Welcome back, IDP Nerds. We are officially into the home stretch of the fantasy football season. The season’s final quarter is here, and the time to make your best lineup decisions of the year is now. The playoffs are rapidly approaching, and most of our teams are still fighting for every win we can get to make the postseason or improve our position. That remains true, and luckily, we have covered you with a 66% accuracy in three of the past five weeks. We came in at a strong 68% in Week 12, which brings our season total to 58%. At the beginning of the year, as an active IDP manager, I feared the Week 13 schedule with some outstanding teams on bye. Let’s see what we can come up with to get those much-needed wins this week.
Check out the teams putting together the start/sit columns this season. Follow us, friend us, and tweet us. We look forward to hearing from you!
- QB: Mike Hicks (@DroptheMikeFF) – Changing the Call
- RB: Jake Oliver (@DarthDbacks) – The Cutback
- WR: Tristan Cook (@THEtristancook) – Slant Pattern
- TE: Steven Pintado (@CoachStevenP) – 12 Formation
- FLEX: Evan Brown (@FFEVanlution) – Let’s Talk About Flex
- IDP: Jon Glosser (@Glosser13) – IDP Start/Sit
NOTE: Rankings are based on a 12-team PPR league. So, saying WR2 means top 24, or TE1 means top 12, etc., and are pulled from Fantasy Pros consensus expert rankings.
Los Angeles Chargers @ New England Patriots
Alohi Gilman DB, Los Angeles Chargers
I’ll start the week by staying on brand and riding the hot hand in the Los Angeles Chargers secondary. Alohi Gilman has been red-hot over the past month. The former Notre Dame defensive back has averaged 18.2 fantasy points per game over his past four games. He’s coming off back-to-back 70+ snap games, including playing 100% of the snaps in Week 12. The New England Patriots offense has been painful to watch with their inability to sustain drives this season. The good news here is that New England has surrendered six DB1 weeks this season. This is an ugly matchup for IDP managers, but Alohi Gilman seems to be in a good spot here to give you solid production.
Detroit Lions @ New Orleans Saints
Jack Campbell LB, Detroit Lions
Well, IDP Nerds, the time has come to insert the consensus rookie LB1 in your lineups. Jack Campbell has just a 55% defensive snap share this season, with Alex Anzalone being the leader at linebacker for the Lions defense. Campbell has been reduced to a reserve role for most of his rookie season. He has just one game over a 70% snap share all season. Alex Anzalone is out of the lineup for the foreseeable future, and reports coming out of Detroit are that Jack Campbell will have the ‘Green Dot.’ That will mean he will be the defensive communicator in Week 13.
The New Orleans Saints offense has allowed 6 top-12 LB performances this season. The Saints are one of just seven teams this season to allow over 200 total tackles to the linebacker position. They rank as the 4th most favorable matchup for the LB position, allowing 18.5 tackles per game. This is a tough week with five of the top 12 LBs on bye. You spent that draft capital on Campbell for a moment like this to get him in your lineup in a big spot.
Atlanta Falcons @ New York Jets
Arnold Ebiketie DL, Atlanta Falcons
There’s not much to like in this matchup from an IDP perspective. The New York Jets continue to start a quarterback who likely wouldn’t even be a starter in the XFL. The Atlanta Falcons are a headache for fantasy managers on both offense and defense, with Arthur Smith as the head coach. Considering we must pick someone here, we’ll go with Arnold Ebiketie for the defensive lineman position.
The Falcons pass rusher has been playing well lately, but his low tackle floor and inconsistent play are enough for him to be out of your lineups in a must-win scenario. Ebiketie has double-digit fantasy performances in just 36% of his games this season. He’s also failed to play over 25 snaps in three consecutive games. While he does have sacks in three of his last four and a matchup against the New York Jets, who have allowed over four sacks per game, I’m still fading him in this matchup. The stakes are too high this week to trust a player who has failed to record more than three tackles in any game this season. I’m not comfortable banking on a sack for him to hit this week.
Arizona Cardinals @ Pittsburgh Steelers
Elandon Roberts LB, Pittsburgh Steelers
The LB position has been hit hard by injuries and poor play for most of the season. Elandon Roberts has been a huge savior for those IDP managers suffering the most from the linebacker injuries on their rosters as of late. The veteran LB has 12 fantasy points or more in five straight games despite playing less than 40 snaps in two of those five games. The Arizona Cardinals are the 11th most favorable matchup for linebackers this season. Opposing LBs have averaged 18.7 tackles per game since the return of Kyler Murray, which is tied for the 6th most in the league over that span. Let’s keep riding the hot hand here with Elandon Roberts being a solid producer at the LB position.
Indianapolis Colts @ Tennessee Titans
E.J. Speed LB, Indianapolis Colts
Shaq Leonard was released in a bit of a shocking move for the Indianapolis Colts. Leonard’s departure has opened up a nice opportunity for E.J. Speed, who has been good in spots this season. The Tarleton State product averages over 10 fantasy points per game this season. He has eclipsed that total seven times this season. Speed is on pace for his best statistical season. This isn’t a player with a top-12 LB upside, but he’s good enough to give you a safe floor at a position with very few of those this season. The Colts linebacker has double-digit games in two of his last three games against the Tennessee Titans, and I see him being able to make that three out of four with a boost in snaps in Week 13.
Miami Dolphins @ Washington Commanders
Benjamin St-Juste DB, Washington Commanders
It’s that time again to give our CB-required leagues some love. Benjamin St-Juste had his streak of nine straight games with at least 10 fantasy points snapped last week. I don’t anticipate that to last too long as he steps back into a good matchup this week with the Miami Dolphins. The Dolphins’ dynamic passing attack has allowed six DB1 weeks this season. They have allowed a league-leading 17.3 tackles per game to the cornerback position over the past three games. This is a great spot for a CB who should be available in nearly all leagues. It’s imperative to take advantage of those plus matchups at the CB position, especially this late in the season.
Denver Broncos @ Houston Texans
Will Anderson DL, Houston Texans
The Houston Texans rookie EDGE rusher has so much upside as an IDP asset, but unfortunately, the numbers are just not there this season. Will Anderson has just three sacks on the season and has only had 10 points or more in 45% of his games. I have not lost faith in him as a top producer, but he’s far from the plug-and-play starter we expected him to be.
The Denver Broncos are one of the hottest teams in the NFL. The Broncos offensive line allows just 12.6 tackles per game to defensive lineman. They have only surrendered three DL1 weeks all season. If you’re a fringe playoff team looking for all the production you can get this week, there are certainly better options than Will Anderson or any of the Houston EDGE players.
Carolina Panthers @ Tampa Bay Buccaneers
Derrick Brown DL, Carolina Panthers
We look to the defensive tackle position in an ugly matchup with injuries and a lack of talent on the IDP side. Derrick Brown has been a menace this season and has turned in one of the best and most consistent stretches of his career. The former Auburn Tiger has 21 tackles over his past three games. He’s had 10 points or more in five straight games. I love Brown this week in DT-premium and would consider starting him even if the requirements are just DL. The Tampa Bay Buccaneers offensive line surrendered six tackles to DeForest Buckner last week and have allowed 16.7 tackles to the DL position this season. Derrick Brown should continue his stellar play in a divisional matchup this week.
Cleveland Browns @ Los Angeles Rams
Anthony Walker LB, Cleveland Browns
Anthony Walker returns to the Cleveland Browns defense this week after the team is coming off a bad loss to the Denver Broncos. The Cleveland defense has been playing at a championship level this season, but unfortunately for IDP managers, it has not made any of their linebackers trustable. Walker has just three games of double-digit fantasy points this season. I fear that IDP managers getting desperate may look to this matchup for some help. I would fade this matchup against a Rams offense that ranks as the 8th worst matchup to the LB position this season. There’s too much risk in this matchup, and if snap counts become an issue in Walker’s first game back since Week 11, you could be setting yourself up for failure.
San Francisco 49ers @ Philadelphia Eagles
Reed Blankenship DB, Philadelphia Eagles
The Philadelphia Eagles know how to find IDPs, and I speak for the dynasty community when I say ‘Thank You.’ Reed Blankenship is another great example of an undrafted player becoming a consistent stud in IDP leagues. The Middle Tennessee DB has produced 20+ points in six of his nine games this season. Dating back to Week 16 of last season, he has scored at least 12 fantasy points in 11 of 12 games.
The Philadelphia Eagles traded for Kevin Byard mid-season, which was thought to affect Blankenship’s production, but that hasn’t been the case. The Eagles DBs have a great matchup this week with the San Francisco 49ers, who allow the most tackles (16.6) to the safety position this season. The Eagles have surrendered five DB1 weeks this season and are up against two of the game’s most productive DBs in Week 13. Reed Blankenship is a must-start this week.
Kansas City Chiefs @ Green Bay Packers
George Karlaftis DL, Kansas City Chiefs
George Karlaftis is breaking the mold in a Steve Spagnuolo defensive scheme and playing 77% of defensive snaps this season at the EDGE position. The second-year pro is having a big season with career highs in tackles (35), Sacks (8), and forced fumbles (1). The Purdue product is leading a very underrated Chiefs defensive line this season.
The Green Bay Packers are the 7th most favorable matchup for the DL position this season, allowing 18.3 tackles per game to the position. This is a nice spot in a primetime matchup for the Chiefs EDGE rusher. Karlaftis has 4.5 sacks and a forced fumble in his last four games. IDP managers have been benefiting from the Chiefs pass rusher playing a large number of snaps this season and should continue to take advantage of that this week.
Cincinnati Bengals @ Jacksonville Jaguars
Germaine Pratt LB, Cincinnati Bengals
The Cincinnati Bengals team has had a rollercoaster of a season. The team looks to stay alive after losing their franchise QB Joe Burrow a few weeks back. The Bengals defense has been tested and stood up to the challenge for the most part. They have a tough test on the road with the Jacksonville Jaguars on Monday Night Football this week.
Germaine Pratt has a nice matchup with the Jaguars offense, who have allowed the second-most tackles per game (18.9) to the position this season. While most of the recognition goes to Logan Wilson, and rightfully so, Pratt himself has been a steady performer. The North Carolina State product has produced 10 fantasy points or more in 72% of his starts this season. The lack of available linebackers this week due to bye weeks and injuries makes this a solid week to start Germaine Pratt.
That will wrap up the beginning of the end of the 2023 dynasty fantasy football season. There are just a handful of games left that matter. The pressure on lineup optimization is crucial, and we are here to help with that as much as we can. I hope this article has been helpful this season, and I will continue to provide this for you weekly so you can always count on a second opinion when it comes to your lineup decisions. Enjoy the games this weekend and lock in to start that late-season grind for an IDP dynasty fantasy football championship.