Week 13 Fantasy Football: Alexander Mattison Highlights Top Waiver Wire Pickups
With only two weeks remaining in the fantasy football regular season, it is more critical than ever to identify the top available options on the waiver wire. Almost every year at this time, a handful of players become big-time contributors and make a considerable impact in the fantasy football postseason. The injury bug hit the NFL hard in Week 12, as top running backs such as D’Andre Swift, Dalvin Cook, and Christian McCaffrey all went down with what appeared to be significant ailments.
After dealing with just two teams on byes in Week 12, the Cleveland Browns, Green Bay Packers, Carolina Panthers, and Tennessee Titans all will be sidelined in Week 13. Fantasy owners will need to dig deep on the waiver wire to find potential replacements for their starters. At the quarterback position, Aaron Rodgers, Baker Mayfield, Cam Newton, and Ryan Tannehill will be out. Nick Chubb, Kareem Hunt, Aaron Jones, AJ Dillon, CMC, Chuba Hubbard, Dontrell Hilliard, and D’Onta Foreman owners will need to find bye-week replacements. Week 13 may be the worst bye week at the running back position all season. Fortunately, there aren’t many studs at the wide receiver and tight end positions on the four teams that will be off this week, but owners of Davante Adams will certainly be scrambling. A.J. Brown owners were already scrounging the waiver wire after the Titans placed him on Injured Reserve late last week.
Although there are numerous perrenial starters on bye this week, there are also some solid players who may be available due to the myriad of injuries that took place over the last week. So without further delay, let’s take a look at the top available waiver wire options at each position heading into Week 13 of the fantasy football season.
Waiver Wire Quarterbacks Heading Into Week 13
QB Daniel Jones, New York Giants
The quarterback position is incredibly shallow at this point of the season, and although Jones didn’t have a tremendous day passing the ball in New York’s 13-7 upset victory over the Philadelphia Eagles, there were signs of positive development in the Giants’ first game since firing offensive coordinator Jason Garrett. Perhaps the most encouraging sign was the number of rushing attempts Jones had in Week 12. Jones turned nine carries into 30 rushing yards, not an incredible total, but we have seen the third-year quarterback break off long runs in the past. Jones also didn’t commit a single turnover against the Eagles, which is probably the only reason the Giants were able to win this game. If you own Aaron Rodgers or Ryan Tannehill, you may want to consider Danny Dimes in Week 13. He gets a matchup against a generous Miami Dolphins defense that has played well as of late but has also allowed the fifth-most fantasy points per game to opposing quarterbacks. Plus, Kadarius Toney and Sterling Shepard could make their respective ways back into the lineup after dealing with various injuries.
QB Andy Dalton, Chicago Bears
Justin Fields left Week 11 early and missed Thanksgiving’s contest against the Detroit Lions. Andy Dalton has played very well in the rookie’s absence. In Week 11, the veteran accumulated 201 passing yards and two touchdowns with no turnovers. Then in his first start in 10 weeks, Dalton led the Bears to a last-second victory over the Lions. Dalton completed 24 of 39 passes and accumulated the most passing yards by a Chicago quarterback (317) since Nick Foles on Nov. 8, 2020. Dalton also tossed one touchdown, though he was also picked off once. His 85.1 passer rating helped Chicago snap a five-game losing streak. What’s even more impressive about the performance is that the 11th-year pro was able to do this without wide receiver Allen Robinson on the field. Dalton mostly relied on second-year wide receiver Darnell Mooney and tight end Cole Kmet and Jimmy Graham. If Fields is not able to return in Week 13, Dalton will lead Chicago against a tough Arizona Cardinals defense. Although the game is in Chicago, the Bears open the week as heavy underdogs, which means Dalton will be asked to throw the ball often if Chicago has any shot at keeping up with Kyler Murray. Fantasy owners desperate for a quarterback in Week 13 could do worse than the “Red Rifle.”
Waiver Wire Running Backs Heading Into Week 13
RB Alexander Mattison, Minnesota Vikings
Mattison should be owned in all fantasy football leagues, but he is surprisingly still on the waiver wire in about a third of all leagues. If he’s available in your league, you need to scoop him up immediately after Dalvin Cook had to be carted off the field in Week 12. Mattison rushed seven times for 21 yards and a touchdown in the Vikings' Week 12 loss to the 49ers, adding two receptions for seven additional yards. He has been perhaps the top handcuff in all of fantasy football since entering the league. Every time he has made a spot start in Cook’s absence, he has delivered, including in Week 5 against the Lions when he compiled 113 rushing yards, an additional 40 receiving yards, and a touchdown. Fortunately for Mattison, he’ll get to face the Lions again in Week 13. If Cook is unable to suit up, Mattison is a sure-fire RB1 in a matchup against a defense that allows the fourth-most fantasy points per game to running backs. If Mattison is available in your league, he is worth every last FAAB dollar you have left. He could be a league-winning pickup at this point of the season.
RB Jamaal Williams, Detroit Lions
Another player whose value spiked due to the starting running back going down was Williams. D’Andre Swift suffered a shoulder injury in the second quarter of Detroit’s loss to the Chicago Bears on Thanksgiving day. With Swift quickly ruled out for the remainder of the contest, Williams compiled 83 yards on 15 carries and five receptions. Williams was the workhorse in Detroit’s backfield and saw tons of dump-off passes from quarterback Jared Goff. Although Godwin Igwebuike and Jermar Jefferson will surely see touches if Swift is unable to suit up, there is no denying that Williams will serve as the lead back. Considering Williams just returned from an injury himself, there is a solid chance that he is available on your league’s waiver wire. The Lions are not going to rush Swift back to action given their winless record, so Williams has a decent shot at starting at least one game for the Lions. Detroit faces a middle-of-the-pack Minnesota Vikings defense in Week 13. If Swift is unable to go, J-Will should be an RB2 in PPR formats.
RB Dontrell Hilliard, Tennessee Titans
For the second consecutive week, Hilliard is featured in this article. After the Titans waived Adrian Peterson last week, Hilliard took advantage of his opportunity with Jeremy McNichols sidelined due to a concussion. Hilliard and D’Onta Foreman were the only running backs healthy for Tennessee’s pivotal matchup against the New England Patriots. Hilliard accumulated 131 yards and a touchdown on 12 carries. Most of his production came on a 68-yard touchdown run just before the end of the first half, but he still proved to be a valuable asset in the fantasy community. Hilliard only saw two targets compared to the 10 he saw in Week 11, but following Tennessee’s Week 13 bye, the Titans will face two teams that have been carved up by opposing running backs in the Jacksonville Jaguars and Pittsburgh Steelers. Hilliard can provide flex value down the stretch of the fantasy season.
RB Boston Scott, Philadelphia Eagles
Scott has been a staple of this weekly article due to the consistent production he has provided over the second half of the season in Philly. Even though Miles Sanders returned to action against the Giants in Week 12, Scott was given considerable playing time due to Jordan Howard’s absence. Scott compiled 72 yards and a touchdown on 17 touches, finishing as Philadelphia’s top fantasy contributor at any position. He almost had a second touchdown but it was called back on a holding penalty. It’s possible that Howard could be out again in Week 13 and Scott’s value could skyrocket after Sanders was limited in the second half of Sunday’s game after limping off the field with an apparent leg injury. The Eagles get a juicy matchup against a New York Jets defense that has allowed the most fantasy points per game to opposing running backs. No matter the status of Howard and Sanders, Scott is worthy of a roster spot on your fantasy squad due to Philadelphia’s run-heavy approach on offense.
RB Matt Breida, Buffalo Bills
With Zack Moss a healthy scratch for Buffalo’s Thanksgiving day matchup with the New Orleans Saints, Breida looked like the Bills’ most capable ball carrier. Despite splitting time with Devin Singletary, Breida saw 11 touches and turned that into 55 total yards and a receiving touchdown in which he broke multiple tackles and made the New Orleans defense look silly. Breida possesses both speed and explosiveness and could provide significant value as we inch closer to the fantasy football playoffs. Buffalo’s high-powered offense should create ample opportunity for Breida to finish off drives in the red zone. He has a difficult matchup on the horizon against the New England Patriots, but Breida could still be one of the sneakiest pickups this late in the season.
RB Tevin Coleman, New York Jets
Coleman led New York’s backfield with 47% of the running back snaps in the Jets’ victory over the Houston Texans. The former Atlanta Falcon finished the day with 67 rushing yards on 16 carries and three receiving yards on two receptions. It wasn’t an amazing day by any stretch of the imagination, but getting a running back on the waiver wire who sees 15+ touches is usually pretty rare (though less rare in Week 13 due to all the injuries). With the rookie, Michael Carter, most likely still on the shelf next week, Coleman should log another start, with Ty Johnson and Austin Waller serving change-of-pace roles. Coleman should see another double-digit touches in Week 13 against an Eagles defense that ranks in the bottom third of the league against opposing running backs.
RB Chuba Hubbard, Carolina Panthers
Hubbard was owned in almost all leagues before Christian McCaffrey returned to action. And just when it seemed like CMC was coming into his own and returning to the player he was before being selected with the top pick in most fantasy drafts… boom, he went down with another injury. McCaffrey was spotted after Carolina’s Week 12 loss wearing a walking boot, which could mean Hubbard will get the start in Week 14 following Carolina’s bye.
Waiver Wire Wide Receivers Heading Into Week 13
WR Kendrick Bourne, New England Patriots
Bourne continued his breakout season with a huge day against the Tennessee Titans. He hauled in five of the six passes thrown his way for 61 yards and two touchdowns. Bourne has accumulated 20+ PPR points in two of his last three games and has three touchdowns over that span. Additionally, he has caught at least four passes in five of his past six contests, signaling that he has a very safe floor now that he has developed a solid rapport with rookie quarterback Mac Jones. In Week 13, the Pats face a very tough Buffalo Bills secondary on paper, however, with Tre’Davious White sidelined, Bourne may have more upside than you might initially think when looking at the matchup.
WR Van Jefferson, Los Angeles Rams
Many fantasy owners dropped Jefferson after Los Angeles added Odell Beckham to their wide receiver room. However, after Robert Woods suffered a season-ending injury, Jefferson has appeared to be Matthew Stafford’s second-favorite option behind Cooper Kupp. The second-year wideout hauled in three receptions for 93 yards and a touchdown in the Rams’ third straight loss in Week 12. Most of Jefferson’s production came on a long touchdown pass, but he has to be considered ahead of a Week 13 matchup with a Jaguars secondary that allows the seventh-most fantasy points per game to the wide receiver position.
WR Nick Westbrook-Ihkine, Tennessee Titans
In Week 11, Westbrook-Akhine has his breakout game, hauling in seven receptions and eclipsing the 100-yard marker for the first time in his career. With A.J. Brown and Julio Jones sidelined for Tennessee’s Week 12 matchup against the Patriots, NWI saw five targets. Although he only caught two of those passes for 25 yards, he did find the end zone. Even if Brown can return following the Titans’ Week 13 bye, it’s pretty clear that Westbrook-Ikhine will be no worse than the WR2 in Tennessee’s offense.
WR Laviska Shenault, Jacksonville Jaguars
Many analysts pinpointed Shenault a preseason sleeper heading into the 2021 fantasy football season. Shenault failed to live up to expectations but is finally getting the chance to prove himself late in the season. With D.J. Chark and Jamal Agnew both on Injured Reserve, Shenault is the WR2 behind Marvin Jones for rookie quarterback Trevor Lawrence. In Jacksonville’s Week 12 loss to the Atlanta Falcons, Shenault hauled in five receptions on nine targets for 33 yards. The yardage wasn’t there, but the reception and target totals were quite encouraging. He’s clearly more valuable in PPR formats and if you are desperate for a receiver in Week 13, you can certainly do worse than the second-year pro.
WR Marquez Valdes-Scantling, Green Bay Packers
Although Green Bay won’t be suiting up in Week 13, MVS could provide value in the fantasy football postseason. Following his breakout performance against the Minnesota Vikings in Week 11 when he caught four passes for 123 yards and a touchdown, Valdes-Scantling provided a decent floor in Week 12. MVS caught four passes for 50 yards in Green Bay’s victory over the Rams. Considering Randall Cobb went down with what appeared to be a serious injury, Valdes-Scantling should see enough targets to warrant a roster spot in all but the shallowest leagues. With Aaron Rodgers under center, he could score a touchdown or two on any given Sunday.
Waiver Wire Tight Ends Heading Into Week 13
TE Cole Kmet, Chicago Bears
Kmet had a big game with Andy Dalton under center in Week 12. The second-year tight end saw a whopping 11 targets, and finished the day with eight receptions for 65 yards. There aren’t many attractive tight ends available on the waiver wire, so seeing an available player get double-digit targets is eye opening. If you need a tight end in Week 13, Kmet is probably the safest option. Even in a matchup against a Cardinals secondary that has been stingy against opposing tight ends, it’s hard to identify any tight ends with more upside on the waiver wire. Considering the lack of options Chicago has in the passing attack (especially if Allen Robinson is unable to suit up in Week 13), Kmet should see enough targets to warrant a speculative waiver wire pickup.
TE Foster Moreau, Las Vegas Raiders
Superstar tight end Darren Waller suffered a knee injury that kept him out of the second half of the Raiders’ exciting Thanksgiving upset of the Dallas Cowboys. Although Waller reportedly avoided serious damage, that doesn’t mean he will be available for Vegas’ Week 13 matchup with Washington. Although Moreau only hauled in one reception on five targets in Week 12, Washington has one of the worst defenses in the entire NFL. When Waller missed Week 7, Moreau filled in admirably, producing six receptions for 60 yards and a touchdown. This is a situation worth monitoring.
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