Should You Start Michael Pittman Jr. or Josh Downs in Fantasy Football in Week 13?

Michael Pittman Jr. and Josh Downs are two solid fantasy football WR options -- which of the two Colts is the better start in Week 13?

We’re diving into the outlooks for Michael Pittman Jr. and Josh Downs in fantasy football for Week 13. Who is the better Indianapolis Colts wide receiver to start this week?

Should You Start Michael Pittman Jr. or Josh Downs This Week?

The Pro Football Network Start/Sit Optimizer says Pittman is the player to start. His projected 12.8 points include 7.6 receptions, 70.6 yards, and 0.3 TDs. That doesn’t seem like a big stat line, but it outperforms the PFN Consensus Projection for Downs (9.3 points).

My rankings for the two Colts wide receivers align with the consensus for a few reasons, highlighted in depth below. For one, Pittman is one of just three WRs on the year to see double-digit targets in seven or more games this season, with the others being Tyreek Hill and Keenan Allen. Add Downs’ injuries, and it’s a straightforward call.

Fantasy Outlook for Pittman This Week

Pittman has been crushing it recently, especially on the target front. Over his last six games, he’s crossed 12 targets four times! Four! It’s hard to not be a top-24 WR on targets like that, even if it’s from a backup QB. Over those same six games, he’s fallen between WR9 and WR22 each week, making for an extremely safe and consistent option.

It’s not like that’s tied to poor WR weeks either. In half-PPR scoring, Pittman has crossed the 10-point threshold in all six games. That includes half those games exceeding 15 points too. He’s a stable, safe option who has a decent ceiling, though he hasn’t shown to break a week.

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The biggest thing holding Pittman back recently is touchdowns. He’s WR16 on the year now with just three scores. The only player ahead of him with that low a total is Puka Nacua. That’s not for lack of targets in the red zone, though. Pittman sits third among WRs with 15 red-zone targets. That conversion rate feels ripe to regress soon.

The Tennessee Titans matchup seems like a good start. They’ve allowed four TDs over the last four weeks, which sits fifth-most among TDs allowed to WRs. Over that span, they also allowed the 12th-most fantasy points to WRs. Expect another top-24 finish, and possibly even a top-12 finish. Lock him into fantasy lineups as a must-start.

Fantasy Outlook for Downs This Week

Downs has been a decent target earner for the Colts too, currently sitting at 73 on the season. He also only played about 25% of snaps for two weeks while nursing a knee injury that’s been around since the offseason for the rookie WR. The fact he continues to play through it is great but also carries the inherent risk he leaves a game any moment.

Downs, as the primary slot WR, has played 68% of snaps in nine of 11 games this year. Despite this, Downs has only eclipsed seven targets in four games this year, with the highest total being in Week 12 with 13.

Downs also isn’t scoring and has been a way bigger roller coaster ride. In Weeks 5-8, Downs finished top-36 in all four games, his only four such finishes. His only top-12 finish was in there, back in Week 7. That was one of just two weeks Downs found the end zone this year. He’s a much more volatile asset who hasn’t shown a consistent ceiling.

Downs is much more of a WR3-type player weekly, while Pittman is a top 12-18-type player week in and week out. Downs is a good young player and can be played during a six-team bye week.

Pittman is a locked-in WR1 type every week though, and likely one you don’t need as that given his preseason ADP. Start Pittman with high confidence.

Looking to make a trade in your fantasy league? Having trouble deciding who to start and who to sit? Setting DFS lineups? Check out PFN’s Free Fantasy Football Trade Analyzer, Start/Sit Optimizer, and DFS Lineup Optimizer to help you make the right decision!

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