If you’re reading this, chances are you need to find replacements for injuries or players on bye (GB, TEN, CAR, CLE). There have been plenty of injuries in 12 weeks of action, with top-tier fantasy players out for extended periods of time or were unable to suit up Sunday morning, leaving you scrambling for a plug-in starter. This is why you will need to work the fantasy football waiver wire to grab high-upside players to help fill these empty spots and reduce the Sunday morning pre-kickoff panic.
It is time to drop those later-round flyers you’ve been stashing for weeks and start considering other options that have carved out more significant roles as you attempt a late playoff push. If you need that immediate upgrade now, here are some Week 13 fantasy football waiver wire pickups that could help move your team in the right direction.
Players must be owned in less than 60 percent of ESPN leagues to be included in the Week 13 fantasy football waiver wire pickups column. All ownerships for waiver wire players will be provided and will reflect that of Monday evening.
QB Fantasy Football Waiver Wire Pickups
Tyrod Taylor, Houston Texans (27.5%)
Tyrod Taylor started off the season with two back-to-back solid performances, then got hurt for nearly eight weeks. But he has recently returned to the lineup. The Texans look better with him behind center and he poses a threat in both the passing and running game. He’s posted two double-digit fantasy football performances in a row and faces some poorer defenses coming up in SEA and JAX following this week’s matchup against the Colts, who have been hanging with good teams lately. The Texans are a dumpster fire of a team this season and you can’t expect them to win games, but Taylor’s fantasy upside is quite high because he is able to do damage with his legs and will almost always be playing from behind.
Carson Wentz, Indianapolis Colts (44.2%)
Despite Carson Wentz coming up short for his team last week against the Bucs, he still posted a very solid fantasy performance, with 20.34 fantasy points. He’s thrown three touchdowns in three of the last five games and, if the Colts want a shot at a wild card appearance, they’ll need to keep playing aggressively. Wentz has a prime opportunity to make up for his mistakes last week with a matchup against a very vulnerable Texans defense. It’s concerning to own and start Wentz because, any given week, Jonathan Taylor can take over, but Wentz has posted double-digit performances in all but two games this season.
RB Fantasy Football Waiver Wire Pickups
Alexander Mattison, Minnesota Vikings (33.5%)
Dalvin Cook’s injury is expected to keep him out at least a couple of weeks. So, Alexander Mattison is in a prime situation to post very viable fantasy numbers. When Cook was hurt early in the season, Mattison posted two 20-plus fantasy football performances, so it’s clear he is familiar with the scheme and is one of the league’s best backups at this point. Minnesota faces Detroit this week, and the last time Mattison faced Detroit, he posted 26.3 fantasy points, catching all seven of his targets for 40 yards and a touchdown on top of his solid rushing performance. He’s already rostered in one-third of all ESPN leagues and will likely be the top fantasy football waiver wire add this week, so if you are in need of a good running back with a good matchup, make a claim.
Matt Breida, Buffalo Bills (5.6%)
It’s hard to trust any Bills running back the last two seasons due to the lack of run plays, but Matt Breida has recently emerged as a solid fantasy option moving forward. Breida was given the RB2 spot last week, as Zack Moss was a healthy scratch. He served behind Devin Singletary but outplayed him. Breida adds a speedy element out of the backfield for the Bills and is a very good pass-catching back for Josh Allen to check it down. I wouldn’t say Breida is a must-add off the waiver wire, but he is a solid option with a ton of upside in an offense severely lacking consistency out of the backfield.
WR Fantasy Football Waiver Wire Pickups
Nick Westbrook-Ikhine, Tennessee Titans (4.2%)
With both A.J. Brown and Julio Jones on IR, that leaves very little options in the wide receiving corps for Ryan Tannehill to throw the ball to. Nick Westbrook-Ikhine hasn’t produced much this season, but he has been targeted 13 times over the last two games and has posted double-digit performances in both. The Titans have a bye this week, so he will likely be forgotten about by most when scrolling through fantasy football waiver wire options, and he is only rostered in 4.2% of leagues. The Titans are severely banged up, and it’s pretty clear he will be relied on heavily as long as both Jones and Brown are still out.
Kendrick Bourne, New England Patriots (15.2%)
The Patriots receivers have been relatively quiet all season, but rookie Mac Jones has seemed to develop a connection with Kendrick Bourne over the past few weeks. Bourne has seen consistent targets all season long but wasn’t producing high-yardage totals or finding the end zone. Over the last three games, he’s caught three touchdowns and over 200 yards. He is tied with Hunter Henry for most receiving touchdowns on the team this season, and it’s clear what the Patriots have been doing is working, so I expect Bourne to continue to be relied on by Jones.
TE Fantasy Football Waiver Wire Pickups
Cole Kmet, Chicago Bears (13.2%)
Cole Kmet has seen consistent targets all season for the most part, but it’s clear he has some chemistry with Andy Dalton, catching a career-high eight catches for 65 yards last week on Thanksgiving. He doesn’t accumulate a ton of yardage by any means, but the Bears’ weapons are pretty banged up, so he could very easily stay as a top option in the passing game as we enter the last few games. Kmet has only topped 50 yards twice in 11 games, but both of those performances have come in the last three games, so he has some upside moving forward.
James O’Shaughnessy, Jacksonville Jaguars (0.1%)
It seems that rookie quarterback Trevor Lawrence depends on the tight end position. With the news that Dan Arnold may miss the rest of the season to injury, James O’Shaughnessy will pick up his workload moving forward. O’Shaughnessy caught six of eight targets for 48 yards in Week 1, then got hurt the following week. He isn’t going to be a popular option by any means, especially because the Jaguars’ offense has been poor, but he is a solid option in deeper leagues.