With the fantasy playoffs just around the corner, every week is critical.
Unfortunately, at this point in the season there aren’t too many gems left out on the waiver wire with the exception of those who gain value because of injury.
Still, there are a handful of players out there who just might put you over the top based on their recent play, favorable matchups, or both.
As always, players listed here are owned in fewer than 50 percent of Yahoo! leagues.
Fantasy Football Week 13 Waiver Wire Pickups: QB
Matt Moore (13%), Miami
Moore has four touchdowns and no interceptions in the last two weeks and has tossed seven TDs over the last month for the resurgent Dolphins.
The biggest reason to like Moore is this week’s matchup with Oakland, who has allowed at least two touchdown passes in each of the past four games and nine of the last ten. If your starter is banged up, he is definitely a strong play based solely on the matchup.
Rex Grossman (9%), Washington
With five total TDs and 606 passing yards over the last two weeks, Grossman is again putting up solid fantasy numbers. I’m not quite crazy enough to recommend starting him against the Jets next week, but matchups with the Patriots in Week 14 and the Vikings in Week 16 give him high upside as a backup and potential spot starter.
Fantasy Football Week 13 Waiver Wire Pickups: RB
Roy Helu (45%), Washington
After running for 108 yards and a TD to go with seven receptions for 54 yards, even Mike Shanahan couldn’t dream up a reason not to use Helu as his workhorse going forward, right?
Obviously there is inherent risk in trusting Shanahan to do the rational thing, but Helu is absolutely worth adding to your roster if he’s available. He’s particularly solid in PPR leagues, and he’ll need to stay involved in the passing game with the Jets’ stout run defense up next on the schedule. Outside of that, his remaining matchups are better than average.
Maurice Morris (36%), Detroit
Depending on which reports you believe, Kevin Smith will either be back next week or will never walk again. However, the Lions finally placed Jahvid Best on IR, so those holding out hope for a return can finally move on.
If Smith misses any time, Morris is a decent PPR league option and has solid upcoming matchups against the Saints, Vikings, Raiders, and Chargers, all of whom are among the bottom half of the league in points against fantasy running backs.
Toby Gerhart (33%), Minnesota
A short TD run against the tough Atlanta run defense salvaged an otherwise ugly fantasy day for Gerhart. Adrian Peterson’s status for Week 13 is unclear, and the Vikings face a Denver defense that just got shredded by Ryan Mathews (again), making Gerhart worthy of a roster spot while you wait out AP’s availability.
Marion Barber (24%), Chicago
In standard scoring leagues, Barber has scored at least six fantasy points in five of the last six weeks. While that won’t blow you away, it’s also probably more consistent than other guys you have on your bench. And based on what Caleb Hanie showed on Sunday, the Bears would be well served to rely on the running game against Kansas City and Denver the next two weeks, both of which are decent matchups for the Barbarian.
Donald Brown (12%), Indianapolis
Even with Joseph Addai back in the lineup, Brown was the most productive Indy running back with 97 total yards and a score. Expect him to continue to get the bulk of the touches for the Colts, which makes him a potential flex play against the Patriots next week and the Titans in Week 15.
Fantasy Football Week 13 Waiver Wire Pickups: WR
Johnny Knox (30%), Chicago
While Caleb Hanie was rather erratic in his first game replacing the immortal Jay Cutler, it’s worth noting that he targeted Knox 10 times, which resulted in four receptions, 145 yards, and a TD. The big-play ability is there, but even with some decent matchups left on the schedule, I want to see Knox do it again before I consider starting him. Still, there’s upside here.
Damian Williams (23%), Tennessee
With the exception of 107 yards in Week 10 against Carolina, Williams hasn’t posted gaudy yardage totals, but he does have three scores in the past four weeks and has established himself at Matt Hasselbeck’s favorite red zone target.
The Titans face a Buffalo secondary that made Mark Sanchez look like a viable NFL quarterback next week, and they also play the Colts in Week 15, both of which make Williams worth a roster spot. Ok, maybe viable is too strong a word for Sanchez, but the Bills did let him throw for four TDs.
Greg Little (16%), Cleveland
If your leagues are like mine, Little has been picked up and subsequently dropped by about half of the teams. On Sunday, he caught his first NFL touchdown against the Bengals and posted at least five receptions and 50 yards for the third straight week. Little did have a few ugly drops, but he continues to get consistent targets.
With the exception of a Week 15 game against Arizona, the matchups aren’t exactly inviting (two games each against Baltimore and Pittsburgh), but Little is still worth a look in PPR leagues.
Jason Avant (9%), Philadelphia
With Jeremy Maclin banged up, DeSean Jackson getting benched late in Sunday’s game, and Philly’s season pretty much over, Avant caught eight passes for 110 yards and a TD. Some of that production came in garbage time, but someone has to catch passes for the Eagles, and on Sunday, the sure-handed Avant did just that.
His value is highest in PPR leagues, and while I find it hard to envision a scenario where you’d start him this week, his performance and the potential for future production are worth noting.
Fantasy Football Week 13 Waiver Wire Pickups: TE
Jermaine Gresham (38%), Cincinnati
Gresham had one of his better games of the season with five catches, 68 yards, and a TD against the Browns. Had it not been for a questionable call against the Ravens last week, he would have TDs in three straight games heading into next week’s matchup with Pittsburgh, against whom he caught a TD in Week 10.
Gresham is a tremendous talent who is starting to develop a strong rapport with rookie QB Andy Dalton. He’s a high-end TE2 at worst from here on out.
Brent Celek (36%), Philadelphia
Over the last six games, Celek is averaging 5.5 receptions and 64 yards with two touchdowns, so maybe there is something salvageable from Philly’s season after all. The team’s next two opponents, Seattle and Miami, have both struggled to cover opposing tight ends, and a Week 16 matchup against Dallas is favorable as well.
Marcedes Lewis (17%), Jacksonville
This one is obviously a tough sell for anyone who watched Lewis drop one of easiest touchdown grabs he’ll ever have, but he does have 11 catches for 111 yards in the last two games. He also has favorable matchups against Tampa Bay in Week 14 and Tennessee in Week 16, so file that away if you are thin at tight end.
Streaming Defense(s) of the Week
Denver (13%) at Minnesota
The Broncos have held their last three opponents to 13 points or less, and the Vikings are averaging just 14 points over the same span. I like some of what Christian Ponder has shown, but that offense simply isn’t scary without Adrian Peterson (at least not scary in a good way). Add to that the fact that Denver’s offense minimizes possessions for the opponent, and the Broncos are an interesting sleeper defense.
San Diego (37%) at Jacksonville
Perhaps ESPN is paying me under the table to get people interested in this God awful Monday night game, but the Jags have scored more than 14 points twice in their last 10 games and have yet to score more than 20 points this season. The Chargers have been anything but impressive this year, so proceed with caution. But even the level of apathy/ineptitude they’ve shown may not be enough to allow Jacksonville to do anything on offense.
Have any questions or feedback? Leave them in the comments below or hit me up on Twitter (@andybottoms).