By: Brandon Sysak @BrandonSysak
Top Waiver Wire Picks and “Just Checkins”
After an exciting Week 11, it is time to look forward to what we should all be thankful for: Thanksgiving football and being one week closer to the fantasy playoffs. This is also a good time to look for those Waiver Wire deals that can be great values for your playoff run. Here are some of the best players to pick up off of the Waiver Wire for Week 12.
(Here are some names that are likely owned in your league but I still worth checking to see if they’re available because they represent great value)
Case Keenum, QB Minnesota Vikings (34.4% owned in ESPN, 40% owned in Yahoo)
One of the most surprising storylines of the 2017 season is the resurrection of Case Keenum. After having many lackluster years for both the Texans and Rams, Keenum was slotted to the backup for Sam Bradford/Teddy Bridgewater and nothing more. But the fifth year pro has erupted this year with 1914 yards 11 TDs and five INTs, ranking as a QB1 since being named the starter. Though he had an average fantasy game last week (280 yards and one TD), he is a good fantasy asset who is an exceptional streaming option and is someone who can be relied on for weekly production. Keenum is owned in roughly 37% of leagues, so he may be already owned but is certainly someone worth checking on and grabbing if he is on waivers.
Dion Lewis, RB, New England Patriots (62.6% owned in ESPN, 74% owned in Yahoo)
Dion Lewis as seemed to have emerged as the top RB in the New England backfield. While we all know Bill Belichick will do what he wants and spread the work around among all of his running backs, Lewis seems to have the most established role in the offense. Lewis presents as both a great rushing option (280 yards since Week 5) but is also a good pass catcher who can make plays in the open field. He is only available in 32% of most leagues, but is a special player that can be very productive for your fantasy team. Check for Lewis and grab him if he’s there.
Rishard Matthews, WR Tennessee Titans (67% owned in ESPN, 76% owned in Yahoo)
The Tennessee Titans’ top WR for the 2017 so far has been Rishard Matthews. Matthews has struggled to be fantasy relevant this year ranking as only the WR32, but he has been good in recent weeks and was especially impressive last week with five receptions for 113 yards and one TD. He has seen an average of 6.5 targets in the past four games, getting a lot more looks from Marcus Mariota which will lead to future fantasy production. Matthews is owned in roughly 72% of leagues, so is likely on someone’s bench, but he is absolutely worth the look and is certainly worth a roster spot.
Greg Olsen, TE Carolina Panthers (60.5% owned in ESPN, 72% owned in Yahoo)
When Greg Olsen went down in Week 2 with a broken foot, it seemed like the season was lost for the veteran TE. However, he has healed nicely and is projected to practice this week and even play in Week 12. If this is the case, he represents tremendous value as an elite fantasy TE that will see lots of work from Cam Newton in the rearranged Panthers offense. Olsen is still available in 33% of leagues, and if you are in one of those leagues you need to go grab him and reap the sweet fantasy rewards.
Top Waiver Wire Pickups
Samaje Perine, RB Washington Redskins (28.4% owned in ESPN, 35% owned in Yahoo)
Former starting Redskin RB Rob Kelley went on IR recently, meaning that Samaje Perine became the new lead guy in Washington last week. Many did not know what to expect from the rookie in a less-than-favorable matchup versus the Saints (10th ranked defense against the RB) last week, but Perine impressed with 117 yards on 23 rushes and one TD. With the added severe injury to Chris Thompson, Perine is now especially on his own and will be expected to take on a huge role going forward for Washington. I have faith in Perine to excel in this situation going forward and is a worthwhile addition off of the waiver wire being available in roughly 32% of leagues. Pick him up if he is out there in your league.
Devontae Booker, RB Denver Broncos (9.2% owned in ESPN, 7% owned in Yahoo)
One of the messiest RB situations in all of the NFL is in Denver. The Broncos don’t seem to trust any of their running backs to be a leading work horse player and are trying to give everyone equal work in the backfield. While this has been disastrous for most everyone involved, one player has remained semi-fantasy relevant is someone to pay attention to going forward. Booker has made his hay on his receptions recently with 18 since Week 6. This gives him a distinct advantage over his Bronco brethren and is something to look at going forward. He is only owned in around 8% of leagues, so he should be widely available and is worth paying attention to for the rest of the season.
J.D. McKissic, RB Seattle Seahawks (2.7% owned in ESPN, 9% owned in Yahoo)
Another messy backfield that fantasy owners have to wade through is in Seattle. Many thought this would be an Eddie Lacy led squad that would rely heavily on the heavy set back. However, him and his predecessor Thomas Rawls have not been factors at all this season, both in fantasy and regular football. That being said, rookie RB J.D. McKissic has become someone of interest and looks as though he may be the main man in Seattle going forward. He had the best game of all his RB teammates last week with 30 yards on seven rushes along with 23 yards on five receptions, being both the leading carrier and pass catcher out of the backfield versus Atlanta. The Seattle coaches have not yet said who will be the starting RB going forward, but I would project that McKissic will see lots of work in the near future and for the rest of the season. McKissic is available in roughly 90% of leagues, so he should a good RB to pick up and have for the fantasy playoffs.
Danny Amendola, WR New England Patriots (51.1% owned in ESPN, 49% owned in Yahoo)
Among the many weapons that are at the disposal of Tom Brady and the New England Patriots, one of the most under-appreciated and often looked over pieces is WR Danny Amendola. He has 43 receptions on 55 targets (fourth most on the team) for 440 yards and two TDs so far in 2017, ranking him as a WR3 in most formats, which is around his average ranking for his career. The Patriots are once again one of the best offense in the league and I would try to grab any parts of that team that I can, which you should be able to with Amendola being available in roughly half of all leagues. Look for him on your waivers and grab him if he is there.
Kenny Stills, WR Miami Dolphins (27.3% owned in ESPN, 38% owned in Yahoo)
Kenny Stills is a very dangerous weapon in fantasy football. You never know when he is going to strike, but when he does, he is an explosive WR with lots of big play potential. Stills put that on display this week with 180 yards on seven receptions and one TD in Week 11. This was mostly thanks to Matt Moore, who took over for starter Jay Cutler in the second quarter. The Moore-Stills connection is very solid and they have a chemistry that is undeniable. If Moore is to play in this week’s game versus New England, Stills becomes an essential add off of waivers that can be started in most formats. If Cutler does come back, Stills is still worth considering and would be a good addition to your roster. With him only being owned in around 33% of leagues, he is most likely available in your league, so look for him this week.
Corey Coleman, WR Cleveland Browns (20.4% owned in ESPN, 32% owned in Yahoo)
Corey Coleman is one of the up-and-coming wide receivers that was projected to do big things this year and was someone who a lot of analysts had faith in this year. Coleman unfortunately has fallen short of those expectations as he has been injured for most of the season with a broken hand, causing him to be available in 74% of leagues. He is healthy now, and was fairly impressive in his return with 80 yards on six receptions and 11 targets. Coleman has sneaky value going forward in 2017 and is certainly the most dynamic offensive weapon the Browns have outside of Duke Johnson, so he is worth picking up this week.
Zay Jones, WR Buffalo Bills (8.1% owned in ESPN, 7% owned in Yahoo)
This rookie WR has had a rough start to his NFL career so far in Buffalo. Zay Jones lost almost all of his fantasy relevancy to start the year with his poor start (16.5 fantasy points in 0.5 PPR scoring leagues through Week 8) but has blossomed recently with 23.1 fantasy points in his last two games. It seems as though it may have just taken some time for this young buck to gain his footing, but Jones now seems to be a top receiving option for the Bills outside of Kelvin Benjamin. He is only owned in roughly 8% of leagues, so his someone to take a flyer on at this point in the season and cash in on Jones for your playoff run.
(Here are some players that have a lower ownership percentage, but have huge upside and are great grab and stash players)
Corey Clement, RB Philadelphia Eagles (5.3% owned in ESPN, 10% owned in Yahoo)
Most analysts and owners expected Jay Ajayi to take over the Philadelphia backfield in Week 11 with the additional side rushes for LeGarrette Blount. This was proven wrong however, as four runnings backs all saw work in last week’s matchup in Dallas, with a surprising player leading the group in fantasy production. Corey Clement has had an excellent stretch of performances recently with 18 rushes for 101 yards and three TDs and one reception for 15 yards and one TD in the past two games. While Clement is not projected to be a starting RB for the Eagles for the rest of the season, the Philadelphia coaching staff is continuing to get him involved, which is worth noting. I don’t expect him to have another three TD performance like he did in Week 9, but Clement is a player I would keep an eye on going forward as a sneaky lottery ticket-type player, who can pay off big if he were to continue to see similar work in coming weeks. He is available in most leagues right now (roughly 93%) so is someone to observe going forward and worth picking up if you need a home run-type player on your squad.
Ryan Grant, WR Washington Redskins (1% owned in ESPN, 1% owned in Yahoo)
With the addition of Terrelle Pryor this offseason, many owners were expecting him to take a big step forward and be the top WR in Washington. Pryor has been an absolute embarrassment this year for anyone that took him in their draft, but this blurb is about someone who has actually produced for this season. Ryan Grant has stepped up and is Washington’s top fantasy WR in most formats. Grant still only ranks as the WR52, but has been very consistent this year with an average of three receptions and 37 yards per game since Week 6. Grant had his best game of the season last week with three receptions, 59 yards and one TD and will look to build on that production going forward with the aforementioned Pryor going on IR this week. Grant is available in almost every league so give him a look this week.
O.J. Howard, TE Tampa Bay Buccaneers (11.2% owned in ESPN, 22% owned in Yahoo)
O.J. Howard was the first TE selected in this past year’s draft, but is not the top rookie TE so far this year, with that honor going to Evan Engram. Howard is his own right has not been bad this season with 279 yards on 17 receptions and four TDs, a respectable statline for a young player trying to find their way. What makes Howard such an interesting fantasy asset is his ability to explode and make a big impact in one game. For example, 87% of his total production has come in three games, including his 12.7 fantasy point performance last week. He is a talented player who can take over a game if given the right amount of looks, and he could be in line for more targets with Cameron Brate falling from fantasy grace over the past three weeks. Howard is only owned in roughly 17% of most leagues, so he will be available in most leagues and is worth consideration for adding to your roster.