Week 13 Waiver Wire Pickups (2020 Fantasy Football)
Week 12’s matchup between the Ravens and Steelers, originally scheduled for last Thursday, is now currently slated to take place this Wednesday. This unfolding saga will impact how fantasy leagues process waiver-wire transactions.
Yahoo announced that the waiver window will move from Wednesday to Friday. (The Ravens were initially scheduled to play Thursday Night Football once more in Week 13, so there’s no game this Thursday.) Most ESPN leagues will also run waivers on Thursday night into Friday, per Matthew Berry.
This gives managers extra time to suss out injury news and respond to new developments throughout the week. As a result, some of the players highlighted below (particularly the potential-replacement running backs) may not hold as much value by the time you’re finalizing free-agent claims and bids. With the book on Week 12 not yet shut, let’s peek ahead to the top pickups as the fantasy playoffs rapidly approach.
Note: Rostered percentages provided via Yahoo leagues.
Top 5 Waiver Targets of Week 13
Cam Akers (RB – LAR): 29% Rostered
Malcolm Brown and Darrell Henderson have rushed for 57 and 52 yards, respectively, over the Rams’ last three games. Akers topped those totals with a 61-yard run in Sunday’s last-second loss to the 49ers. The neophyte finished that drive with a one-yard touchdown, his first rushing score of the season. Although still yet to eclipse 10 touches in a game since his Week 1 debut, Akers continues to make a case for a more significant role. Henderson, meanwhile, hasn’t exactly dazzled with 28 yards on his last 20 touches. This will likely be the last chance to stash the second-round pick, who could step into a brighter spotlight in time for a league-altering Week 15 encounter with the Jets.
Devontae Booker (RB – LV): 9% Rostered
Josh Jacobs exited Week 12’s contest. Per NFL’s Ian Rapoport, he suffered an ankle sprain but “has a chance to play this week, depending on how he feels.” Since the Raiders play the 0-11 Jets, they may be extra inclined to treat their star running back with caution. That’s especially true since they have a capable understudy in Booker, who has averaged 5.5 yards per carry in limited work this season while maintaining a 73.4% catch rate over his five-year career. He already accounts for four of Las Vegas’ six runs of 20 yards or more. When given a season-high 16 handoffs in a runaway Week 10 win over Denver, Booker compiled 81 yards and two touchdowns. He’s an RB2 to start with confidence if Jacobs doesn’t play.
Frank Gore (RB – NYJ): 25% Rostered
Even on the Jets, 21 touches isn’t too shabby. With Le’Veon Bell chased out of town and La’Mical Perine hurt, the Jets are giving Gore all the work he can handle in what could be the final weeks of his illustrious NFL career. He’s accumulated 216 total yards over the last three games, establishing a decent floor for a Week 13 clash against a Raiders defense relinquishing the fifth-most fantasy points per game to running backs.
Keke Coutee (WR – HOU): 1% Rostered
Days after stuffing the Lions for 171 yards and two touchdowns on Thanksgiving, Will Fuller announced that the NFL issued a six-game suspension for a PED violation. The Texans also placed Randall Cobb (toe) on the IR last week and released Kenny Stills, leaving Coutee as the only wide receiver besides Fuller and Brandin Cooks to receive a single target in Week 12. He’s reeled in just two catches in each of his last two games, but the 23-year-old moves up the depth chart once more. Coutee also has fond memories of his Week 13 opponent, as he torched the Colts for 109 yards in his NFL debut before registering 110 yards and a touchdown in a postseason meeting as a rookie. Keep close tabs on this situation, as the Texans could bring back Stills or give rookie Isaiah Coulter his first taste of NFL action.
Alexander Mattison (RB – MIN): 32%
Dalvin Cook left Sunday’s game with an ankle injury, putting fantasy players on high alert once more. They can exhale, as ESPN’s Adam Schefter reported that Minnesota’s star running back is expected to be fine for Week 13. Any managers who don’t already roster Mattison should still grab the backup just in case. Mattison mustered an underwhelming 30 yards when replacing Cook in Week 6, but there’s nevertheless massive potential if stepping in for a starter who has stockpiled 24.8 touches per game.
Notable Players 36-50% Rostered
Sammy Watkins (WR – KC): 44%
Optimists will point to Watkins’ seven targets in his return from a hamstring injury that sidelined him six weeks. However, he recorded four catches for 38 yards in a game where Patrick Mahomes aired it out 47 times for 462 passing yards. Watkins could explode any given week in this electric offense, but he’s averaging a pedestrian 43.3 receiving yards per game this season. While his quarterback gives Watkins more matchup-breaking potential than the typical waiver-wire wideout, he’s still a WR4 to deploy only when chasing his ceiling against a favorable opponent.
Kirk Cousins (QB – MIN): 40%
Since attempting just 14 passes in a Week 6 loss to Green Bay, Cousins has averaged 283.3 passing yards and 22.1 fantasy points on 32.8 attempts over his last four games. He’s cleared 300 yards with three touchdowns in back-to-back bouts, the second without Adam Thielen. Consider testing his hot hand against the Jaguars, who rank 29th in passing defense with the second-highest opposing completion rate and yards per pass attempt allowed. Cousins will especially materialize as an available QB1 streamer if Thielen returns, but Dalvin Cook isn’t available to handle a Herculean running workload.
T.Y. Hilton (WR – IND): 38%
Michael Pittman has received repeated praise here over the past few weeks, and he remains my top Colts wide receiver to roster despite Week 12’s 28-yard setback. However, it’s also time to check back in on Hilton. Rightfully discarded in a majority of leagues, the former star collected double-digit fantasy points (half-PPR) for the first time this season with 81 yards and a score last Sunday. One good game doesn’t erase three poor months, but it at least puts the talented target back on the radar since the Colts enjoy a favorable December schedule.
Carlos Hyde (RB – SEA): 38%
Even in Chris Carson’s return, Hyde tallied a team-high 15 carries in Seattle’s Monday Night Football victory. While it amounted to just 22 yards on the ground, he also had a touchdown negated by a holding penalty. Perhaps Carson was simply on a snap count after missing four games due to a foot injury. Yet the possibility of a committee is tempting for Hyde’s fantasy value, as the Seahawks face the Giants, Jets, and Washington in the next three weeks.
Notable Players 10-35% Rostered
Benny Snell Jr. (RB – PIT): 34%
It’s awfully hard to plan ahead without knowing for sure if or when a team will actually play. This is also only actionable for Week 13 in most cases; managers typically can’t drop anyone who has already played and hopefully avoided this uncertain Ravens/Steelers game wherever possible. James Conner tested positive for COVID-19 before the multiple reschedulings, giving Snell the opportunity to handle a major workload if the Steelers and Ravens play. When Conner got hurt in Week 1, Snell posted 113 yards on 19 carries despite entering mid-game. Depending on how this week plays out, he could hold Week 13 value if Conner is unavailable against Washington.
Ryan Fitzpatrick (QB – MIA): 20%
After producing 257 passing yards and two touchdowns in his first start since Week 6, Fitzpatrick has delivered at least 18 fantasy points in each of his last six full games. He tossed multiple touchdowns in five of those contests and ran for 47 yards and a score in the other. If Tua Tagovailoa misses another game due to a thumb injury, Fitzpatrick once again makes a solid Week 13 play against the Bengals.
Trey Burton (TE – IND): 19%
After registering three touchdowns (two rushing, one receiving) in two games, Burton got bottled up for six yards against Baltimore and 24 at Tennessee. That extinguished any fantasy appeal, even at the desolate grease fire that is tight end. It’s time to give him another look. Burton has captured a receiving touchdown in consecutive contests with a solid 11 targets. He’ll face a lethargic Texans defense twice in the next three weeks, offering some streamer appeal.
Jordan Wilkins (RB – IND): 17%
Even with Jonathan Taylor placed on the COVID-19 reserve list as a close contact, Wilkins settled for six carries and four targets in a 45-26 trouncing by Tennessee. That score is worth noting, as the workload between him and Nyheim Hines could even out if the Colts play with a lead. They happen to next face the 4-7 Texans, whose 31st-ranked rushing defense led Adrian Peterson to a two-touchdown Thanksgiving Day showing in place of the injured D’Andre Swift. Wilkins would have deep-league flex value in that advantageous matchup if Taylor isn’t cleared to return.
Breshad Perriman (WR – NYJ): 12%
Although Perriman didn’t pull off another long touchdown, he did garner a 37-yard grab in Sam Darnold’s return to the starting lineup. That contributed to his team-high 79 receiving yards on eight targets, upping his tally to 234 over the last three games. Since he showed greater chemistry with Joe Flacco, it was reassuring to see a solid line alongside Darnold ahead of favorable matchups against the Raiders and Seahawks.
Notable Players <10% Rostered
Las Vegas Raiders D/ST: 9%
You won’t feel confident streaming the Raiders following a humiliating 43-6 loss to the Falcons. Their defense has exceeded four fantasy points twice this season while tallying zero or negative points five times. Yet the Jets beckon in Week 13 on the heels of a 20-3 shortcoming, so Las Vegas is a playable streamer.
Denzel Mims (WR – NYJ): 7%
Mims might already be a mainstream fantasy asset if he were playing on a better offense. The rookie has recorded 284 yards in five career NFL games. He’s made from impressive grabs with both Flacco and Darnold under center, so dynasty managers should be salivating over his long-term potential alongside Trevor Lawrence or Justin Fields. For now, he’s a floor play given the Jets’ lack of scoring prowess. Although yet to visit the end zone, Mims has exceeded 60 yards in each of his last three games.
Gabriel Davis (WR – BUF): 3%
In Buffalo’s first game since placing John Brown on the IR, Davis caught a touchdown pass from fellow wideout Cole Beasley. The rookie has played in 96.7% of the team’s offensive snaps and received 17 targets in three games without Brown, who will miss at least two more weeks. There’s some deep-league appeal to Davis now that can he can draw deep looks in a potent Bills offense.
Ito Smith (RB – ATL): 1%
Brian Hill foisted his way onto season-long and DFS lineups across the land, only to submit a meandering 55 yards on 13 carries. He had to share the rock with Smith, who turned one fewer handoff into 10 additional yards and a score on one of his seven red-zone touches. He also tacked on four receptions, though they went for an inconsequential 10 yards. Aside from a brief stint as a touchdown vulture during his rookie campaign, Smith hasn’t received many opportunities during his three seasons in Atlanta. That won’t change if Todd Gurley returns from a knee injury to face a stingy Saints run defense in Week 13. Despite Sunday’s successful showing, Smith is only worth a small bid or low-priority add if seeking some depth or an insurance policy for Gurley. The same goes for Hill, who is available in far fewer (54%) Yahoo leagues.
DeAndre Washington (RB – MIA): 1%
Matt Breida played, but still didn’t get the bulk of Miami’s backfield work in place of Myles Gaskin and Salvon Ahmed. That honor went to Washington, who saw 13 handoffs and five targets on 48% of the team’s offensive snaps. Even so, it amounted to 60 yards in a 17-point victory over the Jets. His final line, however, would look far stronger if any of his six red-zone carries culminated in a touchdown. Washington warrants some flex appeal if (but only if) Gaskin remains out for another week.
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