Big Ben is back and if you're in need of a streaming option, there should be a few more opportunities in week 13 than in week 12. Ben Roethlisberger has eight touchdowns, compared to just two interceptions in the last two games. He has tough matchups ahead, but his yardage totals have been high enough that he still should be considered a QB1 going forward.
The playoffs are almost here, and for some of you, this week is the difference between paying attention to the next few weeks and sitting out the remainder of the NFL season. Here's the week 13 quarterbacks start 'em, sit 'em guide for fantasy football.
Brett Hundley vs. Tampa Bay Buccaneers
I've been waiting on the Buccaneers all year, but I doubt they'll ever officially enter 2017. The defense has been terrible to go along with a massively underachieving offense.
That should help open up some opportunities for Hundley, who offers a stellar streaming start for fantasy owners in need of a fill-in quarterback for week 13. Hundley was by far at his best in week 12, going for three touchdowns against a pretty good Pittsburgh pass defense.
It's difficult to forget about the week 11 performance against Baltimore, though, when he went for zero touchdowns and three interceptions. So why should we expect a better outcome at home this time? Hundley looked more comfortable in week 12, and most of all, Tampa Bay is terrible against the pass. The Buccaneers have been consistently one of the worst pass defenses in the NFL, and in the last three games, they've allowed 317 yards per game through the air, by far the most in the NFL at that time.
Hundley offers some major upside, especially with the talent he has for weapons.
Kirk Cousins vs. Dallas Cowboys
Just in case you weren't completely sold on Cousins, the Dallas defense showed in week 12 why they can't be trusted. Dallas gave up four passing touchdowns to Philip Rivers and was not a factor in the previous week either, giving up major production to Carson Wentz.
Cousins isn't exactly matchup-proof, but he's making a case to be considered that in the future. Even last week against an emerging New York Giants pass defense, Cousins still went for two touchdowns. He didn't have a good game, but he was still a decent option at the quarterback position.
The Cowboys are giving up more than 265 passing yards per game in the last three outings, and that won't get any better against Cousins. He should be considered a top-five option at the quarterback position.
Philip Rivers vs. Cleveland Browns
Speaking of a quarterback who isn't matchup-proof, Rivers has spent more time outside the top-12 among quarterbacks in fantasy football, than inside it this season. Despite not having the most productive fantasy season, he's showing some improvement in the last two weeks.
He shredded the Cowboys for four touchdowns last week, and was good against the Buffalo Bills in the previous week, netting two touchdowns and 251 yards passing in basically just a half.
He should have another good matchup for a third consecutive game with the Browns coming to Los Angeles in week 13. The Browns don't necessarily give up a ton of yards through the air, but they love to give up touchdowns to quarterbacks. They've allowed the third-most touchdown passes in the NFL this season, and that propelled Andy Dalton to a top-12 week in week 12.
Expect a top-12 performance from Rivers this week in your push for the playoffs.
Jacoby Brissett vs. Jacksonville Jaguars
Last week's streaming list was slim on choices, and Brissett was a major disappointment.
He was not a factor against a Tennessee defense that has been bad in recent weeks. My fear of him not being protected was a major problem for the Colts during the game, with Brissett being sacked eight times. That offensive line won't magically get better in a week against a Jaguars team that is still one of the better units in the NFL against the pass.
Jacksonville can rush the passer and keep opposing offenses out of the endzone. That's not a good sign for a popular streaming option in week 12. Send Brissett back to the waiver wire for this contest.
Matthew Stafford vs. Baltimore Ravens
This "sit" has everything to do with your depth at the quarterback position. Obviously if you don't have anyone else, you're going to have to back Stafford. However, when comparing him to my streaming option, Hundley in week 13, I would give Hundley an edge.
The Lions are going to throw often, but against the Ravens, that just doesn't work. Baltimore is allowing less than 10 fantasy points per game to quarterbacks this season. The Ravens have 16 interceptions on the season, and with all the volume that Detroit employs, I can't imagine Stafford escapes this game unscathed in that department.
Stafford's been a good fantasy option this season, but against top-tier defenses, he hasn't been a consistent weapon. He's been less-than-average against Minnesota in both meetings, and was ineffective against Carolina and the New York Giants this season. I wouldn't have my playoff life on the line with Stafford in this matchup.
Marcus Mariota vs. Houston Texans
This is a plus-matchup for Mariota, but I still wouldn't start him. I've watched Mariota quite a bit this season and he looks injured. He's not running and he doesn't look comfortable moving around in the pocket.
That's affecting his ability to push the ball down the field, and without his legs, he's not a viable fantasy option, even in a matchup that should be one to exploit. The Texans consistently give up plenty of passing yards and touchdowns, and are giving up the most fantasy points per game against quarterbacks this season.
But the Titans just don't have enough for me to trust them in this situation. Mariota was horrendous in week 12 against a bad Indianapolis defense, registering less than 200 yards passing in the win. He's been that way for weeks, notching five touchdowns compared to eight interceptions in the last five weeks.
There are other options on the waiver wire, like Hundley, Jimmy Garoppolo, and possibly even Josh McCown who would easily be better options than Mariota.
Scott Levine is the Associate Editor for the Clinton Herald. During his free time, he blogs about fantasy sports and handicaps games.
Scott Levine can be reached at email@example.com or on Twitter @ScottLevineCH