Welcome to the Week 13 waiver wire. It’s white-knuckle time for a lot of fantasy teams. First-round byes and playoff spots are at stake in most leagues, so my focus this week will be on players who can move the needle and make a difference.
As always, I will be posting an expanded waiver wire over at Rotobahn along with a quick podcast. Both will be posted this afternoon. It should be helpful for those of you playing in deeper formats or for those who have acute Week 13 needs. The final update will be at 7 p.m., so you’ll have time to digest it before making tonight’s bids or claims.
I will have full lineup rankings posted at Rotobahn in advance of Thursday’s game with the usual weekend update before Sunday’s games.
The ownership rates listed for each player were sourced from Yahoo!
Colin Kaepernick, 49ers, 24 percent
He’s an erratic passer, but in Chip Kelly’s offense he’s a fantasy star because he is featured as both a runner and a passer. He’s got 373 rushing yards on the year so far, and that’s quite a bit when you consider that he was a backup for the first five weeks. This week Kaepernick visits the Bears, and that’s a green-light matchup.
Ryan Fitzpatrick, Jets, 16 percent
He’s got the Colts this week, so he is a very solid play. If you are a Marcus Mariota owner in need of an option, you could do a lot worse then Fitz in Week 13. He has enough weapons and the Jets should have Nick Mangold back, which means they will run it better. That should set up Quincy Enunwa and Brandon Marshall in the play-action game.
Carson Wentz, Eagles, 37 percent
His matchups over the next three weeks are pretty good for the pass, so Wentz is a pretty good backup option. He’s been throwing more, and he ran for his first touchdown in Week 12. It won’t be his last. The Eagles visit the Bengals this week.
Ryan Tannehill, Dolphins, 28 percent
He’s gained a measure of functionality the last few weeks. Touchdown passes are up, but yardage still leaves something to be desired. He’s a reasonably good QB2 option if you need one. His schedule is mediocre, but this week’s matchup with the Ravens is not bad for the pass, and he gets the Jets in Week 15.
Dion Lewis, Patriots, 57 percent
We saw more of him last week than we did in Week 11. Lewis was able to show off some of his signature skills — showing his trademark quickness and ability to make sharp ankle-breaking cuts. If he stays healthy his role will grow because the Patriots need playmakers right now with both Ron Gronkowski and Martellus Bennett banged up. I think Lewis already is worthy of RB2 status in PPR leagues and should be owned in all leagues.
Tim Hightower, Saints, 57 percent
If he happens to be available, and you need an RB2 or flex option, make him a priority because he has a very nice matchup this week at home vs. the Lions.
Wendell Smallwood, Eagles, 49 percent
He has a good matchup this week with a struggling Bengals squad. The Bengals will be without A.J. Green and Gio Bernard, so the Eagles should be protecting a lead. If Ryan Mathews misses another game, as I suspect he will, Smallwood, who has looked very good in recent weeks, could be in for a solid outing.
Kenneth Dixon, Ravens, 29 percent
He’s now in a timeshare with Terrance West, and if you are in a PPR league, I think Dixon could be the more valuable half of that backfield down the stretch. His natural quickness has returned after an early-season knee injury. He has some breakout potential. Has a matchup at home with the Dolphins this week and visits the Patriots in Week 14.
Jerick McKinnon, Vikings, 42 percent
He’s looked healthier the last two games and clearly is the lead back save for goal-line situations, where the team seemingly is committed to using Matt Asiata at all costs. In fairness, the big back gets the job done pretty well in tight. He has a solid matchup with Dallas on Thursday night.
Ameer Abdullah, Lions, 11 percent, and Adrian Peterson, Vikings, 43 percent
In some leagues, you may have nothing of substance on the waiver wire due to deep rosters or a large league or both. If that’s the case, you can consider stashing Abdullah or Peterson. Both are risky propositions, but if you are light in the run game but still a playoff team, you can stash one of them and pray. At this time Abdullah is the better bet for 2016 value, and he’d return to a near lead role. Peterson’s best-case scenario has him coming back Week 15, and that’s looking sketchy right now. Abdullah could see game action a tad sooner, so he’s probably the guy to add. It’s not out of the question that he could be startable by Week 15.
Rex Burkhead, Bengals, 4 percent
He played a lot last week because Jeremy Hill had an in-game ankle tweak. As I suspected, Burkhead looked very good and was effective as a runner and as a receiver when given chances. He’s a nice add in deeper leagues if you have running back issues. This guy is a very underrated talent, and we won’t see Gio Bernard until 2017.
Sammy Watkins, Bills, 72 percent
Normally I don’t list players with only 28 percent availability, but Watkins can be the WR1 on a given week. That’s the No. 1 overall receiver. He’s a huge priority if he happens to be available. He has a great closing schedule, too.
Quincy Enunwa, Jets, 28 percent
The Jets have a nice schedule the rest of the way, and they gets the Colts this week, which is a sweet matchup for any receiver. Enunwa is an excellent receiver to target for short-term help, but he can play for you every week the rest of the way if need be.
Tyreek Hill, Chiefs, 37 percent
He’s had a chance at extended playing time the last few weeks with Jeremy Maclin injured, and he’s really knocked it out of the park. I doubt they will put Hill back in the box when Maclin gets back — probably this week. Hill will cut into Chris Conley’s playing time, and he’ll continue to get plenty of snaps and touches. Hill needs to be owned in all leagues. He could be a nice play this week against Atlanta.
Taylor Gabriel, Falcons, 7 percent
I woke up late on Gabriel, but if you were following on Twitter, you got a heads-up in time to use him on DraftKings. Gabriel is a big play waiting to happen right now, with the team having no choice but to focus on Julio Jones. The field is always unbalanced, and Atlanta has a strong ground game as well. Gabriel is a nightmare in space in much the same way Dion Lewis is for the Patriots. He can move the needle this week if you need a flex option or WR3.
Corey Coleman, Browns, 52 percent
His touchdown last week was a thing of beauty. Coleman can really get out of a break, and he’s beyond fast. The Browns may not have another lead this season, so Coleman should see more and more targets as Cleveland looks to 2017 and beyond. This kid is a future star. He faces a not-so-good Bengals secondary this week.
Will Fuller, Texans, 44 percent
He’s exciting, but his quarterback is a nightmare. So much so that you wonder if he could be replaced at some point soon. Either way, Fuller finally is running free and easy, and he should be owned in all leagues as a high-upside WR3 option. His remaining schedule is about as good as it gets. I expect some big games.
Tyler Boyd, Bengals, 50 percent
He has a medium matchup with the Eagles this week, and he has a super-sweet matchup with the Browns in Week 14. With A.J. Green out at least one more game, Boyd is a player to own in all PPR leagues.
Marquess Wilson, Bears, 1 percent
He has a nice two-week window until Alshon Jeffery’s return. In that span he can be used as a WR3 or flex if you have the need. The Bears have the 49ers on tap for Week 13, so there’s solid short-term opportunity for those in win-now mode. Wilson’s always had the talent, but staying healthy has been a bugaboo. He’s healthy right now and available in most leagues.
Malcom Mitchell, Patriots, 3 percent
He only played on 47 percent of the offensive snaps, so while the two touchdowns are exciting, he’s still a poor bet for consistent fantasy production. Still, with three scores in the last two games, Mitchell is a player to own in 12-team leagues. If his recent outburst earns him more consistent playing time, he could be an asset down the stretch.
Dontrelle Inman, Chargers, 5 percent
He is a viable option as Travis Benjamin works his way back to top form, and this week’s home matchup with Tampa Bay is a good one. Inman can be your WR3 this week if you need him, and his schedule the rest of the way is top shelf.
Dorial Green-Beckham, Eagles, 5 percent
Jordan Matthews injured his ankle on Monday night and could be facing some time off. This is a good time to add Green-Beckham, especially if you rely on Matthews, because Green’s targets will almost assuredly go up if Matthews sits out.
Vernon Davis, Washington, 9 percent
Jordan Reed suffered a somewhat serious shoulder injury in Week 12. His status for Week 13 is in doubt. If he cannot go, Davis becomes a very strong short-term option. If you own Reed, this is the way to protect your fantasy posterior. He’s also a nice flier if you are looking for a better option than say … Coby Fleener or Dennis Pitta. Even with Reed healthy, Davis has carved out a significant role, so he’ll be a great bet to produce in Reed’s absence. Washington visits Arizona this week.
Ladarius Green, Steelers, 10 percent
He’s no lock, but you get a lot of upside with Green, who is ready for a full workload in an offense that makes stars out of players with his skill set. He’s a great way to use your last roster spot, especially if tight end is an area of concern for you.
Vance McDonald, 49ers, 10 percent
He’s been getting very consistent targets over the last month, and the 49ers offense is starting to have more success with a surging Colin Kaepernick at the helm. McDonald has very nice matchups the next two weeks with the Bears and then the Jets.
C.J. Fiedorowicz, Texans, 35 percent
Has a nice matchup with Green Bay this week, and he’s getting consistent targets, so you know you’ll get some points. Fiedorowicz has a solid chance at a score this Sunday. He can help you if you have a weakness at tight end.