Waiver Wire Week 13: Stat Projections for Top Fantasy Pickups and Sleepers
There's going to be plenty of time to look over the waiver wire before submitting claims for players this week. More than just an extra day, too.
That's because the Week 12 matchup between the Baltimore Ravens and Pittsburgh Steelers has been postponed again and will now take place Wednesday afternoon. So, waiver claims won't be processed until after that game occurs.
Week 13 is a crucial week in most fantasy leagues, as it likely marks either the final week of the regular season or the first week of the playoffs. With this extra time to scour the waiver wire, make sure you have the best possible roster to lead you to success the rest of the year and put in any claims that could potentially give you a late-season boost.
Here's a look at some top targets and sleepers to consider adding from the waiver wire ahead of Week 13.
Top Target: Kirk Cousins, Minnesota Vikings (40% rostered in Yahoo; 21% in ESPN)
Cousins has put together two of his best performances of the season in the past two weeks. He passed for 314 yards and three touchdowns against the Dallas Cowboys in Week 11 and passed for 307 yards and three touchdowns this past week against the Carolina Panthers. Through the first 10 weeks, Cousins had only one 300-yard game and two three-touchdown showings.
But Cousins is starting to find a groove with Minnesota's top playmakers, and in Week 13 he'll face the Jacksonville Jaguars, who rank 31st in the NFL in total yards allowed per game (415.6). That should make Cousins the top streaming option this week for fantasy managers who are either dealing with an injury or a quarterback who has a bad matchup.
Projection: 322 yards and three touchdowns.
Sleeper: Ryan Fitzpatrick, Miami Dolphins (20% rostered in Yahoo; 14% in ESPN)
It's not yet clear if Tua Tagovailoa will return from his thumb injury to start at quarterback against the Cincinnati Bengals in Week 13. But no matter who is under center, he should be in line for a big game. And if it's Fitzpatrick, that instantly makes the veteran a strong starting option.
Cincinnati is allowing 390.5 total yards per game (seventh most in the NFL), and Fitzpatrick has had some solid showings, including this past week when he passed for 257 yards and two touchdowns in a win over the New York Jets. However, it's risky to add Fitzpatrick because he'll need to be dropped if Tagovailoa ends up coming back this week.
Projection: 292 yards and two touchdowns.
Top Target: Cam Akers, Los Angeles Rams (29% rostered in Yahoo; 28% in ESPN)
After missing some time due to injury and taking a while to get going during his rookie season, Akers is now turning into an integral part of the Rams offense. In Week 11, he scored his first career touchdown (a receiving score) in a win over the Tampa Bay Buccaneers. Then, this past week, he ran for a season-high 84 yards and scored his first rushing touchdown in a loss to the San Francisco 49ers.
If Akers builds off these recent showings, he could put up even bigger numbers, especially now that Los Angeles is giving him consistent touches out of the backfield. The Rams have a big NFC West matchup against the Arizona Cardinals in Week 13, which would be an opportune time for Akers to eclipse the 100-yard mark for the first time.
Projection: 107 total yards and a touchdown.
Sleeper: Jordan Wilkins, Indianapolis Colts (17% rostered in Yahoo; 22% in ESPN)
With rookie Jonathan Taylor out this past week after being placed on the reserve/COVID-19 list, the Colts' backfield had a disappointing showing against the Tennessee Titans as both Wilkins (six carries for 22 yards) and Nyheim Hines (10 carries for 29 yards) struggled to get anything going on the ground. But Indianapolis has a more favorable matchup in Week 13 against the Houston Texans, who are allowing 154.7 rushing yards per game (second most in the NFL).
Even if Taylor returns, he's struggled in his recent games. And it can be tough to know which Colts running back to play in fantasy with all of them getting touches. But Wilkins has shown potential earlier in the season, and there could be enough touches to go around for all of these backs to perform well at Houston. It would be a risk to play Wilkins, but he could put up some decent numbers down the stretch.
Projection: 63 total yards and a touchdown.
Top Target: Allen Lazard, Green Bay Packers (39% rostered in Yahoo; 28% in ESPN)
The Packers have had trouble establishing a No. 2 wide receiver behind Davante Adams in the past, but when Lazard is in the lineup, he's capable of being that type of playmaker. Lazard returned in Week 11 after recovering from core-muscle surgery, and he's gotten off to a bit of a slow start, hauling in six passes for 41 yards the past two weeks. However, he got into the end zone against the Chicago Bears this past week, which could be a sign of big things to come.
Before his injury, Lazard had scored a touchdown in two of Green Bay's first three games of the season. And quarterback Aaron Rodgers should continue to go to him as defenses do their best to try to limit Adams' production. So, don't be surprised if Lazard gets back into the end zone again this week as the Packers take on the Philadelphia Eagles.
Projection: Five receptions for 72 yards and a touchdown.
Sleeper: Collin Johnson, Jacksonville Jaguars (0% rostered in both Yahoo and ESPN leagues)
This past week, the Jaguars were without two of their top wide receivers in DJ Chark Jr. and Chris Conley. That allowed Johnson to have a bigger role in Jacksonville's offense, and the rookie capitalized by notching four receptions for 96 yards and a touchdown against the Cleveland Browns. Before that game, he had only 69 yards all season.
Even if Chark and/or Conley return, Johnson could continue to be a strong target for whichever quarterback is under center for the Jags. Jacksonville plays Minnesota this week in a game that could be a high-scoring affair, as both teams struggle to stop the pass. That means Johnson could be in line to build off his breakout showing and have another solid day. And if that continues, Johnson may be a sleeper play in the fantasy playoffs.
Projection: Five receptions for 55 yards and a touchdown.
Top Target: Trey Burton, Indianapolis Colts (19% rostered in Yahoo; 6% in ESPN)
Burton may only have three touchdowns this season, but he's scored one in each of the past two weeks. In Week 12 against the Titans, he was targeted a joint-season-high six times, hauling in three of those passes for 42 yards, his most in more than two months.
The Colts are facing the Texans in two of the next three weeks, including a Week 13 matchup, so they should put up some big offensive numbers in those AFC South contests. And while Burton's touchdown streak could end this week, he should continue to contribute to Indianapolis' offense, making him worth consideration of starting at tight end.
Projection: Five receptions for 72 yards.
Sleeper: Kyle Rudolph, Minnesota Vikings (14% rostered in Yahoo; 8% in ESPN)
This past week, Rudolph was a much bigger part of the Vikings offense than he had been for most of the season, as fellow tight end Irv Smith Jr. was out due to a groin injury. Rudolph set season highs in targets (eight), receptions (seven) and yards (68) in Minnesota's win over the Carolina Panthers.
Although Rudolph had a solid game, he couldn't get into the end zone for the first time since Week 3, when he scored his lone touchdown of the season to this point. But if Smith is out again in Week 13, Rudolph may not just end his scoring drought, he may be worth starting in fantasy lineups. The Vikings have a favorable matchup against the Jaguars that should lead to plenty of offense.
Projection: Four receptions for 54 yards and a touchdown.