Before fantasy owners plop down at the dinner table for a helping of turkey, they should of course make sure their lineups are set and especially avoid the Philadelphia Eagles DST in Week 13.
Philly clashes with the NFC East rival Dallas Cowboys for the first time this the season in the second of three huge Thanksgiving matchups, with both sides looking for an inside edge at the division crown.
On paper the Eagles look like a solid choice. They’re the highest-scoring DST in fantasy this season, largely owed to the 10 touchdowns they’ve scored and the 38 sacks from a pass rush led by linebacker Connor Barwin. Philly will also play host where they are a perfect 6-0, and they’re one of only five teams with an unblemished record on their home field this season.
But a closer look at who the Eagles have beaten is pretty revealing. They own one victory over a top 10 offense (at Indianapolis in Week 2) and for owners who started the Eagles DST that week they got maybe three total points. Philly gave up 27 points and snagged one interception is the narrow three-point victory.
This will also be the first time the Eagles get an up close and personal look at NFL leading rusher DeMarco Murray, who’s put up a monstrous 1,354 yards and seven touchdowns through 11 games this season. Dallas also has one of the best receivers in the league in Dez Bryant, and tight end Jason Witten has snapped his early season slump and is again a major red zone threat, scoring three of his four touchdowns in the last four games.
The game should instead figure to be a major shootout between the Eagles No. 4 ranked offense and Dallas’s No. 6, and owners are advised to stay away this week.
But the good news is owners have more choices at the DST position than they’ve had since byes started in Week 4, so there are lots of options even in the deepest of leagues. Let’s take a look at several other teams that could be started in Week 13. As always, start and sit at your own discretion.
It was an ugly loss to New England last week, and over the last two weeks the Lions have yet to force a single sack. But owners shouldn’t be deterred in Week 13. Detroit is at home against a Chicago Bears squad that, yes, has won two straight by scoring 21 points in consecutive weeks, but those wins came at home versus lowly Minnesota and Tampa Bay. Detroit should get back on track against Bears quarterback Jay Cutler, who’s second in the NFL with 12 interceptions and has taken 26 sacks.
The Bills came together for their city and smacked the Jets 38-3 last week to snap a two-game losing streak, despite a savage snowstorm completely throwing off their practice schedule. This week they have a very tall order trying to contain fresh Cleveland Browns receiver Josh Gordon, but could feast on quarterback Brian Hoyer. Hoyer’s completing 56 percent of his passes, and has only 11 touchdowns to eight interceptions and he’ll stare down a Bills secondary that’s forced 13 interceptions. Buffalo is also far and away the best pass rushing team in the NFL with 46 sacks. However sacks might be difficult to come by against a Cleveland o-line that’s only surrendered 16 on the year. At this point of the season the Bills have built up enough good will to be started nearly every week, but owners could play the other side and start Cleveland’s DST since Buffalo’s offense is limited to really only one big playmaker in rookie receiver Sammy Watkins.
The quickly folding Giants are No. 24 against the pass and No. 31 versus the run, and have had trouble rushing the passer all year with only 19 sacks. Still New York owns one of the most talented secondarys in the league and has generated 13 interceptions. They’ll face NFL interception leader Blake Bortles and the hapless Jacksonville offense. The Giants could be a sleeper start this week for owners will taking a risk, with only drawback being emerging Jags running back Denard Robinson. If N.Y. can contain Robinson they should have a big day.
Even in defeat the Cards can give fantasy owners some very helpful points. They gave up 19 points but also sacked Seattle’s Russell Wilson a season-high seven times last week. Next Arizona faces the one-dimensional Atlanta Falcons offense. Arizona’s tied for second in the league with 15 interceptions, and it should get at least one off quarterback Matt Ryan, who’s also been sacked six times in the last three games.
Sit: Philadelphia, Dallas, Washington, Chicago, Houston, San Diego, Tampa Bay, Jacksonville, New Orleans, Pittsburgh, Atlanta, New England, Green Bay, Denver, Kansas City, N.Y. Jets
Start: Seattle, San Francisco, Indianapolis, Tennessee, Cleveland, Buffalo, Baltimore, N.Y. Giants, Cincinnati, St. Louis, Carolina, Minnesota, Arizona, Miami