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NFL Week 12 fantasy football waiver wire targets

Inglewood, California, USA; Kansas City Chiefs running back Isiah Pacheco (10) runs past Los Angeles Chargers linebacker Drue Tranquill (49) and safety Derwin James Jr. (3) during the first quarter at SoFi Stadium. Mandatory Credit: Robert Hanashiro-USA TODAY Sports

Isiah Pacheco remains RB1 in Kansas City: The Chiefs rookie has rushed for 80 or more yards in back-to-back games.

Christian Watson is a touchdown machine: The Packers rookie has scored five touchdowns in his last two games.

Dawson Knox, better late than never: Knox caught seven passes for 70 yards and finally seems to have a bigger role on the Bills offense.

Estimated reading time: 12 minutes


Jump to a position group:

QB | RB | WR | TE

Quarterback

Derek Carr, Las Vegas Raiders (Rostered in 56.1% of leagues on ESPN)

Carr threw for 307 yards and two touchdowns in the Raiders' Week 11 victory over the Broncos.

  • Carr was dropped in fantasy leagues after a disappointing start to the season.
  • The Raiders head to Seattle next week, where they will likely be playing from behind and need to pass often. 
  • The Seahawks have been below average in terms of fantasy points allowed to quarterbacks. Three of the last four quarterbacks to face them have scored at least two touchdowns. 

Deshaun Watson, Cleveland Browns (35.9%)

Watson is eligible to return in Week 13. The Browns QB was suspended for the first 11 games of the season.

  • Watson was able to return to practice a week ago. The Browns are planning on starting him as soon as he’s eligible to play, even though Jacoby Brissett ranked 11th among quarterbacks in PFF grade through the first 10 weeks.
  • Watson was a top-five fantasy quarterback in each season from 2018-2020.
  • He might need some time to become that player again, as he's not played a regular-season game in a year and a half.
  • His first two matchups will be against the Texans and Bengals. Both teams are top-five in preventing fantasy points to quarterbacks this season.
  • He’s unlikely to help a team reach the fantasy playoffs, but there is a chance he can be a starter in some average matchups during the postseason.

Jimmy Garoppolo, San Francisco 49ers (44.9%)

Garoppolo ranked 11th in fantasy points per game from Week 5 to Week 10.

  • The Niners QB has recorded at least 230 yards in six straight games and has thrown eight touchdowns in his last five contests. 
  • Six of the 49ers' last seven opponents are in the top half of the league in terms of fantasy points allowed to quarterbacks. This includes a Week 17 matchup against the Raiders, who have allowed the second-most fantasy points to the position so far.
  • Garoppolo will play again tonight on Monday Night Football.

Kenny Pickett, Pittsburgh Steelers (7.2%)

Pickett threw for 265 yards and a touchdown in the Steelers' Week 11 loss to the Bengals.

  • Since Week 4, Pickett ranks 10th in rushing attempts (29) and yards (165) at the position.
  • The Steelers have the second-easiest schedule for quarterbacks the rest of the way.
  • The Steelers QB has been the top lottery ticket at quarterback this season, and it’s starting to look a little more likely that he can pay off.

Running Back

Isiah Pacheco, Kansas City Chiefs (43.2%)

Clyde Edwards-Helaire suffered an ankle injury in the middle of the first quarter and was later ruled out of the game.

  • The third-year back played only four snaps last week, but Kansas City tried getting him more involved in Week 11.
  • Isiah Pacheco started the game, as he has been, but Edwards-Helaire replaced him after six snaps.
  • Pacheco started the second drive, but Edwards-Helaire again replaced him mid-drive. He suffered his injury later on that drive.
  • Like last week, Kansas City went back to its two-man backfield, with Pacheco taking most of the early down work and McKinnon playing on passing-down and goal-line snaps.
  • Pacheco had the best game of his career, gaining 107 yards on 15 carries.
  • He remains a top waiver wire target, regardless of Edwards-Helaire’s health. 
  • The Chiefs have a top-five schedule for running backs during the fantasy playoffs and the third-easiest schedule over the rest of the season. Pacheco will get both volume and efficiency based on the schedule.
  • If Edwards-Helaire misses time, expect Ronald Jones to join the active roster and take the snaps Edwards-Helaire usually takes.

Rachaad White, Tampa Bay Buccaneers (34.5%)

White received his first NFL start, taking over from Leonard Fournette as the lead back in Tampa Bay.

  • White took every snap on the first drive.
  • Fournette started the second drive. After that, the two mainly rotated by drive, although the drives were typically long enough for both players to play on most drives.
  • White got to end the first half and start the second half, which doesn’t typically happen when a backfield has this kind of rotation.
  • He set a career-high in rushing attempts before halftime. He ended the game with 105 yards on 22 attempts.
  • Fournette suffered a hip injury in the third quarter.
  • White played 20 of a possible 25 snaps after the Fournette injury, with Ke’Shawn Vaughn giving White a break at times.
  • The Buccaneers have a bye week, so White is more of a long-term option.
  • The Bucs are willing to let their lead back take over 80% of offensive snaps, so White has top-10 potential if Fournette is injured or if they opt to give the backfield to White full-time.

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