With one week left in most fantasy leagues before the playoffs start, there are varying degrees of importance this week. Some are fighting for a playoff spot while others are just acting as spoilers. Either way, pulling the right levers could make or break this late in the season. Here are four players trending up, who should be must-starts:
Marcus Mariota, QB, Titans
The Titans are going up against the Texans, which means you should start anyone you can on Tennessee's offense. It's a little weird to be calling out Houston's defense but without key players like J.J. Watt they have been uncharacteristically bad. Especially against quarterbacks, where they allow the second most fantasy points — and second most passing touchdowns — to QBs of any team. Mariota is of course a duel threat but he's thrown seven interceptions to just three touchdowns in recent games. This week he'll break out. Take a risk and let Mariota bounce back.
Robbie Anderson, WR, Jets
Anderson has been a touchdown machine lately, nabbing two last week. He has become an unexpected consistent fantasy performer and that should continue in Week 13 against the Cheifs. Kansas City is flailing out of playoff contention and is allowing the most touchdowns per game to wide receivers in the NFL, and the second most points to wideouts overall (to the Buccaneers). Look for Anderson's catch volume to be high once again with red zone touches galore.
Jordan Howard, RB, Bears
Howard was dreadful against the Eagles, but so was everyone on the lowly Bears. The formerly second-leading rusher in the NFL barely cracked the stat sheet with six yards on seven carries. Things will be better this time. The 49ers, Chicago's Week 13 opponent, allows the most rushing attempts per game — as they are usually trailing. San Francisco has also surrendered the most points per games to running backs. Howard is a good candidate to put up some big numbers.
Jared Cook, TE, Raiders
No team has allowed more production to tight ends than the Giants, who continue to get worse as they announce the end of the season for cornerback Janoris Jenkins. Starting Jared Cook is a no-brainer even though he didn't do much against the Broncos last week.