There’s only so much to look ahead to at this point in the fantasy football season, but it’s still important for those in the thick of the fantasy playoff race to start scouting for players who have starting potential in either Week 13, 14, 15 or 16 (or, preferably all of the above). Streamers, sleepers, and injury replacements are often a big part of a championship formula, so beating others to the punch on potential free agent pickups without using waiver claims or FAAB money will be critical.
Picking up potential streamers to play further down the line is always a risky practice. Sometimes, you add players and watch them get hurt or benched. Other times, the player you dropped ends up having a big game and becomes a hot waiver wire pickup the following week. Of course, when you do get it right and add a piece without using a waiver claim or FAAB money, that can be enough to give your team the edge and put you over the top.
In Week 13, there are plenty of favorable matchups to exploit, and only two teams, the Buccaneers and the Panthers, are on bye. Those represent the final two byes of the season, so the waiver wire is plentiful and should continue to be.
Based on the players available in over 50 percent of Yahoo leagues, there are some solid RBs out there (Gus Edwards, Cam Akers), but what really stands out is the amount of solid handcuffs fantasy owners can stash. At receiver, there is also plenty of depth, and matchup-based plays like Sterling Shepard and Keelan Cole will surely be popular adds in Week 13.
You don’t necessarily have to make a preemptive move on the waiver wire, but all moves are at least worth considering if you have a spot available on your bench. Whether it’s handcuffing your top backs, taking on some high-upside receivers in favorable matchups, or simply looking for streamer QBs, TEs, and D/STs with better matchups than your current starters, here are the players to keep an eye on during Week 12 with every NFL team playing.
Fantasy Football Waiver Wire Watchlist
Reminder: This list was put together in the lead-in to Week 12, looking forward to the players that could be waiver-wire targets to scoop before the season starts to use in future weeks. If you have a roster spot to play with, these are options you could pick up early to beat the waiver buzz.
All these players are below 50-percent ownership on Yahoo unless otherwise specified.
Week 13 Waiver Wire Watchlist: Quarterback
Notable QBs on bye: Tom Brady, Teddy Bridgewater
Taysom Hill, Saints @ Falcons (53)
Hill was solid in his first start and was able to score twice on the ground against the Falcons. In Week 13, he gets to take on the Falcons once again and should be able to move the ball against their defense, a unit that gives up the most fantasy points per game (FPPG) to QBs (26.6). Hill has a high rushing floor, too, so he’s the ideal top streamer/backup candidate to carry into the playoffs with Drew Brees’ status moving forward uncertain.
Derek Carr, Raiders @ Jets (46)
Carr is averaging 243.1 passing yards and 1.9 TDs per game this season. He has been consistent, logging seven two-TD games in the 10 contests he has played, and he should feast on weaker competition. The Jets have allowed 22.3 FPPG to QBs, good for the fourth most in the NFL. Carr should take advantage of this matchup and will be a top-10 QB if everything goes as expected. Grab him now if you need a QB streamer.
Kirk Cousins, Vikings vs. Jaguars (42)
Cousins has posted three passing TDs in three of his past five games and has managed to play very well against inferior defenses this year. The Jaguars qualify as one, as they have allowed the third-most FPPG to QBs this year at a mark of 22. Cousins should continue to rack up scores in this contest given the strong rapport he has with Adam Thielen and Justin Jefferson.
Daniel Jones, Giants @ Seahawks (32)
The Seahawks have allowed 25.4 FPPG to QBs this year and have been banged-up on the back end of their defense at times. Jones hasn’t been a big-time scorer, but he is averaging 50 rushing yards per game in his past five outings and has logged at least one TD in five consecutive games after enduring a four-game scoreless stretch earlier in the year. Jones isn’t the most inspiring option, but in this matchup, he could do well.
Baker Mayfield, Browns vs. Titans (31)
The Titans have allowed multiple TDs to QBs in five of their past six games. Mayfield and the Browns offense has struggled a bit since Odell Beckham Jr.’s injury, but this could be a good time for them to snap out of this funk.
Week 13 Waiver Wire Watch List: RB
Notable RBs on bye: Christian McCaffrey, Mike Davis, Ronald Jones, Leonard Fournette
Gus Edwards, Ravens (47)
With Mark Ingram and JK Dobbins currently on the COVID list, Edwards should see more carries for the Ravens this week — perhaps significantly more if he and Justice Hill are the only RBs available for the Ravens. If he does well against a tough Steelers run defense, he could prove himself as the lead back for the Ravens or at least earn an even split with the emerging Dobbins. Also, with the Ravens playing a Thursday night game in Week 13, the statuses of Ingram and Dobbins will need to be watched for that contest. Edwards should be owned right now given his volume and potential to play a big role against the Cowboys in Week 13 if either of his backfield counterparts can’t play.
Cam Akers, Rams (31)
In his past two games, Akers has achieved a couple of milestones. In Week 10, he led the team in carries (10) and rushing yards (38). In Week 11 against the Bucs, he recorded the first TD of his NFL career on a short pass. Akers is gradually becoming more involved, and the Rams are facing the below-average run defenses of the Cardinals and Patriots in Weeks 13 and 14. Akers has a lot of upside compared to some of the other backs on the waiver wire.
Sony Michel, Patriots (24)
With Rex Burkhead (torn ACL) out for the season, there are some more touches available in the Patriots backfield behind Damien Harris. Burkhead had been averaging 9.5 touches per game in his past four outings, and Michel is the logical candidate to step into that role. That could make Michel an intriguing flex in games against the Chargers (Week 13) and Dolphins (Week 14). Grab him in case the former first-round pick emerges in a true split with Harris.
Tevin Coleman, 49ers (18)
Coleman (knee) could be returning to action for the 49ers in Week 12. If not, he may be back in Week 13. When he does return, he’ll be a key part of the team’s backfield committee and could end up getting some goal-line carries. The 49ers figure to run quite a bit against Buffalo, Washington, and Dallas, so he should be stashed given that he could get 10 touches per game if all goes well.
Samaje Perine, Bengals (6)
Joe Mixon (foot) is out until at least Week 14, and Giovani Bernard just landed in the NFL’s concussion protocol. It’s possible Bernard is cleared in time to play in Week 12 against the Giants, but if he’s out, Perine would handle the bulk of the RB touches. That might not lead to a ton of fantasy points, as Cincinnati’s Brandon Allen-led offense doesn’t figure to move the ball quite as well as when Joe Burrow (knee) under center, but all starting RBs have potential flex value. New York has allowed the ninth-most FPPG to RBs, and Cincinnati’s Week 13 opponent, Miami, has been even worse.
At this point in the fantasy season, keeping handcuffs around at the RB position makes sense. Ideally, you’d want to have handcuffs for guys on your roster if you’re in the playoff hunt, as that will ensure that your team won’t lack talent (or at least volume) at RB if one of your top options goes down. That said, you can add handcuffs for other players, as well, and there are some strong options out there. Notably, Carlos Hyde (Seahawks, 47-percent owned), Alexander Mattison (Vikings, 33), Tony Pollard (Cowboys, 20), and Devontae Booker (Raiders, 9) stand out as players who should be owned given the volume of carries they could see if a player in front of them goes down.
Week 13 Waiver Wire Watch List: WR
Notable WRs on bye: Chris Godwin, Mike Evans, Antonio Brown, D.J. Moore, Robby Anderson, Curtis Samuel
Michael Pittman Jr., Colts (53)
Over his past three games, Pittman is averaging 4.7 receptions per game for 74.3 yards. He had his first TD against the Packers in Week 11, and he should be the Colts’ top weapon moving forward. The Colts play the Texans, Raiders, and then Texans again in the next three weeks, and all figure to be good matchups for Pittman.
Deebo Samuel, 49ers (52)
Samuel has played in just four games this season because a couple of injuries, but he is very close to returning to action and should be owned in more than 52 percent of Yahoo leagues. With George Kittle (foot) out, Samuel will be arguably the 49ers top receiving weapon when he does get back on the field, and that should lead to plenty of touches. San Francisco is playing Buffalo, Washington, and Dallas in Weeks 13-15, and Samuel should be able to post starter-worthy numbers in those games, especially against Dallas.
Sterling Shepard, Giants (48)
Shepard is averaging an even seven targets per game this season and has established himself as Daniel Jones’ security blanket. He gets to play the Seahawks in Week 13, a team that has allowed a league-high 33.6 FPPG to WRs, and he could have a massive day. Shepard was already trending toward being a steady WR3, so he can certainly be trusted as such in this matchup.
Nelson Agholor, Raiders (34) | Henry Ruggs, Raiders (30)
The Raiders are going to face the Jets in Week 13 in a matchup that should favor their receivers. New York has allowed the fifth-most FPPG to WRs this year at a mark of 26.7, so the Raiders should be able to support multiple fantasy-relevant receivers. Recently, Agholor has been their most consistent option, as he has scored in five of his past seven games and has averaged 52.7 yards per game in that span. Meanwhile, Ruggs hasn’t done much of late, but he is the type of boom-or-bust playmaker that could go off in this matchup. Both are worth targeting in this matchup, especially if they do well against a similarly porous Falcons defense in Week 12.
Keelan Cole, Jaguars (28)
Cole has a couple of good upcoming matchups. First, he gets to take on a Vikings team that has allowed 29.2 FPPG to WRs (fourth most) and 17 TDs to the position (second most). Then, he takes on a Titans team that has allowed 25.5 FPPG to WRs (11th most in the league). Cole has at least 100 yards or a TD in five of his 10 games this season, so these could be two more spots for him to post solid numbers, especially if Gardner Minshew (thumb) is able to return to the lineup.
Jalen Reagor, Eagles (27)
Reagor continues to see consistent targets (5.2 per game). The Eagles are facing the Packers and Saints in the coming weeks, and to stay in those games, they will have to throw quite a bit. That could open the door for Reagor to have solid outings and emerge as a worthwhile WR3/flex option.
Tim Patrick, Broncos (23)
Patrick posted over 100 yards against the Dolphins last week and is averaging 6.2 targets per game this year. His matchups with the Chiefs and Panthers in Weeks 13 and 14 don’t look great on paper, but Patrick’s floor is high because of his consistent targets. Feel free to trust him, as he is clearly one of the Broncos’ top-two WRs.
Breshad Perriman, Jets (12)
Perriman has been targeted 11 times in his past two games and has logged 155 receiving yards and three TDs in those contests. With Joe Flacco at quarterback, he has been better, but if he can establish a rapport with Sam Darnold (shoulder) when he returns, he could end up being a decent flex option. Against the Raiders in Week 13, Perriman can be started with some confidence, as the Raiders have been middle-of-the-pack against WRs this year.
Week 13 Waiver Wire Watch List: TE
Notable TEs on bye: Rob Gronkowski, Cameron Brate, Ian Thomas
Jimmy Graham, Bears (37)
Graham takes on the Lions in Week 13, and while Detroit was good against TEs earlier in the year, it’s allowed at least 50 total yards and three total TDs to TEs in four of its past five games. That should bode well for Graham, who is averaging 5.7 targets per game, good for the 10th most in the NFL among TEs.
Dalton Schultz, Cowboys (23)
The Dalton-Dalton connection paid off in Week 11 when Andy Dalton hit Schultz for a TD against the Vikings. Schultz’s Week 13 matchup against the Ravens won’t be easy, but the Ravens have allowed 8.1 FPPG to TEs, which ranks tied for 16th with the Vikings, the team Schultz just scored against. Schultz is seeing 6.1 targets per game, tied for the sixth most among TEs with George Kittle, so he will have opportunities to produce in favorable matchups.
Jordan Reed, 49ers (21)
Reed will continue to serve as the 49ers’ top TE with Kittle (foot) out for the foreseeable future, and in his last game action, Reed caught six passes for 52 yards. His matchup against the Bills defense is a great one, as the Bills have allowed more receiving yards to TEs than any team in the league (642). He could be a TE1 in this matchup, so scoop him now if you have issues at the position.
Will Dissly, Seahawks (2) | Jacob Hollister, Seahawks (1)
Greg Olsen (foot) has landed on IR, and that will open up more snaps at tight end for the Seahawks. Seattle has plenty of talent at TE, so they could end up producing a capable streamer if one of their top two options steps up. Dissly and Hollister both have upside. Dissly has averaged 36 catches for 465 yards and six TDs per 16 games in his career, and Hollister had 41 catches last season for the Seahawks. If either gets a bulk of the snaps and targets at the position, they could be solid plays. Both players are worth considering if you’re desperate for some TE help, and at the very least, they should be monitored during Week 12.
Week 13 defense streamers and sleepers
Notable D/STs on bye: Buccaneers, Panthers
Green Bay Packers (49) | Week 12 opponent: vs. Eagles
Seattle Seahawks (44) | Week 12 opponent: vs. Giants
Las Vegas Raiders (7) | Week 12 opponent: @ Jets
The defensive streaming options for Week 13 aren’t all that great. Most of the bad offenses are taking on defenses that are either highly owned or aren’t very good at all.
Luckily, there are still a few matchups to take advantage of, and one of the best in the Packers against the Eagles. Carson Wentz has played terribly for the Eagles this year and has been sacked a league-high 40 times. He also leads the league in interceptions thrown (14). The Packers have solid personnel on defense and have strung together good games against bad offenses this year, so they should do well against the Eagles.
Meanwhile, the Seahawks are a defense on the rise, as they’re getting healthier and the acquisition of Carlos Dunlap has given them a pass rush. The Giants offense is improving, too, but their offensive line is still an issue and Daniel Jones is prone to sacks (31) and turnovers (13). Seattle should rattle him a bit and make some big plays.
After those top two options, the streamers thin out considerably. The Raiders are the best left on the board, as they get to take on a Jets team that has allowed 9.9 FPPG to D/ST units this year, good for the most in the NFL. The Raiders defense hasn’t been particularly good this season, but it should have a chance to limit the Jets offense in this one.