Fantasy Football waiver wire candidates after Week 12

Week 12 of the 2023 NFL season is officially behind us, and those near the bottom of their league in fantasy football may be looking to make some significant changes to their respective fantasy teams.

For those who are looking to turn around their fantasy football fortunes, here are the top five pickup candidates that are available in over 50% of leagues on the ESPN Fantasy Football platform going into Week 13.

Week 12 Recap:

My Week 12 waiver-wire column was a mixed bag, with some players who exceeded expectations and others who drastically underperformed.

Baltimore Ravens wide receiver Odell Beckham Jr. didn’t receive too many opportunities, hauling in just three receptions for 34 yards for 6.4 fantasy points. Seattle Seahawks running back Zach Charbonnet similarly struggled against a tough San Francisco 49ers defense on Thanksgiving Day.

However, a number of Green Bay Packers players that I suggested adding had terrific games on Thanksgiving Day, with quarterback Jordan Love putting up 26.62 fantasy points, and wide receiver Jayden Reed putting up 15.0 fantasy points.

Let’s keep the ball rolling heading into Week 13 with some more impact players heading into Week 13.

5. Chuba Hubbard, RB, Carolina Panthers 

  • Week 12: 20.2 fantasy points (PPR)
  • Rostered: 48.6 %
  • Week 13 opponent: Tampa Bay Buccaneers

Let’s get the obvious out of the way. The Panthers’ offense has been pretty abysmal this season with struggling rookie quarterback Bryce Young under center.

Those struggles may continue, but it doesn’t mean that there aren’t valuable pieces from a fantasy perspective.

Third-year running back Chuba Hubbard was one of the few Panthers who had a solid game, rushing for 45 yards on 14 carries and finding the end zone from six yards out. He also hauled in all five of his targets for 47 yards through the air.

Hubbard took over the starting running back job over veteran Miles Sanders midway through the season. And while Sanders is still a factor in the Panthers’ offense, Hubbard is clearly receiving a bigger portion of the work in the backfield.

Considering the Panthers currently sit at 1-10 on the year, it’s reasonable to expect that the team will lean on their young talent down the stretch of the season.

With that in mind, Hubbard should play a big factor in this offense for the rest of the year, which warrants consideration from fantasy owners heading into Week 13.

4. Jayden Reed, WR, Green Bay Packers

  • Week 12: 15.0 fantasy points (PPR)
  • Rostered: 31.5 %
  • Week 13 opponent: Kansas City Chiefs

Reed was a player listed in my waiver-wire column last week, as his role in the Packers offense has grown consistently in recent weeks.

He played a big role in the Packers’ upset win over the Detroit Lions on Thanksgiving, recording four receptions for 34 yards, one of which was the first Packers touchdown of the game.

Reed has also been used in a Deebo Samuel-esque role in the Packers offense, recording two rushing attempts for 16 yards.

In Reed’s last three games, he has recorded 19.4, 19.2, and 15.0 fantasy points. You won’t see this kind of production from a player that is only 31.5 percent owned in fantasy leagues.

Simply put, Reed has been too good to not be owned in the large majority of fantasy leagues. And considering the improvement the Packers offense has shown in recent weeks, it seems like the sky is the limit for Reed moving forward.

3. Pat Freiermuth, TE, Pittsburgh Steelers

  • Week 12: 21.0 fantasy points (PPR)
  • Rostered: 41.9 %
  • Week 13 opponent: Arizona Cardinals

Freiermuth was expected to play a big role in this Steelers offense this season. Unfortunately, a hamstring injury suffered in Week 4 caused him to miss the majority of the season.

He was activated from Injured Reserve in Week 11, but it was the Steelers’ Week 12 game on Sunday against the Cincinnati Bengals where Freiermuth made his presence known in a big way.

The third-year tight end had the best game of his career on Sunday, recording nine receptions for 120 yards in the Steelers’ 16-10 victory over the Bengals.

This performance comes after the Steelers fired offensive coordinator Matt Canada, who had seemingly been holding this offense back.

Expecting this kind of production from Freiermuth may be a bit extreme on a week-to-week basis. But he clearly played a big role in their success in Week 12.

They would be wise to continue to feed him the ball, which makes him an enticing fantasy option moving forward.

2. Keaton Mitchell, RB, Baltimore Ravens

  • Week 12: 10.9 fantasy points (PPR)
  • Rostered: 33.6 %
  • Week 13 opponent: Bye Week

Mitchell came into their Week 12 games as a clear backup behind veteran running back Gus Edwards. But things may not stay this way after their Week 13 Bye Week considering Mitchell’s performance in Week 12.

The undrafted rookie running back led the Ravens backfield in both rushing yards and rushing attempts, recording nine rushing attempts for 64 yards. He also added in two receptions for 25 receiving yards.

Meanwhile, Gus Edwards received just eight carries, rushing for only 26 rushing yards.

It seems very possible that Mitchell, a more dynamic player than Edwards at this point, will start to get the majority of touches in Baltimore down the stretch of the season.

This can be very valuable for fantasy owners, so they may want to add him before the Bye Week for Baltimore in Week 13 as they prepare for their fantasy playoff push.

1. Jordan Love, QB, Green Bay Packers

  • Week 12: 26.62 fantasy points (PPR)
  • Rostered: 48.0 %
  • Week 13 opponent: Kansas City Chiefs

Love has had his fair share of struggles in his first year as the Packers starter. But it seems like Love has finally started to turn a corner.

He had the best game of his young career on Thanksgiving Day, throwing for 268 yards and three touchdowns, while also adding 39 yards on the ground.

Not only were his stats in the game incredible from a fantasy perspective, but some of his highlights in the game show his enormous potential as a quarterback.

Love has thrown for over 250 yards with multiple passing touchdowns in three straight games. With all of the injuries to quarterbacks this season, you can do far worse than Love as a reliable fantasy quarterback for the rest of the season.

Honorable mentions:

  • Greg Dortch (WR, Arizona Cardinals)
  • Josh Downs (WR, Indianapolis Colts)
  • Jalin Hyatt (WR, New York Giants)
  • Samaje Perine (RB, Denver Broncos)
  • Isaiah Likely (TE, Baltimore Ravens)

About Reice Shipley

Reice Shipley is a staff writer for Comeback Media that graduated from Ithaca College with a degree in Sports Media. He previously worked at Barrett Sports Media and is a fan of all things Syracuse sports.