Fantasy Football Week 13: Start or Sit Baker Mayfield, Tom Brady, or Carson Wentz?
It’s week 13, which means for many of us it is a de facto week one of the playoffs. For those of us scraping and scrambling at 6-6, losing this week makes it impossible to stamp our tickets to the postseason come week 14 and beyond. This is the week where the grind of the fantasy football season abates for the rest of the year, as every week is for your life (assuming proverbially, though I do not know the stakes of your particular fantasy football league). With every start or sit decision potentially meaning heading onto the playoffs, or packing it in for the year, every decision needs thorough vetting. We are here to help, as we hope to provide you with some basic facts to help you with your start or sit decisions. This week, we highlight three quarterbacks on the edge of startability, whose matchups make them less-than-ideal options.
Start or Sit Baker Mayfield at Houston
It brings me no joy to finally move Baker Mayfield to the “sit” version of the start or sit quarterbacks list; probably because he had his best game as a pro (yet again) last week, and he’s gone mainstream. Like the garage band gone big, I don’t like him for going mainstream. Alas, Baby Baker the Touchdown Maker finally has a bad matchup facing him. It’s entirely possible that he can overcome the stifling Houston Texans defense, as he’s passed for nine TDs in three weeks (including four last week). However, Baker’s low passing attempts and yardage don’t give me faith that he can overcome the matchup. After all, he’s not the Philip Rivers/Big Ben/Andrew Luck “just air it out to my elite receiver” type that can get 140 yards and two touchdowns in back-to-back pass attempts. That’s doubly true against the Texans defense, who allows the fourth-fewest fantasy points to QBs this year. Granted, we just saw Marcus Mariota go for 303 yards and two scores, but 61 of that (and one of the TDs) was on an improbable catch and run by Jonnu Smith. That catch and run made it so that Mariota had the first multi-TD QB performance since week four against the Texans. When deciding whether to start or sit Baker Mayfield, I had to consider that I’m not confident Baker can make it two in a row.
Start or Sit Tom Brady versus Minnesota
There’s a common sense phrase in fantasy football start or sit: “don’t sit your studs.” It’s to prevent you from doing silly things, like benching Drew Brees for a red-hot Ryan Fitzpatrick the week he gets benched for Jameis Winston the first time. Jeff, you’re so stupid. Anyway. “Don’t sit your studs,” the saying goes, as making the correct call as to which borderline to start over a particular stud has low odds of being a smart move. Tom Brady is one of, if not the best, QBs to ever lace them up. However, he has not been a fantasy football stud. That’s not surprising, given that he’s eleventy billion years old and probably ate an extra almond and an actual strawberry, sapping him of his powers. Last week’s Jets affair was his first two-touchdown performance since week seven at Chicago, and it doubled his passing touchdowns from weeks eight, nine, ten and eleven (week eleven was a bye, and his stats were awful then). He has fewer top-five QB weeks than Baker Mayfield and Josh Allen. Long story short: he’s finally bad! Hooray! We were all finally right for the first time in a half-decade! This week he gets a Minnesota defense that is likely to keep it that way. They’ve allowed four passing touchdowns in their last six games, and those games included Aaron Rodgers, Mitchell Trubisky, Matthew Stafford (pre-being absolutely terrible), and Drew Brees. They’ve only allowed more than two TDs once this year, and never outside of the wonky confines of TNF. Start or sit Tom Brady was a question that got you laughed at in fantasy football circles for the greater part of two decades. However, Father Time has only lost one battle (to Frank Gore), and he is taking his pound of flesh from Tom Brady. Sit him this week, as no good can come from it.
Start or Sit Carson Wentz versus Washington
Something isn’t quite right in Philadelphia. The Eagles have an all-timer of a Super Bowl hangover, and Carson Wentz admitted that his knee is still not quite right in its recovery from “suddenly exploding” late last season. Wentz came out of the gate hot, posting multiple passing touchdowns in six straight games, but things have been weird since Philly’s bye. Maybe adding Golden Tate messed up everyone’s flow, or maybe his surgically-repaired knee is betraying him. It’s hard to know, but he has just three touchdown passes in his last three games, and averaged fewer than 250 passing yards a game in that same span. The Eagles were getting smacked around by the Giants until they took the ball out of Wentz’s hand last week. It’s not a situation you can mine for gold. His opponent also gives him a small chance of a huge game, as they’ve allowed more than two passing touchdowns only twice this season, and just once in their last seven games. The Washington defense is playing well, and stifling QB production, which makes the decision to start or sit Carson Wentz a firm sit for me, especially when considering his messy production recently.
None of these quarterbacks are likely to end up in the top-five this week, but if I was trying to decide who to start or sit among them, I would go with
- Baker Mayfield
- Carson Wentz
- Tom Brady