QB: Matthew Stafford vs. IND – Finally looking more in sync, Stafford went off on Thanksgiving, throwing for 441 yards and two touchdowns against the Texans. With Titus Young indefinitely benched, Ryan Broyles appeared to add a new element to the Lions’ passing game. Facing a Colts’ defense that has allowed a TD-to-INT ratio of 19:5 and the 8th most points to opposing quarterbacks, Stafford should be in for a productive fantasy day.
RB: Stevan Ridley at MIA – Although he isn’t a preferred option by many fantasy owners, Ridley is a very solid start. He’s scored in four straight and is averaging a healthy 85.4 rushing yards per game. Yes, Shane Vereen and Danny Woodhead have roles in the Patriots offense but Ridley will get his carries. Although the Dolphins seem like a difficult matchup for a running back, the Patriots will have little problem moving the ball and scoring against the Dolphins’ poor secondary. This will lead to Ridley seeing many carries against a tired defense in the second half – something he did a great job of capitalizing on last week against the Jets.
Ahmad Bradshaw at WAS – With Andre Brown out for the year, Ahmad Bradshaw regains his job as the Giants’ goal-line back. The Giants looked much-improved coming off their bye and Bradshaw had a little more wiggle than usual. He’s likely to see many touches on an offense that should have little trouble moving the ball against the Redskins.
Bryce Brown at DAL – Coming off an electrifying first start in the NFL, Bryce Brown hit the hole hard and had the speed to get downfield in a hurry. Serving as an every-down back with the Eagles treating rookie Nick Foles with kid gloves, Brown should have little problem putting up low-end RB1 numbers. Brown is fresh and healthy, facing a Dallas defense this is depleted by injuries and allowed the Redskins to run for 149 yards on Thanksgiving. Expect Brown to see another heavy workload.
DeAngelo Williams at KC – Despite his lackluster starts with Jonathan Stewart out early in the season, DeAngelo Williams will again draw the start this week if Stewart can’t play. Considering he has a high ankle sprain, there’s reason to believe Williams will start. Although he hasn’t been effective so far this season, Williams averages a refreshing 4.91 YPC for his career. He’ll face a Chiefs defense that ranks 24th against the run and gave up 111 total yards to Knowshon Moreno last week. With Cam Newton playing well again, there should be some holes for Williams.
WR: Ryan Broyles vs. IND – Coming off a six catch, 126-yard performance on Thanksgiving, Ryan Broyles looks like an attractive play against the Colts secondary. Allowing the 5th best QB rating to opposing teams, the Colts won’t stop the Lions’ passing attack. With the Colts likely focusing on taking Calvin Johnson out of the game, Broyles will see plenty single coverage opportunities. Considering the Colts are allowing the 3rd most points to opposing receivers, I have no qualms about starting him.
Cecil Shorts at BUF – With averages of 4.67/90.3/0.67 over his last six games, Cecil Shorts is one his way to becoming a consistent fantasy star. Chad Henne’s insertion to the starting lineup has only improved his situation as he’s averaging 4.33/97/1.0 over his last three games. Exhibiting fantastic playmaking ability and dazzling speed, Shorts is a beast after the catch. This week he faces a sloppy Bills’ secondary that is allowing the 6th most points to opposing receivers. Start Shorts with confidence.
Eric Decker vs. TB – Speaking of good matchups, Eric Decker and the Broncos face the Buccaneers’ last ranked pass defense. Allowing 315.5 passing yards per game, the Bucs haven’t been able to stop anyone – let alone Peyton Manning. Considering the Bucs currently own the No. 1 ranked run defense, there’s reason to believe the Broncos will air it out. Despite not topping 64 yards over his past three games, this is not a week to bench Eric Decker.
Randall Cobb vs. MIN – I’ve heard many owners concerned about Cobb’s performance last week and his future workload regarding Greg Jennings return. To these owners I have this to say: Randall Cobb is far too good for the Packers to keep off the field – and trust me they realize it. He has led the Packers in targets in both of their last two games. Over his last five games, including his scoreless 39 yards against the Giants, Cobb has racked up six touchdowns. With the Packers looking to get back on track in Week 13, it starts with Rodgers and Cobb.
TE: Martellus Bennett at WAS – Despite not being heavily involved in the Giants’ offensive game plan, Martellus Bennett has the 2nd best matchup of all Week 13 tight ends. Although he hasn’t topped 44 yards over the past four weeks, Bennett’s highest yardage total of the year came against the Redskins’ porous secondary in Week 7. Still unlikely to concentrate on stopping Bennett, the tight end should see plenty of single coverage against a defense that previously struggled to contain him.
QB: Josh Freeman at DEN – Last week the Falcons laid out a solid game plan on how to stop the Buccaneers. By stopping the Bucs’ running game, the Falcons were able to hold Josh Freeman to his first game this season without a touchdown. The Bucs face the Broncos this week, who will likely employ the same plan but have much better personnel. Coming in 9th against the run and 5th against the pass, the Broncos are allowing just 209.6 passing yards through the air and 98.7 yards on the ground per game. The Broncos plan to stick Champ Bailey on Vincent Jackson – who hasn’t topped 100 yards in 12 games against the Broncos. This will be a very difficult matchup for the Bucs coming off a loss to the Falcons.
RB: Michael Bush vs. SEA – With Matt Forte spraining his ankle last week, many expected Michael Bush to start against the Seahawks. It turns out that Forte participated in Wednesday’s practice and is expected to start. While Bush is likely to see an increased workload, he faces a stout Seahawks defense that is currently 12th against the run.
Rashad Jennings at BUF – Another popular spot-start is Rashad Jennings. With Maurice Jones-Drew out, Jennings began starting in Week 7 against Oakland. By Week 11, Jennings lost his job to fringe NFL player Jalen Parmele. Parmele’s groin injury has landed him on the injured reserve, giving Jennings his job back. Despite facing the second-worst run defense in the league, I wouldn’t feel starting Jennings. Not only is he rushing for just 2.8 YPC on 93 rushes this season, but coach Mike Mularkey said he plans to use a rotation at running back on Sunday.
Fred Jackson vs. JAX – With coach Chan Gailey finally giving CJ Spiller the starting job, Fred Jackson is the odd man out. Receiving just seven touches, Fred Jackson handle blitz pickup duties on most of his snaps. Considering Spiller is younger and much more talented, I wouldn’t expect anything to change here.
WR: Torrey Smith at PIT – Despite his big game against the Chargers, Torrey Smith is far from an ideal play this week. Going up against the Steelers’ defense that held him just one catch for seven yards in Week 11, Smith isn’t likely to find much space. Not only are they the first ranked pass defense, but the Steelers game planned to double Torrey Smith in their last meeting, stopping him from beating them deep. Considering the Steelers held the Ravens to just 13 points, I don’t expect them to stray away from their previous game plan.
Dwayne Bowe vs. CAR – Unable to catch a break with Brady Quinn at quarterback, fantasy owners shouldn’t expect anything to change for Dwayne Bowe this week. Despite showing his receiving prowess early in the season, Bowe needs a new quarterback to be relied upon in fantasy.
Chris Givens vs. SF – Although he has shown his ability to get open deep many times this season, I wouldn’t trust Chris Given against the 49ers. Playing at a very high level over the last few weeks, the 49ers are allowing a league-low 14.1 points per game. Against a defense that has done a great job of minimizing big plays, with just three 40+ yard plays against them this season, chasing last week’s numbers isn’t going to be beneficial.
TE: Greg Olsen at KC – With the exception of his Week 10 explosion, Greg Olsen hasn’t topped 50 yards in his last six games. He could breakout any week but appeared to blocking a little more than usual in last week’s win against the Eagles. It doesn’t help that the Chiefs have allowed the 7th fewest points to tight ends.
Thanks for reading! Hit me up on Twitter @BraudeM or post below for any lineup questions you guys have!