Win or go home. Win and in. Must win. Survive and advance. Whatever you call your situation in Week 13, the bottom line is you can’t afford to botch a start ’em, sit ’em decision. We’re here to help with lineup advice on the all the tough calls. And for all of you DFS players trying to make some money because your season-long league was a disaster, we have some picks there, too. We even have a special start-or-sit edition for the three Thursday games, which can be found by clicking here.
With no teams on bye, fantasy owners have a lot of options. However, injuries are once again an issue. Here are the key players to watch: JuJu Smith-Schuster (concussion, knee), James Conner (shoulder), Jordan Howard (shoulder), Matt Breida (ankle), Tyreek Hill (hamstring), Damien Williams (ribs), Adam Thielen (hamstring), Golden Tate (hamstring), Devonta Freeman (foot), Julio Jones (shoulder), Austin Hooper (knee), Evan Engram (foot), Alshon Jeffery (ankle), Mohamed Sanu (ankle), and Phillip Dorsett (concussion).
Fantasy Football Week 13 Start ‘Em: Quarterbacks
Patrick Mahomes, Chiefs (vs. OAK), Lamar Jackson, Ravens (vs. SF), Deshaun Watson, Texans (vs. NE), Russell Wilson, Seahawks (vs. MIN), Drew Brees, Saints (at ATL), Dak Prescott, Cowboys (vs. BUF)
Aaron Rodgers, Packers (at NYG). The 49ers clunker really resembled the Chargers washout, but those are good pass defenses. The Giants are terrible and can’t pressure him, either.
Jameis Winston, Buccaneers (at JAX). You know the drill. Expect 300 yards, multiple scores, multiple turnovers and some random rushing yards.
Kyler Murray, Cardinals (vs. LAR). He was red hot before the bye, and you just saw what Jackson did to this defense as a dual threat.
Tom Brady, Patriots (at HOU). The G.O.A.T. has really struggled to get digits, but he should have a healthier receiving corps here and the matchup is fantastic on Sunday night.
Sam Darnold, Jets (at CIN). Darnold is doing what we expected while healthy and locked into great matchups in a better offense. That should continue here.
Carson Wentz, Eagles (vs. MIA). He can probably pound out 200 yards and two touchdowns for you even with his struggles and injuries around him, but keep in mind they can win this game with a lot of running and defense.
Nick Foles, Jaguars (vs. TB, $5,700 on DraftKings, $7,500 on FanDuel). Matt Ryan flopped in this matchup last week, but Foles has the benefit of a deep receiving corps against a bad secondary and a possible negative game script or shootout opposite Winston.
Ryan Tannehill, Titans (at IND, $5,700 on DraftKings, $7,300 on FanDuel). He’s a multiple-TD machine, and his running and red-zone throwing give him a good floor and an intriguing ceiling, even in a trickier matchup on paper.
Kyle Allen, Panthers (vs. WAS), Ryan Fitzpatrick, Dolphins (vs. MIA)
Fantasy Football Week 13 Sit ‘Em: Quarterbacks
Jimmy Garoppolo, 49ers (at BAL). The Ravens’ pass rush and secondary are playing lights out, and he doesn’t play as well on the road.
Kirk Cousins, Vikings (at SEA). The Seahawks’ pass defense is performing better than you think of late, and it’s a hostile road environment in a big game.
Jacoby Brissett, Colts (vs. TEN). The shine is off him and this passing game, big time.
Baker Mayfield, Browns (at PIT). He has done well of late, but the Steelers’ defense keeps him from being recommended in Pittsburgh.
Derek Carr, Raiders (at KC). The Chiefs are coming off a bye with a better secondary than you think and a healthier pass rush at home, so this is a situation to avoid.
Philip Rivers, Chargers (at DEN). The Broncos’ pass defense on the road won’t suddenly solve his turnover problems.
Jared Goff, Rams (at ARI), Andy Dalton, Bengals (vs. NYJ)
Fantasy Football Week 13 Start ‘Em: Running backs
Christian McCaffrey, Panthers (vs. WAS), Dalvin Cook, Vikings (at SEA), Saquon Barkley, Giants (vs. GB), Ezekiel Elliott, Cowboys (vs. BUF), Aaron Jones, Packers (at NYG), Derrick Henry, Titans (at IND), Leonard Fournette, Jaguars (vs. TB), Alvin Kamara, Saints (at ATL), Nick Chubb, Browns (at PIT), Le’Veon Bell, Jets (at CIN), Mark Ingram, Ravens (vs. SF), Josh Jacobs, Raiders (at KC), Todd Gurley, Rams (at ARI), Melvin Gordon and Austin Ekeler, Chargers (at DEN)
Jonathan Williams, Colts (vs. TEN). He’s going to be their lead workhorse, so play him like you would Marlon Mack (hand) again.
Miles Sanders, Eagles (at MIA). He’s been dominating snaps and touches with Jordan Howard (shoulder) out, and the rookie should have his best career game against the Dolphins’ defense.
Sony Michel and James White, Patriots (at HOU). Michel was decent against the Cowboys, and White should be more involved against an overrated overall Texans defense.
Benny Snell Jr., Steelers (at CLE). He is the power back of choice without James Conner (shoulder), and the Browns can be giving.
Tarik Cohen and David Montgomery, Bears (at DET). Cohen will get more targets with more tight end injury issues and Taylor Gabriel concussed, so he’s better for PPR, while you hope Montgomery can pop into the end zone in standard leagues.
Derrius Guice, Redskins (at CAR). The Panthers tend to give up a lot of chunk runs, and he’s an explosive player who can break one when his team is trailing.
Jamaal Williams, Packers (at NYG). He should join Jones in the fun of a blowout against a bad defense.
Phillip Lindsay, Broncos (vs. LAC, $5,000 on DraftKings, $6,300 on FanDuel). The Chargers do get Derwin James (foot) back, but he’s pretty much the guy in the backfield now, and they can be run on a lot easier than passed on.
Ronald Jones, Buccaneers (at JAX, $5,100 on DraftKings, $6,200 on FanDuel). He was solid with his touches and production against the Falcons, and the Jaguars’ defense is breaking down against the run.
Fantasy Football Week 13 Sit ‘Em: Running backs
Joe Mixon, Bengals (vs. NYJ). Dalton’s return helps the passing game, but the Jets have been very stingy against the run of late and there won’t be garbage handoffs in the second half.
Chris Carson, Seahawks (vs. MIN). You cannot trust him in a tough matchup with the Rashaad Penny stuff floating around.
Tevin Coleman, 49ers (at BAL). He had a good game against the Packers, which means, based on his game log, he’s likely to not do much against a good run defense.
Damien Williams and LeSean McCoy, Chiefs (vs. OAK). Avoid this situation if you can, as the Chiefs should have a lot more fun throwing on the Raiders.
Carlos Hyde, Texans (vs. NE). The Patriots can contain him and then take him out of the game with their positive game script.
Bo Scarbrough, Lions (vs. CHI). The Bears are more vulnerable up front and he’s been good in two games, but you need to avoid him if you can because he also could get completely shut down.
Kenyan Drake, Cardinals (vs. LAR). Between him, David Johnson and Chase Edmonds, good luck figuring out this backfield in December.
Kareem Hunt, Browns (at PIT). There’s no room for residual production in a tougher matchup, so he’s only good for deep PPR.
Royce Freeman, Broncos (at LAC). His touches have gone significantly down, and he should be out of all lineups.
Fantasy Football Week 13 Start ‘Em: Wide receivers
Julio Jones (if he plays) and Calvin Ridley, Falcons (vs. NO), DeAndre Hopkins, Texans (vs. NE), Michael Thomas, Saints (at ATL), Tyreek Hill, Chiefs (vs. OAK), Davante Adams, Packers (at NYG), Mike Evans and Chris Godwin, Buccaneers (at JAX), Keenan Allen, Chargers (at DEN), Stefon Diggs and Adam Thielen, Vikings (at SEA), Tyler Lockett, Seahawks (vs. MIN), Kenny Golladay, Lions (vs. CHI), Amari Cooper, Cowboys (vs. BUF), Jarvis Landry and Odell Beckham Jr., Browns (at PIT), Cooper Kupp, Rams (at ARI), Allen Robinson, Bears (at DET), D.J. Moore, Panthers (vs. WAS), Julian Edelman, Patriots (at HOU), D.J. Chark, Jaguars (vs. TB), Courtland Sutton, Broncos (vs. LAC), T.Y. Hilton, Colts (vs. TEN), John Brown, Bills (at DAL)
DK Metcalf, Seahawks (vs. MIN). Metcalf missed a few big-play chances against the Eagles, but the Vikings are also vulnerable to big, speedy wideouts.
DeVante Parker, Dolphins (vs. PHI). You can’t deny his volume, and the matchup is fine enough.
Tyrell Williams, Raiders (at KC). He should be in the mix for around a 6-60-1 line.
Curtis Samuel, Panthers (vs. WAS). He’s overdue for a home-run play opposite from D.J. Moore.
Jamison Crowder and Robby Anderson, Jets (vs. CIN). The Bengals cannot cover either of Sam Darnold’s top two targets in the slot or downfield.
Terry McLaurin, Redskins (at CAR). There should be plenty of chucking in the second half to get McLaurin some back-end WR3 production.
Will Fuller, Texans (vs. NE). The matchup isn’t great, but he looked good last week and is still on the back end of Deshaun Watson’s deep passes.
Golden Tate, Giants (vs. GB). He is looking like he might need to miss the game with a concussion, which is too bad, because he can do well in the slot against a team he’s burned in different uniforms in the past.
Robert Woods, Rams (at ARI, $5,500 on DraftKings, $7,100 on FanDuel). Woods returned and looked the most complete of the Rams’ wideouts to do something of note on Monday night. He has the best matchup against a bad secondary here.
Tyler Boyd, Bengals (vs. NYJ, $5,500 on DraftKings, $6,000 on FanDuel). He called for the ball and came through last week. Now, he gets Andy Dalton throwing it to him again vs. a shaky Jets secondary.
Dede Westbrook, Jaguars (vs. TB, $5,000 on DraftKings, $5,700 on FanDuel). He was busy in the loss to the Titans and should get plenty of targets working the slot against the bad secondary.
A.J. Brown, Titans (at IND), Mecole Hardman, Chiefs (vs. OAK)
Fantasy Football Week 13 Sit ‘Em: Wide receivers
Brandin Cooks, Rams (at ARI). He probably is getting the speed of Patrick Peterson, and the Cardinals’ secondary stinks enough elsewhere for the Rams to exploit.
Christian Kirk, Cardinals (vs. LAR). He will probably get the Jalen Ramsey shadow after that zone-defense disaster against the Ravens.
Deebo Samuel, 49ers (at BAL). He might draw Marlon Humphrey or Jimmy Smith, so no for a rookie.
Sammy Watkins, Chiefs (vs. OAK). He gets the targets, but you can’t trust him to do anything with them.
Marquise Brown, Ravens (vs. SF). He is a boom-or-bust performer, and the 49ers’ defense isn’t the Rams’.
James Washington, Steelers (vs. CLE). Expect them to go run-heavy and not have that Devlin Hodges-to-Washington bomb get duplicated.
Sterling Shepard, Giants (vs. GB). You can’t go here with his limited production against a good secondary.
Mike Williams, Chargers (at DEN). It’s more of the Allen, Henry and Ekeler show in the passing game.
Fantasy Football Week 13 Start ‘Em: Tight ends
George Kittle, 49ers (at BAL), Travis Kelce, Chiefs (vs. OAK), Darren Waller, Raiders (at KC), Zach Ertz, Eagles (vs. MIA), Jared Cook, Saints (vs. CAR), Hunter Henry, Chargers (at DEN)
Greg Olsen, Panthers (vs. WAS). The Redskins have given up trying to cover anything of note in the middle of the field.
Jack Doyle, Colts (vs. TEN). He should dominate the targets here with no Eric Ebron (ankle) for the rest of the season.
Gerald Everett, Rams (at ARI). He should be the latest tight end to score on the Cardinals if he can go.
Kyle Rudolph, Vikings (at SEA). They are better against tight ends and Adam Thielen (hamstring) is back, but he can easily find the end zone again.
Ryan Griffin, Jets (at CIN). They are designing nice scoring plays for him, and that can happen again here.
Dallas Goedert, Eagles (at MIA, $4,100 on DraftKings, $5,200 on FanDuel). Goedert was roughed up and didn’t find the end zone with his limited work behind Zach Ertz, also losing a fumble. But he can smash it against the Dolphins, who give up solid digits to athletic pass-catchers of his ilk.
Fantasy Football Week 13 Sit ‘Em: Tight ends
Mark Andrews, Ravens (vs. SF). He can be squeezed out of the game plan, and no team covers tight ends better.
Vance McDonald, Steelers (vs. CLE). Forget it after they forgot about him with Hodges last week.
Jacob Hollister, Seahawks (vs. MIN). The Vikings are way more vulnerable against wideouts.
Noah Fant, Broncos (vs. LAC). The Chargers will be better covering the position with Derwin James, too.
Mike Gesicki, Dolphins (vs. PHI). The Eagles give up a lot to wide receivers but not much to tight ends.
Fantasy Football Week 13 Start ‘Em: Defenses
Panthers (vs. WAS), Eagles (vs. MIA), Packers (at NYG), Bears (at DET), Patriots (at HOU), Jets (at CIN), Steelers (vs. CLE), Saints (at ATL), Jaguars (vs. TB)
Chargers (at DEN, $3,100 on DraftKings, $3,900 on FanDuel)
Fantasy Football Week 13 Sit ‘Em: Defenses
49ers (at BAL), Ravens (vs. SF), Bills (at DAL), Rams (at ARI), Seahawks (vs. MIN), Vikings (at SEA), Broncos (vs. LAC), Lions (vs. CHI), Cowboys (vs. BUF)