Week 12 Waiver Wire: Key adds for playoff push

The fantasy playoffs are in sight, people. This is no time to neglect your roster. We’re here to help prioritize the top fantasy pickups ahead of waiver deadlines. All players listed below are available in at least 50 percent of Yahoo leagues and all are approved for immediate use.

Quarterbacks on the wire

Taysom Hill, New Orleans Saints (43% rostered)

We won’t try to convince you the Saints offense is equally dangerous with Hill at the controls in place of Drew Brees, the most accurate passer in league history. But hopefully we can all agree that Brees is never a threat to do stuff like this…

Hill didn’t quite pitch a perfect game on Sunday, but he was plenty good, completing 18 of 23 pass attempts for 233 yards and rushing 10 times for 51 yards and two spikes. New Orleans was lighter than expected on designed runs, but Hill ultimately filled the box-score as expected. It would be fair to say that not every pass was delivered with weapons-grade precision…

…but Saints receivers are talented enough to cover for the occasional misfire.

We should note that 17 of Hill’s pass attempts were intended for Michael Thomas and Emmanuel Sanders, while Alvin Kamara saw just one target (while playing through a foot injury). So this offense likely won’t operate exactly as it did with Brees, but it’s still plenty fun. Hill will face the Broncos, Falcons (again) and Eagles over the next three weeks. Brees is reportedly targeting a Week 15 return from his horrible collection of chest/rib/lung injuries, but that’s hardly a lock.

Recommended offer, assuming $100 budget: $18

Derek Carr, Las Vegas Raiders (36%)

Carr is pretty clearly the streaming option of the week as he’s about to face Atlanta, the defense that Hill just roasted. He’ll travel to New York the following Sunday for a date with the Jets, so he’s worth holding for multiple weeks. Carr is coming off a surgical performance in prime-time against KC, having thrown for 275 yards and three scores while completing 23 of 31 pass attempts. His incompletions on Sunday night were often gems, dropped by his receivers. Carr has plainly elevated his game. He’s delivered seven multi-TD efforts so far this season and, again, he’s preparing to feast on a defense that’s allowed the most fantasy points to opposing TDs. Add and enjoy.

Offer: $7

Andy Dalton, Dallas Cowboys (10%)

OK, so it took a few weeks longer than we’d initially expected for Dalton to produce a useful fantasy line as Dallas’ starting quarterback. But hey, better late than never. He passed for 203 yards and three touchdowns in Sunday’s win over the Vikings, connecting with nine different receivers (if you include the completion to himself. Hooray, PPR.) The primary reason we kinda like Dalton, of course, is that he’s the dude who gets to throw to Amari Cooper, Michael Gallup, Ezekiel Elliott and this obscenely talented rookie…

Seriously, just put CeeDee Lamb in the Cowboys ring of honor right now. He’s basically unfair.

Game flow should favor Dalton more often than not, which helps when the matchups are less than ideal. Dallas hosts a stingy Washington pass defense on Thanksgiving, but don’t be surprised if that game actually delivers a heaping portion of fantasy goodness.

Offer: $5

Various other assorted QBs to consider: Kirk Cousins (he remains under our 50 percent threshold and has a pair of friendly matchups on deck against Carolina and Jacksonville), Daniel Jones (fresh off his bye and heading into road matchups with Cincinnati and Seattle), Gardner Minshew II (he should be ready to return soon from his thumb injury and Jake Luton is coming off a horrendous four-pick game against Pittsburgh).

Running backs deserving attention

Gus Edwards, Baltimore Ravens (28%)

J.K. Dobbins appeared to seize control of the Ravens’ backfield on Sunday, out-snapping and out-producing Edwards and Mark Ingram by wide margins. But Dobbins and Ingram were both placed on the COVID-19/reserve list on Monday, and somehow Edwards wasn’t considered a close contact.

Edwards has had almost no role as a receiver in his three-year career, but he’s been highly effective on the ground (5.1 YPC) and a terrific closer at the goal-line. His upcoming matchup at Pittsburgh is daunting, but he’s likely to dominate carries for the league’s top rushing offense (160.5 YPG). He’s the priority add at running back this week. As of this writing, Baltimore’s trip to Pittsburgh has not been postponed.

Offer: $15

James White, New England Patriots (40%)

White was understandably mass-dropped in recent weeks, having lost snaps and touches to Rex Burkhead. But unfortunately Burkhead was lost to a significant (and ugly) knee injury on Sunday, so White has reentered the fantasy conversation. His rushing workload was negligible (5 carries, 19 yards), but he hauled in six of his nine targets for 64 yards. If you play in any sort of PPR format, White needs to be rostered by someone. He’s now the only serious receiving threat in New England’s backfield, with Damien Harris and Sony Michel as the early-down pounders. If you’re PPRing, you want him. White gets Arizona next week, which should deliver the sort of game-script that suits him.

Offer: $9

Additional RBs of interest: Cam Akers and Malcolm Brown (just when we thought Darrell Henderson had seized control of the Rams’ running game, Akers led the backfield in touches last week and Brown led in snaps), Carlos Hyde (we can’t ignore him here after his solid Thursday night performance, but Chris Carson is a decent bet to return this week), Frank Gore (following a week of speculation that La’Mical Perine would begin to serve as the Jets’ featured runner, Gore naturally handled 17 touches against the Chargers), Cordarrelle Patterson (please note that Patterson now carries WR/RB eligibility after functioning as Chicago’s clear lead back in Week 10), Devonta Freeman (it’s tough to argue that Wayne Gallman shouldn’t retain the featured role for New York, but Freeman will eventually return to complicate this backfield), Kerryon Johnson (truly desperate fantasy managers should note that Johnson handled eight touches on Sunday with D’Andre Swift sidelined by a concussion).

Wide Receivers and tight ends to add

Michael Pittman Jr., Indianapolis Colts (44%)

We begged you to add him last week, when he was just 9 percent rostered and not as pricey on the wire. After another solid fantasy performance, featuring Pittman’s first pro house-call…

…he may not be quite as cheap this week. He was only targeted three times on Sunday, but that’s life in Indy’s spread-the-wealth offense. Pittman hauled in every pass that came his way, finishing with 66 yards. He’s seen 18 targets over his last three games. The rookie has size (6-foot-4) and sneaky speed, plus he has a series of appealing matchups ahead (Ten, at Hou, at LV, Hou). Fire him up as a WR3/flex.

Offer: $16

Tim Patrick, Denver Broncos (21%)

We could just copy-and-paste one of the many other pro-Patrick blurbs we’ve written this season, but there’s always something new to say about Denver’s No. 1 receiver. He delivered his third triple-digit yardage performance of the season on Sunday, snagging five passes for 119 yards on eight chances (including a ridiculous and unnecessary and glorious 60-yard catch on the game’s final play). Patrick has done more than enough this season to earn your add, yet somehow he’s still unattached in almost 80 percent of Yahoo leagues.

If you simply don’t trust Drew Lock … well, yeah, OK. Understandable. But Patrick has been relatively consistent and productive, considering his circumstances. He’s a bankable WR3 in any format. We’ll be writing about him next week, no doubt, after you folks ignore him again.

Offer: $11

Jordan Reed, San Francisco 49ers (15%)

When last we saw Reed, he was doing the impossible…

What kind of superhero nonsense is that? Absurd. Reed saw six targets against the Saints before his bye, snagging five for 62 yards. He should function as the team’s primary receiving threat at tight end until George Kittle returns, which might very well be 2021. Fire up Reed wherever you have a need. His talent has never really been in doubt. When he’s healthy, you play him.

Offer: $6

Additional WR options: Nelson Agholor (hauled in six balls for 88 yards and one score on SNF and he gets Atlanta this week), Russell Gage (he saw a team-high 12 targets on Sunday and Julio Jones is dealing with new hamstring issues), Jalen Reagor (18 targets over his last three and he’s facing Seattle’s user-friendly pass D on Monday night), Sterling Shepard (his upcoming matchups with Cincy and Seattle are plenty appealing), Allen Lazard (returned from injury to a quiet 4-target game, but there are clearly better days ahead), KJ Hamler (he’s drawn a healthy 26 targets over his last three games), Demarcus Robinson (deep leaguers should note he caught six balls on eight chances on Sunday night and he’s tied to a pretty decent offense), Keke Coutee (he’d been buried on the depth chart, but injuries to Randall Cobb and Kenny Stills led to Coutee’s reemergence on Sunday).

Tight ends to consider: Jimmy Graham (he was quiet before the bye, sure, but he’s been the team’s primary goal-to-go receiver all year), Robert Tonyan (returned to the end zone against Indianapolis on Sunday and caught all five of his targets), Jordan Akins (just delivered a season-high 83 yards on five catches, and Houston’s receiving corps suffered a few injuries on Sunday), Jacob Hollister (deep-league special with Greg Olsen unfortunately sidelined by another foot injury).

Streamable defense

New York Giants (13%)

Each week in the NFL brings new medical horrors, and the most notable injury from Sunday’s action was, of course, Joe Burrow’s torn ACL. Burrow had taken a thousand hits this season behind a shaky o-line, so we’d all been dreading the possibility of a serious injury. He was on pace to reach Andrew Luck’s rookie passing yardage record, but now Justin Herbert is the best bet to snatch that mark. Here’s hoping Burrow has a smooth and uneventful recovery so we get a full season of him in Cincy next year.

For now, Ryan Finley is going to quarterback the Bengals. It’s a disaster scenario for the team’s offense. Finley completed just three of 10 passes for 30 yards against the Football Team on Sunday. In fact, he actually lost more yards on sacks (31) than he gained as a passer. He’s completed only 45.4 percent of his passes over five career games, which hardly seems possible in the modern NFL. You will be starting any and all defenses that face him over the balance of the season, beginning this week with the Giants.

Offer: $3

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