Week 13 Waiver Wire: Breaking Down Most Intriguing Pickups
I can really only compare this week's crop of waiver-wire targets to Watto's Shop from Star Wars, where Anakin Skywalker worked as a young child.
In other words, I'm saying this week's waiver options are generally overpriced junk. Harsh but true.
Nonetheless, if you look closely enough, you can find a few viable options on waivers this week, especially if you want to handcuff a running back. There may not be any Zac Stacys or Nick Foles available in Week 13, but you should be able to find a player worth nabbing with my weekly roundup of waivers as your guide.
Jarrett Boykin, WR, Green Bay Packers
Percent Owned: 55.8 percent
Analysis: It's crazy that Jarrett Boykin remains available in over 40 percent of ESPN leagues, but if you can grab him, do so immediately. He's actually seemed to thrive without Aaron Rodgers under center, with 32 fantasy points in the past three games.
If nothing else, he's an excellent play against a Detroit Lions team allowing 28.5 fantasy points to opposing wide receivers per week, 31st in the NFL.
Nate Burleson, WR, Detroit Lions
Percent Owned: 3.4 percent
Analysis: There are plenty of reasons to like Nate Burleson from a fantasy perspective.
His seven receptions for 77 yards and a touchdown are one. His 10 targets are another. The fact that he had seven or more fantasy points in two of three games to start the year before being injured is a plus, as is the fact that he's Matt Stafford's clear No. 2 target and should get plenty of looks with teams paying extra attention to Calvin Johnson.
Add it all up, and Burleson could end up being an excellent late-season addition for your team, especially if you are hurting at wide receiver.
Coby Fleener, TE, Indianapolis Colts
Percent Owned: 60.2 percent
Analysis: Coby Fleener has shown up on this list multiple times, mostly because he continues to produce and should absolutely be owned in more leagues. Since Week 7, Fleener has 43 fantasy points, averaging a healthy 8.6 fantasy points per game.
With Reggie Wayne done for the year, Andrew Luck has turned to T.Y. Hilton and Fleener as his top options. He's still probably only a TE1 in 12- or 14-team leagues, but if nothing else, he's worth owning to stash on your bench and play matchups.
Josh McCown, QB, Chicago Bears
Percent Owned: 6.6 percent
Analysis: Josh McCown has been solid in relief of Jay Cutler, with 18 or more fantasy points in two starts since Week 9. And it looks like he'll be getting another start this week, according to Jeff Dickerson of ESPN:
Jay Cutler not expected to play Sunday vs. #Vikings, according to Marc Trestman.— Jeff Dickerson (@ESPNChiBears) November 25, 2013
The matchup is really tasty, as the Vikings are allowing 20.3 fantasy points to opposing quarterbacks per week, 31st in the NFL. If you have a starter on a bad matchup this week, McCown is an excellent streaming option.
Carson Palmer, QB, Arizona Cardinals
Percent Owned: 10.2 percent
Analysis: Like McCown, Carson Palmer is only an option if your regular starter has a really brutal matchup. But like McCown, there is solid upside here.
Palmer has thrown for 733 yards and four touchdowns in the past two weeks and now faces a Philadelphia Eagles defense allowing 18 fantasy points to opposing quarterbacks per week, 24th in the NFL. Expect the good times to keep rolling for the Cardinals quarterback.
Bilal Powell, RB, New York Jets
Percent Owned: 35.9 percent
Analysis: We now enter the "running back handcuff" portion of the slideshow.
Chris Ivory sprained his ankle on the first play of the game last week, and his health coming into this week is uncertain. That could open the door for Bilal Powell once again in the New York Jets backfield, as he totaled 65 yards on 14 touches against the Baltimore Ravens.
Powell isn't a terribly exciting addition, but the Miami Dolphins allow 123.8 rushing yards per game, 26th in the NFL. If you are looking to handcuff Ivory or just need a running back, Powell is a solid target.
Benny Cunningham, RB, St. Louis Rams
Percent Owned: 0.7 percent
Analysis: Benny Cunningham was excellent in relief of Zac Stacy on Sunday, rushing 13 times for 109 yards and a touchdown.
While a matchup against the San Francisco 49ers isn't ideal, Cunningham is absolutely the player to own if Stacy can't go this week. Stacy owners should absolutely be handcuffing him with Cunningham this week.
Brandon Bolden, RB, New England Patriots
Percent Owned: 2.5 percent
Analysis: Stevan Ridley and LeGarrette Blount both fumbled on Sunday night—a troubling and recurring theme for the talented Ridley—which could very well clear the way for Brandon Bolden to earn the lion's share of carries this week.
He was solid against the Denver Broncos, with 69 yards from scrimmage and a touchdown. And if Bill Belichick decides he can no longer trust Ridley, Bolden could be the starter moving forward, giving him nice value down the stretch.
Dennis Johnson, RB, Houston Texans
Percent Owned: 0.4 percent
Analysis: While head coach Gary Kubiak has said the team will continue to rely on Ben Tate, via Brian T. Smith of The Houston Chronicle, despite just seven rushes for a yard against the Jacksonville Jaguars, it wouldn't be surprising at all to see Dennis Johnson handed a larger role.
The backup was a bright spot on an otherwise dreary Sunday, rushing 13 times for 74 yards and catching two passes for an additional 13 yards. If you've been starting Tate since Arian Foster went down to injury, it would probably be worth your while to handcuff him with Johnson this week.
Kendall Wright, WR, Tennessee Titans
Percent Owned: 38.7 percent
Analysis: I've been banging the Kendall Wright drum for weeks now, noting that he was only a touchdown away from a big week given his regular usage in the Tennessee Titans offense.
Finally, he got that touchdown.
Wright finished with six receptions for 103 yards and a touchdown (his first since Week 2) on seven targets. He now leads Tennessee in receptions (65), receiving yards (763) and targets (91). He's not just one of my early sleeper picks for next season. He's also a nice option in deep leagues for owners thin at wide receiver this year.
Ryan Fitzpatrick, QB, Tennessee Titans
Percent Owned: 3.8 percent
Analysis: Scoff if you must, but Ryan Fitzpatrick has scored 22 fantasy points or more in two of his last three games and has at least 14 fantasy points in the last three weeks.
He's obviously only an option in two-quarterback or really deep leagues, but against a Colts defense allowing 16 fantasy points per week (19th in the NFL), he's worth a look.
Tiquan Underwood, WR, Tampa Bay Buccaneers
Percent Owned: 0.3 percent
Analysis: It wasn't so long ago that I told you to keep an eye on Tiquan Underwood on this weekly feature. Sure enough, the Tampa Bay Buccaneers' No. 2 receiver has been a modest performer in most weeks but blew up in Week 12, with three receptions for 108 yards and two touchdowns.
Yes, his value is likely tied up to big plays, which isn't sustainable, but in truly deep leagues he's worth a look. With Mike Glennon looking good and Vincent Jackson attracting a team's top corner, Underwood could have another solid outing or two in his arsenal.
Matt Flynn, QB, Green Bay Packers
Percent Owned: 0.7 percent
Analysis: How is it that Matt Flynn plays like Joe Montana for the Green Bay Packers and Tim Couch for everyone else?
Flynn stepped into relief duty on Sunday and promptly threw for 218 yards and a touchdown, leading the Packers to a, um, tie. But hey, he certainly looked better than Scott Tolzien, so there's that. With the odds stacked in his favor to start this week, he's worth a flier in deep two-quarterback leagues against a suspect Detroit Lions secondary.
Ladarius Green, TE, San Diego Chargers
Percent Owned: 0.3 percent
Analysis: Ladarius Green is going to be one of my sleepers for next year—he's extremely talented and is clearly the successor to Antonio Gates at tight end in San Diego—but he's come on strong in the past two weeks, with seven receptions for 161 yards and a touchdown.
He's only an option in really deep or the rare two-tight end leagues, but he's definitely a name to remember.
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