For most leagues, this is the final week before playoffs begin. Most of you have hopefully clinched playoff berths, but some of you might be right on the edge. Whether or not you make it to the big dance could come down to your decisions this week, and you’ve come here, of all places, for advice. Let’s face it: my predictions this season have been like the most scratched PlayStation disc you own. You never really expect it to work, but you’re thrilled when it does. This week, I’ll give you my usual starts of the week, plus a defense/special teams start of the week. Just know that if you’re leaning on my predictions, you’re really hoping that one of those discs works even though they look like they were chewed on by a cat.
Quarterback – Josh Allen
The Buffalo Bills surprised yet again last week with a win against the Jaguars. Allen only threw for 160 yards, but he added 99 yards on the ground and had no turnovers. If you have a rough quarterback situation, Allen’s safe floor as a rushing quarterback might be just what you need to win this week. The Bills play in Miami this week, which is unfavorable, but I believe Allen’s rushing game is safe enough to start. Another good choice this week is Lamar Jackson. Like Allen, Jackson is a fantastic rusher. The concern with Jackson is Joe Flacco. If Joe Flacco sits this week, Jackson could be great, but if Flacco starts, he won’t be a viable starter. The Ravens play in Atlanta in Week 13.
Running Back – Austin Ekeler
A really unsurprising pick at running back, Ekeler is the new starter for the Los Angeles Chargers. Melvin Gordon sprained his MCL last week, and Ekeler will be taking over the lead role for at least a couple weeks. The Chargers are away against the Steelers in Week 13, but Ekeler is a talented rusher and receiver, so he should be a safe play. Carlos Hyde is a high-risk, high-reward play this week. Leonard Fournette is suspended for one game, and the Jaguars are benching Blake Bortles in favor of backup Cody Kessler. I expect the Jags to lean on their rushing attack as a result. Hyde saw some involvement last week and should share backfield duties with T.J. Yeldon this week. Jacksonville faces the Colts at home this week.
Wide Receiver – Josh Reynolds
Reynolds, the backup to Cooper Kupp, impressed in his Week 11 start. It looks like any pass catcher on the field for the Rams is a starting option, and Reynolds is no different. The Rams play the Lions in Week 13, which doesn’t pose a huge threat to Reynolds’ production. Adam Humphries is another good streaming option for the week. The Buccaneers’ passing attack will continue to spread the ball around, and Humphries is a touchdown threat every game. The Bucs take on the Panthers at home Sunday.
Tight End – Jesse James
Last week, James outproduced teammate Vance McDonald in both receptions and yards. Now that McDonald is questionable, James should see an increased workload. James and the Steelers face the Chargers at home in Week 13. C.J. Uzomah is also a solid play this week. Because the Bengals lost Andy Dalton last week, backup quarterback Jeff Driskel may look to Uzomah repeatedly for high percentage throws. The Bengals will battle against the Broncos from home this week.
D/ST – Tennessee Titans
The Titans aren’t the best streaming defense this week, but they have a fantastic upcoming schedule. This week they take on the Jets at home. The Jets’ offense performed surprisingly well against the Patriots in Week 12, but they don’t pose a big enough threat to stop me from starting the Titans D/ST this week. After this week, the Titans face the Jaguars, the Giants and the Redskins. You could start this defense in any of those matchups and get positive results. The Bills’ D/ST is a solid streaming option this week as well. They match up against the Dolphins in Week 13.