandon Aiyuk at SEA
Like with Mitchell, things are looking up for Aiyuk. Samuel’s absence should open up more opportunities for Aiyuk, who’s had a roller coaster of a season. After starting the season in Kyle Shanahan’s doghouse, Aiyuk has had four double-digit performances in the last five games. Without Samuel, expect Aiyuk to see more targets and maybe even a few carries here and there. Now, Seattle is fourth in FPA to wide receivers, so it’s not the easiest matchup for Aiyuk. However, Seattle has allowed a wide receiver to reach 14 points in all but one game this season. Expect Aiyuk to continue that trend as the 49ers’ WR1 on Sunday.
Other Players to Consider: Van Jefferson vs. JAX, Tre’Quan Smith vs. DAL, Odell Beckham Jr. vs. JAX
Sit: Kendrick Bourne at BUF
Bourne has been a hot commodity lately. He’s reached 23 points in two of the last three weeks while being the overall WR14 since Week 6. My issue with Bourne lies in his limited opportunities. He’s seen six or more targets just three times this season, and he’s caught more than five passes just once since Week 5. Bourne hasn’t consistently shown he can be a productive receiver without scoring. If you start him, you’re banking on a touchdown. The Bills have allowed the fewest points to wideouts all season. Even crazier: They’ve surrendered just three touchdowns to the position. Buffalo did lose star cornerback Tre’Davious White for the season, so New England may have an easier time in the passing game than usual. Bourne just isn’t a stable enough option to confidently start this week.
Other Players to Consider: Broncos WRs, T.Y. Hilton at HOU
Start: Logan Thomas at LV
After missing seven weeks, Thomas returned to the field on a somewhat limited basis Monday night. He only scored 6.1 points, but he saw the second-most targets on the team. Before his injury in Week 4, Thomas was averaging about 11 points. He’s one of the more established players at the position and should be treated as such. That’s especially true against the Raiders in Week 13. Las Vegas has allowed the third-most points at the position, which includes giving up 12 points to a tight end in five of their last six games. Expect Thomas to return to TE1 territory this week.
Other Players to Consider: Foster Moreau vs. WAS, Cole Kmet vs. ARI
Sit: Hunter Henry at BUF
Henry was on a tear for a few weeks. He scored seven touchdowns in seven games before reality hit in Week 11. That reality: It’s tough to be a reliable fantasy player when you’re averaging four targets a game. Henry is and has always been too touchdown-dependent to rely on each week. Consider him this year‘s Robert Tonyan. So can you expect Henry to score this week? Well, the Bills have allowed just three touchdowns to tight ends all season—the fewest in the league. Henry may have more upside than most tight ends, but he’s way too risky to start.
Other Players to Consider: Evan Engram at MIA, Noah Fant at KC