Week 12 is quickly approaching as we have Thanksgiving games this week. Some major injuries in week 11 will headline the Waiver Wire pickups this week. Also as the fantasy regular season begins to wind down it is time to start locking up your handcuffs for elite players. We’ve made it this far let’s not get complacent now. This is the time where we can make the final playoff push or lock up that no. 1 overall spot in your league.
Let me be the first to wish you and your family a Happy Thanksgiving. Hopefully everyone gets to spend some valuable time with their family, enjoy some good food and last of all watch some football.
Bye week teams: No teams on bye this week.
For our on-going waiver wire exclusive* we will be breaking skill players down into 3 categories and then concluding by recommending some likely free-agent Defenses:
- Game Changers: Game changers are exactly what they sound like. Players that through injury or opportunity rise up and become real impact players immediately. They may not be the best or most well-known players, but they are in a position to impact fantasy scores on a weekly basis.
- Depth with upside: Again, the name is fairly self-explanatory. These are players that are just waiting for that opportunity to excel along with one or two quarterback streaming options. Often they possess a solid talent, and elite measurables, but they just have not had the opportunity to “break out” yet. This often includes handcuffs of underwhelming players or players that have started slow at deep positions, i.e. a QB or TE, that still have you believing in their talent.
- Hail Mary’s: This section is easily going to be the highest turnover section of your roster. And in some cases, the players will literally change from day-to-day. They are often role players that flash, or deeper roster players that may have moved up due to injury, trade, or just plain old ineffectiveness.
*We will not frequently rehash previous players; to see who we recommended last week and the weeks before, Click Here.
Tyler Boyd | Wide Receiver | Cincinnati Bengals
Early in the week 11 matchup against Buffalo, AJ Green was forced to leave the game with what was classified as a hamstring injury. The severity of the injury is currently unknown but we did see Boyd fill the WR1 role today and is a must add. Boyd finished with 8 targets which would trail only Brandon LaFell for the team lead with 9. What Boyd can bring that LaFell can’t is a consistent set of hands, catching 5 of his 8 targets including a touchdown.
Adam Thielen | Wide Receiver | Minnesota Vikings
Arizona has an elite defense, but their weakness is the corner opposite of Patrick Peterson. Today we saw Thielen take full advantage of that, catching all five of his targets and one beautiful touchdown grab. The Vikings upcoming schedule is very favorable. Thielen is available in over 90 percent of ESPN leagues; put your claims in now as everyone will be chasing him.
Mike Gillislee | Running Back | Buffalo Bills
I’m not sure what was in the water in Cincinnati this Sunday but LeSean McCoy also exited this game due to injury. McCoy will have surgery to fix the dislocated thumb he suffered in week 11. Although the Bills have said they expect McCoy to play in week 12, Gillislee showed Sunday he can carry the starter’s workload. As we all know with McCoy’s injury history, Buffalo could be cautious with him giving Gillislee the opportunity to thrive as the Bills make their playoff push.
Cameron Meredith | Wide Receiver | Chicago Bears
Alshon Jeffery has been suspended for four games after violating the league’s PED rules. In his absence the Bears will need a playmaker to go to when the offensive line inevitably fails and Jay Cutler is forced to throw the ball into double and triple coverage. Zach Miller left the game against New York with a foot injury and will miss the remainder of the season. As bad as Chicago has played, Meredith can still produce even if the Bears fall behind early.
Depth With Upside
Dion Lewis | Running Back | New England Patriots
Lewis made his debut for the Patriots against San Francisco in week 11. While his production was outshined by James White, Lewis had only one fewer target than White. Coming off of multiple surgeries the Patriots could ease Lewis back in—especially given their dominance this season—but he looked great in limited work on the road. The between the tackles job is obviously belongs to LeGarrette Blount but the receiving role is still up for grabs in this high-volume passing game.
Marqise Lee | Wide Receiver | Jacksonville Jaguars
First thing’s first, Blake Bortles is not a good QB—in actual football terms. Fantasy production is loosely tied to actual talent luckily, week in and out we are seeing Bortles put up fantasy relevant performances when his team is trailing late in the game and he pads his stats. Lee has been the bright spot on an otherwise disappointing Jaguars offense. He actually led the team in targets and receiving yardage to go along with the touchdown he caught. Lee is currently available in over 95 percent of ESPN leagues.
Tajae Sharpe | Wide Receiver | Tennessee Titans
The fifth round rookie Sharpe was the hottest commodity to begin the season, but a mid-season slump caused many owners to drop him—currently available in 85 percent of ESPN leagues. Since he was completely shut out against Cleveland 4 of his next 5 games Sharpe has amassed at least 55 yards. Week 10 against Green Bay, Sharpe scored his first NFL touchdown adding another one to that stat line this afternoon. As Tennessee begins to shift more of its offensive focus to Marcus Mariota, Tajae Sharpe could be in for a huge increase in workload.
Malcolm Mitchell | Wide Receiver | New England Patriots
An injury to Chris Hogan led to Mitchell receiving more playing time against the 49ers in week 11. Mitchell was one of three WRs to catch a touchdown from Tom Brady, his first of his young career. The severity of injuries to Rob Gronkowski and Hogan will have Mitchell seeing more and more action as the season comes to a conclusion. This New England passing attack is among the top of the NFL and an explosive playmaker gives the Patriots something they have been searching for since Randy Moss was traded away.
Jeremy Langford | Running Back | Chicago Bears
Goal line vultures dominate this section today. Langford is locked in as the RB2 for Chicago, behind Jordan Howard, but for some reason John Fox is determined to get him touches. 6 carries for 8 yards and a touchdown to go along with 30 receiving yards and finishing with the same amount of fantasy points as Howard—in a standard league. Howard remains the lead dog but this could become a committee before we are able to realize what is happening.
Phillip Dorsett | Wide Receiver | Indianapolis Colts
All year we have been waiting for this Indianapolis offense to get rolling and over the last two weeks they have done exactly that. T.Y. Hilton continues to lead the group, and Donte Moncrief is looking completely healthy again. Phillip Dorsett is also beginning to get healthy, making a huge 50 yard play against the Titans in week 11. Although Dorsett is not a safe start if either of the two big name receivers go down for the Colts it will be Dorsett’s number that is called to fill the void.
Cordarrelle Patterson | Wide Receiver | Minnesota Vikings
Another Minnesota WR makes the waiver list this week as Patterson once again showed his explosiveness on his 104 yard kickoff return touchdown. The more interesting thing to me is that he actually led the team in targets against a very stout Arizona defense. The offensive coordinator switch seems to be working as the Vikings are going with shorter passes and relying on their playmakers to do just that, make plays. An upcoming matchup with Detroit on Thanksgiving, Patterson will look to keep his hot streak going and he could be the player that you ride to your fantasy playoffs.
Will Tye | Tight End | New York Giants
Larry Donnell was a healthy scratch for the Giants when they face Chicago in week 11. This led to Tye seeing 5 targets and actually hauling one in for a touchdown. New York is absolutely a pass first offense and Tye could be that big bodied threat in the middle of the field to provide some relief for their smaller wide receivers. The Giants are lacking size at the pass catcher positions and Tye is that fill in for now. Tye is currently available in 99 percent of ESPN leagues and faces Cleveland in week 12.
Robert Turbin | Running Back | Indianapolis Colts
Frank Gore is the RB1 in Indianapolis, there is no doubting that. In week 11 we saw Turbin line up as the fullback and received a goal line carry—one of his only two carries—and convert it into a touchdown. Gore continues to be a steady RB1 for fantasy purposes but he is 33 years old. As the fantasy season comes to an end Turbin could be that handcuff who keeps your team alive if something tragic were to happen.
Defense and Special Teams:
Tennessee Titans at Chicago Bears
The Titans are coming off a disappointing loss to Indianapolis. Luckily they get to face Chicago in week 12. Zach Miller is done for the season with a foot injury and Alshon Jeffery is suspended. Their receiver corps will be lead by Cameron Meredith and Eddie Royal, not exactly something to write home about. Tennessee was able to force Andrew Luck to throw and interception in week 11 and Jay Cutler has been known to be loose with the football, especially if the Titans get ahead early.
Baltimore Ravens vs Cincinnati Bengals
Baltimore ran into an absolute buzz-saw in Dallas on Sunday. As good as their defense had been playing, the Cowboys offense is just unstoppable at the moment. In comes the Bengals who lost two of their top offensive weapons, in AJ Green and Giovani Bernard, and struggled mightily once Green went down. The Ravens will look to take Jeremy Hill out of the game early and force Andy Dalton to beat them with his cast of misfits at receiver.
Miami Dolphins vs San Francisco 49ers
The Dolphins are on a 5 game winning streak and after two week on the road they return home to face an abysmal 49er team. The defensive line has been playing at another level during the Miami win streak wreaking havoc on opposing quarterbacks. San Francisco’s offense struggles have been on display all season. Miami will keep their momentum going and roll over San Francisco.