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Fantasy football start/sit advice, Week 13: Falcons vs. Bills

Two teams take their game north of the border for a Sunday afternoon game in Toronto. Fantasy owners care more than just about anyone else.

Marc Serota

The Buffalo Bills come into their Week 13 matchup against the Atlanta Falcons as 3.5-point favorites. This despite their 4-7 record and the fact that they don't even get to host the game, which is one of their annual "play a home game in Toronto" affairs, because no one goes to Buffalo on purpose. The Bills' underwhelming season pales in comparison to that of the Falcons, who are 2-9, have lost five in a row, and are in contention for the first overall pick in the draft instead of the first seed in the playoffs. The teams play in Toronto at 4:05 p.m. ET Sunday in a game that might not hit any airwaves if not for fantasy relevance:


Start in every league: Harry Douglas

Start if you're desperate: Steven Jackson, Roddy White, Tony Gonzalez, Matt Bryant

Bench: Matt Ryan, Jacquizz Rodgers, Defense/special teams

The only Falcon who has probably enjoy his 2013 season is Douglas, who had one career hundred-yard game entering the year but has three in his last six games. With Julio Jones done for the year and White barely relevant, Douglas has become the Falcons' top offensive weapon, and sits at 25th among fantasy wide receivers despite doing very little early in the season. Sunday, against a Bills team that is third-worst against fantasy wide receivers, he should be a good play.

It's been an awful season for Jackson, between injury and ineffectiveness. He had his best game as a Falcon last Sunday, with a touchdown and 79 yards from scrimmage. It's nice that he's coming off his best game, but the fact that that is the best game for a running back of Jackson's caliber says a lot. He's improving, but faces a defense that is tough against running backs Sunday. ... White really should be a no-doubt starter, and the fact that he isn't speaks volumes. He hasn't had a double-digit fantasy day or more than 45 yards in a game all season, and there have been rumblings the Falcons might shut him down to get him healthy for 2014. ... Take out his enormous Week 4 performance, and Gonzalez' 5.6 fantasy points-per-game would only rank 14th among tight ends. It's been a bad season for the veteran, who has been collateral damage of the rest of the team's implosion. ... Bryant has only three games with 10 or more fantasy points all season, and hasn't made more than two field goals in a game since Week 4.

In his first six games of the season, Ryan averaged 19.7 fantasy points a game. In his five games since, with Jones gone and White only occasionally there, that has fallen to 10.4, with a high of 14 points. It's a lost season, and one that doesn't look likely to rebound any time soon. ... Rodgers had some big games earlier in the year with Jackson out, but since the return of the No. 1, he's been a total non-factor, with 12 fantasy points total in his last five games. ... The Falcons' defense has been the worst in the NFL this season, and has a combined score of zero since Week 7.


Start in every league: Fred Jackson, C.J. Spiller, Dan Carpenter

Start if you're desperate: E.J. Manuel, Defense/special teams

Bench: Stevie Johnson, Robert Woods, Marquise Goodwin, T.J. Graham, Scott Chandler

It looks like, after injuries and subpar performance of late, Jackson and Spiller are both likely to be healthy coming out of the team's Week 12 bye. The offense has shown the ability to support two fantasy-relevant running backs, so both could be fine plays against a Falcons team that lets running backs do things. ... Carpenter has missed only two field goals all season, and has double-digit fantasy points five different times.

In his first game back from injury in Week 10, Manuel struggled, with only 155 passing yards and nine fantasy points. That jumped up to 17 a week later, as he got healthier, and coming out of a bye and facing a Falcons defense that is pretty awful, he could improve further. ... The Bills' defense scored 21 fantasy points in Week 11, because all they wanted for Christmas was to face Geno Smith at home, and has had some mediocre production around that, but a de facto home game against Atlanta could be a nice salve.

As Johnson and Woods have gotten injury and reduced their production, Goodwin and Graham have improved theirs. Overall, though, no single receiver on the team has done enough to be remotely reliable, and they should only be started by fantasy owners who don't really have a choice. ... The same is true of Chandler, who hasn't scored a touchdown or tallied double-digit fantasy points since Week 6.

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