Best fantasy football waiver wire pickups for Week 12
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Taysom Hill was the talk of the fantasy football world all week, and he did enough in his first start at QB to be among the top Week 12 fantasy waiver wire pickups and free agent adds. Of course, if you’re playing in a league where Hill is TE-eligible, he’s almost certainly already on a team. In the leagues in which he’s only eligible at QB, he’s now officially worth stashing. That’s true for players at other positions, too, like Curtis Samuel, Carlos Hyde, La’Mical Perine, Frank Gore, Michael Pittman Jr., and Tim Patrick.

Yes, that list of names doesn’t exactly inspire a lot of excitement, but at this point in the season, you’re generally not going to find a lot of breakouts or diamonds in the rough. It’s all about injury replacements and matchup-based streamers. Our full free agent list is full of similar players, including several who were on bye last week (Wayne Gallman, Jordan Reed, and Cam Akers). It’s important not to forget about these guys just because they didn’t play this week. As always, we also have a bunch of Week 11 streaming recommendations at QB, TE, and D/ST, which can be found at the end of this list.

You’d likely have to be pretty desperate to use a high waiver claim this week. As much as we like Hill, it’s unlikely you have that glaring of a need at QB. Guys like Samuel and Reed could provide plenty of value, but neither are worth a high or even mid-tier claim with all but two teams having already had their byes (and no teams off next week). Some of the RBs are more interesting, mainly Gallman because we know he’ll be starting for at least the next two games. If we know for sure that Peterson will be starting next in a highly favorable matchup or Gore will have the backfield to himself, then it’s possible they’re worth a high claim if you have a big hole at RB/flex. 

There’s no real need to “save” your waiver claim position at this point, especially if you’re fighting for a playoff spot, but if you don’t need an immediate fill-in, then you might as well wait and see if there’s a big injury or breakout next week. — ML

Unless otherwise noted, only players owned in fewer than 50 percent of Yahoo leagues considered.

Gallman is owned in 54 percent of Yahoo leagues, but that’s still too low for the Giants’ new lead back. With Devonta Freeman (ankle) now on IR, Gallman is getting at least two more games as the team’s starting running back. Gallman has averaged 63.3 yards per game in his last four outings and has scored five times in that span. Fresh off a bye, he should be ready to take advantage of a Bengals defense that has been middle-of-the-pack against RBs and can be trusted as an RB2 until Freeman is ready to return. —Jacob Camenker

Fantasy owners weren’t sure what to expect from Hill in his starting debut under center, but he played the entire game at QB. While he didn’t run as much as fantasy owners would like early, he still managed to get two rushing TDs — one on a designed rush near the goal line, another on a scramble in the red zone — and finished with 51 rushing yards on 10 carries. He also held his own as a passer (18-of-23, 233 yards, no INTs). It didn’t hurt that Hill had a highly favorable matchup against Atlanta, but he gets that same matchup in Week 13. Next week, he’ll face an average Broncos pass defense, but because of his rushing ability, Hill will remain a high-floor option with a high ceiling, too.–Matt Lutovsky

Samuel had been seeing ample work (and production) over the past several weeks, so his 49-percent ownership rate in Yahoo leagues should have been much higher. After Samuel popped off for 74 total yards and a TD on nine touchesin Week 11, it figures to skyrocket. Samuel has now had at least five targets in six straight games, and he’s also had at least one carry in every game this year. The Panthers unfortunately have a bye in Week 13, but next week they take on a Vikings defense that’s been weak against the run and pass this year. Samuel is a great WR3/flex option, and he also has a favorable Week 14 matchup against Denver. —ML

Though Frank Gore started the game for the Jets, Perine got the first goal-line touch and plunged in a five-yard touchdown. From that point on, it was a pretty even split between the two before Perine injured his ankle and exited for the remainder of the game. He finished with 33 yards on eight carries. If Perine is active next, we like his upside in a matchup with a mediocre Dolphins run defense. — ML

Gore turned in a line of 15 carries for 61 yards and a TD (plus another 10 yards on two catches). He got the start and the first three carries before having an even split with Perine for most of the game until Perine suffered an ankle injury. If Perine is out next week, Gore will once again handle of the bulk of the RB touches, and while he isn’t exactly a high-ceiling player, getting 15-plus touches against a mediocre Dolphins run defense is enough to make Gore a decent flex play. —ML

Hyde returned from a hamstring injury on Thursday Night Football against the Cardinals and handled a bulk of the RB touches. He got 14 carries and turned them into 79 yards and a TD while catching two passes for 16 yards. While Chris Carson (foot) could return to action for the Seahawks in Week 12, Hyde should continue to get some carries and will represent one of the best handcuffs in fantasy football. All Carson owners should grab him and hang onto him as they get ready for the fantasy playoffs. —JC

Since returning from a toe injury in Week 7, Shepard has been a consistent receiving threat for the Giants. He has averaged eight targets per game for 6.5 catches and 54.8 yards. He appears to be Daniel Jones’ favorite receiver, and while he has just one TD on the season, he will continue to rack up targets and receptions. He’s a potential WR3 in PPR formats but will surely be a solid flex in standard with games upcoming against the Bengals, Seahawks, and Cardinals. —JC

In his past four games, Beasley has twice posted a game with at least 12 targets, 11 catches, and 100 yards. He’s owned in 51 percent of Yahoo leagues, but he appears to be a preferred target of Josh Allen and should be able to take advantage of that connection, especially in PPR formats. Beasley is taking on the Chargers, 49ers, and Steelers the next few weeks, so he should have a chance to be a solid flex play in those matchups. —JC

Pittman continued his late-season surge with three catches for 66 yards and a score against the Packers. It looked like he was on his way to a much bigger game, as almost all of that production happened early, but it was still nice to see Pittman post 50-plus yards for the third straight game. His three targets is a little disappointing, but he had 15 in the previous two games, so he could easily see an uptick next week against Tennessee. The Titans entered Week 11 allowing sixth-most fantasy points per game to WRs, so Pittman will be a worthwhile WR3/flex next week, as well as the three weeks after that (@ Texans, @ Raiders, vs. Texans). —ML

Patrick once again was one of Drew Lock’s favorite targets in Week 11. He saw eight targets on the day, tied for the most on the team with Jerry Jeudy, and Patrick posted a team-high 119 receiving yards. Patrick and the Broncos are taking on the Saints in Week 12, and that should be a favorable matchup for Patrick considering the Broncos will likely throw a lot against New Orleans’ mediocre pass defense. —JC

Peterson saw seven carries and totaled 18 yards for the Lions in their shutout loss to the Lions in Week 11. He could once again end up leading the Lions in carries if D’Andre Swift (concussion) can’t get back on the field for an early Thanksgiving Day game against the Texans in Week 12. Houston has one of the worst run defenses in the NFL, so if Swift can’t play, Peterson could end up being a solid flex option for fantasy owners. —JC

While Adrian Peterson got more carries than Johnson on Sunday, it wasn’t by much. Johnson logged six carries for 17 yards, and more important, he caught two-of-five targets for 21 yards. If D’Andre Swift (concussion) is out on Thursday, Johnson will continue to serve as the top pass-catching back for the Lions, especially considering that Peterson dropped the only target that came his way. Johnson will be a decent flex in PPR formats against the Texans league-worst run defense. —JC

Akers is becoming a bigger part of the Rams’ offense, and he led the team in carries in Week 10 with 10. That could signal that the second-round rookie is en route to becoming the leader of the Rams backfield. On Monday Night Football, the Rams will get a test against a tough Buccaneers run defense, and if Akers continues to out-carry Malcolm Brown and Darrell Henderson, it could represent a changing of the guard. —JC

Brown got fewer touches than Cam Akers and Darrell Henderson the last time the Rams were on the field, but he did get two TDs and some goal-line touches for the Rams. Brown is the only running back to have a consistent role throughout the season, so he should be owned as a handcuff and potential TD-dependent flex in good matchups. —JC

Reed was able to catch five-of-six targets for 62 yards in Week 10 against the Saints and emerged as a top target for Nick Mullens. With George Kittle (foot) still out long-term, Reed should continue to see quite a few targets from his quarterback. With games upcoming against the Rams, Bills, and Washington, Reed should be a good play considering that the latter two teams are weak against TEs. —JC

Reagor continues to be one of the top targets for the Eagles. He saw five targets against the Browns in Week 11 and managed to catch four of them for 52 yards. Both of those numbers ranked second best on the team behind only Dallas Goedert (five catches, 77 yards). The Eagles are taking on the Seahawks next week, a team that has allowed the most fantasy points per game to WRs this year by far (37.4). Reagor could be a WR3 if the Eagles continue to look his way. —JC

Perriman caught a 49-yard TD from Joe Flacco against the Chargers in Week 11, marking the third time he has found the end zone in his past two games. Perriman should continue to be a solid deep threat for the Jets, and while he’s facing a tough Dolphins team in Week 12, he has some solid matchups against the Raiders and the Seahawks in the following weeks. He’ll be a boom-or-bust flex play, but he’s definitely worth keeping around. —JC

Julio Jones exited the Falcons’ loss to the Saints with a hamstring injury. He returned late in the game when the team was desperate to score, but the Falcons largely avoiding using him so he wouldn’t aggravate his injury. If Jones has to miss more time with a recurrence of the injury that sidelined him earlier in the year, Gage could have fantasy value. Gage saw a team-high 12 targets for the Falcons in Week 11, catching seven for 58 yards. He gets to take on the Raiders and their spotty secondary in Week 12, so Gage can be trusted as a potential WR3/flex in the contest and possibly for the rematch against the Saints in Week 13. —JC

Zaccheaus only saw one target against the Saints even after Julio Jones’ departure, but he had a four-catch, 103-yard, one-TD game in place of Calvin Ridley in Week 9 against the Broncos. In Week 4 when Jones barely played, Zaccheaus caught eight-of-nine targets for 86 yards. He could have similar success against the Raiders in Week 12 if Jones misses time. He’s at least worth stashing if he has a big Week 12 and Jones continues to miss time. —JC

Lazard (core) finally made his long-awaited return to action for the Packers against the Colts. In a tough matchup, he wasn’t able to do much. He had just two catches for 18 yards, but he was targeted four times. The Packers are taking on the Bears in Week 12, but then they have favorable matchups against the Eagles, Lions, Panthers, and Titans after that. He will be a worthwhile flex play during the fantasy playoffs. —JC

It looked like Jakobi Meyers was emerging as the Patriots’ top pass-catching weapon, but it was Byrd that led the charge against the Texans. Byrd saw seven targets, third most on the team behind James White (9) and N’Keal Harry (8), and caught six of them for 132 yards and a TD. He did well as a deep threat and could continue to be a game-breaker moving forward. The Patriots are playing the Cardinals and Chargers the next two weeks, so Byrd could end up being a solid PPR flex play in those matchups against some porous defenses. —JC

Cole has had at least 100 yards or a TD in five-of-10 games this season. He only managed two catches and 26 yards against a tough Steelers defense, but he gets to take on a Browns defense that has allowed the sixth-most fantasy points per game to WRs (27.6). As long as Laviska Shenault (hamstring) is out, Cole will be the No. 2 receiver for the Jaguars and will be able to take advantage of favorable matchups, like next week against Cleveland. It’s also possible Gardner Minshew returns soon, which should the Jaguars offense overall. —JC

Higgins was one of Baker Mayfield’s favorite targets in Week 11. He saw just four targets, but that was just one off the team lead of five on yet another rain-soaked affair in Cleveland. He had 65 yards on three catches, and in better weather, he could do more. Expect him to be a solid flex option the next two weeks against the Jaguars and Titans, so feel free to add him if you need help at the receiver position. —JC

Coleman (knee) may be set to return from an injury that has caused him to miss the past two weeks. Raheem Mostert (ankle) could also be back, but it’s possible he remains out while Coleman returns, which would likely mean Coleman operates as the lead back in Week 12. The 49ers are facing the Rams, Bills, and Washington in their next three games, so Coleman could be a solid play against the latter two if he’s getting carries. —JC

Michel wasn’t active in Week 11 in the first game after he was activated off the IR, but he should be active in Week 12. Rex Burkhead suffered a knee injury that knocked him out against the Texans, and there are questions about the severity of the injury. Michel would slot into the lineup as the backup for Damien Harris in the Patriots’ run-heavy offense. The Patriots have matchups upcoming with the Cardinals, Chargers, Rams, and Dolphins, so Michel could end up being a good flex in one of those matchups. At the very least, he’s a solid handcuff. —JC

Ezekiel Elliott is still the lead back for the Cowboys, but Pollard is talented and makes the most of his touches. Against the Vikings, Pollard logged 60 yards and a TD on just five touches. If Elliott goes down at any point, Pollard would instantly be a top-15 play, so if you have space for a handcuff, feel free to pick up Pollard. He has, arguably, more upside than any other handcuff on the market. —JC

Thomas continues to be one of the most targeted tight ends in fantasy football, as he is yet to log fewer than four in a game this season. In Week 12, Thomas gets to take on a Dallas team that is allowing the 11th-most FPPG to TEs (8.8). Feel free to start him this week, and in PPR formats, he should be a top-15 TE for the rest of the season. —JC

After two receivers, Randall Cobb and Kenny Stills, went down with injuries against the Patriots, Akins ended up finishing second on the team in targets (6) to Will Fuller (8) and caught five of them for 83 yards. Akins could end up being the No. 3 target on the Texans if Cobb and Stills can’t play on Thanksgiving, so despite a tough matchup against a Lions defense that has been good against TEs this year, he can be added as a potential TE streamer for this week. After that, though, games against the Colts (twice) and Bears will make him a lower-level option unless he keeps seeing five-plus targets. —JC

Washington had allowedthe eighth-most FPPG to TEs (9.4) entering Week 11 and were tied for the fourth-most TDs allowed to the position, so Schultz should be able to take advantage of this matchup in Week 12. Schultz has averaged 6.1 targets per game this season, and while he struggled in his first game against Washington (two catches, 22 yards) he should be better off this time around. He can be trusted as a top streamer, especiallyafter he foundsuccess with Ben DiNucci and Garrett Gilbert at quarterback.–JC

Tua Tagovailoa left the Dolphins’ game against the Broncos after being sacked six times and generating less than 100 passing yards. It’s unclear if he left due to an ankle injury or his ineffective play, but either way, Fitzpatrick couldstart against the Jets. Fitzpatrick had a three-TD game against the Jets in his last start, Week 6, and the Jets have allowed the fifth-most fantasy points per game to QBs this year (21.7), so he is a great streaming option this week if he starts.–JC

Before his Week 11 matchup with the Chiefs, Carr had been averaging just under 240 passing yards per game and had totaled 16 TDs on the year. He’s a solid streaming option and has multiple TDs in six-of-nine games this season. He can be trusted against a Falcons defense that just allowed Taysom Hill to throw for 233 yards against them in his first career NFL start. —JC

Carson Wentz has had a bad season to date. He leads the league in interceptions (14) and he has been sacked a whopping 40 times through 10 games. He has put Philly behind the 8-ball consistently because of his poor play, and at some point, they have to consider benching him to try to spark their team as they fight for the NFC East title. Hurts was a second-round pick in the 2020 NFL Draft and has great mobility. If Wentz gets benched, Hurts could have upside because of his scrambling floor, so feel free to stash Hurts if you might need some help at the QB position. Wentz may keep starting, but if Hurts gets to see action, he will surely be valuable. —JC

Bridgewater (knee) was out of action for the Panthers in Week 11 but he was nearly declared active to serve as the emergency quarterback. Given that Bridgewater was that close to at least being available, he should have a chance to suit up in Week 12 against a Vikings team that has been middle-of-the-pack against QBs this year. Bridgewater has averaged 240.1 passing yards and two total TDs per game in his past seven contests, so he should put up similar numbers if he can return to the field. If he can’t, P.J. Walker would at least be worth considering as a streamer, though there will likely be safer options available on the waiver wire. —JC

The Browns are taking on the Jaguars in Week 12, and the Jaguars will either be starting a struggling Jake Luton or a rusty Gardner Minshew. The Jaguars had the seventh-lowest scoring average entering Week 11 (22.1 points per game) while the Browns were tied for the eighth-most takeaways (14) and logged a pick-six against the Eagles. With Myles Garrett (COVID) potentially returning for the Browns, they should have a chance to pressure Luton or Minshew in some mistakes. —JC

The Packers have a favorable matchup against a Bears offense averaging a pitiful 300.9 yards and 19.1 points per game this season. Those numbers both ranked second worst in the NFL to only the Jets. The Packers should be able to limit the Bears even with Chicago coming off a bye and could get some serious heat on Nick Foles.–JC

Unfortunately, the Bengals appear to have lost Joe Burrow, who was carted off against Washington with a knee injury. As a result, Ryan Finley will take over under center. Despite playing just a half of action for the Bengals, Finley was sacked four times and threw an interception. The Giants defense has been solid in recent weeks, so they can be trusted as one of the top Week 12 defensive streamers. —JC

Washington has put forth some solid defensive performances this year thanks largely to their high sack floor (3.1 sacks per game entering Week 11). Last time they played the Cowboys, they limited them to three points, logged an interception, and posted 17 fantasy points on the day. They should continue to generate pressure and will have a higher floor than most defenses on the waiver wire, especially on a short week and given that Dallas had 20 turnovers (second most in the NFL) before its game against the Vikings. — JC

The Cowboys are playing at home on Thanksgiving against a Washington offense that has turned the ball over 16 times on the season, good for fifth most in the NFL. The Cowboys have been better on the defensive side of the ball with their linebackers healthy, so if they’re motivated to win their Thanksgiving home game, they should have a chance to be a worthwhile streamer. —JC

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