Pick ‘Em Up: Week 13 Fantasy Football Waiver Claims

WE. MADE. IT. For most leagues, it’s the last week of the fantasy regular season and we are just a week away from the playoffs. As if sensing this, football made Week 12 pretty much hell for all fantasy players. It was by far the worst week of COVID and we saw a plethora of injuries during the games themselves. The result is that likely every IR spot in your league is full and waivers are going to be thin this week. Here are the players you should be targeting as replacements, most available in 50% or more Yahoo leagues. Time is running out — Pick ‘Em Up!

Quarterbacks

Kirk Cousins (60% Available)
It is time to stop ignoring Kirk Cousins. He was the QB4 in Week 12, is the QB13 on the season, and has scored 20+ fantasy points in five of his last six games. He’s also thrown 15 touchdown passes in that same span. In Week 13, he gets the Jacksonville Jaguars, who give up the 3rd most points to fantasy QBs. Cousins is an early front-runner for my Stream of the Week QB in Week 13 and if you need a win to make the playoffs, he’s probably your best bet on waivers.

Baker Mayfield (65% Available)
Mayfield is a bit of a conundrum. His season-long numbers are dreadful but he was a top-10 QB in Week 12 and has a pretty easy upcoming schedule. Home games in bad weather have killed him over the last month, so it was no surprise to see him improve on the road in Florida. In December, he gets three road games, all against bad pass defenses. Starting in Week 13, when he plays Tennessee, then Week 15 and 16, when he plays the Giants and Jets. The weather could be a concern for those games too, but Mayfield may be worth a gamble if you are in need of a QB and planning ahead for the playoffs.

Philip Rivers (67% Available)
I’ve pretty much been avoiding Rivers all season long, but his schedule is opening up at the right time and he was the QB10 in Week 12. With two games against Houston sandwiching a game against Las Vegas, you couldn’t really ask for a much better schedule over the next three weeks. He’s hard to trust and should basically be a last resort, but if your waivers are bare, Rivers seems to be out there in just about every league.

Running Backs

Cam Akers (71% Available)
Trusting a Rams RB is hard. Playing time is all over the place and Sean McVay seems to use them at his own whims, rather than who has the hot-hand. That being said, Akers looked good in Week 12. He took nine carries for 84 yards and scored a touchdown. If he were to become the lead-back, he is an every-week RB2 with RB1 upside. It’s a big “if”, but he’s too good to be sitting on waivers in this many leagues heading into the fantasy playoffs.

Frank Gore (75% Available)
There is one person on this planet that has beaten Father Time and you want him on your fantasy team. Gore is the only competent RB healthy for New York and Gase is going to keep feeding him. He was the RB19 in Week 12 and is basically a safe RB2 for the rest of the season on volume alone. His upside is limited because it’s the New York Jets, but his floor is just about guaranteed!

Tony Pollard (81% Available)
We’ve been talking about this on the show for a month, but Zeke looks like he’s mailing it in and at some point, Dallas might turn to Pollard. While he’ll still have a very limited ceiling playing for the Dallas Dumpster Fires, he is a hard runner who is playing for his next opportunity. He is definitely more of a bench-stash than the guy mentioned above but could pay off big.

Alexander Mattison (68% Available)
This is more of a speculation-add because Dalvin Cook hurt his ankle in Week 12. He should be fine but if he’s not, Mattison could hit big in the fantasy playoffs. He’s a nice bench stash whether you have Cook or not.

Devontae Booker (91% Available)
Along the same lines as Mattison, Booker would be in line for a larger role if Josh Jacobs were to miss time. They are saying that Jacobs dodged the dreaded high-ankle sprain but that he could still miss time. Booker has flashed a few times this season and could do a lot with this opportunity. Funnily enough, I probably know the guy who has him rostered in all 9% of the current leagues. The owner of FantasyGo, Dave, has been touting Booker as a great insurance policy for at least the last month, and now his words may be coming true. If you’re not familiar with FantasyGo.com, it’s a very cool site where you can hire your favorite fantasy football analysts (like me) to help run your team with a true one-on-one focus on your team and your questions.

Wide Receivers

Nelson Agholor (57% Available)
There is no reason that any team’s WR1 should still be available in more than 50% of leagues. This is getting a bit ridiculous. You didn’t listen last week and Agholor went out and put a five-catch, 54-yard game up against Atlanta. Not his best outing but still good enough to be a fantasy WR3 on the week. He is a weekly WR3 with a great upside and you should add him to your playoff roster immediately.

Sterling Shepherd (48% Available)
Shepard would be my #1 add but he is not quite available in 50% of leagues. However, 48% is still too high. I told you last week that he is a lock for eight targets every game. In Week 12, even with Daniel Jones getting hurt, he saw eight targets and turned them into seven catches for 64 yards. He was the WR26 in PPR on a bad week. If he’s available after this week, I’m convinced you don’t want to win.

Deebo Samuel (44% Available)
Samuel made a triumphant return from injury for the 49ers this week. Owing to the fact that he is pretty much the only pass-catcher that the 49ers have, he was targeted 13 times in Week 12, catching 11 balls for 133 yards. He’s only out there in 44% of leagues because of his injury history but he’s worth every bit of the gamble as your WR3 heading into the playoffs.

Allen Lazard (61% Available)
Lazard is getting back into rhythm as the WR2 for the Packers and could end up paying off big time if Aaron Rodgers stays hot. He is firmly behind Davante Adams and Aaron Jones in the pecking-order but could still be good for six targets every week, which is exactly what he saw in Week 12. He turned those targets into four catches for 23 yards and a touchdown, nothing to write home about but a nice precursor of what may come.

Tight Ends

Trey Burton (81% Available)
Last week, there were no TEs worth a waiver claim. This week, Burton deserves a flyer. He has seen 3+ targets in every game he’s played this season and scored a touchdown in each of the last two games. He’s never going to finish top-5, but a top-10 TE is about the best you can hope for if you didn’t draft one of the studs.