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The IDP Guys’ NFL Week 13 Start/Sit List: IDP

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Need help with your fantasy IDP lineup for week 13? Look no further. Get your start/sit advice right here.


Here’s the IDP Guys NFL Week 13 Start/Sit article. Every noteworthy defensive player on every NFL team, delivered to you every Thursday morning by @FFIDP_Jase and @IDPGuys.

Table of Contents

Thursday Night Football
Dallas Cowboys (7-4) at New Orleans Saints (5-6)
Sunday Early Afternoon Games
New York Giants (4-7) at Miami Dolphins (5-7)
Indianapolis Colts (6-6) at Houston Texans (2-9)
Minnesota Vikings (5-6) at Detroit Lions (0-10-1)
Philadelphia Eagles (5-7) at New York Jets (3-8)
Arizona Cardinals (9-2) at Chicago Bears (4-7)
Los Angeles Chargers (6-5) at Cincinnati Bengals (7-4)
Tampa Bay Buccanneers (8-3) at Atlanta Falcons (5-6)
Sunday Mid-Afternoon Games
Jacksonville Jaguars (2-9) at Los Angeles Rams (7-4)
Washington Football Team (5-6) at Los Vegas Raiders (6-5)
Baltimore Ravens (8-3) at Pittsburgh Steelers (5-5-1)
San Francisco 49ers (6-5) at Seattle Seahawks (3-8)
Sunday Night Football
Denver Broncos (6-5) at Kansas City Chiefs (7-4)
Monday Night Football
New England Patriots (8-4) at Buffalo Bills (7-4)

Disclaimers

In the first few weeks of the season, I had a list of disclaimers here that explained how my advice is only a suggestion, how your team is your responsibility, and that I will get things wrong. It got too wordy, and I think most reasonable people understand all of this by now. I’m not going to include all that in my NFL Week 13 Start/Sit IDP article.

I’ll just say this. If you’re the sort of person who feels the need to complain when (not if) I get something wrong, and it costs you points, please read the disclaimers from those early weeks first. I encourage all feedback — even criticism when it’s constructive — but not mindless rants. I do this for fun. It’s a game. Let’s keep it light.

Article Key

Tier One Starts

Based on their opportunity, past production, talent level, and matchup, these players have the best outlook. They usually have a solid floor and an excellent ceiling. These guys should be the nearest to guaranteed production you can find.

Tier Two Starts

These players should earn a reasonable amount of points. Their opportunity, talent, or matchup is typically not on a par with a tier-one player. Tier two players are usually a good option in deep leagues that start multiple players at each position.

Tier Three Starts

These players are a bit of a gamble. You should probably only start them in larger leagues and those which start many players at each position. Tier three players can be serviceable as either bye week or injury replacements, but the chances of scoring well are slim. This tier is as close to “sit” as you can get while still retaining some value as a starter.

Sits

As the name implies, sit these players. You should not start these players for any number of reasons. They aren’t necessarily bad players. I just don’t predict them to be scoring well this game week. In the case of rookies, for example, they may simply need time to earn more playing time and, therefore, our trust as fantasy starters.

Any player not listed in any of these four categories should probably be considered a “sit.” If they become IDP relevant on a week-to-week basis, they will likely end up in one of the categories above.

No Cornerbacks?

Johnny writes a separate article for CBs that drops on Fridays, so keep an eye out for that tomorrow!

True Position Designations

In some IDP leagues, certain positions are grouped in a suboptimal way, primarily because of outdated interpretations of what players at each position do. Many IDP leagues are turning towards True Position to address that problem.

In true position scoring, outside linebackers and defensive ends (ends who predominantly line up outside of the tackle) are grouped as ‘Edge’ (rushers). Defensive tackles and defensive ends who play on the interior are grouped as IDL (interior defensive linemen). This leaves all remaining linebackers as off-ball linebackers (I’ve called them ILBs in this NFL Week 13 Start/Sit IDP article to help with clarification).

The result of these changes is that scoring can be more fairly distributed between groups of players who, in modern defenses, essentially perform near-identical roles.

Players with EDGE designations in such leagues, and this article, can vary in value from leagues that still use traditional DE and OLB positions. The same is true of IDL vs. DT designations and is complicated further by platforms that simply use DL positions to lump all defensive linemen together (the worst!). There is no easy way I can cater to all of these leagues here. Whatever I choose to do, someone would be missing out.

While there is no one-size-fits-all approach to value translation between these different designations, I can at least offer to help adjust the IDP start/sit advice mentioned here for your league’s scoring system. If you find yourself in need of help in that sense, or if you find all of this just too complicated, please send me a Twitter DM. I answer every message I receive.

Without further ado, let’s get into the NFL Week 13 Start/Sit IDP article.

Thursday Night Football

Dallas Cowboys (7-4) at New Orleans Saints (5-6)

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Cowboys
Starts

Tier One

Micah Parsons, ILB/EDGE; DeMarcus Lawrence, EDGE.

Neither DeMarcus Lawrence nor Randy Gregory was available for the Week 12 showdown with the Raiders, so the Cowboys relied on Parsons to provide a pass rush once again.

He was fantastic, as he has been most of the season irrespective of whether asked to play as either an off-ball linebacker or edge rusher. Parsons led the Cowboys with ten pressures, including a sack, five solo tackles, and five stops. The dynamic youngster has had seven sacks in his last four games.

Parsons could play more of an off-ball role with the return of Lawrence, and this could have implications for the fantasy value of several Cowboys players. ILB Leighton Vander Esch and edge rushers Dorance Armstrong, Tarell Basham, and Chauncey Golston would all potentially see reduced snap shares.

Assuming Lawrence lines up in his usual position he will have a nice matchup. Terron Armstead is expected to miss the game with a knee injury. I consider Lawrence a low-end EDGE1 on the basis that he might need to knock off a bit of rust.

Tier Two

Jayron Kearse, S.

Kearse was one snap short of playing all 87 available defensive snaps, and 63 of his snaps were spent in the box or on the defensive line. He racked up ten total tackles and two pass breakups.

The former Vikings player has surprised many this season. He ranks 19th among all safeties with 70 total tackles and has also added an interception and seven pass breakups.

Tier Three

Keanu Neal, ILB; Osa Odighizuwa, IDL.

Neal has been more productive in recent games, amassing 17 tackles in his last two performances. Unsurprisingly, this improvement in his productivity directly correlates with an increased snap share. The problem here is that if Parsons returns to more of an off-ball role again, Neal slides back into the Cowboys’ second ILB spot and that has not been a full-time role lately, typically seeing only 60-75% of the available defensive snaps.

The former Falcons player hasn’t been without his problems. His four missed tackles led the NFL in that category in Week 13.

Odighizuwa’s run of poor form continued against the Raiders as the young defensive tackle managed only a single pressure and one solo tackle. This was his seventh consecutive game without a sack.

The 2021 third-round pick started the season so fast that it’s no great surprise he has been unable to maintain his early-season form. His fantasy managers shouldn’t be relying on him to be a reliable fantasy contributor each week. His value is more as a dynasty stash than as a weekly fantasy contributor. He’s a low-end IDL3 and only because the position is so shallow.

Odhighizuwa has a favorable matchup this week. The Saints’ offensive tackles are excellent, but center Erik McCoy, and guards Calvin Throckmorton and Cesar Ruiz are this unit’s weakness, particularly in pass protection.

Sits

Randy Gregory, EDGE (injury – IR); Leighton Vander Esch, ILB; Dorance Armstrong; EDGE; Tarell Basham, EDGE; Chauncey Golston, EDGE.

Gregory is not eligible to return until at least Week 13.

The Cowboys have favored Neal over LVE at ILB, so if Parsons returns to ILB, LVE’s value plummets.

Armstrong, Basham, and Golston had 62, 41, and 32 total snaps, respectively. They were closer in terms of pass rush attempts, the three players ranked second, third, and fourth on the team, with 33, 28, and 21, respectively. They should retain some fantasy value until Gregory returns.

Saints
Starts

Tier One

None.

Tier Two

Demario Davis, ILB; Cameron Jordan, EDGE.

In last week’s article, I said “I’m willing to bet Davis bounces back” after his dud in Week 11. He did exactly that in Week 12, the veteran linebacker played every down, and led the team with 10 tackles and a QB hurry.

Davis is tied in 23rd at the ILB spot with 76 total tackles. He’s also had three sacks and four pass breakups.

Jordan played 43 of a possible 66 snaps. It wasn’t his most productive game; he managed only one tackle and two QB hurries.

The long-serving Saints player does have four sacks in his last six games, but this point does hide the fact that Jordan is almost two years removed from his most productive years as a pass rusher.

Jordan will go up against La’el Collins in Week 13. Collins is above average in pass protection but Jordan could get the better of him on his day.

Tier Three

Malcolm Jenkins, S; Kwon Alexander, ILB.

Many Saints defenders had difficulty with missed tackles against the Bills, and although Jenkins wasn’t the worst offender he did struggle. The former Eagles man had a QB hurry and five total tackles, but he did miss two more tackle attempts.

Jenkins played every down and spent 29 snaps in the box or on the defensive line.

The veteran safety has 62 tackles, a sack, an interception, and four pass breakups this season.

Alexander played 50 of a possible 66 snaps, some way short of Davis’ 66 but some way ahead of Werner’s 16. He only had four total tackles, but he did record his first interception since 2019.

The former Bucs linebacker has been moderately productive in limited opportunity.

Sits

Pete Werner, ILB; Marcus Williams, S; Marcus Davenport, EDGE (injury).

Werner’s strong play has not been rewarded with an increased snap share. His time will come, but unless Davis or Alexander suffer an injury, Werner may have to wait until at least 2022. Alexander is in the final year of his contract.

As I’ve said so often before, Williams is an excellent player who just doesn’t have much fantasy value. He’s played only 65 snaps in the box all season and ranks 37th in tackles at the position.

Davenport missed Week 12 and has been ruled out of Week 13 with a shoulder injury.

Sunday Early Afternoon Slate

New York Giants (4-7) at Miami Dolphins (5-7)

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Giants
Starts

Tier One

Leonard Williams, IDL.

Williams did not earn a sack against the Eagles but he was disruptive. He led the Eagles with five pressures and added four sacks.

The former first-round pick has been elite this season. He ranks second at his position with 47 tackles, is tied for seventh with 38 pressures, and is tied for second with seven sacks.

It’s no secret how poor the entire Dolphins offensive line has been this season. Williams could have a big game.

Tier Two

Dexter Lawrence, IDL; Xavier McKinney, S; Logan Ryan, S.

I often speak to how shallow the IDL spot is behind the truly elite options, so it’s nice to see two DTs from the same team in the top two tiers.

Lawrence was quiet against the Eagles in Week 12 but has otherwise been reasonably productive this year. He ranks a lowly 37th in total tackles at his position but is 13th in pressures.

Like Williams, Lawrence has a relatively easy matchup this weekend.

McKinney played every down, and although he spent 53 of his 67 snaps in a free safety role, he led the team with eight total tackles. He had an excellent game in coverage, despite being targetted three times, he allowed only one completion for 14 yards, broke up a second pass, and intercepted a third.

The young safety has progressed nicely this season and more than justified his second-round selection in the 2020 draft. McKinney has 60 tackles, five interceptions, and three pass breakups.

Ryan is available to play again this weekend and he should immediately claim his spot back from Julian Love. Ryan was a leading fantasy safety before the injury, earning 68 tackles, a sack, two forced fumbles, and four pass breakups in only eight games. He belongs in tier one but I’d like to see him pick up where he left off before placing him there again. It’s probably a bit unfair of me.

Tier Three

Azeez Ojulari, EDGE; Tae Crowder, ILB.

Ojulari easily led the Giants in snaps and pass-rush attempts last weekend, but he didn’t do a lot for his fantasy managers. He had three hurries and four total tackles.

The young edge rusher hasn’t had a sack since his three-sack performance in Week 7. He has fallen to 42nd in the ranks among all edge rushers in total pressures.

Ojulari has one of his best matchups of the season against the Dolphins’ offensive tackles. Jesse Davis and Liam Eichenberg have combined to allow 97 pressures and 16 sacks.

Crowder played every down and had six tackles and a QB hurry. He is tied for 23rd at the ILB position with 76 tackles. He’s also added an interception and four pass breakups. I have him as a low-end ILB2 because I’m not convinced he’ll keep the job all season.

Sits

Julian Love, S.

Love will return to the bench now Logan Ryan has returned to the lineup.

Dolphins
Starts

Tier One

None.

Tier Two

Emmanuel Ogbah, EDGE; Christian Wilkins, IDL; 

Ogbah made a nuisance of himself in the Panthers game. He had five pressures, including a sack, he also batted a pass and had two solo tackles.

The sixth-year player has steadily improved as a pass rusher in each of the past three years. He is tied for seventh in pressure and has seven sacks this season.

Ogbah has a very favorable matchup against Nate Solder this weekend. Solder has been very poor this season.

Wilkins is an odd one. In tackle heavy IDL/DT-required leagues he’s a valuable asset. The former Clemson star ranks third with 46 tackles this season. He needs to continue developing as a pass rusher. He is tied for 34th at the position with 20 pressures.

However, he did have a sack against the Panthers last weekend and now has three this season. That represents a new career-high for the young defensive lineman.

The interior of the Giants offensive line is poor. Wilkins has a chance to have a good game.

Tier Three

Jaelan Phillips, EDGE; Jerome Baker, ILB; Jevon Holland, S; Andrew Van Ginkel, EDGE.

Phillips was the Dolphins’ best edge rusher last weekend. The rookie made life miserable for the Panthers, generating seven pressures, including three sacks, batting down a pass, and recording a tackle.

This was Phillips’ fourth consecutive game with at least a sack. He has some issues with missed tackles to tidy up, but he’s definitely on an upward trajectory. He may find it difficult to maintain his run in Week 13 as Andrew Thomas has been much improved this season.

Baker led all of the Dolphins linebackers with 45 snaps. He was second on the team with just three solo tackles, partly because the Panthers kept turning the ball over on offense and giving up sacks. With that said, the young linebacker has dropped off a little lately, managing only 12 tackles in his last three games.

Holland was one of three Dolphins players who recorded an interception but, like the rest of the Dolphins players, didn’t have much of an opportunity to rack up tackles in this contest.

The young safety only spent seven snaps in the box or on the defensive line. That’s quite typical for him (except for the Ravens game).

Van Ginkel has been relatively productive in the last month. In his last four games, he has 19 pressures, including three sacks. He appears to have played his way into a more prominent role as a pass rusher, earning at least 22 pass-rush snaps in each of those games. He surpassed that figure on only one other occasion this season – Week 2.

Notably, Van Ginkel ranks sixth among all edge rushers in total tackles. This is a reflection of the fact he’s not asked to rush the passer as often as others like Ogbah, for example.

Sits

Eric Rowe, S.

Rowe’s too inconsistent for me to recommend starting in IDP. He’s better suited as a nice replacement for bye or injury weeks.

Indianapolis Colts (6-6) at Houston Texans (2-9)

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Colts
Starts

Tier One

DeForest Buckner, IDL; Darius Leonard, ILB; Bobby Okereke, ILB.

Buckner earned a sack and he batted down a pass against the Bucs, but it hides what was otherwise a modest performance. The sack was his only pressure and he recorded just three tackles.

That game was not typical for Buckner. The former 49ers player is on track to record his fourth season with double-digit sacks. He’s undoubtedly an elite option at a premium position.

On paper, the Texans do not have an offensive line capable of handling Buckner.

Leonard had a couple of quiet games in Weeks 10 and 11, recording five tackles in each of those games. The dynamic linebacker rewarded fantasy managers for their patience in Week 12, registering a season-high 15 total tackles, and forcing his fifth fumble of the season.

Okereke, of course, was second on the team in tackles. The young linebacker had nine tackles, albeit that five of those were of the assisted variety. He also recorded two QB hurries.

Tier Two

None.

Tier Three

Kwity Paye, EDGE.

Paye kept his sack streak going against the Bucs but it should be noted that after erupting for a combined 16 pressures in Weeks 9 and 10, this sack was his only pressure for the second consecutive week.

Hopefully, the young edge rusher can continue to earn sacks but can generate more pressures too, thereby proving that he can sustain this sack volume going forward.

Tytus Howard filled in for the injured Laremy Tunsil and will do so again this weekend. Howard surrendered a sack but it was arguably his best performance of the season. Even so, Paye has the advantage here.

Sits

George Odum, S; Khari Willis, S (injury).

Willis was not ready to return from his calf injury, so Odum filled in for him again. Odum had three solo tackles, three assisted tackles, and three missed tackles. He had one of the best games of his career in Week 11 and one of the worst in Week 12.

Monitor Willis’ status. He was designated to return from IR this week. If he returns to the lineup, he’ll be a Safety3.

Texans
Starts

Tier One

None.

Tier Two

Jonathan Greenard, EDGE; Zach Cunningham, ILB.

I feel a bit dirty placing Cunningham in this tier, but here we are. Kirksey was designated to return from IR on Thursday, but he’s yet to practice.

Until Kirksey returns, Cunningham remains a tackling machine and, therefore, a fantasy asset at ILB. He leads the team with 27 tackles in their three games. It helps that the Texans’ defense has been on the field so much in recent games, but even so.

Greenard missed Week 11 with an injury but returned to the lineup in Week 12 to post his best PFF pass-rush grade of the season. The young edge rusher has shown a real knack for sacking the quarterback despite earning a comparatively modest amount of sacks.

History proves that pressures-to-sack ratios like Greenard’s are difficult to maintain over extended periods, but fantasy managers should ride this wave as long as they can.

He’ll face both Braden Smith and Eric Fisher this weekend. Both offensive tackles have played erratically. If they aren’t at their best, Greenard will make them pay.

Tier Three

Kamu Grugier-Hill, ILB; Jacob Martin, EDGE.

Grugier-Hill played 66 snaps, had six solo tackles and a sack against the Jets. He’s been at least a high-end ILB or better in three consecutive weeks. I will move him into tier two if these performances continue.

Martin has looked like a different player in the last three games. He’s had 13 pressures, and three sacks, in three games. Moving on from Mercilus was one of the best moves the Texans have made this season, it has allowed the likes of Greenard and Martin to show what they can do and the results so far are very promising.

See Greenard’s notes for information on Martin’s matchup.

Sits

Christian Kirksey, ILB (injury – IR).

Monitor Kirksey’s status this week. He is eligible to return from IR as I’ve mentioned above.

Minnesota Vikings (5-6) at Detroit Lions (0-10-1)

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Vikings
Starts

Tier One

Eric Kendricks, ILB; Harrison Smith, S.

Kendricks wasn’t as productive as he would ordinarily be against the 49ers. He played every down but managed only six tackles – a reasonable figure for most linebackers but below what we have come to expect of him.

This sort of performance will be a rarity for Kendricks. He ranks sixth among all linebackers with 105 total tackles and has added four sacks, two interceptions, and two pass breakups.

Smith never comes off the field. He spent 34 of his 70 snaps in the box or on the defensive line. The veteran safety led the team with 12 tackles and added an interception and a pass breakup.

It feels like he doesn’t always get enough credit from the IDP community.

Tier Two

Xavier Woods, S.

Woods also played every down but only 19 of his snaps were spent in the box or on the defensive line. He had five total tackles and recorded a pass breakup for the third consecutive game.

The fifth-year safety is tied for 20th at his position with 63 tackles and is projected to smash his career-best of 73. He’s already tied his previous best in forced fumbles (2) and interceptions (2).

Tier Three

Anthony Barr, ILB.

I criticized Barr for missing four tackles in two games following his Week 8 return. He hasn’t missed any in his last two games despite racking up 17 tackles over that span.

It’s concerning that he couldn’t finish the 49ers game with a hamstring injury. We’ll need to monitor his status carefully this week. He’s currently listed as questionable.

Sits

Nick Vigil, ILB; Everson Griffen, EDGE (personal/non-football related absence)

Vigil played more due to Barr’s inability to finish the game. He managed seven total tackles. If Barr cannot play this week or is limited, Vigil may have some value as an ILB3.

I’ll remove Griffen from this list from next week until further updates to his status are available. As I said last week, let’s hope he manages to get the support he needs.

Lions
Starts

Tier One

Tier Two

Alex Anzalone, ILB; Tracy Walker, S.

I’ve criticized Anzalone for his level of play this season, from missed tackles to deficiencies in coverage and everything in between. However, the fifth-year linebacker played a lot better on Thanksgiving. He recorded eight tackles, had five stops, and had two pass breakups.

He still missed two tackles and, sadly, he leads the NFL with 20 in that department.

Walker played every down but as usual, he spent the vast majority of his time lined up as a free safety. He recorded five tackles.

The Lions’ safety is tied for 18th at the position with 64 total tackles. He’s added a sack and four pass breakups.

Tier Three

None.

Sits

Charles Harris, EDGE; Trey Flowers, EDGE (injury); Jalen Reeves-Maybin, ILB.

Harris was in tier three earlier in the season. He opened the season with four sacks in his first five games and looked to have turned a corner with his move to Detroit, after disappointing spells at the Dolphins and Falcons.

Unfortunately, the former first-round pack hasn’t had a sack since Week 5 and ranks 36th among edge rushers in pressures. There will probably be edge rushers with fewer pressures and sacks who I recommend as tier three starters, but they will be trending in the opposite direction.

Reeves-Maybin is about as erratic as it gets at ILB. His snap share is wildly inconsistent and he cannot be trusted as a fantasy starter.

Philadelphia Eagles (5-7) at New York Jets (3-8)

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Eagles
Starts

Tier One

Javon Hargrave, IDL.

Hargrave ended his sack drought against the Giants in Week 12. He was easily the Eagles’ most effective pass rusher, generating five total pressures and recording the team’s only sack. He has 13 pressures in his last three games.

The former Steelers player only had one tackle, and it is slightly concerning that his tackle volume has dropped off so sharply after such a strong start to the season in that sense, but consistency at the IDL position is something only the truly elite players manage to achieve each season.

Hargrave will face a Jets offensive line that has a different look to it in recent weeks. Laurent Duvernay-Tardif returned to the lineup in Week 11, and after shaking off a bit of rust in his opening game, he put in a great performance in Week 12.

Even with the return of Duvernay-Tardif, the interior of the Jets offensive line has a long way to go. Hargrave has the advantage in this matchup. 

Tier Two

T.J. Edwards, ILB; Alex Singleton, ILB.

Edwards played 56 of a possible 60 snaps and recorded six total tackles. It was his fewest amount of tackles since he was thrust into a more prominent role in Week 8.

I think he’s a solid ILB2 going forward.

Singleton returned to a bigger role after Davion Taylor landed on IR with a knee injury. Nick Sirianni said Taylor could return at some point this season but it’s not guaranteed, and until that time Singleton has value as a low-end ILB2.

Singleton has his faults. But as far as fantasy is concerned, he still ranks eighth at the position with 98 tackles, despite playing much fewer snaps than many of his ILB counterparts. Fire him up in tackle-heavy leagues.

Tier Three

Josh Sweat, EDGE.

I may have been wrong about Sweat this season. I thought he had the pedigree to become a productive edge rusher in tier two, but I’m beginning to suspect that may be his weekly ceiling rather than the norm. He grades reasonably well as a pass-rusher, and occasionally looks like he has all the tools necessary, so perhaps things can change, but the results have not been forthcoming yet.

Sweat will face Morgan Moses this weekend. Moses has allowed 35 total pressures this season but has had very few games where he looked completely overwhelmed. Fortunately for Sweat, last week was one of them and the young Eagles edge rusher will hope to continue that trend in Week 13.

Sits

Fletcher Cox, IDL; Derek Barnett, EDGE.

Cox isn’t finished yet. When I watch him play I’m confident he’s got something left and that it’s only a matter of time before the sacks come. But I’ve been saying for several weeks and I have to consider his output when ranking him in this list. Please don’t drop him unless you’re desperate for roster spots or in a league with very shallow rosters.

Barnett has rushed the passer 319 times, has 24 pressures and two sacks. If you own him in an IDP league, you have my commiserations.

Jets
Starts

Tier One

Quinnen Williams, IDL; C.J. Mosley, ILB; 

I’m keen to see what Williams can do with a snap volume similar to his peers. He played 39 of a possible 57 snaps in Week 13, but despite this – and as per usual, he put up numbers that compare favorably to the best players at the position.

Williams has a nice matchup this weekend. Sophomore guard Jack Driscoll has filled in well at right guard and has been the better of the interior offensive linemen. Unfortunately, he was sent to IR with an ankle injury this week.

Mosley had a good performance last weekend. He played every down and led the team with eight total tackles. The veteran linebacker was targetted in coverage five times but only allowed three completions for 16 yards. He also broke up a pass.

It feels wrong having Mosley in tier 1 but I have to remember that this is a list of who I predict to be the most productive fantasy scorers and not a list of the best players at each position. Mosley ranks 10th at the ILB position with 92 tackles despite the fact he’s missed two games. I think that level of production will continue as long as he remains healthy.

Tier Two

John Franklin-Myers, EDGE.

Franklin-Myers fell into a bit of a rut between Week 7 and Week 10. He generated a single pressure in three out of four games and didn’t look nearly as disruptive as he did earlier in the season. However, in the last two weeks, he has generated 10 pressures, recorded two sacks, and even had an interception!

The young edge rusher faces a very difficult task in Week 13. Lane Johnson is one of the best offensive tackles he will face. Johnson hasn’t allowed only 10 pressures and zero sacks in nine games this season.

Tier Three

Ashtyn Davis, S; Quincy Williams, ILB.

Davis had two weeks of double-digit tackles between Week 7 and Week 9 but has failed to surpass six tackles in the three games since. I’m a fan of the player but I never let that affect where I place a player, and I have to admit his fantasy production has been uneven.

His role hasn’t changed in any way that would negatively affect his production. He has played more box snaps in each of his last three games than he has in any other game this season.

He’s a high-end Safety3 until further notice.

Williams followed up his 16-tackle performance against the Dolphins with another productive game in Week 13. He played 40 of a possible 57 snaps and had six total tackles, a sack, and a QB hurry. He’s the second Jets ILB to own behind Mosley, as Jarrad Davis only had 12 snaps.

Sits

Everyone else.

Arizona Cardinals (9-2) at Chicago Bears (4-7)

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Cardinals
Starts

Tier One

None.

Tier Two

Budda Baker, S. Markus Golden, EDGE; Jordan Hicks, ILB; Isaiah Simmons, ILB; Jalen Thompson, S.

It feels wrong to place Baker in this tier, but it’s time to face up to the facts. He hasn’t been himself this season. Granted, he’s played a little less in the box this year (32%) than he did last season (40%) but that’s not reason enough. In 2019 he managed a career-high 150 tackles and he spent only 35% of his time in a box role then.

He had six games with double-digit tackles in 2019, four in 2020, and has none so far in 2021.

Golden continued his impressive season against the Seahawks before the Cardinals bye, earning his 10th sack of the season. On current form, he has a good chance to surpass his career-best of 13 sacks, earned during the sophomore season of his first stint with the Cardinals in 2016.

The veteran edge rusher will face more of Larry Borom than Jason Peters this weekend. This will only be Borom’s fifth game as a starter. The fifth-round rookie has only allowed one sack so far but an in-form Golden will be one of his tougher tests.

I manage Zaven Collins in several leagues, but even I like Hicks’ story this season. Everyone overlooked the veteran after the selection of Collins in the draft and the ensuing stories that followed. He fought for his role and has had a productive season.

Hicks ranks 20th among ILBs with 20 total tackles. He’s added three sacks, a forced fumble, and a pass breakup.

Simmons’ productivity in a fantasy sense has been a victim of the fact he’s a versatility player. He’s spent 116 snaps at either slot or outside corner this season, and it’s enough to limit his tackle volume.

The former eighth overall selection ranks 28th at the ILB position with 73 tackles. He’s also had a sack (earned in the last game against the Seahawks), three forced fumbles, an interception, and a pass breakup.

Thompson has been sneaky-good this season. He ranks 10th among all safeties with 69 tackles and has recorded an interception and a pass breakup. If he had a few more big plays he would be pushing for tier one.

Tier Three

Chandler Jones, EDGE.

Jones is a frustrating fantasy player at this stage in his career. Will you get the elite performances we saw in Week 1 and Week 11, the good-but-not-great player from Week 2, Week 3, and Week 9, or the ineffective edge rusher from the four other weeks?

He’s been in my tier two of edge rushers for most of the season, but he’s a high-end EDGE3 in this matchup with Jason Peters. I’ll sound like a broken record to regular readers when I say that Peters is still a decent player but nowhere near the level he once was. It’s hardly surprising given he’s almost 40.

Sits

Zaven Collins, ILB.

Zero snaps for Zaven last weekend. The Cardinals’ defensive coordinator Vance Joseph explained injuries were a part of the reason.

At this point, I’m only mentioning Collins in this article because he has a high profile and I assumed people would want me to keep track of his progress. I intend to remove him from future articles unless I notice any interesting news or trends which might indicate a bigger role. If you object to that plan, let me know in the comments or a DM and I’ll continue to include him.

Bears
Starts

Tier One

Roquan Smith, ILB.

Worryingly, Smith had to leave the Thanksgiving contest with the Lions after suffering a hamstring injury. The dynamic young linebacker managed only 18 snaps.

Smith’s status for Week 13 is in jeopardy:

Check back on this article over the coming days. I’ll update it daily with injury news between publication on Thursday and Sunday with injury news. Given the 49ers are even contemplating IR, I suspect Smith will miss at least one game, possibly more.

Tier Two

Robert Quinn, EDGE.

I was ready to write Quinn off after his 2020 campaign when he earned two sacks. This year has been markedly different and I’ll be the first to hold my hands up to the fact that I was wrong.

What’s even more impressive about his performance is that he’s improved even further since Khalil Mack has been out. Six of Quinn’s sacks have come in the last four games alone. The veteran has 33 pressures, 11 sacks, and 25 tackles this season. He’s also added two forced fumbles.

When Quinn is in this form, the Cardinals D.J. Humphries doesn’t seem like much of a challenge. But Humphries is no pushover and had his best game of the season against the Seahawks before the Cardinals bye.

Tier Three

Eddie Jackson, S; Trevis Gipson, EDGE.

Jackson returned from injury to play every down for the Bears. He played 26 snaps in the box or on the defensive line. Unfortunately, he didn’t have a productive game, recording only three tackles against Detroit.

The fifth-year safety averages only four tackles per game this season. He’s a low-end Safety3 at this point.

Sits

Alec Ogletree, ILB; DeAndre Houston-Carson, S.

Ogletree will have fantasy value as an ILB3 if Smith cannot play. He had 41 snaps in Smith’s absence, had five tackles, but missed three more tackle attempts.

Houston-Carson conceded his spot to Eddie Jackson on Jackson’s return from injury.

Los Angeles Chargers (6-5) at Cincinnati Bengals (7-4)

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Chargers
Starts

Tier One

Derwin James, S; Joey Bosa, EDGE.

James played every down against the Broncos, and 32 of his snaps were spent in the box or on the defensive line. He had a QB hurry and recorded an impressive interception:

James leads all safeties with 91 tackles and has added two sacks, three forced fumbles, two interceptions, and three pass breakups.

Bosa led the team with six pressures, a sack, and a forced fumble. He’s in good form, recording 23 pressures and three sacks in his last four games.

The former Buckeyes star will go up against Riley Reiff this weekend. Reiff has not been at his best this season but did contribute to keeping T.J. Watt quiet last weekend. Very few offensive tackles can boast the same claim this season.

Tier Two

Kyzir White, ILB.

White played 50 of a possible 62 snaps. He played one snap fewer than Drue Tranquill but White had 12 total tackles compared to Tranquill’s three.

White has 60 tackles and two interceptions in his last six games. He’s favored over Kenneth Murray who had only nine snaps, but it’s not clear whether the Chargers have a preference between White and Tranquill. White may have the upper hand based on recent performances.

Tier Three

Nasir Adderley, S; Drue Tranquill, ILB.

Adderley played 59 of a possible 62 snaps. He spent 16 of those snaps in the box or on the defensive line. He had six total tackles.

The young safety is tied for 20th in total tackles at the position. He would be in consideration for tier two if he had some big plays.

As I’ve mentioned above, Tranquill led the ILBs in total snaps but didn’t have a productive day. I’ll monitor this situation to see if either player emerges as the lead ILB. Both players had sufficient snaps to be productive last week.

Sits

Kenneth Murray, ILB; Jerry Tillery, IDL; Linval Joseph, IDL.

Murray has fallen out of favor and is seemingly unlikely to have any fantasy relevance unless White or Tranquill suffer an injury.

Tillery returned to the lineup last week. The former first-round pick has not been a difference-maker and has been overwhelmingly disappointing during his short career.

Brandon Staley said that Joseph would return from the COVID list this week but Joseph has since been ruled out again. When healthy he’s a reliable IDL3 in tackle-heavy leagues, as he is tied for fifth at the position in tackles despite playing in only nine games. However, if your scoring format is not tackle-heavy, Joseph is probably not a starter, as he offers little as a pass-rusher.

Bengals
Starts

Tier One

Vonn Bell, S; Logan Wilson, ILB; Trey Hendrickson, EDGE.

Vonn Bell hasn’t performed like a tier-one safety this season. He does rank 16th in tackles at the position, but that tackle volume isn’t supported with any pass breakups, interceptions, or sacks. He has two forced fumbles but he still lacks the big plays of his safety counterparts in this tier.

I’ll keep him here as a low-end Safety1 for a couple of reasons. Bell continues to play a sizeable amount of his snaps in the box – which we like. And the Bengals’ defense hasn’t played many snaps in the last three games. The ‘starters’ were pulled early in last week’s blowout over the Steelers.

Wilson was having a solid game against the Steelers before he was taken out of the game early. He had six solo tackles and two QB hurries on only 39 snaps.

The young linebacker ranks 17th in tackles at the ILB spot with 86. He’s also had a sack, a forced fumble, and four interceptions. He’s a low-end ILB1.

Unsurprisingly, Hendrickson was the Bengals’ best pass rusher in Week 13. He generated six pressures, including one sack, and he also forced a fumble.

It’s a career year for the 26-year-old edge rusher. He’s two sacks shy of his sack total in 2020 but he should surpass that figure on current form. He is tied for fifth in the league in pressures and is tied for fourth in sacks.

Hendrickson will face Rashawn Slater in this game against the Chargers. Slater has been very impressive by any standards but especially so as a rookie. Hendrickson may not have everything his way in this tough matchup.

Tier Two

Sam Hubbard, EDGE; Jessie Bates III, S.

Hubbard is not as dangerous as Hendrickson as an edge rusher, but he records a reasonable amount of tackles which goes some way to making up for it. Hubbard had a sack against the Steelers and has at least one in the last three games.

He will go up against Storm Norton in Week 13. Norton has allowed 39 pressures and five sacks this season, including three sacks in his last two games. Hubbard won’t have many easier matchups than this.

Bates has been slightly disappointing this season. His tackle volume is roughly the same as last season, but he has only a single pass breakup compared to the 12 he had in 2020.

The young safety has the talent to turn things around, but he’ll need to do better than he did last weekend. He only played 39 snaps due to the Bengals starters being removed early in the win, but he had zero tackles.

There are no obvious reasons to excuse the downturn in his output. He isn’t playing in the box very much but that’s always been the way. He’s being targeted at a similar rate to 2020. Bates has had slightly fewer snaps on average than he did last season but it’s not sizeable enough to justify the difference in his productivity.

Tier Three

Larry Ogunjobi, IDL.

Ogunjobi had a slow start to the season, recovered to have a couple of very productive games in Week 7 and Week 8, but has since been ineffective again. He doesn’t have the consistent production you would want as a fantasy starter, but he benefits from playing a shallow position – his 25 pressures ranks 22nd at the IDL spot.

This matchup with the interior of the Chargers offensive line won’t be an easy one. Corey Linsley headlines a unit that has been pretty good in pass protection. 

Sits

Everyone else.

Tampa Bay Buccanneers (8-3) at Atlanta Falcons (5-6)

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Bucs
Starts

Tier One

Devin White, ILB; Shaq Barrett, EDGE; Lavonte David, ILB.

White suffered a hip injury against the Bucs and only played 35 snaps as a result. He was limited in practice on Wednesday and is questionable for the Week 13 contest against the Falcons.

In recent weeks he seemed to have turned a corner in terms of fantasy production, recording 31 tackles, two sacks, and a pass breakup in his last three games before Week 12. Hopefully, he can avoid missing any time and can pick up where he left off.

Monitor the status of the former LSU star this week. I’ll update this article daily with any news.

Barrett had a hell of a game. He had six total pressures, including two sacks, six total tackles, and he forced a fumble. The sacks were his first since Week 7 and were deserved considering he had 17 pressures in the three games he played between Week 8 and Week 11.

He faces both Jake Matthews and Kaleb McGary in Week 13. Matthews is having a fine season and will present a tough challenge. McGary should be no match for Barrett.

David played every down last weekend and had a steady game, recording seven tackles and a pass breakup. He ranks 31st at his position with 70 tackles but has only played in nine games. He’s still an ILB1 in fantasy.

Tier Two

None.

Tier Three

Antoine Winfield, S.

Winfield played every down and spent 52 of his 69 snaps lined up as a free safety. He was second on the team with seven tackles and he recorded his second interception of the season.

His tackle numbers are slightly disappointing but are in keeping with safeties who tend to line up as deep as Winfield does. He ranks 38th at the position in tackles.

Sits

Jason Pierre-Paul, EDGE; Joe Tryon-Shoyinka, EDGE; Vita Vea, IDL; Mike Edwards, S (suspension); Jordan Whitehead, S (injury.)

JPP had 45 of a possible 69 snaps and rushed the passer 25 times. He generated just two QB hurries, had one tackle, and missed another tackle opportunity.

The veteran edge rusher has been a disappointment this season. JPP has dealt with some injuries, but they aren’t the whole story. He has only 19 pressures and three sacks in nine games.

Tryon-Shoyinka has four more pressures and the same number as sacks as JPP despite rushing the passer 184 times to JPP’s 307. The youngster’s snap count has increased in each of his last four games, so the succession plan seems to be underway as JPP is in the final year of his contract. Tryon-Shoyinka is a nice dynasty stash at the EDGE position.

Vea plays much fewer snaps than most of his IDL counterparts, and that is reflected in some of his production. The giant DT compares favorably when his output is measured on a per-snap-basis, but that doesn’t help us in fantasy.

He still ranks 28th in pressures at the position but has only two sacks and 20 tackles in 10 games. Hopefully, he’s your bye and injury replacement rather than your starter.

Edwards begins a three-game suspension for his involvement in misrepresenting his vaccination status.

I don’t view Edwards as a fantasy starter. He plays too sparingly. Just last week he played only 37 of a possible 69 defensive snaps. He’s been the Bucs primary slot corner in the last three games, so may flash when he manages a pass breakup or an interception, but I don’t think he’ll be a consistent fantasy contributor once he returns.

Whitehead is out with a calf injury. When healthy, he’s a Safety3. He’s tied with Winfield for 51 tackles this season. Only a few big plays separate the two players as far as fantasy scoring is concerned. Whitehead tends to play more in the box and had played a game extra, but Winfield has played more snaps.

Whitehead was one snap shy of playing every down in Week 12 and led the Bucs with eight tackles.

Falcons
Starts

Tier One

Deion Jones, ILB; Foyesade Oluokun, ILB.

Jones missed last week with a shoulder injury and was replaced by the productive Mykal Walker. Walker will be a popular waiver pickup this week but Jones has practiced in full and will reclaim his role in the defensive lineup.

The sixth-year linebacker wasn’t quite as productive immediately preceding the injury. He only had a combined seven tackles in the two games leading up to Week 12. He’ll look to get back on track in this showdown with the Bucs.

Jones still ranks 18th at the ILB position with 82 tackles despite missing time.

Oluokun had 10 tackles last weekend. It’s his sixth game with double-digits in that category. He didn’t start the year as an ILB1 in fantasy but has earned it since. He ranks fifth among all linebackers and has added some big plays to help boost his value.

Tier Two

Grady Jarrett, IDL.

Jarrett has disappointed fantasy managers everywhere with his lackluster production this season. Usually a solid source of sacks at a premium position, Jarrett has produced only 28 total pressures and a single sack, despite playing more pass rush snaps than all but 6 other players at the IDL spot.

He has a challenging matchup with the interior of the Bucs offensive line. They have performed well in pass protection even with Ali Marpet missing time.

Tier Three

Erik Harris, S; Dante Fowler, EDGE.

Harris played 63 of a possible 73 snaps last weekend. He spent 24 of those snaps in a box role or on the defensive line. He had seven tackles and is now tied for 30th in tackles at the safety spot. He’s a low-end Safety3 and has been for most of the season.

Fowler returned from injury in Week 10 and has a sack in each of his last two games. He also forced a fumble last week against the Jags.

His season-long stats don’t tell the whole story as he’s only played in eight games, and has played sparingly in two of those, but he remains the best pass rusher on a team short of pass-rushing options. Consider him a high-end EDGE3, or even a low-end EDGE2 when he has a nice matchup.

This is not a favorable matchup for Fowler. He’ll face both Donovan Smith and Tristan Wirfs who are, collectively, one of the better pairs of offensive tackles in pass protection.

Sits

Everyone else.

Sunday Mid-Afternoon Slate

Jacksonville Jaguars (2-9) at Los Angeles Rams (7-4)

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Jaguars
Starts

Tier One

None.

Tier Two

Josh Allen, EDGE; Rayshawn Jenkins, S; Dawuane Smoot, EDGE; Myles Jack, ILB;

Allen looks like a tier-one player at times but then disappears at others. He generated 30 pressures in only five weeks between Week 5 and Week 9 but has since generated zero pressures in his last two games despite rushing the passer a combined 43 times. Maddening for fantasy owners.

The third-year edge rusher ranks 16th at his position in pressures and is tied for 24th in sacks. He’s having a career year in terms of tackle volume, amassing 47 which ranks second at the EDGE spot.

Those statistics are good enough for him to be considered a low-end EDGE1. However, he has a very difficult matchup against Andrew Whitworth in this game. Whitworth, despite being 39 years old, remains one of the best offensive tackles in the league.

Jenkins played every down and spent 38 of his 60 snaps in the box or on the defensive line. He earned six tackles and had a QB hurry.

The former Chargers safety ranks 27th at the position with 60 total tackles. He lacks big plays, failing to record any forced fumbles, sacks, or interceptions this season.

Smoot has had a disappointing run in recent games. He’s had the opportunity, rushing the passer a combined 58 times in the last three games, but has earned only two pressures, zero sacks, and five tackles in that period.

He still ranks 24th at the position in total pressures, but for a player who offers so little by way of tackle volume, his lack of pressure and sacks is a real cause for concern. Consider him a low-end EDGE2 in this matchup with Rob Havenstein. Havenstein has allowed 12 pressures and three sacks in his last three games.

Jack played every down in Week 12. He had seven tackles, increasing his tally to 78 in 10 games this season. He’s a reliable source of tackles, earning at least six tackles in all but two games this season.

He’s a solid ILB2. He could be considered a high-end ILB2 if he delivered more big plays. Like Jenkins, Jack has zero fumbles, sacks, or interceptions this season.

Jack didn’t practice on Wednesday with a knee injury.

Tier Three

None.

Sits

Damien Wilson, ILB; Roy Robertson-Harris.

Wilson played only 38 of a possible 60 snaps and delivered only two solo tackles. He appeared to retain some fantasy value even after Jack’s return from injury in Week 8, but the veteran linebacker has averaged only four tackles per game in his last four games.

Robertson-Harris has recorded a sack in each of his last two games. IDL is a premium position with fewer fantasy contributors than other positions, but I’m not too excited about the 28-year-old unless I’m desperate for help at the IDL spot. I suspect this may be a flash in the pan given his career production so far.

Rams
Starts

Tier One

Aaron Donald, IDL; Von Miller, EDGE; Leonard Floyd, EDGE; Jordan Fuller, S.

We saw a glimpse of what the pass-rushing trio of Donald, Miller, and Floyd might be capable of, as they combined for 14 total pressures against the Packers. Unfortunately, none of them earned a sack so the best is, hopefully, still to come.

Donald had five of those pressures, six solo tackles, and four stops. He has an opportunity to have another good game against this Jaguars offensive line. Left guard Andrew Norwell is the only interior lineman who has played consistently well.

Miller led the team with six pressures. He also had five tackles. It was a decent game for the future HoF’er but isn’t quite what fantasy managers are hoping for. Miller will face both Cam Robinson and Jawaan Taylor. Both Robinson and Taylor have improved greatly after a questionable start to the season, I think Miller might cause them problems.

Floyd had three pressures and two tackles. He hadn’t gone two games without a sack until Miller arrived but hasn’t earned a sack since Week 9. The gifted edge rusher will look to remedy that situation against Robinson and Taylor.

Floyd is still tied for 14th at the edge position in pressures and ninth in sacks.

Fuller played every down and spent 28 of his 82 snaps in a box role. He had seven total tackles – four of which were assists – and he broke up a pass.

The young safety ranks fifth at the safety spot with 77 tackles.

Tier Two

Taylor Rapp, S.

Rapp had a poor game. He played every defensive snap available and spent 18 snaps in a box role. He managed only three solo tackles, missed another tackle attempt, and allowed a touchdown in coverage.

The former Washington Huskies star ranks 25th in tackles at the safety position with 61 tackles. He’s boosted his value with two sacks, two interceptions, and two pass breakups.

Tier Three

Ernest Jones, ILB; Troy Reeder, ILB; Greg Gaines, IDL.

Jones played  59 of a possible 72 snaps and managed five tackles and a QB hurry. He’s yet to take off in a fantasy sense, but it’s nice to see him earn a solid amount of snaps for the second consecutive game.

The young linebacker was very close in snap share with Reeder. Reeder had 63 snaps but led the team with an impressive 15 tackles. Nine of those tackles were assists and he did miss three tackle attempts, but it was encouraging to see him have such an active role.

Gaines was the only Rams defender to earn a sack in the game. He built on some impressive recent performances with six tackles, three pressures, including a sack against the Packers.

I mentioned last week that Gaines has stepped into a more prominent role following the injury to Sebastian Joseph-Day. He’s certainly taking advantage of the opportunity he has been given. The third-year player has 16 tackles, 13 pressures, including three sacks in his last four games.

I also mentioned last week that Gaines has an EDGE or DE designation in some formats, despite the fact he has played almost exclusively at tackle. Again, if you’re in an MFL league and have an active commissioner you could try your luck and ask about a position switch.

Sits

Everyone else.

Washington Football Team (4-6) at Los Vegas Raiders (6-5)

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Washington
Starts

Tier One

Jonathan Allen, IDL; Daron Payne, IDL; Cole Holcomb, ILB.

Neither Allen nor Payne managed a sack against the Seahawks in Week 12. However, Payne did lead the team with five pressures, while Allen was third with three.

Both players played very little compared to usual. Allen managed only 36 snaps and Payne 31. They were impactful with limited opportunity but should be more productive in future games when they return to their more typical snap shares.

Allen is tied for fourth at the IDL position with 44 pressures and sixth with six sacks. Payne is tied for ninth with 33 pressures and 18th with three sacks.

Continue playing both as a fantasy IDL1 in this matchup. The interior of the Raiders offensive line has played better in the last game or two, but the impressive combination of Allen and Payne is unlike that which most opposition teams possess.

Holcomb didn’t have his best game against the Seahawks, managing only four tackles and allowing a touchdown in coverage, but he remains the only full-time off-ball linebacker on the Washington defense.

The former Tar Heels star is ranked twelfth among all ILBs with 90 tackles. He’s added a sack, two forced fumbles, an interception, and two pass breakups for good measure. He has been a solid ILB1 this season.

Tier Two

Kamren Curl, S.

Curl was one of five Washington players who was on the field for every down. It’s a concerning trend that he only played eight of his 47 snaps in a box role or on the defensive line, especially when we compare it to his usage earlier in the season when he had a run of six games with 15 or more in that role.

The sophomore safety found ways to remain productive, earning his first sack of the season to add to his four tackles. He’s now tied for 15th at the safety position with 65 total tackles.

Tier Three

None.

Sits

Landon Collins, S (injury); Jamin Davis, ILB.

Collins will miss this game with a foot injury.

He played 40 snaps and spent 23 of those in the box last week. He earned seven total tackles, forced a fumble, and had a QB hurry.

The former Giants star is tied with Curl with 65 tackles at the safety spot, also ranking 15th.

Davis only managed 24 snaps. He’s the second off-ball linebacker on a team that only has one spot for a productive ILB. Collins’ absence helps Davis this week. Collins usually performs a pseudo-linebacker role for Washington and Davis could earn extra snaps in his absence.

Raiders
Starts

Tier One

Maxx Crosby, EDGE; Denzel Perryman, ILB; Jonathan Abram, S.

Crosby’s season is mystifying. He easily leads the league in sacks yet cannot sack the QB with any consistency. Once again, he led the Raiders in pressure last week, earning five against the Cowboys, but once again he failed to add to his seven sacks this season.

I don’t blame any fantasy manager who has had enough. I’m trying to buy him everywhere I can from managers who are frustrated with the situation.

Cornelius Lucas will be hoping to keep Crosby’s infamous run going this weekend. Lucas has played well this season, allowing only nine pressures and a single sack in seven games.

Perryman played 71 of a possible 74 snaps. He had seven tackles and a QB hit. That’s a decent performance for most linebackers but it’s a disappointment for those of us who came to expect the 11+ tackles per game he had averaged before Week 12.

The powerful linebacker has been surpassed by Bobby Wagner in the race to become the tackle leader. However, Perryman has played almost 200 snaps fewer than Wagner.

Abram had a busy day. He played all 74 snaps and had nine tackles. He was targetted 11 times in coverage and gave up eight completions for only 31 yards.

The former first-round safety spent 32 snaps in a box role. He’s spent almost 60% of his snaps for the season in the box or on the defensive line.

Tier Two

Yannick Ngakoue, EDGE; Cory Littleton, ILB.

Ngakoue had the Raiders only sack against the Cowboys. He was second on the team with three pressures.

The 26-year-old edge rusher has been in good form, recording eight sacks in his last seven games. He ranks 11th at the edge position in pressures and is tied for 11th in sacks. I consider him a high-end EDGE2 or a low-end EDGE1 depending on his matchup.

He will go up against Charles Leno Jr. in Week 13. Leno has emerged as one of the better pass-blocking offensive tackles this season. He’s had two or three poor games but the rest have been fantastic. Tough matchup for Ngakoue even if he is on a good run.

Littleton played 53 of a possible 74 snaps and led the Raiders with 10 tackles.

The former Rams linebacker has worked in Perryman’s shadow much of the season but ranks 16th at the position with 86 tackles. He can be taken advantage of in coverage at times but that doesn’t negatively affect his fantasy production unless he loses his role in the defense. And that doesn’t look likely to happen.

Tier Three

Quinton Jefferson, IDL.

If Jefferson has IDL or DT eligibility in your league then he’s not a bad option. He is tied for 22nd at the position in total pressures and 34th in tackles. There are much better options out there, but he’s ideal as a cheap bye or injury replacement in deeper leagues.

Sits

Everyone else.

Baltimore Ravens (8-3) at Pittsburgh Steelers (5-5-1)

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Ravens
Starts

Tier One

Tier Two

Odafe Oweh, EDGE.

Oweh had arguably the best game of his young career against the Browns. He had an impressive six pressures, including a sack, a forced fumble, and a solo tackle.

The rookie is tied for 14th among all edge-rushers in pressures and has earned five sacks. The only negative is that he doesn’t earn many tackles – he averages less than two per game. But I’m being picky. The 31st overall pick in the 2021 draft has done very well so far.

Oweh will face Dan Moore Jr. and Chukwuma Okorafor this weekend. Moore is a liability in pass protection. Okorafor is better but doesn’t have what it takes to contain Oweh for a whole game.

Tier Three

Josh Bynes, ILB; Patrick Queen, ILB; Tyus Bowser, EDGE.

Bynes earned more snaps than Queen in Week 9 and Week 10, but that snap share has swung the other way in the last two games, and the gap widened slightly further in last week’s game against the Browns.

Queen has also outplayed and outproduced Bynes in the last two weeks. The young linebacker isn’t exactly setting the world alight, but he looks better than he did between Week 2 and Week 5.

Both are ILB’s at this point, but Bynes is struggling to maintain ILB3 status, whereas Queen is solidifying his position. Queen has 18 tackles, a sack, and a forced fumble in his last three games despite only playing a combined 118 snaps over that period.

A few weeks ago I criticized Bowser for failing to produce consistently. He’s been on a tear since then! The fifth-year edge rusher has 13 pressures, including three sacks, a forced fumble, and a pass breakup in his last three games. It’s the most productive three-game spell of his career.

See Oweh’s notes above for information on Bowser’s matchup.

Sits

Chuck Clark, S; Justin Houston, EDGE; Calais Campbell, IDL (injury).

Clark played every down, managed five tackles, two QB hurries, and a pass breakup. Hopefully, he can build on that performance and can finish the season strongly. He hasn’t had more than five tackles in a game since Week 4 so it will take more than one game for him to earn my trust as a fantasy starter.

Houston flashed in recent games but didn’t manage a sack in Week 12. He’s done enough to prove that he’s still got something left in the tank. Consider him a solid bye or injury replacement.

Campbell remained in the concussion protocol on Wednesday. He has marginal value even when healthy.

Steelers
Starts

Tier One

Cam Heyward, IDL; Minkah Fitzpatrick, S.

Heyward played 54 of a possible 68 snaps and led the team with 26 pass-rush attempts. He recorded one of only two Steelers sacks on the day and added seven total tackles.

The veteran lineman is 5th among all players at his position with 42 total pressures and ranks first with 50 tackles.

The interior of the Colts offensive line has been all over the place recently. Even Quenton Nelson has looked out of sorts. Heyward may capitalize.

Fitzpatrick has been a solid source of tackles this season. The 2018 first-round pick had nine more tackles to add to his total and currently ranks eight at the position among all safeties. He also added his first interception of the season. He’s a low-end Safety1.

Tier Two

Joe Schobert, ILB.

Schobert led all Steelers linebackers with 66 snaps and paced the team with 10 tackles. It was his second double-digit tackle performance in the last three games after managing 13 in the Week 10 game against Detroit.

The former Browns linebacker has alternated between having a productive game and a poor game each week for the last six games. His tackle output since Week 6 has been two, nine, four, 13, four, and 10. He’s the sort of player who makes writing this article so much fun!

Tier Three

Terrell Edmunds, S; Alex Highsmith, EDGE.

Edmunds played every down and spent 33 of his 68 snaps in a box role or on the defensive line. He had a season-high seven solo tackles and moved up to 33rd among all safeties with 56 tackles this season.

Highsmith had two QB hurries, a batted pass, and five total tackles. The young edge rusher has only 22 pressures and four sacks this season and is a low-end EDGE3 at best.

I’ve left Highsmith here rather than demoting him to the sit tier because of this week’s matchup. Alejandro Villanueva has played extremely poorly this year, allowing 40 pressures and seven sacks in 11 games. If Highsmith cannot do anything here, I won’t recommend you start him next week.

Sits

T.J. Watt, EDGE (reserve/COVID-19); Devin Bush, ILB.

Watt was added to the reserve/COVID-19 list after testing positive on Monday. It sounds like he has a chance to play after testing negative on Friday night. Monitor his status closely. I’ll update this article as we hear more.

Bush played 57 snaps and had four tackles. He has surpassed five tackles only twice this season. It’s a hugely disappointing season for him.

San Francisco 49ers (6-5) at Seattle Seahawks (3-8)

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49ers
Starts

Tier One

Nick Bosa, EDGE.

Bosa had the 49ers’ only sack of the game in their Week 12 contest. The 49ers only created six pressures in total and Bosa had two of them.

The third-year edge rusher has been in good form this season, earning 44 pressures and 11 sacks.

Duane Brown and Brandon Shell will have to be on their game to contain Bosa this weekend. Unfortunately for the Seahawks, Brown has been anything but his best for long spells this season, and Shell hasn’t been nearly as good as he was last season.

Tier Two

Azeez Al-Shaair, ILB.

I hesitated in placing Al-Shaair in this tier, but he deserves it, at least for this week with Warner doubtful and Greenlaw a long shot to play. The 2019 free-agent acquisition has surpassed expectations in terms of his productivity this season, earning 67 tackles, ranking 34th among all linebackers in that category despite missing a game.

The young linebacker has at least seven tackles in four of his last five games and is a good bet to make it five out of six against the Seahawks this weekend.

Tier Three

None.

Sits

Arik Armstead, EDGE; Dre Greenlaw, ILB (injury); Fred Warner, ILB (injury); Talanoa Hufanga, S; Jaquiski Tartt, S.

I’ve remained patient with Armstead this season but he’s made life difficult. A third of his pressures came in Week 1. He earned more pressure in the first two games of the season than he has in the last nine games. He has only three pressures and four tackles in his last three games.

I’m fed up with his lack of productivity and I’m not recommending you start him until I see some changes. His 2019 season with 73 pressures, 13 sacks, and 48 tackles seems like a long, long time ago now.

Greenlaw has already been ruled out and. it doesn’t sound promising for Warner:

 

Hufanga had 31 of a possible 55 snaps, Tartt had 34. Neither safety can be consistently productive while earning so few snaps.

Seahawks
Starts

Tier One

Bobby Wagner, ILB; Jordyn Brooks, ILB; Jamal Adams, S.

Wagner and Brooks combined for a crazy 30 tackles against Washington. The Seahawks defense was on the field for 84 snaps but even so, that’s an incredible statistic.

Wagner earned 14 of those tackles. The talismanic veteran leapfrogged Denzel Perryman to become the leading tackler in the league:

As I mentioned in Perryman’s notes, Wagner and the Seahawks defense has been on the field an awful lot this season, but even so, Wagner deserves the credit for his achievement.

Brooks wasn’t to be outdone in Week 12. He led the team with 16 tackles despite playing nine snaps fewer than Wagner. The young linebacker improved his standing on the list of the leagues’ leading tacklers, moving up to third.

Tier Two

Quandre Diggs, S.

Diggs lines up almost exclusively as a free safety but still had eight tackles in the Washington game. It was his third consecutive game with at least seven tackles. He ranks 12th among all safeties in tackles this season.

Like all of the Seahawks defenders, some of his production is attributable to the sheer volume of snaps he has played. But given this has been the case in every game so far this season, it’s reasonable to expect that the same volume might be there for the next five games.

Tier Three

None.

Sits

Everyone else. Darrell Taylor comes closest but the Seahawks rotate their edge rushers too much.

Sunday Night Football

Denver Broncos (6-5) at Kansas City Chiefs (7-4)

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Broncos
Starts

Tier One

None.

Tier Two

Justin Simmons, S.

Simmons had seven solo tackles and two pass breakups last weekend. He had a shaky start to the season but has since put together four consecutive performances to remind us how good he can be.

The 28-year-old has 53 tackles this season, ranking 36th among all safeties in that category. He has added value due to his contributions in coverage. Simmons has four interceptions and seven pass breakups.

Tier Three

Bradley Chubb, EDGE; Dre’Mont Jones, IDL; Malik Reed, EDGE; Baron Browning, ILB; Kenny Young, ILB.

Chubb only managed 30 snaps against the Chargers. It’s unsurprising considering how much time he has missed. He talked openly about how rusty he felt. He has the potential to be in tier two, but consider him an EDGE3 until he finds his feet again.

If Chubb was used in the same way as he was last week, he would go up against the Chiefs’ right tackle. Andrew Wylie has filled in for Lucas Niang in the last three games. Wylie has struggled, allowing 17 pressures and two sacks in three games. Niang is out again this weekend so Wylie is likely to play in his place again.

Jones didn’t record a sack against the Chargers but he led the Broncos with six pressures. He also added three assisted tackles. Suddenly, the talented young lineman ranks 11th in total pressure from the IDL spot.

The interior of the Chiefs offensive line is quite impressive. Creed Humphrey has played as well as any center in football over the last four games. Joe Thuney remains one of the best guards in the game. Jones has a difficult matchup.

Reed has at least one sack in the last three games. The young edge rusher has a chance to establish himself in the absence of Miller and has made a great start.

He will face Orlando Brown and either Andrew Wylie or Lucas Niang in Week 13. It’s an average matchup for Reed.

In a surprising move, Browning played every down in Week 12. The young ILB responded with seven tackles, a QB hurry, and a pass breakup. If he continues to play ahead of Kenny Young then he’ll retain value as a solid ILB3 with the potential to become more. Watch this space.

Young tied for the team lead with nine tackles despite playing only 43 of a possible 71 snaps. It looked like he was the leading ILB in Week 10 but those roles were reversed between Browning and Young after the Week 11 bye. I’ll monitor these two players closely.

Sits

Kareem Jackson, S (injury); Shelby Harris, IDL (injury); Jonathon Cooper, EDGE.

Kareem Jackson was limited in practice with the neck injury that kept him out of the game with the Chargers last weekend. He’s currently listed as questionable. I will monitor his progress and update this article when we hear some news.

Harris did not practice on Wednesday with an ankle injury. He also missed the Chargers game.

Cooper played more snaps than Chubb in this game, but I expect Cooper will drop to third in the rotation. Whether it remains a rotation remains to be seen. Cooper has two pressures and zero sacks in the last two games.

Chiefs
Starts

Tier One

Chris Jones, DI.

Jones had an incredible performance in the Chiefs’ last game before their Week 12 bye. He had eight pressures, including four sacks, had a forced fumble, and a batted pass.

The Chiefs moved Jones back to defensive tackle after experimenting with him at defensive end earlier in the season. Since moving back inside, Jones has 20 pressures, 13 tackles, four sacks, and a forced fumble in the last three games.

The Broncos have a young and relatively inexperienced core of players on the interior of their offensive line. Jones has a very good chance to continue his run of recent good form.

Tier Two

Tyrann Mathieu, S.

Mathieu ranks 41st among safeties with 48 tackles this season. He has missed a game but even so, averaging less than five tackles per game isn’t too impressive. The former Cardinals’ safety just about remains in this tier but needs to either increase his tackle volume or produce big plays.

It’s slightly confusing why Mathieu hasn’t been more involved. He’s spent a lot of time close to the line of scrimmage. 41 of his 66 snaps were spent in a box role in Week 11.

Tier Three

Frank Clark, EDGE.

Clark was second on the Chiefs with five pressures against the Cowboys. He had a sack and a forced fumble. The veteran edge rusher has 18 pressures, two sacks, and two forced fumbles in his last four games.

Clark will face Cameron Fleming and, if Fangio gets his way, Garrett Bolles. Fleming is nothing special in pass protection and Bolles was not himself before the injury. Clark has the advantage in this matchup.

Sits

Willie Gay Jr., ILB; Ben Niemann, ILB; Anthony Hitchens, ILB; Nick Bolton, ILB; Melvin Ingram, EDGE; Juan Thornhill, S.

Gay, Niemann, Hitchens, and Bolton continue to rotate heavily. All four players had between 19 and 37 snaps of a possible 66 snaps. Each will flash from time to time but none will have consistent success while they share playing time to this extent.

Ingram has eight pressures and zero sacks in his last three games.

Thornhill had 62 snaps but managed only four total tackles. He averages less than four tackles per game this season.

Monday Night Football

New England Patriots (8-4) at Buffalo Bills (7-4)

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Patriots
Starts

Tier One

Matt Judon, EDGE.

Judon led the Patriots with three pressures. He had a sack and added five total tackles. This was his fifth consecutive game with at least a sack. This is already his most productive season as a pass rusher and he has four games remaining (the Pats have a Week 14 bye).

The 29-year-old ranks fourth overall among all edge players with 55 total pressures, and third overall with 12 sacks.

Judon will face both Dion Dawkins and Daryl Williams in Week 12. Both players are usually steady performers but Dawkins had a shocker in Week 11. I wouldn’t bet against Judon while he’s in this form.

Tier Two

Adrian Phillips, S.

Phillips played 44 of a possible 63 snaps and spent 33 snaps in the box or on the defensive line. He had six tackles.

The former Chargers player ranks 32nd in total tackles. He’s added a forced fumble, four interceptions, and two pass breakups.

I’ve moved Phillips into tier two in the absence of Dugger this week. Consider him a low-end Safety2.

Tier Three

Christian Barmore, IDL; Ja’Whaun Bentley, ILB.

Barmore didn’t earn a sack but he was second on the Patriots with two pressures, and he had three tackles. The talented rookie has been unlucky to earn 33 pressures and yet record only a single sack. The pressures do indicate that those sacks will come if we’re patient enough.

The interior of the Bills offensive line has been generally quite good. Mitch Morse has been reasonably good, Ike Boettger has improved. Barmore won’t have everything his way.

Bentley played 55 snaps and stuffed the stat sheet. He led the team with 10 tackles, recorded a sack, and had a forced fumble. The powerful linebacker is tied for 27th at the ILB position with 73 tackles despite playing sparingly in many games.

Consider Bentley a high-end IBL3 this week. Dugger’s absence leaves more tackles on the table. Phillips and Bentley are the most likely to absorb that volume.

Sits

Kyle Van Noy, ILB/EDGE; Kyle Dugger, S (reserve/COVID-19)

Van Noy played 48 snaps but rushed the passer only nine times. This isn’t unusual for him, but fantasy managers expecting a continuation of his recent run of sacks might be wondering what happened.

He did contribute in other areas. Five tackles, a forced fumble, a batted pass, and two pass breakups. It was a hell of a game from the versatile veteran. He’s a nice option for a bye or injury replacement and will occasionally deliver much more.

Dugger had 54 of a possible 63 snaps and spent 33 of those in the box or on the defensive line. He was second on the Patriots with eight tackles and added a QB hurry.

The former division II safety ranks fourth among all safeties with 78 tackles. Dugger’s is a great story about what can be achieved even if entering the NFL from a small school.

Unfortunately, the talented young safety will miss this game after being placed on the reserve/COVID-19 list on Wednesday.

Bills
Starts

Tier One

Jordan Poyer, S.

Poyer played 52 of a possible 59 snaps but spent only 12 of those snaps in a box role or on the defensive line. He managed just two tackles but did save the day for fantasy managers with an interception – his fifth of the season.

The low tackle volume is a concern for a player likely acquired by fantasy managers to be a Safety1.

The veteran Bills safety has been targetted 18 times in coverage this season but has allowed only nine completions for 47 yards. This is excellent in NFL terms but unfortunately, it matters very little in a fantasy sense.

Tier Two

Tremaine Edmunds, ILB.

Edmunds played 49 of a possible 59 snaps and led the team with nine tackles. He also added a QB hurry. It was nice to see him pick up where he left off before the injury. The former first-round pick has at least eight tackles in each of his last five games.

Tier Three

Matt Milano, ILB.

Milano became more productive when helping to fill in for Edmunds in Week 10 and Week 11. He maintained a reasonable level of production despite Edmunds’ return to the lineup in Week 12, recording seven solo tackles and earning five stops.

The fifth-year linebacker has the potential to be an ILB2 in the league. His recent games suggest a return to the levels of production we saw in 2019 but he but needs to keep producing before we trust him after a slow start to the season.

Sits

Ed Oliver, IDL; Jerry Hughes, EDGE; Gregory Rousseau, EDGE; Micah Hyde, S.

I said this about Oliver last week:

“I mention Oliver for the first time this season because he’s started to show some signs of becoming a better pass rusher. The 2019 first-round pick has earned a PFF pass-rush grade above 80 in two consecutive games, and three of his last five. He’s achieved a grade above 80 on only three occasions in the two years prior.”

I also counseled readers to temper enthusiasm until we saw more. Well, Oliver delivered more in Week 12, leading the Bills with six total pressures, including a sack. He also added three solo tackles and had four stops. Pick him up and stash him until we learn whether this is a flash in the pan or a sign of things to come.

I don’t trust any of the Bills’ edge rushers. They’re a talented bunch, headlined by the aging – but still productive Hughes and the raw, but talented Rousseau. Unfortunately for fantasy managers, they rotate too heavily to offer any real consistent fantasy value.

Hyde had two tackles and a QB hit. He’s a talented player but as we know, that doesn’t always translate into good fantasy value. Fortunately for his loyal fantasy managers, his value has been boosted by some big plays. I worry about what happens when (not if) those big plays dry up.

Final Reminder

Please remember to check inactive players before submitting your final lineups on Thursdays, Sundays, and Mondays. Players can and will suddenly become inactive at the last moment.

This NFL Week 13 Start/Sit IDP article was published days before kick-off. I will try to keep it updated with injury news if it affects start/sit recommendations. I will update it at least three times, once before the Thursday night game, once before the early games on Sunday, and again before the mid-afternoon games.

Please check the IDPGuys IDP Injury Report article from @FF_Skinnychef for the latest injury news.


Thanks for taking the time to read my NFL Week 13 Start/Sit article for IDP leagues! I hope you find it useful. You can find more of my work here at IDPguys.org, and you can follow me on Twitter @FFIDP_Jase. I will do my best to be available for questions or feedback. My DMs are always open.

For start/sit advice for players on offense, please check out the article here from the IDPGuys @FantasyLadder.

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