The fantasy football focus has changed, as we are just weeks away from the fantasy football playoffs. Trade deadlines have passed, so the only way to get better is through the waiver wire.
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This week’s waiver wire targets move away from rookies with high upside who might play better late in the season to focus on veteran players who have been given opportunities recently. Similarly, the players to cut are focused on players who you very likely won’t be starting over these next six weeks.
Since trade deadlines have passed, the buy-low and sell-high options will focus on dynasty leagues. The focus will be making moves that help out in the long run rather than trying to trade the future for a championship this year.
FIVE PLAYERS TO ADD
1. RB Devonta Freeman, Baltimore Ravens
Latavius Murray missed the previous four weeks with an ankle injury, and his anticipated return led the Ravens to release Le’Veon Bell. This left the Ravens with a two-man backfield for the first half of their Week 11 matchup, as both Murray and Freeman received exactly 18 carries. Freeman outplayed Murray during the half, just as he’s done all season, which led to Freeman playing 70% of Baltimore's offensive snaps in the second half.
Freeman should be playing, at least, 50% of the offensive snaps going forward. He’s finished as a top-12 fantasy back in two of his last three games and a top-24 back in four of his last five. He can be kept in fantasy starting lineups and is still available in two-thirds of ESPN leagues.
2. RB Rex Burkhead, Houston Texans
The Texans' backfield has been one to avoid because the team has consistently used four players. However, Mark Ingram II is in New Orleans, Scottie Phillips is on injured reserve and Phillip Lindsay is all but an afterthought, making this a two-man committee going forward.
Burkhead led the team in carries and was the team's most impressive runner this past week. He gained 40 yards on 18 carries and avoided four tackles. He’s outplayed David Johnson in the run game all season. He’s gained a first down or touchdown on 28% of his carries compared to Johnson's 6.5%. The former Patriot also has a higher PFF rush grade.
This still isn’t an ideal situation due to Houston's offensive line but very few waiver wire targets have the upside of 15-plus carries.
3. RB Tevin Coleman, New York Jets
Rookie running back Michael Carter had emerged as a weekly must-start but suffered an ankle injury in the third quarter on Sunday and didn’t return. He’s expected to miss the next 2-3 weeks. Coleman took over as the primary rusher in his absence while Ty Johnson played most of the snaps when the Jets were passing to catch up. Coleman carried the ball five times for 16 yards and caught a pass.
Both Coleman and Johnson are worth waiver-wire pickups, but Coleman should have more fantasy value. The Jets have one of the easiest schedules remaining, which should allow Coleman to see double-digit carries in most of the games while Carter is out. Specifically this upcoming week, the Jets face the Texans, which should stay competitive for most of the game, allowing New York to run often. None of the Jet's next five games are against a team with a winning record. This should give Coleman the higher ceiling among the two backs.
4. WR Tim Patrick, Denver Broncos
Patrick has been a mainstay in waiver wire articles over the last three months. He had a bad game in Week 10 followed by a bye week this past week, which led some fantasy managers to drop him. This week is a good opportunity to add him, if available. He’s WR33 on the season, which is one spot below teammate Courtland Sutton. The Broncos have one of the most favorable schedules for wide receivers remaining. He should have no problem putting up a few more weeks where he is produces like a fantasy starter.
The Packers receiver has largely disappointed this season, but he put together his best game of the campaign in Week 11. He recorded season-highs in targets (10), receptions (4) and yards (123), and he scored his second touchdown of the year.
Fellow wideout Allen Lazard was inactive this week, which partly explains MVS' uptick in usage. It will be too early to put him in starting lineups, but he's worth a stash to see if he can stack a couple of positive performances on top of each other. Green Bay has a rough matchup against the Los Angeles Rams next week, which is followed by a bye week, but there are still a few games left on the schedule where the Packers offense can put up a lot of points.
FIVE PLAYERS TO CUT
1. RB Mike Davis, Atlanta Falcons
Cordarrelle Patterson missed the Falcons' Thursday Night game with an ankle injury after practicing on a limited basis. Hopefully, he will be back after the extended time off.