With Week 12 of the NFL season nearly in the books, it’s time for another important waiver cycle in the world of fantasy football.
Savvy owners make a habit of preparing for the home stretch throughout the entire fall, but even if you didn’t, there’s still time to make that last-minute pickup for the playoff push and beyond. There simply aren’t that many games left, so one outsized performance could have far-reaching effects on how the rest of your season plays out.
Below, read up on 10 potential difference-makers ahead of Week 13.
Rod Smith, RB
Team: Dallas Cowboys
Week 12 stats: 41 rushing yards, 7 receiving yards, 2 receptions, 1 touchdown
One thing to know: Ezekiel Elliott has been sidelined for three games now, and while none of his backups have been particularly impressive, it’s Smith who appears to have the most potential going forward. The Indiana native is a far better receiver than Alfred Morris, whom he replaced as the starter ahead of last week’s game.
Jacquizz Rodgers, RB
Team: Tampa Bay Buccaneers
Week 12 stats: 31 rushing yards, 6 receiving yards, 1 reception
One thing to know: Doug Martin suffered a concussion on Sunday, leaving a potential vacancy in the Buccaneers backfield. While second-year back Peyton Barber picked up some of the slack with his pair of goal line touchdowns, Rodgers got a few more touches, so it looks like he’ll be a bigger part of the offence in Week 13.
Marquise Goodwin, WR
Team: San Francisco 49ers
Week 12 stats: 78 receiving yards, 4 receptions
One thing to know: After amassing over 150 yards on just three catches in his previous two games, Goodwin got consistent attention on Sunday, posting his highest catch rate of the season on six targets. His stock is already trending in the right direction, and he’ll become all the more intriguing if Jimmy Garoppolo gets the start under center in Week 13.
Austin Ekeler, RB
Team: Los Angeles Chargers
Week 12 stats: 15 rushing yards, 55 receiving yards, 3 receptions
One thing to know: The Chargers already have one of the busiest running backs in the league in Melvin Gordon, but with 10 or more points in each of his last three games, Ekeler isn’t going away. With Gordon struggling of late, it might make sense for head coach Anthony Lynn to experiment with his backfield in Week 13, especially given their relatively low-pressure matchup against the Browns.
Jermaine Kearse, WR
Team: New York Jets
Week 12 stats: 105 receiving yards, 7 receptions, 1 touchdown
One thing to know: Kearse remains one of Josh McCown’s favourite targets in the end zone, and he added 105 yards on Sunday, his highest total since 2015. Throw in a relatively cushy matchup against the Chiefs, and this Washington product looks like a sensible streamer for Week 13, especially in PPR leagues.
Ricky Seals-Jones, TE
Team: Arizona Cardinals
Week 12 stats: 72 receiving yards, 4 receptions, 1 touchdown
One thing to know: It’s hard to have faith in a player who didn’t record a single reception before Week 11, but Seals-Jones’ recent production has been hard to ignore. The undrafted rookie out of Texas A&M has forged an outstanding chemistry with Blaine Gabbert, pulling in three touchdown catches in just two games. After a four-catch performance against the Jaguars, he should be prepared to face the Rams, who also boast a tough defensive unit.
Zay Jones, WR
Team: Buffalo Bills
Week 12 stats: 33 receiving yards, 3 receptions, 1 touchdown
One thing to know: Although it’s been a disappointing season for this second-round pick, Jones is actually in the midst of a productive stretch at the moment. He’s found the end zone in two of his last three games, and he went for a career-high 68 yards in the other one. While he caught just 3 out of 10 targets on Sunday, that kind of volume is appealing in and of itself.
Josh McCown, QB
Team: New York Jets
Week 12 stats: 307 passing yards, 28 rushing yards, 3 touchdown passes
One thing to know: Case Keenum may be the sexier pickup, but with Teddy Bridgewater eagerly awaiting his chance to return to the field, McCown should provide more value between now and the end of the season. He’s been more valuable than a number of big names, including Matt Ryan, Marcus Mariota, and Derek Carr.
Graham Gano, K
Team: Carolina Panthers
Week 12 stats: 3/3 field goals, 0/1 PATs
One thing to know: Gano has only missed one field goal all year, so if you’re looking to stream a kicker, he’s as good a choice as anyone. After an inconsistent start to the season, the Panthers have exploded for 80 points over the past two weeks, so the Florida State product will get his opportunities.
Week 12 stats: 6 points against, 2 sacks, 2 interceptions, 1 touchdown
One thing to know: The Chargers should be among the top defences in Week 13, and no, it’s not just because they’re set to play the Browns. Los Angeles has been averaging three interceptions per game since their Week 9 bye, which should make them especially dangerous against the chronically inaccurate DeShone Kizer.
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