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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.
Yates, HOU – Yates threw for 229-2-0 in the win over
the Jets Sunday and the Texans get the Saints’ awful pass defense
next week in a home game. Just about anybody can heave it up for
DeAndre Hopkins, and whether it’s Hoyer under center (Bill O’Brien
said it’s likely he returns) or Yates, the Texans QB offers decent
upside. Yates is available in around 95 percent of fantasy leagues,
while Hoyer is owned in about 20 percent. There’s no official
word yet on Hoyer’s availability or if he’s cleared the concussion
protocol, but the early word is that Hoyer will be ready.
Monday that Hoyer has passed the NFL's protocol concussion testing,
and will regain the starting job from Yates, who played well.
Hoyer looks like a possible QB1 streaming option this week.
Hasselbeck, IND – The veteran QB completed 18-of-29
passes Sunday, throwing for 213-2-2 in the win over Atlanta, another
competent if unexciting performance. He’s owned in just 15-20
percent of fantasy leagues and faces the Bucs next week.
Cutler, CHI – It was a disastrous day for Cutler and
the Bears, who were missing Matt Forte and Alshon Jeffrey. Cutler
couldn’t complete a comeback against the Broncos, and he finished
with just 265-0-1 and a lost fumble. He should rebound with a
high-end QB2 type performance next week against Green Bay if he
can get his premier offensive targets back.
Fitzpatrick, NYJ – Fitzpatrick got off to a slow start
on Sunday but finished with 216-1-2 and a rushing TD – nothing
spectacular but not the full-fledged bust that Derek Carr and
Philip Rivers were this week.
UPDATE:There was some speculation
that Fitzmagic could be benched in light of his recent struggles,
but that’s not happening. He’s capable of solid QB2
numbers against the Dolphins.
Winston, TB – Hopefully some of you took advantage
of my Winston (246-5-0) recommendation. I sat him in favor of
Tony Romo in one league and will be sweating the MNF game as a
result. Winston still has about 50-60 percent ownership, and he’ll
likely be owned in about 75 percent of leagues after this week’s
Sanchez, PHI – Sanchez (25-30 percent owned) had a
decent first half but finished with three turnovers, throwing
for 261-2-3 in the loss to Tampa Bay. He’ll get the Lions on Thanksgiving
in Week 12 and makes a solid QB2 in that matchup.
UPDATE:Eagles coaches confirmed
that Sam Bradford has been cleared from his concussion, but that
he’s still dealing with a shoulder injury and that no decision
has been made regarding who will start on Thursday.
Mariota, TEN – Mariota had a quiet Week 11 (231-0-0,
rushing TD) against the Jaguars and faces the Raiders in Week
12. He’s a risky play but certainly maintains upside because of
his offensive versatility.
Osweiler, DEN – Osweiler’s 250-2-0 in a 17-15 win over
Chicago was a decent debut for the Broncos. He’s 35-40 percent
owned in fantasy leagues and is capable of statistical variance
in Week 12 facing the Pats – if he’s still the starter. There’s
some chatter that Peyton Manning wants to play, which is a horrible
idea considering his injuries and the fact that Osweiler appeared
to have a handle on the offense.
UPDATE:Manning has been ruled
out for Week 12 and is getting a second opinion on his foot injury.
Continue to deploy Osweiler as a risk-reward option and QB2.
Manziel, CLE – Manziel might be a decent plug-n-play
QB2 or DFS dart throw against the decimated Ravens in Week 12.
It’s anybody’s game, but it’s likely the Browns will be throwing
against Baltimore’s soft secondary.
Keenum, STL – Keenum gave us about what we expected
136-1-0 and two lost fumbles. We should also be wondering about
his health considering he smacked it against the ground and somehow
remained in the game.
UPDATE:Keenum was definitely
concussed in Week 11 and could yield the starting job back to
Nick Foles, who will probably somehow have the game of his life
against the Bengals in Week 12, because that’s the kind
of nonsense that Foles pulls. So just ignore him this week and
punch yourself in the face when he inexplicably throws four TD
Filling in: Thomas Rawls led all running
backs on Sunday with 209 rush yds, 46 rec yds and 2 TDs.
Rawls, SEA – After Rawls’ huge day (209 rushing yards,
TD; 3-46-1 receiving) against the 49ers, there must be a few Seattle
fans wondering if he shouldn’t be getting an equal number of touches
even when Marshawn Lynch is healthy. His ownership is up around
50-60 percent, but on a playoff contender squad that rests Lynch
frequently, he’s a must-add.
UPDATE:Pete Carroll doesn’t
expect Lynch (abdomen) to play in Week 12 vs. the Steelers, making
Rawls the top waiver wire add. Consider Javorius Allen the 1B
pick to Rawls’ 1A.
Ware, KC – Ware (nearly universally available) had
96 rushing yards and two TDs in relief of Charcanderick West,
who left Week 11 with a hamstring injury. If West is forced to
miss the Week 12 tilt with Buffalo, Ware could see a decent workload.
Bradshaw, IND – Bradshaw (10-15 percent owned) had
just nine carries for 32 yards but caught 4-20-2 on four targets
and made the most of his touches. The Colts seem to be intent
on getting him some looks, so he’s worth adding in 12-team and
Allen, BAL – Justin Forsett broke his arm early in
Week 11, so Allen (who rushed for 67 yards on 22 carries and added
5-48-0 receiving) will be a popular add this week. He’s just 10-15
percent owned and could be a huge factor as an RB2 in Week 12
Coleman, ATL – Coleman filled in as the workhorse back
when Devonta Freeman left with a concussion, rushing for 48 yards
on 17 carries and failing to register a catch in the passing game
despite a couple of targets. He’s about 40-50 percent owned and
could get a chance to contribute if Freeman is forced to miss
UPDATE:Dan Quinn said that
Freeman is “off to a good start” in clearing the concussion
protocol in time for this week’s matchup with Minnesota,
but Coleman is a valuable handcuff regardless. I’d make
sure he’s not on the waiver wire in 12-team leagues by week’s
White, NE – White rushed twice for 14
yards and a TD and hauled in 2-32-1 on three targets in the MNF
win. He’s worth adding in all formats and could continue
to be an effective option as an RB3 in PPR leagues.
Langford, CHI – Gone was most of the explosiveness
we witnessed in previous weeks, but Langford still got on the
board with 25 rushing yards and a TD, as well as 3-17-0 receiving.
His value takes a serious hit with Matt Forte expected back in
Jones, WAS – Jones had as poor showing after a Week
10 breakout, rushing for zero yards on five carries with a lost
fumble and just 2-12-0 receiving. It’s going to be very difficult
to predict which Washington backs get the bulk of work and who
will perform from week-to-week.
UPDATE:The Washington RB
situation is a mess, but with Alfred Morris day-to-day with a
rib injury, Jones will need to conquer his fumbling issues to
get consistent touches. Chris Thompson looks to be a solid add,
especially in PPR leagues.
McCluster, TEN – McCluster has a quiet game with 2-18-0
receiving and two carries for zero yards. He’s gradually losing
whatever value he had during mid-season, though he’s a far superior
pass game back than Antonio Andrews.
Ellington, ARI – Ellington laid an egg with just one
catch for 5 yards and two carries for 2 yards on Sunday night
against the Bengals stout front seven. He looks like a draft day
Sproles, PHI – As expected, Sproles picked up some
looks in the absence of Ryan Mathews, carrying the ball six times
for 21 yards and adding 3-38-1 receiving to finish as a top 15
fantasy back on Sunday. He’s still available in about 25-40 percent
of fantasy leagues but is a huge risk since he’s not always part
of the game plan.
Robinson, JAC – T.J. Yeldon was active so Robinson
saw just seven carries for 27 yards. He’s safe to ignore for now.
Cobb, TEN – Cobb tallied -3 yards on four carries Thursday
but should see more work in the coming weeks.
Wide Receivers / Tight Ends
Lockett, SEA – Lockett (10-15 percent owned) had 4-48-2
in the win over San Fran, though his production will be hard to
predict as the Seahawks make their usual conservative run toward
the playoffs. He’s a talented, explosive player in a tough system
to excel – just ask Seahawks TE Jimmy Graham.
Williams, DAL – Williams (60 percent owned) isn’t targeted
often in the Cowboys offense, but the return of Romo increases
his fantasy value moving forward. The third-year WR had 4-79-1
in the win over Miami.
Funchess, CAR – He and Ted Ginn are both on the upswing
in terms of value, since Cam Newton is looking sharp over the
past few weeks and the offense has opened up. Funchess (15-20
percent owned) had a season-high eight targets in Week 11 and
caught 4-64-1. He’s a red zone target and a tall, athletic receiver
who could be a viable WR3 the rest of the season.
Tate, DET – Tate isn’t available in too many leagues
(75-85 percent owned) but was targeted 11 times by Matthew Stafford
and caught 8-73-0 in the win over Oakland. He should be owned
in all formats. The Lions have won two in a row and have a great
matchup with the Eagles and their banged-up defense on Thanksgiving.
Latimer, DEN –Emmanuel Sanders is dealing
with a high ankle sprain and Latimer may help fill some of the
target void with Osweiler under center if Sanders misses additional
time. He’s low owned and capable of upside as he’s
developed some rapport with the young QB and caught 2-22-1 on
three targets Sunday.
Rudolph, MIN – It appears as though the Vikings are
finally involving Rudolph in their game plan. The veteran TE had
season highs in targets (9), catches (6) and yardage (106), finding
the end zone as well in the 30-13 home loss to Green Bay. He’s
just 30-40 percent owned and makes for a high-end TE2 with upside.
Cameron, MIA – Cameron had just two catches for 21
yards on five targets, but one was for a score. It makes little
sense that Cameron isn’t more involved in the offensive approach
taken by the struggling Dolphins, and I’m betting that he’ll get
more looks (especially in the red zone and on third down) moving
forward, as more attention is focused on Jarvis Landry.
Floyd, ARI – Floyd was inactive Sunday night and WR
J.J. Nelson stepped up in his place, hauling in 4-142-1. Nelson
has some big-play upside but is unlikely to be a consistent fantasy
UPDATE:Bruce Arians has claimed
the team will be cautious with Floyd as he returns from his hamstring
injury, which could easily be aggravated and appears to be a multi-week
injury. It’s worth exploring the Cards other WRs in Nelson
(likely available) and John Brown (likely not available).
Baldwin, SEA – Baldwin had 6-60-0 but failed to fins
the end zone Sunday. He’s a low-upside WR3/4 in 12-team leagues.
Crowder, WAS – DeSean Jackson was active and Crowder
was targeted just once in the drubbing at the hands of undefeated
Carolina. He could be more busy against the Giants in Week 12.
UPDATE:On Monday night, Amendola
was targeted 12 times in under three quarters and racked up 117
yards on nine catches before leaving with a knee injury. He’ll
get an MRI Tuesday but just about all the Patriots fringe WRs
(Brandon LaFell, Chris Harper) make decent pickups. Aaron Dobson
also went down with what looked like a serious ankle injury.
Inman, SD – Inman recorded 3-51-0 but the Bolts just
couldn’t get much done against the Chiefs. The matchup with Jacksonville
in Week 12 promises more production for the entire chargers offense.
Gillmore, BAL – Gillmore was targeted eight times and
hauled in 5-101-0 in the win over St. Louis. His new QB will be
Matt Schaub, who offers less upside than Joe Flacco (torn ACL).
Miller, CHI – Miller had 3-47-0 in the loss to Denver.
He’s a low-end TE2 with risky upside moving forward.