Every year around this time, a handful of players emerge and wind up being key contributors in the fantasy football playoffs. It might be a little too early to say if any of those players will come from the top Week 13 fantasy waiver wire pickups and free agent adds, but there are certainly a few candidates. Running back injury replacements like Alexander Mattison, Jamaal Williams, Dontrell Hilliard, Boston Scott, and Tevin Coleman are all worth grabbing, and undervalued WRs like Kendrick Bourne also need to be monitored. Names don’t matter at this point — just opportunities and production.
Whether you’re looking for a “long-term solution” or just someone who can fill in this coming week, our full free agent list has you covered. In addition to intriguing bench stashes like Tony Jones Jr., Matt Breida, D’Onta Foreman, Russell Gage, Van Jefferson, and the guys mentioned above, we have plenty of Week 13-specific streamer suggestions at QB, WR, TE, and D/ST, which can be found at the end of this list. Next week’s byes aren’t too debilitating for fantasy purposes (Packers, Titans, Browns, Panthers), but injuries are a constant worry and you should always be striving for the best possible players in all your lineup spots.
MORE WEEK 13: Full waiver list
Deciding whether to use a top waiver claim this week really comes down to what you need and what you’re trying to block your opponents from getting. Mattison is an easy call for the top pickup of the week if he’s available, but if you don’t need a running back, you can probably hold back your top claim on other players. In general, Williams is worth a high claim if we get some negative reports on D’Andre Swift (shoulder), but it doesn’t sound like Swift will be out long, if at all. You can make a similar case for Jones Jr. if Alvin Kamara (knee) and Mark Ingram (knee) are expected to be out Thursday night.
Hilliard, Foreman, Scott, Coleman, and Breida are all potential waiver claims, too, but you’re probably better off saving your high claims, as it’s likely at least some of those guys will make it to the free agent period. In fact, if you’re in a shallow league, all of those guys (plus David Johnson and Rex Burkhead) could very well be on the free agent wire come Wednesday. The same goes for most WRs, though Bourne and Jefferson stand out a little more.
Top fantasy football waiver wire pickups for Week 13
Unless otherwise noted, only players owned in fewer than 50 percent of Yahoo leagues considered.
Alexander Mattison, RB, Vikings. Mattison scored in Week 12, but the main reason he’s the top pickup of the week is the Dalvin Cook shoulder injury that required the Vikings star to be carted off. Until we hear otherwise, it’s safe to pencil Mattison in as Minnesota’s starter, and that will mean big value the rest of the way. Mattison has excelled in Cook’s absence before, including in Week 5 against Detroit when he had 113 rushing yards, 40 receiving yards, and a TD. It just so happens Mattison is set to face off with the Lions in Week 13, so he’ll be an easy RB1 in that matchup.
Jamaal Williams, RB, Lions. With D’Andre Swift (shoulder) once again likely to be “questionable,” at best, heading into Week 13, Williams takes on added value. He was already a high-usage “backup,” but after 20 touches and 83 total yards on Thanksgiving, it’s clear he’ll be in line for a productive role in a highly favorable Week 13 matchup against the Vikings if Swift is out.
MORE WEEK 13: Full waiver list
Dontrell Hilliard, RB, Titans. With Adrian Peterson gone and Jeremy McNichols (concussion) still out, Hilliard took advantage. He turned 12 carries into 131 yards and a TD against the Patriots tough run defense in Week 12. The bulk of his production came on a 68-yard TD run just before halftime, but he was still heavily involved and received another goal-line carry. D’Onta Foreman handled more touches (20 to 13), but Hilliard has shown enough the past two weeks to continue operating as Tennessee’s “1B” option even when McNichols is healthy. He’s worth grabbing for the stretch run, as more favorable matchups await after Tennessee’s Week 13 bye (vs. Jaguars, @ Steelers).
Kendrick Bourne, WR, Patriots. Bourne has quietly been the Patriots most productive wide receiver this season, and he continued his breakout campaign with five catches (six targets) for 61 yards and two TDs against the Titans. Bourne isn’t exactly a high-ceiling player, but with at least four catches in five of the past six games, he’s shown he has a fairly solid floor in PPR leagues. He gets a tough statistical matchup against Buffalo next week, but with Tre’Davious White (knee) out, Bourne is still in play.
Tevin Coleman, RB, Jets. In the first game of Michael Carter’s IR stint, Coleman was the de facto leader in the Jets’ backfield. He ran 16 times for 67 yards and caught another two passes for just three yards. Coleman owners (or prospective owners) will be annoyed by Austin Walter’s nine carries and goal-line touchdown, but it’s clear Coleman heads this committee. Next week’s matchup against Philadelphia isn’t particularly intimidating, so Coleman has some potential flex value in that one.
For additional waiver/free agent suggestions, including more streaming options at every position, check out our full Week 13 list.