Friday, December 4, 2020

Week 13 Fantasy Football WR Start'em, Sit'em

The decision on which player to start, or sit, largely comes down to the options on your roster (and/or possibly the players available on your league's waiver wire).

As an example, Brandin Cooks is listed below as a "start" for Week 13. And I'd certainly be comfortable going into Week 13 with him as one of my starting wide receivers.

Then again, Cooks may be a "sit" for your team.

In other words, if you own Davante Adams, D.K. Metcalf and Cooks and only start two wide receivers, you should start Adams and Metcalf and, in turn, bench Cooks.

For a more direct answer on whether we would start Player X over Player Y, check our Week 13 Fantasy Football Rankings. Instead of making those direct comparisons, the goal here is to highlight players that we like, or dislike, for the week.

Week 13 Fantasy Football WR Start'em

Justin Jefferson, Minnesota Vikings (vs. JAX)

With Adam Thielen out against the Carolina Panthers last week, Jefferson set a season-high in targets (13), which he turned into seven catches for 70 yards and two touchdowns. The first-round rookie from LSU has now exceeded 16 fantasy points (half-PPR scoring) and finished as a weekly top-15 performer in three consecutive games.

Although the Vikings operate a run-first offense, Jefferson has performed as a WR1 across the board -- WR6 in non-PPR, WR10 in half-PPR and WR12 in PPR -- through Week 12. Employing a run-first approach and being double-digit home favorites against the Jacksonville Jaguars this week could limit Kirk Cousins' pass attempts, but there are a lot of reasons to be confident that Jefferson will continue to produce at a high level.

Only the high-powered Patrick Mahomes-led Kansas City Chiefs offense has a higher implied total than the Vikings this week. As much as Dalvin Cook may run wild, there should be enough fantasy production to go around. In addition, the Jaguars have allowed the fifth-most fantasy points to opposing wide receivers this season.

DeVante Parker, Miami Dolphins (vs. CIN)

Technically, Parker has finished as fantasy's WR15 in back-to-back weeks with 15.1 and 15.9 half-PPR fantasy points, respectively. That said, he benefited from the return of Ryan Fitzpatrick under center. The recipient of double-digit targets for only the second time this season, Parker turned his season-high 14 targets into eight catches for a season-high 119 yards against the New York Jets.

Assuming that rookie Tua Tagovailoa (thumb) will miss another week, it bodes well for Parker's volume of targets and we all know that volume is king in fantasy football. One of the biggest favorites of the week, the Dolphins have one of the week's highest implied totals.

Brandin Cooks, Houston Texans (vs. IND)

Three-quarters into his first season as a Texan, Cooks has performed as a high-end WR3 as he is a top-28 fantasy wide receiver across all scoring formats. While his 85 receiving yards in back-to-back games rank among his top four outings of the season, Cooks has just five targets in back-to-back weeks, which represents 13.51% and 21.74% target shares, respectively.

Before that, Cooks had a five-game stretch with much more volume -- 9.4 targets per game and a target share range of 23.68% to 34.29%. While Will Fuller's PED suspension will lead to a larger target on his back from opposing defenses, his volume of targets are about to spike the rest of the season due to Fuller's absence.

The matchup against the Indianapolis Colts is a difficult one (seventh-fewest fantasy points allowed), but Deshaun Watson has been playing as well lately as he has ever played. The volume increase and Watson's elite play should help compensate for any potential decrease in Cooks' efficiency.

Robert Woods, Los Angeles Rams (at ARI)

I, for one, expected big things from Woods in 2020, but I've overestimated how productive he would be. Over his past four games, Woods has become more productive with a pair of 24-point fantasy outings and top-three weekly finishes (Week 8 and Week 11).

More encouraging, Woods had 15 targets (30.61% target share) in Weeks 11 and 12 targets (38.71%) in Week 12. Those were both his best totals of the season in absolute and relative terms. Averaging 1.82 rush attempts per game this season, Woods has three rush attempts over the past two weeks, which brings his total opportunities -- targets plus rush attempts -- to 30 over that span.

Over his past four games, Woods has a total of 31 catches (minimum of five per game) for 328 yards (80-plus in three of four) and two touchdowns in addition to six carries for 16 yards. A potentially paced-up game with his recent boost in opportunities puts Woods in WR1 territory in our Week 13 rankings.

Week 13 Fantasy Football WR Sit'em

Jalen Reagor, Philadelphia Eagles (at GB)

Since returning from injury in Week 8, Reagor has a minimum of five targets and an average of 6.25 per game over that four-game stretch. That said, he's averaging just 31.5 receiving yards per game over that span.

Even though Reagor is listed here as a "sit," this applies to all Eagles wide receivers.

In their three games since their Week 9 bye, no Eagles receiver has finished better than WR46 (Reagor, Week 10). Over those three weeks, the target share percentage to wide receivers has declined from 52.78% (Week 10) to 51.52% (Week 11) to 40.48% (Week 12). With Zach Ertz set to return in Week 13 and Carson Wentz playing as poorly as he's played, optimism of the fantasy outlook for the team's wide receiver corps is low.

Jamison Crowder, New York Jets (vs. LV)

In his first four games played this season, Crowder had double-digit targets every week and more than 100 yards in three of those four. Since then, however, he has appeared in three games -- 2/26/1 on two targets, 1/16 on three targets and 3/31 on five targets, respectively. Crowder had a 32%-plus target share in three of his first four games; under 19% target shares in his three games since then.

Crowder could return to being a sneaky start if his target share reaches the mid-to-upper 20% range. Until then, the slot receiver is a low-floor, low-upside option.

Marquise Brown, Baltimore Ravens (vs. DAL)

Drafted as an upside WR2 in the summer, the second-year wideout has disappointed his fantasy managers this season. A late 70-yard touchdown allowed Brown to turn in his best fantasy performance of the season as he finished with four catches for 85 yards and a score against the Pittsburgh Steelers on Wednesday afternoon. Before that, however, here is Brown's game log over his previous four games: 1/3/1 (on two targets), 3/38 (five), 2/14 (seven) and 0/0 (three).

Even though Brown gets a top-four matchup against the Dallas Cowboys, his week-to-week volatility makes him difficult to trust if a playoff berth is on the line. His big-play ability combined with the matchup could allow him to pay off as a DFS tournament dart throw, however, as the Cowboys have allowed a league-high 19 receiving touchdowns and the fourth-most Y/R (14.04) to opposing wide receivers in 2020.

Christian Kirk, Arizona Cardinals (at LAR)

There was a stretch -- Weeks 6 to 9 -- were Kirk performed as a top-12 fantasy wide receiver in all three games. During that three-game span, Kirk had 12 catches for 246 yards (20.5 Y/R) and five touchdowns.

Although he now has a streak of six-plus targets in five consecutive games, his three most-recent games have been less productive. From Weeks 10 to 12, Kirk has 11 catches for 96 scoreless yards (8.73 Y/R).

Meanwhile, the Rams have been the league's stingiest defense against opposing wide receivers. With Kyler Murray (shoulder) playing at less than 100 percent and a difficult matchup on tap, Kirk is a low-floor WR4 than a high-upside WR3.

More positions:

Positional Fantasy Football Rankings:

Check out more of our content: