By Greg Larnerd
Boy, has this fantasy football year flown by. We’re already at Week 13 and by now you pretty much know the fate of your team. You’re either in, out, or on the bubble for the fantasy football playoffs. Therefore, at this point in the season it’s so vital that you plan accordingly based on where you are in the standings.
If you’ve already secured your spot in the playoffs then it’s important that you study up on the matchups of your players. Check and see if any have a matchup you’re not particularly thrilled about and make sure you look ahead for potential waiver wire targets so you’ll be ready come playoff time.
If you find yourself fighting for your playoff life where a win is crucial to whether you make it in or not then you need to do everything you can to ensure you deploy the correct players with the most advantageous matchups THIS WEEK.
For those of you who are in the basement, this is where pride comes in. You should be embracing the role of spoiler and doing everything you can to make your adversaries sweat it out and work hard for a victory.
Once you identify which category you’re in, let’s look over the top targets on the Week 13 waiver wire.
Adrian Peterson (Minnesota Vikings, 52% Owned):
This is a play for those of you are who have their spot in the playoffs secured and are looking ahead. It was reported last week that Peterson was running on an underwater treadmill as he attempts to put his amazing healing powers to the test once again and return earlier than expected from a torn lateral meniscus in his knee. The target date for a return would be late December when the Vikings go on the road to the frozen tundra to face the Green Bay Packers on Christmas Eve. He could begin running on a normal surface this week so it’s worth monitoring his situation moving forward, especially if you have space on your bench — then stash him.
Charles Sims (Tampa Bay Buccaneers, 16% Owned):
Yet again we’re looking at another guy in Charles Sims that may just be worth an add and stash for later. Last week he returned to practice after being put on IR (injured reserve) way back in Week 5 and this begins a 21-day window where the Bucs can bring him back into the fold off of IR. If they do, he’ll fit comfortably back into the role he’s played the last couple of seasons where he’s been the change of pace/receiving running back behind starter Doug Martin. This move only really makes sense in a PPR league as a low-end flex play, so if you’re in a deeper league he may be worth keeping an eye on and stashing for a later date.
Malcolm Mitchell/Chris Hogan (New England Patriots, 5% and 28% Owned):
I decided to roll these two guys into one here under the wide receivers because to start, Bill Belichick’s offense is very difficult to predict who is going to be targeted week to week if your name’s not Rob Gronkowski or Julian Edelman. Gronk is currently dealing with a back injury that forced him to leave Sunday’s tilt against the New York Jets early. Therefore, without Gronk in the mix we could see increased touches for Malcolm Mitchell, who’s accounted for three scores in two weeks, and Chris Hogan, who’s had a couple of solid games as a slot man. This week the Patriots get the LA Rams who were just carved up by New Orleans Saints QB, Drew Brees, so enjoy, fellas.
Taylor Gabriel (Atlanta Falcons, 12% Owned):
Here’s your fun fact for the day: over the past four weeks Taylor Gabriel has accounted for more fantasy points than his superstar teammate Julio Jones and New York Giants All-Pro WR Odell Beckham Jr in standard leagues. Yeah, you’re reading that correctly, that’s not a typo.
It’s hard to wrap your head around, I know. I’m not suggesting that Gabriel is a stud or should ultimately be considered a WR1 or even WR2 option, but the numbers he’s put up lately are difficult to ignore. If you’re set at WR it may not be a bad idea to add Gabriel as insurance or to keep him out of your opponent’s starting lineup. On the flip side, if you do find yourself needing some help at your WR/Flex spot he may come in handy as the Falcons have found a nice niche for him in the offense.
Vance McDonald (San Francisco 49ers, 15% Owned):
We all know the tight end position in fantasy football can be very fluid if you don’t have one of those rare top tier players at the position. Therefore, it’s important to stream a hot commodity or a guy who’s got himself a plus matchup. This week I’m looking at McDonald as a guy who may be getting overlooked in your league, but I think it’s time we uncover him here. Over the last four weeks he’s gotten 26 targets from QB Colin Kaepernick and hasn’t recorded less than 46 yards in any of those games while adding two TD catches. It’s time you take a look at streaming Vance McDonald into your lineup.
Greg Larnerd is a fantasy football writer/contributor for CBS Sports Radio and is a fantasy football nut. You can find him on Twitter: @glarn34 or on YouTube: Greg Larnerd for all of his latest fantasy football videos.