The fantasy football playoffs are almost here, and for some of you, Week 13 is the difference between paying attention to the next few weeks or sitting out the remainder of the season.
And no, playing in the consolation bracket of your fantasy football league doesn’t count.
If you have been streaming quarterbacks all year, the choice you make this week could make or break your season or solidify your place in the standings. There are no more byes, so pretty everyone (who is healthy) is available.
So which quarterbacks should you trust and what about defense/special teams (DSTs)? Before we get into Week 13 let's see how the Week 12 start/sit advice for these
Good Calls for Week 12...
Welp. I must have eaten too much turkey.
Bad Calls for Week 12...
Start Carson Wentz (13.24 fantasy points) – Ever since Golden Tate arrived, Wentz and the Eagles' offense just can’t seem to get it going, even against a dream matchup like the Giants last week.
Sit Philip Rivers (20.66 FP) – In a game that the Chargers dominated and should have been all about the rushing game, Rivers throws 25 straight completions. How amazing is that?
START THESE QBs...
Jameis Winston, TB (vs. CAR)
There is some risk here, but maybe a Tampa Bay starting quarterback can piece together a few decent starts in a row. And this should be the kind of matchup that works in Winston's favor. Carolina's defense has fallen off a cliff in recent weeks. Only the Bengals are worse than the Panthers in the last three games against the pass. Carolina is right outside of the top five in terms of most fantasy points allowed to quarterbacks. And that defense will struggle again against a Buccaneers team that can throw the football. Winston has been solid in his last two outings and he's playing for a starting job next year. He'll be motivated and has the weapons to move the ball on a consistent basis.
Mitchell Trubisky, CHI (at NYG)
Make sure to monitor Trubisky’s health, but there's a chance he could be back this Sunday against the Giants. Reports last week indicated that he would’ve played if the game wasn't on Thursday. Trubisky's pass catchers are healthy and he's been a factor in the running game with 36 rushing yards per game and three touchdowns on the ground. If he's active, start Trubisky against a Giants defense that has given up its share of yards and points.
Lamar Jackson, BAL (at ATL)
Jackson has been productive in his two starts, rushing for almost 200 yards alone while scoring about 40 total fantasy points. While he’s not going to throw the ball a ton, Jackson does make up for it with his rushing totals. That should make him a viable streamer against a questionable Atlanta defense. It’s also worth noting that the Falcons are terrible against quarterbacks, giving up the second-most fantasy points to the position.
MIGHT BE WORTH THE RISK...
Case Keenum, DEN (vs. CIN)
If you're looking for a streaming quarterback, why not Keenum? The Bengals are historically bad on defense. They're allowing 9.2 yards per pass attempt in the last three games and have given up the most fantasy points per game to quarterbacks. Any quarterback with a pulse has been able to move the ball against the Bengals. Keenum's numbers haven't been great but he's been able to cut down on the turnovers that have plagued him in the past. He was efficient against a usually stout Pittsburgh defense last week, so expect another solid outing on Sunday.
SIT THESE QBs...
Carson Wentz, PHI (vs. WAS, Mon.)
Wow, Wentz followed up his Week 11 stinker in New Orleans with an atrocious 236-yard, one-touchdown performance last week. The Eagles did enough to beat the Giants, but Wentz was the No. 24 fantasy quarterback for the week and likely sunk many fantasy owners. He didn’t look as bad as the box score indicates, as he did complete 20 of his 28 attempts, but there are simply other QBs offering more consistency right now. This week the Eagles' defense and run game could carry them against a beat-up Washington team on "Monday Night Football."
Baker Mayfield, CLE (vs. HOU)
It's been a solid run for Mayfield in recent weeks. He's been a regular QB1, thanks to matchups against Cincinnati, Kansas City and Atlanta, which are terrible against the pass. Week 13 will be a different story. The Texans are a top-10 defense against the pass. And they'll force Mayfield into quick decisions with their persistent pass rush. Look for Mayfield to finish with fewer than 20 fantasy points this week.
Matthew Stafford, DET (vs. LAR)
Stafford’s value has taken a massive hit in recent weeks, as he’s scored fewer than 18 fantasy points in his last seven games. He’s also lost two of his top targets in Golden Tate (trade) and Marvin Jones Jr. (knee injury), and this weekend’s matchup against the Rams isn’t as favorable as it might look on paper.
YOU’VE BEEN WARNED...
Philip Rivers, LAC (vs. PIT)
Rivers started last week with 25 straight completions, setting the record to open a game and tying the overall mark, but was still just the No. 13 fantasy quarterback thanks in part to an early exit as the Chargers stomped on the Cardinals. Rivers must now head to Pittsburgh for a Sunday night tilt without Melvin Gordon to suck the defense in. The Steelers haven’t allowed an opposing QB to top 230 passing yards in any of their last six games, which means you might want to pump the brakes on Primetime Philip in Week 13.
Defense/Special Teams (DSTs)
START THESE DSTs...
Seattle Seahawks (vs. SF)
If you are looking to stream a defense this week, grab the Seahawks if you can. While they have only scored eight fantasy points in the last four games (which isn’t great), they get a great matchup against Nick Mullens and the 49ers, who are allowing 10 fantasy points per game to opposing DSTs.
Kansas City Chiefs (vs. OAK)
The Chiefs seemed to have a turned a corner on defense in recent weeks, scoring at least nine fantasy points in all but one of their last five games. This week Kansas City takes on Oakland, who is allowing the third-most fantasy points per game to DSTs.
SIT THESE DSTs...
Los Angeles Chargers (vs. PIT)
The Chargers DST has been hot in recent weeks, scoring eight or more fantasy points in three of four games. Unfortunately, a road matchup against Ben Roethlisberger and the Steelers makes this DST a must-sit this week. Defenses have averaged less than a full fantasy point (0.4 PPG) against them at Heinz Field this season.
Baltimore Ravens (vs. ATL)
It’s hard to bench a DST that just scored 18 fantasy points last week, but that was preceded by a stretch of one point over four games. This week is a tough test on the road against the Falcons. DSTs have averaged a meager 1.7 fantasy points against Atlanta at home.
— Written by Michael Horvath, who is part of the Athlon Contributor Network. Horvath is a Canadian who also happens to be a fantasy football (not to be confused with CFL) and fitness nut. Follow him on Twitter @realmikehorvath.