5 Players With Tough Week 13 Matchups
As we head into sweat time of the season, should you always start your studs? I don’t believe in that narrative as it’s sort of lazy and not entirely accurate if you want the most out of your fantasy squad.
In this column, I take a look at individual matchups and point out players who I think could struggle, even if they’re elite. I’m not saying to sit them without question, but as the title goes, these are players with tough matchups, meaning you'll have tough lineup decisions to make.
Week 12 Wrap-Up
Jared Cook proved me wrong last week and posted a TE3 performance, however, the rest of the players in this column had rough outings. Dak Prescott’s 6.9 fantasy points came in as QB24, while the Rams wideouts averaged out to WR39. Aaron Jones disappointed those who still started him with 3.8 PPR points as the RB48.
Week 13 Risky Plays
Deshaun Watson (Texans) vs. Patriots
It’s highly unlikely anyone will sit Watson with the fantasy playoffs on the line, but I’m here to lay the facts out for you. New England is first against the pass this season, yielding just 22.5 aFPA PPR points to wideout groups per contest through 12 weeks. If you decide to start him, hopefully the fantasy gods will bless you with enough rushing yards to make up for his most-likely diminished output through the air.
San Francisco is rocking a running back committee due to injuries and also who they’re working with this season. It’s been effective for real-life football, but brutal for those in the fantasy realm. Tevin Coleman is technically the “lead back” but he’s struggled to make things happen, even in positive game flow. It’s still unclear if Matt Breida will return in Week 13, and Raheem Mostert is fine as a fill-in but is not to be trusted. With a stout Ravens run defense on tap this week, it may behoove you to stay clear of 49ers backs if at all possible.
Amari Cooper (Cowboys) vs. Bills
Last week, those who started Cooper suffered through a heart-wrenching goose egg. He saw two targets for nada. Week 13 has the potential to be another doozie for the 25-year-old receiver in the Cowboys' traditional Thanksgiving contest.
He’ll draw Buffalo’s resident stud CB Tre’Davious White, who has the potential to give him problems all afternoon long. I know it’s tough to sit Cooper, but at least give it some thought as points are essential at this juncture.
Courtland Sutton (Broncos) vs. Chargers
Since the departure of Emmanuel Sanders, Sutton has taken on the role of Denver's No. 1 WR with ease. His pure athleticism has kept him afloat as a valuable fantasy asset despite Denver's brutal quarterback situation.
Whether it’s Brandon Allen or Drew Lock tossing the ball in Week 13, Sutton could struggle against the Chargers' third-ranked defensive unit in receiver aFPA. 4for4’s resident ranker John Paulsen has Sutton ranked at WR20 heading into this AFC West matchup. Start him at your own risk.
Baker Mayfield (Browns) @ Steelers
Mayfield has been trending upward and you’re excited to roll him out there this week, right? Perhaps you should reconsider and here’s why. The Steelers have been quietly shutting down passers, ranking in the top 10 in both fewest passes completed and fewest passing yards allowed. Overall, they sit third in quarterback aFPA, surrendering a brutal 12.0 fantasy points per tilt to opposing signal-callers.
Mayfield was productive a few weeks ago when these two rivals met, but this time he’s on the road, where the sophomore has struggled in 2019. He’s projected as QB27 in 4for4’s Week 13 rankings, so soak it all in and proceed with caution.