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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.
Mayfield, CLE – Among the 50-70 percent owned Q crowd,
Mayfield stands out as a solid option in Week 12 facing the Bengals.
He’ll be a popular DFS play as well. Mayfield is coming off a
bye but has at least two TD passes in four straight games and
looks like a formidable NFL quarterback with plenty of fantasy
Winston, TB –UPDATE:
Winston’s fantasy upside definitely exceeds his real-life
upside in that the Bucs are a bad team without much of a defense,
and he’ll be playing from behind most of the time and racking
up passing stats and some ground yardage. I don’t consider
Winston a QB1, but plenty of folks do, and the consensus is that
he’s at least a solid fantasy backup who should be owned
in all formats. Fitzpatrick isn’t resuming his starting
role until the Bucs get blown out and Winston throws several interceptions
before halftime, so he’s safe to drop in most leagues.
McCoy, WAS – The team signed Mark Sanchez to back up
McCoy after the horrific broken leg (two bones) to Alex Smith
on the 33-year anniversary (to the day) of the Joe Theismann injury.
McCoy (6-for-12, 54-1-0 and 35 rushing yards) is a stopgap and
doesn’t have much upside, but he’s worth a look in two-QB leagues
if the Cowboys are still dealing with injuries to their defensive
line come Thursday.
Jackson, BAL – If Jackson gets the start Sunday against
the Raiders, he’ll be a streaming QB2 option considering the matchup
and his ability to run the ball (117 rushing yards ion 27 carries
in Week 11). While he threw for just 150-0-1 in his starting debut,
there’s plenty to like about his skill set and fantasy upside.
There’s still a chance that Joe Flacco returns this week, so stay
Mariota, TEN – Unfortunately, Mariota suffered a stinger
during the Week 11 game against the Colts and is questionable
to play next Monday night. He finished Sunday with just 85-0-1
and 17 rushing yards. Blaine Gabbert will get the start if Mariota
can’t go in Week 12.
Prescott, DAL – Held without a TD pass for the first
time since Week 1, Prescott went 22-for-32 for 208-0-0 yards against
the Falcons in Week 11. He also rushed for five yards and a TD
on four carries during the game, showing he can still score some
fantasy points with his legs even if the passing game is struggling.
It’s a huge disappointment, however, that he fizzled in such a
Bortles, JAC – The Jaguars focused almost exclusively
on the ground game and Bortles finished Week 11 with a pathetic
108-0-0 and a lost fumble. Sacked six times and looking completely
out of whack when he did have time to throw, Bortles will try
to right the ship next week against the Bills. He’s not a recommended
UPDATE: Bortles will NOT be benched for Week 12, but that doesn’t
mean he should be on your fantasy roster. The risk outweighs the
Manning, NYG – Manning went 17-for-18 for 231-2-0 during
the team’s Week 11 win over the Tampa Bay Buccaneers, but it was
Saquon Barkley who was the fantasy star. Overall it was a mediocre
fantasy day considering the matchup, but he gets to face the Eagles
next week in what could be a much more competitive game – given
the Eagles injuries and their horrid performance in Week 11 against
Barkley, BUF – The Bills were on a Week 11 bye and
Allen is slated to start Week 12 against the Jags.
Edwards, BAL – Edwards ran for 115 yards and a TD on
17 carries Sunday in a 24-21 win over the Bengals. He’s universally
available and has a favorable matchup in Week 12 against the Raiders.
How this bona fide RB committee’s roles will break down going
forward is anybody’s guess, but it’s possible Edwards eats into
Alex Collins’ early down role and gets 5-10+ carries on Sunday.
UPDATE: Some folks seem to believe that Edwards may take the
lead back role right away in Baltimore given his showing on Sunday,
but that’s speculative. Still, if Edwards emerges with a
large percentage of the timeshare, he needs to be owned in all
Barber, TB – I don’t know if it was injuries or poor
usage early in the season that made Barber look essentially useless
but he’s coming off yet another solid game (18 carries for 106
rushing yards, TD & 2-4-0 receiving). Owned in fewer than 75 percent
of fantasy leagues, Barber gets a favorable Week 12 matchup against
the 49ers and should be worth RB3/flex consideration in all formats.
Riddick, DET – with Kerryon Johnson (knee, week-to-week)
already declared out for the Thanksgiving tilt on Thursday, the
Lions will use a committee of Blount (TD-dependent), Riddick (PPR
boost) and Zach Zenner (wild card) against the formidable Bears
defense. Of the three, Riddick makes the most sense from a game
script perspective, while Blount should handle goal line carries
and Zenner mixing in throughout the game. It’s not a fun situation
to monitor, but a clearer picture could emerge before game time.
UPDATE: Riddick is still the back to own heading into Thanksgiving,
but I’ll have some DFS shares of Blount in Thursday’s
contests as a cheap TD vulture.
Adams, PHI – Adams rushed seven times for 53 yards
and a TD in the Eagles’ devastating Week 11 loss to the Saints.
He added 3-19-0 and was one of the only bright spots for a Philly
team that should keep feeding him the ball down the stretch.
Penny, SEA – As expected, Penny took a back seat to
a healthy Chris Carson and Mike Davis ate up some carries as well,
but the rookie finished with 46 rushing yards on eight carries,
most of which came on a spectacular 28-yard run early in the game.
Unfortunately, he also suffered an ankle injury on the play and
looked less-than-100 percent the rest of the game. With the rest
of the backfield getting healthy and both J.D. McKissic and C.J.
Prosise back in action soon, there’s not a great reason to force
a hobbled Penny onto the field.
UPDATE: Mike Davis is the clear passing down back and is probably
the second-best RB to own after Carson. I still like Penny’s
upside should Carson get injured again.
Ware, KC –UPDATE: Ware had zero touches on Monday
night but the RBs in this game were an afterthought. He’s
still an important handcuff and this ghostly performance shouldn’t
put you off him as a playoff stash.
Moore, CAR – At this point, it’s safe to say that Moore
(7-157-1 on eight targets Sunday) has the highest upside of any
Panthers WR, since Devin Funchess hasn’t had a seven-catch game
since Week 2. The matchup with Seattle in Week 12 is far from
ideal, but Moore (30-55 percent owned) is looking like a viable
WR3/4 and flex option in deeper leagues
Smith, NO – We’ve discussed TQS in this space before,
and perhaps the distraction of the Dez/Brandon Marshall odyssey
coupled with a Week 10 no-show kept me from considering him in
Week 11 – but the dude went off against Philly with 10-157-1 on
13 targets from Drew Brees. I’m convinced Smith (20-50) percent
owned) is here to stay and should get a decent target volume facing
the Falcons in Week 12.
Coutee, HOU – The Texans have yet to integrate Demaryius
Thomas and Coutee’s 5-77-0 in Week 11 shows he’s still a big part
of this explosive offense. He’s available in a bunch of leagues
where he likely got dropped after the hamstring injury, so jump
back on board with Coutee and a Week 12 matchup with Tennessee.
Humphries, TB – If the Fitzmagic era is finally over,
Winston might find a great outlet in Humphries, who caught an
8-yard TD pass from Jameis in Week 11 and finished with 3-60-1
on the day. Humphries doesn’t see a ton of targets, but he does
have 40-491-3 on the season, a decent total through 10 games.
Everett –UPDATE: Everett caught 3-49-2 on four
targets in the Rams’ epic Week 11 win over the Chiefs. He
benefitted from an impossibly exciting back-and-forth game that
featured more offense than just about any game on record, as well
as some exciting defensive plays to boot. There’s little
chance of him repeating his two-TD performance, but it’s
a damn good possibility he turns in a few more scores this season.
Gates, LAC – Gates turned back the clock and caught
five of his seven targets for a season-high 80 yards and a TD
in a 23-22 loss to the Denver Broncos in Week 11. He’s not a bankable
TE every week, but there’s not a lot of solid TEs out there, he’s
facing the Cards in Week 12 and he looked great on Sunday. I’d
much prefer adding as guy like Jordan Reed (who McCoy could favor
next week) but he’s not available in most leagues. Gates is available
in just about every format.
Miller, CHI – Miller had just two catches for 25 yards,
but one was a great grab on a 18-yard TD pass from Mitchell Trubisky.
The Bears offense has a lot of options for production, but Miller
remains a solid, high-upside play on Thanksgiving in Detroit.
Reynolds, LAR –UPDATE: Reynolds had a big performance
Monday night with 6-80-1 (who didn’t really?), and it could
have been bigger had he managed to get both feet in bounds on
an athletic end zone catch that was ruled incomplete. He’s
a part of this offense now that Kupp is out, as are Tyler Higbee
Snead, BAL – Snead is one of my personal favorites
in this column. He hauled in 5-of-8 targets from Lamar Jackson
for 51 yards and no scores. Given that it’s his third straight
week leading the Ravens in both receptions and targets, he’s worth
owing in all 12-team leagues. If Jackson is the quarterback moving
forward, fantasy owners should consider Snead a low-end WR4 in
PPR leagues with decent upside if they continue to show rapport.
Parker, MIA – Parker (shoulder) was on a Week 11 bye
but apparently has a chance to play this week after being given
the week-to-week label in Week 10. With Jakeem Grant out for the
rest of the season, the Dolphins could give Parker a healthy number
of snaps in Week 12.
Godwin, TB – Godwin, nursing an ankle injury, finished
Week 11 with 3-50-0 on three targets. He’s a low-end WR4 option
with upside regardless of who’s under center for Tampa Bay.
Kirk, ARI – Kirk finished with 3-77-1 on four targets,
the highlight of his day a 59-yard TD reception from Josh Rosen.
His ownership doesn’t really exceed 60 percent on most sites so
he’s an option this week as well facing the Rams.
Jones, BUF – The Bills were on a Week 11 bye but Jones’
stock is up.
McDonald, PIT – McDonald had 3-27-1 in the win over
Jacksonville, including an 11-yard score in the fourth quarter
that helped give the Steelers a hard-fought win.
Ross, CIN – I’m noticing a pattern here. Ross only
had two catches on Sunday, but one was a TD (2-27-1 on seven targets).
It wasn’t an efficient outing, but he’s getting looks in A.J.
Smith, TEN – Smith had 6-44-0 on eight targets Sunday,
as he was busy providing Gabbert with a check-down option in a
tough game for the Titans in which Mariota went down early.