It’s Week 12, the penultimate week of the fantasy regular season for some and the last week of byes for all. Four teams are inactive this week: the Cardinals, Chiefs, Chargers and Vikings, so you may need a little waiver wire help to get by.
Below are players I recommend adding who are owned in fewer than 40% of leagues on Yahoo and/or ESPN. All point totals referenced are for PPR leagues.
Jacoby Brissett, Indianapolis Colts
While it’s always somewhat of a risk to play the road QB of a Thursday night game, there are plenty of things lining up in Brissett’s favor. Let’s start with the matchup. The Texans rank as one of the 10 best defenses to face for fantasy QBs. They give up an average of 272.4 passing yards per game, fourth-worst in the NFL. Houston just gave up four passing TDs to Lamar Jackson, bringing their season total to 22 in 10 games. Only two fantasy QBs have failed to score at least 16.1 points against them: Kyle Allen and Gardner Minshew. Four QBs have scored at least 23 points against them, including Brissett in Week 7. In that game, the Colts QB threw for 326 yards and four TDs. Brissett is more widely available on Yahoo than he is on ESPN, but he’s a borderline Top 15 QB this week. He might even get T.Y. Hilton back.
Sam Darnold, New York Jets
Tired of seeing Darnold on this list? Blame the Jets’ schedule. Darnold has another cupcake fantasy matchup this week as he faces off against the Raiders’ secondary at home. Oakland shut down Ryan Finley in Week 11, but forgive me for not sending them a medal for that faint accomplishment. Before that game, the Raiders ranked in the bottom five against fantasy QBs for the season. They were particularly bad in the four games since their bye, allowing 13 total touchdowns and an average of 330.3 passing yards and 26.6 fantasy points per game to QBs. Darnold is coming off back-to-back 21-plus point performances against the Giants and Redskins. He’s been a better player at home in his career and should be able to extend that 20-point fantasy streak to three games.
Ryan Tannehill, Tennessee Titans
Low ceiling and a high floor, that’s what you get with Tannehill on a weekly basis. He’s remarkably consistent. Since taking over for Marcus Mariota as the starter in Week 7, here are his fantasy totals: 19.2, 19.4, 23.0 and 18.9. That’ll definitely get the job done and ranks as the No. 9 overall QB on a per-game basis since he was named Tennessee’s starter. His matchup isn’t a huge advantage this week like the other two QBs listed above, but the Jaguars are just a middle of the road defense against fantasy QBs this season. Tannehill has at least two touchdowns in every game as a starter, so there’s no reason to believe he can’t keep that streak alive and flirt with 20 fantasy points at home.
Jonathan Williams, Indianapolis Colts
Marlon Mack is going to miss several weeks with a broken hand, so all the fantasy points in the Colts’ backfield are now up for grabs. If Sunday’s game against the Jaguars was any indication, Williams will get the first crack at carries. Williams had 116 yards on 13 carries plus a 31-yard catch. Playing a stout Texans run defense on the road on a short week isn’t the greatest matchup, but this is a multi-week addition. It’s possible Williams is the lead back in Indy for the remainder of the fantasy regular season. At worst he’ll split carries with Jordan Wilkins when he returns from his ankle injury.
Nyheim Hines, Indianapolis Colts
Hines is used almost exclusively as a passing-down back, but could get more opportunity in traditional running sets with Mack sidelined. He did get a run inside the 10 in the fourth quarter of Sunday’s game and made the most of it with a 7-yard touchdown run. He also caught three passes. It’s worth at least a speculative add to see how the roles shake out in a Mack-less backfield. However, if you believe the Colts will be playing from behind for the majority of Thursday Night Football, Hines might make his way into your Week 12 lineup.
Bo Scarbrough, Detroit Lions
Making heads or tails out of the Lions’ backfield has been a headache for fantasy owners since Kerryon Johnson went down. It only got more convoluted this week as recent pick-up Scarbrough led all Detroit RBs in touches by a healthy margin. He had 14 carries for 55 yards and a touchdown against the Cowboys. No other running back had more than three carries. J.D. McKissic finished with six total touches and Ty Johnson had three. There’s a favorable matchup with Washington on tap and Scarbrough is worth an add just in case he becomes the guy in the short term. But you need to be in a pretty deep league to consider starting him this week.
Tony Pollard, Dallas Cowboys
It would be really fun to see what Pollard is doing in the alternate universe where Ezekiel Elliott never ends his holdout and the rookie gets the lion’s share of the Cowboys’ rushing work. Pollard clearly has the talent to be successful in the NFL, but he’s got one of the best running backs in football ahead of him on the depth chart now and for the foreseeable future. Fantasy managers have to hope that Kellen Moore and Jason Garrett find a way to keep Pollard involved in the offense like they did in Week 11 vs. Detroit. Pollard had four receptions for 44 yards and a touchdown, to go with his two carries for 12 yards on the ground. It’s hard to get too excited considering what happened following his 21.8 fantasy point performance in Week 3, but Pollard is a must-own handcuff for anyone rostering Elliott. He even has some value for everyone else in the hopes that Week 11 becomes a trend or if Zeke gets hurt.
Deebo Samuel, San Francisco 49ers
ESPN fantasy managers need to catch up with Yahoo ones and make sure Samuel is owned in the majority of leagues after waivers clear this week. But if you play in one of the more than two-thirds of ESPN leagues where Samuel is available, take advantage. Samuel is coming off back-to-back eight-catch games and is blossoming into a true No. 2 option for Jimmy Garoppolo behind Emmanuel Sanders. He had double-digit targets in each of the past two games and has scored at least 13.8 fantasy points in three of his past four games. You can plug-and-play him right away against the Packers at home on Sunday Night Football. He’s a high-end WR3 this week.
Randall Cobb, Dallas Cowboys
Cobb barely made the cut on this list last week and now should be owned in the majority of leagues. The Cowboys have made an effort to get Cobb more involved in the offense since their bye week. Over the last three games, Cobb has eight, eight and seven targets, respectively. He never had more than six in any game prior to that stretch. He’s coming off back-to-back 100-yard games and has scored in two straight. Amari Cooper has been playing through injury, so there’s a high probability that Cobb could see an increased role in certain games or for certain weeks if Cooper suffers a setback. He doesn’t have a great matchup this week with New England, but has the best matchup of any of the Dallas receivers.
Darius Slayton, New York Giants
Having a bye week last week is the only reason Slayton is owned in fewer than 75% of leagues on both ESPN and Yahoo. The last time we saw him he had 10 catches for 121 yards and two touchdowns. Sterling Shepard has returned to practice, but his status for Week 12 (and pretty much every week after) is still in doubt. Slayton is a boom-or-bust play each week as the clear No. 3 option behind Golden Tate and a healthy Evan Engram, but he does have five touchdowns this season and four in his last three games.
Hunter Renfrow, Oakland Raiders
Renfrow is finding a bigger role in the Raiders offense, and it’s coming at a great time for fantasy managers. The former Clemson star is averaging just a shade under six targets and five catches per game over the last four weeks. He’s averaging 14 fantasy points per game in that time frame. The schedule is shaping up quite favorably moving forward too. Renfrow doesn’t play a team that’s above average against slot receivers until the fantasy championship round in Week 16. He’ll be a solid WR4 every week for the rest of the season.
Taylor Gabriel, Chicago Bears
We’re not sure who will be starting under center for the Bears’ offense in Week 12, but we do know that Gabriel will have a significant role in it. He’s been playing a bigger role for Chicago since Week 8 but had a whopping 14 targets in Week 11 against the Rams. Gabriel has at least 9.3 fantasy points in each of his last four games and has a juicy matchup against the Giants on tap this week. Consider him a WR4 in Week 12.
Dallas Goedert, Philadelphia Eagles
The lack of quality, healthy WR options for the Eagles means there is room for multiple tight ends to be productive in Philadelphia’s offense. Goedert caught his third touchdown in the last four games on Sunday, in a game in which he and Zach Ertz both reached double figures. Goedert is a vital piece of Philadelphia’s red zone offense and has several juicy matchups coming up. He’s a borderline TE1 this week and for the rest of the regular season.
Jacob Hollister, Seattle Seahawks
Hollister should be starting in every single league this week. He’s coming off back-to-back sensational games against the Buccaneers and 49ers and is a legit top 7 TE this week against the Eagles. He has 16 targets, 12 catches and three touchdowns over the last two weeks, emerging as Russell Wilson’s go-to tight end. We’ve finally found Will Dissly’s replacement. Don’t leave him out there on the waiver wire. He’s a TE1 the rest of the way.
Ryan Griffin, New York Jets
Speaking of replacements, Chris Herndon’s replacement had his coming out party in Week 11 against the Redskins, with five catches for 109 yards and a touchdown. Griffin has four touchdowns in the last six weeks and has emerged as Sam Darnold’s non-Jamison Crowder safety blanket. Darnold makes an effort to target him in the red zone, giving Griffin as good of a chance as anyone outside of the elite TE class to score a touchdown each week. Griffin is a low-end TE1 for the rest of the season and has three consecutive favorable matchups on tap.
Cameron Brate, Tampa Bay Buccaneers
Brate has a chance to seize the opportunity he’s just been given. O.J. Howard dropped his only target into the hands of Saints LB Demario Davis in Week 11. After that, Brate was targeted 14 times, catching 10 passes for 73 yards. It’s hard to trust any of the Bucs’ tight ends long term, but for this week against the Falcons Brate is a TE1. The red zone chemistry with Jameis Winston hasn’t carried over this season thus far, but if that happens this weekend Brate has a chance to finish top five at the position.
More Advice From SI Fantasy
—Frankie Taddeo’s droppables, with some big-name players you shouldn’t feel bad about cutting
—Bill Enright’s injury report takes a look at who is out how long
—Frankie Taddeo’s Week 11 superlatives look at the best and worst of last week