Fantasy Football Week 13 Start Sit Decisions: Zack Moss is Back
Start: Brock Purdy, 49ers
The Eagles’ defense hasn’t been the same this year. They are 20th in EPA per dropback and slightly better in rush EPA. With their offense putting up points at will, teams have chosen to target them through the air more than nearly any other defense. Only one team has faced a higher pass rate over expected than the Eagles this year. Purdy leads the NFL in EPA per dropback and adjusted yards per attempt. In a clear shootout spot versus a weakened Philly defense, Purdy ranks as a mid-range QB1.
Start: Russell Wilson, Broncos
The Texans are 20th in EPA per dropback allowed and have given up the seventh-most fantasy points to opposing quarterbacks. Wilson leads the NFL in touchdown rate (6.3 percent) and his 20 passing scores are the fourth-most in the league. Wilson isn’t the great QB1 bet that Purdy is, but he’s on waivers in plenty of leagues and gets a potential shootout with the Texans this week.
Sit: Kyler Murray, Cardinals
Vegas has completely lost faith in Murray and the Cardinals—not that they ever had much faith in the Cardinals to begin with. Arizona has an implied team total of 18. That is lower than Joe Flacco’s Browns and Desmond Ridder’s Falcons. Murray has been atrocious since returning from his torn ACL. He is 32nd in EPA per dropback and 38th in completion percent over expected among quarterbacks with at least 100 attempts. He has completed 35 percent of his throws beyond 10 yards downfield. Until we see him turn things around as a passer, he is best left on the bench.
Sit: Matthew Stafford, Rams
Cleveland’s defense has allowed one team to pass for more than 250 yards this year. They are averaging 142 passing yards allowed and no defense has allowed fewer fantasy points to quarterbacks. Stafford, in turn, ranks 30th in CPOE and 16th in EPA per dropback. Stafford has been a mixed bag in the advanced metrics, and that’s not someone we want to bet on versus the best defense in the NFL.
Start: Zack Moss, Colts
Moss has crushed in three games without Jonathan Taylor.
Taylor is set to miss 2-3 weeks with a thumb injury. Moss has averaged an absurd, 24 touches per game with Taylor sidelined. In a week with six teams on bye, Moss looks like an RB1.
Start: Devin Singletary, Texans
Singletary narrowly out-carried Dameon Pierce in Week 12, seeing six attempts to Pierce’s five, but he blew Pierce away by snaps and touches. Singletary doubled him up in touches on the back of six receptions and earned an 81 percent snap share. The Texans are 3.5-point favorites with a 25.5 implied team total.
Sit: James Conner, Cardinals
Since returning to the lineup, Conner has run a route on 42 percent of the Cardinals’ passing plays and has a seven percent target share. Playing in his first game as a Cardinal in Week 12, Michael Carter ran more routes and saw more targets than Conner. It’s clear Conner is nothing more than a two-down back. As 5.5-point underdogs, the Cardinals won’t get many chances to get Conner running downhill.
Sit: Brian Robinson, Commanders
Antonio Gibson returned to the lineup last week and immediately relegated Robinson to a part-time role. Robinson logged a 45 percent snap share and ran a route on 22 percent of Sam Howell’s dropbacks. Unsurprisingly, he amassed 64 scoreless yards in a blowout loss to the Cowboys. As 9.5-point underdogs to the Dolphins this week, we can expect a similar fantasy outing.
Start: Rashee Rice, Chiefs
Rice is still a risky start. He only ran a route on 68 percent of the Chiefs dropbacks last week. However, the risk is worth the reward coming off a game with a 32 target percent share. Both the route rate and target share were career-highs for the rookie. He turned that expanded role into eight catches for 107 yards and a score.
NFL leaders in yards per route run vs. zone coverage:— Kyle Dvorchak (@kyletweetshere) December 1, 2023
Tyreek Hill - 4.3 (he's him, obvioulsy)
Justin Jefferson - 3.2 (he's him, without a doubt)
Rashee Rice - 3.2 (he's beginning to look like "him")
Rice has proven to be the best Kansas City by far. He is 11th in yards per route run and second in yards after the catch per reception in the NFL. His modest role at the moment is good for volatile WR3 numbers and any growth will put him in the WR2 range.
Start: Courtland Sutton, Broncos
For the first time since Week 5, Sutton did not “get away with it.” Versus a suffocating Browns defense, Sutton was held without a touchdown for just the second time this year. Sutton ranks ninth in end zone targets, eighth in red zone targets, and sixth in end zone target share. Both his rate stats and his volume stats say he should be one of the league’s more prolific touchdown scorers this year. The numbers have seen that play out as he ranks third in the NFL in receiving scores. In a game with a 47.5-point total, Sutton is a great bet to find paydirt yet again.
Sit: Drake London, Falcons
The Falcons’ matchup with the Jets is the perfect opportunity for them to run the ball as many times as Bijan Robinson and Tyler Allgeier can handle. Atlanta’s -10.3 percent pass rate over expected is last in the NFL by a wide margin. The Jets, in turn, have faced the lowest pass rate over expected this year. No team has given up fewer targets, yards, or fantasy points to opposing receivers than New York.
Sit: George Pickens, Steelers
Pickens completely disappears when Diontae Johnson is active. Over the past two years, Pickens has lost 7.2 PPR points per game with Johnson in the lineup.
Since Johnson returned in Week 7, Pickens has averaged 8.7 points per game. Even Pittsburgh’s offensive explosion in Week 12 couldn’t save Pickens as he caught three balls for 58 yards.
Start: Taysom Hill, Saints
Hill’s role has consistently grown over the course of the season. game. In his first five games, Hill averaged just 5.4 touches per week. That number has hit nine over his past six appearances. Without Michael Thomas and likely Rashid Shaheed—not to mention Chris Olave—Hill will play a pivotal role in the New Orleans offense versus the Lions.
Start: Pat Freiermuth, Steelers
In Week 12, the Steelers’ first without OC Matt Canada, Kenny Pickett completed nine passes to the middle of the field. That was three more than any other game this season. Those nine throws account for 21 percent of his middle-of-the-field completions on the year. For those counting, Week 12 represents nine percent of his games. Freiermuth was the biggest beneficiary of this change, recording nine catches for 120 yards on a 35 percent target share. In a week with few streaming options available and six teams on bye, Freiermuth is a must-start.
Sit: Kyle Pitts, Falcons
Pitts’ role has continued to spiral into the TE2 depths this season, culminating in season-lows in target share (11 percent) and air yards share (15 percent) in Week 12. His route rate has also fallen to 66 percent since Week 5. He’s nothing more than a part-time player and a middling TE2 for now.
Sit: Tyler Higbee, Rams
There is “sun running,” and there is what Higbee did in Week 12. He caught all five of his targets for 29 yards—what we would normally call a ceiling game for the veteran tight end—and two touchdowns. Week 12 was Higbee’s first TE1 game since Cooper Kupp returned to the lineup. It may not be his last, but given how weak his role has been with Kupp active, it will be nearly impossible to predict the next.