Week 13 Start ‘Em, Sit ‘Em: Analyzing Tough Quarterback Decisions for Fantasy Football Owners


Robert Griffin IIIThere are no more bye weeks for the remainder of the NFL season, which means that fantasy football owners will have a few difficult decisions regarding their quarterback situation.

For people who play in fantasy leagues that start one quarterback per week, it’s best to start the player with the best matchup, unless you have an elite guy such as Peyton Manning, Drew Brees or Tom Brady. This is the point in the season where you must make the smart roster decision at quarterback and not take chances.

Let’s take a look at some second-tier quarterbacks expected to play on Sunday and determine if fantasy owners should start or sit them in Week 13.

Josh McCown, Chicago Bears: Start vs. Minnesota Vikings

McCown should get one more start before Jay Cutler likely returns to the Bears lineup in Week 14, and he’s a must-start on Sunday against a Vikings defense that ranks 29th against the pass with 281.6 yards allowed per game. Minnesota has also allowed the most passing touchdowns in the NFL (24) and its eight interceptions are tied for the fifth-fewest in the league.

McCown threw for 352 yards with two touchdowns and an interceptions against the St. Louis Rams last week, and he’s proven to be a reliable fantasy quarterback in Cutler’s absence. He’s completing over 65 percent of his passes and has seven touchdowns with only one interception in five games.

Alex Smith, Kansas City Chiefs: Start vs. Denver Broncos

Smith has been a consistent fantasy performer this season with six multi-touchdown games, three of which have occurred over the last four weeks. He has a tremendous matchup in Week 13 against a Denver team that has the third-worst passing defense (283 yards per game) and has allowed the fourth-most passing touchdowns (21).

Smith passed for 23o yards with two touchdowns and no interceptions against the Broncos in Week 11, and with the Denver secondary dealing with a few injuries, expect his numbers to be even stronger on Sunday.

Carson Palmer, Arizona Cardinals: Start vs. Philadelphia Eagles

Palmer’s resurgence has put Arizona back into the playoff race with a four-game winning streak. Over the last four weeks, the veteran quarterback has eight touchdown passes and only two interceptions, compared to eight touchdowns and 13 interceptions in his previous seven games.

A healthy and productive Larry Fitzgerald and the emergence of sophomore wide receiver Michael Floyd as a dominant pass-catcher capable of making big plays downfield has bolstered the Cardinals passing attack in a major way since the team’s Week 9 bye. Expect Palmer to have a monster game against a Philadelphia defense that ranks last against the pass (300 yards per game).

Robert Griffin III, Washington Redskins: Sit vs. New York Giants

Griffin was awful in Week 12, completing just 16 passes for 188 yards and an interception against the San Francisco 49ers. The sophomore quarterback hasn’t thrown for over 300 yards since Week 3, and he’s also failing to make an impact in the running game with only 33 yards rushing per game and two total touchdowns on the ground.

The smart decision is to bench Griffin against a stingy Giants defense that features a strong pass rush and a veteran secondary. It’s also possible that the Redskins will be without tight end Jordan Reed, and if he doesn’t play, Griffin will be missing his second-best option in the passing game.

Mike Glennon, Tampa Bay Buccaneers: Sit vs. Carolina Panthers

Glennon opposes a great Panthers defense on Sunday, one that has made quarterbacks such as Tom Brady look bad at times. Carolina ranks seventh in passing defense with just 216 yards allowed through the air per game, and it has allowed the second-fewest passing touchdowns (nine) in the NFL. This defense has also registered 34 sacks and its 15 interceptions are the second-most in the league.

Glennon has thrown for less than 250 yards in four straight games, and with the Panthers chasing the Saints for the NFC South division lead, the best decision is bench the rookie quarterback in Week 13.

Case Keenum, Houston Texans: Sit vs. New England Patriots

In each of his last two games, Keenum has completed less than 55 percent of his passes and he’s totaled just one touchdown and two interceptions. He also hasn’t thrown for more than 201 yards in each of his last three games.

He opposes a Patriots defense that has the fourth-most interceptions (13) and the third-most sacks (34) this season. The confidence level of New England’s defense is high after it held Broncos quarterback Peyton Manning to 150 yards (lowest total of the year), two touchdowns, an interception and a 28.1 QBR in his worst performance of the season in Week 12.

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