Fantasy Football Cheat Sheet: All you need to know to win in Week 13

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So much changes from week to week around the NFL, and we’re here to make sure you’re on top of it all heading into Week 13 of the 2022 NFL season.

The weekly fantasy football cheat sheet provides a rundown of the best tips from all the fantasy football content that ESPN has posted over the past seven days. You’ll find answers to the biggest start/sit questions of the week and other pertinent matchup advice from our team, including Field Yates, Mike Clay, Eric Karabell, Tristan H. Cockcroft, Matt Bowen, Seth Walder, Al Zeidenfeld, Eric Moody, Liz Loza, Daniel Dopp and ESPN Insiders Jeremy Fowler and Dan Graziano, plus all of NFL Nation. It’s all the best advice in one handy article.

Here’s what our experts are saying about Week 13 in the NFL:


Can underwhelming options rebound?

Injuries are a part of the game, but they usually give fantasy managers enough time to make changes to their lineups before having to end up with an unexpected dud performance. What do you do when a solid fantasy option plays a full 60 minutes but performs as if he had never touched a football before — and then disappoints you again and again? Our NFL Nation team tries to explain a few of these frustrating cases of “fantasy amnesia” headed into Week 13.

  • Saquon Barkley’s recent dip (under 55 rushing yards in three of four and under 15 receiving yards in four straight) probably has more to do with shuffling on the offensive line than his heavy work rate. If anything, Barkley should have seen a little spike post-bye. Instead, it has been a struggle, but not because he lacks explosion. It’s because he lacks room to run with teams selling out to stop him. — Jordan Raanan

  • Derrick Henry (64 carries for 178 yards) had a tough couple of games while center Ben Jones dealt with a concussion over the past two weeks. Without Jones, Henry averaged 0.8 yards per rush before first contact against the Bengals, his second-lowest average in the past three seasons. Two weeks ago, Henry averaged 0.9 yards per rush before contact against the Packers. He finished with only 38 yards on 17 carries against the Bengals. That was the second-lowest total for Henry when he had at least 15 carries in a game. Henry is now averaging a career-low 1.7 yards per rush before contact this season, ranking him 49th out of 53 qualified rushers.– Turron Davenport

  • Mike Evans has had three straight games under 55 receiving yards, and seven straight without a score. It boils down to the other receivers needing to step up — which we have seen from Chris Godwin in recent games, and Julio Jones if he can stay consistently healthy — but also Tom Brady and Mike Evans need to fine-tune their connection because something’s been off. Whether or not that gets corrected this week will be largely predicated on if Evans has to face Marshon Lattimore, who has missed the past seven games with an abdominal injury. — Jenna Laine

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Field Yates and Mike Clay would consider starting Dameon Pierce or Tony Pollard over Mike Evans.


Looking for the latest injury news leading up to kickoff? Check out all of the Week 13 inactives here.


Pivot away from Pittsburgh?

They’re a last-place team right now at 4-7 and have not yet put their 200th point on the NFL scoreboard this season. Is it time to send your Steelers packing or do our fantasy experts think there might still be some value to squeeze out of a struggling Pittsburgh offense that is going through a lot of growing pains?

  • It’s time to trade George Pickens. … Pickens’ yardage has been fueled by his contested catch ability: he has a 79 catch score, but just a 42 open score. With open score being the most stable of the three RTMs, this is a suboptimal combination. Players can have successful careers as a contested catch specialist (Terry McLaurin, Kenny Golladay and Allen Robinson II have all shown it’s possible) but it’s not the kind of player I want to bet on usually. By contrast, fellow rookie Chris Olave has an 80 catch score and also an 80 open score. That kind of profile offers far more upside. — Walder

  • Kenny Pickett could have some streaming upside moving forward. The rookie quarterback looks poised and comfortable in the pocket. The mobility is there to create outside of structure as a runner (16 carries in his past three games). And Pickett is willing to take the isolation throws with rookie wide receiver Pickens. Now we need to see the Steelers quarterback put the ball in the end zone (only one touchdown pass in his past three games). — Bowen

  • One can blame a rookie quarterback for only so long. The Steelers’ Diontae Johnson is the only WR among the top 75 in season PPR scoring without a TD catch. He’s not exactly piling on the receiving yards, either. Forget being a WR2 option, is he still a safe flex? — Karabell

  • Najee Harris had been seeing an uptick in usage the past two weeks before getting hurt in Week 12, but if he’s able to play following an abdominal injury, he’ll be a strong RB2 against a Falcons defense struggling recently against the run. Jaylen Warren would be next up, but as he’s dealing with a hamstring issue of his own, Benny Snell Jr. would be a worthwhile plug-and-play should both Harris and Warren be unable to go. — Cockcroft

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With Najee Harris and Jaylen Warren both carrying injuries, Mike Clay looks at all the options in the Steelers backfield.


Looking for a quarterback?

Fantasy playoffs are starting soon, but if you’re not currently starting Josh Allen, Patrick Mahomes or Jalen Hurts, you might not be feeling all that confident that, on a weekly basis, you can lock in a 20-point fantasy performance. Having a “set it and forget it” option at any position in your lineup is important, but nowhere is it as crucial as at quarterback. Here’s what our experts are saying as the weeks get shorter.

  • Browns quarterback Deshaun Watson is set to make his Cleveland debut this Sunday against the Texans after serving an 11-game suspension. Watson’s debut will be against his former team and take place 700 days from the last time he was on the field for an NFL regular-season game. For his career, Watson has averaged 22.1 fantasy points per game, trailing only Mahomes among all quarterbacks since the start of 2017. Watson immediately cracks the top 10 for quarterbacks in Week 13, a spot I expect him to rank in most, if not all, weeks going forward. — Yates

  • Trevor Lawrence stepped up with a big-time comeback performance against the Ravens in Week 12, delivering 24.94 fantasy points almost entirely fueled by his 321 yards and three touchdowns passing. What’s more, he did it against one of the league’s better pass defenses. It was Lawrence’s second consecutive game with at least 20 fantasy points, which positions him well for these next two fantasy-friendly matchups, beginning with this week’s against the Lions and following with a game against the Titans. — Cockcroft

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Field Yates and Mike Clay discuss the improvement seen in Trevor Lawrence as of late.

  • Justin Fields was limited in practices since injuring his left shoulder in Week 11 against the Falcons. He was a game-time decision Sunday against the Jets before being ruled out after testing his injury during pregame warmups. … The fact he’s been practicing in full this week is not necessarily a guarantee that Fields will play on Sunday, but it increases the chances of him doing so. However, Fields’ propensity for running, the Bears’ record and Chicago’s Week 14 bye make me doubt he’ll be active. — Moody

  • I’m intrigued to watch Mike White travel to Minnesota. That matchup is prime for the Jets’ passing game, which I guess exists now? The Vikings have allowed the second-most passing yards to opposing QBs and the most receiving yards to WRs over the past four weeks. I think we’re all hedging a bit ranking White in the QB20 range. He has top-12 potential this week (particularly if he gets Elijah Moore more involved) but he’s such an unknown that it’s hard to start him over Brady, for example. — Loza

  • Joe Burrow’s stats in the Week 12 win over the Titans don’t really jump: 270 yards passing, one touchdown. But he made some big-time throws in that game. Burrow is my QB5 for the Week 13 game versus the Chiefs. — Bowen


Quick hits, starts and sits

  • Packers rookie wide receiver Christian Watson has three straight games with 20 or more PPR points. And he gets a matchup versus a banged-up Bears secondary this Sunday. Verticals and crossers: Those are big plays with Watson’s straight-line speed. — Bowen

  • Consider Los Angeles Rams RB Kyren Williams as a flex or RB2. L.A. has seen a revolving door at tailback, but Williams is coming off 14 touches for 60 yards in Kansas City. With Matthew Stafford possibly missing more time, young quarterbacks Bryce Perkins and John Wolford will lean heavily into Williams’ versatility. — Fowler

  • I think I’d try to sit Alvin Kamara if I could. Things just aren’t working right now for the Saints’ offense, especially the run game. Kamara has a fumble problem. He’s a little banged up coming out of Sunday, and the Saints have a bye in Week 14. If you’re playoff bound and you have Kamara on your roster, you have some sweet matchups to look forward to starting in Week 15. But if you have another option this week, you might want to give it some thought.— Graziano

  • Coming off two subpar weeks running the football, I can see people turning away from Kenneth Walker III in Week 13 because his production over the past two weeks has been so TD-dependent. In spite of that recent inefficiency, his role is locked in. He logged over 82% of Seattle’s RB carries in Week 12. The Rams are not playing Aaron Donald this weekend due to an ankle sprain, and Walker has seen at least three carries inside the 15 in four of his past six games. It’s very reasonable to expect a heavy dose of carries with enough targets for him to pay off this salary on volume alone, while still bringing massive TD upside, having scored in six of his past seven games. — Zeidenfeld

  • Michael Carter suffered an ankle injury in Week 12, James Robinson was a healthy scratch and the tape on undrafted rookie Zonovan Knight (28.4% rostered) was pretty good. He posted 13.3 PPR points against the Bears’ defense, leading the Jets’ rushing attack with 69 yards (on 14 carries), while logging three receptions for 34 yards. Knight can get downhill without a lot of wasted movement or hesitation. When he sees a running lane open, he goes. While you should keep an eye Carter’s status, Knight could see another high-volume day against the Vikings in Week 13. — Bowen

  • Consider this your weekly reminder that the Colts have allowed the fewest fantasy points to wide receivers this season, as well as the fifth fewest to the perimeter and second fewest to the slot. Top corner Stephon Gilmore has often been called on to shadow on the boundary, including a combined 110 out of 118 perimeter routes (93%) in those six games. That being said, he might follow CeeDee Lamb when he aligns out wide this week, but note that Dallas’ top receiver is in the slot 59% of the time. Lamb might not have to worry too much about Gilmore, but this is a tough matchup overall for him, Michael Gallup and Noah Brown. — Clay

Source: ESPN


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