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NFL Week 13 guide to fantasy football

Play ‘em

Jay Cutler (Chicago): It’s time to consider Cutler a legitimate fantasy starter. Last week, Cutler threw for 247 yards and four touchdowns against Philadelphia. This week, he faces a Detroit defense that is allowing the eighth-most fantasy points to opposing quarterbacks. When Cutler faced the Lions in Week 1, he threw for 372 yards with two touchdowns and an interception.

Felix Jones (Dallas): Despite a hip injury, Jones turned in a relatively successful performance last week (44 rushing yards and 69 receiving yards). Jones should be more involved in the Cowboys’ offense against the Colts’ 29th-ranked run defense this week. The problem with Jones is that he is losing goal-line touches, but consider him a No. 2 running back for Week 13.

Mike Tolbert (San Diego): Tolbert continues to produce with starter Ryan Mathews out because of an ankle injury. Last week, Tolbert recorded his second straight 100-yard performance (103 yards with a touchdown). Mathews could return this week, but Tolbert is clearly the better back in San Diego. Look for Tolbert to take advantage of an Oakland defense that is allowing 134 rushing yards per game.

Jeremy Maclin (Philadelphia): Maclin is benefiting from the emergence of Michael Vick. Last week, he had 47 receiving yards with a touchdown. Those numbers will inflate because Maclin faces a Texans’ pass defense allowing the third-most fantasy points to opposing wide receivers. Maclin is becoming the main target in Philadelphia and is a must-start Thursday night.

Santonio Holmes (New York): Holmes has been on a hot streak in his last three games, with four touchdowns and 246 yards. Holmes has developed a bond with Mark Sanchez, and that has translated to fantasy production. Holmes plays his best in big games, and this week against the Patriots fits the bill of a big game. Expect Holmes to take advantage of the NFL’s worst pass defense.

Bench ‘em

Carson Palmer (Cincinnati): Palmer is coming off a stretch in which he had thrown seven interceptions in three games. Those struggles will continue against the Saints. Only three quarterbacks have surpassed 230 yards or more against New Orleans, which has given up a total of just seven touchdowns to opposing quarterbacks. Palmer, at best, is a No. 2 fantasy quarterback for this matchup.

Jon Kitna (Dallas): Kitna has been filling in nicely for Tony Romo, but this week he faces a Colts defense that has struggled against the run but not the pass (just 205 yards per game). On Sunday night, the Colts held Philip Rivers to just 185 yards.

Maurice Morris (Detroit): Morris was a top pickup after his surprising performance on Thanksgiving, when he totaled 75 yards and two touchdowns. With the Lions’ running back situation and playing the Bears this week, don’t trust Morris going forward. The Bears rank second in the league in run defense, giving up just 81 yards per game.

Keiland Williams (Washington): The Redskins’ running game has been a circus with Clinton Portis and Ryan Torain getting injured, and now coach Mike Shanahan is considering starting James Davis in the place of Williams. Williams managed a total of 26 yards against Minnesota last week. Running backs are averaging 13 fantasy points in standard leagues, fifth-fewest in the NFL, against Washington’s opponent this week, the Giants.

Santana Moss (Washington): Moss has been inconsistent this season and he has been dealing with a knee injury that caused him to get only 40 yards last week. The injury appears to be all right, but the Redskins’ offense is a mess, which will cut into Moss’ production. The last time Moss played the Giants, he gained just 55 yards.

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