Week 13 means the final regular-season game in most fantasy leagues, amplifying the value of a waiver wire that is filled with solid options to run with come fantasy playoff time along with a host of players that will bolster roster depth in the event of an injury to a fantasy starter.
Fantasy football history is filled with late-season waiver wire acquisitions who carried their teams to championship glory. Perhaps a similar story is waiting to be picked up by a fantasy owner.
DEVONTAE BOOKER, RB, Raiders: Starter Josh Jacobs has a sprained ankle, and while there’s a good chance the league’s ninth-leading rusher can go in Week 13, don’t be surprised if Booker takes the bulk of the carries as the Raiders will be facing a winless Jets team that gives up the 10th-most fantasy points per game to opposing runners. Booker has four runs of at least 20 yards while averaging 5.5 yards per carry. Fantasy owners of Jacobs should consider Booker a must add, especially if Oakland chooses to give Jacobs time to heal this week.
KEKE COUTEE, WR, Texans: WR Will Fuller is out for the remainder of the season following his six-game suspension for violating the league’s performance-enhancing substances policy. That opens the door for Coutee, who has just six receptions for 38 yards and a score this season. Since Randall Cobb is on injured reserve, Coutee is in line for a bigger role in Houston’s pass-oriented offense. Taking advantage of multiple targets from Deshaun Watson is a good way to become fantasy-relevant.
BRESHAD PERRIMAN, WR, Jets: Perriman has three touchdown receptions in his past three games to go along with a 100-yard outing in Week 9 and 79 yards in the Week 12 loss to the Dolphins. Perriman has a high snap count (95% or better over the past four games) and is averaging at least 13.5 yards per target in the same span. He’s a good addition for fantasy owners in need of depth at wideout.
RYAN FITZPATRICK, QB, Dolphins: Eventually, Miami will go back to rookie Tua Tagovailoa. For now, fantasy owners in need of a Week 13 streamer shouldn’t hesitate to play Fitzpatrick, who has thrown for at least two touchdowns in three of his past four games. DeVante Parker owners are banking on Fitzpatrick to get the start against the Bengals as he and Fitzpatrick combined for eight receptions for 119 yards on 14 targets in the Week 12 win over the Jets. Cincinnati is 10th-worst in fantasy points allowed per game to opposing QBs, making the choice of Fitzpatrick a stealth option if the Dolphins give their rookie QB another week to heal.
MICHAEL PITTMAN JR., WR, Colts: He’ll likely be overlooked in most leagues after he managed just two catches for 28 yards in the Week 12 loss to the Titans. Don’t be an owner who brushes him aside if Pittman is available. He did have nine targets on Sunday, which also marked the fourth straight week Pittman appeared on the field at least 80% of the time. There’s a big game awaiting Pittman, and it could come in Week 13 when he lines up against a Texans defense that allows the 11th-most passing yards in the league.
WAYNE GALLMAN, RB, Giants: Not only did Gallman rush for a season-high 94 yards in the Week 12 win over Cincinnati, he also found the end zone for a fifth straight game. Gallman isn’t going to offer much as a receiver, but his high volume and nose for the goal line make him a great Week 13 sleeper when the NFC East leaders play the Seahawks.
DEEBO SAMUEL, WR, 49ers: Returning from a four-game absence, Samuel pulled in 11 passes for 133 yards on 13 targets in the Week 12 win over the Rams. Samuel is a threat to score anytime he touches the ball, and the rapport he had with QB Nick Mullens bodes well for Samuel to finish out the regular season in a manner that makes him a must-add for fantasy owners.
ITO SMITH, RB, Falcons: Fantasy owners who took Brian Hill as a late Week 12 grab were burned as Smith not only had a 16-13 edge over Hill in touches, Smith also found the end zone late in the blowout win over the Raiders. Starter Todd Gurley could miss the Week 13 game against the Saints, meaning that Smith and Hill will continue their timeshare. For now, consider Smith the hot hand in the Falcons backfield.
CAM AKERS, RB, Rams: The time could be now for Akers, who ripped off a 61-yard run in the Week 12 loss to the 49ers and finished with a season-high 84 yards on nine carries. The Rams have been a committee at running back this season, annoying fantasy owners who have no clue who gets the majority of touches. Los Angeles didn’t use the 52nd overall pick in this year’s draft for Akers to remain on the sideline, so Week 12 may be the tipping point for Akers. He’s the best back in the crowded LA backfield and is hidden gold if the Rams finally commit to giving him an extensive number of touches.
FRANK GORE, RB, Jets: Just when you thought his time was up, back comes the ageless Gore with 135 yards and a touchdown over the past two games. Gore gets a good Week 13 matchup against a Raiders defense that ranks as the fourth-worst in fantasy points allowed per game to opposing running backs.
This column was provided to The Associated Press by SportsGrid Inc., www.sportsgrid.com