With no RB1 Podcast this week, I wanted to still get out my favorite starts and sits for fantasy football Week 13, and to try a format that I’ve been mulling over in my head.
Instead of your basic start and sit column, I’ve decided to spice it up, using “roast” instead of start to describe a player who is not only a clear start, but is in for just a monster game, and “ghost” instead of sit to describe a player who might be a straight up bench, but also might just be a star player who gives you less than you were expecting. Personally, I like this because it offers a lot more flexibility in the players I can talk about.
Special shoutout to Michelle Magdziuk over at Ball Blast for the inspiration and who does a much more detailed job at this idea. (I think she has like four or five different category of players for each game which is just wildly impressive.)
So, without further ado, a roast and ghost for each position for Week 13.
Roast: Kirk Cousins vs Jacksonville Jaguars
Cousins is coming off back-to-back games in which he’s thrown for over 300 yards and three touchdowns and now gets to face the Jaguars. It feels almost too good to be true. It also feels like a total spot for Cousins to implode but I’m going to ignore that and put only good vibes out into the world. The Jags are giving up the third most fantasy points to quarterbacks this season and lead the league in yards per attempt allowed (8.29). I fully expect Cousins, along with a newly activated Adam Thielen and rookie phenom Justin Jefferson to torch this Jaguars secondary.
Ghost: Kyler Murray vs Los Angeles Rams
After posting his worst performance of the year in Week 12 against the Patriots, things don’t get easier for Murray as he now has to take on the Rams. The Rams have been the best defense this year against quarterbacks, allowing the fewest touchdowns and yards per attempt in the league. Murray also has struggled against this defense last year, averaging roughly 240 yards passing, a touchdown, and a pick and a half. Obviously you’re not going to bench Murray this week, but there’s a real chance he posts another dud in Week 13. (See how much better Ghost is than sit!?)
Roast: David Montgomery vs Detroit Lions
The Lions might get the classic “just fired our head coach” boast this week, but even that I don’t think is going to improve a run defense that has been just an absolute dumpster fire this year. No team is allowing more points to running backs this season and somehow this defense has gotten even worse defending backs in recent weeks. In the last five weeks, the Lions have given up the most rushing touchdowns (7) AND the most receiving touchdowns to running backs (5). Montgomery is coming off easily his best game of the year in which he rushed for 103 yards and added 40 yards through the air. With Mitch Trubisky still under center, I expect Montgomery to continue to be a focal point of the offense and roast this Lions defense (see what I did there).
Ghost: Alvin Kamara vs Atlanta Falcons
You should already be tempering expectations for Kamara as long as Taysom Hill remains the Saints quarterback. The man just does not target running backs like Drew Brees does. Things get doubly worse for Kamara as the Falcons have low key been one of the top fantasy defenses against running backs this season. On the year, they rank 4th in fewest points allowed and in the last five weeks, they rank number one, allowing just 11.2 PPR points per game to opposing backfields. Against the Falcons in Week 11, Kamara mustered only 45 yards on the ground and “saved” his day with a touchdown. Maybe we’ll see Sean Peyton start scripting more passes to Kamara, or maybe we’ll see Latavius Murray continue to be the more productive rusher in New Orleans.
Roast: Deebo Samuel vs Buffalo Bills
If you read my wide receiver rankings for this week, you probably could’ve predicted who both my roast and ghost receivers were going to be. Yes, I am fully aboard the Deebo train after coming back and putting a hurt on the entire Rams defense. While the Bills also have an elite cornerback in Tre’Davious White a) he doesn’t travel into the slot which is where Samuel spends roughly a third of his snaps and b) if Jalen Ramsey didn’t shut Samuel down, I don’t have much faith that anyone will be able to. It’s how Kyle Shanahan deploys Samuel —and how good Samuel is once the ball is in his hands—that makes me so confident in his fantasy floor. Until I see otherwise, I’m treating Samuel as a high-end WR2, low-end WR1 every damn week.
Ghost: Keenan Allen vs New England Patriots
You can call me a homer—I prefer the term “firm believer in Stephon Gilmore”—but I’m not letting my expectations for Allen this week get too high. And I have Allen in two of my leagues, both battling for playoff contention. I’m more or less jinxing my own fantasy rosters writing this. That’s impartial journalism at it’s finest. Gilmore and the Patriots secondary held DeAndre Hopkins to 55 yards last week and I would expect a similar result for Allen. I do think on the flip side, Mike Williams could be the main beneficiary here as the Patriots have struggled with bigger, physical receivers and Justin Herbert is going to have to throw to someone 50 times. Oh shit, I kind of want to make Austin Ekeler my running back roast now...
Roast: T.J. Hockenson vs Chicago Bears
I’m not brimming with confidence about the Lions passing attack, but I do know the passes have to go somewhere and in recent weeks that “somewhere” has been T.J. Hockenson. Hockenson has seen at least seven targets in four out of his last five games and is coming off back-to-back games with at least 68 yards receiving. Added bonus, the Bears have been the worst team covering tight ends this year (tied with the Falcons) allowing 15.8 PPR points per game along with the 4th most receptions, 6th most yards, and 2nd most touchdowns to the position. Man, I guess I have a lot investing in this Lions vs Bears game. Yikes.
Ghost: Dallas Goedert vs Green Bay Packers
Already this isn’t a great matchup as the Packers are allowing the 4th fewest points this season (9.2) and the fewest targets (56). But it’s more than just a bad matchup for Goedert. Zach Ertz is back for the Eagles and presumably will make his return in Week 13. While Ertz doesn’t erase Goedert’s fantasy value—at this point and time, Goedert is the better tight end—he certainly puts a cap on just how high Goedert can fly. With a tough matchup, Ertz returning, and just a general lack of faith in Carson Wentz and this Eagles passing game, I’m not holding out hope for a big performance for Goedert.