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.
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.
Top fantasy football waiver wire pickups for Week 13
Unless otherwise noted, only players owned in fewer than 50 percent of Yahoo leagues considered.
Devontae Booker, RB, Raiders. 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.
Cam Akers, RB, Rams. A week after scoring his first NFL touchdown, Akers really went off against the 49ers. He had just nine rushes (one fewer than Darrell Henderson), but he posted 84 yards and a TD. To be fair, 61 of those yards came on one run, but it’s clear that Akers is 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 trusting Akers with even more touches. The Rams have favorable rushing matchups in the next weeks (@ Cardinals, vs. Patriots, vs. Jets), so Akers should be in a lot of fantasy playoff lineups.
Frank Gore, RB, Jets. With La’Mical Perine (ankle) on IR, it was Gore that handled a bulk of the workload for the Jets in Week 13. 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 poor Raiders run defense.
Sterling Shepard, WR, Giants. Shepard is owned in 52 percent of Yahoo leagues, but he deserves to be rostered 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, regardless of whether Daniel Jones or Colt McCoy is playing quarterback.
Breshad Perriman, WR, Jets. 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.
For more waiver/free agent suggestions, including more breakouts and potential streamers, check out our full Week 13 list.