Posted: Thursday, December 3, 2015
This is the Fantasy Football Nerd's look at the best and worst matchups for Week 13 of the 2015 NFL season. Decisions are based upon the FFN rankings and matchup analysis. Given the known conditions, these matchups are the ones to watch and/or avoid.
This list does not generally include the elite players that you are going to start regardless of matchup. You don't need us to tell you to start Aaron Rodgers, Rob Gronkowski, or Antonio Brown. Instead, we take a look at other players on your team that we believe either have great matchups or should be avoided for multiple reasons. Factors like opposing defense, performance trending, and peer comparisons may influence our decisions.
Start 'em Jay Cutler (CHI, QB)
Coming into this week's rankings at #7 is Jay Cutler who's facing a San Francisco defense that gives up the 5th-most passing yards per game and an average of 19 fantasy points. Cutler should finish this week as a Top 10 QB.
Start 'em Ryan Fitzpatrick (NYJ, QB)
The Geno Smith show will have to wait because Ryan Fitzpatrick is on a roll. He's ranked 10th this week facing the Giants, and nobody has given up more passing yards per game this year than New York.
Start 'em David Johnson (ARI, RB)
With Chris Johnson out and Andre Ellington banged up, this is David Johnson's opportunity to shine. While it's difficult to throw on St Louis, it's not impossible to run on them as the Rams give up 111 yards rushing per game. Jeremy Hill, Buck Allen, and AP all saw double digits in the last 3 games. Johnson should be a nice flex option this week.
Start 'em Jonathan Stewart (CAR, RB)
Can the Panthers keep their undefeated streak going? We'll see this week when they face the Saints who give up the 3rd-most rushing yards per game. Jonathan Stewart is ranked 6th this week because the matchup is that tasty. We're expecting a big day from Stewart on Sunday.
Start 'em Jarvis Landry (MIA, WR)
Jarvis Landry is one of those guys who could easily outperform his ranking this week (#14). Coming off a monster game, Landry and Tannehill are rolling. That should continue against a Ravens D that gives up the 9th-most passing yards per game and the 3rd-most fantasy points.
Start 'em Martavis Bryant (PIT, WR)
If a receiver is wearing a Steelers jersey, there's a good chance that you can start him. Martavis Bryant certainly fits that bill and should have another fantastic day against an Indy defense that has given up the 5th-most passing yards per game.
Start 'em Julius Thomas (JAC, TE)
He may not have started out strong this year, but Julius Thomas has found his way back to fantasy relevance. His #9 ranking this week comes against a Tennessee defense that may not give up a lot of yards through the air but has been favorable to TE's over the past several weeks. He put up 9 points in Week 11. Expect similar points this week.
Start 'em Scott Chandler (NE, TE)
With Gronk hobbled and apparently not coming back until he's 100%, Scott Chandler could be the waiver wire win of the week. After Gronk went down last week, Brady targeted Chandler over and over. The potential for a big game is there as evidenced by his #8 ranking this week.
Start 'em Houston Texans (HOU, DEF)
Did you know that JJ Watt has more sacks this year than the entire front defensive line of the Bills? The Bills have been inconsistent on offense. Sammy Watkins had a monster first half with nothing in the second half last week. Tyrod Taylor is going to be pressured quite a bit on Sunday which could very well mean plenty of sacks and turnover opportunities.
Start 'em Graham Gano (CAR, K)
The Panthers' success extends all the way to the kicker position as well. No other team gives up more points per game than New Orleans which is why you'll find Graham Gano coming into this week's rankings at #2. His fantasy success should continue to roll.
Sit 'em Matt Ryan (ATL, QB)
When Ryan faced the Bucs in Week 8, he put up a respectable 20 fantasy points. Matty Ice has been ice cold since then. His #15 ranking this week puts him out of the QB1 space and the Tampa Bay defense has gotten better giving up the 14th-fewest yards through the air this year.
Sit 'em Philip Rivers (SD, QB)
While we saw Rivers bounce back nicely last week even finding Gates in the endzone twice, his matchup this week is going to be difficult. Nobody gives up fewer yards through the air or fantasy points to QB's than Denver.
Sit 'em Melvin Gordon (SD, RB)
Even with an increased workload, Melvin Gordon hasn't really put up the fantasy numbers that we were hoping for. Add to this the fact that he's facing the Broncos who give up the 2nd-fewest yards per game on the ground and suddenly his ranking of 37th isn't so surprising.
Sit 'em Frank Gore (IND, RB)
Gore has essentially been a disappointment all year. Even with Ahmad Bradshaw out of the picture, Gore is barely breaking fantasy-relevant status. His 24th ranking makes him more of a flex play than an RB2 particularly against Pittsburgh who gives up the 7th-fewest yards per game on the ground.
Sit 'em Brandin Cooks (NO, WR)
Look all the way down the WR rankings this week and you'll find Brandin Cooks at #33 making the Saints #1 wideout barely a flex play. The problem is that he'll be blanketed by Josh Norman who may soon get his own island named after himself with his shutdown skills. Even in a shootout, Cooks is risky this week.
Sit 'em Doug Baldwin (SEA, WR)
Any hopes of Russell Wilson and Doug Baldwin putting up a combined 75+ points again is not realistic. Even if you were able to snag him off the waivers, this isn't a good week to expect much from him. The Seahawks will face a Vikings defense that is sitting atop the NFC Central and has given up the 4th-fewest yards through the air. Roddy White, Julio, Cobb, Crabtree, Cooper, and more have been kept to single digits (std).
Sit 'em Jason Witten (DAL, TE)
With Romo out for the season, the hopes of fantasy owners for Cowboys' players have spiraled downward. Witten finds himself ranked 13th which is less about his ability to put up consistent numbers and more about his security blanket status. You can run on the Redskins but passing games have more difficulty. Projecting Romo's value is not easy.
Sit 'em Vernon Davis (DEN, TE)
We finally saw some chemistry between Vernon Davis and Brock Osweiler last week, but as big and talented as Davis is, don't rush out to plug him into your lineups. His 22nd ranking this week seems to indicate that the rest of the industry agrees with that statement.
Sit 'em New York Jets (NYJ, DEF)
The Jets will likely be without Revis this week (concussion) meaning that Odell Beckham Jr will not be on Revis Island. That's great news for Giants fans but bad news for Jets fans and Jets fantasy owners.
Sit 'em Adam Vinatieri (IND, K)
It's tough to know what you're going to get from Adam Vinatieri week to week. The fantasy kicking stud has been good for a long time and has even turned it up in recent weeks, but a matchup with Pittsburgh and their stingy defense (2nd-fewest fantasy points to kickers this year) is not what you want to see if you're trying to get into the playoffs.