Fantasy Football Week 13 Rankings: How to handle bench spots, waivers, Thanksgiving games, and more

The Fantasy football season is a sprint, and the last quarter of the season is when things really reach a breakneck pace. The first month or so, you're feeling your team out, trying to tell what is just a slow start vs. the start of a disappointing campaign. Then the bye weeks hit and it's two months of trying to juggle your lineup and hoping you don't have too many key players out to compete.

And then the stretch run hits, and all of a sudden, you've got every player at your disposal. The only consideration is who you think will perform every week — and with many in do-or-die situations every week from now until (hopefully Week 16), you don't really care what might happen down the road — you need to win at all costs.

It all comes together now. Either you built a winning team with 12 weeks of shrewd moves — and a bit of good luck, naturally — or you're limping into the playoffs and hoping to get hot at the right time. Either way, our trio of experts — Jamey Eisenberg, Dave Richard, and Heath Cummings — are here to help you make it to the championship game, and it begins with three key matchups this Thursday.

They've set their rankings for Week 13, and make sure you check out what else we've got for you before they answer the biggest questions facing Fantasy players heading into Week 13:

1. With bye weeks done, how are you approaching your bench spots. Are you prioritizing depth, or handcuffs?

  • Jamey Eisenberg: I want the best players possible on my bench with an eye toward who can be league winners. It might not be a handcuff for one of the running backs on my roster, but instead someone like Alexander Mattison and Gus Edwards are worth rostering. Find those guys if they are available on waivers because they could be lottery tickets.
  • Dave Richard: The answer to this is totally dependent on what my lineup looks like. If I have a stud quarterback, I'd prefer to not carry a backup. If I have a stud DST, I don't need a second one. But I love having good running back depth (and an extra receiver or two) in case of emergencies. Handcuffs are included in that depth, but only with the backs who I believe will be good in case the starter in front of them goes down (Gus Edwards, Alexander Mattison, Tony Pollard).    
  • Heath Cummings: I want playoff upside. Handcuffs like Mattison, Edwards, and Rashaad Penny are at the top of my list, but also quarterbacks like Ryan Tannehill and Daniel Jones because of their playoff schedule.

2. Who are your top priorities on waivers for Week 13?

  • Jamey: Jonathan Williams if he's still available. Sam Darnold if I need a quarterback. Ryan Griffin if he's still available at tight end. And either Dede Westbrook or Sterling Shepard at receiver.
  • Dave: If Williams is still out there, I'm racing to get him. If I'm streaming tight ends, I'm viewing Jack Doyle as a permanent solution. And if I want a mega-upside running back to stick on my bench, Penny fits the bill. But mostly I'm prioritizing my waiver moves based on what I need to get me through Week 13.    
  • Heath: Williams and Benny Snell should be feature backs this week so they're up first. If I need a receiver Shepard is my clear top choice. 

3. How are you handling the Packers backfield at this point?

  • Jamey: Aaron Jones is still the guy to own and trust, and Jamaal Williams is a high-end flex, especially in PPR.
  • Dave: Nothing's changed. I still view Aaron Jones as the best back and Jamaal Williams as a low-end No. 2 option. Matchups against the Giants and Redskins in the next two weeks should ease any anxiety caused by Week 12's meltdown.
  • Heath: Start them. They're both No. 2 backs but they should find little resistance in New York.

4. With six teams playing Thursday, does the short week change your approach or expectations?

  • Jamey:  I just hope the injured guys are able to play, including Julio Jones and Devonta Freeman. But it's just like a normal Thursday where you have to expect lesser quality of play, especially for the teams playing during the day.
  • Dave: Not really. I have and will continue to like running backs playing on the short week because their game plan doesn't change much from game to game and they can heal up faster than 11 guys on defense, who do have fresh assignments from week to week.
  • Heath: You need to be more vigilant to make sure you don't have a Thursday player in a flex spot if you can avoid it. That hurts your flexibility.

5. Are you considering sitting Deshaun Watson or DeAndre Hopkins against the Patriots?

  • Jamey: I am, yes. At quarterback, I'd rather start Sam Darnold, Kyler Murray, Josh Allen and Ryan Tannehill over Watson. And at receiver, I'd rather start Tyler Boyd, Jarvis Landry and DeVante Parker over Hopkins.
  • Dave: Nope. Expectations are lowered, but I'm not sitting them.    
  • Heath: I am. Lamar Jackson and Golden Tate are the only two top-12 performers against this defense all season at their respective positions. That being said, I'm fine starting them if I don't have a good option.

6. Are you starting anyone but Julian Edelman on the Patriots?

  • Jamey: Just Edelman for the Patriots. Everyone else is either a flex at running back or receiver, and Tom Brady isn't close to a top-12 quarterback right now.    
  • Dave: You mean besides the Patriots DST? I'd consider Brady if I'm light at quarterback. The Patriots are bound to attack the Texans secondary (unlike the Colts). Jakobi Meyers is in play if Phillip Dorsett and/or Mohamed Sanu are out. Sony Michel and James White are No. 3 rushers.
  • Heath: I'd really rather not. Maybe Sony Michel in non-PPR. The defense is fine too.

7. What is the top streaming DST for this week?

  • Jamey: The Eagles, and I'm not sure it's close.     
  • Dave: Only one DST failed to record at least 10 Fantasy points against the Bengals this season: The Cardinals in Week 5. Every other one did. Even with Andy Dalton back under center for the Bengals, I'm sticking by the Jets ... though I must admit I love Dalton for DFS play because of his dirt-cheap price. 
  • Heath: The Panthers against Washington. 

So who should you sit and start this week? And which surprising quarterback could lead you to victory? Visit SportsLine now to get Week 13 Fantasy football rankings for every position, plus see which QB is going to come out of nowhere to crack the top 10, all from the model that out-performed experts big time last season.

Fantasy Writer

Though he can be found covering three different sports depending on the time of year, there is one unifying theme in how Chris Towers approaches sports; "Where's the evidence?" It doesn't matter how outlandish... Full Bio

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