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Waiver Wire: Week 12

by John Daigle
Updated On: November 19, 2019, 10:21 pm ET

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.

SVOD: Jonathan Williams could be a reliable workhorse

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.


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 one of four interceptions 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. For what it's worth, I wouldn't drop JuJu Smith-Schuster in a vacuum for any of this week's wide receiver pickups. It's purely a suggestion if someone of greater value is hanging around on waivers.

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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 mining for value before the fantasy playoffs, 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.



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
DeVante Parker rostered in 59 percent of Yahoo leagues. No. 1 add if available.
Deebo Samuel rostered in 55 percent of Yahoo leagues. No. 2 add if available.
Will Fuller rostered in 61 percent of Yahoo leagues. No. 3 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

1. Jason Myers
2. Younghoe Koo

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

Try as they might, the Colts' run-first approach will have to take a backseat on Thursday since Houston had previously limited opposing offenses to less than 100 yards rushing in seven straight games before colliding with Baltimore’s ground-and-pound 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 en route to finishing 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) — which presumably bodes well for Driskel — 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, reaching 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 Week 13's top streamer since it’ll be his turn to square off against Tampa Bay's nonexistent secondary. I prefer starting all of the above options over him in Week 12.


1. Nyheim Hines, Colts – Rostered in 17 percent of Yahoo leagues (Suggested 15% 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 patty-cake 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) available last season; Hines averaged 8.5 looks and handled 43 percent of Indy's carries in his only four contests without Mack in '18. This is a bet the flashy second-year chess piece out-scores both Williams and Wilkins on fewer touches since his presumed share of targets and carries are far more valuable than 10-15 up-the-gut rushes. 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 heading into NRG Stadium after he out-carried Hines 10 to 3 once Mack left in the third quarter against Jacksonville. Williams’ 13/116 rushing 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 (though both will reportedly get work). With the duo healthy in Weeks 9 and 10, note that Williams out-touched Wilkins 6 to 0 inside the 20-yard line. Bid on Wilkins over Williams if you think the former's 6.11 yards per carry on 27 runs holds weight.

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 snaps. Having said that, the actual amount of carries up for grabs in this offense has dwindled with Jeff Driskel under center since he 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 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. I would personally look to sell Ballage rather than start him anywhere, especially with Patrick Laird getting six targets on Sunday...Peyton Barber luck-boxed into a six-yard touchdown catch against the Saints 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 game action 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 an RB12 finish as Kansas City's direct backup once this year...Bilal Powell sneakily handled seven carries as Le'Veon Bell recorded a season-low in snap rate (55%) against Washington. Just something to monitor for Week 12.