Week 13 is officially here, and with that we get into my personal favorite part of the weekly grind: the waiver wire! Whether you play in a league that does standard waiver claims or FAB (free agent bidding), we will highlight players below based off players rostered in 33.3% or less of ESPN leagues. If you happen to play in a 10-team league or smaller, this article will serve more as a "watch list and stash" report, rather than a guide to directly making your top pickups and FAB bids. For a complete list of our waiver wire rankings, by position with no write-ups, check out my weekly Waiver Wire Rankings page here.
Author's Note: We want to jump on the opportunity to improve our rosters as often as humanly possible, and we do this through waivers, trades and streaming positions at QB, TE, D/ST and/or Kicker. The ability to drop these positions at the start of the week and make at least one or two additional, speculative adds, can often be the difference in hitting on a league-winner off the waivers and not. It's the owners who stand pat and stay stagnant who often see their fortunes fade down the stretch. That's why it's so important to grind the bottom of your rosters each week and not be afraid to cut players with "household names" who aren't seeing good usage. Have a specific add/drop question or anything more specific that isn't covered? Hit me up on Twitter @maddjournalist or @betpredators.
Ryan Fitzpatrick (Roster Percentage - 21.6%): Ladies & Gentleman, the magic is back. "Fitz-Magic" that is. The bearded wonder boy earned his seventh start of the 2020 season in Week 12 and went on to rout the New York Jets for the second time. Fitzpatrick slung it 39 times, completing 24 passes to 11 different pass catchers (!) on the day, and fed a hefty WR1 workload to DeVante Parker (14-8-119). He also tossed two touchdown passes and played 60 minutes of turnover-free football, giving him 12 total touchdown passes on the year in just seven games to seven interceptions in those games. Fitzpatrick draws a juicy matchup against a hapless Cincinnati Bengals defense in Week 13, one that has been shredded to pieces this season by the likes of Ben Roethlisberger (333/4 TD's), Baker Mayfield (297/5 TD's), Philip Rivers (371/3 TD's) and Gardner Minshew (351/2 TD's). The Miami Dolphins' backfield rotation is in a state of flux with injuries to Washington alumni Salvon Ahmed and Myles Gaskin, in addition to DeAndre Washington, which could mean another 35-40+ pass attempts for Fitzpatrick, who ranked eighth overall in total fantasy points amongst quarterbacks as the starter from Weeks 1-6. Even in a positive/blowout game script in Week 12, the Dolphins still posted a 39-25 pass-to-run ratio and appear in no rush to bring back rookie first-round pick Tua Tagovailoa, meaning Fitzpatrick could see more starts in the near future with matchups looming in Weeks 14 and 16 with the Kansas City Chiefs and Las Vegas Raiders.
Kirk Cousins (20.4%): You might not believe it, but this "run first" Minnesota Vikings squad has actually gone over their total in every home game this season, averaging a combined score of 61.5 points, as per Sharp Football Analysis. Those same Vikings are also averaging a league-high 7.2 yards per play this season at home, while the Jacksonville Jaguars come into Minnesota allowing a league-worst 6.8 yards per play on the road in 2020. Kirk Cousins, a streaky quarterback by nature dating back to his Washington days, currently ranks second in the NFL in completion rate (69.4%), second in yards per attempt (5.3) and first in red zone touchdown rate (47.2%) this year, and he gets old reliable Adam Thielen back off the COVID list in a Week 13 matchup against a depleted Jaguars secondary. The Vikings have scored a touchdown on a league-best 77.8% of red zone possessions this season as well, and with Dalvin Cook coming in hobbled and with a questionable tag to boot, look for Mike Zimmer's squad to take it easy on the franchise back. That means Cousins will be relied upon in the red zone even more than he already has been this year, with a heaping of healthy targets in Thielen, Justin Jefferson and Kyle Rudolph ready to roll. Opponents are actually throwing more on the Jaguars more than they're running too, as evidenced by Jarvis Landry's 8-143-1 blowup line in Week 12. The Vikings also get pass-friendly matchups with Tampa Bay in Week 14 and New Orleans in Week 16, giving Cousins a chance to shine in the fantasy playoffs for your squad.
Philip Rivers (13.2%): You have no idea how hard it has been for Mr. Philip "Noodle Arm" Rivers to crack this list. The 38-year old signal-caller entered the season on a run-first Indianapolis Colts team with arguably the best offensive line in the NFL. Rivers' efficiency had drastically dropped heading into 2020 as well, and the Colts simply needed a game-manager to limit turnovers and move the chains with highly-touted rookie Jonathan Taylor set to inherit a workhorse role. I wanted nothing to do with Rivers, who has looked noodle-armed at best over the past few seasons. Boy, have things changed. And in a hurry. Rivers is back to his old gun-slinging days of late, and he has now gone seven straight games with 30+ pass attempts and 240+ passing yards, including 78 attempts for 583 yards (!), five touchdowns and two interceptions over the past two weeks alone. The Colts haven't had as much success - or efficiency, for that matter - as much as they'd hoped for before the season began, and Rivers has been quite impressive carrying a mediocre ensemble of pass catchers along the way. What's even better is the Colts' upcoming schedule, which features two matchups with the Houston Texans' Bradley Roby-less secondary (PED suspension) in Weeks 13 and 15, and a Week 14 matchup with the Raiders sandwiched in between. You might have to find another option for championship week in Week 16, as Rivers faces the Pittsburgh Steelers, but he is more than capable of carrying you to the promised land until then.
Honorable Mention: Teddy Bridgewater 30.1%, Mitch Trubisky 3.8%, Baker Mayfield 19.5%
Deep(er) League Adds: Drew Lock 7.8%, Andy Dalton 4.8%, Nick Mullens 7.8%
Watch and/or Stash: Gardner Minshew 10.4%, Jimmy Garoppolo 8.6%, Jalen Hurts 1.8%
Frank Gore (Roster Percentage - 19.0%): Week 13 is officially the week of reckoning, as mere weeks ago I would've never recommended the likes of Frank Gore, Philip Rivers, Kirk Cousins or any other New York Jets player, for that matter (see Denzel Mims, below). But alas, here we are. The fact is that the Jets offense is as healthy as it has been all year, with Jamison Crowder, Breshad Perriman and Mims all playing a full allotment of snaps and routes in Week 12. With La'Mical Perine going to IR, Gore saw a season-high 21 touches in Week 12 in a blowout loss to the Miami Dolphins, also rushing for a season-high 74 yards and also catching all three of his targets for 12 yards. Gore now has multiple targets in three straight games and his carries have increased in four straight weeks (10-12-15-18). He's averaging a decent 4.1 yards per carry over his last two games and he gets a plus matchup in Week 13 against a Las Vegas Raiders defense that has been consistently shredded by opposing backs all season. While the Jets don't close the season with the best matchups in the world (Seahawks, Rams, Browns), you simply can't find a running back on waivers with a weekly floor of 15+ guaranteed touches right now. If your starting lineup is set and you want to take a flier on an upside stash like Devonta Booker, Cam Akers or Alexander Mattison, then I get it. But if you need an RB2/flex with a safe floor and double-digit touches in a plus matchup, hold your breath and plug in Gore, who is fantasy's RB12 over the past two weeks in half PPR scoring.
Devontae Booker (5.4%): Josh Jacobs suffered an ankle injury in Week 12, opening the door for Devontae Booker to see an increase in fantasy value over the stretch run. While Jacobs is currently listed as questionable ahead of Week 13, there is a chance that the second-year star back could miss time. Jacobs missed multiple games towards the end of 2019, when we saw DeAndre Washington step into an RB2 role and help fantasy teams to titles during that time. Booker has flashed in limited opportunities this season, too, averaging a team-high 5.5 yards per carry, albeit in a limited sample, with 59 carries for 326 yards on the year. Jacobs, on the other hand, is averaging 3.8 yards per carry with roughly 3.5 times the amount of carries. Booker also sports a long run of 43 to 24 for Jacobs, and he erupted for 16-81-2 in extended run in Week 10's blowout victory over his old team in the Denver Broncos. Booker saw a season-high four targets in Week 12, and with pass-catching specialist Jalen Richard also on the mend, Booker could be set for a workhorse role in Week 13 against the lowly New York Jets. Booker is the type of high-upside stash/handcuff that needs to be owned in any league period, along with the likes of Alexander Mattison, Latavius Murray and Chase Edmonds. The Raiders also get juicy matchups against run-funnel defenses in the Los Angeles Chargers and Miami Dolphins in Weeks 15 and 16, respectively, giving you fantasy's most valuable insurance policy to stash on your bench during the playoff stretch.
Alexander Mattison (33.1%): Another high-end handcuff, Alexander Mattison isn't even guaranteed a single start for the rest of the season. But, like with Devontae Booker above, the guy ahead of Mattison on the depth chart (Dalvin Cook) is currently dealing with an injury that could force him to either miss time this week or re-aggravate his injury and miss time during the fantasy football playoffs. We all know that the Minnesota Vikings sport one of the most run-happy offenses in the NFL, and while that remains mostly true, the reason Mattison ranks behind both Booker and Frank Gore is because of the Vikings' upcoming fantasy playoff schedule. Minnesota gets a positive matchup in Week 13 against the Jacksonville Jaguars at home, sure, but after that, from Weeks 14-16, they face three of the toughest run defenses in the league with games against the Tampa Bay Buccaneers, Chicago Bears and New Orleans Saints. With the Vikings now poised to compete for a playoff spot in the NFC, I expect them to let Cook give it a go in Week 13, but with Cook's injury history I would not be at all surprised to see the Vikings star back get hurt again. If that is the case, Mattison steps into a voluminous role with likely 15+ rush attempts and multiple targets a game headed his way. Don't blow all of your FAB budget on Mattison unless you own Cook and have no depth/backups behind him, though. Cook will be more of a low-end RB1 during that stretch, with Mattison providing low-end RB2 value if he indeed gets the opportunity in those same contests.
Honorable Mention: Benny Snell 25.5%, Carlos Hyde 20.9%, Cam Akers 27.8%, Joshua Kelly 20.6%, Boston Scott 24.8%, Tevin Coleman 20.5%, Tony Pollard 21.9%, Kerryon Johnson 30.2%, Anthony McFarland 2.8%
Deep(er) League Adds: Ito Smith 0.8%, DeAndre Washington 0.4%, Mike Boone 0.3%, Rodney Smith 0.2%, D'Onta Foreman/Jeremy McNichols 0.2% and 0.5%
Watch and/or Stash: Justin Jackson 26.4%, Devonta Freeman 20.8%, Rashaad Penny 2.1%
Denzel Mims (Roster Percentage - 4.9%): What in the fantasy world is happening to this waiver wire column? Two New York Jets players top our running back and wide receiver lists, something I would've never predicted even just two weeks ago. But we simply cannot ignore the upside that rookie wideout Denzel Mims has flashed over these past few games. Whether it's with Joe Flacco or Sam Darnold under center, Mims is getting all of the opportunity a WR3/flex option could ask for. Mims led the NFL in air yards in Week 11 (180), sporting a whopping 22.5 average depth of target (aDOT) with Flacco getting the start. In Week 12 he didn't disappoint either, posting an 8-4-67 line with Darnold throwing him the rock. Mims now has at least seven targets and 60 receiving yards in three straight games and has posted multiple catches and at least 40 receiving yards in all five of his games this season. This is the time of the year when rookies start getting more timing and experience under their belts, and we could be in fact on the verge of a mini-breakout down the stretch from Mims, who has also two talented teammates in Breshad Perriman and Jamison Crowder to take attention away from opposing defenses. It's Perriman who has three TD's to zero for Mims since Week 10, but we all know that TD's can be fluky and fleeting. We want to invest in opportunity, and that means buying into the target leader and air yards leader. His Week 13 matchup against the Raiders' pamper-soft secondary is all the more reason to stream the talented rookie.
Gabriel Davis (1.1%): While Gabriel Davis doesn't have the same path to WR1 volume as Mims does in New York, the talented speedster out of UCF plays in a more explosive offense with better quarterback play in young gun-slinger Josh Allen. Davis turned just four targets into 3-79-1 in Week 12, posting a long reception of 44 yards and catching a 20-yard touchdown from fellow wideout Cole Beasley on a trick play. Davis is now locked into three WR sets in Buffalo with John Brown going to IR, and since Week 3 he now has four games with at least three catches and four targets, including four games with at least 58 receiving yards and three touchdowns during that stretch. Davis is averaging a team-high 16.1 yards per catch this season as well, showing rapport with Allen when Brown has been forced to miss time in the past. Even in a similar role, Brown's ypc was nearly three yards lower than that of Davis and on the season Davis has double the touchdowns (4 to 2) of Brown and trails him by just 32 yards overall (354 to 386). Although the Bills' remaining schedule seems quite tough on paper, we've seen other NFL teams have success through the air against the likes of the 49ers, Steelers, Broncos and Patriots. If those games turn out to be competitive, or even negative, for Buffalo, then increased volume could be on its way for Davis as well. The presence of alpha wideout Stefon Diggs on the outside, in addition to Beasley in the slot and the rushing threat of Allen, all serve to help Davis avoid extra defensive attention on the outside.
Hunter Renfrow (11.1%): This is a one-week streaming recommendation here for Hunter Renfrow if you need a spot start in your WR2/3 or flex spots for Week 13. The New York Jets have been absolutely brutal defending opposing slot receivers after losing Brian Poole to IR, and we are coming off a Week 12 game where we saw Renfrow pace the Las Vegas Raiders in targets (9), catches (7) and receiving yards (73). Just two weeks ago it was this same Jets secondary that allowed a massive 19-16-145-1 line to slot stud Keenan Allen. They have routinely been ripped over the short-to-intermediate areas of the field all season, too, allowing 14-12-169 to Jakobi Meyers, 6-4-98-2, 6-4-98-2 to Tyreek Hill, 9-7-96-1 to Mecole Hardman, 12-8-109-1 to Travis Kelce and 12-11-112 to Cole Beasley over the past month. Need I say more? Renfrow's targets had been down of late heading into Week 12 with the emergence of Nelson Agholor in the Raiders' passing attack, but he now enters Week 13 coming off his best game of the season and still ranking second on the season for Las Vegas in total receiving yards (509), targets (50) and receptions (38). If your starting lineup is set and you don't need a plug-and-play start for Week 13, then I would recommend more of a high-upside, high-volume stash along the likes of Breshad Perriman or Tim Patrick here. Renfrow still has seen at least four targets in five of his past nine games, however, with two touchdowns along the way and at least 40 receiving yards in five of those games as well.
Honorable Mention: Breshad Perriman 14.3%, Tim Patrick 14.5%, Jalen Reagor 22.6%, KJ Hamler 5.5%, Allen Lazard 27.9%, Nelson Agholor 32.0%, Josh Reynolds 10.7%, Keke Coutee 0.3%, Collin Johnson 0.1%
Deep(er) League Adds: Laviska Shenault 13.0%, Darnell Mooney 9.9%, Anthony Miller 11.8%, Russell Gage 11.4%, Larry Fitzgerald 13.9%, Keelan Cole Sr. 17.5%, Andy Isabella 0.6%, Danny Amendola 5.2%, Mohamed Sanu 0.6%
Watch and/or Stash: Isaiah Coulter 0.0%, Kenny Stills 0.5%, Jalen Guyton 0.3%
Dalton Schultz (Roster Percentage - 30.3%): Slow and steady wins the race, right? Well that's exactly what you're getting in Dalton Schultz, who insanely still ranked as the TE11 overall heading into Week 12 and has now seen at least five targets in four consecutive games. Even though Schultz only had 24 yards in Week 12's Thanksgiving loss to the Washington Football Team, he still caught all five of his targets, good enough for a low-end TE2 finish with 7.4 PPR points. That type of stat line, even on a "down week" is simply not going to crush your lineup, and with the Dallas Cowboys playing catch up more often than not, Schultz provides a reliable weekly floor with opportunities for garbage time production in negative game scripts. Schultz has now produced with four different quarterbacks under center this season too, posting solid receiving lines with the likes of Dak Prescott, Andy Dalton, Garrett Gilbert and Ben DiNucci. He has seen at least three targets in every single game this year and has at least four targets in all but one game. Schultz's Week 13 matchup against the Baltmore Ravens might look a tad scary on paper, but keep in mind this is a Ravens team that is more beatable in the short/middle areas of the field and just gave up 11 targets, seven catches and 54 yards to Eric Ebron in their Week 12 Wednesday loss to the Pittsburgh Steelers. Anthony Firsker and Jonnu Smith combined for 11-8-53-1 against the Ravens as well just two weeks ago, setting up Schultz for another week of low-end TE1/high-end TE2 production.
Logan Thomas (24.9%): You can't get much more similar than Dalton Schultz when you talk about Logan Thomas aka "LT3." The former college quarterback is also seeing a steady flow of targets on a weekly basis and has carved out a role as one of Alex Smith's top receiving threats outside of Terry McLaurin and the Washington Football Team running backs. Thomas ranks only behind McLaurin and McKissic when it comes to total targets (60), receptions (34) and receiving yards (328) on the year, and he actually leads Washington with four receiving touchdowns and a healthy 9.6 yards per catch for being a tight end in a slow-paced offense. Thomas' numbers over the past month are as "Steady Eddy" as it gets, posting just one dud with two catches for six yards against the Cincinnati Bengals in a game where Washington simply didn't need to throw much in the second half after Joe Burrow went down. Outside of that game, Thomas has posted 4-4-20-1, 5-4-66, 6-3-28, 4-4-60-1 and 4-3-42-1, good for the overall TE7 since Week 6 over that span in half PPR scoring formats. It's not a sexy proposition starting Thomas as the fantasy playoffs approach, but it's better than gambling with some of the other less safe options out there on the waiver wire. He also gets beatable tight-end matchups from Weeks 13-16 with the Steelers, 49ers, Seahawks and Panthers on deck, and with the more attention McLaurin gets from opposing defenses on a weekly basis, it will be Thomas and his fellow running backs who stand benefit the most.
Jacob Hollister (0.4%): Take a look at Jacob Hollister's box score from Week 12 and you'd be hard-pressed to find much optimism in putting in a waiver claim/bid for him in Week 13. Take a closer look at his situation, however, and you'll notice a starting tight end who actually out-targeted Tyler Lockett against the Philadelphia Eagles and stands to serve as one of the top three to four targets for Russell Wilson to close out the season. Fellow tight end Will Dissly saw exactly zero targets in that same Week 12 win, and if we look back to last season we'll see that Hollister turned in a handful of TE1 performances and actually ranked as the overall TE10 from Weeks 9 to 16. During that span Hollister caught 32 of 43 targets for 283 yards and three touchdowns. Wilson has shown a propensity to target his tight ends in the red zone in the past, and the Seahawks get a slew of cake matchups over the final month of the season, facing the New York Giants, New York Jets and Washington Football Team over the next three weeks. With Greg Olsen out for the year on IR and Dissly lacking in both overall snaps and routes run, we could see Hollister emerge as the third best passing option in this offense. Hollister now has at least three targets in three of his past four games and is less than a month removed from posting his best receiving line of the season with 7-5-60 in a shootout loss to the Buffalo Bills. The targets have now risen in three consecutive games (1-3-5) and Hollister's profile as a true pass-catching tight end will continue to boost his overall usage.
Honorable Mention: Jordan Reed 15.0%, Trey Burton 6.0%, Jordan Akins 4.5%
Deep(er) League Adds: Kyle Rudolph 13.7%, Will Dissly 4.3%, Tyler Eifert 3.2%
Watch and/or Stash: Irv Smith Jr. 3.3%, Dawson Knox 0.7%, Cameron Brate 1.2%