15 Fantasy Football Transactions for Week 12
The name of the game is patience.
Entering a fantasy football season, we all have a list of players -- whether it be a physical list or one that sits in the back of our head -- who have a shot at breaking out. If and when those players don't do a whole lot through the first half of the football season, there's a little bit of panic.
There are some Why is this guy even on my roster? thoughts.
So you drop them. You get rid of them. You open up roster space for a more reliable asset.
And, just weeks later, you watch that player do what he was supposed to do earlier in the season. You watch him breakout.
This happens to every manager in fantasy football -- it's not unique to you. And it's probably the most frustrating aspect of the game. But if there's one thing to remember in future fantasy football seasons, it's to be patient. Because patience is why Aaron Jones owners are rising up the standings right now. Patience is why D.J. Moore drafters are feeling good after Week 11.
Patience is why Tre'Quan Smith truthers are smiling big today.
Add Tre'Quan Smith
We've been waiting for the Tre'Quan Smith breakout game, and it finally came on Sunday against the Eagles. Since Ted Ginn's knee injury placed him on injured reserve and prior to Week 11 -- so between Weeks 5 and 10 -- Smith had tallied 16 targets for a target share of just 9.1%. On Sunday, Smith saw 14 of a possible 32 Saints attempts. As the kids say, it was lit.
Without a true number-two wide receiver option in the offense, this could mark the start of bigger things for Smith. Even if this was just an outlier performance (I don't think that's the case), the chance that Smith could become a bigger part of one of the best offenses in the NFL warrants an add off the waiver wire. As it stands, he's rostered in just 26% of Yahoo! leagues.
Sell Larry Fitzgerald
Since Arizona's switch from Mike McCoy to Byron Leftwich as offensive coordinator, they've averaged roughly nine more pass and rush attempts combined per game. That obviously helps the assets in the offense to be more fantasy-relevant, because volume drives the game of fantasy football.
Larry Fitzgerald has benefited from the coordinator change as he's seen his target share jump from 19.6% with McCoy to 26.3% with Leftwich. And he's ranked as a top-30 PPR wide receiver in his three games with Leftwich calling the shots.
So why sell? Well, Arizona's offense hasn't made that significant of a jump with Leftwich. They've improved, but they're still not an offense that's easy to rely on. They were averaging 19.5 yards per drive with McCoy, and with Leftwich, it's risen to 23.8. But that 23.8 number is still the second-lowest mark in the league over the last four weeks.
Meanwhile, during this new Leftwich era, Josh Rosen has thrown a touchdown on 6.1% of his attempts. That's an above-average touchdown rate league-wide, and you've got to think it's one that a rookie quarterback who has struggled at times this year won't be able to maintain.
Fitzgerald isn't necessarily a must sell, but there are plenty of reasons to not be all that optimistic moving forward. It's hard to envision Fitz racking up yards like we've been used to seeing through the years.
Buy Marquez Valdes-Scantling
In fantasy football, you want wide receivers who are seeing snaps and running routes in good offenses. Targets are still king, but the hope is that with the other two pieces in place, targets will come.
And that's what makes Marquez Valdes-Scantling a buy-low candidate this week. He's coming off a game in which he saw just three targets, but he tied Davante Adams for a team-high 35 routes run, per Pro Football Focus, and he led all wide receivers with 98% of team snaps played. Being associated with Aaron Rodgers, better days are ahead for MVS.
Add Josh Adams
Entering Week 11, Adams had seen 16 of a possible 35 -- or about 46% -- running back carries in Philadelphia's two previous contests while playing about 30% of the team's snaps. On Sunday against the Saints, that running back attempt share jumped to 70%, and Adams was on the field for 55% of the Eagles' offensive snaps. This Week 11 usage came after head coach Doug Pederson openly stated that Adams would get more carries moving forward, which is clearly a good sign.
Rostered in just 32% of Yahoo! leagues, Adams is a top waiver priority for running back-needy teams this week. If and when the Eagles get into a positive game script, he could see strong fantasy numbers.
Sell Adrian Peterson
It wasn't like Alex Smith was having a Pro Bowl season, but we should bet on seeing a downgrade at quarterback with Colt McCoy under center. If that's the case, then Washington's offense will be less effective, lowering the number of scoring opportunities for Adrian Peterson. And if they're not as good offensively, they also may trail in games more often. That's not good for Peterson, who's averaged 21.8 carries and 104.8 rushing yards per game in wins this season versus 10.0 carries and 23.5 rushing yards per contest in losses. He's a completely game script-dependent back who's going to be on the road in four of his next five games. With a backup quarterback under center, that's scary.
Hold John Brown
Having Lamar Jackson under center is fun and all, but it also may end up ruining the fantasy football value for John Brown. The Ravens understandably went with a run-heavy approach on Sunday against the Bengals, throwing it just 19 times. Even if a wide receiver had a 50% target share for Baltimore in that contest, he wouldn't have hit 10 targets. And, remember, those are looks coming from a raw, rookie quarterback.
Selling Brown won't do you any good right now, though, and dropping him may be a bit premature. There's still a chance that we see Joe Flacco again this year, and the Ravens have a really nice schedule upcoming against the Raiders, Falcons, Chiefs, and Buccaneers. Jackson could improve as a passer, too. So don't let go of Brown just yet, but having Jackson under center is a definite downgrade for all Baltimore pass-catchers.
Add Bruce Ellington
In Bruce Ellington's debut with the Lions, he finished with nine targets while playing about half of the team's snaps. He did run fewer routes than teammate T.J. Jones, but Ellington split time with Jones in the slot, and he saw six more targets from that area of the field on Sunday, per Pro Football Focus. We know there's a vacancy in the slot with Golden Tate in Philly, and Ellington may be the dude who helps fill that role. With Marvin Jones looking iffy for Thanksgiving, Ellington could help your fantasy squad as early as Thursday.
Buy Joe Mixon
Joe Mixon played just 62% of Cincinnati's snaps on Sunday against Baltimore, which was a season low for him in a game in which he didn't leave early. That was probably the result of a knee injury that he practiced through during the week. He did find the end zone, but Mixon ran the ball 12 times for just 14 yards. It wasn't exactly a stellar day.
Now, I'm typically not someone who buys injured players, but there's a risk-reward payoff here with Mixon, and you can always use the knee injury to your advantage when negotiating. If Mixon is healthy, we know he has a decent ceiling in fantasy football. And if you're looking forward to the playoffs, Weeks 15 and 16 feature games against the Raiders and Browns, two teams that have allowed bottom-seven numbers (or top, depending on how you're looking at it) to fantasy backs this year.
Don't sell the farm, because the injury may be significant enough to where Mixon isn't fully 100%. But it can't hurt to talk to the Mixon manager, especially if the team is out of the playoff hunt.
Add Jameis Winston
With Ryan Fitzpatrick getting yanked on Sunday, Jameis Winston will be back and under center for Tampa Bay once again. As frustrating as this platoon has been, the two passers have totaled elite fantasy numbers -- only Patrick Mahomes has scored more fantasy points this year than the combined efforts of Fitzpatrick and Winston. If Winston gets the nod from here on out, then we should expect QB1 production. At the very least, he's got a great matchup against San Francisco this week.
Buy Emmanuel Sanders
There was some worry that the Demaryius Thomas trade to Houston would shift Emmanuel Sanders out of the slot and to the outside, and while that could still happen, it hasn't yet. Sanders ran 60% of his routes on Sunday from the slot, according to Pro Football Focus, and he saw half of his targets from that area of the field. That's a good sign -- lining up Sanders in the slot to create mismatches is good for fantasy purposes.
Now, DaeSean Hamilton returned in Week 11 and left in the second quarter with a knee injury. (It was actually the same knee that had been bothering him all year.) It doesn't sound like the injury is as severe, but Hamilton stands as the one player who could potentially shift Sanders out of his slot role. With the injury and what we saw in Week 11, though, that position still looks like Sanders' for the time being.
Sanders had a down game on Sunday, and it's his third straight game without 60 receiving yards or a score. But it could be a buy-low moment, at least for managers looking to find players with good matchups in the fantasy playoffs. In Week 14, Denver gets San Francisco. In Week 15, it's Cleveland. And then, in Week 16, they get Oakland. Those are three plus matchups for opposing wide receivers.
Add Gus Edwards
The only person who started Gus Edwards in fantasy football this past week was his mother, and even she debated the decision. But it was the right move, because Edwards ran the ball 17 times for 115 yards and a score against Cincinnati. Will that type of usage continue in this Baltimore offense? Honestly, who knows? But as I alluded to earlier, the Ravens do have a nice rest-of-season schedule. And anytime a running back is coming off a 17-rush game, he's worthy of an add off the waiver wire.
Buy or Hold Amari Cooper
Amari Cooper saw just five targets in Dallas' Week 11 win over Atlanta, but that still accounted for roughly 16% of Dak Prescott's attempts. That brings his target total as a Cowboy to 23 in three games, good for a 23.2% target share in the offense. There's nothing wrong with that.
The downside with Cooper is the same that it's been since he arrived in Dallas -- there's a lack of passing upside in the Cowboys' run-first offense. With that being said, they do have a favorable schedule through the rest of the fantasy season, and it's a schedule that could force them to throw the ball more than usual. This week is an ordinary matchup against Washington, but then they'll face the Saints, Eagles, Colts, and Bucs through Week 16. Given Cooper's target share, if there's an increase in passing volume, he should see a lot of looks as a result. So even after a down game in a strong matchup, you could look to buy Cooper. I wouldn't be looking to sell him right now, at least.
Add Lance Kendricks and Cameron Brate
The tight end position is uglier than a plate full of Skyline chili, but there are two tight ends who could see an uptick in workload thanks to injuries to their teammates. And since I love you guys so much, I combined them into one transaction.
Dealing with a broken thumb, Jimmy Graham will likely miss some time, although there's an outside chance he suits up. If Graham sits, Lance Kendricks should see more work in the Green Bay offense. Kendricks logged just two targets against Seattle, but he ran 17 routes, tying a season high. Considering he's tied to Aaron Rodgers, he may not be a bad streaming option if Graham is sidelined.
And then there's Cameron Brate, who will step in for an injured O.J. Howard. According to Pro Football Doc on Twitter, it's likely that Howard misses some time. That means Brate will serve as the team's top tight end. In an offense that's thrown the second-most attempts in the NFL this season, that means he should see enough volume to be fantasy relevant.
Add Lamar Jackson
It sounds like Lamar Jackson is going to get the start in Week 12, making him a streaming option against the Raiders. We know Jackson can compile yards with his legs, but there's some upside with his arm this week, as well. Oakland's coming off a game in which they allowed three Josh Rosen touchdowns, and they've now given up multiple scores in all but one game this year. That one contest came all the way back in Week 2 against Case Keenum. The Ravens have a pretty strong 26.75-point implied Vegas team total, and considering Jackson was involved on over 63% of Baltimore's offensive plays on Sunday, if they score, he'll likely be part of that scoring.
Add the Buffalo Bills Defense
The Jacksonville offense has struggled since Week 2, and opposing fantasy defenses are benefitting. From Week 3 through this past weekend, the Jags have allowed a top-12 defensive performance in all but one game (Indianapolis in Week 10). During this time, defenses are averaging 3.4 sacks against them. As just 3.0-point underdogs while playing at home in a game that projects to be super low scoring (37.5-point over/under), the Bills are a fine streamer this week.
Note: D.J. Moore isn't listed because he has higher ownership than others on this list. He should be a top priority if he's on your waiver wire.