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USATSI

A new spate of injuries brings a new slate of start/sit debates and we're here to answer them all for every matchup on the slate. There are glaring Week 13 examples of players you should start and sit. There are also examples of sleepers who could provide unexpected production and big names who could flop based on these Week 13 matchups. Every week we'll break down every game on the slate and pinpoint the players you need to know in every matchup.

The best part is that you get to have a say in who makes this story every week! Follow me on Twitter and look for my weekly #SSSB polls to help me choose who I analyze. 

All lines from Caesars Sportsbook.

Start 'em
10.0-7.00
6.99 - 5.01
5.00 - 0
Sit 'em
Thu, Dec 2 at 8:20 pm ET •
NO +4.5, O/U 47.5
Flex Starter
Projections powered by Sportsline
DAL Dallas • #20
Age: 24 • Experience: 3 yrs.
Weekly Breakdown
MATCHUP
@ NO DAL -4.5 O/U 47.5
OPP VS RB
1st
PROJ PTS
9
RB RNK
25th
YTD Stats
RUYDS
531
REC
29
REYDS
256
TD
1
FPTS/G
10.3
Jerry Jones can scream from the rooftops that Ezekiel Elliott will have a "serious load" against the Saints, but even he can't deny what Pollard can do for his offense. In the past five games, Elliott has been overshadowed by Pollard in yards after contact per rush (3.26 to 2.12) and explosive runs of 12-plus yards (three to zero), and the difference between the number of carries of five-plus yards is negligible (Elliott has 17, Pollard has 13). The opportunity rate between both backs remains good for both (41% for Elliott, 33% for Pollard), but Pollard matched his season-high in snaps played last week with 42%, only this time it didn't come in a blowout win like it did in Week 10 against Atlanta. Against a defense like the Saints, which is better suited to limit grinders like Elliott rather than explosive runners like Pollard, I like the younger runner's chances to break a couple of long plays and help as a Fantasy flex.
Sit Him
Projections powered by Sportsline
NO New Orleans • #7
Age: 31 • Experience: 5 yrs.
Weekly Breakdown
MATCHUP
vs DAL DAL -4.5 O/U 47.5
OPP VS QB
11th
PROJ PTS
21
QB RNK
16th
YTD Stats
PAYDS
56
RUYDS
104
TD
3
INT
1
FPTS/G
5.4
Doesn't it say something that the Saints are turning to Hill a full month after Jameis Winston's injury and after Trevor Siemian couldn't lead the team to a win in four full games? Hill didn't win the starting job in training camp because he was sloppier with the football than Winston was and didn't throw with as much velocity as Winston did. And I know we all loved what we got from Hill last year, but a whopping 30.6% of his passes went to Michael Thomas; no one on the Saints in 2021 can compare to Thomas. And as efficient as a rusher Hill was in 2020, the Saints would be a little silly to lean too heavily on that element given their other backs. Point is, it's going to be harder for him to reach the 20 Fantasy point threshold this year, and taking on the Cowboys 10th-ranked run defense won't help his cause. I don't mind stashing Hill to see how he does this week, but I wouldn't start him unless you were a little desperate.
Start 'em
10.0-7.00
6.99 - 5.01
5.00 - 0
Sit 'em
Sun, Dec 5 at 1:00 pm ET •
ATL +11, O/U 50.5
Bust Candidate
Projections powered by Sportsline
ATL Atlanta • #8
Age: 21 • Experience: Rookie
Weekly Breakdown
MATCHUP
vs TB TB -11 O/U 50.5
OPP VS TE
27th
PROJ PTS
11.8
TE RNK
9th
YTD Stats
REC
45
TAR
75
REYDS
661
TD
1
FPTS/G
10.6
The Falcons have run 35 red-zone plays since their Week 6 bye and Pitts has collected one target in them. Kind of reminds you of Julio Jones' red-zone woes with the Falcons, doesn't it? Defenses are clearly honing in on Pitts with double-teams, making it hard on him but easier for Matt Ryan to find other guys (like Russell Gage last week). Sadly, failing to score short touchdowns isn't Pitts' only problem -- last week Pitts ran four (!) routes longer than 10 yards, a steep drop-off from Week 11's 13 11-plus-yard routes (which is also sort of low). Even a modest matchup like Jacksonville last week was enough to overlook all of this and still start Pitts, but he still faltered. This week's showdown figures to be tougher: Tampa Bay has allowed eight touchdowns to wide receivers and tight ends combined over its past eight games with no 100-yard performances. Pitts had five grabs for 73 yards against them in Week 2 -- that might be closer to his ceiling than his floor at this point.
Start 'em
10.0-7.00
6.99 - 5.01
5.00 - 0
Sit 'em
Sun, Dec 5 at 1:00 pm ET •
CHI +7.5, O/U 45.5
Sit Him
Projections powered by Sportsline
ARI Arizona • #86
Age: 31 • Experience: 9 yrs.
Weekly Breakdown
MATCHUP
@ CHI ARI -7.5 O/U 45.5
OPP VS TE
7th
PROJ PTS
11.9
TE RNK
7th
YTD Stats
REC
40
TAR
60
REYDS
458
TD
5
FPTS/G
10.6
Ertz will face a Bears pass defense that's allowed at least 11 half-PPR points to a tight end in each of their past three games. That includes a low-volume game from T.J. Hockenson last week (he scored) and two high-volume performances from Mark Andrews and Pat Freiermuth. There are still a bunch of changing factors for Ertz, the largest of which being Kyler Murray starting at quarterback for Arizona. In two games together (Weeks 7 and 8), Ertz had a 15.5% target share and caught 7 of 9 throws for a 15.4 yard per catch average (a higher number than what he had with Jalen Hurts or Colt McCoy). He's a more likable starter if DeAndre Hopkins is out or limited, but the middle-field targets should be dominated by Ertz against a Bears defense that's allowed a ridiculous 79% catch rate to tight ends since Week 10.
Start 'em
10.0-7.00
6.99 - 5.01
5.00 - 0
Sit 'em
Sun, Dec 5 at 1:00 pm ET •
CIN -3, O/U 50.5
Sit Him
Projections powered by Sportsline
LAC L.A. Chargers • #81
Age: 27 • Experience: 5 yrs.
Weekly Breakdown
MATCHUP
@ CIN CIN -3 O/U 50.5
OPP VS WR
12th
PROJ PTS
13.6
WR RNK
33rd
YTD Stats
REC
50
TAR
86
REYDS
744
TD
7
FPTS/G
15.3
Take away Williams' big touchdown catch-and-run from Week 11 and he'd have delivered eight or fewer full-PPR points in four straight games. His consistent usage as a short-area receiver has vanished, leaving him in the same role as he had in 2020 and before. And when that went away, so too did his high target volume (10.2 targets per game in his first five, 5.8 targets per game in his past six). If there's any room for optimism, it's that the Bengals had some tough moments dealing with Chase Claypool last week and Darren Waller the week before, both similar to Williams as far as size and speed. There is also Williams' end-zone opportunities, which were plentiful until last week, but the Bengals are stunningly top-12 in red-zone efficiency and league-best in goal-to-go efficiency. The last outside receiver to score on the Bengals was Davante Adams in Week 5.
Start 'em
10.0-7.00
6.99 - 5.01
5.00 - 0
Sit 'em
Sun, Dec 5 at 1:00 pm ET •
DET +7, O/U 46.5
Start Him
Projections powered by Sportsline
MIN Minnesota • #8
Age: 33 • Experience: 10 yrs.
Weekly Breakdown
MATCHUP
@ DET MIN -7 O/U 46.5
OPP VS QB
13th
PROJ PTS
23.8
QB RNK
9th
YTD Stats
PAYDS
3013
RUYDS
69
TD
24
INT
3
FPTS/G
24
Only two of the last eight quarterbacks to take on the Lions have posted 20 or more Fantasy points, but it's not because they're some sort of incredible defense. It's a combination of facing mediocre quarterbacks and teams running the ball down their throats. In two games without Dalvin Cook this year, including Week 5 versus the Lions, the Vikings dialed up a minimum of 34 pass attempts while also giving Alexander Mattison over 25 carries. In both games Cousins hit at least 275 yards, but he failed to record two touchdowns once -- against Detroit. It's fair to say the Vikings can win this one without a monster game from Cousins, but it's also fair to say Cousins was two Fantasy points from recording four straight games with at least 21, and he's completed multiple scores in each of his past four. He's not doing a bad job passing in the least. He's just not crushing defenses. Expect a modest game from Cousins, making him a low-end starter.
Sneaky Sleeper
Projections powered by Sportsline
DET Detroit • #8
Age: 26 • Experience: 5 yrs.
Weekly Breakdown
MATCHUP
vs MIN MIN -7 O/U 46.5
OPP VS WR
30th
PROJ PTS
8.6
WR RNK
43rd
YTD Stats
REC
13
TAR
21
REYDS
160
TD
1
FPTS/G
5
Trusting Lions receivers based on their previous week's numbers has been a disaster this year. But Reynolds has played 88%-plus of their snaps since arriving in Motown two games ago and somehow leads the Lions wideouts on receiving yards in that timespan despite not getting a single yard in Week 11. Reynolds looks like their best wide receiver, gliding through defenses and finding soft spots in zone coverage while also having the benefit of working with Jared Goff in their days together in L.A. Really it's more a byproduct of Reynolds being the best target in an ugly receiving corps, but if the volume is going to stick with him against a suspect Vikings secondary, then at the very least he's worth rostering if not using as a desperation flex.
Start 'em
10.0-7.00
6.99 - 5.01
5.00 - 0
Sit 'em
Sun, Dec 5 at 1:00 pm ET •
HOU +8.5, O/U 45.5
Bust Candidates
Projections powered by Sportsline
IND Indianapolis • #2
Age: 29 • Experience: 6 yrs.
Weekly Breakdown
MATCHUP
@ HOU IND -8.5 O/U 45.5
OPP VS QB
15th
PROJ PTS
21.7
QB RNK
15th
YTD Stats
PAYDS
2790
RUYDS
159
TD
22
INT
5
FPTS/G
20.3
I know it sounds silly to bench Wentz after he just scorched the Buccaneers and is about to deal with the lowly Texans, but I have concerns. One, the Texans have turned up their man coverage over the last three weeks and they're 1-2 with two one-score losses. Wentz is much worse against man coverage than zone (completion rate is 12.3% lower, yards per attempt is effectively 2.5 yards lower, quarterback rating is slightly lower). Whether the Texans stick with their new effective defense or not, there's a serious reality that the Colts won't have much reason to throw a ton against Houston as long as Jonathan Taylor does his thing. Wentz threw just 20 passes in Week 6 and finished with a decent Fantasy day (20 points) while Taylor erupted for over 150 total yards and two scores. History could repeat itself.
IND Indianapolis • #11
Age: 24 • Experience: 2 yrs.
Weekly Breakdown
MATCHUP
@ HOU IND -8.5 O/U 45.5
OPP VS WR
18th
PROJ PTS
14.1
WR RNK
22nd
YTD Stats
REC
61
TAR
91
REYDS
805
TD
5
FPTS/G
14.4
Chances are you won't have a better option, or at least one with as much upside, as Pittman on your roster. But in six games the Colts won this season, Pittman's averaged 5.2 targets per game. In the six games the Colts lost, he's been at 10.0 targets per game. The expectation is that the Colts will win this matchup, and they might do it on the back of Taylor, which is why Wentz wasn't someone I was enthused to start. Houston has allowed a receiver to nab at least seven receptions in four of its past five games, but what are the odds Pittman will get that kind of volume? He hasn't exceeded five grabs since Week 9.
Start 'em
10.0-7.00
6.99 - 5.01
5.00 - 0
Sit 'em
Sun, Dec 5 at 1:00 pm ET •
MIA -4, O/U 40.5
Start Him In PPR
Projections powered by Sportsline
MIA Miami • #88
Age: 26 • Experience: 4 yrs.
Weekly Breakdown
MATCHUP
vs NYG MIA -4 O/U 40.5
OPP VS TE
14th
PROJ PTS
9.9
TE RNK
10th
YTD Stats
REC
52
TAR
79
REYDS
596
TD
2
FPTS/G
10.5
The big worry isn't the matchup against the Giants -- it's the return of DeVante Parker. When Parker's played, Gesicki has seen a target share below 15% in three of five games. When Parker's been sidelined, Gesicki's target share vaulted to at least 17.6% in six of seven games (the outlier being last week). And I lied, that's not the only big worry. Gesicki has had 10 or fewer PPR points in five straight games and has a grand total of two end-zone targets on the season. He's too risky to trust this week -- Foster Moreau, assuming Darren Waller is out, has more upside.
Start 'em
10.0-7.00
6.99 - 5.01
5.00 - 0
Sit 'em
Sun, Dec 5 at 1:00 pm ET •
NYJ +6.5, O/U 45.5
Flex Starter
Projections powered by Sportsline
PHI Philadelphia • #6
Age: 23 • Experience: Rookie
Weekly Breakdown
MATCHUP
@ NYJ PHI -6.5 O/U 45.5
OPP VS WR
17th
PROJ PTS
13.4
WR RNK
24th
YTD Stats
REC
48
TAR
78
REYDS
686
TD
4
FPTS/G
11.7
Am I worried that the Eagles might revert back to their run-heavy ways after getting wild with a 54% pass rate last week? Yep. But I also cannot overlook the matchup for Smith against a porous Jets pass defense, and I'm hoping the Eagles don't overlook it either. In their seven games since their bye, the Jets rank bottom-5 in yards per catch allowed (16.6), yards after catch per reception allowed (5.17), passes of 20-plus air yards allowed (18) and completions of 20-plus yards allowed (12) just to outside wide receivers. They've allowed five scores to receivers that have lined up wide in that timespan, too. It's simply a matter of the Eagles finding opportunities for Smith, which isn't something they've done a great job of since becoming a run-heavy operation (six or fewer targets for Smith in five straight games). That's why Smith is just a PPR flex recommendation this week, albeit a quality one. I like his chances better in non-PPR.
Start 'em
10.0-7.00
6.99 - 5.01
5.00 - 0
Sit 'em
Sun, Dec 5 at 4:05 pm ET •
LAR -12.5, O/U 47.5
Flex Starter
Projections powered by Sportsline
LAR L.A. Rams • #3
Age: 29 • Experience: 8 yrs.
Weekly Breakdown
MATCHUP
vs JAC LAR -12.5 O/U 47.5
OPP VS WR
20th
PROJ PTS
12.8
WR RNK
26th
YTD Stats
REC
24
TAR
47
REYDS
331
TD
1
FPTS/G
8.1
Matthew Stafford could have given up on looking his way after not connecting on three of four first-half throws. Instead, he fired six more passes his way (three of them deep), eventually connecting on a 54-yard bomb thanks to a perfect sluggo (slant and go) route by Beckham. Honestly, the veteran receiver moved fine and had good speed, just as he did earlier this year in Cleveland. But last week he simply had a quarterback he was on the same page with, and one who gave him a 25.6% target share last week. We've noticed the Jaguars pass defense getting a little better overall but in five games since their bye they're seeing outside receivers land at least 11 targets per game with a 73% catch rate. The Jags are also playing way less man coverage; Beckham's catch rate is 20% higher against zone and he's had more explosive plays against zone (six) than man (two). The only reason why I won't call Beckham a must-start is because there's a good chance the Rams won't have to throw a ton like they did last week.
Start 'em
10.0-7.00
6.99 - 5.01
5.00 - 0
Sit 'em
Sun, Dec 5 at 4:05 pm ET •
LV -2.5, O/U 49.5
Start Them
Projections powered by Sportsline
WAS Washington • #82
Age: 30 • Experience: 6 yrs.
Weekly Breakdown
MATCHUP
@ LV LV -2.5 O/U 49.5
OPP VS TE
30th
PROJ PTS
8.3
TE RNK
8th
YTD Stats
REC
15
TAR
20
REYDS
148
TD
2
FPTS/G
8
The Raiders have allowed at least 10.5 points in half-PPR leagues to seven of the last nine tight ends they've faced. It's easier to tell you who they did a good job against (Cole Kmet, Dallas Goedert, C.J. Uzomah) rather than who they've been blown out by. Thomas not only was right back to being a regular contributor for Washington's offense, but he nearly had a late touchdown that would have sealed the win last week. Hopefully, Thomas holds on to that ball when he gets an end-zone target this week, but expect him to be involved plenty in a favorable matchup.
LV Las Vegas • #87
Age: 24 • Experience: 3 yrs.
Weekly Breakdown
MATCHUP
vs WAS LV -2.5 O/U 49.5
OPP VS TE
16th
PROJ PTS
10.1
TE RNK
12th
YTD Stats
REC
12
TAR
19
REYDS
135
TD
3
FPTS/G
4
You may already know that Moreau caught all six of his targets for 60 yards and a touchdown in Week 7 against the Eagles when Darren Waller was sidelined. But you should be especially encouraged by the snaps Moreau played -- 100% of them -- with pass routes run on 30 of 34 dropbacks by Derek Carr. No matchup is as good as the Eagles for a tight end, but the Football Team has allowed two scores to the position over the past three weeks. And of the six tight ends with at least five targets against Washington, five have notched 10-plus full-PPR points. The cherry on top: In three years with Carr, Moreau has caught a touchdown once every 3.9 receptions! He's an easy waivers-to-lineup starting option for at least one week.
Start 'em
10.0-7.00
6.99 - 5.01
5.00 - 0
Sit 'em
Sun, Dec 5 at 4:25 pm ET •
PIT +4.5, O/U 44
Start Him
Projections powered by Sportsline
BAL Baltimore • #34
Age: 29 • Experience: 8 yrs.
Weekly Breakdown
MATCHUP
@ PIT BAL -4.5 O/U 44
OPP VS RB
20th
PROJ PTS
9.7
RB RNK
24th
YTD Stats
RUYDS
324
REC
18
REYDS
125
TD
4
FPTS/G
8.7
Freeman continued to lead the Ravens backfield in Week 12 complete with a dominant 17 touches. Latavius Murray played more than in Week 11, saw one more snap inside of 10 yards from the goal line and also took a surprising amount of third-down snaps (9 of 16), but had just eight carries and averaged less than 2.0 yards per pop. Freeman seemingly is Baltimore's best back until further notice. That's good news against a Steelers run defense that's yielded six total touchdowns to running backs in its past two games and ceded at least 90 total yards to a back seven times in 11 games. Furthermore, Pittsburgh won't have outside linebacker T.J. Watt nor inside linebacker Robert Spillane. It's going to make the matchup even easier for the Ravens in general, just what they needed after three difficult games.
Start 'em
10.0-7.00
6.99 - 5.01
5.00 - 0
Sit 'em
Sun, Dec 5 at 4:25 pm ET •
SEA +3.5, O/U 45.5
Start Him
Projections powered by Sportsline
SF San Francisco • #11
Age: 23 • Experience: 2 yrs.
Weekly Breakdown
MATCHUP
@ SEA SF -3.5 O/U 45.5
OPP VS WR
13th
PROJ PTS
12.7
WR RNK
16th
YTD Stats
REC
32
TAR
48
REYDS
432
TD
3
FPTS/G
8.6
When Aiyuk played without Deebo Samuel for six games last year he averaged 8.3 targets per game and amassed 13-plus non-PPR/20-plus PPR four times. Of these six, four were also without George Kittle, but even in the two Aiyuk played with Kittle, he hit the big numbers once. It's assumed Aiyuk will be a top target-getter for the 49ers, albeit in a challenging matchup. Each of the last six teams to play the Seahawks failed to produce a receiver with 80-plus yards, and only one receiver scored (Jamal Agnew, in garbage time). Yet this is still a Seattle defense that's playing a ton of snaps each week thanks to its offense's futility. That's why it's allowed plenty of receptions, creating a rival receiver with at least 14 PPR points in three of four. That's about what you should expect.
Start 'em
10.0-7.00
6.99 - 5.01
5.00 - 0
Sit 'em
Sun, Dec 5 at 8:20 pm ET •
KC -9.5, O/U 47
Sit Them
Projections powered by Sportsline
DEN Denver • #25
Age: 28 • Experience: 7 yrs.
Weekly Breakdown
MATCHUP
@ KC KC -9.5 O/U 47
OPP VS RB
16th
PROJ PTS
10.4
RB RNK
21st
YTD Stats
RUYDS
605
REC
22
REYDS
166
TD
7
FPTS/G
12.5
DEN Denver • #33
Age: 21 • Experience: Rookie
Weekly Breakdown
MATCHUP
@ KC KC -9.5 O/U 47
OPP VS RB
16th
PROJ PTS
10.4
RB RNK
23rd
Even in a game where Gordon missed time in the first quarter with an injury, the veteran saw a slight touch advantage, even if Williams blasted off for over 100 total yards and a rushing score. The story remains the same with these guys: Gordon is the more consistent, steady runner while Williams offers more explosiveness, but more risk. Unfortunately, the Broncos will keep using both against an incredibly improved Chiefs run defense. In their past seven games, they haven't allowed a running back to score and only three (Devontae Booker, Derrick Henry, J.D. McKissic) have eclipsed 100 total yards. Both might salvage their stat lines in full PPR if they see more targets because the Broncos are chasing points, but it really doesn't make one better than the other.
Start 'em
10.0-7.00
6.99 - 5.01
5.00 - 0
Sit 'em
Mon, Dec 6 at 8:15 pm ET •
BUF -2.5, O/U 43.5
Sit Him
Projections powered by Sportsline
BUF Buffalo • #88
Age: 25 • Experience: 3 yrs.
Weekly Breakdown
MATCHUP
vs NE BUF -2.5 O/U 43.5
OPP VS TE
2nd
PROJ PTS
8.7
TE RNK
11th
YTD Stats
REC
31
TAR
41
REYDS
415
TD
7
FPTS/G
12.9
The Patriots have played a lot of Cover-3 defense this year, and they've done well with it. Only one quarterback found more than 20 points against it (Jameis Winston, and he ran for a touchdown in the game). Josh Allen has specifically struggled against this kind of defense compared to others, particularly when it comes to interceptions (five of his 10). No one will tell you to sit Allen, but his tight end has also been a non-factor against Cover-3 schemes and is definitely benchable. On the season, Knox sees the lowest target rate against Cover-3 (10.1%) and has one score against the scheme. Furthermore, the Patriots have allowed more than nine PPR points to a tight end twice all year, none more than 12 points. They also held Knox in check in 2020 and 2019 matchups.

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