This is (probably) the last week of the fantasy football regular season for most of you. If you’ve already secured a spot in the postseason, congratulations. This week will likely only affect your first round opponent (or a potential bye). For those of you still fighting for a playoff berth, these matchups will be especially important. Let’s take a look at the best start and sit options, as well as the top matchups to exploit or avoid for Week Thirteen. If you need help with streaming options, you can take a look at our Waiver Watch column from this week.
Colin Kaepernick (QB - SF) vs Bears: Kaepernick has been on our waiver recommendation list for two weeks now, and he makes the start column versus a mediocre Bears’ defense. Kaep has been solid, particularly over his last four contests. He has eight touchdowns and 1,110 yards over that span, and should be considered a low-end QB1 at this point.
Jordan Howard (RB - CHI) vs 49ers: Howard has been a great fantasy back for the most part this season, and he has a great opportunity against the 49ers this week. San Francisco ranks dead last against the run, so Howard should be in line for a hefty workload. Expect big numbers from the Bears’ running back this week.
Kenneth Dixon (RB - BAL) vs Dolphins: Take this one with a grain of salt, because I’m only putting Dixon here as a flex play option. Dixon is finally out-touching fellow Baltimore back Terrance West, and Dixon has the potential to be a hugely impactful piece of the Ravens’ offense. Last week marked his best performance to date; Dixon should be evolving into a starting role (like we’ve been hoping for all season). He is a riskier option than most in this column, but he has an incredibly high ceiling.
Tyrell Williams (WR - SD) vs Buccaneers: I had Williams in the sit column last week as he faced off with the high-powered Houston defense, but he managed 70 yards and a touchdown anyway. This week, he should have another big game against the Tampa Bay pass defense, making him a solid WR2 or flex option in most leagues.
DeAndre Hopkins (WR - HOU) vs Green Bay: Brock Osweiler has struggled mightily this season, something I don’t need to remind Texans fans or fantasy owners of. But this week, Nuk gets a great matchup against Green Bay’s 21st ranked pass defense and he has boom or bust potential as a flex play.
Jordan Reed is likely out. Rob Gronkowski is having surgery and is definitely out (for a few weeks at least). The tight end position just got a whole lot thinner as we head into playoffs. With all of that in mind:
Kyle Rudolph (TE - MIN) vs Cowboys: Rudolph is having a solid season, ranking sixth among fantasy tight ends. He has 145 yards and a touchdown on 16 targets over his last three games. This week, expect Rudolph to see a lot of targets as the Vikings try to match the high-powered Dallas offense.
Zach Ertz (TE - PHI) vs Bengals: Ertz hasn’t been a spectacular fantasy tight end this season, but he has a solid matchup against Cincinnati this week. With injuries to so many top-tier starters this week, Ertz has potential to fill in. If you’re missing Gronkowski or Reed, he is a viable streaming option.
Blake Bortles (QB - JAX) vs Broncos: Few forces in the NFL have been as dominant as the Broncos’ defense this season. Bortles is having a solid fantasy season, but he has also stumbled occasionally. Consider this week a potential low-scoring performance due to a bad draw. Get a different quarterback in your lineup if you can.
Terrance West (RB - BAL) vs Dolphins: With Dixon finally in the start column, it only makes sense to bump West to the sit column. The Ravens’ running back appears to be losing his starting role to Dixon. West has only 186 yards and one touchdown over the past five games. It’s likely time to relegate him to the bench.
Marvin Jones (WR - DET) vs Saints: It’s time to let go, Jones owners. The early season success of the Detroit wideout has waned into near irrelevance for fantasy purposes. Over the last four games, Jones has managed only 107 yards and no touchdowns. He’s not even a decent flex option at this point and should be on the bench (or frankly, the waiver wire) in all leagues.
Jason Witten (TE - DAL) vs Vikings: The Dallas offense has been explosive this season, but Witten’s stats have been lackluster (outside of his huge game against Cleveland). The tight end faces one of the best passing defenses in the league this week as Dallas takes on Minnesota. He is best left on your bench if you have another viable tight end.
What are your thoughts heading into the final stretch, fantasy owners? Is there anyone you think should have made the start or sit columns this week who didn’t? The comments section is yours to ask questions, give advice, or just brag about your fantasy prowess and playoff berths. Best of luck in the final round of the regular season!