Friday, December 2, 2016

Week 13 Starters & Benchwarmers

 Wondering whether or not to start Drew Brees and Mike Evans, or to bench Fozzy Whittaker and Brian Quick? The network bozos specialize in that kind of advice. If you’re looking for help with your real starting lineup conundrums, read on.

Here are my picks to roll, and get rolled, in Week 13 of the 2016 season.

Watch ‘em roll

Matt Stafford, QB, Lions at Saints. While Stafford has powered down in recent weeks, he still has the potential to explode in any given game. Dueling with the high-powered Saints, he’ll need to be at the top of his game. Detroit will likely abandon its running game early in this shootout, relying almost entirely on Stafford’s strong arm. 300 yards and multiple TDs are well within his reach.

Jordan Howard, RB, Bears vs. 49ers. With the notable exception of Jay Ajayi last week, the 49ers have been extremely generous to opposing tailbacks. In fact, the most generous in the league. Howard owns the Chicago backfield, and given the struggles in their passing game, he will be the centerpiece of their offense in this juicy matchup.

Devontae Booker, RB, Broncos at Jaguars. Trevor Siemian is dealing with a foot sprain, which could limit his effectiveness or even lead to a Paxton Lynch start. Either way, the running game will be critical, and Booker appears to have staved off the threat from Kapri Bibbs. The rookie rose to the challenge against the Chiefs last Sunday night and will have a much easier go of it Sunday in Jacksonville.

Donte Moncrief, WR, Colts at Jets. Not only has he notched a TD in each of his last four games, but Moncrief may be Indy’s lead wideout in the Monday nighter given the back injury that threatens T.Y. Hilton’s availability. Andrew Luck is expected to return from his concussion to face a Jets secondary that has been downright awful most of this season. Moncrief should have no trouble keeping his scoring streak intact.

Davante Adams, WR, Packers vs. Texans. Houston’s pass defense is not the imposing unit is was earlier in the season. And Adams is not the spare part he once was, either. The rapidly developing wideout has established himself as Option 1B to Jordy Nelson’s 1A in the Packers’ high-flying attack. Green Bay still can’t run, so look for another game waged through the air this weekend.

More thumbs up (excluding the no-brainers): QBs Ben Roethlisberger, Carson Palmer, Russell Wilson, Colin Kaepernick, Jameis Winston, Derek Carr; RBs LeSean McCoy, Spencer Ware, Matt Forte, LeGarrette Blount, Latavius Murray, Devonta Freeman, Melvin Gordon, Lamar Miller; WRs Larry Fitzgerald, Doug Baldwin, Golden Tate, DeAndre Hopkins, Tyreek Hill, Michael Thomas, Brandon Marshall, Mike Wallace, Demaryius Thomas, Amari Cooper, Julian Edelman.

Roll ‘em back

Cam Newton, QB, Panthers at Seahawks. Carolina has little left to play for, while the Seahawks just got embarrassed in Tampa Bay. Look for the Legion of Boom to come down hard on Newton, who rallied after a miserable start last week but has been mostly mediocre of late. Seattle won’t be hospitable to their underachieving guests.

Tevin Coleman, RB, Falcons vs. Chiefs. Coleman returned from his bum hammy to post a paltry 1.1 yards-per-carry average on just eight rushing attempts last week. He salvaged his day with a short TD run, but was otherwise ineffective as both a rusher and receiver. Given his dependence on TDs, the Chiefs present a particularly poor matchup. Their four rushing scores allowed to date are tied for the league’s fewest.

Jay Ajayi, RB, Dolphins at Ravens. Speaking of bad matchups, the Ravens are the other team with just four rushing scores surrendered, and they also allow a league-least 74.9 rushing yards per game. Meanwhile, Ajayi has been struggling behind the Dolphins’ depleted offensive line. His prospects are dim in Baltimore.

Jordan Matthews, WR, Eagles at Bengals. Matthews is dealing with an ankle injury, but is still expected to make the trip to Cincinnati. He’ll be facing a stout Bengals secondary that has been limiting opposing wide receivers to less than 19 points per game over the last four weeks.

Allen Robinson, WR, Jaguars vs. Broncos. I don’t need to tell A-Rob’s owners what a disappointment his season has been. And it can’t all be blamed on Blake Bortles. This week, the once-explosive receiver faces the stiffest of tests when the NFL’s stingiest pass defense rolls into town. Denver has surrendered just 10 passing scores in 11 games.

More thumbs down: QBs Blake Bortles, Andy Dalton, Ryan Tannehill, Carson Wentz, Joe Flacco, Trevor Siemian, Jared Goff; RBs Todd Gurley, Jeremy Hill, Jonathan Stewart, Frank Gore, Thomas Rawls, James Starks, Kenneth Dixon; WRs Allen Hurns, DeSean Jackson, Dorial Green-Beckham, Pierre Garcon, DeVante Parker, Tavon Austin, Travis Benjamin, Sterling Shepard, Will Fuller, Tyrell Williams, Brandon LaFell.


Taylor Gabriel, WR, Falcons vs. Chiefs. Gabriel is still a low-volume receiver; but he has made the most of his targets, scoring four TDs over the last four games. The Chiefs’ pass defense is one of the NFL’s worst, and Gabriel is now arguably the No. 2 receiver in one of the league’s most prolific offenses. It’s a great matchup in the Georgia Dome for Matty Ice and his wideouts.

DON’T BE THE BONEHEAD WHO…complains about the way your league allocates postseason berths, seeding and payouts. That’s a discussion for preseason, not now. If you think your rules are unfair, put a reminder on your calendar for next August and propose a change prior to next season’s draft.


  1. Full point ppr...devante Adams, tyrek hill, TY Hilton, Terrell Williams, Taylor Gabriel...need two out of these 5...also with matchups and how everything is going...Colin kaepernick or Aaron Rodgers...thanks

    1. I'd go with Adams and Hilton. And I understand that Kaepernick is a great start, but I wouldn't put him over Rodgers

  2. Full point ppr...devonta Freeman, spencer ware, Ingram and if he is out I also have Hightower...which two...also I have moncrief, crowder, Devante Adams, and Terrell Williams...need three of these or two and the left over running back from one the above...didn't mention kelvin Benjamin because of his matchup but he is in the mix also...let me know what you think

    1. Freeman and Ware. I like Moncrief and Adams. I do like Hightower if Ingram sits, though I don't know about that yet.