The days of my life are passing by much too quickly. I feel like we were drafting just a few weeks ago. Despite our best efforts, time runs wild and most of us are, all too swiftly, girding our loins for playoff battle in week 14. Possibly week 15 in smaller leagues. If you are a friendly and faithful reader, I hope you have already clinched or have an easy path in week 13. If you are my opponent, I hope you lose.
Let’s discuss some starts and sits.
Running Back: Start ’em
Before we move on, let’s pick some low hanging fruit. If you are the owner of Todd Gurley, Christian McCaffrey, Aaron Jones, or Philip Lindsay, Congratulations! You have likely won your week.
LAMAR MILLER (HOUSTON TEXANS)
You cannot deny that the Texans are on fire. After starting the season 0-3, the Texans are now on an eight game winning streak. One of the key pieces in that streak is Lamar Miller. He has scored a touchdown in 3 of his last 5 games. In that same 5 game span, he has only put up one clunker of a performance while playing the Broncos in Denver. The Broncos are better than average against the Running Back position.
We don’t have to worry about a tough defense this week. While the Browns have certainly looked better since the firing of Hue Jackson, they are still being gashed on the ground. In their last 5 games, they have allowed 590 rushing yards and 4 touchdowns. This does not include yards through the air to the Running Back position. (QBs have also been able to score on the ground against the Browns, so fire up your Deshaun Watson shares.)
ROYCE FREEMAN (DENVER BRONCOS)
I dug deep into the well for this one. I’ve already stated that Philip Lindsay is going to win weeks for owners. Against the Bengals, there will be enough production to spread the wealth between both Running Backs. The only cause for concern is that the Broncos are travelling to Cincinnati. Fear not! The Broncos have one of the top 10 jersey sales in the country. I am guessing that the crowd in Cincinnati will be sparse and somewhat Broncos friendly.
Royce Freeman is not a weekly start. He has been largely useless; he normally only provides fantasy value in the weeks where he scores a touchdown. This is a week where he will score a touchdown, though. Folks, the Bengals are really bad. In particular, they are bad against the run. They are the 2nd worst team on the season against the Running Back position. 8 of the last 12 touchdowns scored against the Bengals have been on the ground OR to the running back position. Many of those touchdowns were in short yardage situations. Guess who is stellar in short yardage situations? Royce Freeman.
You likely have better options. But, if you’re in a pinch, this is the player to start.
Running Back: Sit ’em
TEVIN COLEMAN (ATLANTA FALCONS)
What a disappointing season for Falcons fans. As if it weren’t bad enough, the Baltimore Ravens come to town on a hot streak. On the season, the Ravens are the second best against the run. On the season, the Falcons are second to last on the Running Back position. More negative news, the Falcons are trending down and could wind up last by the end of the season.
Sure, Tevin Coleman saved his week 12 by scoring that touchdown against the Saints. Without it, he would have scored 2.3 fantasy points (0.5 ppr). In the two weeks prior to that, he scored a total of 18 points. One of their opponents was the Cleveland Browns. Read above if you haven’t already, the Browns are not good against the Running Back! If he cannot succeed against bad defenses, why should we believe that he will do well against a good defense? Sit him down! Put him to bed without his pudding.
Side note: He’s not doing himself any favors with his pending free agency. I’m currently glad that all of my dynasty trade offers to get Coleman were rejected earlier this season.
MARLON MACK (INDIANAPOLIS COLTS)
The Colts travel to Jacksonville to face the hapless Jaguars, it’s true. However, the Jaguars are still pretty decent against the run, particularly the Running Back position. They haven’t allowed a rushing touchdown to a Running Back since week 7 against the Texans (Lamar Miller). They allowed two rushing touchdowns last week against the Bills, but one was a QB play and the other was a Wide Receiver!
On the season, the Jags are the best defense against the Running Back position. The last time the Colts faced this running defense, Marlon Mack rushed 12 times for 29 yards. Andrew Luck will be passing the ball. I believe it’s more likely that Nyheim Hines gets a touchdown than Mack.
I haven’t even mentioned the short practice week that Mack has had because of the concussion protocol. It’s just not a good week to start Marlon Mack.
Tight End: Start ’em
JORDAN REED (WASHINGTON REDSKINS)
As much as I touted the Eagles defense against the Tight End position last week, I’m promoting a Tight End who is travelling to Philly. Colt McCoy knows who the best receiver on his team is. It is Jordan Reed. The Eagles secondary is destroyed by injury. Normally, this would help the Wide Receiver position. But the Redskins are not your normal NFL defense. Dealing with injuries of their own, their offense is makeshift. The lone shining light of health? Jordan Reed. (What has the world come to that Jordan Reed is an image of health for his football team?) He will do well this week. Start him and relax.
KYLE RUDOLPH (MINNESOTA VIKINGS)
I’m hesitant to name Kyle Rudolph here because I don’t like suggesting players who aren’t playing at home, much less suggesting two of them! However, Kyle Rudolph is coming off of a decent performance against the Packers. The Packers aren’t bad against the Tight End. This week, the Vikings travel to Foxborough to face the New England Patriots. The Patriots give up 15.6 points per game to the Tight End position and are listed as the fourth worst against the position. With Stefon Diggs still listed as questionable with his knee, the Vikings might be able to exploit that defensive weakness and give Rudolph some targets.
It’s a long shot, but I like it in week 13.
Tight End: Sit ’em
TREY BURTON (CHICAGO BEARS)
He is due for a good game. However, the Bears are starting Chase Daniel for the second week in a row. Last week, against Detroit Lions, Burton caught 4 of Daniel’s passes for 28 yards. 4.8 points (0.5 ppr) is okay for the Tight End position this season, but it will not win your week for you. I could argue that he had 7 targets. That is not a winning argument though:
|Player||Pass or Catch %|
Chase Daniel’s pass percentage vs Burton’s catch percentage would indicate that the problem did not lie with the Quarterback in week 12. Recent performance with Mitch Trubisky + last week’s performance against Lions means Trey Burton is on my bench until he proves worthy of a start. I am not rolling the dice this week, not even against the New York Giants.
JIMMY GRAHAM (GREEN BAY PACKERS)
That injured thumb isn’t doing him any favors. This week, the Green Bay Packers are at home against the Arizona Cardinals. Jimmy Graham will not be needed. Aaron Jones is going to enjoy a late Thanksgiving feast. Even if Jimmy Graham was healthy, I believe he would be game scripted out of a good performance.
The Cardinals are actually pretty decent against the Tight End position. This could be due to their weakness against the run. Don’t fix it if it isn’t broken! If you can win by running the ball, keep running the ball! Sorry, Jimmy Graham. Maybe next week?
Good luck to each of you in week 13! Unless you’re facing me. In that case, I hope your weekend to-do list has grown substantially and you neglect your fantasy teams. I am in more “win and you’re in the playoffs” situations than I care to admit. It will be a stressful weekend in the Marc house.