The surprise late-season breakout RB is a time-honored fantasy football tradition, and, sure enough, injuries and out-of-nowhere upticks in usage are beginning to provide us with new candidates each week. This week, Benny Snell Jr. and Rashaad Penny threw their hats in the ring, while Bo Scarbrough continued his late-season run to relevance. All three will be among the top Week 13 fantasy waiver wire pickups and free agent adds, though it wasn’t just handcuff running backs who made an impression on Sunday.
Our full free agent list features several interesting WRs, including Russell Gage, N’Keal Harry, and James Washington, while tight end Ryan Griffin had yet another solid game (by tight end standards). Sam Darnold also reminded us he can have good games in favorable matchups. As always, we have a bunch of QB, WR, TE, and D/ST streamers for Week 13, which you might not need now that byes are over but are still worth looking at if you have injury issues. You can find the streamers at the end of the list. And if you want to get an idea of the sad end to Adam Vinatieri’s Hall-of-Fame career, check out our Week 13 kicker rankings.
Most of the players mentioned above aren’t worth a waiver claim on their own merits. There’s too much uncertainty surrounding the Steelers and Seahawks backfields to think you can count on Snell or Penny, and Scarbrough is about to face a tough upcoming schedule. However, if you have a glaring need at a certain position, especially if your postseason life is in the line, go ahead and burn your claim and get who you need. There will probably be more worthwhile pickups in the weeks to come, but it won’t matter if you’re in the consolation bracket.
Top fantasy football waiver wire pickups for Week 13
Unless otherwise noted, only players owned in fewer than 50 percent of Yahoo leagues considered.
Benny Snell Jr., RB, Steelers. We liked Snell coming into this week, listing him among our Week 12 sleepers and on our Week 13 waiver wire watch list, but even we didn’t expect him to dominate carries to the tune of 21 rushes out of a total 31 for Pittsburgh’s RBs. Snell paid off those touches, rushing for 98 yards and adding another five through the air on his lone target. Snell might not have much value next week if James Conner (shoulder) is back, but given Conner’s checkered injury history, Snell is worth having as a handcuff for the stretch run. Pittsburgh finishes the fantasy season with favorable matchups against the Browns, Cardinals, Bills, and Jets, so Snell could have major value if Conner were to continue missing time.
Rashaad Penny, RB, Seahawks. Penny led the Seahawks in carries (14) and rushing yards (128) in Week 12, thoroughly outplaying Chris Carson (8-26) in a tough RB matchup against the Eagles. Carson also botched a handoff with Russell Wilson, resulting in a lost fumble — something he had a problem with earlier in the season. Penny’s breakout came out of nowhere, as he had just two carries in Seattle’s Week 10 game prior to its bye. Carson has been a workhorse for the team all season, and Pete Carroll has continually stuck with him through his ball-security issues, so it seems unlikely Penny will suddenly become the “lead back”. But this could become more of a committee going forward, making Penny worth an add in all formats. Seattle has tough Week 13 and 14 matchups (vs. Vikings, @ Rams), but finishes the year with favorable matchups against the Panthers and Cardinals.
MORE WEEK 13: Full waiver wire
Bo Scarbrough, RB, Lions. Scarbrough was one last week’s big waiver pickups, but heading into Week 12, he was still available in 57 percent of Yahoo leagues. He ran 18 times for 98 yards in a favorable matchup against the Redskins in Week 12, cementing himself as the Lions primary running back. Next week’s Thanksgiving matchup against the Bears actually isn’t terrible, as Chicago entered Week 12 allowing the 11th-most fantasy points per game to RBs, so you can get by with using Scarbrough for at least one more week. Things get much tougher in Weeks 14-16 (Vikings, Buccaneers, Broncos), so it’s tough to recommend using a high claim on Scarbrough, but if you’re desperate for RB help next week, he more than fits the bill.
N’Keal Harry and Jakobi Meyers, WRs, Patriots. With Mohamed Sanu (ankle) and Phillip Dorsett (concussion) out, Harry and Meyers stepped up in bad conditions and a tough matchup against Dallas. Harry caught an early touchdown, and Meyers hauled in four-of-nine targets for 74 yards. It’s unclear if Sanu and Dorsett will return next week — and if they do, neither Harry nor Meyers can be counted on in fantasy leagues — but if even just one is out, you can take your chances with one of these guys as a WR3 against the porous Texans pass defense. Harry has a little more upside in standard leagues, while Meyers is a better PPR choice.
For more waiver/free agent suggestions, check out our full Week 13 list.