After taking a week off to eat turkey (and plenty of other things) in Week 12, the Five Up/Five Down is back to help you settle on your starting lineup for your fantasy team. Now, to be fair, some of the picks in this column have been, well, off (c'mon we all thought DeAndre Hopkins was going to be a bust in Week 11).
But remember, this is not a start/sit column. Rather, this is a list of guys that we like more than usual this week or less than usual. This is based on matchup, injury and past performance. By this point of the season, we have a lot of data on opposing defenses, targets and other metrics that go into deciding who to start and why.
Ryan Fitzpatrick, QB, New York Jets
The New York Giants give up the sixth-most fantasy points to opposing quarterbacks. They've allowed every opposing quarterback except for Jameis Winston to throw at least one TD pass (and they let Winston rush one in himself). They've allowed all opposing quarterbacks to throw for more than 225 yards. It's not going to be an amazing game for Fitzpatrick, but he looks to be a solid start in Week 13. His floor is around 250 yards and two touchdowns, which is usually good enough to be a low-end QB1.
David Johnson, RB, Arizona Cardinals
In the preseason, it looked like Johnson might be a sleeper that could play dividends for fantasy owners down the stretch. Then the Cardinals signed Chris Johnson because they didn't trust the rookie to be their lead back with Andre Ellington out. However, now that Chris Johnson is out for the rest of the regular season and Ellington is dealing with turf toe, the Cardinals are going to use David Johnson. He hasn't been given double-digit carries this season, but that should change in Week 13. He has found the end zone, and while St. Louis' defense is tough, the Rams certainly can be beat. If fantasy owners picked Johnson up on waivers this week, start him as a RB1. He's our 11th-ranked running back this week.
Jarvis Landry, WR, Miami Dolphins
The targets that Landry has been seeing have been through the roof. He had 16 targets in Week 12, and he caught 13 of them for 165 yards and a touchdown. He had tweaked his knee in practice before the Week 12 game, but it didn't seem to slow him down at all. While he has been limited in practice this week, it is likely just an extra bit of rest for Landry. By this point of the season, most players are banged up and any chance for some rest is welcome. The Dolphins face the Ravens, who allow the fourth-most fantasy points to opposing wide receivers, including 90 yards and a touchdown to Travis Benjamin in Week 12. Landry is the 10th-ranked wide receiver this week and is a WR1.
Travis Kelce, TE, Kansas City Chiefs
It's been a tough season for Kelce owners. Since Week 1, he's scored two touchdowns and hasn't had more than 88 yards in a game, with five of the 10 games he's played with less than 50 yards. However, in Week 13, he gets to play the Raiders. While the Raiders have been giving up a ton of points and yards to tight ends, a trend has been that the No. 2 tight end has been taking advantage of the matchup, rather than the guy that most fantasy owners are starting. At the end of the day, the facts are that the Raiders are weak against tight ends, and Kelce should have a solid game and find the end zone in Week 13.
Greg Olsen, TE, Carolina Panthers
Rob Gronkowski is out for Week 13? Check. The Panthers are playing the New Orleans Saints? Check. Olsen as the No. 1 tight end for the week? Check. While Olsen has clearly been a top tight end all season, if there is ever a week to be excited about starting him, this is it. The New Orleans Saints' defense as a whole has been terrible, but they are especially terrible against tight ends. They've given up the most fantasy points to opposing tight ends. In the past three games, they've given up six touchdowns to opposing tight ends. Fire up Olsen as the No. 1 tight end for Week 13.
Matt Ryan, QB, Atlanta Falcons
For fantasy purposes, Ryan actually hasn't been terrible. For real-life football purposes, he has put the Falcons' playoff hopes in jeopardy. However, fantasy owners just care about points at the end of the day. Looking at just the numbers, Ryan had his best game of the season against the Tampa Bay Buccaneers in Week 8. However, that game was in Atlanta, where Ryan historically plays better than on the road. Ryan also doesn't perform well under pressure and this is a must-win divisional game for him. Sure, he could have another big game, but the way he's been playing, he's a QB2 this week. (Also note: this is the call that may be the one to be really wrong).
Charcandrick West, RB, Kansas City
After missing Week 12 with a hamstring injury, West has practiced in full this week. He had a three-game stretch where he had 20 or more carries and a touchdown in each contest. However, he got injured in Week 11 and Spencer Ware came in and looked like a top-tier running back. In Week 12, Ware put in another great performance, making the Kansas City backfield picture a bit of a mess. While the Chiefs do like to just use one running back, it appears that this will be a committee between Ware and West. Until fantasy owners see what this will look like, both backs are RB3s.
Sammy Watkins, WR, Buffalo Bills
When can you trust Watkins? In the eight games that he's played, he's had two games with more than 100 yards and he's had five games with fewer than 50 yards. Prior to last week's explosion (10 rec. 158 yds., TDs) the last time he had a big game (Week 9), Watkins followed it up with a three-reception, 14-yard day. Houston's defense has been really good since its bye (Week 9). The Texans have only allowed one touchdown to a wide receiver in that span and they shut down A.J. Green in Week 10. Watkins keeps demanding more targets and if the Bills give him more targets, he might do well. However, he's hard to count on as anything higher than a WR3.
Brandin Cooks, WR, New Orleans Saints
Josh Norman. For those unfamiliar with the name, he is arguably one of the best cornerbacks in the league. And he plays for Carolina, who the Saints face in Week 13. He's shut down No. 1 wide receivers and is expected to shadow Cooks this week. When the Saints played the Panthers in Week 3, Cooks did have seven receptions for 79 yards. However, Drew Brees has been struggling and the Panthers have been on fire. The game is in New Orleans, which helps Brees, but it's just a very tough matchup for Cooks, and he hasn't shown that he is matchup-proof. He's a low WR2 in PPR leagues; WR3 in standard leagues.
Scott Chandler, TE, New England Patriots
Let's get something straight: Chandler is not Rob Gronkowski. Just because he's filling that role in the Patriots' offense does not mean he'll step right into Gronk's shoes. Chandler is not nearly as good of a player as Gronkowski. While Tom Brady will attempt to get him the ball, the Patriots' game plan is likely not going to revolve around Scott Chandler. If Danny Amendola is able to play (which it looks like he might be), he will take away some targets. Philadelphia has only allowed two touchdowns to tight ends this season, so it isn't a good matchup for Chandler. If you're starting him, you're hoping Brady targets him in the end zone and he gets you a touchdown. It's a risk/reward play.
— Written by Sarah Lewis, who is part of the Athlon Contributor network and lives, eats, and breathes fantasy football. She also writes for SoCalledFantasyExperts.com among other sites. Have a fantasy football question? Send it to her on Twitter @Sarah_Lewis32.