Fantasy Football Waiver Wire Pickups: Week 12
By now, for better or worse, many assertive fantasy football managers are running dry on FAAB dollars.
Those who emptied their pockets early for D.J. Chark or Mark Andrews should have no regrets. It’s always better to land an impact player early than overbid for late streamers. Countless others went all-in on the wrong guy; just ask everyone who bet the house on Brian Hill last week. While this waiver-wire article will continue to recommend a FAAB allocation, gamers must respond accordingly to their specific situation.
If you have $7 left to address multiple needs, there’s little recourse but to hope decent players fall through the cracks. On the other hand, someone with half their budget intact, a playoff spot on the line, and only one area of streaming interest need not worry about overpaying. You don’t get to cash out those fake bucks for real money once the season ends. Tailor bidding to your situation for the following players, who are all rostered in under 30% of Yahoo and ESPN leagues as of Monday evening.
Sam Darnold (NYJ): 17% Rostered (4% FAAB)
So maybe it was short-sighed to panic about a second-year quarterback having a brutal game against a dominant Patriots secondary? After finishing Week 10 as the QB7 against the Giants, Darnold tossed four touchdowns in an onslaught over Washington. That gives him three top-10 fantasy finishes — each with at least 20 points — in six games since returning from mono. Rather than dismissing his turnaround because of a soft schedule, look at the continually friendly slate. Each of his next three opponents (Raiders, Bengals, and Dolphins) rank among the bottom 10 in fantasy points allowed to quarterbacks. He’s a solid matchup play with upside through Week 14. But even if Darnold makes the most of those opportunities, move on before Gang Green closes the season against a far more formidable trio of Baltimore, Pittsburgh, and Buffalo.
Jeff Driskel (DET): 3% Rostered (2% FAAB)
With help from 88 rushing yards and a score on the ground, Driskel has delivered 45.5 fantasy points in two starts. He’s not going anywhere; doctors told Matthew Stafford that the fractured bones in his back would require six weeks to recover. Even if Detroit’s stalwart pushes his way back sooner, Driskel will almost certainly get the Week 12 nod. Beyond two-quarterback and Superflex leagues, that’s the only matchup of any possible interest. Washington fell to 27th in opposing passer rater after getting doused by Darnold.
Bo Scarbrough (DET): 0% Rostered (17% FAAB)
The Lions continued to mess with all fantasy players by starting Scarbrough, who wasn’t on their active roster until Saturday. Despite making his name in the 2016 College Football Playoff, the No. 236 pick in 2018’s NFL Draft hadn’t suited up for any pro squad before getting a chance to face the team that selected him. He turned 14 carries — Ty Johnson and J.D. McKissic combined for five — into 55 yards and a touchdown on 32 snaps. While betting on any Detroit running back seems like a fool’s errand by now, a featured role could at least lead to flex value against Washington’s 28th-ranked rushing defense. Just know that McKissic and Johnson will cap his ceiling by taking away touches in the passing game. This could be another Brian Hill situation where Scarbrough lets everyone down with 30 yards.
Jonathan Williams (IND): 0% Rostered (11% FAAB)
Nyheim Hines (IND): 23% Rostered (5% FAAB)
Jordan Wilkins (IND): 1% Rostered (4% FAAB)
Marlon Mack left Sunday’s game with what was later revealed to be a fractured hand, per ESPN’s Adam Schefter. He’ll at least miss Thursday night’s crucial AFC South showdown against the Texans. After Mack exited, Williams surpassed his teammate’s 109 rushing yards with 114 of his own on 14 carries. He added in a 31-yard reception. Hines, meanwhile, slammed home a seven-yard score while securing three of four targets.
Before spending major FAAB on either Williams or Hines, remember that Wilkins was inactive Sunday because of an ankle injury. Questionable through the week, he might at least return before Mack to assume a significant role as Indianapolis’ primary rusher. While Williams entered Week 11 with one yard to his name, Wilkins has handled 27 carries this season. Since he hasn’t done much after breaking off a 55-yard in Week 11, he may simply temper excitement for any member of a murky committee. Either way, Hines will need to earn his living as a pass-catcher. Unless requiring an immediate replacement for Mack, proceed with caution if no developments are made available early in the week.
Darrel Williams (KC): 5% Rostered (6% FAAB)
This all hinges on the status of Damien Williams, who left Monday night’s game with injured ribs. In his place, LeSean McCoy and Kansas City’s other D. Williams each reached pay dirt on the ground. McCoy had previously fallen out of favor due to a costly fumble in Week 9. If Damien is out, the veteran will likely share snaps with Darrel (and/or Darwin Thompson) instead.
James Washington (PIT): 14% Rostered (15% FAAB)
With JuJu Smith-Schuster and Diontae Johnson both in concussion protocol, Washington may wind up as Pittsburgh’s de facto top receiver just in time to oppose the winless Bengals. James Conner, who led the team in receiving yards (83) during their Week 4 encounter with Cincinnati, may not play either. Even as an ancillary option, Washington has averaged 5.2 targets and 56.2 receiving yards over his last five games. Bid aggressively on the 23-year-old if needing an immediate starter to keep playoff hopes afloat.
Darius Slayton (NYG): 23% Rostered (12% FAAB)
Don’t forget about Slayton just because the Giants licked their wounds during a Week 11 bye. Before the break, he broke out by catching 10 of 14 targets for 121 yards and two touchdowns. Averaging 14.8 air yards per target, he’s far and away Daniel Jones‘ top downfield option. That’s the case even if Sterling Shepard returns, which seems increasingly likely yet ill-advised for someone on a two-win team who has suffered as many concussions this season. The Bears present a tough Week 12 draw, but it gets better. Looking ahead to the fantasy playoffs, Slayton will oppose Philadelphia, Miami, and Washington in Weeks 14-16.
Randall Cobb (DAL): 22% Rostered (8% FAAB)
The Cowboys are turning into an aerial juggernaut. Dak Prescott procured 444 of his NFL-high 3,221 passing yards during Week 11’s win. He attempted 46 passes for the second consecutive game. The biggest fantasy benefactor from Dallas’ growing trust in Prescott is Cobb, who offered triple-digit receiving yards (106 and 115) and a touchdown each time. He’s now averaging 5.9 targets per game with 23 in the past three. Temper expectations (and FAAB dollars), however, with Dallas about to embark on a rough slate featuring the Patriots, Bills, Bears, and Rams.
Taylor Gabriel (CHI): 7% Rostered (8% FAAB)
Since Week 7’s six-yard dud, his first game following Week 3’s three-touchdown anomaly, Gabriel has totaled 219 receiving yards in four contests. After finally rediscovering the end zone in Week 10, he doubled his previous season-high with 14 targets on Sunday night. This is still an offense steered by Mitchell Trubisky, so don’t trust Gabriel as a weekly mainstay. Not even Allen Robinson has managed to maintain any consistency in a floundering Bears defense. Yet Gabriel has been their most productive receiver in recent games heading into an opportune matchup against the Giants. If Shepard and Pittsburgh’s pass-catchers play, Gabriel would represent the best of these available wideouts solely from a Week 12 perspective.
N’Keal Harry (NE): 11% Rostered (2% FAAB)
Harry caught three of four targets in an understated debut that won’t elicit much waiver-wire attention. It probably shouldn’t. Even with Josh Gordon gone, Tom Brady has Rex Burkhead back and Mohamed Sanu in the fold. And yet Harry is a first-round pick now playing alongside a Hall of Fame quarterback. Phillip Dorsett left this contest early with a head injury, opening the door for Harry to quickly see more snaps in three-receiver sets. New England still plays Houston (Week 13), Kansas City (14), Cincinnati (15), and Miami (17) this season.
Kendrick Bourne (SF): 1% Rostered (1% FAAB)
Let’s start by saying Deebo Samuel (39% rostered) is this week’s top priority wherever available. In George Kittle‘s absence, the rookie has turned into Jimmy Garoppolo‘s top option, registering 246 yards on 21 targets. While Bourne has played a quaint role in comparison, he’s still found the end zone in three straight contests and drawn 14 targets in the past two games. However, he’ll need the 49ers to remain short-handed to even merit deep consideration.
Jacob Hollister (SEA): 21% Rostered (12% FAAB)
Despite producing three touchdowns in two games, Hollister remains widely available since his breakout occurred right before Seattle’s Week 11 bye. This calls for a refresher course on Russell Wilson’s new tight end, who corralled 12 of 16 targets (three inside the 20) for 99 yards on a 79% snap rate against Tampa Bay and San Francisco. Will Dissly starred in the same role, scoring four touchdowns in six games before suffering a season-ending Achilles injury. Hollister is a startable option with the right blend of volume and touchdown potential.
Noah Fant (DEN): 21% Rostered (8% FAAB)
Sure, 60 yards may feel like a letdown since Fant entered the bye with a 75-yard score in his 115-yard outburst. Sunday’s outing, however, might be even more encouraging given his season-high 11 targets. The rookie has now received 29 looks in his last four games. Such a heavy involvement is dangerous when combined with the big-play upside of a neophyte with five 20-yard plays under his belt.
Ryan Griffin (NYJ): 2% Rostered (7% FAAB)
With Chris Herndon placed on injured reserve last week, Griffin no longer needs to look over his shoulder. Herndon’s looming presence shielded everyone from another interesting Jets tight end who topped the position’s Week 11 leaderboard with 109 yards and a touchdown. He has banked four touchdowns in the last six games, and another was questionably taken away because he didn’t control the ball long enough to get up, celebrate, and see the pigskin off to its first day of school. He’ll now garner plenty of snaps with an opportune schedule.
Cameron Brate (TB): 2% Rostered (4% FAAB)
O.J. Howard’s comeback sure had a short shelf life. Coming off a bounce-back performance against Arizona, he got benched after an ugly drop turned into an interception. Limited to 11 and 15 snaps in his last two targetless games, Brate suddenly became Jameis Winston‘s go-to man against the Saints. With Mike Evans and Chris Godwin contained to seven combined receptions, Brate caught 10 of 14 targets for 73 yards. That’s certainly an atypical line from a touchdown-or-nothing tight end who hadn’t eclipsed six targets or 50 yards since October 2017. Don’t expect it to happen again, but how can anyone ignore a tight end with 14 targets in a single game? Before a ribs injury slowed his down, Brate had snagged two touchdowns in four games. This performance catapults him back to the cusp of streaming consideration, but there’s still risk of Bruce Arians flip-flopping back to Howard.
Cleveland Browns: 27% Rostered (2% FAAB)
Before Myles Garrett stole the headlines for all the wrong reasons, Cleveland’s defense compiled four sacks and interceptions apiece in a stellar 21-7 win over Pittsburgh. Now 16th in total defense, the Browns — without Garrett — continue a savory schedule against the Dolphins. Ryan Fitzpatrick may be moving the ball better in Miami, but he’s also gotten sacked 14 times in the last three games. The evergreen chance of a pick-six cements Cleveland as the obvious streaming add.
Atlanta Falcons: 2% Rostered (1% FAAB)
The Falcons, who were 1-7 with 31.3 points allowed per game, have gone back-to-back contests without surrendering a touchdown. In the process, they accrued four picks (all against Kyle Allen) and 11 sacks. They accomplished this head-scratching feat against a pair of playoff contenders in the Saints and Panthers. Their suddenly resurgent defense will look to stay hot against another dangerous NFC South adversary. The Buccaneers may score 30 points, or Jameis Winston could cough up multiple interceptions for the sixth time this season. Both could easily occur simultaneously. This game would have been billed as an obvious shootout three weeks ago, but Atlanta’s defense could be a hot hand worth riding with major upside. It helps that Winston has gotten sacked at least twice in every game this season.