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Best fantasy football waiver wire pickups for Week 13

Given all the injuries and COVID issues leading up to this week, we knew there would be ample opportunities for sleepers to step up and land themselves among the top Week 13 fantasy waiver wire pickups and free agent adds. However, that didn’t really happen on Sunday, as handcuff RBs Jordan Wilkins, Brian Hill, and Matt Breida weren’t even the best backs on their teams, and very few under-the-radar pass-catchers and quarterbacks broke out. Cam Akers was one of the few sleepers to come through in a big way, and Josh Jacobs was one of the few big-name players to suffer a potential injury, opening the door for his handcuff, Devontae Booker.

Our full free agent list features plenty of potential fliers based on workload (Frank Gore, Sterling Shepard, Jordan Reed, etc), but with the possible exceptions of Akers and Booker, none are sure things or “must-haves.” As always, we also have a bunch of Week 13 streaming recommendations at QB, TE, and D/ST, which can be found at the end of this list.

WEEK 13 FANTASY: RB Handcuff Chart

Because Week 13 is the last week of the fantasy regular season, there’s no reason to hold back your high waiver claims if you’re fighting for a playoff spot. If you need a TE, go ahead and use the top claim on Reed, Trey Burton, or Logan Thomas. You might regret that if you make it to the postseason, but you won’t regret it if that’s the difference between a win and a loss this week. The same is true for a borderline WR3 (Shepard, Breshad Perriman, Corey Davis, etc.) or streamer QB (Kirk Cousins, Ryan Fitzpatrick). None of them are worth high waiver claims in a vacuum, but if that’s the spot you need, then do whatever it takes to get them. 

Obviously, Akers, Booker, and maybe Gore are the players with most value in general, and all three deserve high-waiver consideration. However, if your lineup is solid and you don’t need one of those backs, there’s nothing wrong with holding onto your high claim and waiting to use it during the playoffs. — Matt Lutovsky

Unless otherwise noted, only players owned in fewer than 50 percent of Yahoo leagues considered.

  • Booker has been seeing more work lately, and with Josh Jacobs suffering an ankle injury late in Las Vegas’s loss to the Falcons, it’s possible Booker will be seeing even more touches in the near future. He’s averaging 5.9 yards per carry this year, and even though that will likely come down if he’s starting, he could still do plenty of damage. Vegas has a favorable matchup next week against the Jets, so Booker is worth a fairly high waiver claim if Jacobs is out. —Matt Lutovsky

  • A week after scoring his first NFL touchdown,Akersreally went off against the 49ers. He had just nine rushes(one fewer than Darrell Henderson), but he posted84 yards and a TD. To be fair, 61 of those yards came on one run, but it’s clear thatAkersis the Rams most explosive and versatile back. By comparison, Henderson had just 19 yards on his 10 carries.It’s only a matter of time before they start trustingAkerswith even more touches. The Rams have favorable rushing matchups in the next weeks (@ Cardinals, vs. Patriots, vs. Jets), soAkersshould be in a lot of fantasy playoff lineups. —ML

  • With La’Mical Perine (ankle) on IR, it was Gore that handled a bulk of the workload for the Jets. Against the Dolphins, he got 21 touches and was able to generate 86 total yards. As long as he’s getting volume, Gore will have a chance to post about four yards-per-carry and could find the end zone in any given week. He’s not a sexy play, but he should do well in a Week 13 matchup against a middling Raiders defense. —Jacob Camenker

  • Edwards is set to be the lead back for the Ravens on Tuesday with JK Dobbins and Mark Ingram on the COVID list. It’s unclear whether Dobbins and/or Ingram will be available to play for the Ravens in Week 13 against the Cowboys, so Edwards needs to be rostered just in case one (or both) players are unavailable. The Cowboys have one of the weakest defenses in the league, so Edwards could easily find a way into the end zone if all goes according to plan. —JC

  • Hill got the start and led the Falcons in carries (13),but he finished with just 54 yardsand ceded a garbage-time touchdown to Ito Smith. Despite the disappointing performance, fantasy owners should focus more on the fact Hill was clearly the Falcons lead back when things were close, and as long as Todd Gurley (knee) remains out, Hill should head up Atlanta’s quasi-committee. Next week, Atlanta has a tough matchup against New Orleans, but all starting RBs have value in fantasy, so Hill is worth grabbing as a potential flex inbetter matchups, like Week 14 against the Chargers and Week 16 against the Chiefs. — Matt Lutovsky

  • Jonathan Taylor was placed on the COVID list on Friday by the Colts. He missed Week 12, and it’s unclear when he might return for the team. With Taylor out, Nyheim Hines handled most of the work out of the Colts’ backfield, but Wilkins had 57 yards on just nine touches during the game. His Week 13 opponent, the Texans, have allowed more rushing yards than any team in the NFL, so if Taylor can’t go again, Wilkins will have a chance to do well and work his way into flex territory. —JC

  • Shepard is owned in 52 percent of Yahoo leagues, but he deserves to be owned in more than that. He is one of the most consistently targeted receivers in the league, and against the Bengals in Week 12, he led the Giants in receptions (7) and logged 64 yards. Shepard is a weekly WR3 in PPR formats and is a worthwhile flex in standard formats. In Week 13, Shepard is playing a Seahawks defense that has allowed the most fantasy points per game to WRs this year, so he might be even better in that contest, regardless of whether Daniel Jones or Colt McCoy is playing quarterback. —JC

  • Davis had 70 receiving yards against the Colts’ strong defense, and over his past five games, he has averaged 75 receiving yards per game. The Titans get to play against the Browns, Jaguars, and Lions the next three weeks, so Davis should have a chance to be a WR3/flex each of the next three weeks. That makes him one of the more attractive targets for the fantasy playoffs, too, because he has been pretty consistent in recent weeks. —JC

  • Perriman saw eight targets from Sam Darnold in Week 12, hauling in four for 79 yards. He is averaging over 20 yards per catch in his past three games and has scored three times in that span, so he should be able to do some damage in Weeks 13 and 14 against the Raiders and Seahawks. He’s on the rise as a deep playmaker, so he could make a sneaky-good pickup for the fantasy playoffs. —JC

  • Mims saw eight targets from Sam Darnold against the Dolphins and turned them into four catches for 67 yards. The rookie is continuing to establish himself as a solid outside receiver, and he could work his way into the flex range in favorable upcoming matchups against the Raiders and the Seahawks. —JC

  • Cole saw six targets in Week 12, which tied for the second most on the team. Though he had only three catches for 44 yards, he has posted at least 100 yards or a TD in five games this season, so as long as DJ Chark (ribs) and Chris Conley (hip) are out, Cole has upside. He gets another favorable matchup against the Vikings in Week 13, so consider him a boom-or-bust WR3. —JC

  • Agholor has easily been Vegas’s best wide receiverthis year, and even though he disappointed in a great matchup with Atlanta in Week 12, he hauled in five-of-six targets for 54 yards. That shows he has a decent floor, at least in favorable matchups, and he should be primed for another decent showing next week against the Jets. — ML

  • Cam Newton completed nine passes in Week 12, and five of them went to Meyers. The former undrafted free agent from NC State had five catches for 52 yards against the Cardinals and is clearly one of two targets that Newton is comfortable throwing to (the other is Damiere Byrd). The Patriots are taking on the Chargers in Week 13, so Meyers should be able to do well in another decent matchup provided that Newton isn’t under too much heat from Jeoy Bosa. —JC

  • David led the Bills with 79 receiving yards and a TD against the Chargers in Week 12. He had just three catches and four targets, but the rookie was able to make some big plays with John Brown out of the lineup. The speedy veteran will be out at least two more games because of an ankle injury, so Davis should be a potential flex play against the 49ers (21.9 FPPG to WRs) and the Steelers (24.6 FPPG to WRs). —JC

  • Early against the Titans, it was the Trey Burton show for the Colts. Burton caught a nifty TD while he was well covered and finished the day with three catches, 42 yards on six targets (third most on the team). Philip Rivers loves throwing to his TEs, so Burton should continue to get consistent looks. The Colts are playing the Texans, Raiders, and Texans again in their next three games. Those three teams are middle of the road against TEs, so Burton should continue to be a borderline TE1. —JC

  • Thomas continued his impressive streak of seeing at least four targets a game against the Cowboys on Thanksgiving Day, catching all of them for 20 yards and a TD. Thomas leads Washington in red-zone targets on the year with 12 and should continue to have a shot at catching scores. He plays the Steelers in Week 13, and they have been the NFL’s best against TEs this year, but Thomas still has TD potential and his target floor will make him a solid low-end starter in PPR formats. As thin as TE is, having a player with a solid floor is never a bad thing. —JC

  • Reed may have caught just two passes for 18 yards against the Rams, but he did see six targets on the day. That was second on the 49ers behind only Deebo Samuel (13). In Week 13, Reed is taking on the Bills, who have allowed a league-high 709 receiving yards to TEs on the year. If Reed can get another six or so targets, he should find a lot more success than he did against the Rams. —JC

  • Hilton had his best game of the season against the Titans when he recorded 81 yards and his first receiving TD of the year. Granted, the Colts were trailing most of the game and had a lot of garbage time to produce, but it’s still significant. Hilton will get to play against the Texans in two of the next three games, and the Texans have allowed the fifth-most FPPG to WRs this year (28.4). Perhaps Hilton can break some more long catches in those contests. —JC

  • Pittman had just two catches for 28 yards against the Titans, but it wasn’t for lacking opportunities. He saw nine targets, second only to Nyheim Hines’ 10, and continued his rise on the Colts’ depth chart. Pittman should continue to draw attention from Philip Rivers, and against the Texans in Week 13, he could have a great game. The Texans have struggled against WRs this year, so if Pittman gets nine targets again, he should have a big day. —JC

  • Taysom Hill only had to throw for 78 yards to beat the Broncos and their fifth-string QB on Sunday, but he will need to do more to beat the Falcons in Week 13. The Falcons are weak against receivers and have allowed the third-most FPPG to the position this season (29.2). That will give Sanders a chance to be a worthwhile streamer, as he logged four catches for 66 yards when the Saints played Atlanta in Week 11. —JC

  • With DJ Chark (ribs) and Chris Conley (hip) out in Week 12, Johnson ended up leading the Jaguars in targets (8) and receiving yards (96) and caught a touchdown. With a favorable matchup upcoming against a Vikings defense that has allowed the fourth-most FPPG to WRs, Johnson should be added, especially if you’re an owner of Chark and need some extra receiver depth. —JC

  • Renfrow led the Raiders in catches (7), targets (9), and yards (73) in Week 12 against Atlanta. That’s promising enough to make him a legit streaming option next week in a similarly favorable matchup against the Jets. —ML

  • It looked like Mattison may have a chance to get some carries after Dalvin Cook exited the game after suffering an apparent ankle injury in the third quarter. However, Cook returned to action and Mattison only ended up with two carries and six yards on the game. Still, Mattison is worth stashing as a handcuff, as he will likely be a high-volume action if Cook ever has to miss time. —JC

  • Smith played second fiddle to Brian Hill most of Week 12, but he took over in the fourth quarter and finished with 65 yards and a score on 12 carries. He also caught four-of-five targets for 10 yards. Smith could have earned more playing time with his performance, and if Todd Gurley (knee) remains out, he’ll have flex upside in favorable matchups like Week 14 against the Chargers and Week 16 against the Chiefs. —ML

  • Not much matters about the Broncos’ Week 12 game against the Saints in which they were down all four of their quarterbacks due to COVID protocols. One notable thing is Phillip Lindsay suffered a knee injury and didn’t return to the game. If Lindsay has to miss time, Freeman could end up earning more carries, as the Broncos tend to split carries between two backs in normal games. Melvin Gordon would be the clear-cut top back, but Freeman (eight carries, 50 yards in Week 12) would at least have some flex/handcuff potential depending on the severity of Lindsay’s injury. The Broncos are playing the Chiefs and Panthers in the coming weeks, so Freeman should be able to post decent numbers in those matchups if he’s given opportunities to tote the rock. —JC

  • Graham has been one of the most targeted tight ends in the NFL this season. He has seen 5.7 per game which is good for 10th most in the NFL. In Week 13, Graham is taking on the Lions, a team that has been good against TEs this year but has allowed at least 50 receiving yards to the position in four straight games to go along with four receiving TDs. Graham should be able to take advantage of that, so he can be trusted as a top waiver-wire streamer this week. —JC

  • Schultz had only 24 yards on Thanksgiving Day against Washington, but he did catch all five of his targets. He has seen 6.1 targets per game this year and will always have a high floor because the Cowboys tend to throw a lot. A Week 13 matchup with the Ravens may not look appetizing on paper, but it’s worth noting that the Ravens have 18 players on the COVID list and may be without some of their defensive players against the Cowboys. And after that, Schultz is playing the Bengals, 49ers, and Eagles, so he’s worth keeping around for the fantasy playoffs.–JC

  • Even without Adam Thielen at his disposal, Cousins was able to post 307 yards and three TDs against the Panthers. He did lose a couple of fumbles, but the TDs made up for it. Next week, Cousins gets to take on the Jaguars, who have given up the third-most FPPG to QBs this year (23). That should make Cousins the safest QB streamer of the week. —JC

  • Carr just had a miserable game against the Falcons in which he turned the ball over four times and failed to record a TD. Despite that poor performance against a lackluster opponent, Carr can be trusted as a QB1 against the lowly Jets. He does have multiple TDs in seven of his 11 games this year, so he should round back into form in another easy matchup. —JC

  • With Tua Tagovailoa (thumb) out, Ryan Fitzpatrick was a rock-solid streaming option against the Jets in Week 12. He posted 252 yards and a two TDs andadded 10 yards on the ground. Tagovailoa is expected to miss next week’s game against the Bengals, as well, so Fitzpatrick should have a chance to do some damage against a Bengals defense that has been middle-of-the-road against QBs this year. — JC

  • Mayfield had his second-best passing game of the year in Week 12. He threw for 258 yards and two TDs against the Jaguars and looked comfortable for the first time since Odell Beckham Jr. went down with a knee injury. Next week, Mayfield is facing the Titans, who rank in the top 10 of FPPG allowed to QBs this season, so he should be a decent streamer and a potential bargain DFS play. —JC

  • Carson Wentz is in the midst of the worst season of his professional career and leads the NFL in interceptions (14), fumbles (10), and sacks taken (40). According to the latest scuttlebutt, Jalen Hurts has been getting some first-team reps and may get in on more action against the Seahawks on Monday night. If the Eagles fall out of the playoff picture, Hurts could get a start or two down the stretch to get him some experience and to allow Wentz a chance to reset and rebuild his confidence. Hurts is a great runner, so he could be an intriguing streaming option if he does take over. —JC

  • Washington’s matchup against the Steelers may not look great, but there aren’t a lot of defensive streamers available this week. Washington has the league’s No. 1 pass defense and have averaged 3.3 sacks per game this season, good for the third-most in the NFL. They should have a chance to pressure Ben Roethlisberger and as long as they’re getting pressure, they will have a high sack floor. Feel free to pick them up and even if you have better options than them in Week 13, their Week 14 matchup with the 49ers and Nick Mullens should be a solid spot in which to trust them. — JC

  • The Raiders defense has been up and down this season, but they should have a strong week against the Jets. For most of the season, the Jets have ranked last in the NFL in scoring and total yardage, and though their receiving corps is healthy now, they still have struggled largely to move the ball. The Raiders don’t rush the passer well, but they should be able to notch a couple of turnovers as they did against the Falcons. —JC

  • The Lions just allowed 41 points to the Texans, but they get to take on a Bears team that has ranked second worst in the NFL in both yards per game and pointe per game this season. If the Lions can get some of their injured defendersh back and if they respond well to Matt Patricia being fired, they should have a chance to fight hard and limit the Bears offense in this contest. —JC

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