Week 13 of the NFL season marks the final regular season week for most fantasy leagues, and the last chance for those bubble teams to make it into the postseason. That makes this week the most important one year-to-date and all the more vital that you pay attention to me now.
Some of you have been struggling with Philip Rivers and his pitch-n-catch play with defenses this season. His problem this week is that the Jaguars are giving up the 5th-fewest fantasy points to QBs this season. Granted, the Jaguars secondary is a little dinged up right now, but Rivers is having an off season and I am not sold on him as a must-start down the stretch. Look at your options and go from there.
Outside of that, this really isn't the time to get cute and start trying to play someone like Jerome Simpson over Vincent Jackson because you have a feeling. For the most part, you will want to play the better talent that got you to this point. However, there are matchups this weekend that aren't the best and should be avoided. So, don't just plug-and-play, but don't get too cute either.
Matt Moore:Not that Moore is someone you should play if you have a starter in place that has been working for you this season. But the Dolphins do play the Raiders, who are currently allowing nearly 22 fantasy PPG, and that is bad enough for 4th-worst in the NFL. I think Moore can be one of the sneaky QBs this week that finds himself in the QB1 talk.
Carson Palmer: Oakland is in 1st place in the AFC West, but I think it is more due to a weak division than it is them being that good. That being said, Palmer has brought a new attitude to the Raiders passing attack and the Dolphins are just as bad against the pass as the Raiders are. I think this could be one of those rare games in which both QBs are worth starting.
LaGarrette Blount: Blount has been up and down this season, but right now he is on an upswing. He has rushed for 210 yards in the last two games and this week he gets to run through the turnstiles at the Panthers defense. The Panthers give up the most fantasy points to RBs (26.8 PPG) and Blount is a power runner that can bully a defense around.
BenJarvus Green-Ellis: The Law Firm could have a monster fantasy game this weekend with the Patriots heavily favored against the helpless Colts. If the Patriots get up early, they could turn to the run and that means Mr. Law Firm should have himself an endzone dance or two by the end of the game.
Victor Cruz: Cruz has been huge the last two weeks, hauling in 15 passes for 285 receiving yards and 3 TDs. The Packers are giving up the 2nd-most fantasy points to WRs this season at 25.8 PPG and Cruz is just the type of guy to finish with WR1 numbers.
Laurent Robinson: Robinson hasn't been killing it with the yardage totals, but he makes his living in the endzone and he is good at what he does. In the last five weeks he has scored 7 times and this week he gets a Cardinals defense that is giving up the 6th-most fantasy points to WRs at 23.3 PPG.
Aaron Hernandez: Rob Gronkowski has taken the #1 spot for the Patriots TEs, but Hernandez is no slouch as he averages 53.3 YPG. The Colts are a team that I think can run the table in reverse this season and the Patriots could set some kind of record if the coaching staff doesn't make Tom Brady take his foot off the pedal around halftime. With that said, I think both Gronkowski and Hernandez are going to be worth playing in all formats.
Atlanta Falcons defense: All the Falcons have to focus on this weekend is stopping one man; Arian Foster. The Texans are down to their 3rd-string QB in T.J. Yates and recently signed Jake Delhomme, if that gives you any indication of how much confidence they have in Yates. I wouldn't come within a country mile of playing Andre Johnson this weekend, but I'd bet the farm on the Falcons defense finishing as a Def1 when the dust settles from week 12.
Andy Dalton: Dalton has had himself some big games this season and he isn't getting much love outside of fantasy football lovers. However, the Steelers are giving up the 4th-fewest points to opposing QBs and all he has to throw to is A.J. Green. You want to hang on to him since he has juicy matchups in weeks 15 and 16 (Rams and Cardinals), which happens to be the fantasy finals.
Joe Flacco: Flacco has topped 300 yards just four times this season and he is coming off a season low of 161 yards last week. This week he draws the Browns and their secondary is giving up just over 13 PPG to QBs, which is tied for the 2nd-lowest in the NFL. Say what you will about the Browns, but they are shutting QBs down this season and fantasy owners need to know that heading into the playoffs.
Steven Jackson: S-Jax is on the downside of his career and has hit the 100-plus yard mark just three times this season. The last two weeks he has failed to gain more than 65 yards on the ground, but what concerns me this week is that he plays the 49ers and their #1-ranked run defense in fantasy leagues. Keep him as far away from your fantasy team as possible this week.
Reggie Bush: Bush has a favorable matchup this week against the Raiders, but he now has Daniel Thomas stealing touches and he failed to hit 100 yards of total offense last week. I think he is a boom-or-bust play this week, but with Moore starting for me I tend to think Bush is a PPR flex play and standard scoring sit for week 12.
Reggie Wayne: Some fantasy owners have gotten the idea of playing Wayne this weekend since the Patriots give up the most fantasy points to WRs this season. However, what they failed to take into account was that Wayne has Dan Orlovsky throwing to him and not Peyton Manning. I don't even know why you own Wayne at this point, let alone are considering starting him. Yahoo is projecting him as the #20 WR this week and I don't see any way that happens unless he scores in garbage time with the Colts down big.
Vincent Jackson: I am swinging for the fences here and sitting Jackson this week. Did you know that the Jaguars are allowing the 2nd-fewest fantasy points to WRs this season with an average of 14.9 PPG? Did you also know the Jaguars have allowed just 7 TDs to WRs this year, which is tied for #3 in the NFL? Because of these numbers, coupled with Rivers problems and Jackson's rollercoaster of a season, I don't have faith in him to bounce back this week.
Vernon Davis: Davis has one major problem when it comes to his value in NFL fantasy; his QB. Yes, the Rams are actually ranked #1 against the TE this season, but Alex Smith is still Alex Smith and that means Davis is not a TE you want to play against a defense known for stopping TEs.
Detroit Lions defense: The Lions have a two-fold problem this weekend; the Saints and no Ndamukong Suh. The Saints are probably the one team in the NFL that can keep the Packers from getting another ring for their fingers, and Suh is one of the most intimidating presences in the NFL. I think this could be a shootout with Drew Brees on one side and Matthew Stafford on the other, so keep away from the Lions defense this weekend.
Question of the week
Q: If Miles Austin doesn't play (which it's looking like he won't), would you start Dez Bryant or Laurent Robinson? Robinson has 7 TDs in the past 5 games, but Bryant is probably the more popular choice. (Johnny)
A: I'd start Robinson. Bryant is going to be higher on every ranking, but he disappears in the 2nd half of games whereas Robinson has been a TD beast. When Austin gets back you will want to bench Robinson until he proves he can still be productive as a #3, but that hasn't happened yet and I love Robinson this weekend.