- Samaje Perine only has a handful of rushing yards this season, but with both Rob Kelley and Chris Johnson out, he has a huge opportunity in the coming weeks.
There are two weeks remaining in the typical fantasy regular season and byes are in the rear-view mirror. Depth isn’t as important as now as it was earlier in the year when there were still byes to get through, but there are still moves to make on the waiver wire. In fact, the highest-priority player heading into Week 12 can improve not only your depth, but, depending on your roster, might be worth starting right away.
Samaje Perine, RB, Redskins
Perine had the best game of his young career on Sunday, running for 117 yards and a touchdown on 23 carries. He was already in line for a big workload the rest of the season with Rob Kelley on IR, and now that Chris Thompson’s out for the season, that could increase. Perine had just one catch in the game, but no other back stepped into the role Thompson typically inhabits. The rookie out of Oklahoma could be looking at workhorse status over the Redskins final six games of the season. Getting a back like that at this stage of the season is incredibly rare. Perine hadn’t shown much in his limited chances before the first 100-yard game of his career in Week 11, but this is a unique opportunity for fantasy owners. If you’re in a league with FAAB bidding, empty your remaining budget to get Perine. If you’re in a league that uses waiver priority, he is worth the top claim.
Corey Coleman, WR, Browns
Coleman made his return from a broken hand on Sunday and instantly made his presence felt. He racked up 11 targets, catching six of them for 80 yards. Coleman is easily the best receiver on the team, and that isn’t just by default. Go back to Week 1, when he caught five passes for 53 yards and a touchdown. Go back to last season, when he had seven catches for 173 yards and two scores in the first two games of his career before breaking his hand for the first time in his career. Go back a few months before that, when he was the 15th overall pick in the draft. Coleman has been frustratingly injured for more the balance of his first two seasons in the league, but he has shown more than flashes when healthy. The Browns offense brings down his ceiling a bit, but he should still be a regular fantasy starter the rest of the way. The volume is going to be there for him every week.
Josh Doctson, WR, Redskins
Doctson got seven targets for the second straight game, catching four of them for a career-high 81 yards. The second-year player out of TCU has taken over as the top outside receiver for the Redskins, making Terrelle Pryor irrelevant. Doctson would see more targets in a Thompson-less offense, as well, though the largest workload gains would likely go to Perine and Vernon Davis. Still, Doctson is a top-three playmaker in the offense, and the team’s greatest downfield threat. With Kirk Cousins playing at the top of his game, you want to take a shot on his No. 1 receiver, even if that status doesn’t carry quite as much fantasy value in Washington as it does on other teams.
Danny Woodhead, RB, Ravens
Woodhead is still available in about half of all leagues, which I have to assume are very shallow or have short benches—that’s the only way to explain why Woodehad, who had an eighth-round ADP over the summer, is still on on the waiver wire. He made his return from a hamstring injury on Sunday, catching five of six targets for 21 yards against the Packers. With respect to his fantasy value, he accomplished missions one and two in Week 11. First, he looked no worse for wear after spending two months on the shelf. Second, he rendered Javorius Allen, who had one target and three carries, obsolete. Woodhead is back in the role the Ravens signed him for, and will remain the team’s primary pass-catching back the rest of the season. As he shakes the rust off, it wouldn’t be a surprise to see him get more carries, too, though Alex Collins isn’t going anywhere. Woodhead’s value is in the passing game, however, and he should get enough volume to be on the flex radar every week in standard leagues. No one has ever lost money betting on a healthy Woodhead in PPR formats, where he projects as an RB2 the rest of the way.
Damien Williams, RB, Dolphins
Williams outplayed Kenyan Drake in Week 11, running for 78 yards on 10 carries and catching one pass for 24 yards. Drake outsnapped Williams for the second time in three games since the Jay Ajayi trade, and neither back has played 60% of snaps in one game. In other words, the committee isn’t going anywhere. Still, we’ve now had three straight games with one of the two Miami backs scoring double-digit fantasy points in standard-scoring leagues. Drake is still the preferred fantasy option in the Dolphins backfield, but both of these guys need to be owned. Williams remains available in 65% of Yahoo leagues.
Devontae Booker, RB, Broncos
Booker had his most active and productive game of the season, building on a trend that had been brewing for weeks. He played a season-high 59.3% of the snaps in Week 11, getting on the field for 19 more snaps than C.J. Anderson. Booker carried the ball 14 times for 44 yards and caught five passes for 54 yards in the Broncos 20-17 loss to the Bengals. Booker missed the first three games of the season, and spent his first few games playing about 20% of the snaps. Those snap rates rose up into the mid-30s in the middle-third of the season, before jumping nearly 30 percentage points in Week 11. At the very least, Booker will be a major player in a running back committee in Denver. At the most, he’ll supplant Anderson as the starter. Either way, he needs to be claimed in all fantasy leagues with the playoffs on the horizon and reliable running back production in short supply.
Corey Clement, RB, Eagles
Three Eagles running backs played at least 20% of the snaps in the team’s 37-9 thrashing of the Cowboys. Three Eagles running backs scored a touchdown in the game, as well. This is another committee that isn’t going away any time soon. And yet, Clement has found a way to be consistently productive despite a lack of volume. The rookie out of Wisconsin has rushed for at least 50 yards in three straight games, but didn’t get more than 12 carries in any of those contests. He scored four touchdowns in those games and has six on the season on just 57 touches. Clement clearly has big-play ability, and the Eagles are making sure to keep him involved in the offense, especially in the red zone. His role is unlikely to increase from where it already is, but there’s enough value here to make him a depth-based add this week. Given his role in a high-powered offense, he could pop up on the flex radar a few times over the remainder of the season.
Austin Ekeler, RB, Chargers
Ekeler is purely a handcuff for Melvin Gordon owners. If the Gordon owner in your league is snoozing, he’s worth an add just in case the starter gets hurt. Ekeler isn’t going to take the job from Gordon, and he’s unlikely to have a role alongside Gordon that places him on the flex radar. He did score a touchdown in the Chargers 54-24 drubbing of the Bills, but he did that during the ample garbage time of the second half. In fact, nearly all of his eight touches in the game came with the Chargers leading by at least 30 points. If you’re a Gordon owner who’s headed to the playoffs, you need to protect your investment. If he goes down with an injury and you don’t have Ekeler on your roster, chances are your season will end sooner than you’d like.
Chris Ivory, RB, Jaguars
Just like Ekeler is handcuff add for Gordon owners, Ivory is the same for Leonard Fournette owners. Why do Ekeler and Ivory make the column while, say, James Conner and Charcandrick West don’t? Gordon and Fournette have both dealt with injuries this season. Gordon has a questionable designation every week, and while he hasn’t missed a game, he’s at a greater risk of getting injured than the average running back. Fournette, meanwhile, can’t shake the ankle injury that has dogged him for more than a month now. He was a surprise add to the injury report late last week, and he aggravated the injury during the Jaguars win over the Browns. Ekeler and Ivory are the handcuffs that have the greatest likelihood of ascending to the starter’s job.
Kenny Stills, WR, Dolphins
Stills had his best game of the season in Week 11, catching seven of eight targets for 180 yards and a touchdown. The production was great for anyone who started him or played him in DFS, but it doesn’t do much for his value going forward. What is encouraging, however, is that he got eight targets for the fourth time in five games. That suggests he will remain a big part of the offense for the rest of the season, no matter who’s healthy in the Miami receiving corps. He’s still no more than a WR3 from week to week, and there is not a dearth of options at the backend of the starting class at the position like there is at running back. Corey Coleman and Josh Doctson are the priority receivers to add this week, but if both are gone in your league, or if you’ll have competition for them on the wire, throw a claim in on Stills. He’s a fine consolation prize.
Bruce Ellington, WR, Texans
Ellington stepped up in Houston’s first game without Will Fuller, catching six of seven targets for 63 yards. He played 68 of 70 snaps, taking over in full the role that Fuller had before breaking multiple ribs last week. Ellington has always had latent fantasy value. He was a chic late-round deep sleeper in industry circles last season before he suffered a season-ending hamstring injury at the end of the exhibition season. Ellington is finally getting a chance to play a starter’s snap rate, and that makes him intriguing for the rest of the season. He’s likely no better than a top-40 receiver the rest of the season, but that could have him on the WR3 radar in 12-team leagues, especially for a team that is thin at the position.
Dede Westbrook, WR, Jaguars
Westbrook made his NFL debut in Week 11, catching three passes for 35 yards. He made a fourth catch worthy of the highlight reel, leaping high into the air and tapping his feet just inside the boundary for what should have been a huge play for the Jaguars. Somehow, despite video evidence to the contrary, the officials ruled no catch, claiming there was no way to tell if he maintained possession all the way through the process of the catch. Either way, the play showed what he brings to the table, something the Jaguars receiving group has lacked all season. Westbrook was slated for a significant role in the offense after a big preseason, but underwent surprise surgery on a core muscle right before the start of the regular season. He played fewer snaps than Marqise Lee and Keelan Cole, but his role should continue to grow as he gets more time under his belt.
Russell Shepard, WR, Panthers
The Panthers didn’t play this week, which means in most leagues you don’t have to wait to claim Shepard if you have someone who didn’t start for you in Week 11 that you can cut. With Curtis Samuel out for the season. Shepard will be the No. 2 receiver in the Carolina offense, joining Devin Funchess as a starter. Greg Olsen is expected to return from his broken foot this week, and he, along with Funchess and Christian McCaffrey, will eat up the vast majority of the targets from Cam Newton. Still, it’s wise to take a shot on Shepard, especially since we haven’t seen exactly what his time as the No. 2 receiver in the offense will bring to the Panthers. He hasn’t played much of a role this year, catching 14 passes for 173 yards and a touchdown.
Dontrelle Inman, WR, Bears
Inman’s second game with the Bears wasn’t quite as productive as his first, when he caught six passes for 88 yards. He got five targets in the team’s 27-24 loss to the Lions in Week 11, hauling in three of them for 43 yards. He led the receivers with an 84.1% snap rate, and was still one of Mitch Trubisky’s most targeted pass-catchers. The Bears offense isn’t going to generate much fantasy value, especially outside of Jordan Howard, but the bottom line here is that Inman is the unquestioned No. 1 receiver on the roster. Every player who’s a No. 1 receiver should be owned in fantasy leagues, even if they project as a WR4 in our corner of the football world.
Tyler Kroft, TE, Bengals
Looking for help at the tight end position in Week 12? Look no further than Kroft, who scored his fourth touchdown of the season in the Bengals 20-17 win over the Broncos. He left the game with a hand injury, though it’s not expected to force him to miss any more time. The Bengals host the Browns, one of the league’s friendliest defenses to tight ends, in Week 12. The Browns rank 31st against tight ends in 4for4’s schedule-adjusted fantasy points allowed metric (aFPA). Kroft himself burned them for six catches, 67 yards and two touchdowns when the teams first met in Week 4.
Charles Clay, TE, Bills
Clay had three catches on four targets for 27 yards in the Bills 54-24 loss to the Chargers in Week 11, but remember that he basically had just a half to put up those numbers. Nathan Peterman spent the first half torpedoing any progress the Buffalo offense could possibly make with five interceptions. Tyrod Taylor thankfully relieved him after halftime, and that’s when Clay did his minimal damage. He also dropped an easy touchdown from Taylor that would have given him yet another quietly productive fantasy day with the rightful starting quarterback in Buffalo at the helm. Assuming Taylor is back under center for the Bills next week, Clay will be back inside the low-end TE1 class.