Waiver Wire Watch, Week 13: Where we have to talk Frank Gore owners off the ledge

It’s Week 13, which means we’re in crunch time in most fantasy leagues. If your roster is a mess, there’s not much we can do at this point, but if you need a win this week to make the postseason, there may be a player or two who can help.

I use the ESPN league data when filtering players, so the only guys eligible for discussion here are those that are available on the waiver wire in at least 40% of ESPN’s leagues. I’ll list each player’s percentage-owned after their name so you have an idea of how available they are in leagues around the country. I’ll always try to mention a few players that are available in 90% of leagues for those of you in 12-team leagues or leagues with big rosters. I’ll rank them in the order I’d pick them up in a league with a high-performance scoring system.

Please note that these rankings are for total value through the end of the year. Players with particularly good matchups this week are in bold.

Josh Freeman (56.6)
If you’re looking for a solid QB to run out there every week the rest of the way, Freeman is your guy. He has two solid matchups (ATL, DET) and two good matchups (WAS, SEA) the rest of the way, so he should be able to give you borderline QB1 numbers over the final month of the fantasy season. His somewhat Week 12 outing against the Ravens marked only the second time all season that he didn’t throw for at least 212 yards or toss two TDs.

Ryan Fitzpatrick (33.4)
The Bills have that Bad News Bears feel about them. I find myself rooting for Buffalo every week. He finished with decent numbers (265 yards, TD, INT) in a terrible matchup, and would have had 300+ and 2 TDs if not for Stevie Johnson’s dropped TD in overtime. The matchup this week isn’t great (@MIN), but Fitzy is still a solid start. I love him in W14 and W16 against the Browns and Patriots, respectively.

Jon Kitna (13.9)
I wouldn’t want to start him this week against an angry Colts’ defense, but his W15 (WAS) and W16 (@ARI) matchups are great, and in W14 he faces an Eagles defense that just got torched by Jay Cutler.

Matt Cassel (49.5)
He may not be the greatest QB in the world, but he’s taking full advantage of Dwayne Bowe’s ascendancy to stud status, tossing 12 TDs in the last four games. With Denver’s lowly pass defense up next, he’s a great pickup this week, though things get tougher in W14 against the Chargers.

Sam Bradford (30.6)
I watched quite a bit of the STL/DEN game, and Bradford is cool, calm and collected, especially for a rookie. I’m waiting for one of those nightmare games, but it just hasn’t come. His last ‘bad’ game was in Week 5 against the Lions (215 yards, 2 INTs), but other than that, he has thrown at least one TD in every game and has tossed five TDs in the last two weeks. He has a great matchup with ARI this week and is startable the rest of the way outside of a W14 date with the Saints.

David Garrard (47.3)
It wasn’t pretty through the air in a terrible matchup, but Garrard had a brilliant TD run to save an otherwise forgettable fantasy day. The Titans aren’t a great matchup, so Garrard is just a mediocre start this week. He has nice matchups in W14 (OAK) and W16 (WAS), however.

Chad Henne (47.7)
Henne had a nice outing (307 yards, 2 TDs, INT) in a good matchup against the Raiders, and should find more success through the air this week against the Browns. In fact, the rest of his schedule is pretty nice, outside of a W14 road trip to face the Jets.

Matt Hasselbeck (14.1)
I don’t like his matchup this week (CAR), but otherwise, Hasselbeck has decent matchups to close the season.

Jason Campbell (6.6)
It looks like Bruce Gradkowski is out again, so Campbell should take over. His matchup this week is poor, but things ease up in W14 (@JAX) and W15 (DEN).

Derek Anderson (3.7)
Troy Smith (4.7)
Jake Delhomme (1.2)
Jimmy Clausen (0.9)
If you are in a situation where you’re considering picking up any of these guys, I feel for you. I really do.

Brian Westbrook (12.0)
Frank Gore has a fractured hip and will miss the rest of the season. (Breathe, Frank Gore owners…just breathe.) Westy came in and racked up 136 yards and a TD on 23 carries. He’s a great add this week if the Gore owner in your league wasn’t pragmatic enough to handcuff their injury-prone star.

Maurice Morris (1.5)
Last week, I advised Best owners to pick up Morris, and he didn’t disappoint on Thanksgiving, gaining 75 total yards and scoring twice. The matchups are decent down the stretch.

Mike Goodson (25.7)
Jonathan Stewart returned and ran the ball better than Goodson, but Goodson scored the TD and caught eight passes against the Browns, meaning he has extra value in PPR leagues.

Toby Gerhart (3.3)
Adrian Peterson may very well play this week, but color me skeptical given the news surrounding his injury this week. The matchup (BUF) is great, so if AP does sit, Gerhart is in for a big day.

Anthony Dixon (3.3)
He toted the ball 14 times for 56 yards and a TD. He’s going to be the RB2 behind Brian Westbrook, who hasn’t been known as the most durable RB in the world. There’s a decent chance that Dixon is the 49er feature back before the season’s out.

Chris Ivory (13.0)
If Pierre Thomas doesn’t get back soon, Ivory should maintain his value. He only had seven carries this week, but two went for scores so right now he’s the clear goal line back in New Orleans.

Cadillac Williams (53.1)
Caddy is still involved, either around the goal line or in the passing game. This week, it was in the passing game.

Darren Sproles (58.2)
As long as the Chargers are nicked up the way they are, Norv Turner will continue to use Sproles as a receiving weapon out of the backfield. In PPR leagues, he has scored double figures in four of his last six games.

Ryan Torain (57.2)
James Davis (0.6)
Keiland Williams seemingly fell behind James Davis in the race to be the Redskins RB1, so if Torain can get healthy, maybe he can win the job back. But you never know with Mike Shanahan (a.k.a. Skeletor).

Tashard Choice (2.9)
With Marion Barber out for the next two weeks (at least), Choice takes over as the short yardage back and should get a few standard carries as well. With Felix Jones not known for his durability, Choice’s role could increase by season’s end.

Nov 14, 2010; Glendale, AZ, USA; Seattle Seahawks receiver Ben Obomanu (87) catches a pass as Arizona Cardinals cornerback Michael Adams (27) defends at the University of Phoenix Stadium. The Seahawks defeated the Cardinals 36-18. Photo via Newscom Photo via Newscom

Ben Obomanu (2.5)
I had him as my 6th-ranked waiver wire WR last week, but it’s time to move him up after his 5-159-1 outing against the Chiefs. The matchup isn’t great in W13 (CAR), but after that it looks like smooth sailing. His value will stay high if Mike Williams’ injury lingers, and he’s worth a roster spot even if Williams returns to action.

Sidney Rice (53.7)
Wha’ happened? He had a decent showing against GB and a great matchup with WAS, and then…1-20. We’ll see how he fares this week against the Bills at home.

Deion Branch (46.1)
He went nuts against the Lions (3-113-2) and now has 17-254-2 over his last three games. Unfortunately, his upcoming schedule (NYJ, @CHI, GB) is not kind.

Danny Amendola (29.1)
He has gone for 12.9+ points in his last five games and is the Rams receiver to own, especially in PPR leagues.

Kenny Britt (54.5)
Nate Washington (49.9)

These guys need Kerry Collins back, and quick. (Boy, I never thought I’d say that.) With the Jaguars in W13 and Texans in W15, the potential is there for a strong finish. But as long as Rusty Smith is under center, stay away. However, it sounds as if Collins will be back this week.

Mike Thomas (22.6)
Thomas is a PPR favorite of mine. With MSW back, his upside is limited, but he seems like a sure 10-15 points in that format.

Davone Bess (25.0)
With Henne back under center and Brandon Marshall sidelined, Bess turned nine targets into 6-111 against the Raiders. With a nice schedule to close the season, he shouldn’t be on the waiver wire in most PPR leagues.

Blair White (2.4)
If/when Austin Collie comes back, White’s value will plummet. For now, he’s Indy’s crafty WR3 with nice hands.

Nate Burleson (34.1)
He had a rough day against the Pats (3-35) but he had eight targets and has just one fewer target than Calvin Johnson over the last four weeks. He has two tough matchups coming up, but W15 against the Bucs is promising.

Brian Hartline (1.6)
He hasn’t caught a TD since W2, but with 32 receptions in his last seven games, he should be rostered in most PPR formats. He has gone for double digits in that format in five straight games, and with Brandon Marshall sidelined, that trend should continue.

Eddie Royal (40.4)
What should we make of his 6-74-1 against the Rams? Well, he’s finally healthy, so that’s something. Maybe he’s poised for a strong finish. He has a nice schedule to close the season and the Denver defense can’t stop anyone, so he’s worth an add in bigger PPR leagues.

Steve Breaston (50.0)
Early Doucet had twice as many targets (10) as Breaston (5) on Monday night, bringing their four-week total to 27 and 33, respectively. In other words, Doucet is closing on Breaston in terms of attention from his QB. Still, Breaston seems to be the better bet for targets down the stretch.

Seyi Ajirotutu (2.2)
Legedu Naanee (26.9)
Philip Rivers didn’t throw to his WRs much Sunday night, but V-Jax is out a while and Malcom Floyd continues to work his way (slowly) back from a hamstring injury, one of these two could emerge.

Jacoby Ford (3.0)
He’s a rookie, so he’s going to have his ups and downs, but he has 12 catches over the last three weeks and has gone over 100 yards twice during that span. He could make some noise in W14 (@JAX) and W15 (DEN).

Robert Meachem (54.3)
It’s boom or bust with this guy.

Earl Bennett (0.3)
Color me skeptical, but he does have three TD catches in the last four games and the Lions and Patriots coming up.

Jordan Shipley (4.4)
10-109-1 in the last two games. 6-131-1 in W7. Shipley thrives when Cincy starts throwing the ball a lot, and that could be the case against the Jets and Steelers in the next two weeks. PPR leaguers should consider him as a flier.

Jason Avant (1.2)
Avant thrives when teams are focused on DeSean Jackson and Jeremy Maclin. He went for 8-83 in a bad matchup, but with HOU and DAL on tap, one wonders if Jackson and Maclin will be the ones to thrive in great matchups.

Danario Alexander (0.8)
Finally healthy, he went for 4-95 against the Broncos and almost scored a TD. With the Cardinals on tap in W13, a desperate owner could do worse.

Devin Hester (19.8)
Eleven catches over the last three weeks with the Lions and Patriots on deck. You could do worse in PPR leagues.

Louis Murphy (22.2)
He was decent against the Dolphins, but the Raiders are likely to have a new QB under center yet again.

Early Doucet (6.0)
He now has 13 catches for 144 yards and a TD in his last three games, and is closing on Steve Breaston in the targets department.

Derek Hagan (1.3)
He squandered a nice W12 matchup with just 2-21 against a sketchy Jags defense. So far, Kevin Boss is getting the extra targets, not Hagan. His W13 matchup with the Redskins is tempting, however.

Laurent Robinson (38.6)
Brandon Gibson (0.3)
Each guy is limiting the other. They’re both worth rostering in super-deep PPR leagues.

Brandon Pettigrew (42.0)
He keeps chugging along, especially in PPR leagues. He has scored at least 8.8 points in that format in 10 straight weeks.

Rob Gronkowski (26.4)
He has six more targets than Aaron Hernandez over the last four weeks, so it appears that he’s the Pats’ TE1, at least for now.

Kevin Boss (25.3)
With Steve Smith 2.0 and Hakeem Nicks sidelined, Boss has emerged as one of Eli Manning’s favorite targets. He has 12 catches for 192 yards and three TDs over the last four games.

Joel Dreessen (3.7)
3-15-1 to follow up his 4-106-1 outing against the Jets. As long as Owen Daniels is sidelined, Dreessen is a decent TE play.

Greg Olsen (54.6)
He only had one target against the Eagles, but it went for a score. He now has three TDs in the last four games and is Jay Cutler’s favorite target around the goal line.

Benjamin Watson (23.0)
He has a bum ankle but still caught four passes for 40 yards.

Jermaine Gresham (10.7)
He has a good matchup this week against the Saints, who have been only average against a very weak schedule, but he’s a desperation play at best.

Tony Moeaki (22.9)
Hey, he caught a TD, so there’s that.

Jimmy Graham (2.7)
He has upside, but with Jeremy Shockey on his way back and Drew Brees’ penchant for spreading the ball around, I don’t know that he’s going to be a dependable start.

Heath Miller (42.1)
Paging Mr. Miller…

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