Fantasy football start/sit advice, Week 13: Cardinals vs. Eagles

Kirby Lee-USA TODAY Sports

The Cardinals have the better record, but the Eagles have a better line on a playoff spot. Either way, the Week 13 matchup promises to be a better game than it might have appeared earlier this season.

The Arizona Cardinals and Philadelphia Eagles enter their Week 13 game on a combined seven-game winning streak, taking the Eagles from 3-5 to 6-5, and the Cardinals from 3-4 to 7-4. What might have looked like lost seasons early on have become very not-lost, with both teams sitting just outside of playoff spots, but with every chance of making it. They face each other in Philadelphia at 1 p.m. ET Sunday, and the fantasy importance is almost as big as the real-life importance:

Cardinals

Start in every league: Carson Palmer, Larry Fitzgerald, Michael Floyd, Jay Feely

Start if you're desperate: Rashard Mendenhall, Andre Ellington, Defense/special teams

Bench: Andre Roberts, Rob Housler

Few seasons have had as stark a turnaround in recent weeks as Palmer's, who averaged nine fantasy points a game in Weeks 1-5, but has bumped that up to 15.7 since, with his best two games coming in his last two. Facing an Eagles defense that allows passing yards in bunches, the hot streak could continue. ... Speaking of the Eagles' generous pass defense, no team allows more fantasy points to receivers, and Floyd and Fitzgerald have been on fire of late; that ought to continue. ... Feely's per-game average of 11.6 in his last five would be the best in the NFL over a full-season; while it's never fair to pick and choose arbitrary endpoints, he still ranks seventh among kickers overall.

It remains a running-back timeshare in Arizona, with Ellington and Mendenhall fighting for touches, and neither being very productive on his own. Either one could perform, but they're tough to count on; if you're choosing between the two, while Ellington is probably more talented, Mendenhall seems more likely to score a touchdown. ... Something's gotta give with the Cardinals' defense against the Eagles' offense; Arizona averages 10.4 fantasy points a game, but the Eagles allow only 4.8. The odds are against the Cardinals having a big game, but that was true last week, too, and they scored 14.

There haven't been enough receiving yards to support three receivers with Arizona this year, and Roberts has been -- and likely will continue to be -- the odd man out. ... Housler's performance has gone way up in recent weeks -- a season-high of five fantasy points through Week 9, a low of five since -- but he's still a mid-level TE2 at best.

Eagles

Start in every league: LeSean McCoy

Start if you're desperate: Nick Foles, DeSean Jackson, Riley Cooper, Brent Celek

Bench: Alex Henery, Defense/special teams

Few running backs have had better seasons than McCoy, who has returned big value on his late-first-round draft-day value. The Cardinals are the best team in the NFL against opposing running backs, so that could hinder him, but there just aren't any fantasy teams with better options than McCoy.

It's been a great season for Foles, who -- you might have heard -- has 16 touchdown passes against zero interceptions. That said, he's done his damage against Denver, the New York Giants, Tampa Bay, Dallas, Oakland, Green Bay, and Washington. The Buccaneers' defense is decent, but the rest are universally unimpressive. Facing the strong unit of Arizona is a new sort of challenge for Foles, and how he responds could say a lot about his long-term viability. ... Cooper and Jackson have become fairly indistinguishable as far as fantasy value goes; either could go off, and either could be shut down. The Cardinals are strong against receivers, so, while fantasy teams probably will end up having to use those guys, better options should be explored. ... If it's ever going to happen for Celek this season, it'll have to be in Week 13, as the Cardinals allow the most fantasy points to opposing tight ends, and it's not close -- tight ends have scored 151 points against the Cardinals, while the Jaguars are the second-worst at 112.

The Eagles high-powered offense has limited Henery's field-goal opportunities; he didn't get to attempt a single field goal in Weeks 8 or 9, and hasn't had double-digit fantasy points since Week 5. ... It's a sad day if you're relying on the Eagles' defense for anything other than looking good in green.

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