10 Fantasy Football Waiver Targets Heading Into Week 12
Sadly, the fantasy football regular season is nearing a close. If your leagues do it correctly, you likely have just two or three weeks left before the playoffs start. With that in mind, it's time to unload any FAAB you've been saving up. It's now or never as you make that final push to the playoffs. If you're feeling good about securing a playoff birth, then you should be looking ahead for players with favorable playoff schedules. No player with above 50% ownership in Yahoo leagues will be mentioned in this piece.
Let's look at 10 waiver wire adds heading into Week 12.
Nick Foles, QB, Jacksonville Jaguars
Yahoo Ownership: 32%
In his first game back from an eight-game absence, Nick Foles delivered a more than respectable fantasy performance. He poured on 296 passing yards, 2 touchdowns, and 1 interception on the road against a defense that has limited quarterback production throughout the season. Pending the performance of Patrick Mahomes and Philip Rivers on Monday Night, that stat line netted Foles the QB12 performance for Week 11.
Most appealing for Foles is his schedule. Foles will dance with the pass funnel Tampa Bay D/ST at home in Week 13, then gets the Oakland D/ST and Atlanta D/ST on the road for the last two games of the fantasy playoffs. All three of those pass defenses rank in the bottom four in fantasy points allowed to quarterbacks. With legit QB1 appeal in three of the next five games, Foles is a prudent add for quarterback streamers with foresight.
Sam Darnold, QB, New York Jets
Yahoo Ownership: 22%
Sam Darnold has a similar waiver wire case as Foles does above. While he has two tough matchups to finish the season (at Baltimore D/ST in Week 15, vs. Pittsburgh D/ST in Week 16), Darnold has a dream slate until then. Sammy Spleens will face off with the Oakland D/ST (home), Cincinnati D/ST (away), and Miami D/ST (home) over the next three weeks. All three defenses rank bottom-seven in fantasy points allowed to quarterbacks.
Finally starting to pick it up on offense, the New York Jets should have solid implied team totals in all three matchups, and the game against the Oakland Raiders could be a real shootout. Pending Monday Night, Darnold was the QB7 (on the road!) this week and hung a QB7 performance on the New York Giants in Week 10. Darnold will likely be ranked as a low-end QB1 over the next three weeks.
Jonathan Williams, RB, Indianapolis Colts
Yahoo Ownership: 2%
Here it is folks, the FAAB bid of the week. Indianapolis Colts starting running back Marlon Mack was balling on Sunday but had to leave the game with a hand injury. But then Jonathan Williams stepped in and didn't miss a beat, rushing for 116 yards on just 13 carries and tacking on a 31-yard reception. Notably, a handful of those carries came before Mack left the game, indicating Williams had already earned extra work.
We've since learned that Mack, unfortunately, suffered a fractured hand, which I imagine makes it difficult to play running back. While it's worth noting, of course, that Williams was the next man up because Jordan Wilkins missed the game with an ankle injury, it's also notable that Wilkins didn't practice at all this week. The Colts have a quick turnaround on Thursday night, so it's unlikely Wilkins will suit up. If that's the case, Williams will be a legitimate RB2, which makes him worth at least 15% of your FAAB budget.
Nyheim Hines, RB, Indianapolis Colts
Yahoo Ownership: 17%
While Williams is the preferred add, Nyheim Hines deserves a speculative pick up in his own right, especially pending Mack's injury timeline. With Mack out, Hines picked up 11 yards and a touchdown on three totes, adding on 3 receptions for 24 yards. While the goal line carry seemed more a product of a fortuitous situation -- Hines came in to spell a long Williams run that set up the spot -- it does show that the team is willing to give him red zone touches.
You can read one section above to see why this is likely just the Williams and Hines show in the backfield on Thursday against the Houston Texans. While Williams will be the ceiling RB2 play, Hines offers legitimate PPR flex appeal. Considering the Indianapolis Colts were just 1.5-point home favorites when these teams battled in Week 7, Houston will likely be slight favorites at home.
Houston is a sneaky great matchup for pass-catching running backs of Hines' ilk. Prior to today's slate, the Texans had allowed the most receptions and receiving yards to running backs, and then gave up 3 catches for 37 yards and 2 touchdowns to Mark Ingram on Sunday. Ingram entered the game with zero receiving touchdowns and an average line of 1.6 catches and 13.9 receiving yards through the air.
Bo Scarbrough, RB, Detroit Lions
Yahoo Ownership: 1%
Even though the Detroit Lions' backfield has become a running back wasteland in the wake of Kerryon Johnson's injury, we can't overlook Bo Scarbrough's workload from Sunday. Despite just getting the call up from the practice squad on Saturday, Scarbrough handled 14 carries for 55 yards and a touchdown, netting himself 73.7% of the running back carries and 49.2% of the backfield snaps. He's not a priority add over Williams and Hines, but with matchups against the Washington Redskins (eighth-most fantasy points allowed to running backs, before allowing 139 yards and a touchdown to New York Jets backs on Sunday) and Chicago Bears (sneakily 10th-most fantasy points allowed to running backs, before yielding 148 total yards and 2 touchdowns to Los Angeles Rams backs Sunday night) on the docket, Scarbrough should be on the flex radar in the near term.
James Washington, WR, Pittsburgh Steelers
Yahoo Ownership: 8%
Is it finally James Washington time?! Both Diontae Johnson and JuJu Smith-Schuster left Thursday night's game with concussions. If one or both are out this week, Washington is staring at the biggest opportunity of his professional career. This coincides with a mouthwatering matchup against the Cincinnati Bengals, and it's worth noting that Washington's role had already started to rise. He's sneakily averaging a very nice 69 receiving yards per game over his last three and has seen 5.5 targets per game over his last four. That number could easily rise to eight or nine if one or both of Johnson and Smith-Schuster is ruled out this week. Catching passes from his college quarterback, it's time for the college shower narrative to pay off.
Dallas Goedert, TE, Philadelphia Eagles
Yahoo Ownership: 19%
With DeSean Jackson on injured reserve, the Philadelphia Eagles have adjusted their personnel packages. As a result, even before missing Alshon Jeffery on Sunday, the Eagles led the NFL in two-tight end sets, per Sharp Football Stats. In fact, running 12 personnel on 40% of their plays is 7% more than the second-highest team (Houston Texans). As a result, Dallas Goedert has recorded 48 yards and/or a touchdown over four of the last five games. He's the half PPR TE10 since Week 6, which means his ownership percentage simply makes no sense. He's a great option for Austin Hooper and Evan Engram owners.
Ryan Griffin, TE, New York Jets
Yahoo Ownership: 3%
More like Chris Herndone, am I right? I'll see myself out, but not before we talk about Ryan Griffin, whose fantasy ownership simply makes no sense. Everyone complains about the tight end wasteland, yet is Griffin just 3% owned? He's the TE6 since Week 6, and Chris Herndon was just placed on injured reserve with a rib injury. Griffin has the tight end snaps to himself in an offense that, as outlined above, has a great upcoming schedule. He gets Oakland's third-worst tight end defense in Week 12.
Cleveland Browns D/ST
Yahoo Ownership: 48%
This one is extremely simple. Coming off a four-sack, four-turnover performance with ten days rest, the Cleveland D/ST is the number one defense streamer this week when they'll play host to Ryan Fitzpatrick and the Miami Dolphins. Miami has allowed the second-most points to fantasy defenses, and every single defense they've faced has produced top-12 fantasy numbers that week. Myles Garrett or not, this is a smash spot for the Cleveland Browns defense.
Atlanta Falcons D/ST
Yahoo Ownership: 2%
We simply can't overlook consecutive dominant performances by the Atlanta D/ST. After all, we must adjust our evaluations as new information becomes available. Since Dan Quinn handed over defensive play-calling duties to Raheem Morris and Jeff Ulbrich two games ago, Atlanta's defense has recorded 11 sacks, 4 interceptions, and a touchdown, while holding the New Orleans Saints and Carolina Panthers to a combined 12 points. Impressively, both games came on the road. You can call it a fluke, but when a team almost doubles its sack total from the first half of the season in just two games, it's significant for fantasy.
How convenient, then, that Atlanta gets a home date with Jameis Winston next week. Winston is fresh off a two-sack, four-interception performance at home. I'm willing to fire up the Falcons defense with confidence this week until proven otherwise.
Quick hit honorable mentions: Other players worth monitoring and/or adding in deeper leagues.
Since Phillip Dorsett left with a concussion, first-round rookie N'Keal Harry played 32 snaps in his NFL debut. Emmanuel Sanders appeared to aggravate his rib injury, giving deep-league life to Kendrick Bourne, who's caught a touchdown in three straight games. Chris Conley had eight targets in Nick Foles' first game back. Sad but true: Taylor Gabriel had 13 targets on Sunday night. Chase Daniel is probably an upgrade for this offense. Zach Pascal is going to be dropped by even more owners this week, but the Indianapolis Colts have plenty of green matchups left to play this season. Adding Randall Cobb feels point-chasey, but back-to-back games with 100 yards and a touchdown is the right line to chase. Tim Patrick had eight targets in his season debut off IR and is at-worst third in the receiving pecking order already. As a rookie his team should actively try to learn more about, Kelvin Harmon had six targets of his own and should see more work going forward.
Ross Dwelley caught two touchdowns and had a third overturned on an iffy penalty, making him an every week streamer as long as George Kittle is out. Jacob Hollister is coming off the bye, but he's just 27% owned despite catching passes from Russell Wilson. Benjamin Watson has 4+ targets in three of his last four games and has a few nice matchups down the line. With OJ Howard benched, Cameron Brate had 14 targets on Sunday.
It's handcuff szn, so those with a bench spot to burn should seriously consider adding Alexander Mattison, Tony Pollard, Wayne Gallman, Reggie Bonnafon, Gus Edwards, Ryquell Armstead, Dion Lewis, Rashaad Penny, Malcolm Brown, Bilal Powell, and even Rex Burkhead, roughly in that order.