We are nearing the 2022 fantasy football playoffs, and with bye weeks returning and injuries still rearing their ugly heads, decisions continue to be difficult. Let’s take a look at our WR start/sit Week 13 plays, which include DeVonta Smith and Adam Thielen. Be sure to also check out our full Week 13 wide receiver rankings.
DeVonta Smith, Philadelphia Eagles (vs. TEN)
Everyone is excited for the A.J. Brown revenge game. And yes, he is going to smash. But don’t forget about DeVonta Smith.
The Eagles’ WR2 has been inconsistent this season. He seems to put together two productive games, followed by a dud or two, before returning to prominence.
In Weeks 10 and 11, Smith posted 13.9 and 13.8 PPR fantasy points, respectively. Last week against the Packers, Smith mostly flopped with just 9.9 fantasy points, but this week against the Titans is an ideal spot to get back on track.
Tennessee remains this season’s premier pass-funnel defense. They are elite against the run but can’t stop anyone through the air. The Titans allow the second-most fantasy points to wide receivers.
Jalen Hurts can’t and won’t throw every pass to Brown. Smith’s 26.2% target share is the 15th highest in the league. There should be plenty of volume to go around for both in what should be a pass-heavy game plan. Start Smith and feel confident to go higher on his receiving yards this week on Underdog Fantasy.
Joshua Palmer, Los Angeles Chargers (at LV)
Last week was the DeAndre Carter show. He had the best game of his career, catching seven of 10 targets for 73 yards and a touchdown.
Still, Carter remains firmly behind Keenan Allen and Joshua Palmer in the pecking order. He played fewer snaps and ran fewer routes.
Mike Williams did not practice at all last week after aggravating his high ankle sprain the week prior. I don’t anticipate him playing this week, and that means another week of Palmer in the WR2 role.
Although last week was a disappointment, Palmer has largely thrived as a clear starter during Allen and Williams’ various extended absences. Palmer has seen at least seven targets in five straight games, including 10+ in three of them.
Palmer is averaging 12.4 ppg, which is actually underselling his performance given that he scored 3.9 points in Week 1 with both Allen and Williams healthy and 3.5 in Week 4 where he left midway through the game due to injury.
This week, the Chargers have a fantastic matchup in what could be a shootout against the Raiders’ soft pass defense. Las Vegas allows the 12th-most fantasy points to wide receivers.
Last week, DK Metcalf went off for 11 catches on 15 targets for 90 yards against them. Palmer should see plenty of volume and provide both a solid floor and a reasonably high ceiling. Start him.
Adam Thielen, Minnesota Vikings (vs. NYJ)
Last week, Adam Thielen was the subject of my Thanksgiving Day start/sit. All of the evidence suggested he was a sit. Yet, I couldn’t shake the feeling he was going to have a big game. Sometimes, fantasy football is about trusting your gut.
With that said, I cannot get behind the notion that Thielen will thrive in the face of a difficult matchup for a second week in a row.
The Jets allow the third-fewest fantasy points to wide receivers. Just 55% of their receiving yards allowed have gone to receivers.
Not much has changed about Thielen’s usage. Last week was obviously a smash with Thielen posting season highs in targets (10) and receptions (9). However, he still has just a 19.5% target share, which is just inside the top 40. More concerning is Thielen’s rate of 18.8% targets per route run, which is outside the top 60.
Thielen is a professional receiver and a savvy veteran. He has the ability to beat any defense, which makes predicting his boom weeks all the more difficult. It usually has to do with whether he scores. I felt a touchdown coming last week, but I don’t think lightning strikes again. Sit him in this tough matchup if you can.
Michael Gallup, Dallas Cowboys (vs. IND)
I will admit I struggled to find a second sit option that wasn’t a receiver no one is seriously considering starting anyway. This week’s games feature several great matchups. And the teams with difficult matchups are ones without fantasy-viable receivers anyway.
That brings us to Michael Gallup, who had his best game of the season in a Thanksgiving Day victory over the Giants. Gallup set season highs in targets (8), receptions (5), and yards (63). The only thing missing was a touchdown, which he hasn’t done since Week 4.
The Cowboys are home favorites over the Colts. It’s a game they should win rather easily, but it’s not one where they should need to throw a ton.
The Colts are a run-funnel defense. They allow the fewest fantasy points per game to wide receivers but allow the 14th most to running backs. The Cowboys feature a dynamic duo at running back in Tony Pollard and Ezekiel Elliott, and I expect them to establish against the Colts in a game they should control throughout.