Fantasy football Week 13 waiver wire: Cook's absence makes Mattison a must-own

Minnesota Vikings running back Alexander Mattison (25) runs against the Carolina Panthers during the first half of an NFL football game, Sunday, Oct. 17, 2021, in Charlotte, N.C. (Jacob Kupferman/AP)

It’s unlucky Week 13 in the NFL as devastating injuries to stars and a slew of byes put fantasy managers in a tough spot. Some heavy-hitters on the Browns, Packers, Titans, and Panthers are all unavailable this week as the push to the playoffs continues.

I’ll try to help ease the stress with some widely available waiver wire pickup possibilities and top defences to stream, below. As always, send me any of your fantasy questions on Twitter @AndyMc81 using #AskAndy.

Alexander Mattison, RB, Vikings
Yahoo! Ownership: 51%
Draft Kings salary: $7,600

As usual, the hottest waiver wire additions are those prompted by injury replacements. Mattison’s value as a high-end handcuff skyrocketed after Dalvin Cook suffered a serious shoulder injury against the 49ers on Sunday. The length of his absence is unknown at the moment, though it's not considered season-ending.

We have seen Mattison step in as a 100-yard-plus producer and RB1 talent when called upon the last couple of seasons in Minnesota. A juicy matchup versus the hapless Lions awaits him on Sunday. Mattison is the type of fantasy pickup that can pay off immediately, so don’t be afraid to spend that FAAB!

Other running back options to consider: Jamaal Williams (Lions, 39 per cent rostered); Matt Breida, (Bills, 23 per cent)

Chuba Hubbard, RB, Panthers
Yahoo! Ownership: 37%
Draft Kings Salary: N/A

(Note: This is a look-ahead move, since the Panthers don’t suit up until Dec. 18 when they battle Atlanta.)

Just like Mattison in Minnesota, Hubbard leaps back onto the scene in Carolina with top running back Christian McCaffrey placed on injured reserve again. When he stepped in to replace a sidelined McCaffrey earlier this year, Hubbard ranked as the 18th best running back from Weeks 3 to 8. Usually middling RB2 statistics wouldn’t get anyone excited, but considering how top-heavy successful rushers are right now, the Canadian Panther becomes a must-own.

A word of warning: One troubling trend here is that Ameer Abdullah was used as a third-down pass-catcher after McCaffrey left the game Sunday, which could eat into Hubbard’s overall workload moving forward.

More week depth RBs too consider: Dontrell Hilliard (Titans, 29 per cent rostered); D’Onta Foreman (Titans, 46 per cent)

Russell Gage, WR, Falcons
Yahoo! Ownership: 17%
Draft Kings salary: $5,300

Gage’s fantasy relevance has been quietly increasing. He saw seven or more targets in three of his past four games and scored a touchdown while averaging 13.83 fantasy points in PPR during that stretch -- not too bad considering the state of the Falcons' offence. Opposing defences are either blanketing Kyle Pitts or attending to versatile weapon Cordarrelle Patterson, which is giving more opportunities to Gage.

Gage now faces the beatable Tampa Bay secondary. He slides in nicely as an emergency flex option and DFS play with many teams on bye this weekend.

Other wide receiver options to consider: Van Jefferson (Rams, 49 per cent rostered); Kendrick Bourne (Patriots, 23 per cent)

Top defences to stream for Week 13
● L.A. Rams (vs. Jaguars)
● Baltimore Ravens (at Steelers)
● Indianapolis Colts (at Texans)
● Tampa Bay Buccaneers (at Falcons)

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