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Entering Week 13 of the NFL season, the fantasy football landscape is a dynamic tapestry of breakout performances, unexpected injuries, and evolving player roles. As fantasy managers gear up for the playoff push, the waiver wire becomes an increasingly crucial tool for strengthening rosters and gaining a competitive edge. In this comprehensive guide, we will delve deep into potential Week 13 waiver wire gems across various positions, providing thorough analyses and strategic insights to help you make informed decisions for your fantasy squad.

Quarterback: Kenny Pickett - Pittsburgh Steelers

Amidst the ebb and flow of quarterback uncertainties this season, Kenny Pickett has emerged as a fascinating waiver wire target heading into Week 13. The firing of offensive coordinator Matt Canada lit a fire under the team so much that the Steeler offense as a whole put up over 400 total yards in their Week 12 game with Pickett under center. Pickett looked like a new man on Sunday, completing 24 of 33 passes for 278 yards with no touchdowns and no interceptions. While those aren’t what we would consider to be mind-blowing numbers, it’s nonetheless an encouraging performance from a quarterback that has struggled for most of the season.

To that end, Pickett stands to gain a lot of value in the coming weeks as the Steelers overhaul their offensive philosophy, and he has a fairly juicy upcoming schedule, beginning with a Week 13 matchup against the Arizona Cardinals. The Cardinals have allowed the ninth-most fantasy points to quarterbacks on the year and the fact that one of Pickett’s best games came immediately after the firing of the offensive coordinator gives good reason to believe he’s at least a solid streaming option for the next few weeks. Fantasy managers in need for that kind of production should go get Pickett off the wire immediately. 

Running Back: Rico Dowdle - Dallas Cowboys

Dallas Cowboys running back Rico Dowdle didn’t make much of a rushing impact in the team’s Thanksgiving win over the Commanders. Dowdle did, however, have one 15 yard reception that turned into a score. Teammate Tony Pollard has been the guy in the Dallas offense all year, and that doesn’t figure to change anytime soon. However, Dowdle has pretty much solidified himself as the primary handcuff and backup. 

As we all know, primary handcuff running backs are extremely valuable, especially at this point in the fantasy season when many teams are vying for playoff berths and one injury can make or break a squad’s chances. With Pollard starting to play better, the odds of Dowdle making a significant impact are low. However, should Pollard get injured at any time between now and Week 17 (most fantasy championship weeks), Dowdle would be a huge cog in a high-powered Cowboy offense and immediately jump into RB1 territory. Astute fantasy managers should pick him up now if they have the bench space and stash him to see what transpires over the next few weeks. 

Wide Receiver: A.T. Perry - New Orleans Saints

New Orleans Saints first year wide-out A.T. Perry had a pretty quiet Week 12, hauling in only one pass for 7 yards. However, the talent is there, as back in Week 10 he hauled in two receptions for 38 yards and his first career NFL touchdown. While the numbers themselves don’t necessarily warrant a pickup, the Saints WR corps has been decimated by injuries as of late, opening to the door to more playing time for the electric rookie.

Michael Thomas is on IR, Chris Olave left the Week 12 game with a concussion, and Rashid Shaheed also left with a quad injury. Should all three of those guys be unavailable for Week 13, Perry would immediately slot into a starting role, most likely as the team’s No. 1 receiver. Additionally, the Saints face-off against the Lions, Panthers, and Giants over the next three weeks, three teams that have been atrocious against opposing passing attacks. Managers looking for a receiver with high upside need to take a serious look at Perry and consider snatching him off the wire while they still can. 

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Tight End: Pat Freiermuth - Pittsburgh Steelers

The tight end position in fantasy is often a wasteland except for the top 2-3 elite options. Pittsburgh Steelers tight end Pat Freiermuth could become one of those options. At only 25 years old, it seems like Freiermuth has been around forever, but is just now beginning to get back on the fantasy radar due to an injury that kept him sidelined until last week. Prior to the team’s Week 12 game, the Steelers made the correct decision to let go of offensive coordinator Matt Canada. 

That decision has already paid huge dividends, and Freiermuth was one of the biggest beneficiaries. The Steelers offense as a whole generated over 400 yards and 6.2 yards per play against the Bengals in Week 12. Freiermuth was a huge part of that offensive onslaught, to the tune of a 33% target share, nine receptions, and 120 receiving yards. Those are TE1 numbers folks, and if for some unknown reason he’s available on the waiver wire, fantasy managers need to go get him right now, as he should continue to post average to above-average numbers for the stretch run. 

Kicker: Matt Gay - Indianapolis Colts

In the often overlooked realm of fantasy kickers, Matt Gay of the Indianapolis Colts has emerged as a reliable and consistent option. Gay has showcased both accuracy and a strong leg throughout the season, translating into an average of 9.6 points per game, sixth best at the position. If fantasy managers have enough faith in the Colts offense (and they should), Gay should be able to be safely ridden for the next five weeks throughout the fantasy playoffs, as the Colts take on the Titans, Bengals, Steelers, Falcons, and Raiders. All five of these teams rank in the top 15 in points allowed kickers. 

Those on the lookout for a kicker with a dependable floor and the capability for big-game performances need not look further than Matt Gay. His ability to convert field goals and extra points, combined with the Colts offense, positions him as a reliable option for Week 13 and beyond.

Defense: Jacksonville Jaguars

The Jacksonville Jaguars’ defense has undergone a notable transformation in recent weeks, making them an intriguing waiver wire target for fantasy managers in need of a defensive upgrade. Over the last few games, the Jags have showcased their prowess with multiple sacks and takeaways, establishing themselves as a unit capable of making a significant fantasy impact. Heading into Week 13, they face the quarterback challenged Cincinnati Bengals, a team who, without their star Joe Burrow, are currently a shell of the offense they were earlier in the year. Against the Steelers in Week 12, the Bengals were only able to muster a total of 10 points, and this Jacksonville defense should feast on them. They also have a favorable matchup in Week 14, as they take on a Cleveland Browns team struggling to put up points after the season-ending injury to quarterback DeShaun Watson

If you find yourself in the position of streaming defenses or needing a unit with favorable Week 13 potential, the Tennessee Titans could be the difference-maker your fantasy roster requires. The potential for turnovers and sacks against a formidable opponent makes Jacksonville an enticing waiver wire addition heading into this critical week of the fantasy football season.

Conclusion

As we embark on Week 13 of the fantasy football season, the waiver wire remains a treasure trove of untapped potential for managers eager to secure playoff spots and vie for championship glory. In this comprehensive guide, we've delved deep into potential waiver wire gems across various positions, providing thorough analyses and strategic insights to aid fantasy managers in making informed decisions for their squads.

The unpredictable nature of the NFL ensures that the fantasy football landscape is ever-changing, requiring astute roster management and a keen eye on emerging talents. Whether you're seeking a late-season quarterback with the potential to lead your team to victory, a running back to fill an injury-related void, a reliable wide receiver, a breakout tight end, a consistent kicker, or a defense with a favorable matchup, there are still hidden gems waiting to be uncovered.

Stay vigilant in monitoring player performances, assess your roster's strengths and weaknesses, and make strategic additions to position yourself for success in the final stretch of the fantasy football season. May your Week 13 matchups be filled with strategic triumphs and fantasy glory as you navigate the intricacies of the waiver wire landscape. Good luck!