NFL Waiver Wire: Week 13 Deep Dive

NFL Waiver Wire: Week 13 Deep Dive

This article is part of our NFL Waiver Wire series.

After a splendid week where no teams were on bye, fantasy managers return to a rude reality with the Bills, Ravens and Vikings being the most notable ones off. The absence of players on those clubs sets off significant needs at nearly every position. With that in mind and with the fantasy playoffs almost here, I've mentioned a few players who may be available in slightly shallower formats than this article typically covers to uncover at least a few immediately usable pieces. And we'll also have some traditional deep dive examples.

Quarterback

Kenny Pickett vs. ARI (16 percent ESPN, 83 percent FFPC)

All shouldn't be forgiven of Pickett simply because he looked like a moderately more competent quarterback in one game after the Steelers got rid of offensive coordinator Matt Canada. He threw for a season-high 278 yards against the Bengals and draws another soft matchup on Sunday, though Pickett only had one passing TD - and two overall - across his last six games. Pickett represents a desperation-only play thanks to the opponent.

Gardner Minshew at TEN (seven percent ESPN, 47 percent FFPC)

The Titans aren't the extreme pass funnel defense they were to begin the season, but attacking the unit through the air is still the best way to score. The bigger problem could be game script if the Colts jump ahead early as they'll likely be content to let Zack Moss run out the clock.  

Joe Flacco vs. LAR (zero percent ESPN, one percent FFPC)

Flacco

After a splendid week where no teams were on bye, fantasy managers return to a rude reality with the Bills, Ravens and Vikings being the most notable ones off. The absence of players on those clubs sets off significant needs at nearly every position. With that in mind and with the fantasy playoffs almost here, I've mentioned a few players who may be available in slightly shallower formats than this article typically covers to uncover at least a few immediately usable pieces. And we'll also have some traditional deep dive examples.

Quarterback

Kenny Pickett vs. ARI (16 percent ESPN, 83 percent FFPC)

All shouldn't be forgiven of Pickett simply because he looked like a moderately more competent quarterback in one game after the Steelers got rid of offensive coordinator Matt Canada. He threw for a season-high 278 yards against the Bengals and draws another soft matchup on Sunday, though Pickett only had one passing TD - and two overall - across his last six games. Pickett represents a desperation-only play thanks to the opponent.

Gardner Minshew at TEN (seven percent ESPN, 47 percent FFPC)

The Titans aren't the extreme pass funnel defense they were to begin the season, but attacking the unit through the air is still the best way to score. The bigger problem could be game script if the Colts jump ahead early as they'll likely be content to let Zack Moss run out the clock.  

Joe Flacco vs. LAR (zero percent ESPN, one percent FFPC)

Flacco is a potential deep-league add for those in two-QB or Superflex formats. The Browns need to stack wins together to keep a playoff spot in the AFC, and the combination of PJ Walker and Dorian Thompson-Robinson (concussion) appears to be losing steam. Flacco would likely give them the best chance to win and should still be better than the likes of Tim Boyle from a fantasy perspective. 

Running Back

Zack Moss at TEN (59 percent ESPN, 64 percent FFPC)

Moss doesn't fit the mold of the player we typically highlight in this column and it's possible – perhaps likely – he's not available in your league. However, he immediately became the top waiver wire option regardless of position with the news Jonathan Taylor (thumb) is facing a multi-week absence. That update broke after the traditional waiver wire column was written, so Moss is worth highlighting here especially considering he performed as a week-winner to begin the season. 

Roschon Johnson BYE (22 percent ESPN, 98 percent FFPC)

It's unclear whether Johnson actually surpassed Khalil Herbert on the depth chart, though he did see more touches in Monday's win over the Vikings. The two strikes against him are the bye and that D'Onta Foreman (ankle) could return in time for the team's Week 14 matchup. Both scenarios keep Johnson's appeal in check, yet remains a decent stash candidate for those comfortably in playoff position or with solid starters already in place at RB.

Michael Carter at PIT (one percent ESPN, 59 percent FFPC)

Carter was active for the first time since joining Arizona last week and immediately stepped into the second running back position behind James Conner. He played on 39 percent of offensive snaps and was targeted four times to supplement his four carries. For those in leagues where Moss and Johnson are already rostered, Carter is a decent addition to at least chip in points on Sunday with the potential to continue to receive an expanded role at some point this campaign.  

Trey Sermon at TEN (zero percent ESPN, one percent FFPC)

For those where Moss is already taken, Sermon is the speculative add in the wake of the Taylor news. He's been on the Colts' active roster since late September and has seen minimal role much of the year, yet has been active and figures to be the second back behind Moss. That likely doesn't mean much immediate volume, but he's another decent speculative pickup.

Wide Receiver

Jameson Williams at NO (15 percent ESPN, 98 percent FFPC)

Williams has been more involved in the Detroit offense in terms of routes run and snap share as the weeks have progressed. He's also delivered a reception of at least 20 yards in each of his last two appearances to show hints of being the home-run threat that the Lions' offense needs. Williams isn't likely to command targets at a prolific rate this season, though he's stepping into an important role and there could be some fantasy appeal to follow.

Jalen Guyton at NE (two percent ESPN, 20 percent FFPC)

Whether Quentin Johnston (ribs) is injured or benched isn't particularly relevant as Guyton appears to have locked up the second wide receiver slot for now. That's translated to 11 combined targets across his last two games. That volume isn't likely to change until Joshua Palmer (knee) can return from injured reserve.

Justin Watson at GB (two percent ESPN, 22 percent FFPC)

Watson is popping up because he's produced touchdowns in consecutive contests. He was only targeted once last week and isn't a sturdy play, but he's involved in the Chiefs' offense and seems to be trusted by Patrick Mahomes. For those in need of immediate help, Watson represents a good option simply because of his quarterback.

A.T. Perry vs. DET (one percent ESPN, 22 percent FFPC)
Lynn Bowden vs. DET (zero percent ESPN, zero percent FFPC)

Someone is going to have to step in the New Orleans pass-catching corps as the team is likely to be without Chris Olave (concussion) and Rashid Shaheed (thigh) while Michael Thomas (knee) is on IR. That leaves Perry and Bowden as the most obvious candidates. Neither one is a household name, but the Saints would be smart to try and attack Detroit through the air and both could step up for surprising stat lines on Sunday.

Dontayvion Wicks vs. KC (one percent ESPN, seven percent FFPC)

Jordan Love is finding a rhythm in the Green Bay attack and Wicks was also starting to do the same before he suffered a concussion in Week 11. In his most recent four outings, he's seen at least four targets with at least 49 yards three times. It's unclear how Wicks fits in with Christian Watson, Romeo Doubs and Jayden Reed, yet Wicks was trending up a few weeks ago.  

Greg Dortch at PIT (zero percent ESPN, 31 percent FFPC)

When there are injuries in the Arizona receiving corps, Dortch becomes a target hog. He's accumulated 17 looks from his last two games and carries a relatively safe floor if Michael Wilson (shoulder) misses out again. The problem is that there's really no ceiling to Dortch's game with only nine receptions and 103 yards on those 17 targets.

Cedric Tillman at LAR (zero percent ESPN, zero percent FFPC)

Tillman has been on the field for at least 70 percent of offensive snaps in four straight contests since returning from a hip injury. If Flacco does take over at QB, Tillman could be the player to emerge in the Cleveland offense. If either Thompson-Robinson or Walker remains the starter, Tillman can likely be ignored.   

Tight End

Tucker Kraft vs. KC (one percent ESPN, 17 percent FFPC)

Kraft is stepping in to replace Luke Musgrave (abdomen), the latter possibly not returning this season. The problem has already been mentioned as the Packers' carry a crowded wide receiver room, which may leave limited targets for peripheral options such as Kraft. But both of his targets on Thanksgiving came inside the 20 and he did find the end zone, so it appears he'll at least get high-value looks when called upon.

Juwan Johnson vs. DET (eight percent ESPN, 84 percent FFPC)

We can make the exact opposite case for Johnson since the Saints' receiving corps has been decimated by injuries. He unsurprisingly saw a season-high seven targets last week and is likely to get similar involvement for the foreseeable future.  

Tanner Hudson at JAC (one percent ESPN, 24 percent FFPC)

Hudson isn't the most exciting option, but he's now relevant in PPR leagues (or TE premium). He's managed at least four receptions in four consecutive games, though hasn't surpassed 50 yards yet. Understand that Hudson represents a high-floor option in a non-explosive Cincinnati offense and could be a decent play for a desperate fantasy manager.

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ABOUT THE AUTHOR
Dan Marcus
Dan started covering fantasy sports in 2015, joining Rotowire in 2018. In addition to Rotowire, Dan has written for Baseball HQ and Rotoballer.
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