It’s one of the great weeks of the calendar year, as we’ll use this Thursday to give thanks for all that is important in our lives. Our families, friends and so much more. Truly, it’s a wonderful week to take a moment to reflect and be grateful. It’s something we should do much more than just on Thanksgiving: be thankful every day for your blessings.
And while not with the same gravity that our loved ones carry, what we are thankful for does include fantasy football, the weekly exercise that occupies us for 17 weeks during the fall and early winter and — frankly — for much of the offseason, as we contemplate moves to make, draft picks to select, risers, fallers, sleepers and stars. It brings together the family and friends who mean so much to us and gives us another outlet to connect to them.
From the light-hearted department, we also have the Kansas City Chiefs and Los Angeles Rams to be thankful for. Go check the fantasy scoring leaderboards entering Monday night’s showdown and you’ll see a lot of … Chiefs and Rams.
No. 2 scoring tight end? Travis Kelce.
No. 3 scoring kicker? Harrison Butker.
No. 5 scoring defense? The Rams.
If you had a team that was composed solely of Rams and Chiefs, you’d almost assuredly be undefeated in fantasy football this season, cruising towards a championship… and in need of a whole bunch of replacements this week! That’s right, the final two teams to go on a bye this season are those high-scoring juggernauts.
It’s going to make for an interesting Week 12, as fantasy managers look to patch holes in their lineups normally occupied by the game’s very best. And that’s what I’m here to help with: finding the players who can help you find your way to a win.
Without further pause, here is my Week 12 ESPN Fantasy waiver wire column.
Reminder: players must be available in more than 50 percent of leagues on ESPN.com to be eligible for this column. Teams on a bye this week: Chiefs, Rams
Josh Adams, RB, Philadelphia Eagles (26.5 percent). While Week 11 was a nightmare for the Eagles as a team, Adams was amongst the rare bright spots, rushing seven times for 53 yards and a touchdown, grabbing three passes in the game as well. He opened the game as the starter, and no other Eagles back had more than two carries. While there are a lot of cooks in the Eagles’ backfield kitchen, he sure seems primed to take on a more featured role after playing twice as many snaps as any other Eagles back in Week 11. Philly will find itself in far more favorable game-script situations going forward, which should lead to an increased workload. He’s an add in all leagues.
Gus Edwards, RB, Baltimore Ravens (0.0 percent). A changing of the guard may have taken place at quarterback and running back for the Ravens in Week 11, as Edwards burst onto the scene with 17 carries for 115 yards and a touchdown for Baltimore. He had been running behind Alex Collins and Javorius Allen previously, but he handled the most running back carries in Week 11 for Baltimore and certainly did enough to earn a consistent role going forward after playing 49 snaps, 32 more than Collins and 44 more than Allen. He’s an add in all leagues.
Tre’Quan Smith, WR, New Orleans Saints (13.6 prercent). The talent has not been a question for Smith, the Saints’ speedy third-rounder out of UCF, but his blossom game came in Week 11, when he set a career high in catches (10), targets (13) and yards (157). He’s the clear-cut No. 2 receiver in what is as lethal an offense as there is in the NFL right now. While it’s too soon to say that Smith’s volume is going to be guaranteed going forward — he didn’t even see a target in Week 10 — he’s way too talented and in too good of a position to not be added in all leagues.
Jameis Winston, QB, Tampa Bay Buccaneers (9.2 percent). The Buccaneers’ quarterback situation is best described as a yo-yo, with no certainty as to who will start week-to-week. Winston relieved Ryan Fitzpatrick in Week 11, finishing as a top-15 play despite being a backup. We know this offense is high-octane, and if Winston starts, he’ll be a favorable play against San Francisco this Sunday.
Lamar Jackson, QB, Baltimore Ravens (19.9 percent). There’s no better avenue to raise the floor of a quarterback in fantasy football than rushing ability, and Jackson needed just one start to showcase how much he’ll be used in that regard. He handled 27 rushing attempts in Week 11, the most by any quarterback since at least 1999. While he’ll grow as a thrower, Jackson’s rushing value and future schedule (savory matchups on the horizon including Oakland, Atlanta, Kansas City and Tampa Bay) make him an add, noting that Joe Flacco may be summoned back as the starter when healthy.
Theo Riddick, RB, Detroit Lions (31.8 percent). With Kerryon Johnson dealing with a knee injury, the Lions are going to need fill-in contributions in the backfield. We’ll get to LeGarrette Blount soon, but Riddick’s value rests in his pass-catching acumen. He has 18 catches over his past three games, and while he has just one carry during that stretch, he may be called upon to contribute at least some in that regard due to the Johnson injury.
LeGarrette Blount, RB, Detroit Lions (9.8 percent). It’s hard to get particularly excited about rostering Blount, who has a total of 15 yards on 21 carries (0.71 average) over the past four games, but the Lions are going to need someone to step up for however long Johnson is out, and Blount has seen the most work amongst other backs. He could see upwards of 15-20 carries in any game for now, and we’ve seen him have success in a hammerhead role previously. There are mitigating factors, but Blount should be added with volume in mind.
Danny Amendola, WR, Miami Dolphins (42.5 percent). It wasn’t a major surprise to see Amendola’s roster percentage dip during the Dolphins’ bye week when roster spots are coveted, but he should see that percentage spike this week. Over the past five Dolphins games, Amendola has at least five catches in every contest and 41 total targets. He’s their No. 1 receiver right now and a flex option in PPR leagues.
Willie Snead IV, WR, Baltimore Ravens (21.3 percent). While the Ravens’ passing offense took on a different outlook when Jackson became the starter (Flacco led the NFL in attempts per game before his injury, Jackson attempted just 19 passes in Week 11), Snead stayed busy. He led all Ravens with eight targets and recorded his eighth game this season with at least 10 fantasy points. A steady flex play.
DJ Moore, WR, Carolina Panthers (32.0 percent). Another young wide receiver to have a breakout game in Week 10, Moore led all Panthers with seven catches, 157 yards and a touchdown. He has an abundance of speed and at least four catches in five of his past seven games. While he’s yet to develop consistent production (six games this season with fewer than eight points), Moore’s talent is obvious and his schedule is terrific — the Panthers’ final five games are against the Browns, Bucs, Falcons and Saints twice.
Anthony Miller, WR, Chicago Bears (49.1 percent). Miller continued his hot play in Week 11, snagging a touchdown on a beautiful sliding catch. He’s logged double-digit points in four straight games, proving his big-play propensity along the way. He has a touchdown in three of his past four games and is playing a significant portion of the snaps in Chicago. Fun player to watch.
John Ross, WR, Cincinnati Bengals (17.2 percent). The Bengals have been without A.J. Green in back-to-back games and have subsequently relied more on Ross than ever before. The 2017 first round pick has 13 targets over his past two games, posting two catches and a touchdown in each game. While that’s an inefficient catch percentage, Ross is a big play waiting to happen and has shown enough to merit roster consideration. The Bengals will need him to perform until Green returns, though that could be as soon as Week 12.
Week 12 streaming quarterback options:
Baker Mayfield, Cleveland Browns
Deeper league adds:
DeAndre Washington, RB, Oakland Raiders (0.2 percent). After Doug Martin left Week 11’s win over the Cardinals with an ankle issue, Washington was tasked with splitting duties alongside Jalen Richard. He finished with 12 carries for 39 yards. Points are hard to come by in Oakland, making Washington an option only for a deep league with limited running back options.
Cameron Brate, TE, Tampa Bay Buccanners (9.0 percent). Following an ankle injury to O.J. Howard in Week 11, Brate could be in line to play a major role for the Bucs. In the game in which Howard was injured earlier this year, Brate found the end zone on one of his three catches.
Jonnu Smith, TE, Tennessee Titans (2.4 percent). After scoring a touchdown in back-to-back games, Smith had his most productive receiving game of the season in Week 11, notching six grabs against the Colts. He’s an athletic tight end who the team seems interested in getting more involved.
Marcell Ateman, WR, Oakland Raiders (0.1 percent). The Raiders are decimated at receiver right now, with Ateman stepping into a prominent role after Brandon LaFell left Week 11 due to an Achilles injury. He caught all four of his targets for 50 yards.
Bruce Ellington, WR, Detroit Lions (0.1 percent). The Lions needed some slot presence following the trade of Golden Tate and receiver depth due to Marvin Jones Jr.‘s injury. Ellington, a newcomer, managed six catches in his first game with Detroit.
Keke Coutee, WR, Houston Texans (14.1 percent). Demaryius Thomas had just a single target (and no catches in Week 11), Coutee has three games with at least five catches and looks to be the No. 2 wideout in Houston.