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Targeting weekly waiver picks is a completely subjective business,
but this column hopes to point out some obvious and not-so-obvious
selections to help your team from week to week while you strive
to collect fantasy wins, reach your league playoffs and win the
elusive title that your friends say is out of your grasp. While
I’m a big proponent of making trades to bolster your roster,
the waiver wire can be an almost limitless resource when it comes
to discovering fantasy value in strange places. Each week, I’ll
highlight some of the popular (and not-so-popular) players who can
help your squad and may still be available in your league.
After his best fantasy game of the season,
up next for Brett Hundley are the Bucs and Browns.
Hundley, GB – I included Hundley in my QBs “to consider”
last week facing a Steelers secondary that ended up looking not
so formidable on Sunday night. Hundley has long had the confidence
of head coach Mike McCarthy and responded with his first solid
performance – 245-3-0 in a tough loss. Hundley is owned in fewer
than 20 percent of fantasy leagues but should see an uptick in
ownership heading into a favorable matchup with the Bucs.
UPDATE: During a pre-game workout
Sunday night, Aaron Rodgers reportedly threw a pass that “traveled
more than 50 yards” through the air – a big jump from
a few weeks ago, when he was just doing simulations. The All-Pro
QB isn’t eligible to return to the field until Week 15,
which gives Hundley a couple more games to help fantasy owners.
Winston, TB – UPDATE: Reports of a clean MRI
and plans to ramp up throwing activity mean Winston could be back
in the saddle as soon as this week against a poor Packers pass
defense. It’ll be worth monitoring how his shoulder responds
to the increased strain on Wednesday and Thursday, but HC Dirk
Koetter is optimistic and anxious to get his offense back on track.
When healthy, Winston is a Top 10 fantasy QB and he’s owned
in just 50-65 percent of leagues right now.
McCown, NYJ – I’d only start McCown in leagues where
your other options are guys who have completely gone off the rails
(like Dak Prescott and Alex Smith), but the Week 13 matchup is
a favorable one overall and the veteran QB is coming off a solid
game against the Panthers (307-3-0). Temper your expectations
but hope for a shootout against the Chiefs.
UPDATE: Todd Bowles reiterated early this week McCown “is
our quarterback,” solidifying him in his current fantasy
role as a streaming option.
Bortles, JAC – Bortles threw for just 160-0-1 against
the Cards, but rushed for 62 yards and two scores. In week 13,
he gets to play at home versus the Colts and we could be looking
at more robust passing numbers. He’s about 50-65 percent owned
and should be considered a middle-tier QB2.
Fitzpatrick, TB – Sunday’s 283-0-0 with 20 rushing
yards was very un-Fitzpatrick-like, since we’re used to a few
TD passes and turnovers. Still, he’s got plenty of upside and
will continue to have the starting role with Winston out. This
week he has a favorable matchup against Green Bay and remains
a decent streaming option.
UPDATE: It appears that Winston is back on track to return this
week, effectively ending Fitzpatrick’s fantasy relevance.
Taylor, BUF – Taylor turned in yet another steady but
unexciting turnover-free performance in a win over Kansas City,
throwing for 183-1-0. He’s the Bills QB heading into Week 13,
when he might be forced to play keep-up with the Patriots juggernaut
offense. It’s a favorable matchup and Taylor could be a sneaky
value play in DFS tourneys.
UPDATE: If Sean McDermott continues to ride Taylor into Week
14 (not a sure thing considering his dubious faith in T-Mobile
thus far), the Colts are an awfully good matchup for the Bills
Lynch, DEN – Lynch was abysmal (41-0-1 on 9-for-14
passing; 20 rushing yards) in Sunday game against the Raiders
before leaving with an ankle injury and being replaced by Trevor
Siemian (Brock Osweiler was a healthy scratch). Reports from the
NFL Network's Ian Rapoport suggest that he’s considered day-to-day
with an ankle injury, so it’s likely we see Siemian under center
in Week 13 @MIA.
UPDATE: Lynch is expected to miss 2-4 weeks with a high-ankle
sprain, so it's looking more and more like Siemian will finish
the year as the starter.
Kizer, CLE – Kizer had 268-0-0, 39 rushing yards and
a TD – his second game this season without a turnover. He’s not
a good option against the Chargers and their excellent pass rush
Drake, MIA – With Damien Williams (shoulder) not expected
to play in Week 13, Drake will assume a feature role and be a
popular addition on the waiver wire this week. He’s got a tough
matchup (vs. DEN) but is still available in about 20-30 percent
of fantasy leagues and could be worth a look as an RB3/flex against
UPDATE: Williams’ shoulder injury is apparently a dislocation,
which likely means a multi-week absence for Williams and a few
weeks of Drake as the feature back.
Burkhead, NE – Burkhead (70-75 percent owned) followed
up a disappointing Week 11 with 50 rushing yards and a TD, as
well as a 1-yard TD pass from Tom Brady (2-3-1 on two targets).
Burkhead has emerged as a favored pass-catching option for the
Patriots and has been heavily involved over the past few weeks.
Burkhead and Dion Lewis are the best running back fantasy options
for the Patriots moving forward, as James White’s touches have
Rodgers, TB – With Doug Martin (concussion) on the
shelf, Barber (1 percent owned) had his best fantasy game of the
season, rushing for two TDs on just five carries against the Atlanta
Falcons in Week 12. Rodgers (5-15 percent owned) rushed for 31
yards on eight carries and both could see expanded roles if Martin
is forced to miss time.
Davis, SEA –UPDATE: Seahawks coach Pete Carroll
said Davis (groin) will play Week 13 against the Eagles. The team
promoted the former Niners and Gamecock RB from the practice squad
prior to Week 11 in the wake of the C.J. Prosise ankle injury,
and he’s now finally ready for his shot. Of course, Carroll
is always sunbeams and butterflies when talking about injuries
and availability, so there’s room for pessimism among the
rest of us. Still, Lacy didn’t show any explosiveness and
the Seahawks are hoping for a lead back that can deliver chunks
of yardage to ease the burden on their QB. Davis (5-10 percent
owned in competitive leagues) is worth adding in 12-team leagues
and deeper formats, though he’s still a longshot for steady
Lacy, SEA – Lacy finally had a decent game with 46
rushing yards on 17 carries and 3-15-0 – even if the Seahawks
RBs remain a sparsely effective unit. It’s pretty clear that Lacy
and the other Seattle backs are dart throws at best, especially
since Russell Wilson is the team’s rushing leader and preferred
goal line back. Still, Lacy (20-25 percent owned) looked better
than he has at any other point this season and his involvement
in the passing game is encouraging.
UPDATE: The news that Davis will return this week hurts Lacy’s
fantasy value, since the Seahawks are desperate to find a RB that
brings a hint of upside to the table.
Cohen, CHI – Cohen was a total bust Sunday, running
for -11 yards on two carries and adding 2-8-0 on two targets from
Mitch Trubisky. Even Jordan Howard has been a dubious option with
the Bears offense completely in the tank.
Yeldon, JAC – Leonard Fournette played as expected,
and Ivory was a less-than-non-factor, finishing with negative
points after losing a fumble. Yeldon, however, posted a 5-42-0
receiving line along with 10 rushing yards on three carries, so
he was at least a minor help in deeper leagues as a flex.
Booker, DEN – The Broncos offense under Lynch was an
unmitigated disaster, holding Booker to just six rushes and 11
yards. He added 2-22 receiving but this was a big letdown spot
in a game the Broncos should have been more competitive. As a
whole, the Broncos running game isn’t a good fantasy investment
Williams, MIA – Williams got off to a good start (38
yards on 8 carries and 3-14-0 receiving) but was forced from Sunday’s
game with a shoulder injury and is not expected to play in Week
13. Drake took over as Miami's feature back after Williams left
and will be worth RB3/flex consideration even in a tough matchup
against the Broncos.
UPDATE: As mentioned above, the shoulder dislocation likely means
a multi-week absence, so fantasy owners can safely move on from
Clement, PHI – Clement had 27 rushing yards on four
carries and 1-12-0 on his lone target. The rookie took a back
seat to LeGarrette Blount on Sunday as the veteran ran for 97
yards on 15 carries.
Wide Receivers / Tight Ends
Kupp, LAR – I’ve mentioned Kupp in this column several
times, and neglected to include him in last week’s column because
I assumed his ownership was well above 90 percent in competitive
leagues, but after Sunday’s big performance (8-116-0 on 11 targets),
I gave it a look. He’s still only 60 percent owned in ESPN leagues
and just under 85 percent owned in more competitive formats. If
he’s somehow available in yours, he’s a must-play with Robert
Woods on the shelf, even though he was started in just 35-50 percent
of fantasy leagues in Week 12.
Bryant, PIT – Bryant isn’t nearly as highly owned as
JuJu Smith-Schuster, and was active in about 30 percent of fantasy
leagues in Week 12 – despite being a popular add a couple weeks
back. He’s currently at about 65-70 percent ownership in competitive
leagues and remains a high-upside play with some risk. Still,
he turned in an adequate 4-40-1 on six targets and will be a solid
play @CIN if Smith-Schuster remains out in Week 13.
UPDATE: JSS (hamstring) is still uncertain for the matchup with
the Bengals, and the Steelers don’t expect to know where
he’s at until later in the week. That makes making a bid
for Bryant a bit of a leap of faith that JSS won’t play.
Cobb, GB – With Hundley’s emergence in Week 13 came
impressive numbers from Cobb (4-58-1), who scored for the first
time since Week 4. As with Hundley, it’s a good plan to jump on
board the Green Bay passing game as it picks up steam facing a
struggling secondary in Tampa Bay. Cobb is available in about
a third of fantasy leagues and represents a decent 6-8 point baseline
in PPR formats.
Kearse, NYJ – The Jets aren’t running the ball well
right now, which has put quite a bit of pressure on their receivers
to carry the offensive load. Kearse saw 11 targets on Sunday and
converted them into 7-105-1, his best output since Week 2. Kearse
now has 66 targets on the season, trailing only Robby Anderson.
Jones, BUF – The rookie’s 3-33-1 line should have been
a little more robust considering the 10 targets he saw, but this
up-and-down performance shouldn’t be viewed with too much scrutiny,
since he’s one of the only talented receivers on the roster and
Taylor seems to look his way more often now. Jones (20-25 percent
owned) should continue to see frequent targets each week, making
him a viable streaming option in favorable matchups – like the
tilt with New England next week.
UPDATE: Kelvin Benjamin does indeed have a torn meniscus (knee)
and is expected to miss Week 13, which means that Jones is still
the top target for Taylor.
Westbrook, JAC –UPDATE: Westbrook caught 6-41-0
on a team-high 10 targets from Bortles in the Jags’ Week
12 loss to the Cards, but some of that volume was a result of
their No.1 WR – Marqise Lee – being blanketed by Patrick
Peterson. Regardless, the rookie fourth-round WR has now seen
16 targets in the two games he’s been active since coming
off IR, and the Week 13 matchup is a favorable one against a generous
Colts secondary. Westbrook could easily ramp his activity into
WR3 territory and he makes a great dynasty/keeper stash as the
Jags entire team outlook improves.
Roberts, OAK –UPDATE: With Michael Crabtree
facing a two-game suspension (he’ll likely appeal and serve
at least one game for his scuffle with Aqib Talib), Roberts is
his most likely replacement. Roberts started in place of Crabtree
in Week 4 when the veteran sat out with a bruised lung. He’s
not a high-upside play but he did see nine targets from Derek
Carr in Week 11 against the Pats.
Stills, MIA – Stills finished with 3-47-0 on six targets
as the Patriots defense did an excellent job limiting the Dolphins
offense – even in garbage time.
Crowder, WAS – Crowder broke out on Thanksgiving with
7-141-1 on 10 targets – his biggest fantasy performance of the
UPDATE: Crowder is a no-brainer plug-n-play for Thursday night
against the Cowboys, who are struggling to contain opposing offenses.
Of course, they haven’t seen an opposing offensive lineman
get called for holding in 33 quarters, but who’s counting?
Doctson, WAS – Doctson hit paydirt on one of his two
catches (2-28-1 on four targets) but failed to see the level of
involvement many had predicted heading into Thursday’s game.
UPDATE: See above regarding Crowder and his matchup with Dallas.
This could be the last viable spot to play Doctson, since he’ll
face a couple of shutdown corners in weeks 14 and 15.
Coleman, CLE – Coleman finished with 3-64-0 on eight
targets in an inefficient performance. The talented young receiver
dropped a would-be 29-yard TD in the end zone during the third
quarter, which came on a nice toss from DeShone Kizer. He’s 65-75
percent owned and should be on the radar in a nice spot Week 13
Howard, TB – Howard had 3-52-0 on four targets Sunday
and remains a TD-dependent option. He’s showing us a lot of good
things in his rookie season and makes sense as a dynasty stash
with oodles of upside.
Seals-Jones, ARI – Seals-Jones proved his Week 11 performance
was not a fluke, hauling in 4-72-1 on six targets from Blaine
Gabbert. The Cards seem to have found an undrafted gem in RSJ
– who’s worth owning in a growing number of formats,
including keeper leagues.
Wallace, BAL –UPDATE: Wallace caught just 5-48-0
despite 11 targets from Joe Flacco in the Ravens’ Week 12
win over the Texans. It’s nice to see Flacco looking the
veteran’s way, but it appears Wallace isn’t quite
the explosive receiver he once was. He’s still a threat
to get loose and log the occasional big score, but the Ravens
offense is more committed to grinding out yardage, relying on
their defense, and controlling the clock.