Best Fantasy Waiver Wire Pickups Week 13: Jalin Hyatt, Pat Freiermuth among top breakouts

There were a host of big injuries and breakout performances last week, but even just a quick glance at our top Week 13 fantasy waiver wire pickups and free agent adds lets you know that wasn’t the case this week. 

Our full waivers list has some decent contributors for the stretch run at RB (Roschon JohnsonJeff Wilson Jr., Miles Sanders), WR (Jayden ReedJalin HyattCurtis SamuelJonathan Mingo, Cedric Tillman), and TE (Pat Freiermuth, Isaiah Likely), but it doesn’t look like there are any “league winners” or “season savers.” However, there might be some “week-winners” among our usual complement of potential QB, TE, and D/ST streamers, which can be found at the end of the list. The streamers take on extra importance with six byes on tap next week.

Unless you’re desperate at a certain position, you should probably hold back your waiver claims. It’s tough to make a case for anyone deserving a high claim this week, as pass-catchers like Reed, Freiermuth, Hyatt, and Samuel are still largely matchup-dependent, lower-end options.

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Even if you take it easy during waivers, you should be active in free agency. With six teams on bye in Week 13 (Raiders, Bills, Bears, Vikings, Ravens, Giants) and two teams on bye in Week 14 (Cardinals, Commanders), you need to be ready with potential streamers in favorable matchups. There are enough comparable players at each non-RB position, so you usually don’t need to use a waiver claim in a week like this, but if have to do whatever it takes to secure a win, then don’t be shy about making some bold moves.

Top fantasy football waiver wire pickups for Week 13

Unless otherwise noted, only players owned in fewer than 50 percent of Yahoo leagues are considered.

Jayden Reed, WR, Packers. Even with Christian Watson having his best game of the year (5-94-1), Reed came through with 50 total yards and a TD. He’s now scored in three-straight games and posted at least 11.1 PPR points in five of his past six outings. He’s easily Green Bay’s most consistent receiver even if some of his production comes on the ground, and at this point, he’s done enough to merit a flex spot every week. That includes next Sunday night against the Chiefs. 

Jalin Hyatt, WR, Giants. The Giants are finally letting the rookie spread his wings, and he came up big in Week 12, catching a team-high five-of-six targets for 109 yards. At this point, Hyatt should be viewed as a boom-or-bust, big-play receiver, but he’s worth grabbing for the stretch run if he’s going to continue operating as a WR1. He’ll look to keep it going after New York’s Week 13 bye.

QBs | RBs | WRs | TEs | D/STs | Kickers

Pat Freiermuth, TE, Steelers. Did Freiermuth just take advantage of a highly favorable matchup, or did Pittsburgh’s new offensive coordinator unlock the ‘Muth for good? Probably a little of both, but either way, Freiermuth’s nine-catch, 120-yard performance in Week 12 is something to note. We’re not sure he’s graduated to “every-week TE” just yet, but he’s certainly worth owning ahead of the stretch run. He can work as a deep-league TE1 next week against the Cardinals, who allowed two touchdowns to Tyler Higbee in Week 12.

Odell Beckham Jr., WR, Ravens. Beckham entered Week 12 with a sore shoulder, but that was about the only thing that could slow him down. He still caught three-of-five targets for 34 yards against the Chargers, and in the three previous games, he either scored or posted 100 yards. With Mark Andrews (leg, ankle) on the shelf, OBJ is primed for a bigger role going forward. Baltimore’s on bye in Week 13, but it’s smart to invest in OBJ for the stretch run.

QBs | RBs | WRs | TEs | D/STs | Kickers

Curtis Samuel, WR, Commanders. Samuel had begun to fade as a key part of Washington’s offense, but he showed up in a big way on Thanksgiving, catching a season-high nine-of-12 targets for 100 yards. Some of that production was due to garbage time, but in this pass-happy offense, he should continue seeing a lot of opportunities. He’s worth stashing in 12-team leagues, especially ahead of a potential track meet against Miami next week.

Isaiah Likely, TE, Ravens. The Ravens have a Week 13 bye, so you won’t need to use a waiver claim to get Likely, but he’s worth adding going forward. The tight end spot is always featured prominently in the Ravens’ offense, as we saw in Week 12 when Likely caught four-of-six targets for 40 yards, and Likely has had success in the past filling in for Mark Andrews (ankle). Highly favorable matchups against the Jaguars and Rams are on deck after the bye, and another above-average matchup against Miami awaits in Week 17. He needs to be owned in more than 52 percent of Yahoo leagues.

Roschon Johnson, RB, Bears. Johnson finally got his shot to lead the Bears’ backfield in Week 12, and he responded with a solid 75 total yards on 15 touches. His five receptions show what he’s capable of in PPR leagues, and if he continues in this role, he’ll have a lot of value after Chicago’s Week 13 bye. D’Onta Foreman (ankle) could return and spoil the fun, but at the very least, it looks like Johnson is above Khalil Herbert (eight touches, 38 total yards in Week 12) on the Bears’ depth chart. Stash him now.

Jonathan Mingo, WR, Panthers. Mingo hauled in four of a team-high six targets against Tennessee, totaling a team-high 60 yards. He’s now seen 19 targets over the past three games, emerging as the clear No. 2 behind Adam Thielen. Carolina’s low-powered offense doesn’t create a lot of scoring opportunities, but Mingo is still worth grabbing for the stretch run. He has a great matchup against Tampa’s 31st-ranked pass defense next week, and he’ll be a potential streamer in Weeks 14 (@ NO) and 15 (vs. ATL), too.

Cedric Tillman, WR, Browns. Tillman didn’t do much after a big first half (four catches, 55 yards) against the Broncos, but he still led Browns’ WRs in receiving yards. More noteworthy was a late ribs injury to Amari Cooper, which would further open the door for the talented rookie. As with Mingo in Carolina, Cleveland’s passing offense doesn’t inspire a lot of confidence, but Tillman is intriguing enough to pick up in deep leagues.

Greg Dortch, WR, Cardinals. After a complete disappearing act in the first half of the season, Dortch has reappeared along with Kyler Murray over the past few weeks. The second-year receiver has seen at least eight targets in each of the past two games, hauling in 11 for 103 yards and a TD. He took advantage of garbage time last week, but it’s not as if the Cardinals won’t see more of that going forward. Dortch is worth stashing and possibly playing as a flex in deep PPR leagues next week.

Justin Watson, WR, Chiefs. Watson scored and led the Chiefs with 11 targets in Week 11, and he followed that up with a short TD on his loan catch in Week 12. At this point, the opportunities and production can’t be ignored, and any WR who has Patrick Mahomes throwing to him has a high ceiling. He’ll be a boom-or-bust flex next week against Green Bay.

Jeff Wilson Jr., RB, Dolphins. It sounds like De’Von Achane (knee) will be back in Week 13, rendering Wilson Jr. to third-string duties, but on the off chance Achane remains out or aggravates his knee injury again, JWJ is a nice bench piece to have around. We saw a glimpse of what he can do on Friday when he turned 14 touches into 73 total yards against the Jets, and given Raheem Mostert’s own checkered injury history, Wilson Jr. is a must-have handcuff. 

Royce Freeman, RB, Rams. Kyren Williams announced his return in a big way against Arizona, and while there’s no doubt he’s the Rams’ lead back, there’s also no doubt Freeman is the clear-cut handcuff and change-of-pace back. He continued his surprisingly strong season with 77 yards and a TD on 13 carries, marking the fourth time in the past five games he’s had at least 12 totes. Most of the damage was done in garbage time against one of the league’s worst run defenses, but nonetheless, Freeman is worth having around in deep leagues, especially if you own Williams.

Miles Sanders, RB, Panthers. Sanders is owned in just 52 percent of Yahoo leagues, and after averaging just 1.9 yards per carry last week, he might actually be dropped more than picked up this week. However, it’s important to look at the process, not just the results. Sanders racked up 15 carries (one more than Chuba Hubbard), and he also led the team in carries in Week 11 (11 to 10). Having a “lead back” on your bench can come in handy late in the season, so despite Sanders’ struggles, he has some value in favorable matchups. 

DeVante Parker, JuJu Smith-Schuster, & Tyquan Thornton, WRs, Patriots. Don’t consider this an endorsement of Parker, Thornton, Smith-Schuster, or the Patriots’ offense as a whole, but with Demario Douglas (concussion) hurt, someone has to catch passes for New England (right?). Parker (five targets last week), Thornton (5), and Smith-Schuster (4) are your most likely candidates, and against the Chargers’ last-ranked pass defense next week, it seems likely that at least one will have a decent game. Our bet would be Parker, but if you’re in a deep league and desperate for a flex, you can try JuJu or Thornton, too.

A.T. Perry, Lynn Bowden Jr., Keith Kirkwood, WRs, Saints. We’re not trying to be smartasses with these Patriots’ and Saints’ sections, but we truly don’t know which receivers will step up. New Orleans might not need any of the players we just listed if Chris Olave (concussion) and Rashid Shaheed (thigh) can play, but at this point, that seems somewhat unlikely. Like the Patriots, New Orleans has a favorable passing matchup against Detroit’s wilting pass defense, so there will be points available. It’s just difficult to pinpoint the beneficiaries. Perry seems like the most likely, but he had just two targets last week, so play these guys at your own risk.

Josh Palmer, WR, Chargers. Palmer (knee) is eligible to come off the IR in Week 13, and while he probably isn’t ready to return right away, he’s still worth stashing for the fantasy playoffs. Neither Quentin Johnston nor Jalen Guyton has been able to solidify themselves in WR2 role, so Palmer, who was coming off his best game of the year (five catches, 133 yards) before his injury, figures to get every opportunity to shine again if he does return this season.

Top fantasy QB streamers for Week 13

Kenny Pickett, Steelers vs. Cardinals. We’re not going to declare the Steelers’ offense officially “fixed,” but it certainly looked better in the first game of the post-Matt Canada era. Pickett threw for 278 yards and got all of his receivers involved against the Bengals. The Cardinals entered Week 12 allowing the eighth-most FPPG to QBs before having trouble with Matthew Stafford, so even Pickett has the chance to deliver some decent numbers against them.

Gardner Minshew, Colts (@ Titans). Tennessee’s pass defense was on the upswing for a while, but it was shredded by Baker Mayfield and Trevor Lawrence in Weeks 10 and 11 to the tune of 540 yards and six total QB TDs. Minshew should be able to come through with a high-floor day if you need a better QB option than your regular starter.

Baker Mayfield, Buccaneers (vs. Panthers). There are other QBs with better matchups (Jake Browning, ​​​​​​Tim DoyleBailey Zappe), but we’d still rather trust Mayfield’s relatively high floor. In Weeks 6-10, Mayfield averaged 260.2 passing yards per game and posted eight total TDs, and he was solid with 199 yards and two TDs last week. He can take advantage of Carolina’s suspect defense.

Derek Carr, Saints (vs. Lions). Carr has a great matchup against a Detroit defense that entered last week allowing the sixth-most fantasy points per game (FPPG) to QBs before getting roasted by Jordan Love, but if Chris Olave (concussion) and Rashid Shaheed (thigh) remain out, it’s almost impossible to trust the already low-ceiling Carr to come through. Monitor the injury reports if you’re considering streaming the veteran.

Top fantasy TE streamers for Week 13

Juwan Johnson, Saints (vs. Lions). Detroit’s TE woes continued last week when rookie TE Tucker Kraft trotted into the end zone against them, and Johnson will look to do the same in Week 13. He’s pretty much a TD-or-bust option, but with Michael Thomas (knee) out, Chris Olave (head) in concussion protocol, and Rashid Shaheed (thigh) looking iffy, Johnson has a little more pass-catching upside than usual in a highly favorable matchup.

Hunter Henry, Patriots (vs. Chargers). It’s a rough week for TE streamers, which is shown by our top pick being someone who didn’t have a catch last week. Obviously, Henry is boom or bust, but so are all of the players on this list. In the two games leading up to Week 12, Henry caught seven-of-11 targets for 60 yards and a TD, and perhaps more important, the Chargers entered Week 12 allowing the sixth-most FPPG to TEs. This is a good spot for Henry to get back on track. 

Tyler Conklin, Jets (vs. Falcons). Conklin has caught 19-of-21 targes over the past four games, and even though that hasn’t translated to any TDs and a relatively modest 46.8 yards per game, it’s clear Conklin is one of the few pieces of New York’s offense that’s regularly involved. Against the Falcons, who entered last week allowing the eighth-most FPPG to TEs, that should translate to a solid showing.

Tanner Hudson, Bengals (@ Jaguars). Hudson caught 14-of-16 targets in Weeks 9-11, then hauled in another four-of-five in Week 12. The Jaguars entered Week 12 allowing the third-most FPPG to TEs, so even though Cincinnati’s offense is sputtering right now, there’s some real upside for its tight ends. Hudson loses some luster if Tee Higgins (hamstring) is back, but he’s clearly a key part of Cincinnati’s offense right now, so you can chase the points in PPR leagues.

Jonnu Smith, Falcons (@ Jets). Smith has had one catch over the past two games; in Week 9, he had 100 yards and a TD. It’s been that kind of season for the explosive TE, so even though he’s the definition of “boom or bust,” he’s worth streaming consideration in standard leagues against a Jets’ defense that’s struggled against TEs most of the season.

Chig Okonkwo, Titans (vs. Colts). To say Okonkwo is “due” is an understatement. The Colts entered Week 12 allowing the seventh-most FPPG to TEs, so if there was ever a week for Okonkwo to rip off a big play, it’s Week 13.

Top fantasy defense streamers for Week 13

Jacksonville Jaguars (vs. Bengals). The Jags have been racking up takeaways all season, and Jake Browning is still learning the ropes for the Bengals. Expect plenty of sacks and turnovers in Jacksonville on Monday night.

Atlanta Falcons (@ Jets). Tim Boyle’s Jets’ starting debut went about as well as expected last Friday (seven sacks, two INTs). The Falcons D/ST is coming off a big game against New Orleans, and it can take advantage of New York’s offensive ineptitude.

Tampa Bay Buccaneers (vs. Panthers). Bryce Young and the Panthers have been giving up fantasy points to D/STs all season, entering Week 12 allowing the third-most. The Bucs have taken advantage of favorable matchups most of the year, so trust them at home.

Los Angeles Chargers (@ Patriots). The Pats QB situation is still a mess, so even a Joey Bosa-less Chargers can apply pressure, get some takeaways, and keep the score low. Entering Week 12, just four teams were allowing more FPPG to D/STs than the Patriots.

Los Angeles Rams (vs. Browns). Dorian Thompson-Robinson and P.J. Walker still have a lot to prove, and the Browns have struggled regardless of starter this year, allowing the seventh-most FPPG to D/STs. The Rams have a high floor in this favorable home matchup.

Indianapolis Colts (@ Titans). Will Levis has struggled mightily since his historic rookie debut, and the Colts showed in Weeks 9 and 10 against Carolina and New England that they can take advantage of shaky QBs and low-power offenses (nine sacks, five takeaways, 19 total offensive points allowed). They’ll do it again.

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