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Slant Pattern: WR Start/Sit – Week 13

What should you expect from Ja’Marr Chase this week? Check out this week’s Slant Pattern where @THEtristancook breaks down your WR start/sit decisions!

Hello and welcome back, Nerds! The Dynasty Nerds writers are here to provide you with weekly starts and sits. I will be doing the WR starts and sits for the 2023 season! We, as a group, will be making our recommendations based on weekly consensus PPR rankings from FantasyPros. Here is our squad and the position groups they will be covering to help you each week. Follow, DM, 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) – Flex on ‘Em

IDP: Jon Glosser (@Glosser13) – IDP Start/Sit

One thing to keep in mind when making your start/sit decisions, it will ALWAYS depend on who your other options are. The players listed below are WRs that I expect to finish above/below their respective rankings. But it doesn’t mean you need to take them out of (or put them into) your lineup unless your alternatives are worth it.

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.

RECAP

Before we get into the recap of last week’s picks, let’s go over how I determine the success and failure of my picks: 

  1. Regardless of whether I have a player listed as a start or sit, if they get injured during the game where it significantly impacts their fantasy output, it is ruled a no decision based upon injury.
  2. If a player finishes within a handful of spots of their ranking, either above or below, it is considered a push. 
  3. My goal is always to get all my picks correct. 

However, I consider above 50% a moderately successful week. Let’s get to it.

Week 12 was over the place. I had a couple of big ‘hits’ and a couple of painful ‘misses.’ First, the bad calls. Cooper Kupp and Josh Downs were on my ‘start’ list but finished well outside the top 36 receivers. My best calls of the week were to ‘start’ Zay Flowers (finished as WR6) and to sit Puka Nacua (finished as WR62). Courtland Sutton was also a ‘hit’ as he finished well below his weekly ranking. My only other call was to ‘sit’ Marquise Brown, who finished as a ‘push.’ On to Week 13.

START

Ja’Marr Chase, Bengals – WR 14

Week 12 Stats | WR 33 | FPts: 12.1 | Tgts: 6 | Rec: 4 | Yds: 81 | TDs: 0 

My first ‘start’ of Week 12 is Ja’Marr Chase. This may seem like a no-brainer play, but I’m sure some people are questioning whether they should have him in their lineups or not. My advice is simple. Start your studs. Some people may be looking to bench Chase after a lackluster performance in his first game after losing Burrow to a season-ending wrist injury. I am here to tell you not to get too cute.

Ja’Marr Chase is an extremely talented wide receiver. He is facing a bottom-5 pass defense in a game that will likely require trying to keep up with the Jaguars. Jacksonville also has the fourth-best rush defense in the NFL. So, if Cincinnati is going to have any success moving the ball in this game, it will be through the air. Start Ja’Marr this week if you are having any hesitation.

Chris Godwin, Bucs – WR 30

NEW ORLEANS, LA – OCTOBER 31: Tampa Bay Buccaneers wide receiver Chris Godwin (14) stiff arms New Orleans Saints defensive back Chauncey Gardner-Johnson (22) following a first half pass reception during the football game between the Tampa Bay Buccaneers and New Orleans Saints at Caesar’s Superdome on October 31, 2021 in New Orleans, LA. (Photo by Ken Murray/Icon Sportswire)

Week 12 Stats | WR 56 | FPts: 7.5 | Tgts: 7 | Rec: 3 | Yds: 45| TDs: 0

Chris Godwin is my next ‘start’ for this week. This pick may be slightly counter-intuitive to what I have promoted for most of the season. The Bucs are playing the Panthers this week, who have allowed the fourth-fewest passing yards per game this season. Furthermore, Chris Godwin hasn’t had a game with more than 55 yards receiving since Week 7 and only has one 100+ yard game this year.

So, why would I suggest starting him anyway? There are two main reasons. First, the Bucs are the second-worst rushing offense in the NFL. They attack teams through the air. That means that despite the matchup, we can expect them to keep throwing the ball. And finally, because Chris Godwin consistently gets targeted in this offense. He only has one game with fewer than 6 targets. I am rolling Godwin out there this week if I have him rostered.

Amari Cooper, Browns – WR 32

Week 12 Stats | WR 87 | FPts: 3.6 | Tgts: 6 | Rec: 2 | Yds: 16 | TDs: 0

My next ‘start’ for this week is Amari Cooper. This one also might be a little bit of a head-scratcher, but allow me to explain. Amari Cooper is one of the only offensive weapons the Browns have at their disposal this week (and going forward). And, he has been consistently targeted, regardless of who is under center. So, while it is rarely a good sign when your team signs a quarterback off the street to start a game, you could do a lot worse than Joe Flacco

I expect Flacco to come in and pepper Cooper with targets. Last week, Cooper was only targeted 6 times. That’s the second-fewest targets that he’s received all season. Joe Flacco and Cleveland know Amari is their best threat, so I assume they’ll look his way regularly. We don’t need Joe Flacco to come in and do anything outstanding. We just need him to feed Amari Cooper targets. And that’s exactly what I expect him to do.

Diontae Johnson (WR24) & George Pickens (WR34), Steelers

Week 12 Stats | WR 46 | FPts: 9.0 | Tgts: 8 | Rec: 4 | Yds: 50 | TDs: 0 

&

Week 12 Stats | WR 48 | FPts: 8.8 | Tgts: 5 | Rec: 3 | Yds: 58 | TDs: 0

My next two players are both ‘starts’ for very similar reasons. We saw a completely different team last week after the firing of OC Matt Canada. We saw an explosive offense that moved the ball up and down the field with ease compared to what we had become accustomed to with Pittsburgh. The primary beneficiary from that move appeared to be tight end Pat Freiermuth. He exploded for a season-high 120 yards receiving on 9 receptions. Sadly, neither Diontae Johnson nor George Picken could get in on the fun. However, I expect that to change this week. The Steelers are hosting the Arizona Cardinals this week. They haven’t done much to slow down anyone of late. I don’t expect Freiermuth to see double-digit targets again this week, so I feel much more optimistic about having both receivers in my lineup.  

SIT

Puka Nacua, Rams – WR 15

INGLEWOOD, CA – SEPTEMBER 17: Los Angeles Rams wide receiver Puka Nacua (17) runs after a catch during the NFL game between the San Francisco 49ers and the Los Angeles Rams on September 17, 2023, at SoFi Stadium in Inglewood, CA. (Photo by Brian Rothmuller/Icon Sportswire)

Week 12 Stats | WR 62 | FPts: 6.7 | Tgts: 8 | Rec: 4| Yds: 27 | TDs: 0 

Stop me if you’ve heard this one before…you should ‘sit’ Puka Nacua. After the return of Cooper Kupp, Nacua’s production has been quite inconsistent. Prior to the game against Seattle, a game in which Kupp left early and did not return, Nacua only eclipsed 7.3 fantasy points once since Week 5.

In fact, over his last six games, Nacua has caught 27 passes. He had 25 catches through his first two weeks without Kupp. Now, he and the Rams face off against the best pass defense in the NFL. Cleveland is only allowing 142.0 yards passing per game. That is the best in the league by nearly 30 yards per game. He’s not getting enough targets to warrant a spot in your fantasy lineup each week. And now he gets the toughest matchup in the NFL. I’m benching Puka.

That’s it for Week 13. Feel free to reach out to me on Twitter (@THEtristancook) if you have any specific questions about who I would start. 

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