It’s almost fantasy football playoff season! Most playoffs start either next week or the week after.
Nothing too spectacular happened in the NFL this past week outside of the win-less Oakland Raiders stunning the Kansas City Chiefs on Thursday Night Football.
And of course, the New York Giants’ Odell Beckham Jr.’s phenomenal touchdown grab in New York’s loss to the Dallas Cowboys on Sunday Night Football.
Houston Texans quarterback Ryan Mallett tore his pectoral muscle in warm ups before his second start in Houston, and he is now out for the season, presumably handing the role back over to veteran Ryan Fitzpatrick.
This week we get three Thursday games for Thanksgiving, with the Chicago Bears visiting the Detroit Lions, the Philadelphia Eagles visiting the Dallas Cowboys and the Seattle Seahawks in San Francisco to take on the 49ers.
With the fantasy playoffs nearly here and with teams like the Green Bay Packers and the New England Patriots playing their best football, it’s time for the Week 13 edition of the MTSU Sidelines: Start ‘Ems and Sit ‘Ems.
Start ‘Em of the Week: Ryan Tannehill, Miami Dolphins: The 2012 first round draft pick has thrown nine touchdown passes and only two interceptions over the past four weeks. He now heads to New York to face off with AFC East divisional rival, the Jets.
New York has allowed 27 touchdowns, good for worst in the league. Tannehill will have a field day on Monday Night.
Start ‘Ems: Matthew Stafford (DET), Kyle Orton (BUF), Andy Dalton (CIN)
Sit ‘Em of the Week: Brian Hoyer, Cleveland Browns: The Cleveland Browns must have a really well-coached team.
In a game where Brian Hoyer threw three interceptions, without a touchdown, they still beat the Atlanta Falcons 26-24 in Atlanta.
This week, the Browns travel to Buffalo (granted, the snow allows) to take on a Bills team that has only allowed one more touchdown pass than interceptions (14 TD, 13 INT). Hoyer has only thrown one touchdown pass in the past three weeks, as opposed to four interceptions.
Don’t expect much from him against a stingy Bills defense that only allowed three points in Detroit against the Jets, despite not being able to practice all week.
Sit ‘Ems: Russell Wilson (SEA), Colin Kaepernick (SF), Zach Mettenberger (TEN)
Sleeper of the Week: Johnny Manziel, Cleveland Browns: This is a bit of a long shot, but if Hoyer does play as poorly as he is capable of this week, we could see a potential benching by the Browns, who have seven wins and can’t afford to drop games.
If the Browns think Manziel gives them the best chance of reaching the playoffs over the next five games, we could see Hoyer take over clipboard duties midway through this Week 13 game.
Start ‘Em of the Week: Alfred Blue, Houston Texans: Forget about the mere 46 yards Blue gained against the Cincinnati Bengals. This week the Texans’ backup running back takes on the worst rushing defense of the Tennessee Titans, who have historically struggled against the backup running backs of the Houston Texans (See: Ben Tate).
Even if Foster is healthy enough to play, Blue will get carries and run well against a defense that allowed LeSean McCoy to run for his best game of the season with 130 yards and a touchdown.
Start ‘Ems: Jerick McKinnon (MIN), Andre Ellington (ARI), Alfred Morris (WAS)
Sit ‘Em of the Week: Ryan Mathews, San Diego Chargers: Mathews may have returned to action with 105 yards and a touchdown on only 12 rushing attempts last week against the Rams, but he won’t find nearly as much success against a Baltimore Ravens defense that held Mark Ingram of the New Orleans Saints to 27 yards on 11 carries.
This fifth-ranked rushing defense will have no trouble stopping Mathews.
Sit ‘Ems: Matt Forte (CHI), Trent Richardson (IND), Isaiah Crowell (CLE)
Sleeper of the Week: Ben Tate, Minnesota Vikings: It’s only Tate’s second week with the Vikings, but we could see him get some fantasy points this week.
Going up against a less than stellar Carolina Panthers rushing defense that has allowed 13 rushing touchdowns on the season, Tate could be used as the goal line back for the Vikings if Matt Asiata isn’t healthy and if the Vikings don’t feel comfortable with McKinnon on the goal line.
Start ‘Em of the Week: Odell Beckham Jr., New York Giants: If you haven’t seen the highlight reel touchdown reception by OBJ that’s being considered one of the greatest catches of all time, you need to look it up.
Beckham Jr. is having a really good rookie season, topped with ten receptions for 146 yards and a pair of touchdowns on Sunday night against the Cowboys.
Now the Giants get one of the worst defenses in the league of the Jacksonville Jaguars, who have allowed 19 touchdown passes this season. Odell Beckham Jr. will want to follow up his career day with an encore.
Start ‘Ems: Kenny Stills (NO), Terrance Williams (DAL), Kenny Britt (STL)
Sit ‘Em of the Week: Alshon Jeffrey, Chicago Bears: Despite having a favorable match up against Tampa Bay, Jeffrey only had three receptions for 22 yards and a touchdown on Sunday.
Now, he and the Bears travel to Detroit to take on a Detroit Lions team that has only allowed 14 passing touchdowns to go with their 233 yards per game through the air being allowed.
In Week ten, the Bears receiver only had one reception for eight yards in Green Bay. Jeffrey can be shut down, and he will be in Detroit on Thanksgiving as the Lions try to get back into the playoff picture.
Sit ‘Ems: Anquan Boldin (SF), Vincent Jackson (TB), Justin Hunter (TEN)
Sleeper of the Week: Marqise Lee, Jacksonville Jaguars: Rookie quarterback Blaine Gabbert…*cough*…I mean Blake Bortles, has to play well eventually, right?
This week the Jags get to take on the New York Giants, who allowed Dallas Cowboys quarterback Tony Romo to toss four touchdown passes. Bortles won’t put up those numbers, but he could add a couple touchdowns to his stat sheet.
Rookie receiver Marqise Lee would be a pivotal part of this after Allen Robinson went down with an injury and will be out for the remainder of the season. Sleeper alert!
Start ‘Em of the Week: Delanie Walker, Tennessee Titans: Walker returned from his concussion leave with a big game against the Philadelphia Eagles, catching five passes for 155 yards.
Against a Houston Texans team that boasts J.J. Watt, the Titans team will play without center Brian Schwenke and probably left tackle Taylor Lewan to protect rookie quarterback Zach Mettenberger.
He will need to make a lot of short passes to get rid of the ball before Watt and company get to him. Walker is the perfect target for Mettenberger in this situation.
Start ‘Ems: Larry Donnell (NYG), Anthony Fasano (KC)
Sit ‘Em of the Week: Jermaine Gresham, Cincinnati Bengals: Sorry, Jermaine, but you won’t be the focus this week. The Bengals get to take on the terrible passing defense of the Tampa Bay Buccaneers.
A.J. Green will have a great game, and Gresham will have some yards without much else.
Sit ‘Ems: Vernon Davis (SF), Jordan Cameron (CLE)
Sleeper of the Week: Eric Ebron, Detroit Lions: A Thanksgiving game seems like the perfect time for a rookie tight end to finally break out. The Bears don’t have a great defense, and Ebron could benefit hugely.
Start ‘Em of the Week: Oakland Raiders D/ST: Talk about a momentum-gaining opportunity.
After stopping the Kansas City Chiefs, the Raiders now get to take on the St. Louis Rams, who are coming off a deflating loss to the San Diego Chargers.
While Oakland has allowed a lot of points (285 to be exact), they only allowed the Chargers to score 13 points two weeks ago before holding Kansas City to 20 on Thursday night. With Shaun Hill at quarterback, the Rams won’t put up too many points on the Raiders right now.
Start ‘Ems: Seattle Seahawks D/ST, San Francisco 49ers D/ST
Sit ‘Em of the Week: New England Patriots D/ST: The same rule applies for the Green Bay Packers defense: when two of the hottest quarterbacks entering this week face off, don’t start the defenses.
This game will be a shoot out. Aaron Rodgers versus Tom Brady is the game of the week, despite not being on prime time football.
Great game, just not for the defenses.
Sit ‘Ems: Green Bay Packers D/ST, Kansas City Chiefs D/ST
Sleeper of the Week: Carolina Panthers D/ST: Remember when the Panthers had one of the best defenses in 2013? Now they are far from that with only three wins on the season. Coming off a bye, maybe they can stop Teddy Bridgewater’s Minnesota Vikings.
You can follow Kenneth Goit on Twitter at @KennethGoit
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