It’s no secret that injuries have swept through this NFL season. The silver lining amidst the Week 12 list of injuries is the clarity fantasy football managers will have ahead of the Week 13 waiver wire. As this unfortunate part of the game, as well as any impending Covid-19 issues, remain necessary to manage, solidifying our benches this close to the fantasy football playoffs becomes absolutely crucial.
If you’re still checking in on this waiver wire column, then you’re still in the running for your league title. Whether you’ve clinched, or are still looking to, the value varies on the waiver wire this time of year. The players available on the waiver wire will also vary from league to league. Be sure to double-check the wire in your league so you don’t miss out on a key piece to add to your roster.
WEEK 13 BYES: Carolina Panthers, Cleveland Browns, Green Bay Packers, Tennessee Titans
Below, we’ll look at players at each position, who are on 50% or less of most fantasy football rosters, that could be considered on the Week 13 waiver wire.
Week 13 Waiver Wire Rankings
Alexander Mattison, Minnesota Vikings
I will never stop pounding the table around this time of year begging fantasy football managers to add handcuffs at running back to the game’s most vulnerable studs. Alexander Mattison should have been on rosters weeks ago. He’s the obvious top add amongst all players on the Week 13 waiver wire, if available. Go put in your claim now before you forget.
As if you need convincing, we’ve seen what Mattison can do as a one-for-one replacement to Dalvin Cook. It’s likely Cook is out at least the next two weeks, if not longer, with a torn labrum in his shoulder. For those keeping score at home, that’s now a torn labrum in both shoulders. Mattison may be the Vikings’ lead back longer than expected.
Up next for Minnesota is a road matchup with the Detroit Lions. Coincidentally, in Week 5, Mattison got the starting nod as Cook was out with injury, then too. He carried the ball 25 times for 113 yards and caught all seven of his targets for 40 yards and a touchdown. Mattison also started Week 3 in place of Cook, carried the ball 26 times, caught six passes, and logged 153 total yards. He finished as the RB7 and RB6 in those games in each respective week.
I don’t think I needed to write as much as I did about Mattison. However, the fact that he’s even available in some leagues made me second guess myself. Pick up and plug in Mattison from the waiver wire into your starting lineup immediately.
Dontrell Hilliard, Tennessee Titans
Let me start by reminding you that Hilliard and the Titans are on a bye this week. So, if you are absolutely desperate ahead of Week 13, then Hilliard is not the waiver wire pickup for you. However, if you need just one more win, or want to boost your running back depth for the playoffs, Hilliard is a top option to pickup.
In the last two weeks, Hilliard is averaging 14 touches per game for the Titans. In Week 12 specifically, he carried the ball 12 times for a whopping 131 yards and a touchdown. While teammate, D’Onta Foreman, logged more carries with 19, Hilliard’s usage is extremely encouraging.
The Titans also parted ways with Adrian Peterson earlier last week which shows the confidence they have with both Foreman and Hilliard to share the workload. Coming out of their Week 13 bye, Tennessee gets a juicy divisional matchup with the Jacksonville Jaguars. Derrick Henry carved their run defense up in Week 5 with 130 rushing yards on 29 carries and adding three touchdowns. Picking up Hilliard off of this week’s waiver wire is a preemptive strike against the rest of your league.
Ameer Abdullah and Chuba Hubbard, Carolina Panthers
Christian McCaffrey is done for the season following an ankle injury sustained in the first half of Sunday’s game. He was placed on the Injured Reserve on Monday afternoon. That makes Abdullah and Hubbard must adds on the Week 13 waiver wire, but not quite the top options.
First of all, the Panthers have a Week 13 bye. So, whichever of these backs you add will be a bench stash until Week 14’s matchup against the Atlanta Falcons. Secondly, the remaining schedule for Panthers running backs is absolutely brutal. During the fantasy football plays, from Weeks 15-17, the Panthers play at Buffalo, home to Tampa Bay, and at New Orleans. All three of those teams rank in the bottom-five of rushing yards allowed per game.
Lastly, Cam Newton is a proven threat to rush in for a touchdown when, or if, the Panthers get into the red zone. With all of these things considered, I’m not making either of these backs the top add at the position ahead of Week 13. They should still be added, but tread lightly. It’s going to be difficult to replicate the production we’re so used to McCaffrey giving us week to week. I prefer Hubbard to Abdullah, given that he saw the bulk of the workload during McCaffrey’s absence earlier in the year. Abdullah, however, is mixing in heavier than expected as far as snaps go and should be added in most leagues.
Jamaal Williams, Detroit Lions
Another casualty from Week 12 is DeAndre Swift, who left the Lions’ Thanksgiving game earlier with a shoulder injury. In his place, Jamaal Williams carried the ball 15 times for 65 yards nd caught all five of his targets for an additional 18 yards.
The Lions offense is downright dreadful. They rank 30th in points scored per game with a measly 15.8. Even still, picking up a starting running back off of the waiver wire this late in the season is a no-brainer. Especially in PPR leagues, Williams holds a ton of value if Swift misses even just one game.
Other Running Backs to Consider
Boston Scott once again holds some value ahead of the Week 13 waiver wire. Not only did he run well (aside from a game sealing fumble) on Sunday against the New York Giants, but Miles Sanders is reportedly dealing with another ankle injury. From Weeks 7-10, when Sanders missed time due to an ankle injury then, Scott averaged 11.1 PPR points per game. He should be added to all PPR league rosters.
Matt Breida scored a late-game receiving touchdown in a blowout Buffalo Bills win over the New Oreleans Saints on Thanksgiving night. Not only does that catch some people’s attention, but more importantly, Zach Moss was a healthy scratch in that game. Breida still saw just 32% of the snaps compared to 68% from Devin Singletary. It is hard to ignore the fact that he’s found the end zone three times in the last three games. He can be considered as a waiver wire add in 12-team or more PPR leagues.
Your Fantasy Team’s Starting Running Back’s Handcuff as well as any stud’s handcuff that’s available at this point. Since I’ve been writing this week to week, Aaron Jones, Christian McCaffrey, Ezekiel Elliot, and Dalvin Cook, to name just a few, though, the most significant, have all had some sort of injury designation or are set to miss some time or the remainder of the season. Not all handcuffs are the same. However, making sure you have your own, and then the top options of others, could prove to be league-winning moves.
Van Jefferson, Los Angeles Rams
Van Jefferson’s value isn’t dead after all following the addition of Odell Beckham, Jr. to the roster. Truth be told, Robert Woods’ season-ending ACL injury is a huge factor as to why Jefferson remains a fantasy asset in 2021. His Week 12 volume and performance makes him the top wide receiver waiver wire add ahead of Week 13.
Van Jefferson played 98% of the Rams snaps as they spent most of the afternoon trying to comeback against the Green Bay Packers. What’s even more encouraging is that he saw nine targets, keeping pace with Cooper Kupp and OBJ. Jefferson remains the team’s best deep threat, proven by his 79-yard touchdown that Matthew Stafford aired out for him.
Next up for the Rams is a home matchup with the Jacksonville Jaguars who are a softer than most pass defense. Los Angeles will have to remain competitive the rest of the way to continue their playoff push. That provides more of an opportunity for Van Jefferson to remain involved, lending to a probable strong finish to his fantasy football season.
Marquez Valdes-Scantling, Green Bay Packers
In the last two weeks, Valdes-Scantling has 19 total targets. That’s two more the Davante Adams and 12 more than the next closest Packer wide receiver, Randall Cobb. MVS is now the obvious second option in the passing game. Both Aaron Jones and AJ Dillon are a threat to steal targets any given Sunday, but Valdes-Scantling has surpassed both Allen Lazard and Randall Cobb as the WR2 in this offense.
Prior to this season, MVS’ usage has been known to be more of a deep threat. He’s never seen more than a 4.5 target per game average in any of his first three seasons. He has 39 in seven games played in 2021. That’s 5.5 per game. While it’s not much of an increase, the last two games especially are a good sign that the volume could continue out of the team’s Week 13 bye. Especially given Aaron Rodgers’ toe injury, he will need to depend on his receivers to make plays, MVS being one of his top options the rest of the way.
Russell Gage, Atlanta Falcons
After a goose egg performance in Week 10, Gage has back-to-back games with at least five catches for at least 49 yards. Since the team’s Week 6 bye, Gage has two games where he hasn’t scored a single fantasy point. However, in the other four games, he’s recorded at least 9.9 PPR points.
While his inconsistency is a less than ideal dice roll, Gage is clearly the top wide receiver in Atlanta since Calvin Ridley stepped away from football. He’s dominating targets amongst wide receivers with 26 total in the last four weeks. The volume alone is worth flex consideration, even on one of the league’s lowest-scoring offenses. With that said, you could do a lot worse than Gage on the waiver wire this week.
Kenny Golladay, New York Giants
It almost feels wrong to suggest picking up Kenny Golladay off of the waiver wire. He has just 23 receptions in seven games played this season. The Giants’ big-money offseason signing is one of the more disappointing players this fantasy football season. However, there’s still a chance Golladay turns it around with just a few games left.
Prior to Week 12, the Giants fired offensive coordinator, Jason Garrett. In their first game without Garrett, Golladay saw seven targets, but only caught three of them for 50 yards. Granted, it was a tougher than usual matchup against Darius Slay and the Philadelphia Eagles.
It’s unclear whether Garrett’s exit or Golladay’s seemingly clean bill of health is the bigger factor in his Week 12 volume. Regardless, Golladay looks like the Giants’ best, healthiest receiver in the short future. He’s at least worth adding to benches for depth in a pinch.
Other Wide Receivers to Consider
Kendrick Bourne found the end zone twice in Week 12 for the New England Patriots. He has at least four receptions in each of the last three games and three touchdowns in that same span. Unfortunately, however, Bourne is also behind Jakobi Meyers and Nelson Agholor as far as snaps played goes. Overall, Mac Jones shares the wealth when it comes to targets, and Bourne certainly makes his count. However, you’re likely guessing when it’s best to play him, making Bourne a deeper league consideration only off of the waiver wire.
Cole Kmet, Chicago Bears
Kmet is a must-add in yet another year of uncertainty at tight end. While most of the top-scoring players at tight end are to be expected, like Travis Kelce and Mark Andrews, the top players at the position vary immensely week to week. With that said, chasing a tight end’s volume is a good way to approach the position the rest of the way.
In his last five games, Kmet has seen six or more targets in four of them. Notably, that is with both Justin Fields and Andy Dalton under center. In his most recent game, on Thanksgiving against the Detroit Lions, Kmet logged 11 targets hauling in eight of them for 65 yards.
He does not have a touchdown yet this season. So, it’s hard to imagine banking on him scoring any given week. The consistency in targets can be as shaky as anyone else at the position, but Kmet is worth adding in PPR formats based on his most recent workload.
Evan Engram, New York Giants
Evan Engram certainly let me down as my Week 12 bold prediction player to have a big week. While the volume was there, he only caught three of his six targets for a measly 37 yards. Engram is still likely a big factor in the Freddie Kitchens Giants offense moving forward given the injuries to the team’s receivers.
Furthermore, he gets the Chargers, Cowboys, and Eagles in Week 13 through 15, who are all top-11 in fantasy points per game allowed to opposing tight ends. For what it’s worth, the Eagles and Chargers allow the first and second most points respectively. Engram could be just good enough with a great schedule to justify picking him up off of the waiver wire for a fantasy playoff run.
Foster Moreau, Las Vegas Raiders
During the Raiders Thanksgiving Day win on the road against the Dallas Cowboys, tight end, Darren Waller left the game early due to an apparent knee injury. He is now considered week-to-week.
In the two games where Waller has missed time, including his early exit in Week 12, Foster Moreau has seen at least five targets in both games. In fact, in Week 7 when Waller sat due to an ankle injury, Moreau caught all six of his targets for 60 yards and a touchdown playing 100% of snaps. He’s a solid PPR option at tight end to consider in Week 13 at the very least.
Taysom Hill, New Orleans Saints
Taysom Hill is officially back in the discussion as a fantasy starter. Similar to recent waiver wire consideration, Cam Newton, Hill’s biggest asset to fantasy football is his rushing ability. On Monday, reports out of New Orleans were that Hill is taking first-team reps at practice. He is likely the starter in New Orleans going forward.
Hill and the Saints get a home matchup with the Dallas Cowboys on Thursday Night Football in Week 13. Both teams played last Thursday on Thanksgiving. This is a great matchup for Taysom and the Saints as the Cowboys have dropped three of their last four. Specifically for Hill, the Cowboys are allowing the fifth-most passing yards this season.
In Hill’s four starts last season, he averaged a 72% completion rate. More importantly he averaged nearly 10 rushing attempts for game and recorded at least 33 rushing yards in all four of them. If you’re looking for a bye week replacement at quarterback this week, or have been streaming all year, Hill is an obvious choice off of the Week 13 waiver wire.
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