Week 13 marks the end of the regular season for most fantasy leagues. All logic is thrown out of the window for fantasy owners who realize this week means either life in next week’s playoffs or time to start studying fantasy basketball rankings.
START: Justin Herbert, QB, Chargers: Even against a Patriots team ranked 10th in fewest fantasy points allowed per game to opposing QBs, Herbert is still a solid play, having had 300-plus passing yards in three of his past four games. Week 12 was the first time since Week 4 that Herbert failed to throw multiple touchdown passes, and with his high volume of pass attempts, it’s hard to envision him doing it again.
SIT: Carson Wentz, QB, Eagles: Playing Wentz at this point of the season is unwise in fantasy leagues. Not only does Wentz lead the league with 15 interceptions, he’s second only to Denver’s Drew Lock in lowest rate of pass attempts on-target, a paltry 71.1%. Add the fact the Packers are seventh best in fewest fantasy points allowed per game to opposing quarterbacks, and the result is: stay away.
START: David Montgomery, RB, Bears: Overlooked in Chicago’s blowout loss at Green Bay in Week 12 was the fact Montgomery had his first 100-yard game of the season. Montgomery now faces a Lions defense that’s the worst in the league in fantasy points allowed per game to opposing running backs, which presents him a solid opportunity for a repeat effort.
SIT: Zack Moss, RB, Bills: Moss has averaged at least 5.8 yards per carry in his past five games, but the lack of touches dampens his potential. The 14 carries Moss had in Week 8 was the only time this season he’s had double-digit carries, so it’s unlikely he’ll top fellow RB Devin Singletary and QB Josh Allen in rushing attempts when the Bills meet the 49ers.
START: Justin Jefferson, WR, Vikings: Only five other receivers have more passing yards traveled in the air before being caught than Jefferson’s 625. Keep that number in mind as the rookie standout could take advantage of deep shots against a Jaguars pass defense that is eighth worst in fantasy points allowed per game to opposing wideouts.
SIT: CeeDee Lamb, WR, Cowboys: Lamb has touchdown receptions in two of his past three games, but the rookie has topped 64 receiving yards just once since Week 6. Those numbers don’t bode well for Lamb when he lines up against a Ravens defense that allows the third-fewest passing yards in the league along with being the fifth-stingiest fantasy defense against opposing WRs going into Week 12.
START: Evan Engram, TE, Giants: Starting QB Daniel Jones (hamstring) could miss the game at Seattle, but Engram is still start-worthy after coming off a 129-yard effort against Cincinnati in Week 12. Engram is averaging more than eight targets per game over his past five and could have the middle of the field to himself against the Seahawks, who struggled against the Eagles TEs Dallas Goedert and Richard Rodgers in Week 12.
SIT: Jonnu Smith, TE, Titans: Despite the fact the Browns are the third worst in fantasy points allowed per game to opposing tight ends, starting Smith is a risky proposition. The big-play luster hasn't been there for Smith, who hasn’t topped 40 receiving yards since Week 5. The presence of RB Derrick Henry further dims hope of Smith being a factor near the goal line.
START: Austin Ekeler, RB, Chargers: So much for easing Ekeler back into the lineup, as he finished with 25 touches (11 receptions) in Week 12, his first appearance since Week 4. He’s a potential big play in PPR formats, especially if the game against the Patriots becomes a high-scoring matchup.
SIT: Christian Kirk, WR, Cardinals: Since his 123-yard performance against the Dolphins in Week 9, Kirk has become an afterthought in the struggling Cardinals offense, producing a combined 96 receiving yards in his past three games. Don’t bank your playoff hopes on starting Kirk against the Rams, who allow the fewest fantasy points per game against opposing wideouts.
START: Ryan Fitzpatrick, QB, Dolphins: The best streaming option at the position, Fitzpatrick has thrown multiple touchdowns in three of his past four games. He’s quietly ninth-best in on-target passes and will thrive in a matchup against the Bengals, who are 10th-worst in fantasy points allowed per game to opposing passers.
SIT: Cam Newton, QB, Patriots: Newton is 28th in intended air yards and has yet to throw multiple touchdown passes this season. The running threat isn’t enough of a bonus to go with Newton, even against a Chargers defense that is sixth worst when it comes to stopping fantasy production against opposing QBs.
START: Miles Sanders, RB, Eagles: Sanders leads all running backs with 3.8 yards per carry before contact and is in position for a huge game against the Packers, who are second worst in fantasy points allowed per game to opposing running backs.
SIT: Benny Snell Jr., RB, Steelers: With starter James Conner possibly missing the game, expect the Steelers to utilize a committee that will see Anthony McFarland sharing touches with Snell, who has just 82 yards on 38 carries since his 113-yard outing in Week 1.
START: Brandin Cooks, WR, Texans: The suspension of WR Will Fuller and the injury to Randall Cobb leaves Cooks as the top option for QB Deshaun Watson. Cooks has just one game of better than 10 targets this season, yet is a likely candidate to top his season-best 12 targets when the Texans face the Colts.
SIT: Noah Fant, TE, Broncos: Denver should have QB Drew Lock this week, but it’s not enough to feel encouraged about playing Fant, who has not found the end zone since Week 2. There’s little reason for fantasy owners to place their postseason hopes with Fant in the lineup.
This column was provided to The Associated Press by SportsGrid Inc., www.sportsgrid.com