Week 11 is in the books, so we look to the waiver wire for reinforcements ahead of the final two weeks of the fantasy football regular season.
The first player at each position will be a more widely available player to consider in standard 12-team leagues, with deep-league targets to follow. FAAB ranges will cover the following general guidelines:
- 0-1% FAAB: Can't hurt to roster if you have an open bench spot
- 2-10% FAAB: Immediate standalone value unlikely, but upside underrated
- 11-20% FAAB: Situation is great, and the player is trending up
- 21-35% FAAB: Player will be started in majority of leagues
- 36-50%+ FAAB: Serious change in workload that could lead to immediate high-end fantasy value
Roster rates are from Yahoo public leagues. There are no byes this week due to the Thanksgiving Day slate.
New York Giants QB Daniel Jones (28%)
The NFC East is such a hilarious mess these days, with all four teams sitting at 3 wins apiece. Philadelphia leads the division by way of a tie with Cincinnati back in Week 3 (gross) — a time when few could imagine things would get this bad for all four proud East Coast franchises.
Nevertheless, Thanksgiving Day will bring its annual share of attention to the division, but it’s the New York Giants who are actually in prime position to take a stab at the top spot come Sunday. That’s because Daniel Jones & Co. have the pleasure of visiting the Cincinnati Bengals in Week 12 — a team that lost its rookie franchise quarterback for the season last week.
The Bengals’ defense is a league-average unit when it comes to fantasy points allowed to quarterbacks, but that’s in part because opponents’ stat lines are essentially devoid of garbage-time numbers. The Cincinnati defense ranks dead last in PFF pass-rush grade (56.1) and fifth-worst in PFF run-defense grade (48.6). The coverage unit hasn’t been the main problem — Jessie Bates, William Jackson & friends have the 11th-best PFF coverage grade (64.0) — but it can't shut anyone down with no pass rush and an inexperienced linebacking corps.
We would be firing up almost any quarterback against the Bengals, who are likely to lose the time of position battle with second-year QB Ryan Finley at the helm. In three starts last season, the former fourth-round pick only managed two passing touchdowns while throwing two INTs, taking 11 sacks and fumbling the ball four times. Without Joe Burrow, Cincinnati doesn’t even deserve to be mentioned among the crime scene that is the NFC East these days.
A bit about Jones these days: After going four-straight weeks without a touchdown on the ground or through the air, he tallied seven combined scores over five games from Weeks 6-10. Certainly not Earth-shattering numbers, but the former No. 2 overall pick scored at least once a week over that time span and averaged 6.4 carries and 54 rushing yards per game. The overall output checked in at QB16 in fantasy points per game.
The Bengals might be the path of least resistance to fantasy points across all positions rest-of-season. The only thing left to do is wait and see how bad things get — Daniel Jones and the Giants are the perfect test.
FAAB Recommendation: 2-3%
New England Patriots RB James White (40%)
Rex Burkhead is feared to have torn an ACL on Sunday, which once again brings the number of New England running backs competing for touches down to three. Sony Michel is off the IR but was inactive on Sunday, though he’s not a threat to the passing-down work that made James White an underappreciated fantasy commodity for several recent seasons.
White has been an afterthought in this crowded backfield for most of the year, having missed two full games early-on after an unexpected death in the family. With Burkhead out of the mix, White should be a consistent bet for a couple of carries and at least a handful of targets per game moving forward.
It might not sound like much, but the 28-year-old has managed some impressive fantasy finishes as the 1b in New England’s rushing attack — he finished as the RB19 and RB7 in full-point PPR over the past two seasons, respectively.
Burkhead was injured during the first drive of the third quarter on Sunday, and White proceeded to play 31 of his 39 snaps afterward. White finished with six receptions on seven targets for 64 yards. During a week when several big-name RBs either struggled or couldn’t find the end zone, that performance was good for RB12.
White’s average depth of target has been behind the line of scrimmage in five of his eight games this season — these are high-efficiency targets that add up quickly in PPR. He’ll need to score through the air to manage spike weeks, but the floor here is higher than many realize.
FAAB Recommendation: 6-8%
Atlanta Falcons RB Brian Hill (7%)
The Atlanta Falcons are going nowhere fast, and we’re getting to the point of the fall season when people with bad knees tend to complain just a little more about the aches and pains. Whether Falcons RB1 Todd Gurley’s arthritic joints are holding up or not, it’s worth taking a look at his backup, fourth-year RB Brian Hill.
The Falcons didn’t show much of an effort to get the run game going against the Saints on Sunday, rushing the ball only 14 times compared to 45 passing plays. Gurley managed 26 yards on eight carries, while Hill handled four for 18. They each ran nine routes and hauled in a short catch.
Hill’s rushing workload peaked in Week 8 with 11 carries for 55 yards. Gurley has handled about two-thirds of the rushing workload since that time and has punched in two scores on the ground. Hill leads the former superstar in a handful of relevant metrics on a small sample size: 4.2 yards per carry vs. 2.8; 0.26 missed tackles forced per attempt vs. 0.16. Gurley’s PFF rushing grade (51.9) over the last three games doesn’t crack the top 100, while Hill comes in at No. 35 (69.2).
This is by no means a code red — just a hedge on a valuable role currently held by a sixth-year RB with some wear and tear in the final year of his contract. With the fantasy playoffs just around the corner, all clear-cut backups who are next in line for early-down and goal-line work are worth a stash.
FAAB Recommendation: 2-4%
New York Jets RB Frank Gore (10%)
It looked like La’Mical Perine was finally going to see some extended run as the Jets’ primary ball carrier, but he checked out of Week 11 in the third quarter with an ankle injury. The rookie handled eight carries for 33 yards and punched in a short touchdown on the day, a solid start for those who had speculated on the fourth-rounder out of Florida.
We’ll want to monitor Perine’s status ahead of a visit to Miami in Week 12, but Gore is a reasonable floor play in the week’s second-best matchup for running backs, according to PFF’s strength of schedule tool. The 37-year-old took every Jets carry with Perine out, scoring a TD and adding three catches on three second-half targets (16 routes run). Ty Johnson saw three targets on nine second-half routes.
The Jets are bad, yes, but their offense has shown signs of life over the past couple of weeks. Gore isn’t going to single-handedly win any league titles, but if he helps us make the playoffs, we can tell the story long after he (eventually) retires.
FAAB Recommendation: 3-4%
Cincinnati Bengals RB Samaje Perine (1%)
Perine quietly slipped ahead of second-year back Trayveon Williams this offseason and has looked good fine in limited action recently. The fourth-year back has handled 23 carries over the past three games for 99 yards during a time when Giovani Bernard has only mustered 113 on 33 totes.
With Joe Mixon newly ensconced on IR, there’s early-down work to go around in Cincinnati. Of course, the team’s recent struggles – combined with the brutal Joe Burrow injury news — offer a fairly low ceiling for this entire offense. Still, the fourth-year RB out of Oklahoma could still be worth a longer look for Cincinnati — he’s still only 25.
FAAB Recommendation: 0-1%
Atlanta Falcons WR Russell Gage (7%)
The Atlanta Falcons’ (formerly) high-powered passing game continues to be slowed by injuries. Julio Jones left Sunday’s game with a hamstring issue after attempting to play through it. That’s the second time he’s exited a game this season, to go along with two DNPs. Julio’s running mate Calvin Ridley was knocked out of the team’s Week 8 contest and sat out Week 9 plus the bye week to heal up.
Third-year man Russell Gage is clearly next in the pecking order. Gage burst onto the scene in Week 1 with nine catches on 12 targets for 114 yards and followed it up with a 6-46-1 line in Week 2. Matt Ryan went back to the big dogs for a few weeks after that, and Gage didn’t pop the way we expected during Julio’s first injury stint this season. But he’s been firmly in the mix over the past two weeks.
Back in Week 9, with Ridley resting, Gage saw six targets (17.6% target share) on 29 routes run. He only managed two catches for 11 yards, but a 13.5 aDOT suggested big plays to come. Last week, the usage numbers exploded with Jones sporadically in and out of the game — Gage was on the field for only two fewer snaps than Ridley and saw 12 targets, hauling in seven for 58 yards. In the second half, Gage saw an absurd 50% target share with eight targets and a 9.5 aDOT. Gage’s Week 9 workload was good for the seventh-best expected fantasy points total on the week, though he underperformed by 6.1 points.
Gage is a 6-foot, 184-pound former sixth-round pick — he doesn't look like Julio, and he's not going to put up Hall of Fame numbers in his place. But a quick glance at the Falcons’ schedule through fantasy championship week — Las Vegas, New Orleans, L.A. Chargers, Tampa Bay, Kansas City — suggests that this passing game will be quite busy for the foreseeable future.
We’ll want to monitor Jones’ status while setting bids this week, but Gage won't break the bank and should be useful down the stretch with or without injured teammates.
FAAB Recommendation: 3-5%
Las Vegas Raiders WR Nelson Agholor (20%)
Agholor is a boom-or-bust option at receiver who has been doing more of the former lately. The 27-year-old former Eagle has spread his six touchdowns across six separate games, only failing to find the end zone in four contests on the season.
There’s a very real floor here — Agholor has seen either 1, 2 or 3 targets in half his games. Yet lines like 1-23-1, 2-67-1 and 2-55-1 have salvaged fantasy performances on light volume.
Still, two of the aforementioned low target totals came in the Raiders’ first two games. Agholor also has two 10-target games mixed in among the past five weeks. His 14.8 aDOT ranks 23rd in the league, just ahead of D.K. Metcalf, Kenny Golladay and Tee Higgins. He’s 20th in end zone targets on the season, and only six WRs have caught more end-zone TDs.
Add it all up, and Agholor is in the midst of his best season by overall PFF grade (70.1) since 2017 (74.9). The Raiders have a couple of forgiving defenses on deck: The Atlanta Falcons (Week 12) have allowed the third-most fantasy points to opposing receivers, while the New York Jets (Week 13) have allowed the sixth-most.
FAAB Recommendation: 3-5%
New England Patriots WR Damiere Byrd (2%)
If there’s one player who jumps off the box score this week, it’s Patriots fifth-year WR Damiere Byrd, who went off for 132 yards on six receptions with a touchdown against Houston. Byrd was both efficient (only seven targets) and functioned deep downfield (17.8 aDOT). He brought down his only contested catch and tallied five plays of 15-plus yards.
Byrd has produced when given the opportunity this season. In the four games where the 5-foot-9, 180-pounder has run 39 or more routes, his target totals are: 9, 10, 8 and 6.
The Patriots can be a tough offense to predict, but Byrd has carved out a role here, even if it’s not the alpha spot Jakobi Meyers appears to have claimed. With Julian Edelman and Rex Burkhead injured, this roster is running low on receiving options.
FAAB Recommendation: 2-4%
New York Jets WR Denzel Mims (5%)
The rookie out of Baylor has looked the part thus far for the struggling New York Jets. Averaging just over five targets per game through his first four NFL appearances, Mims’ 13-217-0 start has been quite encouraging for a franchise that could use a second-round WR hit.
In fantasy land, the 6-foot-3 and 215 pound Mims looks the part of an outside receiver who can move the chains — and he has done just that on 10 of his 13 catches to date, nine of which have gone for 15 or more yards. He’s operating with an absurd 17.9 aDOT, a figure that ranks sixth in the NFL.
His three end-zone targets amount to a 12.5% target rate, which is in line with the likes of CeeDee Lamb and Julio Jones. The Jets aren’t devoid of talent at WR, but they’re looking the rookie’s way when it counts.
FAAB Recommendation: 3-5%
Baltimore Ravens WR Willie Snead (4%)
The Ravens will surely reacclimate Hollywood Brown to their offense sooner than later, but in the meantime veteran Willie Snead has quietly been playing some good football. The 28-year-old has been the WR20 over the past four weeks while seeing 25 targets compared to 16 over the season’s first six games.
Snead can disappear at times in Baltimore’s run-first offense and has been called to action more often in losses than wins. Still, this is a fairly shallow passing tree — albeit in a low-volume passing attack — and Snead has garnered target rates of 22.6%, 20.0%, 16.7% and 23.3% over his past four games with weekly finishes of WR7 and WR22 among them.
After the Steelers in Week 12, the Ravens face four defenses that rank quite poorly in fantasy points allowed to opposing wide receivers.
|Week||Opponent||Fantasy Points to WRs Rank|
|16||New York Giants||19|
FAAB Recommendation: 1-2%
Dissly was on the deep-league radar before the Seahawks signed veteran Greg Olsen during the offseason. With Olsen out of the picture after suffering a season-ending foot injury, the door is open for Dissly to play a much bigger role in the Seattle offense.
The third-year TE out of Washington has the benefit of a third-round pedigree and some serious efficiency in his young career. He only played four games during his rookie season and six last year before knee and Achilles injuries ended those campaigns. He still led the team’s tight end group in touchdowns during that two-year span with six of the 15.
Dissly’s six-game sample last season earned PFF’s fifth-best receiving grade among TEs (87.1). The 6-foot-4, 265-pounder was operating on a smaller sample than the rest of last year’s top five — George Kittle, Mark Andrews, Tyler Higbee and Travis Kelce — but he demonstrated serious efficiency with 23 receptions on 26 targets for 262 yards and four TDs. He’s doing the same thing so far this season: 14 catches on 17 targets and one score. Jacob Hollister has been solid as well, with a 15-119-1 line in more limited work.
All in all, Dissly is a welcome free spin at a position with few reliable options these days. The Seahawks are second only to the Kansas City Chiefs in scoring this season — it’s always good to add another part of a Russell Wilson-led offense.
FAAB Recommendation: 3-4%