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Fantasy Football Waiver Wire Week 12: Give thanks to Josh Adams, Tre’Quan Smith, and Baker Mayfield

Jim Saranteas @thefantasygreek
11/21/2018 7:46PM ET

It’s a short fantasy football week with Thanksgiving games on Thursday. Week eleven was dominated by some familiar names and some underused players.  Last week’s top lineup would have included Andy Dalton, Gus Edwards, Peyton Barber, Tre’Quan Smith, DJ Moore, and Antonio Gates. If you had these six in your starting lineup, you likely won your Week 11 match-up. For Week 12, Joe Flacco and Kerryon Johnson, among others, may not be available this week for fantasy football team owners. Your fantasy football waiver wire should still be filled with some quality players if you need the help.

Last week, we advised to be cautious of adding Bills quarterback Matt Barkley. Barkley hasn’t started a football game since 2016 for the Bears. That season, he got the opportunity to start six games but his game performances was a mixed bag. Barkley threw just 25 passes against the Jets completing 15 throws for 232 yards and two touchdowns. The Bills are coming off their bye week to play the Dolphins in Week 12. A string of good games would make Barkley an easier waiver wire grab in fantasy football assuming the Bills don’t turn back to Josh Allen as their starter. Either way, Barkley should be avoided.

This week, be cautious to add two players: Chargers tight end Antonio Gates and Lions running back LeGarrette Blount.

While Antonio Gates finished the week with five receptions on seven targets for 80 yards and a touchdown, this is the first time he exceeded three targets in the past five games and his first touchdown grab in seven games. Unfortunately, this looks more like an anomaly for Gates rather than the norm.

LeGarrette Blount could see more playing time with Kerryon Johnson expected to miss games with a knee sprain. Regardless, Blount has been strictly used as a short yardage running back, red-zone threat. The Lions could turn to fan favorite Zach Zenner to handle the work between the twenties. 

It’s Week 12 and only two teams are in their bye week. If you’re looking to add a player, it’s because of a significant injury or because your player is underperforming or because a team is going in a different direction in using its personnel. We’ll list extra players you can consider if your waiver wire is thin.

Don’t add a player to your fantasy football team if you don’t need one.


1          Mitch Trubisky, Bears

3          Baker Mayfield, Browns

2          Jameis Winston, Buccaneers

4          Nick Mullens, 49ers

5          Lamar Jackson, Ravens

There are plenty of options at quarterback for fantasy football team owners.

The Bears Mitch Trubisky rolled in Week 10 but struggled in Week 12. The Bears have a favorable match-up against the Lions in the first of the Thanksgiving games. Over the past month, the Lions are allowing around 250 yards and 2 touchdowns per game to quarterbacks. He’s available in twenty percent of fantasy football leagues.  Trubisky is your top waiver wire grab if available.

Rookie Baker Mayfield threw multiple touchdowns for a fourth game in a row and it was his best fantasy football game with 216 yards and three pass touchdowns against a decent Falcons pass defense. The re-emergence of the Browns running game continues to be key. Coming off his bye week, Mayfield gets the Bengals in Weeks 12 and 16. The Bengals defense has struggled all season except against the worst of quarterbacks. He’s available in a little over half of fantasy football waiver wires.

With the benching of the Buccaneers Ryan Fitzpatrick, Jameis Winston took advantage throwing for 199 yards and two touchdowns on 16 for 19 passing. The Buccaneers have a good passing schedule in three of their next four games including this week against the 49ers. Winston is worth a speculative add because as the Buccaneers fall out of playoff contention, they’ll likely want to see what they have with their former first round draft pick. Winston is available in almost every fantasy football league.

Speaking of the 49ers, Nick Mullens plays a Buccaneers pass defense which has struggled when teams have thrown on them.  Mullens has done well against pass defenses. Against the Raiders, he threw for 262 yards and 3 touchdowns. Mullens is a great streaming option in Week 12 and also available on almost every waiver wire.

Another good streaming option this week is the Ravens Lamar Jackson, who is expected to play one more time for the injured Joe Flacco. While his 115 yards passing wasn’t all that great, his 117 yards rushing is something to be admired especially this week against a Raiders defense that struggles defending the rush. If Jackson posts similar numbers as he did last week and reaches the end zone, he’ll be in line for a top ten finish. Jackson is available in eight out of ten fantasy football leagues.


1          Josh Adams, Eagles

2          Gus Edwards, Ravens

3          Peyton Barber, Buccaneers

4          Jalen Richard, Raiders

5          Theo Riddick, Lions

There’s no “sure-bet” waiver wire pick-up for the running back position. That’s because they all are a part of a running-back-by-committee situation. So, you shouldn’t be in the mix for a running back off the waiver wire unless you are desperate or have room on your bench to take a chance on a player. Give these running backs a look if you need help. The running backs with a longer view are ranked higher.

The Eagles Josh Adams has been the Eagles best running back over the past four games averaging over six yards per carry. In Week 11, Adams impressed taking 10 touches for 72 all-purpose yards (7.6 YPC) and a touchdown. Josh Adams remains an up-side waiver wire pick up for those that need the help. He’s available in two-thirds of fantasy football leagues.

The Ravens like to drive fantasy football team owner’s nuts with their carousel of running backs each season. This past week after Alex Collins struggled, the Ravens rode the hot hand of the undrafted Gus Edwards for 115 yards and a touchdown on 17 carries. It remains to be seen if he’ll be named the starter, but Edwards is in line for a bigger role. The Ravens finish out the season with a favorable rushing schedule including this week against a leaky Raiders rush defense. Edwards is available on almost every waiver wire.

The Buccaneers Peyton Barber had his best game of the season rushing for 106 yards and one touchdown on 18 rushes. He’ll have two more great match-ups this week and next against the 49ers and Panthers.

The Raiders Jalen Richard is a good option in points-per-reception leagues (PPR) if you need the help. This past week, he out-touched Doug Martin 14 to 11 for 93 all-purpose yards on 3 receptions (5.5 YPC). Richard is available in a little over half of the fantasy football leagues.

Similarly, with it looking like the Lions Kerryon Johnson will miss games with a knee sprain, Theo Riddick is a player to target if you need the help especially in PPR leagues. In Week 11, Riddick hauled in five receptions on seven targets for 30 yards.


1          Tre’Quan Smith, Saints

2          Keke Coutee, Texans

3          DJ Moore, Panthers

4          Christian Kirk, Cardinals

5          John Ross, Bengals

This is a good week to add a wide receiver who will serve as a WR3, flex-play or bye week replacement depending on the size of your league.  

Tre’Quan Smith broke out in Week 11 taking ten-of-thirteen targets for 157 yards and a touchdown. He was the third highest targeted wide receiver this past week. While the recently acquired Brandon Marshall is expected to join the line-up soon, Smith should continue being a large part of the offense. Marshall could help open up Smith in the passing game further. Plus, Smith has the best quarterback in the league throwing him the football. He’s available on three-quarters of the fantasy football league waiver wires.

Keke Coutee reminded that he’s still a large part of the Texans offense even with the newly acquired Demaryius Thomas in the line-up. Coutee finished five of nine for 77 yards. He’s been a solid substitute for Will Fuller. Coutee is available in a little over two-thirds of fantasy football leagues.

DJ Moore had his best game of the season hauling in seven receptions on eight targets for 157 yards and a touchdown. View him as a boom or bust WR3 or flex option. But, he should be rostered in most fantasy football leagues given the favorable passing schedule the Panthers have on tap. Moore is available on most waiver wires.

The Cardinals Christian Kirk showed his big play ability yet again in Week 11 taking three receptions on four passes for 77 yards and a touchdown. Kirk is another player that should be rostered in most fantasy football leagues given the favorable passing schedule the Cardinals have. Kirk is available on two-thirds of fantasy football waiver wires.

John Ross has scored a touchdown in back-to-back games and posted double digit fantasy football points in PPR leagues. As long as AJ Green is out, he’s a solid option in deeper 16 team leagues.


1          Jared Cook, Raiders

2          Austin Hooper, Falcons

3          Jonnu Smith, Titans

4          Vance McDonald, Steelers

Austin Hooper has established himself as a regular option in the Falcons offense going for 279 yards and three touchdowns on 34-for-43 receiving over the past five games. Hooper is available in some leagues and with Jared Cook, is your top option if available on your waiver wire.

Jonnu Smith has emerged as a part of the Titans offense over the past three games catching eleven of thirteen passes to him for 122 yards and three touchdowns. He’s worth a waiver wire pick-up with two favorable match-ups coming up in the next three games regardless of who is under center for the Titans.


1          Jaguars (at Bills)

2          Patriots (at Jets)

3          49ers (at Buccaneers)

4          Colts (v. Dolphins)

5          Cowboys (v. Redskins)      

6          Browns (at Bengals)

Most of this week’s waiver wire adds highlight good defenses with favorable fantasy football match-ups.

Each defense noted above faces an offense in this week’s top ten of most fantasy football points allowed to opposing defenses.

Week 12 Injury Report