2020 Season: Week 13 Start/Flex/Bench


Charles Herrmann (@HermsNFL)
The Lateral Chief Editor

Malcolm McMillan (@McLateralFF)
The Lateral Writer

No Thursday Night Football last night? Oh no! Where will the NFL put such illustrious matchups as the Denver Broncos vs the New York Jets? At least we get the wonderful weekday surprise that is Tuesday Night Football with the Dallas Cowboys taking on the Baltimore Ravens. Okay, half of that sounds wonderful. Watching the Cowboys? Not so much.

I kid, of course. If this past week taught us anything, it was that even the worst NFL player is better than the average person off the street at football. The fact that the Broncos had to run out practice squad WR Kendall Hinton at QB has obviously been talked to death, but it cannot be understated how difficult a task he had, and how incredible it was that he even attempted it. Luckily it seems no team this week will be forced into a similar position, but always remember our picks are based on when we write them. COVID-19 and injuries can always throw a wrench into any plan, and 2020 has thrown plenty of wrenches.

Week 13 Start/Flex/Bench

New Orleans Saints at Atlanta Falcons (Sunday 1 pm)

NO: Start QB Taysom Hill (that felt gross), flex WR Michael Thomas, and bench TE Jared Cook.
[EDITOR'S NOTE: The Saints RBs are kind of a 'pick your poison' type of a deal. Neither Alvin Kamara or Latavius Murray feel great but hey, that's a judgement call on your end.]
ATL: Start WR Calvin Ridley, who seems likely to play despite a limited practice on Wednesday. Flex WR Russell Gage if Julio is out. Otherwise, the only people you can rely on are WRs Julio Jones and the aforementioned Ridley. Leave the entire RB corps of Todd Gurley II, Brian Hill, and Ito Smith on the bench.
Cleveland Browns at Tennessee Titans (Sunday 1 pm)

CLE: Start the RBs per usual, flex WR Jarvis Landry/stream TE Austin Hooper, bench QB Baker Mayfield and all others WRs.
TEN: Start QB Ryan Tannehill/RB Derrick Henry/WR A.J. Brown, flex WR Corey Davis/stream TE Anthony Firkser, bench the other members of this roster you typically do not play. 

If you've got the room, tack on RB D'Onta Foreman at the end of your bench whether you are the Henry manager or not. I believe Foreman would be a potential league-winner should anything happen to Derrick Henry down the stretch.

Detroit Lions at Chicago Bears (Sunday 1 pm)

DET: Start RB 
WR Marvin Jones Jr. if WR Kenny Golladay remains out (seems likely), flex D'Andre Swift if he is healthy (which is now in doubt), and leave QB Matthew Stafford on the bench.

CHI: Start WR Allen Robinson II, flex RB David Montgomery, stream QB Mitchell Trubisky, and bench TE Jimmy Graham in a poor matchup for the boom/bust TE.
[EDITOR'S NOTE: The aforementioned Robinson II is listed as questionable to play on Sunday now. With WR Darnell Mooney also listed on the report, this one is weird. Just keep an eye out for all that fun stuff.]
Cincinnati Bengals at Miami Dolphins (Sunday 1 pm)

CIN: I'll make this one a bit easier: RB Giovani Bernard is a low-end RB2 and both WRs Tyler Boyd and Tee Higgins are somewhat risky WR3/flex plays. That's about all that needs to be said for the Bengals

Start RB Myles Gaskin (assuming he plays)/TE Mike Gesecki, flex WR DeVante Parker in what should be a slightly tougher matchup against CB William Jackson III, bench WR Jakeem Grant in shallower leagues but if you're in need of a flex in a 3WR league, go for it. As for the QB position, start QB Ryan Tannehill but bench QB Tua Tagovailoa outside of 2QB leagues if he plays on Sunday. Follow that closely. Should Gaskin not play, just avoid the Dolphins' RBs.

Jacksonville Jaguars at Minnesota Vikings (Sunday 1 pm)

JAX: Start RB James Robinson per usual, flex WR D.J. Chark, bench the rest. There's a shot another WR and one of the TEs has value but I cannot in good conscience suggest anyone in particular. 

MIN: Start RB Dalvin Cook, flex WR Justin Jefferson, stream QB Kirk Cousins, and TE Kyle Rudolph (but only if fellow TE Irv Smith Jr. remains out). If you read yesterday's Heat Check, you know to leave last week's breakout Vikings WRs Chad Beebe and Olabisi Johnson on the bench.

Indianapolis Colts at Houston Texans (Sunday 1 pm)

Start both RBs Nyheim Hines and Jonathan Taylor, flex WR Michael Pittman Jr./stream QB Philip Rivers and TE Trey Burton, bench WR T.Y. Hilton outside of deeper leagues where it may be necessary. 

HOU: Start QB Deshaun Watson/WR Brandin Cooks, flex RB David Johnson assuming health, bench but monitor all other WRs and TEs. This week will be an opportunity to find out who behind Cooks will be potential viable in the passing game without WR Will Fuller V. Rostering WR Keke Coutee or WR Isaiah Coulter is a solid choice along with TE Jordan Akins. Don't play them yet but just see what happens.

Las Vegas Raiders at New York Jets (Sunday 1 pm)

LV: Start RB Devontae Booker/QB Derek Carr (yep, I'm doin' it)/TE Darren Waller, flex WR Nelson Agholor, bench the rest. The other WRs are too tough to trust week-to-week even in a great matchups like this one.

NYJ: Flex/streaming options include: RB Frank Gore, WR Denzel Mims, WR Breshad Perriman. WR Jameson Crowder is a bit of a wild card and is someone best left on the bench sadly. If I'm wrong, I'll buy you a stick of gum as compensation.

New York Giants at Seattle Seahawks (Sunday 4:05 pm)

NYG: Start RB Wayne Gallman, flex WR Sterling Shepard, and bench possible QB Colt McCoy.

SEA: Start QB Russell Wilson, flex RB Chris Carson, stream the DST, and leave WR David Moore on the bench.

Los Angeles Rams at Arizona Cardinals (Sunday 4:05 pm)

LAR: Start WR Robert Woods, flex WR Cooper Kupp, stream the DST if you can (unlikely, but not impossible), and leave TEs Tyler Higbee and Gerald Everett on the bench.

ARI: Start RB Kenyan Drake if (like me), you do not think QB Kyler Murray will be at 100% this week. If you do think Murray is good to go, then you can start WR DeAndre Hopkins, but I prefer to flex him this week. I may ultimately bench Murray in favor of Taysom Hill (again, that felt gross), but I am definitely benching RB Chase Edmonds.

New England Patriots at Los Angeles Chargers (Sunday 4:25 pm) 

NE: Start WR Jakobi Meyers, flex RBs Damien Harris and James White, bench QB Cam Newton unless you're in a pinch. There's at least a decent rushing floor with Newton that can make him a viable streamer if need be.

LAC: This offense is electric. Basically just play everyone besides the WRs behind Keenan Allen and Mike Williams and maybe don't go with whoever plays second fiddle to RB Austin Ekeler.
Philadelphia Eagles at Green Bay Packers (Sunday 4:25 pm)

PHI: Start RB Miles Sanders, flex/stream TEs Dallas Goedert and Zach Ertz since Ertz seems set to return this week, and leave WR Travis Fulgham on the bench along with the rest of the Philly WRs. 

GB: Start WR Davante Adams, flex WR Allen Lazard, stream TE Robert Tonyan and the DST. Not a ton of people to bench against the imploding Eagles, but WR Marquez Valdes-Scantling is too boom/bust to risk this week.

Denver Broncos at Kansas City Chiefs (Sunday 8:20 pm)

DEN: Can I just say no? Here's who you can play if you reaaally need to: RB Melvin Gordon III, WR Jerry Jeudy (if healthy), and TE Noah Fant. None of them real inspire much confidence outside of Gordon III as a decent RB2 assuming RB Phillip Lindsay doesn't go. Both Lindsay and Jeudy are questionable per the Broncos injury report, so yeah. Not great, Bob.

KC: You don't need me to tell you what to do with the Chiefs. Even though RB Clyde Edwards-Helaire has been somewhat disappointing of late, the Broncos run defense doesn't scare me as they are about middle-of-the-pack against opposing RBs. Just roll him out there along with the rest of the regular gang.

Washington Football Team at Pittsburgh Steelers (Monday 5:00 pm)

WFT: Start WR Terry McLaurin, flex RB Antonio Gibson, and bench the DST.

PIT: Start the Pittsburgh Steelers. This is a lot like the Chiefs where you know what to do. The only items of note are that RB James Conner is still on the COVID-19 list as of now. Should he play, you start him. Should he not play, RB Benny Snell Jr. is more of a flex play. The Football Team defense is relatively stout across the board but c'mon, the Steelers offense is really good. Matchup be damned.

Buffalo Bills at San Francisco 49ers (Monday 8:15 pm)

Start QB Josh Allen/WR Stefon Diggs, flex the RBs if you have to/WR Cole Beasley, bench WR Gabriel Davis in normal-sized leagues. In a deeper league, you could do worse things. Bench RBs Zack Moss and Devin Singletary if you can though. That backfield is irritating.

SF: Start RB Raheem Mostert, flex WR Deebo Samuel, stream TE Jordan Reed, and keep QB Nick Mullens on the bench where he belongs.

Dallas Cowboys at Baltimore Ravens (Tuesday 8:05 pm)

DAL: Start WR Amari Cooper and feel nervous about it the entire time. Same with flexing WR CeeDee Lamb. At this point, RB Ezekiel Elliot needs to be on your bench, but with 16+ rushing attempts per game, there is no way anyone will actually do it. Even including a 19.4 PPR point performance in Week 11 against Minnesota, Elliot has averaged less than 10 PPG since Week 6.

BAL: Start QB Lamar Jackson begrudgingly, flex RB J.K. Dobbins, bench the rest. It's too bad TE Mark Andrews is on the COVID-19 list. This would be a decent opportunity for him. 

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