Fantasy football Week 13 recap and waiver wire suggestions

As most leagues closed in on the fantasy football playoffs, Week 13 of NFL action went a bit haywire. Other than the usual high scores from David Johnson and Le’Veon Bell, a lot of the usual top performers fell flat. Sure, Tom Brady, Ben Roethlisberger and Aaron Rodgers were all OK, but Drew Brees and Colin Kaepernick probably dashed playoff hopes for some fantasy owners.

Pittsburgh Steelers running back Le'Veon Bell (26) carries the ball during the first half of an NFL football game against the New York Giants in Pittsburgh, Sunday, Dec. 4, 2016. (AP Photo/Jared Wickerham)
Pittsburgh Steelers running back Le’Veon Bell (26) carries the ball during the first half of an NFL football game against the New York Giants in Pittsburgh, Sunday, Dec. 4, 2016. (AP Photo/Jared Wickerham)

Brees threw for over 300 yards but added three interceptions and zero touchdowns while Kaepernick completed just one pass for four yards before getting benched.

The biggest games by quarterbacks were recorded by Derek Carr, Carson Palmer and Matt Stafford. Joe Flacco and Andy Dalton offered surprising performances from the position as well.

Flacco threw for over 300 yards for just the third time this season while throwing four touchdowns for the first time this year.

Tight end Dennis Pitta #88 of the Baltimore Ravens celebrates with teammates wide receiver Mike Wallace #17 and quarterback Joe Flacco #5 after scoring a first quarter touchdown against the Miami Dolphins at M&T Bank Stadium on December 4, 2016 in Baltimore, Maryland. (Photo by Patrick Smith/Getty Images)
Tight end Dennis Pitta #88 of the Baltimore Ravens celebrates with teammates wide receiver Mike Wallace #17 and quarterback Joe Flacco #5 after scoring a first quarter touchdown against the Miami Dolphins at M&T Bank Stadium on December 4, 2016 in Baltimore, Maryland. (Photo by Patrick Smith/Getty Images)

Dalton threw for more than 300 yards and at least two touchdowns for the first time since Week 6. It was quite an impressive performance from a quarterback missing a key running back, Gio Bernard, and his top receiver, A.J. Green.

Johnson, Bell and Melvin Gordon all continued to produce like usual. Devonta Freeman, Spencer Ware and Latavius Murray recorded big games. LeSean McCoy, Jordan Howard and Thomas Rawls rounded out a good week for running backs.

Howard had his biggest game since Week 8, scoring three touchdowns and rushing for 117 yards. McCoy had his second straight 100-yard rushing game after not having one since Week 6. He had a great game despite Mike Gillislee taking away two short-yardage touchdowns.

Chicago Bears running back Jordan Howard (24) runs for some yards while being chased by San Francisco 49ers inside linebacker Gerald Hodges (51) and cornerback Jimmie Ward (25) during the third quarter on Sunday, Dec 4, 2016 at Soldier Field in Chicago, Ill. (Nuccio DiNuzzo/Chicago Tribune/TNS)
Chicago Bears running back Jordan Howard (24) runs for some yards while being chased by San Francisco 49ers inside linebacker Gerald Hodges (51) and cornerback Jimmie Ward (25) during the third quarter on Sunday, Dec 4, 2016 at Soldier Field in Chicago, Ill. (Nuccio DiNuzzo/Chicago Tribune/TNS)

Thomas Rawls finally broke out for owners who have waited on him all season. He may have a tough Week 16 matchup, but not before having two good matchups in the next two weeks.

The biggest rushing disappointments were Lamar Miller, Todd Gurley and Jonathan Stewart.

Other than Jordy Nelson, Odell Beckham and Julio Jones, the top wide receivers in Week 13 were most likely riding the pine for owners. Tyler Lockett, Ted Ginn, Albert Wilson and Brandon LaFell would all have been strange starts heading into the week.

Golden Tate seemed to benefit the most from the Lions’ matchup with the Saints. He caught eight passes for 145 yards and a touchdown.

Detroit Lions wide receiver Golden Tate (15) pulls in a touchdown pass in front of New Orleans Saints cornerback B.W. Webb (28) in the second half of an NFL football game in New Orleans, Sunday, Dec. 4, 2016. (AP Photo/Bill Feig)
Detroit Lions wide receiver Golden Tate (15) pulls in a touchdown pass in front of New Orleans Saints cornerback B.W. Webb (28) in the second half of an NFL football game in New Orleans, Sunday, Dec. 4, 2016. (AP Photo/Bill Feig)

The good news kind of ends there in what was supposed to be the most productive matchup of the week for fantasy scoring.

If you started a Saints skill player not named Coby Fleener, you were disappointed this week. Brees, Brandin Cooks, Michael Thomas, Mark Ingram and Tim Hightower all had games to forget.

Rather than talk about the worst performances this week by starting wideouts (Davante Adams, Emmanuel Sanders, Mike Evans), I’d rather talk about the return of the high-scoring tight end.

Ladarius Green, a preseason sleeper who finally woke up, caught six passes for 110 yards and a touchdown. Travis Kelce had his third straight 100-yard game while Dennis Pitta scored twice on his way to 90 yards receiving.

Pittsburgh Steelers tight end Ladarius Green (89) crosses the goal line for a touchdown after taking a pass from quarterback Ben Roethlisberger during the second half of an NFL football game against the New York Giants in Pittsburgh, Sunday, Dec. 4, 2016. (AP Photo/Jared Wickerham)
Pittsburgh Steelers tight end Ladarius Green (89) crosses the goal line for a touchdown after taking a pass from quarterback Ben Roethlisberger during the second half of an NFL football game against the New York Giants in Pittsburgh, Sunday, Dec. 4, 2016. (AP Photo/Jared Wickerham)

Cameron Brate, Jimmy Graham, Zach Ertz and Fleener all had big days as well. One disappointment was Martellus Bennett, who is taking over for an injured Rob Gronkowski. He had just two catches for four yards.

To add to a bizarre week, Stephen Gostowski and Matt Prater scored more points than a lot of receivers and running backs this week. Gostkowski connected on four 40-plus-yard field goals while Prater made five field goals, including a 52-yarder.

On the defensive front the Broncos had a great game, as did the Ravens. Denver logged a touchdown, two interceptions, a sack and a fumble recovery. The Ravens had three picks and two sacks while allowing just six points.

Waiver wire suggestions:

Quarterbacks

Alex Smith, Chiefs (He has two good matchups before Week 16.)

Running backs

Adrian Peterson, Vikings (Just in case.)

Mike Gillislee, Bills (Vulture opportunities, plus a favorable schedule.)

Wide receivers

Ted Ginn Jr., Panthers (Three straight games with a touchdown.)

Tight ends

Ladarius Green, Steelers

Fantasy football Week 13 preview

Fantasy owners already know who their must-start players are, but everyone has a few decisions to make when it comes to setting a lineup. We’re here to help with those tough decisions.

Each week this space will be dedicated to identifying whom you should start or sit for your upcoming fantasy matchups.

Start

Philip Rivers, QB, Chargers — Rivers has had only three subpar games this season and faces the Buccaneers this week. They are 20th in points allowed to quarterbacks. Rivers has a nice fantasy playoff schedule; none of the defenses he faces are better than 20th in points allowed to his position.

Russell Wilson, QB, Seahawks — It’s tough to tell you to start him for the second straight week after he threw up a dud against the Buccaneers. He’ll be at home this time, facing a shorthanded Panthers defense that is 25th in points allowed to quarterbacks.

Seattle Seahawks quarterback Russell Wilson (3) is pressured by Tampa Bay Buccaneers defensive tackle Gerald McCoy (93) during the first half of an NFL football game in Tampa, Fla., Sunday, Nov. 27, 2016. (AP Photo/Phelan M. Ebenhack)
Seattle Seahawks quarterback Russell Wilson (3) is pressured by Tampa Bay Buccaneers defensive tackle Gerald McCoy (93) during the first half of an NFL football game in Tampa, Fla., Sunday, Nov. 27, 2016. (AP Photo/Phelan M. Ebenhack)

Matthew Stafford, QB, Lions — He faces the Saints, which are middle of the road in points allowed to quarterbacks. They give up 271 yards per game and have only made seven interceptions all year.

Colin Kaepernick, QB, 49ers — He’s turning into a classic example of a good fantasy player that isn’t great at leading his team to victory. In four of his six starts he’s rushed for at least 50 yards. He’s thrown at least one TD in every game he’s played. A start against the Bears should be productive.

Colin Kaepernick #7 of the San Francisco 49ers rushes during the 4th quarter against the Miami Dolphins at Hard Rock Stadium on November 27, 2016 in Miami Gardens, Florida. (Photo by Eric Espada/Getty Images)
Colin Kaepernick #7 of the San Francisco 49ers rushes during the 4th quarter against the Miami Dolphins at Hard Rock Stadium on November 27, 2016 in Miami Gardens, Florida. (Photo by Eric Espada/Getty Images)

Theo Riddick, RB, Lions — Make sure his ankle is good to go because he has a great matchup with the Saints. It should be a high scoring affair and that’s great for fantasy production.

Jordan Howard, RB, Bears — Any decent running back who gets at least 16 touches in a game should start against the 49ers.

Matt Forte, RB, Jets — I haven’t given him much credit this season, mostly because of a poor stretch of production from Week 3 through Week 6. Since then he’s turned it up a bit. He’ll get back on track against the Colts after last week’s hiccup against the Patriots.

New York Jets running back Matt Forte (22) runs the ball against the New England Patriots during the first quarter of an NFL football game, Sunday, Nov. 27, 2016, in East Rutherford, N.J. (AP Photo/Julio Cortez)
New York Jets running back Matt Forte (22) runs the ball against the New England Patriots during the first quarter of an NFL football game, Sunday, Nov. 27, 2016, in East Rutherford, N.J. (AP Photo/Julio Cortez)

Devontae Booker, RB, Broncos — The amount of touches he gets makes him a solid play nearly every week. His opponent, the Jaguars, are ranked in the bottom half in points allowed to running backs.

Larry Fitzgerald, WR, Cardinals — He had a season-low four targets last week. Expect him to bounce back against Washington.

Michael Thomas, WR, Saints — The Saints are at home and I’d expect almost all of Drew Brees’ targets to have a good day against the Lions in a high-scoring game.

Michael Thomas #13 of the New Orleans Saints scores a touchdown as E.J. Gaines #33 of the Los Angeles Rams defends during the second half of a game at the Mercedes-Benz Superdome on November 27, 2016 in New Orleans, Louisiana. (Photo by Sean Gardner/Getty Images)
Michael Thomas #13 of the New Orleans Saints scores a touchdown as E.J. Gaines #33 of the Los Angeles Rams defends during the second half of a game at the Mercedes-Benz Superdome on November 27, 2016 in New Orleans, Louisiana. (Photo by Sean Gardner/Getty Images)

Tyreek Hill, WR, Chiefs — He’s been targeted at least five times in each of his last six games. He’s got a good matchup with the Falcons and he’s a threat to go the distance with every touch.

Sit

Blake Bortles, QB, Jaguars — Bortles has been solid in four of his last five games, but you don’t want to start him against the Broncos.

Carson Wentz, QB, Eagles — He’s been serviceable in his last two games, but I don’t see him having much success at Cincinnati. He has two touchdown passes against five interceptions in his last four weeks.

Eli Manning, QB, Giants — Manning’s only had two good road games out of five this year. One was the first game of the season and the other was last week against the Browns. He’s on the road this week to face the Steelers who are seventh in points allowed to quarterbacks.

Corey Lemonier #52 of the Cleveland Browns sacks Eli Manning #10 of the New York Giants during the first quarter at FirstEnergy Stadium on November 27, 2016 in Cleveland, Ohio. (Photo by Jason Miller/Getty Images)
Corey Lemonier #52 of the Cleveland Browns sacks Eli Manning #10 of the New York Giants during the first quarter at FirstEnergy Stadium on November 27, 2016 in Cleveland, Ohio. (Photo by Jason Miller/Getty Images)

Jonathan Stewart, RB, Panthers — Cam Newton taking short-yardage touchdowns away from Stewart combined with a matchup with the Seahawks makes the running back a weak start.

Rob Kelley, RB, Redskins — His best games have been against subpar defenses. This week he faces the Cardinals, who are second best at limiting running backs.

Rashad Jenning, RB, Giants — He’s got a good matchup, but the Steelers should lead for most of the game, cutting on rushing opportunities.

Allen Robinson, WR, Jaguars — A murderer’s row of matchups begins this week as Robinson faces the Broncos. The next three weeks will be tough.

Jacksonville Jaguars' Allen Robinson (15) catches a pass as Buffalo Bills' Corey White (30) defends during the first half of NFL football game Sunday, Nov. 27, 2016, in Orchard Park, N.Y. (AP Photo/Bill Wippert)
Jacksonville Jaguars’ Allen Robinson (15) catches a pass as Buffalo Bills’ Corey White (30) defends during the first half of NFL football game Sunday, Nov. 27, 2016, in Orchard Park, N.Y. (AP Photo/Bill Wippert)

DeSean Jackson, WR, Redskins— He’s on a two-game scoring streak, but I expect that to end as he faces the ninth best team at limiting wideouts.

Kelvin Benjamin, WR, Panthers — Before last week he hadn’t scored in six straight games. Facing the Seahawks will bring him back down to earth again.

Fantasy football Week 6 preview

Fantasy owners already know who their must-start players are, but everyone has a few decisions to make when it comes to setting a lineup. We’re here to help with those tough decisions.

Each week this space will be dedicated to whom you should start or sit for your upcoming fantasy matchups.

Starts

Carson Palmer, QB, Cardinals — This game will be telling. If he produces against a poor Jets pass defense, then he can be trusted after enduring a concussion and a couple of poor outings. If not, this top-tier QB could slip down a tier.

Quarterback Carson Palmer #3 of the Arizona Cardinals makes a pass during the second half of the NFL game at the University of Phoenix Stadium on October 2, 2016 in Glendale, Arizona. The Rams defeated the Cardinals 17-13. (Photo by Christian Petersen/Getty Images)
Quarterback Carson Palmer #3 of the Arizona Cardinals makes a pass during the second half of the NFL game at the University of Phoenix Stadium on October 2, 2016 in Glendale, Arizona. The Rams defeated the Cardinals 17-13. (Photo by Christian Petersen/Getty Images)

Russell Wilson, QB, Seahawks — It appears as if he’d be a must-start every week, but he started the season terribly. He righted the ship in Week 4 and has had a bye week to prepare for a bad Falcons defense.

Blake Bortles, QB, Jaguars — He’s had two weeks to prepare for a Bears defense that is ranked in the middle of the road against quarterbacks.

Lamar Miller, RB, Texans — Don’t hold his poor performance against the Vikings against him. They’re shutting everyone down. He should bounce back against the Colts, who are 29th in points allowed to running backs.

Houston Texans running back Lamar Miller (26) runs the ball against the Minnesota Vikings during an NFL football game Sunday, Oct. 9, 2016, in Minneapolis. (Jeff Haynes/AP Images for Panini)
Houston Texans running back Lamar Miller (26) runs the ball against the Minnesota Vikings during an NFL football game Sunday, Oct. 9, 2016, in Minneapolis. (Jeff Haynes/AP Images for Panini)

Christine Michael, RB, Seahawks — Michael is even proving to be effective in the passing game as he caught a TD pass in his last game. His matchup is great, and it should be apparent in his point total.

Jonathan Stewart, RB, Panthers — He’ll be back in the lineup for the Panthers and gets to face the team ranked last in points allowed to running backs, the Saints.

Ryan Mathews, RB, Eagles — Despite getting just 16 touches last week, Mathews produced a touchdown, and he has a great matchup against Washington. If he’s productive in the passing game, he could have a big week.

Philadelphia Eagles running back Ryan Mathews (24) rushes against the Detroit Lions during an NFL football game at Ford Field in Detroit, Sunday, Oct. 9, 2016. (AP Photo/Rick Osentoski)
Philadelphia Eagles running back Ryan Mathews (24) rushes against the Detroit Lions during an NFL football game at Ford Field in Detroit, Sunday, Oct. 9, 2016. (AP Photo/Rick Osentoski)

Doug Baldwin, WR, Seahawks — He’s been alternating between good and bad weeks, and he’s due for another big week.

Will Fuller, WR, Texans — You were right to sit him last week against the Vikings as he was shut out. This week’s matchup is much more favorable. The Colts are 19th in points allowed to wideouts.

Jimmy Graham, TE, Seahawks — This could be a record for the number of players suggested as starts from one team, but when the Falcons are 31st in points allowed to tight ends, it’s justified.

Sits

Matt Ryan, QB, Falcons — Didn’t like him starting last week, and I suggest he not start again as he faces the Seahawks in Seattle. They’re the best at limiting quarterbacks’ fantasy points.

Colin Kaepernick, QB, 49ers — You might be interested to see what he’ll be able to do after not starting for quite a while, but that’s no reason to start him until you see some positive signs.

Terrance West, RB, Ravens — He has a tough matchup against the Giants. They allow 96 yards rushing per game and have surrendered just three rushing touchdowns. Expect low-end flex numbers if you have to start him.

Jeremy Hill, RB, Bengals — With his pass-catching ability, Giovani Bernard has a better chance to contribute since the Pats are stout against running backs.

Jeremy Hill #32 of the Cincinnati Bengals is injured after a hit during the third quarter against the Dallas Cowboys at AT&T Stadium on October 9, 2016 in Arlington, Texas. (Photo by Ronald Martinez/Getty Images)
Jeremy Hill #32 of the Cincinnati Bengals is injured after a hit during the third quarter against the Dallas Cowboys at AT&T Stadium on October 9, 2016 in Arlington, Texas. (Photo by Ronald Martinez/Getty Images)

Arian Foster, RB, Dolphins — Even if he’s 100 percent, I’d sit him until he has a really good game as a Dolphin. That backfield is ridiculously crowded right now.

Jeremy Kerley, WR, 49ers — With the quarterback change, I’d wait until we see how that affects the suddenly relevant receiver.

Victor Cruz, WR, Giants — Sterling Shepard is getting targeted heavily, and Cruz was held without a catch last week. No need to start someone who appears to be the third-best option on a struggling offense.