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NFL Fantasy Football Start 'Em, Sit 'Em Week 13: Quarterbacks

You have lineup questions. We have answers. At least we hope. Start 'Em & Sit 'Em has helped fantasy managers for years make those pressing lineup decisions. And you know what is a good decision? Starting Patrick Mahomes. But that's too obvious, so you won't see that here. Instead here are some of the most-pressing questions. And, if you can't find a player you are looking for, please check out latest NFL Fantasy lineup rankings right here.

Start 'em

Deshaun Watson
Deshaun Watson
Houston Texans · QB
Indianapolis Colts
Indianapolis Colts
2020 · 7-4-0

Well, shoot. I was ready to make a stand with Watson in this tough matchup with the Colts. And then Will Fuller was suspended. Which is a huge bummer because Fuller was having an amazing season. But if you were going to have a walk-off performance, might as well have been the Lions game on Thanksgiving. I thought about taking the coward's way out and just removing Watson from this piece and having you figure it out. But that’s not what we do here. I might make dumb wrestling analogies, but I won’t leave you hanging. A quick look at the numbers shows that Watson was better with Fuller. Which is not a surprise. It’s like saying wrestlers somehow have the best matches of their careers when they are wrestling against guys like Bryan Danielson. Watson averaged 24.27 fantasy points with Fuller last year. And 22.74 without him. So a drop, yes. But not significant. It’s like if Kevin Owens got his match switched from Danielson to El Generico. Like, it’s still going to be pretty good, right? Watson was right around 300 passing yards against the Colts last year, so I’m comfortable dialing him up in this one, too. Let’s just hope for some extra love for Duke Johnson as a receiver out of the backfield. Dude, I should add him to my RB start list.

Justin Herbert
Justin Herbert
Los Angeles Chargers · QB
New England Patriots
New England Patriots
2020 · 5-6-0

I made a trade in my League of Record recently, dealing Aaron Rodgers for DK Metcalf, freeing up a spot for Justin to take over my team. So maybe I’m projecting just a little bit. The Patriots have been a tough matchup this season for opposing quarterbacks. And Justin is coming off his worst game as a pro. Maybe we’ve reached the tipping point and maybe it was just a magical run for our guy and now reality will set in. Plus the idea of the Chargers coaching staff trying to out-smart Bill Belichick makes me a bit nervous. Wait, am I talking myself out of this start? Nah. I’ll stick with Herbert. As awful as the game was for him, he still passed for more than 300 yards against the Bills. That end-of-the-game sequence should have netted him another touchdown and we wouldn’t even be sweating it. I’m rolling with Justin one more time. And I like his looming playoff schedule, too. The Falcons. The Raiders. And the Broncos at home (maybe without Vic Fangio). This isn’t the time to panic on Herbert.

Cam Newton
Cam Newton
New England Patriots · QB
Los Angeles Chargers
Los Angeles Chargers
2020 · 3-8-0

Cam went 9 for 18 for 84 yards and two interceptions last week. But he got the win. Though I know a lot of us were hoping for some overtime so we could at least get some additional points. Maybe just positive points. Cam should be much better this week against the Chargers. Now, Los Angeles was good against Josh Allen last week, holding him to fewer than 16 fantasy points. They had been allowing an average of 20-plus fantasy points to opposing quarterbacks headed into that game. But Allen did score a rushing touchdown. And if not for a couple of Allen-like turnovers (I mean, Cam can do that, too), he was looking at an impressive stat line. I’m playing Newton with a nice rushing floor and some passing upside in what I project to be a higher-scoring game.

Taysom Hill
Taysom Hill
New Orleans Saints · QB
Atlanta Falcons
Atlanta Falcons
2020 · 4-7-0

Enjoy the final time you’ll see Hill mentioned in this space, because he’s about to be grandfathered into the must-starts each week. You have your guys Patrick Mahomes, Russell Wilson and a few of the other automatic guys. Hill has almost reached that status. The shoe is obviously going to drop at some point. You figure somebody is going to scheme up a way to shut him down. It’s not going to be the Falcons. Sure, they were great against the Raiders last week. But I’m not going to watch the Falcons beat up on a West Coast team coming in on that 10 a.m. player body clock and act like they have turned a corner. They are playing better the past couple of weeks. And I’m stoked it’s going to lead to Raheem Morris getting a full-time gig once again. But give me the Taysom Hill this week.

Kirk Cousins
Kirk Cousins
Minnesota Vikings · QB
Jacksonville Jaguars
Jacksonville Jaguars
2020 · 1-10-0

Dude legit hates me. Not that I would blame him. I mean, I’m the guy who said Cousins was the NFL quarterback version of Bud Light Lime. And nobody leads the league in taking a great matchup and throwing it away. Like your friend who orders fries at Portillo’s, eats like five of them and then throws away the rest. So don’t be shocked if you start Cousins and he throws for 166 yards and two touchdowns. Because he was on pace for a similar type of stat line against the Panthers before he finally got it going there at the end. But I like this Jags offense enough to anticipate a high-scoring game which would mean Cousins actually has to throw the football.

Baker Mayfield
Baker Mayfield
Cleveland Browns · QB
Tennessee Titans
Tennessee Titans
2020 · 8-3-0

Are we really going to do this? We are. Baker frustrated people by missing some easy throws against the Jaguars (I have Kareem Hunt and to see him running free to the end zone was tough to watch again). But he also threw some absolute darts. He’s like a golfer who shoots in the high 90s. But makes enough good shots each round to keep you coming back. And if you just don’t watch Baker’s game and just watch the 20 points surface, that might be the best thing for you to do this week. I know the Titans are coming off a game where they frustrated Philip Rivers. But the quarterback position of the Colts did well when you factor in Jacoby Brissett's touchdowns. Which is a whole other story I’m not ready to discuss at the moment. Respect my privacy at this time, thank you.

Ryan Tannehill
Ryan Tannehill
Tennessee Titans · QB
Cleveland Browns
Cleveland Browns
2020 · 8-3-0

If you can’t stomach the thought of playing Baker this week, I feel you. I’m a huge fan. I love that the Browns are 8-3. But I get it. Baker is like your friend that your other friends don’t like, but you love the dude. I won’t make you do a start you don’t like. Tannehill has been great over the last couple of weeks. Well, he’s been good. Let’s not get too effusive with praise. But he’s scored over 40 points combined the last two weeks. And the Titans always play in this quirky, fun high-scoring games. He’s worth dialing up if you have Tom Brady on a bye this week. And seriously, Brady gets a bye in Week 13? Cool. 

Sit 'em

Ben Roethlisberger
Ben Roethlisberger
Pittsburgh Steelers · QB
Washington Football Team
Washington Football Team
2020 · 4-7-0

I have to hand it to the Steelers for pushing forward with all of the scheduling issues. And I’m not sure that’s going to be a huge factor in this game. Because if anything, the Steelers always seem to rise to the occasion. But the FT front seven has been really good this season. It is holding quarterbacks to less than 17 points per game on average. I’d prefer to take this in another direction.

Alex Smith
Alex Smith
Washington Football Team · QB
Pittsburgh Steelers
Pittsburgh Steelers
2020 · 10-0-0

Alex is likely to get about 40 points in this contest, now that I’ve fully given up on him. I started him two weeks ago because I felt like he offered the safest floor with Drew Brees out (I had stupidly carried Jameis Winston on the roster, too). I thought to myself, well, I don’t want to be hasty and let him go, so I’ll have him start against the Cowboys, too. That worked out PERFECTLY. If I wanted to miss the playoffs, that is. I’m sure you’ve all done this. The week you bail on a guy is the week he comes through for us. I might stupidly keep him in there, but you shouldn’t have to suffer for my mistakes.

Matt Ryan
Matt Ryan
Atlanta Falcons · QB
New Orleans Saints
New Orleans Saints
2020 · 9-2-0

I got a text from a friend during Sunday’s game that said, “Matt Ryan is the worst quarterback in the NFL.” And in fairness, the Broncos game hadn’t started yet (or the Bears for that matter). But that is pure hyperbole. But it also shows how Julio Jones dependent Ryan has become over the years. The thing is, I don’t want to start Ryan against the Saints, who have one of the best defenses in the league. Even before they shut down the Wake Forest wide receiver on Sunday, they had demolished some of the league’s best. And Tom Brady. I kid! Tom Brady can still do his thing. But this Saints defense has been really good this year. 

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