Be on the lookout for a full waiver-wire column from the SI Fantasy team each week. Every Sunday night, however, I will take an early look at a few options that could help you in the upcoming week or on a rest-of-season basis.
[Note: All players referenced in this post are available in more than half of Yahoo! leagues as their ownership levels are all below 50 percent. All references are based on half-PPR scoring.]
Here are a few waiver-wire options to consider heading into Week 13 (Yahoo! ownership in parenthesis):
Bo Scarbrough, RB, Detroit Lions (43% owned)
Trusting a non-Kerryon Johnson running back in Detroit has been a challenge, but Bo Scarbrough has emerged as the clear frontrunner among the team’s healthy backs. Although he lost a fumble, Scarbrough had 18 carries for 98 yards this week and finished with twice as many touches as Ty Johnson (six) and J.D. McKissic (three) combined.
Activated from the team’s practice squad the day before their Week 11 matchup, Scarbrough now has 32 touches over the past two weeks. As a comparison, both Johnson and McKissic have just nine each during that stretch.
The challenge for Scarbrough will be his difficult matchups on the horizon as the Lions face the Bears, Vikings, Bucs and Broncos through Week 16. This week’s matchup against the Bears (12th-most fantasy points allowed to opposing running backs entering this week) isn’t as bad, but the Vikings (27), Bucs (31) and Broncos (23) have been among the toughest defenses for opposing fantasy running backs.
Rashaad Penny, RB, Seattle Seahawks (18% owned)
Coming off Seattle’s bye, Rashaad Penny had his best performance of the season. The former first-round pick carried the ball 14 times for 129 yards and a touchdown in Philadelphia. That was nearly as many rushing yards as Penny had over his other seven games combined (167) this season.
I wouldn’t trust Penny after one good game, but Chris Carson’s continued fumbling issues may ultimately lead to increased usage for Penny down the stretch. Looking ahead to the fantasy playoffs, the Seahawks have two favorable matchups in Weeks 15 and 16 against the Panthers and Cardinals, respectively.
Benny Snell Jr., RB, Pittsburgh Steelers (4% owned)
With James Conner (shoulder) out, many (including me) expected Jaylen Samuels to lead Pittsburgh’s backfield in Week 12. Instead, it was Snell. The fourth-round rookie carried the ball 21 times for 98 yards and added a five-yard reception.
Snell would be the favorite to lead the backfield in workload if Conner is unable to return in Week 13. Even if he’s able to return, Snell may be a worthwhile stash given Conner’s durability history.
Sam Darnold, QB, New York Jets (39% owned)
NFL bye weeks conclude in Week 12, but if you’re in the market for a Week 13 streamer, Sam Darnold could be your guy. The second-year quarterback went 20-of-29 for 315 yards and two touchdowns against the Raiders on Sunday and added 16 rushing yards and another score.
Darnold has now scored at least 21 fantasy points in three consecutive games, but he gets another dream matchup this week against the Bengals, who have allowed the third-most fantasy points to opposing quarterbacks this season. If you’re looking beyond next week, Darnold gets another soft matchup against the Dolphins in Week 14 as well.
James Washington, WR, Pittsburgh Steelers (20% owned)
On the day that his former college quarterback Mason Rudolph was benched, James Washington finished Sunday’s game with three catches for a season-high 98 yards and a touchdown. Washington now has 90-plus yards and a score in two of three games.
The second-year receiver now has 69-plus yards in three of four and 49-plus in five of six. Over that six-game span, Washington has a total of 20 catches on 35 targets for 379 yards (18.95 Y/A, 63.17 YPG) and two touchdowns.
Kevin Hanson joins SI for the 2019 season. His fantasy rankings have placed him in the Top 20 in each of the past two seasons among all the industry experts tracked by FantasyPros.com, and he has been in the Top 25 in six of the past eight years.