1) Samaje Perine
Samaje Perine has occasionally looked like the Broncos’ most effective running back this season. The past two weeks, he’s been playing like a starting NFL running back, and has been been playing like a solid fantasy RB2 with RB1 upside.
Perine is a do-it-all back, as he’s displayed the acceleration and agility of a true receiving threat and mismatch out of the backfield, in addition to power and relentless required of a goal-line RB.
Perine has looked both spry and powerful lately, leaving many to question why Sean Payton doesn’t give the crafty veteran more time or wondering if an uptick in snaps is just around the corner.
Available in over 70% of ESPN leagues, he’s now put together two straight fantasy weeks where he’s scored at least 10 points, has scored 7+ fantasy points in four of his last five games, and has accrued eight total touches in each of his last two games.
Samaje Perine finding gaps and breaking tackles ????
— NFL (@NFL) November 26, 2023
Moreover, teams often use their bye week to make adjustments, and since the Broncos’ bye week the 28-year-old has at the very least finally firmly supplanted Jaleel McLaughlin as the Broncos’ RB2 or change-of-pace back.
Since the bye, Perine is averaging 3.7 receptions, 58.7 total yards, and 11.5 fantasy points per game. His snaps had also dipped to 17%, 25%, and 24% in the three weeks prior to the bye, but he’s played at least 33% of snaps in all of his games since (per FantasyPros). For reference, McLaughlin is playing roughly half that much at around 15% of snaps.
Among all RBs this season, Perine currently sits at:
- 4th in receiving yards – trailing only CMC, Rachaad White, and Kamara
- 3rd in catch % (per Pro Football Reference)
- 1st in receiving success rate (per Pro Football Reference)
- 8th in YAC (per ESPN)
- 10th in passer rating when targeted (per Pro Football Reference)
- 15th in receptions
- 13th in receptions per broken tackle (essentially how many receptions it takes on average for a player to break a tackle if you were wondering what that means, per Pro Football Reference)
- 21st in targets
Perine’s TD run from this weekend was especially impressive, as he kept his legs churning and dragged multiple defenders into the endzone with him, despite a key block being missed resulting in a defender directly in Perine’s face before even getting back to the line of scrimmage.
— NFL on Prime Video (@NFLonPrime) November 26, 2023
Given Perine’s role the last two weeks, he profiles as a very startable RB2 with fringe RB1 upside in Week 13.
If he manages to put together a third-straight double-digit fantasy week in terms of points this week, Perine would profile as an absolute lineup lock ROS until proven otherwise.
Given the fact that there were no obvious RB injuries this week, if you’re looking for a plug-and-play waiver wire pickup then Perine is your best bet in comparison to say the likes of Rico Dowdle, D’Ernest Johnson, Michael Carter, Kenneth Gainwell, or Cordarelle Paterson who are probably the other top RB options for you this week if you play in a league with at least 12 teams.
2) Curtis Samuel
While Curtis Samuel’s consistency has been relative to expired milk, he has been a fantasy asset in 2023.
Samuel has 11+ fantasy points in 5/11 games this season, but he also has less than eight fantasy points in 6/11 games.
Out of all of Washington’s receivers, Samuel is likely the most complete in terms of his ability to be a deep/explosive threat, his ability to line up in the slot and be short or mid-area target, and his knack for making plays out of the backfield as an RB.
Samuel has looked second in line to only McLauren in the Commanders’ offense terms of snaps and targets throughout the year, and for good reason.
— Pro Football Network (@PFN365) November 23, 2023
Throughout this season, Samuel has frequently put defenders on skates, reeled in impressive catches in traffic, and displayed a penchant for getting open on defenders of all shapes and sizes regardless of the defensive coverage scheme.
Available in 65% of all ESPN fantasy leagues, here are some of Samuel’s ranks among 2023 WRs:
- 9th in catch % (per Next Gen Stats)
- 13th in average separation (per Next Gen Stats)
- 26th in YAC
- 25th in receiving success rate (per Pro Football Reference)
- 30th in receptions (per ESPN)
Samuel is also on the field the vast majority of the time and is averaging a snap share over 50%, a figure which would be much higher if he hadn’t gotten ejected in Week 11, technically registering him a 16% snap share on the day and tanking his average a little.
— NFL (@NFL) October 6, 2023
In terms of available waiver-wire WRs, if Samuel is available he will top your league’s list this week.
If you can grab him or already own him, Samuel profiles as a risky WR3/FLEX with high-end WR2 upside in Week 13. If Samuel puts together a second-straight double-digit fantasy week, he should be valued as a solid and very startable WR2 with WR1 upside the following week, in Week 14.
3) Matthew Stafford
Stafford’s ownership percentage has been dropping the past few weeks due to his injury that kept him out of Week 9 against Green Bay and the Rams’ bye week in Week 10, and now sits at only 31.1% in ESPN leagues.
After Stafford’s first 20+ point fantasy week in Week 12 and his first 2023 game throwing for more than two touchdowns, his fantasy prospects are looking up.
Stafford gets to throw to Cooper Kupp, Puka Nacua, and occasionally Kyren Williams, so he arguably has the one of the best offensive cores in the NFL to target on a weekly basis.
4th pass TD of the day for Matthew Stafford, 2nd of the day for Kyren Williams.
— uSTADIUM (@uSTADIUM) November 26, 2023
Throw in the fact that Puka Nacua and Kyren Williams looked as healthy as they’ve been all season, and it’s hard to avoid picking up Stafford simply due to the fact that all of his targets are weapons who shake defenders and create yards after the catch with ease.
The former can’t-miss prospect is also being pressured at the 8th-lowest rate in the NFL, and a clean pocket is a key for any NFL QB’s passing success.
Stafford’s fantasy floor has been phenomenal as he’s never scored less than 9.7 fantasy points in a game, has thrown for 200+ yards in all but two of his games, and has thrown a touchdown in every game except for Week 1, when he still managed to score 14 fantasy points and throw for 300+ yards.
Matthew Stafford. Athlete.
— NFL (@NFL) October 29, 2023
Among all quarterbacks this season, Stafford currently ranks:
- 5th in passes for 20+ yards (per NFL.com)
- Tied for 4th in average completed air yards per attempt (per Next Gen Stats)
- 4th in average air yards differential (per Next Gen Stats)
- 4th in yards per completion (per Pro Football Reference)
- 12th in yards per attempt (per ESPN)
- 12th in yards per game (per ESPN)
There’s a reason Matthew Stafford is a former #1 overall pick and possibly the key to the Los Angeles Rams’ only Super Bowl victory since moving back to California.
His pure arm talent and his accuracy, anticipation, awareness, and ability to curve and drop balls into the exact shoe box of his choice is often a beautiful sight to behold for any football fan and is frankly just fun to root for if he’s on your fantasy team.
These plays from Matthew Stafford >>>
— Los Angeles Rams (@RamsNFL) November 11, 2023
If you are in need of a QB in Week 13, Stafford is likely as good as it gets in terms of your league’s waiver wire at this point in the fantasy season.