Waiver Wire: Week 12

Welcome to the Week 12 edition of Waiver Wired for the 2019 season. With the fantasy playoffs fast approaching, it’s now or never to sever ties with any back-end bench pieces and pivot to high-upside handcuffs and every-touch candidates at the back of your roster. We’ll also set our sights on substitutes for Marlon Mack (hand) while discussing this week’s minefield of available running backs in-depth.

As a reminder, the drop list consists of players who are rostered in at least 50 percent of Yahoo leagues and are no longer must-have assets, recommended adds are available in over 50 percent of Yahoo leagues, the watch list contains in-depth notes on players who are worthy of roster spots if possible, and deep cuts includes player notes on those rostered in five percent or fewer of Yahoo leagues.

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The Drop List
QB: Matthew Stafford
RB: David Johnson, Duke Johnson, Adrian Peterson,
WR: JuJu Smith-Schuster, A.J. Green
TE: O.J. Howard, T.J. Hockenson, Jimmy Graham

David Johnson hasn’t scored more than a single fantasy point in his last three contests. Even if he were openly declared Arizona’s starter ahead of Kenyan Drake through the media (which he won’t be), Johnson obviously can’t be started in any format for the foreseeable future. Chase Edmonds’ return from a hamstring injury complicates matters further. With Derrius Guice back, Adrian Peterson predictably played a season-low in snaps (25%) against the Jets and projects to continue doing so barring another injury to the former. O.J. Howard was given a shot to explode for the second straight game but was immediately benched against the Saints after bobbling a soft toss that hit his hands and ultimately resulted in an interception for Jameis Winston. With Cameron Brate spiking a season-high 14 targets and 10 catches in the interim, Week 11’s buffoonery was likely Howard’s last straw with coach Bruce Arians.

Overall Top 5
1. Nyheim Hines
2. Randall Cobb
3. Jonathan Williams
4. Bo Scarbrough
5. Dallas Goedert

For those simply looking to roster the best player available regardless of position, the rankings above take into account every factor from the positional lists minus the actual positions. These are listed in the precise order I’d prioritize waiver claims in Week 12.

Handcuff Top 5
1. Alexander Mattison
2. Tony Pollard
3. Rashaad Penny
4. Ryquell Armstead
5. Wayne Gallman

For those refusing to stand pat and itching for an end-of-roster stash, the above list was carefully assembled to highlight league-winners in the event the player ahead of them misses any time. Presumed snaps, carries, targets, and the play-calling each are tied to have been factored in. This list could adjust weekly based on current situations.

Quarterbacks
Baker Mayfield rostered in 54 percent of Yahoo leagues. No. 1 add if available.
Carson Wentz rostered in 87 percent of Yahoo leagues. No. 2 add if available.
Derek Carr rostered in a nice 69 percent of Yahoo leagues. No. 3 add if available.

1. Jacoby Brissett
2. Jeff Driskel
3. Sam Darnold

Running Backs
Jaylen Samuels rostered in 65 percent of Yahoo leagues. No. 1 add if available.
Kareem Hunt rostered in 77 percent of Yahoo leagues. No. 2 add if available.
1. Nyheim Hines
2. Jonathan Williams
3. Bo Scarbrough
4. Raheem Mostert
5. Derrius Guice

Wide Receivers
Deebo Samuel rostered in 53 percent of Yahoo leagues. No. 1 add if available.
Will Fuller rostered in 53 percent of Yahoo leagues. No. 2 add if available.
1. Randall Cobb
2. Nelson Agholor
3. Hunter Renfrow
4. Zach Pascal
5. Josh Reynolds

Tight Ends
1. Dallas Goedert
2. Jacob Hollister
3. Ryan Griffin
4. David Njoku
5. Noah Fant

Defense/Special Teams
Pittsburgh Steelers rostered in 83 percent of Yahoo leagues. No. 1 add if available.
1. Atlanta Falcons
2. Cleveland Browns

Kickers
1. Jason Myers
2. Younghoe Koo

QUARTERBACKS
1. Jacoby Brissett, Colts — Rostered in 39 percent of Yahoo leagues (Suggested 5% FAAB Bid)

Try as they might, Indy’s run-first approach will have to take a backseat on Thursday since Houston had limited opposing offenses to less than 100 yards rushing in seven straight games before running into Baltimore’s buzz saw. The Texans remain extremely vulnerable through the air, though, permitting the third-most fantasy points per game (25.9) to enemy quarterbacks. Their squandering pass rush without J.J. Watt (pec) is also a check in Brissett’s favor.

2. Jeff Driskel, Lions — Rostered in 3 percent of Yahoo Leagues (5%)

Driskel’s tacked on 14 fantasy points with his legs over the last two weeks as he’s finished as the QB12 and QB5 in consecutive starts. Washington doesn’t pose a threat in his third tilt, creating pressure at a bottom-three rate (24.9%) all the while facing the second-most rushing attempts (323) on the year. Start him with confidence as a surprising QB1.

3. Sam Darnold, Jets — Rostered in 22 percent of Yahoo leagues (5%)

Oakland’s pass rush seemingly became menacing overnight, getting to Matthew Stafford (43.2%), Phillip Rivers (41.7%), and Jeff Driskel (50%) at elite rates in their last three games. This matchup will ultimately come down to how Darnold fares under duress since he’s seen ghosts and oncoming defenders on a league-high 43.3 percent of his dropbacks. Expect multiple scores and turnovers in this high-floor affair.

Watch List: Expect Nick Foles to be the week’s top streamer in Week 13 since it’ll be his turn to square off against the Bucs’ nonexistent secondary.

RUNNING BACKS
1. Nyheim Hines, Colts – Rostered in 17 percent of Yahoo leagues (Suggested 12% FAAB Bid)

Hines literally has a 0 percent chance of leading Indy in carries but it doesn’t matter for Thursday since Houston’s No. 6 rush defense DVOA remains their lone strength on that side of the ball — Gus Edwards (8/112/1), for example, was the first back to penetrate their front-seven for 100-plus yards since Week 17 of the 2017 season. While both Jonathan Williams and Jordan Wilkins project to pattycake for early-down work, though, Hines is legitimately the only player among this backfield with soft hands as a receiving threat. It’s no coincidence he’s run 139 routes and totaled 30/242 receiving to Wilkins’ 4/27 on 50 routes this year. Hines hasn’t been used in an Austin Ekeler-like role to this point, but his four targets per game mirror his 3.9 average in 12 appearances with Marlon Mack (broken hand) last season; Hines averaged 8.5 looks in his only four contests without Mack. This is a bet the flashy second-year chess piece out-scores both Williams and Wilkins since his presumed target count will be more valuable than 10-15 up-the-gut carries, especially with Parris Campbell (hand) still unavailable to soak up underneath routes. I would prioritize Williams over Hines in standard and 0.5 PPR leagues.

Recommendation: Should be rostered in 12-team PPR leagues

2. Jonathan Williams, Colts – Rostered in 6 percent of Yahoo leagues (10%)

Wilkins’ (ankle) availability is the only spike strip for Williams after he out-carried Hines 10 to 3 once Mack left in the third quarter against Jacksonville. Williams’ 13/116 on 31 snaps still puts the fourth-year bruiser firmly ahead of Wilkins on the depth chart, projecting the former for 5-8 more carries than Wilkins on Thursday. With both healthy in Weeks 9 and 10, note that Williams out-touched Wilkins 6 to 0 inside the 20-yard line.

Recommendation: Should be rostered in 12-team standard leagues

3. Bo Scarbrough, Lions – Rostered in 2 percent of Yahoo leagues (10%)

Just in case you hadn’t churned enough Lions running backs through your roster just yet, Scarbrough is the latest shiny toy to handle a team-high 14 carries on 49 percent of the team’s stats. Having said that, the actual amount of carries up for grabs in this offense have dwindled with Jeff Driskel under center since he himself has accounted for 23.6 percent of the team’s rushes in their last two games. Matthew Stafford (back), of course, was only averaging 2.5 scrambles per outing. Scarbrough (6’1/235) has touchdown equity due to his favoritism on the goal line but ran just nine of the team’s 31 backfield routes and didn’t see a single target behind J.D. McKissic (3) and Ty Johnson (1) on Sunday. Bid cautiously.

Recommendation: Should be rostered in 12-team standard leagues

4. Raheem Mostert, 49ers – Rostered in 14 percent of Yahoo leagues (5%)

As expected, Mostert logged 49 percent of San Francisco’s offensive snaps against the Cardinals, being involved across the board on eight of the team’s 24 backfield touches. Green Bay presents less of a challenge on the ground, splurging 156.5 yards from scrimmage (and the fifth-most fantasy points) per game to opposing running backs. Mostert remains a weekly FLEX play as long as Matt Breida (ankle) is sidelined.

Recommendation: Should be rostered in 12-team leagues while Matt Breida (ankle) is out

5. Derrius Guice, Washington – Rostered in 48 percent of Yahoo leagues (5%)

Guice’s workload was probably just being managed in his first game back given his lengthy injury history, but he was nonetheless out-snapped (31-20) and out-targeted (3-2) by Wendell Smallwood all the while getting out-carried by Adrian Peterson 9 to 7. Guice’s lone (albeit impressive) catch also occurred in the final quarter with Washington trailing 34-3. With Peterson presumably starting and splitting carries for the rest of the season, Guice is at best a FLEX option in an underwhelming offense over Washington’s final six games.

Recommendation: Should be rostered in 12-team PPR leagues

Watch List: Kalen Ballage has 29 carries for 52 yards (1.79 YPC) and a touchdown in his last two games as Miami’s starter. With 76 percent of the team’s snaps under his belt in that stint, Ballage’s unmatched workload is a true test of opportunity-versus-talent in fantasy lineups…Peyton Barber luck-boxed his six-yard touchdown catch since he was only in the game for a goal-line run that was backed up for holding. He isn’t an option moving forward…Jay Ajayi was merely used as a “break in case of emergency” piece in his first active game since initially tearing his ACL on October 7 last year. He’s expected to be involved if Jordan Howard (shoulder) isn’t cleared for Sunday…Arguably showing more juice than Ezekiel Elliott against Detroit, Tony Pollard‘s 6/56/1 from Week 11 suddenly puts him on the radar as an enticing standalone FLEX option if unexpectedly involved over the next six games.

Deep Leagues: Chances are Damien Williams (ribs) recovers over the bye and returns fully healthy, but note Darrel Williams‘ 11/35/1 behind LeSean McCoy (7/29/1) off the bench Monday night. Williams has already posted a RB12 finish as Kansas City’s direct backup once this year…Bilal Powell quietly handled seven carries as Le’Veon Bell recorded a season-low in snap rate (55%) against Washington. Just something to monitor in Week 12.

WIDE RECEIVERS
1. Randall Cobb, Cowboys – Rostered in 15 percent of Yahoo leagues (Suggested 20% FAAB Bid)

Cobb’s quietly climbed to become fantasy’s WR10 in Dallas’ last three games due in part to Amari Cooper’s injuries finally catching up with him. Cobb’s 23 targets in the team’s Week 8 bye, for instance, are only six fewer than Michael Gallup’s and Cooper’s tallies (29). Averaging 5/110.5/1 in his last two in particular, fantasy players should have complete confidence in Cobb for at least one more week since he’ll be the furthest thing from coach Bill Belichick’s mind on defense.

Recommendation: Should be rostered in 10-team leagues

2. Nelson Agholor, Eagles – Rostered in 13 percent of Yahoo leagues (12%)

Agholor’s inconsistency is frustrating, but the fact is he’s averaged 10.6 targets and 6.6/65.6/1 receiving in the three games he’s played with Alshon Jeffery hobbled (Week 2’s six-snap exit included). Simply put, he projects to see double-digit targets against Seattle’s cupcake secondary if Jeffery (ankle) isn’t cleared for Sunday. Agholor can be wiped off this list entirely if the 29-year-old returns to practice mid-week.

Recommendation: Should be rostered in 12-team leagues if Alshon Jeffery (ankle) is out

8. Hunter Renfrow, Raiders – Rostered in 14 percent of Yahoo leagues (8%)

Renfrow’s surprisingly stuck in Oakland’s receiving hierarchy since Week 8, recording finishes as fantasy’s WR14, WR14, WR41, and WR30 on 22 targets over that stretch. His ceiling remains limited since Derek Carr has yet to exceed 300 yards in any outing this season, but the rookie’s on-paper matchup allows for a high floor since the Jets have allowed the third-most fantasy points per game to opposing wideouts. Renfrow’s admittedly safer than Agholor but lacks any kind of ceiling altogether.

Recommendation: Should be rostered in 12-team PPR leagues

5. Zach Pascal, Colts – Rostered in 36 percent of Yahoo leagues (8%)

With Jacoby Brissett back under center against Jacksonville, Pascal (2/17) saw a team-high six targets ahead of Marcus Johnson (4/38/1), running a route on 100 percent of the signal-caller’s dropbacks. Although the Colts rank sixth-overall in neutral run rate (46%) on the season, Thursday spells the better spot for T.Y. Hilton (calf) and Pascal alike since Houston has been scorched for 13.6 yards per catch by opposing receivers. Note that Indy’s been bet down to +3.5 since initially opening as 6-point road dogs, ostensibly favoring the Colts’ offense.

Recommendation: Should be rostered in 12-team leagues

7. Josh Reynolds, Rams – Rostered in 15 percent of Yahoo leagues (5%)

Following Sunday night’s 3/55 and robbed 51-yard strike downfield, Reynolds now leads the Rams in targets (19) and air yards (271) In their last three games despite trailing Cooper Kupp by 11.2 fantasy points (43.3-32.1) in that span. Even with Brandin Cooks (concussion) reportedly set to return Monday night against the Ravens, Reynolds is expected to stick in three-wide sets for one more week with Robert Woods’ (personal) status in doubt. The former Texas A&M aggie product will be a WR4/5 in that bout.

Recommendation: Should be rostered in 14-team leagues

Watch List: Mecole Hardman played 52 snaps with Tyreek Hill (hamstring) exiting after Kansas City’s first possession Monday night and would obviously take over as the No. 2 wideout if the latter’s still hobbled out of the bye…Reminder that Darius Slayton went into New York’s break fresh off 10/121/2 against the Jets. The only issue for his involvement moving forward is that Sterling Shepard (concussion) reportedly practiced to start the week…N’Keal Harry added three catches on 32 snaps in his regular season debut against the Eagles. His participation in New England’s obvious entails Phillip Dorsett (head) sitting out.

Deep Leagues: Tim Patrick replaced DaeSean Hamilton as Denver’s No. 2 receiver, hauling in 4-of-8 catches for 77 yards against the Vikings. He’s a rough start against Levi Wallace and Buffalo’s secondary, but could be a viable deep league option down the stretch if his 20 percent target share holds…Rashard Higgins wasn’t targeted in Cleveland’s win over the Steelers despite Antonio Callaway getting waived mid-week…Andy Isabella‘s four targets against the 49ers qualified as a season-high count, but he merely remains a potential league-winning stash for those willing to accept the consequences of burning a roster spot for the next six games.

TIGHT ENDS
1. Dallas Goedert, Eagles — Rostered in 19 percent of Yahoo leagues (Suggested 20% FAAB Bid)

Goedert’s toughest test to date came against the Patriots on Sunday and he responded by finishing as Week 11’s TE10. Disregard his continued usage as the team’s true second receiving option if you must, but the fact is he’s now played 80 percent of Philly’s snaps and run a route on 70 of Carson Wentz’s 93 dropbacks in the Eagles’ last two games. With the Seahawks, Dolphins, Giants, Washington, and Cowboys on deck, both Zach Ertz and Goedert project to finish the year as co-TE1s.

2. Jacob Hollister, Seahawks — Rostered in 34 percent of Yahoo leagues (20%)

As noted last week, Hollister posted a two-score TE3 performance against the Bucs and 8/62/1 (TE4) versus the Niners before sailing off into Seattle’s bye. Delve further into his usage and you’ll spot he also ran a route on 83% > 77% of Russell Wilson‘s dropbacks in those contests. Will Dissly‘s (torn ACL), Luke Willson‘s (hamstring), and Hollister’s seven collective targets inside the 10 would tie Austin Hooper‘s mark for second-most among tight ends, putting the former Pats prospect on the TE1 map even if Ed Dickson‘s (hamstring) cleared for Sunday. I have Goedert prioritized over Hollister if only for the former’s proven resume on an extended body of work.

3. Ryan Griffin, Jets — Rostered in 4 percent of Yahoo leagues (20%)

Chris Herdnon played 18 snaps in Week 10 before suffering a rib injury and closing 2019 with a single catch. In his last three games without Herndon, though, Griffin’s led all tight ends in fantasy points (55.5) on 17 targets and a team-high 225 receiving yards. Another top-five finish is foreseeable since the Raiders have allowed 11.8 yards per catch and seven touchdowns to Griffin’s position on the year.

4. Noah Fant, Broncos — Rostered in 28 percent of Yahoo leagues (20%)

Fant’s underlying usage with Brandon Allen under center trumps the rookie’s 75-yard touchdown dash in the box score since he’s seen a 25 percent target share on 59 routes in Denver’s last two games. Lean on one of the aforementioned players if simply looking for a one-week streamer since Buffalo’s allowed the fewest receptions (29) to opposing tight ends.

5. David Njoku, Browns — Rostered in 18 percent of Yahoo leagues (15%)

The last we saw Njoku for a full afternoon he was busy hauling in 4/37/1 on 92 percent of Cleveland’s offensive snaps in their season opener against the Titans. Assuming he’s activated from injured reserve in time for Sunday, he’ll get a friendly Dolphins Defense that’s permitted 6/50 to Ryan Griffin, 8/100/1 to Eric Ebron and Jack Doyle, and 2/32/1 to Dawson Knox in their last three contests.

Watch List: Cameron Brate saw a team-high 14 targets once O.J. Howard was benched for his clumsy bobble that resulted in one of Jameis Winston‘s four turnovers against the Saints. For what it’s worth, that gig is likely Brate’s from here on out.

DEFENSE/SPECIAL TEAMS
1. Atlanta Falcons – Rostered in 3 percent of Yahoo leagues

Even if Atlanta’s defensive 180 since turning over their play-calling to LB coach Jeff Ulbrich is farce, their 11 sacks and four picks compiled in the last two games should force Jameis Winston into his third consecutive performance with multiple turnovers.

2. Cleveland Browns– Rostered in 50 percent of Yahoo leagues

The only time the Dolphins didn’t allow the opposing defense to finish in the Top 12 was during their Week 5 bye. Myles Garrett’s (suspension) absence shouldn’t matter in this particular matchup with Olivier Vernon (knee) trending in the right direction.

Watch List: You can’t possibly start them against the Seahawks this weekend, but note that Philly faces Miami in Week 13…The Bengals have leaned on Joe Mixon for 48 touches in Ryan Finley’s two starts to date but that obviously won’t work against the Jets’ suffocating d-line in Week 13. Stash New York early if looking for a stout first-round home run.

KICKERS
1. Jason Myers, Seahawks – Rostered in 28 percent of Yahoo leagues

Seattle’s conservative tendencies continue to be a plus for Myers’ outlook as he’s now notched double-digit fantasy points in three of his last four games. He currently ranks just outside the Top 12 (14th-overall) at his position despite returning from the team’s bye week.

2. Younghoe Koo, Falcons – Rostered in 7 percent of Yahoo leagues

With Matt Ryan back in the fold and their defense forcing stops, Atlanta’s had a legitimate reason to lean on Koo (rather than throwing from behind) for five attempts from 30-plus yards out over the last two weeks. Sunday projects for another safe outing from Koo since the Falcons are favored by more than a field goal (-4.5) at home.

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