In what has become an unfortunate pattern of the 2023 NFL season, we witnessed another round of devastating injuries in Week 13 to players such as Tank Dell, Rhamondre Stevenson, Christian Watson, and Derrick Henry. With just one week left in the fantasy regular season for most leagues, we must respond to these injuries on the waiver wire. This week’s Waiver Wire Analysis will prepare you to do just that. Let’s dive in.
As a reminder, here are explanations for each section of the article. Read the descriptions below to determine whether “Home-League Waiver Targets” or “Deeper-League Targets” is more relevant for your particular league:
- Home-League Waiver Targets: This section focuses on the typical “home league” with friends, family members, and co-workers. These leagues typically include starting lineups of 1 QB, 2 RBs, 2-3 WRs, 1 TE, 1-2 FLEX, 1 K, 1 D/ST, and 5-7 BENCH spots. I will use ESPN & Yahoo rostership percentages to gauge which players are available in a typical league. To qualify as a waiver target, the player must be rostered in <40% of leagues on either Yahoo or ESPN.
- Deeper-League Targets: This section will be focused on deeper leagues, which typically have additional starting lineup slots and deeper benches compared to the typical home league. Drafters who play in tournament contests on FFPC, NFFC, or similar should find this section helpful. To qualify as a deeper-league target, the player must be rostered in <50% of FFPC Main Event leagues.
Additionally, FAAB recommended bid percentages are given. These should generally be interpreted as a % of your original FAAB budget, not your current FAAB budget, though obviously keep in mind team- and league-specific considerations when making your bids.
For each list, I will rank the players in order based on how I would prioritize adding them to your teams. I will also include a “Drop List” of commonly rostered players that I would be comfortable parting ways with in order to add these targets to your team.
Top 10 Home-League Waiver Targets
Rostership: 40% Yahoo, 34% ESPN
FAAB Recommendation: 20-40%
With New England’s starting RB Rhamondre Stevenson potentially out multiple games after suffering an ankle injury Sunday, former Cowboys star Ezekiel Elliott is slated to play a major role in the Patriots’ sputtering offense. On the season, Elliott and Stevenson are the only two RBs on the roster to play an offensive snap, although WR/RB hybrid Ty Montgomery has played sparingly. That pattern continued in Week 13, where Elliott played 44 snaps compared to just three for Montgomery. Over the next several weeks, I would project a near-workhorse role for Zeke, with something close to ~75% of the snaps and RB opportunities (carries and targets).
While a high-volume role for Zeke is essentially locked in, two major concerns should dampen fantasy managers’ expectations for Elliott: offensive environment and individual talent. On the season, the Patriots rank dead last in offensive scoring, and they have failed to eclipse seven points in each of their last three games. For Zeke’s talent profile, the advanced statistics highlight a player who can consistently gain positive yardage but has no breakaway ability. Of 47 RBs with >65 carries, Zeke is ranked 34th in PFF rush grade, 40th in rush yards over expected per attempt, and 46th in breakaway run rate, but he performs well in success rate (eighth).
In conclusion, Zeke is very likely to be a touch sponge on a terrible Patriots team. While he lacks the talent and situational upside to crack into the top 12 at the position, his workhorse volume should keep him in the low-end RB2 range. While it’s not sexy, volume alone makes Zeke the top waiver wire option at RB for Week 14.
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