Fantasy Matchups

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Week 13 fantasy football matchups for NFL 2021 season

This is the penultimate week of the fantasy football regular season. There are just two more weeks to either hold onto that playoff spot or to sneak your way in. Any team that makes the fantasy playoffs has a shot at winning – even if you are the last team in. Crazy things happen every year, and all it takes is a player or two getting hot at the right time. But for those fighting for their playoff lives, it's like the playoffs have started already. They say each week counts the same, but it doesn't feel that way. It feels like these weeks are do-or-die and every lineup decision matters that much more. This article should help you set your lineups and any other questions the Week 13 rankings are here for you as well!

Best QB matchups

Derek Carr vs. Football Team: If you read this article each week you know whichever QB is facing Washington will be featured. The Football Team has struggled against the pass all year, allowing a league-high 23.27 fantasy PPG to the position -- only two other teams allow more than 20 and none give up 21. Washington allows an average of 277 pass yards and more than two passing TDs per game – one of just two teams (Colts) to give up over two passing touchdowns per game. Carr has played well this season and is coming off a strong performance against Dallas on Thanksgiving. He is a QB1 in this favorable matchup.

Tom Brady at Falcons: Atlanta gives up the third-most fantasy PPG (20.02) to QBs, which includes 274 yards per game and 1.7 passing touchdowns. That's a down game for Brady, who averages 309 passing yards per game and 2.7 touchdowns per game. But he especially thrives against Atlanta. In his last two games against them, he has nine passing touchdowns and averages nearly 30 fantasy PPG. And rumor has it he once came back in a big game against them or something.

Other favorable QB matchups: Teddy Bridgewater at Chiefs, Tyrod Taylor vs. Colts, Jared Goff vs. Vikings, Taylor Heinicke at Raiders.

Best RB matchups

Miles Sanders/Boston Scott at Jets: Sanders injured his ankle last week, and we saw Scott lead the Eagles with 51 percent of the snaps, 15 carries and three targets. Sanders is still nursing that ankle injury, so expect to see Scott utilized once again. This is a matchup in which both can be used as a flex option given how the Jets allow the most fantasy PPG to RBs (35.5), including 176 yards per game and just under two touchdowns per game to the position. Start your running backs against the Jets.

Elijah Mitchell at Seahawks: Seattle allows the second-most fantasy PPG (31.68) to backs, including a league-high 177 yards per game to the position. Mitchell is a workhorse back with more than 27 touches in the past two games. He has also been utilized more in the passing game as of late, with at least five targets in two of his last three games. Plus, his biggest threat to steal yards or touchdowns, Deebo Samuel, is expected to be sidelined this week. He is a must-start option.

Other favorable RB matchups: Antonio Gibson at Raiders, Myles Gaskin vs. Giants, Alexander Mattison at Lions.

Best WR matchups

Josh Reynolds vs. Vikings: The Vikings give up the second-most fantasy PPG to receivers this season (41.78), which includes 189 yards per game and 14 touchdowns to the position. They particularly struggle against the deep ball, as they rank in the top-eight in yards and touchdowns on passes over 20-plus air yards. Reynolds has ran the second-most routes among Lions receivers the last two weeks and tied for the team lead in targets on Thanksgiving (five). He led the Lions with 70 yards and scored a touchdown. He is also clearly their best deep threat. He is a flex option in a favorable matchup in Week 13.

Hunter Renfrow/DeSean Jackson vs. Football Team: Full disclosure, this was originally going to be for the Giants receivers, but almost all of them are up in the air and their QB has been ruled out, so let's go the safer route with the Raiders. Washington has issued the fourth-most fantasy PPG to receivers this season (39.58). That includes 180 yards per game and 14 TDs. Renfrow has become a must-start option at this point. He has scored double-digit fantasy points in every game but two this season and has topped 17 fantasy points in three of the last four games. Jackson saw four targets last week, which is three more than he had in his first two games with the Raiders combined. He is a boom-or-bust flex option, but the Raiders are missing Waller and Jackson is clearly their best downfield receiver.

Other favorable RB matchups: Giants receivers at Dolphins, Mike Evans/Chris Godwin at Falcons, DeAndre Hopkins/Christian Kirk/A.J. Green/Rondale Moore at Bears.

Best TE matchups

Ryan Griffin vs. Eagles: The Eagles give up the most fantasy PPG to tight ends (19.49), which includes the most catches (7.2) and yards (71.6) per game. They are also tied for the most touchdowns allowed to the position (10). Put frankly, they struggle mightily against tight ends. Griffin is a deeper option who you can take a shot on solely because the matchup. But it is worth mentioning he has at least four targets in three of his past four games.

Logan Thomas at Raiders: The Raiders give up the second-most fantasy PPG to tight ends this season (17.42). Thomas returned last week after a lengthy IR stint and saw six targets, while nearly finding the end zone. It was nice to see him back in the mix, and he has a chance to look like a TE1 this week in a favorable matchup.

Other favorable TE matchups: C.J. Uzomah vs. Chargers, Pat Freiermuth vs. Ravens, Jack Doyle at Texans.

Toughest QB matchups

Mac Jones at Bills: Jones has played well form a real-life standpoint. From a fantasy perspective, however, he has had a couple of big games and more often than not has scored fewer than 15 fantasy points. This is not a week to trust him either, as the Bills have allowed the fewest fantasy PPG to QBs (10.58). They have allowed 11 total touchdowns to the position while having 17 takeaways. Only two QBs (Patrick Mahomes, Taylor Heinicke) have topped 16 fantasy points against the Bills so far this season. Stay away from Jones in fantasy this week, even with the Bills missing Tre'Davious White.

Josh Allen vs. Patriots: This game features the top two toughest matchups for QBs. On the year the Patriots are allowing just 11.27 fantasy PPG to QBs, the second-lowest in the NFL. Last season, Allen averaged 22.38 fantasy PPG against New England, but it was a mixed bag as he scored 12 in one game and 32 in another. Still, Allen is the top scoring fantasy QB this season, so even in this tough matchup, you start him.

Other tough QB matchups: Andy Dalton vs. Cardinals, Tua Tagovailoa vs. Giants, Patrick Mahomes vs. Broncos.

Toughest RB matchups

Damien Harris/Rhamondre Stevenson/Brandon Bolden at Bills: The Bills have been very tough on running backs not named Derrick Henry or Jonathan Taylor. No offense to the Patriots trio, but they are not those backs. Lately we have seen Harris and Stevenson alternate drives, while Bolden gets third downs and obvious passing situations. That means that all three are purely flex options against the Bills, who allow the third-fewest fantasy PPG to backs (19.86). Harris seems like the preferred option as he scored the touchdown last week and has been drawing the starts, but its really just a guessing game hoping you start the back that finds the end zone.

Saquon Barkley at Dolphins: The Dolphins have been tough against the run this season, allowing just 21.13 fantasy PPG to the position -- the fifth-fewest in the NFL. That includes allowing just 84 rushing yards per game. Barkley has not looked like his explosive self since returning from his ankle injury, and it is easier than ever for defenses to keen in on him as the Giants are missing a number of pass catchers and their signal-caller this week. Barkley in this matchup is a volume reliant RB2, who you are hoping can bust out a long run.

Other tough RB matchups: David Johnson/Rex Burkhead vs. Colts, Najee Harris vs. Ravens, Clyde Edwards-Helaire vs. Broncos.

Toughest WR Matchups

Kendrick Bourne/Jakobi Meyers/Nelson Agholor at Bills: Lots of Bills opponents in this article, as they have also allowed the fewest fantasy PPG to WRs this season (25.6). They will be playing in their first game without White, so this matchup might not be as tough as it looks on paper, but still, it's not the week to trust a Patriots receiver. Bourne would be the top option, as he has played well, topping 23 fantasy points in two of his past three games. He has shown to have a high ceiling, but the floor is around six fantasy points. Meyers showed a safe floor early on, but he has been more volatile as of late, with little upside. Agholor is a boom-or-bust type of play. Bourne is in the WR3 or flex range this week, while the other two are purely deeper options.

Ja'Marr Chase/Tee Higgins/Tyler Boyd vs. Chargers: The Chargers allow the second-fewest fantasy PPG to receivers (27.22), while holding a lot of big name receivers in check. The Bengals receivers also have been struggling a bit. Chase's high fantasy game in the past month is 13.1 -- which would be his low in his first seven games. Higgins is coming off a big game, but he has finished as a top-20 receiver only twice this year. Meanwhile, Boyd has been held to single digit fantasy points in five of his past seven games. Chase is still the top option as he only needs one long catch to have a strong fantasy day. He is a WR2 in this one with some boom-or-bust to him. Higgins, who relies more on volume, is a WR3, while Boyd is purely a deep option.

Other tough WR matchups: Elijah Moore vs. Eagles, Stefon Diggs/Cole Beasley/Emmanuel Sanders vs. Patriots, Terry McLaurin at Raiders.

Toughest TE Matchups

Cole Kmet vs. Cardinals: The Cardinals have been very tough on tight ends allowing just 7.53 fantasy PPG to the position, the fewest in the league. That includes just 35 yards per game and one touchdown. Kmet has been playing better. He is seeing consistent volume for the Bears and has topped 14 fantasy points in two of his last three games. The volume and recent production keeps him in play as a top-15 option, but the matchup pushes him outside the top 12, meaning he is a high-end TE2 this week.

Dawson Knox vs. Patriots: The Patriots have allowed the second-fewest fantasy PPG to tight ends at 8.22 per game. That includes giving up just 29.5 yards per game and four touchdowns all season. But Knox has played extremely well in his own right, scoring seven touchdowns and averaging 12.94 fantasy PPG this season. He has also scored 14 and 18.2 fantasy points in his last two games. Knox has played well enough where he is a TE1 who you can start even in a tough matchup, just understand the production may not be as high as it has been the past two weeks.

Other tough TE matchups: T.J. Hockenson vs. Vikings, Gerald Everett vs. 49ers, Travis Kelce vs. Broncos

Notable Receivers with the Best WR/CB Matchups (*per PFF*):

  1. Justin Jefferson
  2. Tee Higgins
  3. Adam Thielen
  4. Stefon Diggs
  5. Cooper Kupp
  6. Tyreek Hill
  7. Terry McLaurin
  8. Chris Godwin
  9. Tyler Lockett
  10. Ja'Marr Chase
  11. DK Metcalf
  12. Marquise Brown
  13. Hunter Renfrow
  14. Brandon Aiyuk
  15. Christian Kirk
  16. Jaylen Waddle
  17. Kenny Golladay
  18. Mike Evans
  19. Cole Beasley
  20. Keenan Allen

Notable Receivers with the Toughest WR/CB Matchup (*per PFF*):

  1. Zach Pascal
  2. James Washington
  3. Laviska Sheanult Jr.
  4. Olamide Zaccheaus
  5. Freddie Swain
  6. Jamison Crowder
  7. Laquon Treadwell
  8. Jerry Jeudy
  9. Nico Collins
  10. Danny Amendola
  11. Kalif Raymond
  12. Darius Slayton
  13. Russell Gage
  14. Marvin Jones Jr
  15. Jauan Jennings
  16. Courtland Sutton
  17. Byron Pringle
  18. Bryan Edwards
  19. Chase Claypool
  20. Zay Jones

Make sure to follow Michael F. Florio on Twitter and Instagram.

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