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Fantasy football starts and sits for Week 13

The fantasy playoffs are so close you can almost taste them. Who should fill your lineups to clinch your ticket into the postseason?

NFL: Washington Redskins at Dallas Cowboys Tim Heitman-USA TODAY Sports

It is Week 13 in the NFL regular season, which means there are officially no more dreaded bye weeks. It also means this is your last week before the playoffs kickoff in your league (if they haven’t already!). This is a great chance to secure your ticket for the big dance, or make sure someone else is spending the next few weeks in the loser’s bracket with you.

Must starts

Phillip Lindsay (Broncos RB): Lindsay has become one of those running backs who should probably always be in your lineup. The only reason he isn’t on the same level as a Todd Gurley of Ezekiel Elliott is the fact Denver doesn’t really feed him that consistently. His 7.6 yards per carry should be more than enough against a Bengals defense that allows the most points to opposing running backs, according to Fantasy Pros.

Amari Cooper (Cowboys WR): It usually takes some time for a player to get acclimated to a new team after a midseason trade, but Cooper has found new life in Dallas. He had his best game as a Cowboy on Thanksgiving when he caught eight passes for 180 yards and two touchdowns. He could easily have another good game against a Saints defense that has allowed the most points to opposing fantasy wide receivers.

Favorable matchups

Aaron Jones (Packers RB): Green Bay has been a bit of a mess lately — but Jones hasn’t been a reason for that. Over the last three weeks he has scored five total touchdowns, and he has finally become the main running back in that offense instead of sharing the backfield with Jamaal Williams and Co. Factor in his favorable matchup with the Cardinals (who allow 26.6 points to opposing running backs) and Jones is a good play this week.

Kenny Golladay (Lions WR): There is no Golden Tate or Marvin Jones Jr. standing in the way of targets for Golladay after Tate was traded and Jones was put on injured reserve. He had five catches for 90 yards last week against a tough Bears defense. This week he is going up against the Rams who have allowed the fifth most points to opposing receivers. Even if cornerback Aqib Talib returns from injury this week, the volume Golladay should be getting should carry him to a good fantasy outing.

Good but not great

Gus Edwards (Ravens RB): Edwards didn’t practice on Wednesday, but returned today so he should be good to go. He has come out of nowhere and had two 100-yard games in a row paired with Lamar Jackson at quarterback and a good chunk of his yards have come after contact. This week he is matched up against the Falcons who allow 24 points per game to opposing running backs. Keep him in your lineups until further notice.

Emmanuel Sanders (Broncos WR): Sanders could be in line for another big game after torching the Steelers for 86 yards and a touchdown last Sunday. The Bengals have had trouble slowing anyone down, and this could be another week where Cincinnati just struggles defensively.

Temper expectations

Saquon Barkley (Giants RB): Barkley has been as good as expected and then some. He has been a dominant force in his rookie season, but there are somethings working against him this week. The Bears defense allows the second fewest points to opposing running backs, and he only had five touches in the second half of last weeks game against the Eagles where the Giants only lost 25-22. He should be in your lineup, but don’t be surprised if he has more of an average game this week.

Julio Jones (Falcons WR): It is probably your last week before the playoffs, and you shouldn’t sit your studs with your season on the line, but there is no way around this being a tough matchup for Jones. The Ravens only allow 16.9 points to opposing receivers. Jones currently has a six-game streak of 100-yard receiving games, but you shouldn’t be surprised if that comes to an end this week.

Quarterback stream

Case Keenum (Broncos QB): What happens when quarterbacks routinely shred your defense? You become a nice option for a plug and play quarterback matchup. Until the Bengals prove they can slow down opposing offenses, this is where we are. Cincinnati also allows the most points to opposing quarterbacks this season.

Lamar Jackson (Ravens QB): The Falcons allow 22.7 points per game to opposing quarterbacks and Jackson is likely still out there on the waiver wire if you need him. He hasn’t done much passing the ball, but his rushing stats have made up for it as he went over 100-yards rushing against the Bengals then ran for 71 yards and a touchdown last week.

Defensive stream

Dolphins defense against the Bills: Josh Allen had that pretty bomb that showed off his arm last week — he also only completed 42 percent of his passes. The Bills offense isn’t good, and you should feel safe picking up the Dolphins defense at home.

Colts defense against the Jaguars: Leonard Fournette is suspended for this game and the Jaguars are starting Cody Kessler at quarterback. The Colts defense isn’t great, but it is hard to find a better matchup than that.