At this point, you likely find yourself in one of three situations: 1) you’ve clinched a playoff spot and are gearing up for a final push, (2) you’re still alive for the postseason but you need your squad to deliver in week 13 or (3) your team is sunk, yet you’re still reading blog posts about the waiver wire to salvage whatever fleeting pride you have left (we commend you for this).
Whatever bucket you fall into, there’s no denying there is plenty at stake. To help you fine tune your rosters, we’ve summoned 5 Featured Pros to give us their week 13 waiver wire advice. Below are their consensus rankings of 17 RB/WR/TE targets (list provided by us) that are available in at least 50% of Yahoo! leagues.
Waiver Wire Rankings (Standard Scoring)
|Player||Position||Team||Consensus Rank||Best Rank||Worst Rank|
*Pitta is targeting a week 14 return.
Week 13 Waiver Wire Advice
We asked each expert to share commentary for this week’s waiver wire. Here are the experts’ suggestions on who you should target.
Q1: Give us your thoughts on the waiver wire targets you especially like as pickups this week.
Choosing players from the waiver wire at this time of year is like choosing food from the Thanksgiving spread after an entire offensive line has filled their plates. The best of the bunch, in my opinion, is a guy who is finally healthy and has the good fortune of playing opposite the best receiver in football. Nate Burleson’s love of pizza may have derailed his season back in Week 3, but he was averaging almost 8 targets and close to 80 receiving yards in those three games and picked up right where he left off with seven catches on 10 targets for 77 yards and a score in Week 12. Justin Hunter and Cordarrelle Patterson are interesting high-upside options, but I like Burleson and his upcoming schedule of the Packers, Eagles, Ravens, and Giants for the fantasy playoffs.
Nate Burleson is the obvious number one target of this group, so I’ll look a little deeper for those of you who most likely are not at the top of the waiver wire list this coming week. My next two recommendations are the Patriots Brandon Bolden and Texans Dennis Johnson because it is most likely that you are in more need of a running back than any other position. At this point, the Patriots have probably lost all confidence that Ridley (or Blount) can/will hold onto the ball, thus Brandon Bolden should get the lion’s share of carries going forward. I like Dennis Johnson over Bilal Powell based on the fact the Texans schedule is more favorable going forward and defenses will not be able to key on Johnson as easily as opposing teams will be able to do against Powell.
The sleeper choice, out of this group, is the Chargers’ TE Ladarius Green who has 80 or more yards receiving in each of his last two games with a YAC/REC average over 14 yards. Defenses will be focusing on how to stop Keenan Allen, Danny Woodhead and Antonio Gates, thus Green should have plenty of opportunities to find holes in the defense and take advantage of the mismatches with his size, strength and speed that have allowed him to make things happen after he makes the catch.
Starting RB Ben Tate has only topped 4.0 yards per carry once in his last six games and Dennis Johnson took advantage of his opportunity against the Jaguars rushing 13 times for 74 yards. At the very least, Johnson should see some carries in a timeshare and if he continues to put up those types of numbers, he could be on the flex radar. He is definitely worth a stash in deeper leagues or for Tate owners who want protection if Tate continues to struggle.
The Buccaneers offense is becoming more exciting as rookie QB Mike Glennon continues to progress and a big beneficiary of that development was Tiquan Underwood. He recorded only three receptions on Sunday, but they went for 108 yards and two touchdowns. With WR Mike Williams lost for the season, Underwood has a chance to put up some relevant fantasy numbers to close the season. He is a deep sleeper, but definitely someone to keep an eye on the last part of the season.
Nate Burleson completely bypassed the gradual “getting used to things” stage of a usual comeback. He had a season-high 10 targets on Sunday after missing seven games due to a forearm injury. Remember? The freak car accident caused by a pizza? Anyway, Burleson should be the hottest commodity on the waiver wire this week. He’s worth most of your remaining free agent budget at this point.
Ben Tate is still the starter in Houston, but it looks like he may have helped give Dennis Johnson more than just a backup running back role. Johnson totaled 13 carries for 74 yards (5.7 yards per carry) after Tate mustered just one yard on seven carries in the Texans’ loss to the Jaguars on Sunday. With Arian Foster out for the season and Ben Tate struggling, Johnson is a nice addition for your late-season roster.
Don’t completely dismiss Benny Cunningham’s 13 carry, 109 yard day because it came against a giving Bears run defense. The Rams have changed the offensive identity since week four, becoming a run heavy unit. After four weeks, the Rams were only running the ball 27 percent of the time, fewest int he NFL, averaging only 47 yards per game on the ground. Since then, they are averaging 152 team rushing yards over the last seven weeks and are running the ball 53 percent of the time with Kellen Clemens at QB. The schedule is tough (SF, ARI next two weeks), but if Zac Stacy misses time, Cunningham will be a low end RB2/flex play.
Playing late season waivers is all about stashing lottery ticket players that have high ceiling if given the opportunity. Nobody stands to walk right into more opportunity that Dennis Pitta. The Ravens can’t run the football at all and have been starving for a complimentary receiver to Torrey Smith all season. Ray Rice is the only other Raven to have more than 30 receptions through 12 weeks. Pitta could draw double digit targets immediately and gets the Vikings, Lions and Patriots in the fake football postseason.
Q2: For anyone looking to rent a D/ST in week 13, what readily available option should they target first?
This is not the time of year to get nostalgic and use a fantasy defense just because they were the ones who got you here. Case in point, the Chiefs have by far been the best fantasy defense this year, but they’ve also put up a whopping total of negative-eight points over the past two weeks and have to play the Broncos and Redskins over the next two weeks (neither of which are a great matchup). So who do you grab for Week 13 if not the Chiefs? I’m planting my flag in the Cleveland Browns this week. They play a Jaguars team who is allowing over 12 fantasy points per game to opposing D/ST. This is more of a knock on the Jaguars than it is an endorsement of the Browns, but Cleveland’s D/ST is averaging just around eight fantasy points per game this season and should be able to at least equal that total in Week 13 at home against the lowly Jaguars.
I would definitely give the Browns D/ST a shot for Week 13 if a streaming option is needed. They’re up against a Jacksonville Jaguars’ offense that is second in the league in interceptions (16), tied for third in sacks allowed (37) and are by far dead last in points scored (142).
The slam dunk option is the Miami Dolphins (16%) who go on the road to face the Jets. Geno Smith’s average game over the past three weeks is eight completions on 21 attempts for 115 yards and he has zero touchdown passes to go with five picks. Oh, and the Dolphins are pretty tremendous against the pass. They’ve allowed only four passing scores over the past seven weeks and have an interception (nine total) in every one of those seven games.
For those of you in deeper leagues, or looking for a daily league dark horse, consider the New York Jets. Their offense is terrible but the flip side of that is it will allow the defense to be on the field more, thus increasing their chances of making things happen, like getting to the most sacked quarterback in the NFL in the Dolphins Ryan Tannehill. He’s been sacked a league leading 44 times, seven more than the next closest quarterback.
Thanks to this week’s Featured Pros for sharing their advice! Best of luck to everyone with your week 13 waiver wire pickups.