Friends, Romans, countrymen… Lend me your FAAB bucks! Welcome to the Week 12 waiver wire report and Happy Thanksgiving. I’m filling in this go-round for Jen Piacenti. Let me carry your team through Black Friday and let’s find some bargains.
We’re now a few weeks out from the fantasy postseason, so it’s critical we continue to churn the back-end of our rosters. If you’re still in the hunt, let’s get to work. If you’re mathematically eliminated—the best kind of eliminated—the season isn’t over, so let’s play spoiler and crush some fantasy dreams. If you’ve already secured a playoff spot, you’ve obviously been hanging your hat on every word from SI Fantasy. Congrats on finding the secret weapon we deliver with every article.
Players featured in this article are available in at least 60% of leagues.
Quarterbacks - Waiver Wire Adds
Mac Jones (NE)
If available, Jones is putting together one heckuva rookie season. A big boost to his play has been the way the Patriots manage the game for him pre-snap. When you watch this offense, you're going to see a lot of passes to the flats and short areas of the field. The ball is designed to come out fast and not put Jones in situations where he has to make multiple reads. Yes, I'm saying they're using him as a game-manager but last year Ryan Tannehill taught us this doesn't have to be a bad thing. Jones has only passed for more than 220 yards since mid-October but he doesn't need gaudy stats when he protects the ball and complete 80% or more of his passes—as he's done in consecutive weeks. Keep in mind that Jones has two matchups upcoming vs. the Bills, who rank first in fewest points allowed to QBs (Weeks 13 and 16). He also has two plus matchups vs. the Titans and Colts in Weeks 12 and 15, respectively.
Taylor Heinicke (WAS)
Too many waiver wire articles this week are headlining the QB position with Cam Newton. Put some respect on Heinicke’s name. Stop playin’ with his name (language warning). No more beer jokes, either. The former ODU standout posted three TDs and 206 yards against the Panthers. What you have to appreciate about Heinicke is that the guy is a gamer. He extends plays, he digs it out. We’re talking about a seventh-year undrafted quarterback. Before joining Washington during the 2020 season, he was back at school finishing his engineering degree. If your league had scoring for AutoCAD skills, Heinicke would probably be the top quarterback drafted! The numbers don’t flesh out a convincing argument, but Heinicke just looks like a young Brett Favre out there slingin’ it--and I’m the type to trust my eye more than the boxscore.
Cam Newton (CAR)
We know the drill. This isn’t our first rodeo with Newton. He looked excellent at times on designed runs. We know he can find rushing lanes and break off running scores. Newton has a rushing TD in each of his two games with Carolina. The Panthers want to dink-and-dunk-it as evidenced by his 21-for-27 performance for 189 yards and two scores vs. the Football Team. We can live with that as long as there aren’t any turnovers. Having Christian McCaffrey in the flats gives Newton and this offense a puncher’s chance every week. Here’s the thing, I think his Week 11 stats are peak Newton. That’s as good as it’s going to get. If you’re expecting him to do that every week, I think you’ll be disappointed—that’s his absolute ceiling.
Trevor Siemian (NO)
Boxscore watchers might be pleasantly surprised to see Siemian provided three TD passes and a rushing TD in the Saints’ 40-29 loss to the Eagles. What they might miss is that the Saints entered the fourth quarter down 33-7. Siemian was doing his best Oscar the Grouch impression by shining in garbage time. I would just remind fantasy managers that points are points. We don’t need our players to be great on the field, we need them to score fantasy points. This is the big caveat, as long as Siemian retains this starting gig, we can hold our collective noses and keep him rostered. New Orleans hosts the Bills in Week 12 and while that is a tough matchup on paper, I would keep my eye on Siemian for Week 14, when the Saints take on the Jets, third-worst vs. QBs over the last five weeks.
More QB, if available: Tua Tagovailoa (MIA), Jimmy Garoppolo (SF)
More QB, deeper leagues: Tyrod Taylor (HOU), Colt McCoy (ARI), Case Keenum (CLE), Joe Flacco (NYJ), Andy Dalton (CHI), Taysom Hill (NO)
Running Backs - Waiver Wire Adds
Ty Johnson & Tevin Coleman (NYJ)
Since Michael Carter will be out for two games, the Jets will have to fall back on Johnson and Coleman. I think Coleman will see more early-down work with Johnson trending toward passing down and distances. If I had to choose one, I’d prefer Johnson in PPR and Coleman in standard. Johnson had a nice run from Weeks 7-10, with 18 receptions for 212 receiving yards and two TDs. Word of warning, the Jets have a brutal strength of schedule stretch in Weeks 14-16 vs. the Saints, Dolphins and Jaguars. All three teams are tough against RBs in fantasy points allowed.
FAAB: Johnson 5%, Coleman 3%
DeeJay Dallas (SEA)
Alex Collins is getting the carries, but Dallas has an emerging role and the Seahawks let him own a drive in the fourth quarter Sunday. They gave the ball to Dallas on four straight plays culminating in a touchdown (seven-yard rush, two-yard reception, 15-yard rush and a two-yard plunge into the end zone). What will help DJD more than anything is this offense getting back on track.
Boston Scott (PHI)
With Jordan Howard listed as doubtful for Week 12, we’re pivoting to the next man up. Kenneth Gainwell was a healthy scratch in Week 11 and this backfield will again focus on Miles Sanders and Scott in a change-of-pace role. It doesn’t help matters that Jalen Hurts is so effective running the ball, but Scott can contribute both as a runner and receiver and the Eagles tend to keep him on the field in passing situations.
Rex Burkhead (HOU)
Opportunity over talent—that’s the mantra. It took 18 carries for Burkhead to amass 40 yards. For those chasing usage, Burkhead is your guy. David Johnson had 13 carries for 18 yards and Phillip Lindsay was somehow worse with one carry for minus-3 yards. Pat Benatar famously sang “love is a battlefield.” Well there’s a whole lotta love in Houston’s backfield right now—maybe too much.
Dontrell Hilliard (TEN)
It’s not the seven carries for 35 yards last week that has my attention; it’s the eight receptions on 10 targets for 47 yards. Hilliard was the lightning to D'Onta Foreman and Adrian Peterson’s thunder against the Texans. There’s a lot of middling talent in this backfield muddying up the depth chart, so only take a shot on Hilliard in deeper PPR leagues.
More RB, if available: Rhamondre Stevenson (NE), Devonta Freeman (BAL), Alex Collins (SEA), David Johnson (HOU)
More RB, deeper leagues: Jeff Wilson (SF), Matt Breida (BUF)
Wide Receivers - Waiver Wire Adds
Elijah Moore (NYJ)
This might be cheating but Moore remains available in far too many leagues. Moore has five touchdowns since Week 7, including four in his last three games. The Ole Miss speedster is performing in spite of his team’s ineptitude. Grab him if he’s available.
Rashod Bateman (BAL)
With at least six targets in each of his five appearances since Week 6, I’m high on Bateman. The touchdowns will come, as will the big plays. The Ravens want to run the ball—we know this—so we have to be patient. It’ll certainly help to have Lamar Jackson back in the starting lineup.
Marquez Valdes-Scantling (GB)
Allen Lazard’s Week 11 injury boosted MVS into four receptions on 10 targets for 123 yards and a touchdown. His 75-yard score is encouraging, but Lazard is on track to return in Week 12. If you’ve got MVS, you might be hoping for an injury setback for Lazard to retain MVS’s fantasy value.
Van Jefferson (LAR)
The Rams are coming off a Week 11 bye and while all the attention is transfixed on Odell Beckham Jr., I still believe in Jefferson’s talent and want-to. The Rams seem to be trending in the wrong direction on offense, but I’m expecting a bounce-back eventually with plus matchups in Weeks 16 and 17 against the Vikings and Ravens, respectively.
Michael Gallup & Cedrick Wilson (DAL)
If picking between the two, you want Gallup over Wilson. Amari Cooper was out for Week 11 thanks to his COVID-19 list addition and could also miss Week 12. CeeDee Lamb is also questionable after sustaining a concussion. If Lamb is unavailable on Thanksgiving, targets will be widely available in the short-term.
FAAB: Gallup 3%, Wilson 1%
More WR, if available: Allen Lazard (GB), Donovan Peoples-Jones (CLE), Kadarius Toney (NYG), Darnell Mooney (CHI), Kendrick Bourne (NE), DeVante Parker (MIA, IR), Marvin Jones (JAC)
More WR, deeper leagues: Nick Westbrook-Ikhine (TEN), Nelson Agholor (NE), Laviska Shenault (JAC), Marquise Goodwin (CHI), Mack Hollins (MIA), Dez Fitzpatrick (TEN)
Tight Ends - Waiver Wire Adds
Logan Thomas (WAS)
Sidelined early with a hamstring injury in his Week 4 matchup against the Falcons and set to practice this week, Thomas is expected to be back on the menu after a long stretch on injured reserve. Taylor Heinicke is coming off one of his best games (206 passing yards and three TDs) and the Football Team just reeled off back-to-back wins vs. the Buccaneers and at the Panthers. Washington has only managed one TD to tight ends while Thomas was out, so we’re looking for them to offer a big game-planning pivot to get the Virginia Tech alum involved. Thomas is a capable low-end TE1 who can deliver red-zone targets. Washington has a mostly favorable fantasy schedule vs. tight ends coming up, highlighted by two games against the Eagles in Weeks 15 and 17. The Iggles rank dead-last vs. tight ends, allowing nearly 20 fantasy PPR points per game.
Tyler Conklin (MIN)
After a big Week 10 (two touchdowns), Conk came back to Earth vs. the Packers with three catches for 35 yards. At this stage of the season, we’re looking to catch lightning in a bottle at the tight end position and find a guy who scores touchdowns. However, trying to predict who will score is a fool’s errand, so let’s just follow this season’s trends. Kirk Cousins has at least two TD passes in five of his last six and in each of his last three. If you want to play sniper, the Vikings face the Rams in Week 16. LA has allowed TEs to score a touchdown in each of the last three weeks and the third-most PPR points per game to the position over the last five weeks.
Dan Arnold (JAC)
From Weeks 8 to 10, Arnold saw 10, 7 and 8 targets over Jacksonville’s next three games. In Week 11, he got blanked—no catches, no targets. You may be thinking, “Well, how many snaps did he play?” I’ll tell you—65%—which is in line with his per-game average in 2021. To the credit of the Jags’ Week 11 opponent, the 49ers have some pretty good coverage linebackers but the ol’ goose-egg on the scoreboard is always troubling. I suspect Arnold’s ownership will fall after rising sharply over the previous month. Let’s be realistic: fantasy backup tight ends are fantasy backup tight ends. I’m hoping for some regression to the 2021 mean with a bounce-back game for Arnold and his rookie quarterback. The Jags have two plus matchups on their remaining schedule against the Rams and Jets, third-worst and 11th-worst against TEs over the last five weeks.
More TE if available: Pat Freiermuth (PIT), C.J. Ozumah (CIN), Cole Kmet (CHI)
More TE, deeper leagues: Gerald Everett (SEA), Austin Hooper (CLE), Geoff Swaim (TEN), Juwan Johnson (NO)
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