Fantasy football waiver wire: Why you should add Pat Freiermuth, Matthew Stafford

Pat Freiermuth is one of the top options on the waiver wire for Week 13 after racking up 120 receiving yards Sunday against the Bengals. Photo by Joe Sargent/Getty Images

Fantasy managers are paying close attention to the teams on bye in Week 13. You won't be able to start Lamar Jackson, Zay Flowers, Josh Allen or Stefon Diggs because the Baltimore Ravens and Buffalo Bills are off. Because both teams rank among the top in total yards and points scored per game this season, that will be a big blow to fantasy lineups.

In addition, the Chicago Bears, Minnesota Vikings, Las Vegas Raiders and New York Giants won't be playing in Week 13. This means Justin Fields, Joshua Dobbs, Jordan Addison, T.J. Hockenson, Josh Jacobs and Davante Adams won't be available.

This week's column is focused on helping you find bye week fill-ins, as well as highlighting players you should add and stash on your bench.

Rookie wide receiver Jayden Reed (rostered in 31.5% of ESPN leagues) should be your top priority on the waiver wire this week. Reed continues to play an important role in the Packers' offense both as a receiver and rusher. He has scored 15 or more fantasy points in three straight games and leads the Packers in receiving yards (497) despite playing primarily in 11 personnel. This is a testament to the rapport Reed has built with Jordan Love. Reed has the potential to be a fantasy football league winner. Pat Freiermuth, Jordan Love, Keaton Mitchell and Josh Downs are also attractive options on the waiver wire for Week 13.

Wide receivers

Josh Downs, Indianapolis Colts (47.2%)

Downs had time to recover from his knee injury during the Colts bye week in Week 12. He played nearly 70% of the offensive snaps against the Buccaneers on Sunday and worked primarily from 11 personnel opposite Michael Pittman Jr. and Alec Pierce. Downs amassed 13 targets against Tampa Bay, and he averaged 7.2 targets and 16.6 fantasy points per game from Weeks 5 through 8. Fantasy managers will salivate over his upcoming schedule with games against the Tennessee Titans, Cincinnati Bengals and Pittsburgh Steelers on tap, three teams that rank near the bottom of the league against wide receivers.

Jalin Hyatt, New York Giants (1.7%)

The Giants haven't been a juggernaut on offense this season, but Hyatt's performance against the New England Patriots with Tommy DeVito under center deserves your attention. He caught five of six targets for a career-high 109 receiving yards. It was the Giants' first game this season in which a receiver surpassed 100 yards. The connection between Hyatt and DeVito might continue to grow over the bye week, making Hyatt worth stashing on your bench.

Quick hits

Demario Douglas (32.1%) has accumulated seven or more targets in four straight games, scoring 10 or more fantasy points in three of them.

Jonathan Mingo (7.6%) continues to play a high percentage of snaps for the Carolina Panthers. The rookie led the team in targets and receiving yards against the Titans on Sunday. Mingo faces a Buccaneers defense in Week 13 that gives up the fourth-most fantasy points per game to wide receivers.

Greg Dortch (0.3%) has had eight or more targets and scored 11 or more fantasy points in back-to-back games. Dortch is a solid streaming option if Michael Wilson is unable to play Sunday against the Houston Texans.


Jordan Love, Green Bay Packers (47.9%)

Love plays on the frozen tundra of Lambeau Field, but he is heating up at the perfect time for fantasy managers. He has scored 20 or more fantasy points in each of his past two games and posted career highs in quarterback rating and completion percentage against the Lions on Thanksgiving Day. Love and the Packers have a very favorable schedule with upcoming games against the Chiefs, Giants, Buccaneers, Panthers and Vikings.

Matthew Stafford, Los Angeles Rams (31.1%)

Stafford had all of his offensive playmakers at his disposal Sunday against the Cardinals, including Cooper Kupp, Puka Nacua and Kyren Williams. He delivered with a season-high 23.3 fantasy points, Stafford's 15th career game with at least four passing touchdowns. He has a tough schedule with games against the Browns and Ravens over the next two weeks, but things should ease up during the fantasy playoffs with the Rams facing the Commanders, Saints and Giants in Weeks 15 through 17. Now is a great time to pick him up.

Gardner Minshew, Indianapolis Colts (7.3%)

The rapport between Minshew and Michael Pittman Jr. is undeniable. The duo has connected 18 times for 191 yards over the past two games. Minshew and the Colts will face a Titans defense in Week 13 that has struggled to contain wide receivers all season. The QB is firmly on the streaming radar for this week.

Running backs

Keaton Mitchell, Baltimore Ravens (33.6%)

Mitchell's role in the Ravens backfield continues to grow. He had 11 touches and 10.9 fantasy points, playing nearly half of Baltimore's offensive snaps in Week 12. He has scored 10 or more fantasy points in three of his past four games while still splitting touches with Gus Edwards and Justice Hill. He might see even more work after the Ravens' Week 13 bye.

Ezekiel Elliott, New England Patriots (36.4%)

The Patriots are emphasizing their running game, given the uncertainty at quarterback. While Elliott has averaged only 10.5 touches a game this season, he has a favorable matchup in Week 13 against a Chargers defense that has given up the ninth-most fantasy points per game to running backs.

Chuba Hubbard, Carolina Panthers (48.6%)

Hubbard is maximizing his opportunities while sharing offensive snaps and touches with Miles Sanders. He turned 19 touches into a season-high 20.2 fantasy points. Hubbard's receiving ability gives him an edge over Sanders in Week 13, when the Panthers face a Buccaneers defense that has given up the 10th-fewest rushing yards per game. Consider him a solid flex option.

Tight ends

Pat Freiermuth, Pittsburgh Steelers (41.9%)

I am surprised that Freiermuth's roster percentage hasn't exceeded 50% yet. Freiermuth finished with 11 targets and 120 receiving yards against the Bengals in Week 12, the most by a Steelers tight end since Jesse James had 138 yards in 2018. Freiermuth has a very favorable schedule for the rest of the season and is the top tight end option on the wire.

Isaiah Likely, Baltimore Ravens (31.8%)

Likely led the Ravens, catching four of six targets for 40 receiving yards in Week 12, while playing 73% of the offensive snaps. Although he didn't score a touchdown, this was an encouraging performance. Baltimore's next game is in Week 14, facing a Rams defense that has given up the fifth-most fantasy points per game to tight ends.

Quick hits

Chigoziem Okonkwo (21.0%) has had four or more targets in four of his past five games. He is firmly on the streaming radar for Week 13 against a Colts defense that has given up the sixth-most fantasy points per game to tight ends.

Tyler Conklin (17.4%) caught four of five targets for 33 receiving yards against the Dolphins on Friday. He has chemistry with the Jets' new starting quarterback, Tim Boyle, and New York faces a Falcons defense in Week 13 that has given up the fourth-most fantasy points per game to tight ends.