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Fantasy Football Waiver Wire Pickups Week 13

By Matt Schauf | Updated on Tue, 28 Nov 2023 . 2:38 PM EST

Waiver Wire Targets 

It's Week 13. You probably have five more fantasy matchups left -- at most.

Maybe you're down to one or two to decide whether you make the playoffs.

At this point in the season, you need to let your specific situation drive your waiver moves much more than who happens to be this week's hot names.

All set except for TE? Spend up for a potential helper there.

Got a strong roster overall but need a Week 13 fill-in? Spend up for that guy.

Sitting pretty with no immediate needs? Look ahead at playoff matchups and stash a defense if possible.

What we're trying to do here is present you viable options to fit a variety of needs. We're also looking back at the Week 12 suggestions to see who you should keep and who deserves to be thrown back.

TIP

Get specific waiver wire advice for this week or the rest of the season in your Free Agent Finder.

 

 

Shallow Leagues

Zack Moss, RB, Indianapolis Colts

Moss sits available in 50% of Yahoo leagues as of midday Tuesday. I found him on waivers in 12-team leagues on Yahoo and NFL.com. (Granted, neither league is super active, but one is for money.)

The news that Jonathan Taylor is headed for further evaluation on a thumb injury and that "all options" will be considered means he could play Week 13 ... or miss the rest of the season.

That uncertainty is enough to make Moss a priority on any waiver wire that finds him available. Moss still ranks 21st among RBs in PPR points per game for the season, despite drawing 10 or fewer touches each of the past three weeks.

Pat Freiermuth, TE, Pittsburgh Steelers

Freiermuth hit this week still available in 52% of Yahoo leagues. That should climb significantly after what we hope was a breakout game.

His 9 receptions for 120 yards against the Bengals tripled his previous highs for this season in each category. They also set career highs in both, beating his previous yardage high by 35.

We certainly can’t expect more of that. But Freiermuth’s first week off the injury report since he hurt his hamstring in Week 4 coincided with Pittsburgh’s OC/play-caller change.

So there’s hope for improved passing going forward. And even half the volume Freiermuth got in Week 12 would make him a decent-to-good weekly option at TE.

Freiermuth is worth whatever percentage of your remaining waiver budget makes sense for your situation this week.

  

12-Team Leagues

Roschon Johnson, RB, Chicago Bears

Rostered: 23%
Blind-bid recommendation: 20-50%

Johnson was headed for just a smaller mention in this article, as a follow-up on our suggestion to pick him up last week. But then he led Chicago’s backfield in the Monday night victory at Minnesota.

With D’Onta Foreman inactive, Johnson set season highs in snap share (74.6%), touches (15) and total yards (75). He tripled the playing time of Khalil Herbert (21%) while beating him in carries (10-6) and targets (5-2). That marked a flip of how they were deployed in Herbert’s Week 11 return from IR.

One game isn’t enough to say that’s how the backfield will work going forward. And Foreman seems likely to return for Week 14. (He managed two limited practices last week.) But there’s at least a chance Johnson keeps the top RB spot going forward.

That’s worth a lot on waivers this late in the season, even with the Bears on a Week 13 bye.

Jeff Wilson Jr., RB, Miami Dolphins

Rostered: 17%
Blind-bid recommendation: 5-20%

Wilson ended Week 12 vs. the Jets with 11 carries for 58 yards plus 3 catches for 17 yards. And he played a season-high 33% of the Dolphins’ offensive snaps.

HC Mike McDaniel had continued to speak well of Wilson, despite the RB’s healthy scratch in Week 11. 

Rookie RB De’Von Achane’s absence from the Jets game obviously helped with the available opportunity. Achane seems to be trending toward a Week 13 return, which would keep Wilson out of fantasy-starter consideration. 

But that bothersome knee adds risk to Achane. And with Salvon Ahmed on IR, even the No. 3 RB in this high-powered Miami backfield is worth stashing if you have the space.

Curtis Samuel, WR, Washington Commanders

Rostered: 28%
Blind-bid recommendation: 5-15%

Samuel’s 9-100 receiving line on Thanksgiving was surprising. But he had delivered some fantasy value before the injuries.

Through Week 8, Samuel ranked a solid 40th among WRs in PPR points per game (11.7). Week 12 actually marked the third time this year that he cracked the top 16 among PPR wideouts. It also marked his first week of full practices since toe and knee issues surfaced in Week 8.

Next up on the schedule for Samuel is a prime spot against a Dolphins defense that ranks as the third-best WR matchup in adjusted fantasy points allowed in 2023. With six teams on bye, Samuel looks like a solid-to-good WR3 option – with a shot to remain among your top 4 WRs the rest of the way.

Joshua Palmer, WR, Los Angeles Chargers

Rostered: 27%
Blind-bid recommendation: 5-10%

We haven’t seen much lately on exactly when the Chargers expect Palmer to return from his knee injury. But he’s eligible to return from IR this week.

Rookie Quentin Johnston has failed to take advantage of Palmer’s absence. Jalen Guyton finished Sunday night’s game as the No. 2 WR. And the Chargers’ TEs remain limited.

That should mean opportunity for Palmer as soon as he’s ready. And the lack of news on his situation gives you a better chance to get him on the cheap this week – assuming your roster’s in good enough shape that you don’t need this pickup to help you in Week 13.

Before the Week 8 game he left early, Palmer had garnered 7+ targets in four straight appearances and averaged a 4-84 receiving line over that span.

Juwan Johnson, TE, New Orleans Saints

Rostered: 9%
Blind-bid recommendation: 5-10%

Injuries continue to pile up for the Saints.

Already down WR Michael Thomas (IR, knee), New Orleans lost WRs Chris Olave (concussion) and Rashid Shaheed (thigh) Sunday against the Falcons. Each looks likely to miss at least Week 13.

Despite also leaving Week 12 briefly, Johnson managed 4 catches on 7 targets (second on the team) for a season-high 45 receiving yards.

He’s got a good shot at fantasy relevance this weekend against the Lions (12th in adjusted fantasy points allowed to TEs) – especially with T.J. Hockenson, Dalton Kincaid, and Cole Kmet on bye.

About Last Week:

What about last week's recommended pickups? Let's see if they still make sense for your roster.

Of course, you should check your Free Agent Finder to get the best answer for your specific situation.

Player Pos Keep?
Jamaal Williams RB Yes
Odell Beckham Jr. WR Yes
Zay Jones WR Maybe
Cade OttonTEif needed
Isaiah LikelyTEYes
VikingsDSTif you can
  • Jamaal Williams is a handcuff. He's worth keeping around in that vein as long as you have the roster spot to spare. If you need it for something else, drop him.
  • Odell Beckham Jr. ran fourth among Baltimore WRs on Sunday night, barely leading No. 2 TE Charlie Kolar in snaps. That suggests the shoulder issue was limiting him. On the positive side, he drew 5 targets among just 12 routes. That points to potential to lead the team in targets -- or at least trade off with Zay Flowers -- if Beckham's healthier after the bye.
  • Zay Jones ranked sixth among Jaguars in targets in his second game back Sunday and ran a route on just 60% of dropbacks. Those numbers will probably vary, with Jacksonville altering how often it runs 3-WR sets. Jones' role as the clear No. 3 means you don't need to keep him around. But you can in deeper leagues or as a handcuff to Calvin Ridley or Christian Kirk.
  • Cade Otton remains what he is: A constant in the lineup but variable in target counts. He's not likely to post another game like the 6-70-2 vs. Houston in Week 9. But he'll probably pump out a few more contests with 4 receptions and/or yardage totals in the 40s. Consider how useful that level of production will be for your roster.
  • Isaiah Likely ranked second among Ravens in routes, targets, and receptions in the first game after Mark Andrews' season-ending injury. Keep him through the Week 13 bye, and you might have a startable TE the rest of the way.
  • The Vikings DST sacked Justin Fields three times, forced three fumbles (recovering two) and would have limited Chicago's output even further if not for 4 turnovers by its own offense. If you have a spot to stash Minnesota through its Week 13 bye, then you'll have a startable fantasy defense for Week 14 (at Raiders) and Week 15 (at Bengals).

  

Deep Leagues

Jalen Guyton, WR, Los Angeles Chargers

Rostered: 4%
Blind-bid recommendation: 3-5%

The Chargers benched underperforming rookie Quentin Johnston on Sunday night. 

Guyton didn’t stuff the stash sheet (1 catch, 4 yards). But the Baltimore matchup was tough. And he did finish a clear second among Chargers WRs in routes (44).

Also note: Guyton tallied 4 grabs, 41 yards, and 1 score back in Week 10, before a groin injury sidelined him for Week 11.

The drawback here is a tough rest-of-season schedule. Still, there’s a chance he pops for a few useful games. He could help you in Week 13 if Joshua Palmer’s not ready to return from IR.

Tucker Kraft, TE, Green Bay Packers

Rostered: 1%
Blind-bid recommendation: 3-5%

Kraft saw only 2 targets on Thanksgiving, but he turned one into a 9-yard score. His underlying usage showed exactly what you want from a future streamer.

Kraft’s 54 snaps led all non-QB skill-position players. And his 29 routes put him right with Christian Watson (30), Romeo Doubs (29), and Jayden Reed (26).

Remember, the Packers liked Kraft enough to select him in Round 3, just 36 picks after securing TE Luke Musgrave. Musgrave, of course, is out for at least the next three weeks.

Kraft might have benefited from the Thanksgiving absence of Josiah Deguara (hip). But we have no doubt the rookie will keep lead TE duties whenever Deguara returns. Plus, you have to be encouraged by Jordan Love’s sudden hot streak.

While Sunday turns up a tough Chiefs secondary, it’s a matchup overall that could force boosted volume. After that comes a strong scoring matchup vs. the Giants.

About Last Week:

Player Pos Keep?
D'Ernest Johnson RB Yes
Patrick Taylor RB No
Tutu Atwell WR No
Greg DortchWRMaybe
  • D'Ernest Johnson grew his lead over Tank Bigsby for the No. 2 RB role in Week 12. He played 30 snaps to Bigsby's 2, beat him 7-1 in carries, and nearly matched Travis Etienne in routes (17 vs. 21). He's an attractive handcuff in an offense coming off two of its best performances all season.
  • Patrick Taylor logged 4 total touches for 15 yards in a Thanksgiving Day win with Aaron Jones inactive. If you're in a deep enough league that RB3s are scarce on the waiver wire, feel free to hold. But Jones should be back soon, and Taylor is clearly no more than insurance even for Green Bay.
  • Wait, why dump Tutu Atwell after a team-high 76 receiving yards in a game that saw his QB throw 4 TD passes? Well, Cooper Kupp missed no further time with the ankle sprain that made him a question mark this time last week. And Atwell ranked fifth on the team in targets. He's fast but ultimately a limited participant in a limited pass offense.
  • If Greg Dortch has a shot to start for you in Week 13, then hang on to him. The six teams on bye boost his chances of being viable. And we don't yet know when rookie WR Michael Wilson's shoulder will be ready for game action. Wilson didn't practice at all ahead of missing Sunday's loss to the Rams. If Dortch is just bench fodder for you, nothing about his past two weeks makes him a must-hold.

 

Streaming Options

Gardner Minshew, QB, Indianapolis Colts

Minshew delivered a solid QB13 fantasy finish for his Week 12 meeting with the Bucs, despite not throwing a TD pass. We would have liked more in a game that saw him throw 41 passes against a weak pass defense. But Minshew at least proved useful.

Week 13 holds a Titans matchup that looks less positive by our adjusted fantasy points allowed. But Tennessee is back up to second in run-defense DVOA, compared with just 30th against the pass. Combine that with an inconsistent Colts run game, and you have potential opportunity for Minshew.

Tennessee’s past three games have included allowing a QB10 finish to Baker Mayfield and QB1 to Trevor Lawrence.

Tampa Bay Buccaneers DST

The Bucs sit available in 69% of Yahoo leagues as of this writing, and bring the potential to help you each of the next two weeks.

First comes a high-floor Carolina matchup. The Panthers:

  • haven’t scored more than 15 points in a game since Week 6
  • have hit 300 total yards just twice all year
  • and have allowed 4+ sacks in five of the past six games

After that comes a road game in Atlanta, which scored 16 points and turned the ball over three times in their first meeting. QB Desmond Ridder’s return to the lineup Sunday met with 2 more INTs. He has 15 turnover plays (INTs + fumbles) across 10 appearances.

Los Angeles Rams DST

The Rams have held two straight opponents to 16 points or fewer and less than 300 total yards. Now they get an already meager Browns offense that appears likely to miss fill-in QB Dorian Thompson-Robinson.

You won’t want to play the Rams at Baltimore in Week 14. But you can consider holding them through that for:

  • a Week 15 home date with Washington
  • Week 16 at home against the Saints
  • Week 17 at the Giants

Atlanta Falcons DST

Don’t be fooled by the inflation from S Jessie Bates’ 92-yard pick-six against the Saints. But you can grab the Falcons this week because they get Jets QB Tim Boyle. And at just 10% rostered, Atlanta sits much more widely available than Tampa Bay.

Los Angeles Chargers DST

The Chargers’ defense remains really bad. But the Patriots’ QB situation looks worse. Will Mac Jones or Bailey Zappe start this Sunday? Doesn’t matter. Either makes the opposing defense an option.

  

Drop Candidates

These aren’t necessarily players you need to drop, but rather non-obvious candidates who can be dumped for better options.

Leonard Fournette, RB, Buffalo Bills

Last we heard from HC Sean McDermott was that Fournette was still learning the offense. He has now been with the team for a month and not yet been called up from the practice squad.

Latavius Murray, meanwhile, basically split snaps with James Cook at Philly. And Ty Johnson has gained involvement over the past two weeks.

There’s no reason to keep letting Fournette clog a spot on your roster.

Ezekiel Elliott, RB, New England Patriots

Elliott’s not a must-drop if you plan in a deep enough league that there really aren’t viable replacement options. But he’s coming off a season low in playing time despite:

  • a positive rushing matchup with the Giants
  • a close game that didn’t limit rushing opportunities
  • terrible QB play, which should motivate more work going to the RBs

There’s no meaningful upside to wait for here if you’re eyeing something useful on waivers.

Marvin Mims, WR, Denver Broncos

The rookie’s playing time remains much stronger than it was before the bye. But it has dipped the past two weeks, with Denver running fewer 3-WR sets. And Mims still hasn’t caught more than two passes in a game since Week 3.

It’s too late in the season to keep waiting on this guy, especially in an offense purposely limiting its passing.

Quentin Johnston, WR, Los Angeles Chargers

HC Brandon Staley said after Sunday night’s loss to the Ravens that he decided to bench Johnston during the game – rather than hold him out for an injury. That’s enough to make him droppable across redraft formats, especially with Josh Palmer expected back soon.

Michael Mayer, TE, Las Vegas Raiders

Mayer ran a route on just 57% of Raiders dropbacks in Week 12. Combine that with a shaky rookie QB and a weak offense, and there’s just no reason to keep waiting on the rookie TE.

Mayer remains an upside dynasty option for the long term.

Donald Parham Jr., TE, Los Angeles Chargers

Gerald Everett returned for Sunday night’s loss to the Ravens. Parham trailed him by 14 snaps and got 0 targets. Back to the waiver wire.

Detroit Lions DST

We hoped this could be a useful fantasy defense for most of the season’s second half, given the schedule filled with positive matchups. Unfortunately, the Lions’ D has spiraled after a strong start to the season.

Three straight opponents since the bye have gone for 334+ total yards and scored 26+ points. If you go a whole game – AT HOME – against Jordan Love without registering a sack or a takeaway, then you’re clearly not a useful fantasy defense.

  

Dynasty Stash of the Week

Brevin Jordan, TE, Houston Texans

You might have rostered Jordan in 2021 or 2022.

Jordan underperformed across a three-year career at Miami after arriving as the nation’s top TE recruit in 2018. Then he fell to Round 5 of the NFL draft.

Despite solid athleticism and a catch-first skill set, Jordan snagged only 34 passes across his first two seasons. And he hasn’t joined the offensive explosion led by rookie phenom C.J. Stroud in 2023. 

Well, at least not yet.

Jordan saw a noticeable uptick in playing time Sunday. He matched Dalton Schultz in targets and ran only 2 fewer routes than the former Cowboy. We’ll see if that game remains an outlier or starts a trend.

Schultz is on just a one-year deal, though. And Jordan has one more year on his rookie contract.

Jordan still might prove to be irrelevant for fantasy lineups. But at only 23, he still has time to turn into something – especially in a rising offense.

   

Season-Winning Strategy

Your waiver wire strategy needs to fit your overall plan to win your season. Matt and Jared talk more about that in this video.

Matt Schauf Author Image
Matt Schauf, Editor
Matt has earned two Fantasy Pros accuracy awards for IDP rankings and won thousands of dollars as a player across best ball, dynasty, and high-stakes fantasy formats. He has been creating fantasy football content for more than 20 years, with work featured by Sporting News, Rotoworld, Athlon, Sirius XM, and others. He's been with Draft Sharks since 2011.
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