Starts and Sits: Week 13
Vegas spends millions of dollars getting experts to set betting lines to be as accurate as possible. This series uses Vegas opening betting lines to identify the teams with high point projections to help find sleepers and busts. Obviously don’t sit your A.J. Green for Terrance Williams just because the Vegas projection for the Cowboys is higher than the projection for the Giants, instead, use it as a tiebreaker. The obvious must-starts like Antonio Brown and the obvious irrelevant players with 0.1% ownership won’t be mentioned.
Line of the Week:
Cleveland Browns @ Los Angeles Chargers (-13). Over/Under 42.5.
The most lopsided line this week, the Chargers are actually the second highest projected team and the Browns are the lowest. Vegas obviously does not believe in Josh Gordon, but this means you should start your Chargers and sit your Browns. I’m all in for the Gordon hype train, but you probably shouldn’t start him this week against a great LA pass defense. Corey Coleman followed up a 10 target return with an 8 target game last week, but with this tough matchup and the return of Gordon, sit him if you can. Kenny Britt is irrelevant, and DeShone Kizer should also be sat despite a good game last week. Against the run is where the Chargers are most vulnerable, making Isaiah Crowell a decent start, but because of the game-script, Duke Johnson is your best bet.
On the Chargers side, Philip Rivers and Melvin Gordon are great starts. Austin Ekeler had a decent week but doesn’t get enough work to be a recommended start. Keenan Allen is way too hot to sit, start him despite the Browns actually being good against the WR. Hunter Henry had a great game against Dallas and with the Browns being atrocious against the TE, he is a fantastic start.
Lines to Exploit
New England Patriots (-9) @ Buffalo Bills. Over/Under 49.
The Patriots love to attack the other team’s weakness and the Bills are atrocious against the run, making Dion Lewis a fantastic start. Not only him, Rex Burkhead only had 2 attempts less than Lewis, making him also a great start. You’re not benching Tom Brady, Rob Gronkowski, or Brandin Cooks. Chris Hogan is out of his sling but the Patriots don’t need to rush him back this week, bench him even if he plays.
That’s 4 consecutive weeks of good Patriots defense now, and they are no longer a matchup to exploit. Tyrod Taylor is always a threat with his legs, he’s an okay start. Zay Jones has gotten better lately but he still isn’t a comfortable start with his catch rate. The Bills will probably rely on LeSean McCoy so he’s a fine start. Charles Clay is getting healthier and more involved since his knee surgery, he’s a decent start.
Carolina Panthers @ New Orleans Saints (-3.5). Over/Under 48.
One of the higher lines in a division matchup between two good teams. Cam Newton is starting but Devin Funchess might need to have his expectations tempered with Marshon Lattimore returning. Greg Olsen re-injured his foot in his return, making him a sit even if he plays. Christian McCaffrey is a good play but he is suffering a shoulder injury. Keep tabs on the practice reports to see if he’s good to go. Jonathan Stewart turned in an okay outing to follow his first 100 yard game of the season, but that was due to a touchdown, he’s a start only if you’re thin on RB’s.
On the Saints side, the Panthers have a great run defense, but Mark Ingram and Alvin Kamara are both too hot to sit, despite Ingram’s disappointing week last time out. This game is also projected to be close, making Drew Brees a good start. The Panthers aren’t great against WR’s, so both Michael Thomas and Ted Ginn are starts.
Philadelphia Eagles (-6) @ Seattle Seahawks. Over/Under 48.5.
The Eagles have one of the highest lines despite playing the Seahawks in Seattle… Yeah… Carson Wentz, Zach Ertz, and Alshon Jeffery are must-starts. Nelson Agholor had a great 2 touchdown game after 3 disappointing outings. His second one was a lucky fumble recovery in the endzone and Agholor is somewhat touchdown dependent, despite that he’s an okay start. Jay Ajayi was the one who fumbled, and he could have had a good game if that was his touchdown, nevertheless, the amount of volume he gets makes him a sit. LeGarrette Blount gets the most carries behind this line, making him a solid start. Corey Clement doesn’t get a lot of work, making him a sit.
The Eagles have a good defense, but Russell Wilson and Jimmy Graham are must-starts. Doug Baldwin had a disappointing game against the Niners, but he should bounce back for a solid game, everybody else is a sit.
Lines to Avoid
Denver Broncos @ Miami Dolphins (-1). Over/Under 38.
The return of Trevor Siemian in the lowest over/under of the week. Miami has a bad defense and Siemien actually played well last time out, but there are better options. Devontae Booker led the backfield in touches despite all 3 running backs disappointing against a beatable Oakland defense, game script should allow him to bounce back. C.J. Anderson and Jamaal Charles are sits as the offense isn’t good enough to have production from multiple RB’s. Demaryius Thomas and Emmanuel Sanders are both sits but Sanders would be the better option as he has performed better with Siemian this season, Thomas has not caught a touchdown in the last 13 games with Trevor Siemian playing.
Denver’s run defense has fallen apart the past 4 weeks, making Kenyan Drake a decent start. Julius Thomas gets a great matchup and is a start. DeVante Parker doesn’t get targeted with Matt Moore playing but Jay Cutler should return, still the matchup makes him a sit. Cutler is a sit. Kenny Stills only has value with Moore starting, so only start him if Cutler sits. Jarvis Landry is too involved to be a sit, start him.
Indianapolis Colts @ Jacksonville Jaguars (-8.5). Over/Under 41.
The Colts have one of the lowest point totals, and Jacoby Brissett is going to spend a long time on his back this game, sit him. Frank Gore is an okay start due to Jacksonville being beatable on the ground, and Jack Doyle has potential as he’s Brissett’s favorite target. All of the WR’s are sits due to Jacksonville’s elite pass defense.