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Targeting weekly waiver picks is a completely subjective business,
but this column hopes to point out some obvious and not-so-obvious
selections to help your team from week to week while you strive
to collect fantasy wins, reach your league playoffs and win the
elusive title that your friends say is out of your grasp. While
I’m a big proponent of making trades to bolster your roster,
the waiver wire can be an almost limitless resource when it comes
to discovering fantasy value in strange places. Each week, I’ll
highlight some of the popular (and not-so-popular) players who can
help your squad and may still be available in your league.
All he does is score touchdowns. Taylor
Gabriel has five scores in the last four weeks for the Falcons.
Palmer, ARI – I scooped up Palmer this past week (75-85
percent owned) in a 10-team league as additional insurance, so
he’s available in a few leagues. He’s got a great schedule over
the next three weeks (WAS, @MIA, NO) and could be a huge boost
during the fantasy playoffs, when he could come in handy for owners
of Ben Roethlisberger (tough matchups) and Andrew Luck (concussion).
Kaepernick, SF –UPDATE:
Kaep had a solid day versus the Dolphins, throwing for 296-3-1
and rushing for 113 yards on 10 carries. He’s a low-end
QB1 facing the Bears in Week 13 with plenty of Top 5 upside. I’ve
included him here before, but I’m reiterating because there
are plenty of owners who’ve yet to recognize what he offers
from a fantasy perspective.
Fitzpatrick, NYJ – The Jets came up short against the
Patriots, but Fitzpatrick’s next couple weeks feature less-than-stellar
opponents (IND, @SF) with relatively poor pass defenses. He’s
only 10-20 percent owned, has great rapport with Quincy Enunwa
and Brandon Marshall, and has been utilizing the Jets TEs more.
UPDATE: As expected, the Jets
confirmed that Fitzpatrick will start Week 13 against the Colts.
He’s a deeper option in a favorable matchup, and Luck’s
likely return means he’ll be forced to throw more.
Flacco, BAL – Flacco’s 234-1-1 was a disappointing
result considering the matchup, but this is usually what happens
when you trot out Flacco in these situations. Next week’s tilt
with Miami should yield better numbers.
Tannehill, MIA – The much beleaguered Tannehill posted
his best fantasy numbers of 2016 (285-3-0, 34 rushing yards) against
the 49ers, and the Dolphins held off a late surge by an San Fran
to notch their sixth straight win. He’ll have a tougher time at
Baltimore in Week 13.
Bradford, MIN – The Lions defense stepped up in a big
way on Thanksgiving, holding Bradford to just 224-0-1 and handing
the Vikings their fifth loss in the last six games. Perhaps he’ll
get something going against the Cowboys secondary which is still
dealing with some injuries and has given up some big plays over
the past few games. However, Bradford is still a major risk.
Barkley, CHI – Barkley was far from perfect in the
Bears loss to Tennessee, but he did throw for 316-3-2 and was
a solid value in DFS and a Top 10 QB in regular play. He’s a QB2
next week against the 49ers, who are among the worst defenses
against opposing QBs.
Dixon, BAL – The pickings are awfully slim at RB these
days, but Dixon is available in about 35-50 percent of fantasy
leagues and is coming off a decent performance against the Bengals
where he ran for 49 rushing yards on 13 carries and hauled in
all four of his targets for 31 yards. He’s an RB3 in PPR and solid
flex play in standard leagues. His backfield mate, Terrance West,
is owned in 75-95 percent of leagues and is receiving an equal
share of carries and targets.
Henry, TEN – Henry is about 60-80 percent owned and
had his second-best game of 2016 in Week 12, rushing for 60 yards
and a TD on 8 carries but failing to have a presence in the passing
game – a peculiar pattern that has developed for four straight
weeks after five targets and 4-37-0 in Week 8 against Jacksonville.
He’s a must-own in 12-team leagues and would take over primary
duties should DeMarco Murray miss any action down the stretch.
UPDATE: Coach Mike Mularkey said Monday that the Titans have
bandied about the idea that Henry could be used more in short-yardage
and goal line situations. At 6-2, 247 pounds, it makes sense to
utilize the rookie this way.
Sims, TB –UPDATE: Sims (knee) isn’t eligible to return
to game action until Week 14, but he’s practicing and could
be activated off IR just in time for the fantasy playoffs when
he could make a big impact on a favorable schedule. Don’t
sleep on this guy if he’s available in your league, especially
if it’s a PPR format.
Robinson, JAC – Robinson had 39 rushing yards on 13
carries in Week 12 after Ivory suffered a hamstring injury and
was forced from the game. He seemed to be the preferred option
over T.J. Yeldon (ankle), who had just six carries for 17 yards
and 1-3-0 on two targets. No Jags back will have easy sledding
against the Broncos in Week 13, but it’s a situation worth monitoring.
Jennings, NYG – Jennings failed to take advantage of
cake matchup and posted just 55 rushing yards on 15 carries and
2-4-0 on two targets in the passing game. He and Paul Perkins
are in about a 2-to-1 timeshare for touches, and the Giants face
the Steelers without Cameron Heyward in Week 13.
Hightower, NO – Hightower had a nice game (51 rushing
yards on 15 carries; 2-54-1 receiving on two targets) despite
splitting time with Mark Ingram (concussion), who played very
well in a relatively difficult matchup. His big play (the 50-yard
TD pass from Willie Snead) helped rescue an otherwise humdrum
Smallwood, PHI –UPDATE: Owners didn’t get the
volume expected from Smallwood on Monday night with Ryan Mathews
out, as the rookie carried just nine times for 37 yards and 1-10-0
receiving. Sproles was more involved in the passing game (5-48-0)
but had just three carries for 6 yards. Sproles could pick up
more targets next week with the WR corps hurting.
Gillislee, BUF – Gillislee (hamstring) was inactive
for Week 12, and Shady ran wild all over the Jags.
Ivory, JAC – Ivory’s hamstring injury could force him
to miss some action, but he ran quite well before leaving Week
12 (44 rushing yards, TD; 1-11-0). Stay tuned.
Burkhead, CIN – Burkhead ran for 29 yards on just five
carries and added 2-19-0 on his two targets in Week 12. Expect
more of him going forward.
Wide Receivers / Tight Ends
Hill, KC – In my update last week, I mentioned that
Hill was a versatile weapon, and he responded by scoring there
different ways – running, receiving and returning – the first
since Gale Sayers in 1965. Hill finished with 9-52-1 receiving,
and the two other TDs (a three-yard run and 86-yard return on
a safety free kick). Expect more targets and offensive plays designed
for him after this dynamic performance.
Enunwa, NYJ – In the absence of a viable TE target,
Enunwa filled that niche for the Jets during the early going in
2016, and had 5-109-1 in Week 12 following two poor outings and
a bye week. The next couple of matchups look to be more up his
alley now that Fitzpatrick is under center again.
Wilson, CHI – Wilson’s 8-125-1 was a quite a welcome
revelation for the Bears. In just his second game back after PUP
activation following a foot injury, Wilson made his presence known
early and often. He may not have another game like this n 2016,
but the rapport with Barkley was palpable and fruitful.
Inman, SD – I’ve gone back and forth on Inman as his
production has waxed and waned, but his 6-119-1 shows his upside
is still high in the right matchup. Perhaps he’ll continue his
breakout in Week 13 against the Bucs, but they did an excellent
job shutting down the Seahawks passing game on Sunday.
Watkins, BUF – Watkins (foot) was active for Week 12
and played a little less than half of his team’s snaps against
Jacksonville. Still, he didn’t suffer any setbacks, caught all
three balls thrown his way for 3-80-0 and will be a bigger factor
against the Raiders next week. He’s 50-80 percent owned and should
be added in all formats for his excellent upside in the next three
matchups (@OAK, PIT, CLE).
Fuller, HOU –UPDATE: He’s an obvious risk because
of injury (knee) and the ineffectiveness of Brock Osweiler, but
Fuller is a talented receiver and we’ve seen what he can do (two
consecutive 1000-yard games to start his career). The remaining
five-game schedule screams upside in favorable matchups (@GB,
@IND, JAC, CIN, @TEN), and it makes sense for the Texans to open
up the offense a bit down the stretch.
Green-Beckham, PHI –UPDATE: Jordan Matthews went down
with an ankle injury that looks like it could force him to miss
some action, and Odell’s cousin took over as Carson Wentz’s
preferred target, finishing with 6-82-0 on 10 targets. He’s
still raw but would be the Eagles’ default WR1 in Week 13
Gabriel, ATL – Mohamed Sanu had a solid game as well,
but Gabriel (4-75-2) picked up most of the fantasy goodness with
Patrick Peterson draped all over Julio Jones for much of the Week
12 game with Arizona. The former Browns WR had a couple of nice
catch-and run TDs and could see more playing time as he’s proven
to be explosive and teams roll most of their coverage to Julio.
UPDATE: Matt Ryan has described Gabriel as a “sparkplug”
who‘s done everything asked of him this season. He’s
a risk-reward WR4 in the matchup against Kansas City.
Green, PIT – The big-play TE looks to be healthy and
had 2-67-0 on three Thanksgiving Day targets. At a position where
steady production if fleeting, Green is a typical feast-or famine
guy with decent upside but a low floor.
LaFell, CIN – LaFell converted nine targets from Andy
Dalton into just 3-38-0, an inefficient performance that will
likely see him cast off most fantasy rosters.
UPDATE: A.J. Green is likely to miss Week 13, so there’s
still a chance at some value in the red zone. LaFell is definitely
the kind of receiver who has big games when you least expect it.
Mitchell, NE – I was worried that Mitchell might be
done producing one Rob Gronkowski returned and Dion Lewis was
healthy, but Gronk’s early Week 12 departure meant a few more
targets (7) and 5-42-2 on the day. Still just 10-15 percent owned,
he’s a big target in a good offense and Brady loves looking his
Sharpe, TEN – Sharpe has a Week 12 stinker with just
2-11-0 on three targets. Another step backward, it appears.
Boyd, CIN – The rookie is one reason the Bengals can
be excited, because he followed up a productive Week 11 with 5-62-0
on nine targets against the Ravens. He’s owned in about 50-70
percent of leagues.
Clay, BUF – Clay continues to underperform in favorable
spots. He’s safe to drop in most formats.
Fiedorowicz, HOU – C.J. had six targets in week 12
and caught 4-42-0. He’s a high floor, low-upside TE until
Brock Osweiler loses some of the restraint and gets his confidence