Week 13 of the Fantasy Football season could be a make-or-break week for most managers with the playoffs right around the corner, and making the right moves on the waiver wire could prove to be the difference.
For this week, we have two teams on bye in the Tampa Bay Buccaneers and Carolina Panthers, which is obviously less than ideal for such an important week.
And, with several other players at different positions dealing with injuries and COVID-19, fantasy managers might have holes to fill on their roster.
Here’s a look at some key fantasy assets managers might have to replace in their lineup for Week 13:
Buccaneers: QB Tom Brady, RB Ronald Jones, WRs Mike Evans and Chris Godwin, TE Rob Gronkowski.
With a chance at the playoffs or better seeding on the line, let’s take a look at some of the best waiver wire pickups ahead of Week 13.
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Over his last six games, Rivers has averaged 18.9 fantasy points per contest, including three performances north of 22 points. An appealing matchup awaits Rivers in Week 13, as he faces off against a Houston Texans defense ceding the 11th-most fantasy points per game to signal-callers. Rivers could also be an option in Week 14, as he draws a contest with a Las Vegas Raiders defense giving up the ninth-most fantasy points per contest to quarterbacks.
QB Derek Carr | Las Vegas Raiders
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Carr was a major disappointment in Week 12, as he self-destructed en route to throwing for just 215 yards and zero touchdowns, while also turning the ball over four times. The Raiders quarterback is in a perfect bounce-back spot in Week 13, though, with a matchup against a lowly New York Jets defense giving up the fourth-most fantasy points per contest to the position.
QB Ryan Fitzpatrick | Miami Dolphins
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It still isn't clear if Tua Tagovailoa will suit up in Week 13, but if not then Fitzpatrick becomes a viable streaming option. The veteran threw for 257 yards and two scores in Week 12 against the Jets, while also adding 10 yards on the ground. Fitzpatrick draws a matchup with the Cincinnati Bengals this week, a team that sports a middle-of-the-road unit against quarterbacks that has allowed the third-most passing touchdowns this season.
QB Kirk Cousins | Minnesota Vikings
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Since Week 6, Cousins ranks as QB10 with 20.9 fantasy points per contest in that span. In Week 12, the Vikings quarterback posted a season-high 26.18 points against the Carolina Panthers. In Week 13, Cousins gets the Jacksonville Jaguars, a team sporting a defense that has given up the third-most fantasy points per contest to opposing quarterbacks.
RB Devontae Booker | Las Vegas Raiders
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Raiders running back Josh Jacobs sustained an ankle injury during the Week 12 loss to the Falcons, leaving his status up in the air for Week 13. Should he sit, Booker immediately becomes a top-notch starter for this week. The Raiders will square off with the Jets on Sunday, a team that ranks in the top 10 in terms of fantasy points allowed to backs. Booker should see heavy volume in a game that will most likely see Las Vegas playing with a lead for most of it.
RBs Brian Hill and Ito Smith | Atlanta Falcons
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With Todd Gurley out in Week 12, the Falcons turned to a two-man backfield featuring Hill and Smith. The running backs split carries almost evenly, with Smith getting 12 and Hill seeing 13 — but it was Smith who scored and was more involved in the passing game. If Gurley is out again, picking up one of these two running backs wouldn't be a bad idea. Figuring out who will get the majority of touches will be difficult, but running back-needy teams could roll the dice on either one. Based on his production in the passing game, Smith might be the better bet.
RB Frank Gore | New York Jets
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OK, now we're getting desperate. While starting anyone on the Jets is the definition of a roll of the dice, Gore remains one of the better options on the team to roster thanks to sheer volume. Gore saw 21 touches in Week 12, including three receptions, and turned them into 86 total yards in a losing effort. The 37-year-old is averaging 14 touches per game this season, and 19 per in his last two contests. The ageless veteran could be in store for bigger things in Week 13, as the Jets draw a matchup with a Raiders defense giving up the fourth-most fantasy points per game to backs.
RB Cam Akers | Los Angeles Rams
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Admittedly, the Rams' running back situation has been a mess for much of the season and has included Akers, Darrell Henderson and/or Malcolm Brown at different points throughout the season. However, in Week 12 it was Akers who shined, as the rookie back led the way with 84 yards and one score on the ground for the Rams. The only problem was that Akers had one less carry than Henderson, although Henderson averaged a putrid 1.9 yards per carry while Akers had 9.3. We're still waiting to see how things shake out with this situation, but adding Akers in the hopes that he could be a major fantasy asset in the playoffs isn't a bad idea.
WR Collin Johnson | Jacksonville Jaguars
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With Mike Glennon under center and both D.J. Chark and Chris Conley sidelined on Sunday, Johnson had his best game as a pro with four catches for 96 yards and one touchdown on a team-high eight targets. Of course, the potential return of Chark in Week 13 would hurt his stock, but it's also possible that Glennon and Johnson have some chemistry that could keep the rookie heavily involved regardless. If Chark is out, Johnson is a solid flex option in Week 13 against a Vikings defense ceding the third-most fantasy points per game to receivers.
WR Deebo Samuel | San Francisco 49ers
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It's very possible Samuel is on the waiver wire in your league, as the second-year pro has been non-existent this season thanks to injuries and COVID-19. If he is available, go ahead and pick him up. Samuel, who is a WR2 with WR1 upside, returned after missing the past three games and posted 11 catches for 133 yards against the Los Angeles Rams in Week 12. Of course, the quarterback situation isn't great in San Fran at the moment, but Samuel is still the No. 1 option for the Niners and should see heavy volume moving forward as long as he's healthy.
WR T.Y. Hilton | Indianapolis Colts
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We are cautiously optimistic that Hilton has turned the corner after being a no-show through the first 11 weeks. The veteran posted his best game of the season in Week 12, reeling in four catches for 81 yards and a score. It was also good to see Philip Rivers targeting Hilton down the field where the receiver thrives, and one of those targets resulted in a 50-yard reception. Hilton's schedule the next three weeks is favorable, with two meetings against the Texans and one versus the Raiders, two teams that are sporting bottom-10 pass defenses.
TE Richard Rodgers | Philadelphia Eagles
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While Dallas Goedert stole the show on Monday night, Rodgers wasn't far behind. The Eagles tight end reeled in three passes for 53 yards and one touchdown in the losing effort. Over the last four games, Rodgers has 246 receiving yards and two scores, which isn't bad for a widely-available tight end. Unfortunately, Rodgers' value will be nil if Zach Ertz returns to the lineup in Week 13. If he doesn't, we're comfortable with tight end-needy teams starting Rodgers against the Green Bay Packers this Sunday.
TE Jordan Akins | Houston Texans
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Yes, Akins posted a donut in Week 12, but there's reason to believe that he could be a valuable fantasy asset the rest of the way. In the span of a few days, the Texans released wide receiver Kenny Stills and Will Fuller was pinched for performance-enhancing drugs, leading to a season-ending six-game suspension. The Texans are short on bodies in the passing game at this point and Akins could emerge as a stead option for quarterback Deshaun Watson the rest of the way.
D/ST to stream: Seattle Seahawks
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The Seahawks have been bad defensively for the most part this season, but Week 13 should be different. Seattle draws another NFC East matchup, this time against the New York Giants, a team that will be without their starting quarterback, Daniel Jones, due to injury. In Jones' place, Big Blue will deploy Colt McCoy, who was 6-for-10 for 31 yards against the Bengals in Week 12. Even before Jones' injury, the Giants were giving up seventh-most fantasy points per contest to D/STs.
D/ST to stream: Las Vegas Raiders
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No team in the NFL has given up more fantasy points per game to opposing D/STs than the lowly Jets, making the Raiders a viable streaming option for Week 13.