For most fantasy owners, Week 13 marks the end of the regular fantasy season (some leagues to play into Week 14 before playoffs start). However, Week 13 is here, Thanksgiving is here, and fantasy owners need a last-minute win.
At this point, there is some strategy to be had with the waiver wire. While you ideally will only be picking up guys you want to start, you also may want to pick up guys you don’t want your opponent to start. If you feel that you wouldn’t want to play against one of these guys (or anyone else on your waiver wire) this week, be the one to pick them up.
Ryan Tannehill, QB, Tennessee Titans (26 percent owned)
Prior to Lamar Jackson's demolition of the Rams on Monday night, Tannehill was the No. 1 quarterback in terms of fantasy points for Week 12. Since taking over for the Titans in Week 7, Tannehill has had at least 20 fantasy points in a six-point per passing touchdown format in every game he’s played. He’s had at least 300 passing yards or two touchdowns in every game since Week 7 as well. While it seems risky to start him, he’s working his way onto the quarterback radar. He’s still a QB2, but if your starting quarterback has a tough matchup, it may be worth it to consider Tannehill.
Sam Darnold, QB, New York Jets (39 percent owned)
In the past three games, Darnold has had over 20 fantasy points. In the last two games, he’s had over 30 fantasy points. Yes, prior to that he did score negative points vs. New England. However, Darnold should be considered a matchup-based option. He faced Washington and Oakland in the past two weeks. Cincinnati and Miami are next and he should be usable for those two games. However, be sure to drop Darnold before he faces Baltimore in Week 15.
Rashaad Penny, RB, Seattle Seahawks (20 percent owned)
With Chris Carson’s fumbling issues continuing, Penny has been given the chance to carry the ball more often. He out-snapped Carson in Week 12 and also ran for the highlight-reel, 58-yard touchdown on his way to 129 yards in Week 12. It seems like the Seahawks are going to be using him more going forward. That bodes well for Penny and not so much for Carson. Penny is arguably the best waiver wire priority this week, but he’s only going to have RB3 value.
Wayne Gallman, RB, New York Giants (5 percent owned)
Fantasy owners were excited when Saquon Barkley returned much earlier than expected from his high ankle sprain. However, since he’s returned, he only has one rushing touchdown and he doesn’t have a 100-yard rushing game. He’s been involved in the passing game, which has saved his fantasy value, but he clearly is not 100 percent. It is possible that the Giants choose to bench their franchise running back toward the end of the season (and in the fantasy playoffs as they don’t care about your team) so Barkley owners should grab Gallman now, just in case.
Benny Snell, RB, Pittsburgh Steelers (5 percent owned)
Based on the reports, it sounds like James Conner is not going to play in Week 13. In his absence in Week 12, Snell was given 21 carries, which he turned into 98 yards. Jaylen Samuels is the pass-catching back (although he was a bust in Week 12), while Snell is the between the tackles runner. Mason Rudolph has been benched, so it’s not clear how that will affect the running game, but Snell should be picked up with matchups against the Browns and the Cardinals coming up in the next two weeks. He’ll be an RB3 with upside as long as Conner is out.
Randall Cobb, WR, Dallas Cowboys (30 percent owned)
After back-to-back 100-yard games with a touchdown in Weeks 10 and 11, Cobb came back down to earth in a rainy, messy Week 12 game against the Patriots. He still managed four receptions for 87 yards on seven targets. The targets have been there for Cobb, which makes him an intriguing fantasy option. In the four games since the bye, he has had at least seven targets a game. Cobb will be a WR3 with some tough matchups against Buffalo, Chicago and the Rams coming up.
James Washington, WR, Pittsburgh Steelers (20 percent owned)
With Devlin Hodges in at quarterback, Washington caught a 79-yard touchdown. It’s hard to say if Washington’s performance was linked to Hodges or was just that JuJu Smith-Schuster was out. However, Hodges looks to be the Steelers starting quarterback for the rest of the season, so fantasy owners with an open bench spot or looking to add depth could consider Washington.
A.J. Brown, WR, Tennessee Titans (16 percent owned)
Brown isn’t a high-volume wide receiver; he’s more of a boom-or-bust type. However, when he gets going, he rewards fantasy owners. In Week 12, he had four receptions for 135 yards and a touchdown. He’s only had two 100-yard games. He only has one game with more than four receptions (six in Week 7), but he’s proven to be an important part of the Titans offense. He’ll be a WR3 in Week 13 against the Colts.
Jack Doyle, TE, Indianapolis Colts (33 percent owned)
With Eric Ebron going on injured reserve, Doyle will be the only tight end in Indianapolis (at least for fantasy purposes). Doyle’s season has been pretty abysmal, but without Ebron, he is in the TE2 mix. This week may be tougher, but Doyle faces the Bucs in Week 14, who allow the second-most fantasy points to opposing tight ends. Keep him in mind for Week 14, if your team gets there.
Defense/Special Teams (DST)
Philadelphia Eagles (40 percent owned)
The Eagles DST faces the Miami Dolphins in Week 13. The Dolphins allow the most fantasy points to opposing DSTs. The Eagles haven’t been great, but they’ve been able to get fantasy owners points. Aside from the one game where they had two special teams touchdowns, they haven’t gotten the ball in the end zone, but they have been able to sack the opposing quarterback. They had six sacks of Russell Wilson in Week 12 and they should be able to get to Ryan Fitzpatrick in Week 13.
— Written by Sarah Lewis, who is part of the Athlon Contributor Network and lives, eats, and breathes fantasy football. Have a fantasy football question? Send it to her on Twitter @Sarah_Lewis32.