Waiver Wire: It’s crunch time


Lloyd Fox/Baltimore Sun/TNS

Baltimore Ravens quarterback Lamar Jackson (8) scores a touchdown after making a cut on the Los Angeles Rams’ Troy Hill (32) in the first half during a preseason game at M&T Bank Stadium in Baltimore on Aug. 9.

By Adin Link, Staff Writer

With the NFL’s Week 13 coming up, this particular fantasy matchup is one of the most important of the year.

Week 13 is often the final week of most fantasy regular seasons, which means playoffs start in the next two weeks — so adding the best players from the waiver wire is crucial. If you absolutely need a plug-and-play player to keep your fantasy hopes alive, look no further.

*The %OWN statistic is based on ESPN standard leagues from Nov. 26.


Lamar Jackson, Baltimore Ravens, %OWN: 49.1%

Lamar Jackson has surged in the last two weeks. After first-string Ravens QB Joe Flacco went down with an injury, Jackson got his opportunity and has not looked back. Leading the Ravens to back-to-back wins in the last two weeks, Jackson figures to play a huge role in their offense going forward. He still needs to improve his passing skills as he struggled in obvious scenarios on Sunday, but what he lacks in arm talent, he more than makes up for with his running ability. It is clear Jackson is Baltimore’s future and his passing ability will likely only improve by the week.

Case Keenum, Denver Broncos, %OWN: 9.2%

The Broncos are coming off two huge upset wins that are keeping them alive in the playoff hunt. While Case Keenum only posted 8.2 and 15.6 fantasy points in those two games, respectively, he played a big role in both of those wins — especially last week’s win against the Pittsburgh Steelers. Keenum has done a good job lately in not turning the ball over and simply doing his job. With the Broncos on a win streak and playing a very weak Cincinnati Bengals defense, Keenum figures to be in a great position to have one of his best fantasy performances of the year.

Running Backs

LeGarrette Blount, Detroit Lions, %OWN: 18.5%

LeGarrette Blount’s spot on this list comes in the wake of regular Lions running back Kerryon Johnson’s knee injury. Johnson is currently listed as week-to-week, so the door for Blount should remain open for at least another week. In his first game taking over for Johnson, he rushed 19 times for 88 yards and scored two touchdowns against the Chicago Bears on Thanksgiving Day. Blount’s role really diminished early on in the season with Johnson’s emergence, but he now may start to enjoy an emergence of his own with an increased role in the Lions offense.

Nyheim Hines, Indianapolis Colts, %OWN: 29.9%

Nyheim Hines has enjoyed a pleasant first season. When the rookie was selected by the Colts in the fourth round of the 2018 NFL Draft, fans were not sure how he would be utilized in the league. Hines has been used out of the backfield for his ability to run and catch. His fantasy value should skyrocket this week as regular Colt back Marlon Mack is dealing with the NFL’s concussion protocol. If Mack is indeed not able to play in Week 13, Hines will be getting a majority of the Colts’ snaps on both running and passing downs.

Wide Receivers

Josh Reynolds, Los Angeles Rams, %OWN: 33.8%

As a Los Angeles Rams playmaker with a %OWN less than 50 percent, Josh Reynolds is available in a majority of fantasy leagues and should be added immediately. After Cooper Kupp suffered a season-ending injury against the Seahawks in Week 10, Reynolds was named his replacement. In his first career start against Kansas City, he had six catches for 80 yards and a touchdown in the Rams’ 54-51 win over the Chiefs. Reynolds was all over the field against the Chiefs and seems like he will be a seamless transition from Kupp.

Tre’Quan Smith, New Orleans Saints, %OWN: 42.8%

Recovering from a foot injury that kept him sidelined in Week 12, Tre’Quan Smith was coming off of his best game of the year in Week 11. Against the Eagles, Smith had 10 catches for 157 yards and a touchdown. With fantasy playoffs coming up, it is definitely a good idea to add as many players from hot teams as possible. The Saints are the hottest team in the NFL and now that he is healthy, Smith will be able to benefit from their high-powered offense.

Tight Ends

Gerald Everett, Los Angeles Rams, %OWN: 5.9%

Gerald Everett is part of one of the most efficient and high scoring offenses in the league and is becoming its feature tight end. While Everett was sharing reps for a majority of the year with fellow tight end Tyler Higbee, it seems as though he has started to emerge. In Week 11 against the Kansas City Chiefs, Everett had three catches for 49 yards and two touchdowns — including the game winner.

Cameron Brate, Tampa Bay Buccaneers, %OWN: 53.5%

Cameron Brate’s status on this list comes after the news that Bucs regular tight end OJ Howard has been ruled out another four to six weeks due to an ankle injury. Jameis Winston showed an affinity for throwing to Brate last season, especially in the red zone. This continued when Winston regained the role as starting quarterback for the Bucs last week after relieving Ryan Fitzpatrick in Week 11 against the Giants. He found Brate in the corner of the end zone on Sunday to account for one of his three catches against the 49ers.