Thursday - Oct 22, 2020

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START/BENCH: Week 13

We’re witnessing NFL history unfold on a weekly basis—and his name is Lamar Jackson.

After watching Jackson eviscerate the Los Angeles Rams on Monday night, it’s become crystal clear who the front-runner is for NFL MVP. But of course, there are much more important awards than that gaudy little trinket.

Like Fantasy Football MVP.

And that race is even more lopsided than the other one.

Per the Average Draft Position Data at Fantasy Football Calculator, Jackson was the fourth quarterback to come off draft boards this past summer, On average, he was selected in the fourth round. In many drafts, he came off the board much later.

Well, thanks to his 2,427 passing yards, 24 touchdown passes (tied for the league lead), 876 rushing yards and six scores on the ground, Jackson’s the highest-scoring quarterback in NFL.com default fantasy scoring by over five fantasy points per game over Russell Wilson of the Seattle Seahawks.

It’s Patrick Mahomes in 2018 all over again. If you drafted Jackson, odds are pretty danged good that your team is cruising toward a playoff spot.

Now, this week Jackson and the Ravens will face arguably their stiffest test to date—a visit from a San Francisco 49ers team that possesses one of the best defenses in the NFL and is allowing the fewest fantasy points in the NFC to opposing quarterbacks.

No one cares. Or should, anyway. In fact, any fantasy owner who sits Jackson in this most important of weeks needs a good slap.

For reals.

AUTHOR’S NOTE: As has often been the case on holiday weeks over the years that I’ve written at Fantasy Sharks, this week’s version of Start/Bench is abridged a bit. The info’s still there—just with a bit less window dressing. In all honesty, it has less to do with Thanksgiving than it does a Five Finger Death Punch concert I’m going to.

I’m old. Not dead.

QUARTERBACKS

STUDS

Patrick Mahomes, Kansas City (vs. Oakland)

Deshaun Watson, Houston (vs. New England)

Lamar Jackson, Baltimore (vs. San Francisco)

Russell Wilson, Seattle (vs. Minnesota)

Matt Ryan, Atlanta (vs. New Orleans)

Dak Prescott, Dallas (vs. Buffalo)

SPOT-START OF THE WEEK

Jared Goff, Los Angeles Rams (at Arizona)

If you thought Goff’s performance against the Ravens in Week 12 was depressing, consider this nugget from Dan Parzych of Ramblin’ Fan. “If fans thought Monday’s results against the Ravens were brutal, ” he said, “just wait until they realize that Goff went the entire month of November without completing a single touchdown pass.”

Oof.

Starting Goff in what’s a must-win week for many fantasy owners may smack of crazy talk to some. But consider this. The Rams finally have their full complement of wide receivers healthy. Los Angeles is beyond desperate for a win. And Sunday the Rams travel to Arizona to take on a Cardinals team that ranks dead last in the NFL in pass defense and first in fantasy points allowed to quarterbacks.

ROLL THEM OUT

Sam Darnold, New York Jets (at Cincinnati):

Darnold looked fantastic in throwing for over 300 yards last week in a rout of the Oakland Raiders, and this week Darnold and the surging Jets get a Bengals team that has yet to win a game this season. It’s a good week to live the stream.

Nick Foles, Jacksonville (vs. Tampa Bay):

While we’re on the subject of quarterbacks who inspire very little confidence who also happen to have fantastic matchups in Week 13, Foles faces a Tampa Bay secondary that is well and truly terrible.

Aaron Rodgers, Green Bay (vs. New York Giants):

Rodgers is coming off the absolute worst game of his entire career in last week’s blowout loss to the San Francisco 49ers. He’s going to take out his frustrations Sunday on New York’s 26th-ranked pass defense.

SIT THEM DOWN

Jimmy Garoppolo, San Francisco (at Baltimore):

Over the last month, Garoppolo ranks third among all quarterbacks in Sharks League Scoring. That hot streak ends this week at “The Bank.” The Ravens defense is playing almost as well as Lamar Jackson right now.

Dak Prescott, Dallas (vs. Buffalo):

This isn’t to say that Prescott’s going to struggle as badly as he did a week ago at Gillette Stadium. But he’s also not throwing for 350 and three scores against a Bills defense that averages 184.3 passing yards allowed per game.

Deshaun Watson, Houston (vs. New England):

Watson gets the benefit of playing inside instead of in a typhoon like poor Dak Prescott in Week 12. But there isn’t a team in the NFL better at putting the clamps on a signal-caller than the Patriots.

About Gary Davenport

A member of the Fantasy Sports Writers Association and Pro Football Writers of America who resides in Columbus, Ohio, Gary has been featured on a number of fantasy websites and in nationally circulated publications. These publications include the USA Today Fantasy Football Preview and the magazines distributed by Fantasy Sports Publications Inc., for whom Gary is a both a contributing author and associate editor. Gary is an nine-time FSWA Award finalist and three-time winner who has been a finalist for that organization's Fantasy Football Writer of the Year award each of the last four years. He won the honor in 2017 and 2019. Gary also appears regularly on Sirius XM Radio (including live from Radio Row at Super Bowl XLIX) and over-the-air stations across the country. Gary was one of the co-founders of, and Head Writer at, Fantasy Football Oasis before joining Fantasy Sharks as an IDP Senior Staff Writer in 2011. He knows football. Or so he's heard.