10 Fantasy Football Waiver Wire Targets Heading Into Week 12
With that plus three games locking in on Thursday's Thanksgiving Day slate, we'll need to make sure we are all set for this week's waiver run with time to spare.
Which waiver-wire players stand out above the rest for this week?
(I'll stick to players rostered on 50% of Yahoo teams or fewer and also list some other viable pickups who may be available in shallower leagues or relevant only in deeper leagues.)
Tyrod Taylor, Houston Texans
Roster Percentage: 5%
Taylor ran for 2 touchdowns in Week 11's upset win over the Tennessee Titans, and that also came with 4 more carries for 28 total rushing yards.
Taylor threw just 24 times for 107 yards, yet the rushing workload is extremely promising in what could be a similar game script next week against a weak, weak Jets defense (they rank last in the NFL in Adjusted Defensive Passing Net Expected Points (NEP) per play allowed to opponents).
Over the full season, Taylor's personal Passing NEP per drop back is 0.10, virtually equal to the NFL average (0.11), so we're getting a dual-threat quarterback who boasts league-average efficiency in an elite passing matchup. That should work for managers looking to replace Patrick Mahomes and Kyler Murray in Week 12.
Ty Johnson, New York Jets
Roster Percentage: 20%
Though Coleman had the edge in carries (5 to 1 over Johnson), Johnson ran 11 routes to Coleman's 8.
Against the Houston Texans next week, Johnson should be able to return a low-end RB2 game if given the Carter workload. Coleman is 3% rostered and can be added, as well.
Dontrell Hilliard, Tennessee Titans
Roster Percentage: 0%
While it was D'Onta Foreman (63% rostered) who was the featured addition in the Tennessee Titans' backfield last week, the game script they faced in Week 11 led to a massive workload for Dontrell Hilliard instead.
Hilliard played on 63.3% of the Titans' offensive snaps (50 in total) while Adrian Peterson (40% rostered) and Foreman were relegated to 15 and 14 snaps apiece, respectively.
Hilliard was peppered out of the backfield to the tune of 10 targets (8 catches, 47 yards, and a touchdown). The Titans are 4.5-point road underdogs next week against the New England Patriots, so Hilliard could be the go-to back again in Week 12.
Latavius Murray, Baltimore Ravens
Roster Percentage: 36%
The Baltimore Ravens' backfield was whittled down to a two-man committee in Week 11.
No other running back logged an offensive snap.
Murray handled 10 carries in this run-heavy offense, and the arrow will be pointing up with Lamar Jackson back under center.
David Johnson, Houston Texans
Roster Percentage: 25%
Yes, Burkhead had 18 carries this week to Johnson's 13, but Johnson out-targeted Burkhead 4 to 0 and out-snapped him 33 to 27 (or 53.2% to 43.5%).
It's the second straight week that Johnson out-snapped Burkhead (it was 46.3% to 29.9% a week ago after Burkhead led 48.3% to 19.0% back in Week 8).
Burkhead had his chance to be the 1A in this backfield; it's trended toward Johnson the past two games. If Tyrod Taylor can elevate this offense, then there might be some fantasy relevance here in deeper leagues. I'd just rather take a shot on the player with the better snap rate and pass-game work, thus giving Johnson the edge over Burkhead.
Cedrick Wilson, Dallas Cowboys
Roster Percentage: 2%
With Amari Cooper on the COVID-19 list and out for Week 12's tilt and with CeeDee Lamb sustaining a concussion during the Dallas Cowboys' Week 11 game, Cedrick Wilson should be viewed as a top-tier wide receiver waiver-wire addition.
In an extended role in Week 11, Wilson ultimately saw 7 targets (all in the second half), which was a 16.7% target share overall within this game and a 33.3% second-half target share (all 7 of his targets came in the second half).
Wilson also commanded 45.8% of the second-half air yards within this Cowboys offense, so he could be set up very well for a key role on Thursday in Week 12.
Marquez Valdes-Scantling, Green Bay Packers
Roster Percentage: 9%
Valdes-Scantling recorded a season-high 10 targets (he had just one other game with more than 4 targets when he had 8 way back in Week 1). Of course, he played only five games prior to this week, so it's not the hugest sample.
Valdes-Scantling has been running plenty of routes and did so again in Week 11, so that part we can feel good with.
But it's worth pointing out that in his three games since returning from injury, he has 14 targets (10 of which came in Week 11, meaning he had just 2.0 per game in his first two back). The path to two-target games is also quite clear.
His 16.9-yard average depth of target and potential volume from Aaron Rodgers, however, makes him one of the best waiver-wire pickups of the week.
Laviska Shenault, Jacksonville Jaguars
Roster Percentage: 39%
Ahh, Laviska Shenault. Here we go again.
Though the hopefuls for a Shenault breakout have been disappointed so far this season, there might be an opportunity for him after another injury to a Jacksonville Jaguars' receiver.
An injury to Agnew should allow Shenault to shift to the slot (and did in Week 11), where his low-average-depth-of-target profile can shine. Although it's an overall bleak week for waiver wire receivers, Shenault deserves a look for needy teams.
Tre'Quan Smith, New Orleans Saints
Roster Percentage: 4%
Though Tre'Quan Smith slides into a tough matchup for Week 12 on short rest as the New Orleans Saints battle the Buffalo Bills on Thanksgiving, he's quietly secured a great role in the Saints' offense with Trevor Siemian starting and with Alvin Kamara out.
In that span, Smith has generated a team-high 21.1% target share (well, it's tied with Mark Ingram for a team-high).
Smith also has 1.5 downfield targets per game over the past two weeks.
As 4.5-point underdogs, the Saints should be forced to throw, and it's been Smith benefitting most lately.
Dan Arnold, Jacksonville Jaguars
Roster Percentage: 42%
Dan Arnold's roster rate went up from 26% to 42% last week, just in time for him to post a 0-target game against the San Francisco 49ers in a blowout loss.
Well, while Arnold had no targets, he ran 22 of 28 pass routes, and next week, the Jaguars face the Atlanta Falcons, who are 27th in the NFL in adjusted fantasy points per target allowed to tight ends.
Since Week 5 when his role improved with the Jaguars and even with a no-target game factored in this week, Arnold ranks 12th in target share among tight ends. Let's not bail on him entirely -- especially this week in such a good spot.