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Where do Alexander Mattison, Brandon Aiyuk, and Courtland Sutton land in start/sit decisions?

As we move ever so closer to the end of the fantasy football regular season, start ’em or sit ’em decisions begin to carry even more weight as teams separate themselves from the pack. With not all matchups being equal, here are our top start ’em and sit ’em plays for Week 13.

NFL Start ‘Em, Sit ‘Em for Week 13: Quarterbacks

While the focus in the majority of fantasy leagues falls on skill positions, quarterbacks — in most cases — consistently bring the highest weekly total. Which QBs are must-starts, and who should remain on the bench in Week 13?

Start ‘Em | Carson Wentz, Indianapolis Colts (@ HOU)

Carson Wentz continues to get the job done. Against the Buccaneers, Wentz completed 24 of 44 passes for 306 yards with 3 touchdowns and 2 interceptions. As with nearly every team who faces the Buccaneers, the Colts were forced to pass the ball more than usual as Wentz threw for his highest yardage since Week 5 (402 vs. BAL).

There is always a chance Jonathan Taylor takes over the game, but Wentz remains in the low-end QB1/ high-end QB2 conversation against the Texans this week.

Sit ‘Em | Derek Carr, Las Vegas Raiders (vs. WAS)

Usually, anytime you see a team facing Washington, you fire the opposing quarterback into your starting fantasy lineup. Week 13 might be the exception, even though Derek Carr is playing some seriously underrated football. In Week 12, Carr completed 24 of 39 yards for 373 yards with a touchdown. It was the sixth time this season he had eclipsed the 300-yard threshold, and he’s thrown for under 250 yards just three times.

So what gives? Why not start him in Week 13 against the team allowing the most fantasy points to QBs at 23.86? Because Darren Waller. In Week 12, Waller suffered an injury against the Cowboys and was diagnosed with a strained knee. Head coach Rich Bisaccia said Monday that Waller is considered “week-to-week,” per Paul Gutierrez of ESPN. Should Waller miss Week 13 as expected, Carr is a no-go in fantasy and should sit on your bench despite the matchup.

Running Backs

While these RBs found themselves with adjusted roles following injuries to surrounding players and poor play from others, they are on opposite sides of start/sit debates for Week 13. Let’s look at the top start and sit options from RB committees around the league for Week 13.

Start ‘Em | Alexander Mattison, Minnesota Vikings (@ DET)

I feel like before you even got here, you knew this was coming. Dalvin Cook reportedly suffered a torn labrum on Sunday and is expected to miss multiple weeks. Alexander Mattison is a must-start in any week Cook is not active.

In the two games Mattison started in place of Cook this season (Week 3 and Week 5), he rushed 51 times for 225 yards with 13 receptions for 99 yards and a score while finishing as the RB7 (23.1 PPR) and RB6 (26.3 PPR), respectively. One of those games was against his opponent in Week 13, the Detroit Lions. Mattison is a must-start RB in Week 13 with top-five upside.

Sit ‘Em | Miles Sanders, Philadelphia Eagles (@ NYJ)

Since coming back from his three-game absence due to an injured ankle, Miles Sanders has put together back-to-back decent outings. He rushed 16 times for 94 yards in Week 11 and added 9 more carries in Week 12 for 64 yards. The downside is he has no involvement in the passing game and appeared to roll his previous injured ankle on a carry, putting his status in doubt for Week 13 against the New York Jets.

He was already in the muddy RB3 range and is losing more reps to Boston Scott, who looks just as good, if not better than Sanders at times. Scott led the backfield in snaps (34), routes run (12), and carries (15). The Eagles can move the ball on the ground, but part of that comes from defenses needing to respect Jalen Hurts’ legs. Hurts is also dealing with an injured ankle and may not play on Sunday. While I love the matchup, I don’t love the situation. I would plan on sitting Sanders in Week 13, given how things currently stand.

NFL Start ‘Em, Sit ‘Em for Week 13: Wide Receivers

The WR position is the deepest in fantasy football, with a plethora of quality starting options to choose from every single week. As matchups can be the final deciding factor, here are some of our start ’em or sit ’em recommendations for Week 13.

Start ‘Em | Brandon Aiyuk, San Francisco 49ers (@ SEA)

The 2021 version of Brandon Aiyuk is one they will write stories about in the future. A highly valued pick plays well as a rookie, comes into the season with hype surrounding him, and gets put in the dog house. He was dropped by fantasy managers everywhere, but now is a must-start and could be a critical piece in championship-winning leagues, just like how he was valued on draft day — what a ride.

Deebo Samuel, the No. 2 wide receiver in fantasy, is likely out for some time due to a groin injury, but the team/managers won’t know the extent until MRI results come back. Until then, Aiyuk is a must-start in fantasy. Since Week 8, he has 23 receptions on 32 targets for 336 yards with 2 touchdowns and has scored double-digit fantasy points in four of his last five games. Start him as a WR2 in Week 13 against Seattle.

Sit ‘Em | Courtland Sutton, Denver Broncos (@ KC)

I am always hesitant to sit objectively good players, especially those I am high on and believe can be a legitimate No. 1 for their team. But it doesn’t matter what I think. The only thing that matters is what happens on the field. And right now, Courtland Sutton is not startable and is borderline droppable. 

Sutton was only targeted 3 times Sunday, recording 2 receptions for 17 yards. It was the fourth straight game he’s recorded 40 yards or less and scored 6 or fewer PPR points. Since Week 8, when Jerry Jeudy rejoined the Broncos, Sutton has seen 10.4% of the targets and is averaging 1.8 receptions and 23.8 yards per game. I would rather start Tim Patrick over Sutton in fantasy right now.

Tight Ends

It’s notoriously hard for fantasy managers to find consistent production from the tight end position. In Week 13, start ’em or sit ’em decisions could mean the difference between a win or a loss as the margins are razor-thin.

Start ‘Em | Rob Gronkowski, Tampa Bay Buccaneers (@ ATL)

We just saw vintage Rob Gronkowski in Week 12. Against Indianapolis, Gronkowski hauled in 7 of 10 targets for 123 yards. It was his highest receiving total since posting 123 yards back in Week 1 of 2018. 

He’s the TE3 in average scoring at 15.1 ppg and faces the Falcons in Week 13. Given the lack of locked-in TE1s, Gronkowski is a welcome reprieve from streaming the position.

Sit ‘Em | Noah Fant, Denver Broncos (@ KC)

Well, add this to the “things I didn’t see coming” pile — Noah Fant’s struggles as of late continue. Fant had just 12 yards on 3 receptions in Week 12, has scored less than 10 fantasy points in five straight games, and hasn’t found the end zone since Week 6. 

Denver fields a low-volume offense (23rd in plays per game), and not only is Fant dealing with Jeudy, Sutton, and Patrick, but fellow tight end Albert Okwuegbunam is seeing reps as well. Fant is a higher-end TE2, but that statement doesn’t mean much when the requirement for that bar is laughably low. 

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