9 route: Top 9 fantasy football waiver targets in Week 13

A polarizing QB leads off, with plenty of rookie pass catchers behind him

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San Francisco 49ers quarterback Colin Kaepernick (7) run the ball, during the second half of an NFL football game against the Miami Dolphins, Sunday, Nov. 27, 2016, in Miami Gardens, Fla. (AP Photo/Wilfredo Lee)
San Francisco 49ers quarterback Colin Kaepernick (7) run the ball, during the second half of an NFL football game against the Miami Dolphins, Sunday, Nov. 27, 2016, in Miami Gardens, Fla. (AP Photo/Wilfredo Lee) — Wilfredo Lee

Every Tuesday, Arthur Arkush shares his top nine waiver wire targets for fantasy football players. This will focus exclusively on players owned in less than 50 percent of all Yahoo! leagues.

A note of caution: just because a player is on this list, it doesn't mean readers should exhaust their claim priority and/or waiver budget. Those decisions should be based on individual roster makeup, injuries and other outside forces.

Have specific roster questions for your fantasy team? Tweet @ArthurArkush

Just missed the cut: Chiefs QB Alex Smith, Bengals RB Rex Burkhead, Vikings WR Adam Thielen, Jets WR Quincy Enunwa, Jaguars WR Marqise Lee, Dolphins WR Kenny Stills, 49ers TE Vance McDonald, Eagles RB Wendell Smallwood

1. 49ers QB Colin Kaepernick: I have to chuckle because some of my peers in the fantasy business this week seemingly are surprised Kap has been a QB1 since he became the starter. But you loyal '9 route' readers know this already, as I've been encouraging you to go get him since his promotion. Kap led all fantasy players in points in Week 12, becoming just the fifth QB since the merger to throw three TDs and run for 100-plus yards in a game. He's been a top-13 fantasy weapon overall in three consecutive weeks. Yet his Yahoo! ownership sits at 25 percent (a protest of the protestor, perhaps?) ahead of a date with Chicago, which just let Marcus Mariota run for 46 yards and is now without its three fastest linebackers. Oh yeah, the Jets and Falcons are up after the Bears.

2. Chiefs WR Tyreek Hill: Like Gabriel, Hill is lightning personified. But unlike Gabriel, there isn't another healthy stud receiver to soak up his looks. Since Jeremy Maclin went down with a groin injury, Hill has become a focal point in Andy Reid's offense (and on special teams, where he leads the NFL in punt return yardage). He's up to seven total touchdowns and, coming off a historic night in Denver, is the hot hand en route to Hot 'Lanta, where the Falcons' defense is banged up.

3. Ravens RB Kenneth Dixon: Consider it your weekly reminder: the Ravens want Dixon, not Terrance West, to emerge as the lead dog. For the first time during his rookie season, he moved ahead of West in playing time (31 snaps to 23). Dixon tied for the team-high in receptions (4) against the Bengals and next will encounter a Dolphins 'D' ranked 30th vs. the run, albeit much stouter near the goal line, and still trying to scrub Kaepernick and Carlos Hyde's tire tracks off its back.

4. Chargers TE Hunter Henry: All this rookie does is catch touchdowns — five in the past seven games — and after a date with Tampa's admittedly improved 'D,' he'll arrive at the fantasy playoffs with a docket including Carolina, Oakland and the cherry on top, Cleveland, for hardware collection week. Moreover, Tyrell Williams and Travis Benjamin are banged up, increasing Henry's value.

5. Steelers TE Ladarius Green: What, you thought I'd abandon the Green love just as he's coming on? Pfft. Mike Tomlin says Green has earned a larger role — which is good since his season-high snap count of just 14 a week ago translated into 67 yards on just two grabs. Indeed, Green is beginning to show the seam-stretching ability that might also put the Pittsburgh offense over the top.

6. Patriots WR Malcolm Mitchell: With Rob Gronkowski suffering a back injury as quickly as he returned from a punctured lung, Mitchell vs. the Jets continued ascending with two more scores, both Revis Island invasions. More importantly, Mitchell, whose speed is a nice complement to Chris Hogan in Gronk's absence, played ahead of Danny Amendola. His crunch-time contributions aren't going unnoticed in Foxborough.

7. Chargers WR Dontrelle Inman: A career day for Inman on Sunday vs. Houston was encouraging, but even against the stout Texans, not totally surprising. The Bolts love Inman, who's grinded his way into a prominent role amid San Diego's injury woes. His touchdowns have come from 51 and 57 yards out, too, proving Tyrell Williams isn't San Diego's only lanky wideout capable of exploding downfield, also known as kryptonite to the Buccaneers' smallish corners, who he'll battle at home Sunday.

8. Falcons WR Taylor Gabriel: Don't feel too bad Browns, Gabriel, who you cut, is still widely available in fantasy at least despite totaling five touchdowns over the past four games. And all Tevin Coleman's return did was spark this turbo-speed gadget players' best day in the NFL while still earning 50 percent of the offensive snaps. Kyle Shanahan is scheming for Gabriel, and that shouldn't change as long as he keeps speeding by hapless opponents for explosive scores.

9. Bears WR Marquess Wilson: He dropped a few passes Sunday, including a would-be touchdown — which Bears receiver didn't? — but Wilson racked up some gaudy garbage-time production, too, finishing with career-highs in catches (8) and yards (125) in addition to his third career touchdown. Chicago's next opponent, the Niners, are fantasy's most generous secondary toward wideouts, not too far ahead of the Lions (Week 14) and Packers (Week 15). Wilson, in a contract year, has a better pedigree than Cameron Meredith, and should see more double-digit target days ahead.