Win the Wire: Week 13

Miami Dolphins QB Ryan Fitzpatrick
Miami Dolphins QB Ryan Fitzpatrick
Photo: USA Today Sports Images

With the fantasy playoffs just one or two weeks away depending on your formats, the Week 13 waiver wire serves the dual purpose of filling roster holes and prepping for plus matchups when they are their most important. Where relevant, I've included some notes on the playoff schedules of the players I recommend this week. Meanwhile, check out today's Football Outsiders Fantasy Podcast to hear Aaron and I discuss those playoff schedules in greater detail.

Roster percentages are for ESPN/Yahoo.

Deebo Samuel, WR, San Francisco 49ers


Hamstring and foot injuries have disrupted the rhythm of Samuel's sophomore season. But if you can sort through the missed and half-played games, it's clear that last year's second-half top-10 PPR receiver is still in there. Without Brandon Aiyuk available, Samuel exploded for 11 catches and 113 yards on 13 targets on Sunday. But even combined with his full starts in Weeks 5 and 6 alongside Aiyuk, Samuel has enjoyed a heavy volume of 9.0 targets per healthy game this season.

Recommended FAB offer (% of maximum): 100%
Should you use your No. 1 waiver priority on him: Yes

Wayne Gallman, RB, New York Giants


Gallman had awkward breakout timing for fantasy. His first start for an injured Devonta Freeman came on a Monday night that offered fantasy players few recourses if Freeman were unexpectedly able to play. And then the Giants had their bye in Week 11. But now that we're on the other side of that bye and Freeman is not even eligible to return from injured reserve until Week 14, I can't say I understand Gallman's lethargic roster percentages. Since he took over as the team's starter in Week 8, Gallman has a 49.6% carry share that is 12th-highest at the position. And his five rushing touchdowns in that time are fully supported by 4.82 opportunity-adjusted touchdowns, the third-highest total behind just Dalvin Cook and Josh Jacobs. I doubt Freeman factors into this even when he can return. And so that leaves the only potential for reluctance with Daniel Jones' hamstring injury. But Jones was averaging just 6.5 yards per attempt this season, fourth-worst among positional qualifiers. Colt McCoy may be a replacement-level player, but he still may not be much of a step down from the offensive efficiency that supported Gallman's consistent RB2 value.

Recommended FAB offer (% of maximum): 41%
Should you use your No. 1 waiver priority on him: Yes

Devontae Booker, RB, Las Vegas Raiders


If Ian Rapoport's early-Monday report is any indication, Josh Jacobs likely escaped a high-ankle injury that would sideline him for multiple weeks. But even if Jacobs misses just one start, his backup Booker makes a worthwhile plug-and-play. He has teased handcuff potential with three rushing touchdowns and 14 targets against just 59 carries as a backup this season. And Booker's Week 13 opponent, the Jets, boost both carries and running back targets as a frequent trailer in games even though their disparity between defense against the run (ninth in DVOA) and against the pass (32nd) would encourage passing.

Recommended FAB offer (% of maximum): 36%
Should you use your No. 1 waiver priority on him: No

Zach Ertz, TE, Philadelphia Eagles


The Eagles did not activate Ertz from injured reserve for their Monday night game against the Seahawks. But since they designated the tight end to return prior to their Week 12 game, Ertz will have to be active this coming Sunday against the Packers. I'm not sure I'm eager to start him in his return from a seven-week ankle injury. But for all of the drama about his contract status and poor receiving totals, Ertz had a 19.7% pre-injury target share that was top-five at his position. He needs to be rostered.

Recommended FAB offer (% of maximum): 21%
Should you use your No. 1 waiver priority on him: No

Damien Harris, RB, New England Patriots


James White has been the major beneficiary of Rex Burkhead's season-ending knee injury so far, first with nine targets in Week 11 and then with two touchdowns in Week 12. But I think Sunday's win over the Cardinals showed that it's actually Harris who should benefit more over the rest of the season. White's Week 11 outburst came on a 57% snap share that was similar to his rates in Weeks 4, 6, and 8 in Patriots losses that motivated an increased reliance on the passing game. With a neutral game script on Sunday, Harris set his own season high with a 64% snap share. White was back at his pre-Burkhead injury range of 38%, and Sony Michel played just one snap in his return from his quad injury. That increase in playing time didn't net Harris a target or a touchdown, two critical aspects of fantasy value. But it easily could have done the latter. Harris bested White with 1.21 opportunity-adjusted touchdowns versus 0.79 on Sunday. He just failed to punch in his carries from the Cardinals' 7-, 4-, and 1-yard lines. He should have better luck in future weeks. And with a 45.8% carry share since Week 7 that is 15th at the position, some improved luck could be all Harris needs to rival Wayne Gallman's rise to fantasy relevance.

Recommended FAB offer (% of maximum): 16%
Should you use your No. 1 waiver priority on him: No

J.K. Dobbins, RB, Baltimore Ravens


Since the count of Ravens players who have tested positive for COVID has approached the 20s in the lead-up to their now-Wednesday Week 12 game, I think it's fair to guess that Dobbins may have the illness and is no certainty to play in Week 13 even after he clears his required 10-day isolation period. That may sabotage his rest-of-season fantasy value. But Dobbins also teased a breakout back in Week 11 when he played 63% of the team's offensive snaps and paced the team's backfield with 17 touches, 85 yards, and a touchdown. He easily leads the three Ravens backs with a 25.2% rushing DVOA and 22 targets. That makes him a worthwhile bench stash.

Recommended FAB offer (% of maximum): 15%
Should you use your No. 1 waiver priority on him: No

Myles Gaskin, RB, Miami Dolphins


Gaskin and Salvon Ahmed both missed incredible fantasy opportunities when they were forced to miss Sunday's game against the Jets. And unless head coach Brian Flores tips his hand with a declared starter, they likely belong on fantasy benches again this week against another appealing opponent in the Bengals (No. 23 DVOA run defense). But Gaskin and Ahmed have both at times produced as RB2s as workhorse backs this season. The potential that they could do it again when they return from their respective knee and shoulder injuries makes them both bench stashes with the bottom-five Chiefs, Patriots, and Raiders DVOA run defenses on the schedule in the fantasy playoffs.

Recommended FAB offer (% of maximum): 12%
Should you use your No. 1 waiver priority on him: No

Salvon Ahmed, RB, Miami Dolphins


My amateur scouting take from last week's waiver column was that Ahmed has exceptional speed but little power to push the pile. Now that both Dolphins backs are coming off an injury, I think that gives the edge to the sturdier Gaskin. But keep in mind that Gaskin and Ahmed had nearly identical efficiencies when they were college teammates at Washington, and neither has a draft pedigree to speak of. The playing time could fall either way.

Recommended FAB offer (% of maximum): 12%
Should you use your No. 1 waiver priority on him: No

Jordan Wilkins, RB, Indianapolis Colts


Wilkins couldn't take advantage of a favorable Titans matchup with Jonathan Taylor out on the COVID list. After they quickly fell behind, the Colts shifted to rely more heavily on receiving back Nyheim Hines, who finished with 10 targets, the most on the team. Still, Wilkins showed that he clearly is the inheritor of Taylor's role in the latter's absence. Most importantly from a fantasy perspective, Wilkins saw four targets on Sunday for the first time all season -- he had only once before this year seen two targets, a threshold Taylor reached in each of his last six games. For me, that's enough evidence to start Wilkins at flex in even shallow formats in any of the Texans and Raiders matchups in the next three weeks that Taylor misses. Houston and Las Vegas are the bottom two teams in DVOA run defense and are top-five boosters of touchdowns per carry.

Recommended FAB offer (% of maximum): 11%
Should you use your No. 1 waiver priority on him: No

Alexander Mattison, RB, Minnesota Vikings


Dalvin Cook was able to return to the Vikings' Week 12 game against the Panthers after he exited it with an apparent ankle injury. That seems to be a promising sign that he can play in Week 13. Still, it seems like a prudent move to add his backup Mattison as a handcuff just in case. Mattison fared poorly in his Week 6 substitute start, but hindsight recognizes that week's Falcons opponent as a top-10 DVOA run defense. They just held Josh Jacobs to 27 yards on seven carries. Mattison would almost surely fare better this Sunday against a Jaguars defense that is 21st in DVOA run defense. Meanwhile, Mattison would be a decent facsimile of Cook if he replaced him over an extended stretch of time. His 4.6 yards and 2.4 yards after contact per attempt mirror Cook's rates of 5.2 and 2.5. Mattison just falls short in consistency, where his 43.2% success rate is shy of Cook's 53.0% rate.

Recommended FAB offer (% of maximum): 11%
Should you use your No. 1 waiver priority on him: No

Michael Pittman, WR, Indianapolis Colts


In the Colts' blowout loss on Sunday, Pittman provided his first fantasy letdown since his return to full playing time in Week 9. And yet, I saw it as a positive for his fantasy potential. Pittman continued to set the pace for Colts receivers with 86% of snaps played. He's played 80% or more of the team's snaps each of the last four weeks. Meanwhile, his two catches on Sunday came on a receiver-leading nine targets. He now has 27 targets over the last four weeks, 24th-most at the position. Because of their lack of a bye and some pass-favoring game scripts in that stretch, I wouldn't recommend Pittman as an every-week flex option just yet. But the Texans and Raiders matchups that are sure to boost the Colts' rushing production should also help Pittman. Both defenses are in the bottom half of teams in DVOA against the pass and bottom-10 in DVOA allowed to No. 1 receivers.

Recommended FAB offer (% of maximum): 6%
Should you use your No. 1 waiver priority on him: No

Keke Coutee, WR, Houston Texans


The Texans have been thin at receiver since they traded DeAndre Hopkins in the offseason. But I think everyone assumed that an injury to either Will Fuller or Brandin Cooks would be the unit's downfall. Instead, Fuller has been suspended for the rest of the season for violating the league's performance-enhancing substance policy, and the timing couldn't be worse after the team released Kenny Stills three days ago. By default, those developments should make the forgotten former fourth-round receiver Coutee a fantasy option. He was third on the team with a 50% offensive snap share on Sunday, and behind Cooks (88%), Fuller (84%) and him, only Steven Mitchell (14%) took a snap for the team at wide receiver.

Recommended FAB offer (% of maximum): 5%
Should you use your No. 1 waiver priority on him: No

Ryan Tannehill, QB, Tennessee Titans


As Derrick Henry has ramped up his traditional second-half rushing bonanza, Tannehill has fallen from fantasy favor. He has averaged just 206 passing yards and 1.7 passing touchdowns in his last six games and unsurprisingly then has dropped below the 80% threshold I use as a proxy for universal rostership. But Tannehill's slump deserves some added context. Since Week 7, he has faced five defenses -- the Steelers, Bears, Colts, Ravens, and Colts again -- in the top nine in DVOA pass defense. Any passer would see their production slip against that schedule. Meanwhile, things become much easier for Tannehill between now and the end of the fantasy playoffs. His next four opponents in the Browns, Jaguars, Lions, and Packers are 15th or worse in DVOA pass defense.

Recommended FAB offer (% of maximum): 3%
Should you use your No. 1 waiver priority on him: No

Ryan Fitzpatrick, QB, Miami Dolphins


The other Ryan seems like a lesser fantasy option to me, but maybe he shouldn't. Like Tannehill, Fitzpatrick was a top-12 fantasy quarterback for the first six weeks this season before the former faced that difficult stretch of opponents and before the latter was benched. Now Fitzpatrick could play if Tua Tagovailoa continues to miss time with his hand injury. And that would land Fitzpatrick every bit as appealing a fantasy schedule as his Ryan counterpart with the Dolphins poised to face bottom-half DVOA pass defenses in the Bengals, Patriots, and Raiders in the next month.

Recommended FAB offer (% of maximum): 2%
Should you use your No. 1 waiver priority on him: No

Frank Gore, RB, New York Jets


Despite head coach Adam Gase's confidence, the Jets couldn't turn Sam Darnold's first game with his top three receivers into actual points. The team scored just three of them at home against the Dolphins, and so there is little reason for optimism that Gore will suddenly score touchdowns in the bunches that would make him an RB2. Still, Gore deserves your fantasy consideration because of subtle increases in his role following La'Mical Perine's ankle injury. The last two weeks, Gore has played a season-high 58% of the Jets' offensive snaps. He took 18 of the team's 21 running back carries on Sunday, and he saw three targets for just the second time all season. The Raiders likely won't play the Jets flat on Sunday after dropping consecutive games to the Chiefs and Falcons and falling behind in the AFC wild-card race. But Gore remains a compelling flex choice against them even in shallow formats. The Raiders are last in DVOA run defense and the No. 1 booster of touchdowns per carry.

Recommended FAB offer (% of maximum): 2%
Should you use your No. 1 waiver priority on him: No

Robert Tonyan, TE, Green Bay Packers


Tonyan never sparked the same confidence in me that he did in other fantasy analysts this season. His 13.0% target share since Week 2 is just 18th among tight ends, and while his seven touchdowns are tied for the most at the position, his 4.41-touchdown surplus over his just 2.59 opportunity-adjusted touchdowns is nearly double that of Jonnu Smith (2.75) in second place. I still think regression will hit him there, although Travis Kelce's 1.79-touchdown surplus may be a better target than a strictly neutral one with touchdown-savant Aaron Rodgers as his quarterback. But I also think it's time to warm to Tonyan's demonstrated status as a borderline TE1/TE2. Even as Allen Lazard has returned to the lineup, Tonyan has maintained his offensive snap share range between 50% and 73%. And Tonyan should benefit from an appealing fantasy playoff schedule that features the Lions, Panthers, and Titans in the bottom half of teams in DVOA allowed to tight ends.

Recommended FAB offer (% of maximum): 2%
Should you use your No. 1 waiver priority on him: No

Kyle Rudolph, TE, Minnesota Vikings


Irv Smith played in Week 11, but he missed Weeks 10 and 12 with a groin injury. That timeline plus a doubtful tag last week suggests to me that Smith suffered a setback and could miss another week or two as he tries to return to full health. That's a small window for a relatively low-ceiling play, but tight end has fantasy managers clawing for any kind of advantage this season. As such, I'll suggest that desperate players consider Rudolph. He had modest totals of 63 and 68 yards in the two games Smith missed. But his 78% snap shares those weeks are his highest and his five and eight targets are his most all season.

Recommended FAB offer (% of maximum): 1%
Should you use your No. 1 waiver priority on him: No

Taysom Hill, QB, New Orleans Saints


It may be supremely evident coming off his 16-pass performance with just 78 yards and an interception, but Taysom Hill's fantasy mileage will vary based on your format. This recommendation relies on one that favors rushing scores over passing ones. Hill has four of the former in his two starts for an injured Drew Brees. And while that represents a 2.10-touchdown surplus over just 1.90 opportunity-adjusted touchdowns in that time, that latter number remains the sixth-highest of all players the last two weeks. And Hill's 0.070 opportunity-adjusted touchdowns per carry this season is the fourth-highest of the 19 quarterbacks with 25 or more carries. It's neatly between Cam Newton's 0.089 and Josh Allen's 0.061 rates, and I think Hill's overall fantasy value is somewhere between those players too.

Recommended FAB offer (% of maximum): 1%
Should you use your No. 1 waiver priority on him: No

Ito Smith, RB, Atlanta Falcons


With Todd Gurley out on Sunday, the Falcons went to a committee approach that saw Smith and Brian Hill finish within one carry and 10 rushing yards of each other. Given the split, the knee-jerk preference would be for Hill since he traditionally has handled more passing-down work -- and despite his four-target shortfall on Sunday, Hill played 50% of the team's offensive snaps versus just 36% for Smith. But for me, Smith counterbalances those concerns with a greater potential for touchdowns. He scored one in Week 12 and more than doubled Hill's chances with 0.38 opportunity-adjusted rushing touchdowns to 0.18. And over the bigger sample since the start of 2019, Smith has more than quadrupled Hill's opportunity-adjusted touchdown rate with 0.071 versus 0.017 opportunity-adjusted touchdowns per carry. The Falcons may not enjoy the same run-positive game script in future weeks that they did in their 43-6 drubbing of the Raiders. But with the No. 17 DVOA passing offense, the team has generated enough scoring chances for Gurley to land in the top five with nine rushing touchdowns this season. Expect Smith to carry that mantle while Gurley is out. And while we don't know how long that will be, the fact that Gurley's mystery injury is to the knees that have cost him time each of the last two seasons makes Smith a worthwhile pickup even though the Falcons close with three of their last five games against the Saints and Bucs in the top two in DVOA run defense.

Recommended FAB offer (% of maximum): 1%
Should you use your No. 1 waiver priority on him: No

Players on More Than 80% of Rosters to Add

Amari Cooper, WR, Dallas Cowboys (96%/96%)
Antonio Gibson, RB, Washington Football Team (96%/94%)
Mike Davis, RB, Carolina Panthers (96%/92%)
Antonio Brown, WR, Tampa Bay Buccaneers (96%/78%)
Kenyan Drake, RB, Arizona Cardinals (95%/95%)
Chase Claypool, WR, Pittsburgh Steelers (95%/92%)
Justin Herbert, QB, Los Angeles Chargers (95%/92%)
Kenny Golladay, WR, Detroit Lions (94%/94%)
D'Andre Swift, RB, Detroit Lions (94%/93%)
Rob Gronkowski, TE, Tampa Bay Buccaneers (92%/94%)
Austin Ekeler, RB, Los Angeles Chargers (91%/96%)
Melvin Gordon, RB, Denver Broncos (91%/94%)
Diontae Johnson, WR, Pittsburgh Steelers (89%/93%)
David Montgomery, RB, Chicago Bears (89%/93%)
Brandin Cooks, WR, Houston Texans (88%/87%)
Raheem Mostert, RB, San Francisco 49ers (85%/90%)
Dallas Goedert, TE, Philadelphia Eagles (77%/82%)
Nyheim Hines, RB, Indianapolis Colts (73%/81%)

Players on More Than 20% of Rosters You Can Drop

Will Fuller, WR, Houston Texans (95%/96%)
Joe Mixon, RB, Cincinnati Bengals (92%/88%)
A.J. Green, WR, Cincinnati Bengals (57%/47%)
Drew Brees, QB, New Orleans Saints (55%/66%)
T.Y. Hilton, WR, Indianapolis Colts (46%/38%)
Michael Gallup, WR, Dallas Cowboys (41%/42%)
Adrian Peterson, RB, Detroit Lions (35%/46%)
Henry Ruggs, WR, Las Vegas Raiders (34%/28%)
Julian Edelman, WR, New England Patriots (34%/26%)
Tua Tagovailoa, QB, Miami Dolphins (32%/25%)
Joe Burrow, QB, Cincinnati Bengals (31%/28%)
Joshua Kelley, RB, Los Angeles Chargers (30%/20%)
Kerryon Johnson, RB, Detroit Lions (30%/15%)
Odell Beckham, WR, Cleveland Browns (29%/24%)
Matt Breida, RB, Miami Dolphins (28%/22%)
Justin Jackson, RB, Los Angeles Chargers (27%/21%)
Saquon Barkley, RB, New York Giants (25%/24%)
Daniel Jones, QB, New York Giants (23%/35%)
Courtland Sutton, WR, Denver Broncos (22%/16%)
Rex Burkhead, RB, New England Patriots (21%/17%)
Preston Williams, WR, Miami Dolphins (20%/11%)
Dak Prescott, QB, Dallas Cowboys (17%/20%)
Sony Michel, RB, New England Patriots (13%/20%)


1 comment, Last at 01 Dec 2020, 9:28pm

#1 by Raiderjoe // Dec 01, 2020 - 9:28pm

May tryfor both Samuels and Mims. Maybe trybto get Mattison back

Points: 0

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