Nick Mensio

Start ‘Em or Sit ‘Em

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Week 13 Start 'Em or Sit 'Em

Saturday, December 2, 2017


Happy Week 13, everyone. We’re gearing up for the fantasy playoffs. Start ‘Em or Sit ‘Em is aimed toward season-long leagues but can also be used for daily fantasy purposes, as these are players I’ll likely have some exposure to over the weekend.

QUARTERBACK

Start of the Week: Philip Rivers vs. Browns: Rivers is coming off his best game of the season, a Thanksgiving Day feast of the Cowboys last Thursday where he passed for 434 yards and three touchdowns en route to the overall QB2 finish for Week 12. Rivers completed 82% of his passes and averaged over 13.0 yards per attempt. Rivers has thrown multiple touchdowns in three straight games with a 7:1 TD:INT mark in that span. The surging Chargers are now just one game back in the AFC West. They now come home to face the winless Browns. Cleveland is 27th in pass-defense DVOA and 23rd in fantasy points allowed to quarterbacks. Over their last four games, the Browns have allowed three top-12 fantasy quarterbacks, including a pair of top-eight marks to Case Keenum and Matthew Stafford. Keenan Allen is rolling for the Chargers and should avoid Browns top CB Jason McCourty much of the afternoon. Allen runs 52% of his routes out of the slot, while McCourty has played just seven snaps in slot coverage all season. The Chargers also got Hunter Henry more involved last week, playing him on 76.5% of the snaps after being in on 65% or less the previous three weeks. Rivers is a locked-in top-10 fantasy play this week.

Starts

Josh McCown vs. Chiefs: McCown has been a top-14 fantasy quarterback six of his last seven games and has a pair of top-four finishes mixed in along with a top-six and top-seven. He and Robby Anderson have been on fire of late, and the Jets now host a Chiefs team that is spiraling the drain. Kansas City is 28th in pass yards allowed, 20th in pass-defense DVOA, and 20th in fantasy points given up to quarterbacks. Helping the Chiefs’ numbers of late have been matchups with Tyrod Taylor, Eli Manning, and Brock Osweiler over the last four weeks. McCown is a better passer at this point in time than all three. Kansas City has also surrendered at least 28 points in three of its last four road games. McCown is squarely on the streaming radar in a game New York could win outright.

Jared Goff at Cardinals: While Goff was missing Robert Woods (shoulder) last week, the Saints were also shorthanded without two of their top three corners in Marshon Lattimore and Ken Crawley. Goff managed the QB11 finish on the week with 354 yards and two touchdowns through the air. Through 12 weeks, Goff is sixth in pass yards, third in YPA average, 10th in touchdowns, and eighth in passer rating. He has three top-12 weeks in four games since the bye. Arizona is 30th in fantasy points allowed to quarterbacks, though a large part of that is due to allowing a league-high five rushing touchdowns to the position after Blake Bortles scored two last week. Still, this looks like a spot where Goff is going to have to throw the ball, as the Cardinals are No. 4 in run-defense DVOA and 10th in rushing yards allowed. When these two teams met in Week 7 in London, Goff had a lackluster 235 yards and 1:1 TD:INT mark. But Goff has one of the better matchups on the board at a shallow quarterback position with so many backups starting these days. Rams-Cardinals has a 45-point total, the fifth-highest of the weekend. Patrick Peterson will likely take away Sammy Watkins, but Goff should be able to lean on Cooper Kupp and Todd Gurley, followed by Tyler Higbee and Josh Reynolds. Goff is a legitimate top-eight quarterback play in Week 13.

Marcus Mariota vs. Texans: Get the Pepto Bismol ready. The thought of having to use Mariota has become nauseating, and he’s coming off yet another flop last week at the Colts. Over his last two games, Mariota has thrown two touchdowns to six interceptions and was the QB27 last week. He has zero top-10 finishes since Week 1. Mariota’s schedule is just too good to not take the chance on him. He gets the Texans this week followed up by the Cardinals and 49ers. Houston is dead last in fantasy points allowed to quarterbacks and 24th in passing yards given up. The Texans have also surrendered the fifth-most rushing yards to quarterbacks. These two teams met back in Week 4, and Mariota was on his way to a huge day before injuring his hamstring in the first half. Prior to leaving, Mariota rushed for two touchdowns. Since the Week 8 bye, he’s averaged 4.25 rushing attempts with one touchdown on the ground. While the Texans are susceptible to the pass, they actually play solid run defense. Houston is No. 9 in run-defense DVOA and No. 4 in fantasy points allowed to running backs. Mariota may have to put the offense on his back. The problem is we’re not sure he’s capable. Even so, Mariota is a fine top 10-12 quarterback play. Tennessee’s implied team total of 25.25 points is the seventh-highest of the week.

Editor’s Note: FanDuel is hosting the Rotoworld Beat the Writers Series, where you can play against five Rotoworld football writers for your chance at cash prizes and free entry into their Sunday Million. Put your knowledge to the test!

 

Sits

Matthew Stafford at Ravens: Prior to Tom Savage’s 252-yard effort this past Monday night, the Ravens hadn’t allowed a single 250-yard passer on the season. Savage still turned the ball over three times in that loss. Stafford has been playing great ball this season and would likely be in the MVP conversation if the Lions were winning more games. He’s fifth in yards and fourth in touchdowns. Before last week’s dud against the Vikings, Stafford had been a top-12 fantasy passer in five straight games. Baltimore’s offense has been rough on the eyes, but the defense is at the top of the class. The Ravens are No. 2 in pass yards allowed, No. 2 in fantasy points given up to quarterbacks, and No. 2 in pass-defense DVOA. They’ve picked off a league-high 18 passes. No opposing quarterback has finished as a top-12 fantasy passer against Baltimore on United States soil. Blake Bortles was the QB5 when he faced the Ravens in London. Stafford is okay to use in two-quarterback leagues, but he’s not a strong play in regular 10-, 12-, and 14-team leagues.

Jimmy Garoppolo at Bears: Garoppolo made a cameo appearance late in last week’s loss to the Seahawks after C.J. Beathard suffered hip and knee injuries. Garoppolo attempted both of his passes for 18 yards and a touchdown with the game already out of reach. He’ll now be making his first start with his new team, and it’ll be back home in Chicago after Garoppolo grew up in Rolling Meadows, Ill. and played college ball at Eastern Illinois. The matchup, however, won’t be an easy one. The Bears are No. 7 in fantasy points allowed to quarterbacks and 12th in total pass defense. They also tend to play much better at home. Only one quarterback (Matthew Stafford) has managed a top-12 week in Chicago since Week 1. The 41-point total for Niners-Bears is the second-lowest of the week. It’s doubtful Garoppolo is fully comfortable in coach Kyle Shanahan’s offense after just four weeks in town. Shanahan admitted he likely won’t be until 2018.

Ben Roethlisberger at Bengals: Big Ben is on a bit of a heater at the moment, coming off the two best games of his season. Both came at home against the Titans (299 yards, 4 TDs) and Packers (351 yards, 4 TDs), but the Steelers are heading back out on the road for a division game. Roethlisberger has just one 300-yard game and two multi-touchdown efforts away from home this season. The Bengals are fifth in total pass defense and 10th in fantasy points allowed to quarterbacks. When these two met in Pittsburgh in Week 7, Big Ben attempted just 24 passes, throwing for 224 yards and two scores. He hasn’t had a multi-score game in Cincinnati since 2014, and Roethlisberger’s home-road differential is well noted in the fantasy community. The Bengals have the third-most sacks while Pittsburgh is without suspended RT Marcus Gilbert.


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Nick Mensio is a football writer for Rotoworld.com. The 2014 NFL season marks his third with Rotoworld. He can be found on Twitter at @NickMensio.
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