Waiver Wire Pickups: Week 12 (Fantasy Football)

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We joyously welcome you to this special Thanksgiving edition of our weekly waiver wire pickups article. As we move beyond the traditional cranberry sauce and stuffing, our focus shifts to a delectable spread of hidden gems and potential game-changers that might induce your matchup into a post-turkey nap so epic that they never wake up. We continue to be diligently carving out opportunities for savvy managers to feast on overlooked talents. Just like the art of roasting a perfect turkey demands time, patience, and the precise amount of seasoning, so does the process of crafting a championship-caliber roster. Join us as we embark on a quest to unveil those concealed treasures capable of transforming your squad from a mere side dish into the main course in your playoff standings. Without further ado, allow me to introduce you to this week’s pristine pickups as we delve into Week 12.

Running Backs

Team Player Roster % Matchups
SEA Zach Charbonnet 51% SF / @DAL / @SF
GB AJ Dillon 61% @DET / KC / @NYG
MIN Ty Chandler 47% CHI / BYE / @LV
BAL Keaton Mitchell 61% @LAC / BYE / LAR
NE Ezekiel Elliott 43% @NYG / LAC / @PIT
CHI Roschon Johnson 32% @MIN / BYE / DET
LAR Darrell Henderson Jr. 55% @ARI / CLE / @BAL
SF Elijah Mitchell 24% @SEA / @PHI / SEA
BUF Latavius Murray 23% @PHI / BYE / @KC
DAL Rico Dowdle 24% WAS / SEA / PHI
PHI Kenneth Gainwell 25% BUF / SF / @DAL
KC Jerick McKinnon 35% @LV / @GB / BUF
MIA Salvon Ahmed 2% @NYJ / @WAS / TEN
LAR Royce Freeman 18% @ARI / CLE / @BAL

Zach Charbonnet, RB, Seattle Seahawks – The mention of Zach Charbonnet in this article has been a recurring theme for weeks, but none more pivotal than this one. After wrestling with a series of injuries in recent games, Kenneth Walker suffered a seemingly more serious oblique injury this week. Fortunately, the team invested in an exceptionally talented second-round running back in this year’s draft, poised to seamlessly step into Walker’s role during his absence. Charbonnet defies the typical backup running back archetype, boasting impressive size, speed, vision, and pass-catching ability. In the team’s recent loss to the Los Angeles Rams, the rookie carried the ball 15 times for 47 yards and hauled in six receptions for 22 yards. Limited opportunities behind Walker have not hindered Charbonnet from impressing this season, with a 4.9 yards per carry average and a 5.4 yards per reception average through nine games. Despite a challenging matchup against the San Francisco 49ers this week, if Walker is sidelined, Charbonnet deserves immediate starting consideration in lineups. Depending on the duration of Walker’s absence, Charbonnet could emerge as a league-winning asset down the stretch, making him the top priority add of the week.
Recommended FAAB: 15-55%.

AJ Dillon, RB, Green Bay PackersAJ Dillon‘s season has been anything but a parade of positive descriptors. However, a flicker of optimism surfaced two weeks ago when he managed to churn out 70 rushing yards on nine carries, and he sustained a decent performance against the Los Angeles Chargers in his most recent outing. Despite recording only 29 yards on 14 carries, he salvaged his day by catching all four of his targets for an additional 32 yards. The narrative of this game took a dramatic turn when Aaron Jones was carted off of the field due to a knee injury. While Dillon has not exactly painted a vivid picture of a player demanding more touches this year, he now finds himself next in line to seize the lead back role. It is intriguing to note that Dillon had a similarly bleak season leading up to Week 12 in the previous season, but then exploded in the final six games. He secured five games as RB21 or better and punched in six touchdowns during that impressive and unexpected stretch. Although facing formidable defenses against the Detroit Lions and Kansas City Chiefs in his next two matchups, Dillon now stands at the precipice of an opportunity to shed his uninspiring season and reclaim fantasy relevance as we edge closer to the fantasy playoffs.
Recommended FAAB: 10-25%.

Ty Chandler, RB, Minnesota VikingsTy Chandler became a widely sought-after waiver wire addition last week amid speculation that Alexander Mattison might miss a game due to concussion protocols. Although Mattison cleared protocols in time for Sunday’s game, it was Chandler who stole the spotlight yet again. Despite eight fewer carries, Chandler trailed Mattison by only eight rushing yards in this contest. In Sunday night’s loss to the Denver Broncos, Chandler ran the ball 10 times for 73 yards and caught all four of his targets for an additional 37 yards. The Minnesota backfield situation mirrors the recent trend seen in Pittsburgh, where Jaylen Warren has been outperforming Najee Harris in almost all aspects of the game. Despite Mattison being the presumed starter with a lucrative offseason contract, Chandler showcases more juice in his runs and has been more productive with his opportunities. The hope is for a similar evolution as witnessed in the Steelers’ backfield, allowing Chandler to secure the lead role moving forward. It is noteworthy that the team might have been unsatisfied with Mattison when they brought in Cam Akers to bolster their struggling running game, prior to suffering a season-ending Achilles injury a few weeks back. Perhaps the running back they have been looking for has been on the roster all along. Chandler’s next opportunity to prove his worth comes on Monday night against the Chicago Bears.
Recommended FAAB: 10-15%.

Roschon Johnson, RB, Chicago Bears – At this stage of the season, it is rather uncommon for running backs to emerge as consistent fantasy options. However, Roschon Johnson showcased enough promise in the team’s recent loss to the Detroit Lions to warrant some attention. The Chicago backfield has been a challenging puzzle to solve this year, resembling a carousel of emerging options. While D’Onta Foreman has seized control of the lead role recently, his injury in this game opens the door for Johnson to receive more opportunities. In this matchup, the rookie running back capitalized on his chances, rushing six times for 30 yards. Although he did not receive a target in this game, he had six just a week prior, highlighting his versatility. Despite Foreman’s injury, Johnson will continue to face considerable competition from Khalil Herbert, who returned from injured reserve and had 16 carries for 35 yards. If Johnson can continue to apply pressure in the backfield and capitalize on limited opportunities, he stands a chance to steal the lead back role. Currently nothing more than a speculative addition to rosters, Johnson offers enough intriguing potential to secure a spot on your bench.
Recommended FAAB: 0-5%.

Wide Receivers

Team Player Roster % Matchups FAAB
IND Josh Downs 60% TB / @TEN / @CIN 5 – 20%
GB Jayden Reed 43% @DET / KC / @NYG 5 – 20%
NE Demario Douglas 45% @NYG / LAC / @PIT 0 – 10%
BAL Odell Beckham Jr. 40% @LAC / BYE / LAR 0 – 10%
NO Rashid Shaheed 40% @ATL / DET / CAR 0 – 10%
GB Romeo Doubs 61% @DET / KC / @NYG 0 – 10%
ARI Michael Wilson 22% LAR / @PIT / BYE 0 – 5%
BUF Khalil Shakir 21% @PHI / BYE / @KC 0 – 5%
LAR Tutu Atwell 25% @ARI / CLE / @BAL 0 – 5%
JAX Zay Jones 32% @HOU / CIN / @CLE 0 – 0%
ARI Rondale Moore 26% LAR / @PIT / BYE 0 – 0%
BAL Rashod Bateman 17% @LAC / BYE / LAR 0 – 0%
MIN K.J. Osborn 44% CHI / BYE / @LV 0 – 0%
NO A.T. Perry 2% @ATL / DET / CAR 0 – 0%
GB Dontayvion Wicks 1% @DET / KC / @NYG 0 – 0%
ARI Greg Dortch 3% LAR / @PIT / BYE 0 – 0%
KC Justin Watson 0% @LV / @GB / BUF 0 – 0%

Josh Downs, WR, Indianapolis Colts – If Josh Downs happened to hit the waiver wire in your league before his bye week, we recommend you stop what you are doing to put in an immediate waiver claim for his services. In his last two games, Downs has struggled with a lingering knee injury, limiting his time on the field significantly and yielding underwhelming results. It is crucial not to forget that before his injury, Downs was on an absolute heater. In the four games preceding the setback, the impressive rookie was averaging nearly six receptions on seven targets for 79 receiving yards and 0.5 touchdowns per game. While he might not be on the same high-powered offense as Tank Dell, Downs had put together a similarly remarkable rookie season and shares a near athletic profile. Returning from the bye week in improved health, Downs faces one of the most favorable schedules for a wide receiver in the remaining games of the season. His first test to reclaim his form will be against the Tampa Bay Buccaneers this Sunday. Recommended FAAB: 5-20%.

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Jayden Reed, WR, Green Bay Packers – Navigating the Green Bay wide receiver landscape has been challenging all season, but rookie Jayden Reed has been emerging as the alpha in the room. In a Week 11 victory over the Los Angeles Chargers, Reed caught four of six targets for 46 yards and showcased versatility with three carries for 46 rushing yards, including a touchdown. The team’s deliberate efforts to get the ball in Reed’s hands signal exciting fantasy potential moving forward. With consecutive games of 16 or more fantasy points and double-digit points in four of 10 games this season, Reed is on a hot streak that everyone should be paying attention to. With Aaron Jones sidelined due to injury, Reed’s role in the offense will likely expand, presenting additional opportunities out of the backfield. He is a priority addition to fantasy rosters this week, especially with a favorable and potentially high-scoring matchup against the Detroit Lions this Thursday.
Recommended FAAB: 5-20%.

Odell Beckham Jr., WR, Baltimore Ravens – When his team needed him most, Odell Beckham Jr. delivered his best performance of the season in a pivotal victory against the Cincinnati Bengals. The seasoned wide receiver showcased a vintage performance, securing four of his seven targets for an impressive 116 yards, following two consecutive games with a touchdown. His growing connection with Lamar Jackson gains even more significance in the wake of Mark Andrews’ season-ending injury. Despite sustaining a shoulder injury in the game, it is reassuring that it is not considered serious. As he aims to become the primary target in this offense, he faces competition from relatively unproven players like Zay Flowers, Rashod Bateman, and Isaiah Likely. While a potential absence due to the shoulder injury would boost the fantasy prospects of the latter three, the veteran wide receiver remains our primary focus at this point in time. Keep a close eye on his practice reports this week, but if all goes well, he should be poised for a promising opportunity in a favorable matchup against the Los Angeles Chargers on Sunday.
Recommended FAAB: 0-10%.

Khalil Shakir, WR, Buffalo Bills – If you are reading this, you likely had as many targets as Gabe Davis received in Week 11. While Davis seems to be receiving enough cardio to qualify for the Olympics, second-year wide receiver Khalil Shakir is becoming Josh Allen‘s preferred target of the two. In Sunday’s victory over the New York Jets, Shakir caught three of his four targets for a team-leading 115 receiving yards and a touchdown. Notably, Shakir has been on the field for 65% of snaps in the last four games after minimal playing time in all games prior. He has delivered notable fantasy performances in three of these four games, emerging as the deep threat needed alongside Stefon Diggs and Dalton Kincaid. If Shakir can seize the opportunities that were once provided to Davis, he presents compelling boom-or-bust potential for fantasy lineups. However, given the volatility and inconsistency of this role in the offense, it is still uncertain if Shakir has earned enough trust to be a regular starter. Yet, his speed, impressive catch radius, and connection with Josh Allen‘s cannon arm are reasons for fantasy managers to get excited.
Recommended FAAB: 0-5%.

Tight Ends

Team Player Roster % Matchups
BAL Isaiah Likely 6% @LAC / BYE / LAR
PIT Pat Freiermuth 55% @CIN / ARI / NE
TB Cade Otton 27% @IND / CAR / @ATL
LAC Donald Parham Jr. 8% BAL / @NE / DEN
LAR Tyler Higbee 33% @ARI / CLE / @BAL
NYJ Tyler Conklin 25% MIA / ATL / HOU
KC Noah Gray 4% @LV / @GB / BUF

Isaiah Likely, TE, Baltimore Ravens – Following Mark Andrews‘ devastating season-ending injury on Thursday night, numerous teams face the challenge of replacing a key player in their starting lineups. While it may be unlikely to match the star tight end’s weekly production, Baltimore’s depth chart features a capable backup in Isaiah Likely. Despite his modest season stats of nine receptions for 89 yards, Likely has demonstrated his potential in previous seasons, stepping in admirably for Andrews in 2022. In the three games where he played over 50% of snaps in this season, he ranked as the TE9 or better. Despite a quiet Week 1 this season filling in for Andrews and his most recent game without a reception, Likely’s athleticism and fantasy upside make him a compelling choice on waivers this week. Although the wide receivers will need to step up for the team, Baltimore’s system will continue to heavily involve tight ends. Due to this, Charlie Kolar will most likely see some increased involvement in the offense as well, but Likely emerges as the more enticing fantasy option of the two for your lineups.
Recommended FAAB: 0-15%.

Pat Freiermuth, TE, Pittsburgh Steelers – The Muth has been far from Luth this season. In a Week 11 loss to the Cleveland Browns, Pat Freiermuth returned to action after being on the injured reserve since Week 4. Unfortunately, it was not an ideal matchup for his comeback, resulting in just one catch for seven yards. Despite being an exciting young talent at the position, the struggling Steelers’ offense, led by Kenny Pickett, does not instill much confidence or inspiration. Trusting players like Diontae Johnson or George Pickens on a weekly basis has already been extremely challenging. Nevertheless, Freiermuth possesses the talent to produce if the opportunities align with his skills. This is the same player who ranked as the TE10 or better in seven games just a season ago. While it is currently tough to consider him in your starting lineup, if you are in need at the tight end position, he is at least worth a speculative add to see if he can kick-start his season. His next chance to get the ball rolling will be in a much better matchup against the Cincinnati Bengals on Sunday.
Recommended FAAB: 0-15%.

Tyler Higbee, TE, Los Angeles RamsTyler Higbee has been no stranger to the waiver wire column over the years. The HigBEAST tends to have fantasy-relevant spurts during the season but struggles to maintain consistency, potentially due to hibernation. Despite a modest one-catch performance in Sunday’s victory against the Seattle Seahawks, the veteran tight end emerges as a potentially sneaky and under-the-radar pickup this week. Unfortunately, Cooper Kupp suffered an ankle injury in this game, which could lead to missed time for recovery. In the four games Kupp sat out earlier this season, Higbee accumulated a combined 16 receptions for 196 yards. With Matthew Stafford back and Kyren Williams expected to return, the team’s offense should improve considerably with or without Kupp. However, if the star receiver does in fact miss some time, Higbee could see improved opportunities in the passing game. While not the most inspiring addition to lineups, Higbee is worth considering in deeper leagues given his proven track record and tendency to heat up down the stretch of the season.
Recommended FAAB: 0-0%.


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Team Player Roster % Matchups
TB Baker Mayfield 48% @IND / CAR / @ATL
DEN Russell Wilson 51% CLE / @HOU / @LAC
LAR Matthew Stafford 45% @ARI / CLE / @BAL
GB Jordan Love 46% @DET / KC / @NYG
IND Gardner Minshew 17% TB / @TEN / @CIN
NO Jameis Winston 3% @ATL / DET / CAR
CIN Jake Browning 0% PIT / @JAX / IND
NYG Tommy Devito 5% NE / BYE / GB
NYJ Tim Boyle 0% MIA / ATL / HOU
CLE Joe Flacco 0% @DEN / @LAR / JAX


Team Roster % Matchups
Kansas City Chiefs 70% @LV / @GB / BUF
Miami Dolphins 79% @NYJ / @WAS / TEN
Denver Broncos 33% CLE / @HOU / @LAC
Minnesota Vikings 29% CHI / BYE / @LV
New England Patriots 26% @NYG / LAC / @PIT
Cincinnati Bengals 29% PIT / @JAX / IND
New York Giants 3% NE / BYE / GB
Tennessee Titans 5% CAR / IND / @MIA
Jacksonville Jaguars 54% @HOU / CIN / @CLE
Atlanta Falcons 10% NO / @NYJ / TB

Final Thoughts

Holidays always pose a conundrum during the fantasy football season, balancing the importance of family time with the allure of three crucial Turkey Day matchups. In my family, where sports are not a favorite pastime (with three sisters and no brothers in tow), watching Thanksgiving games has been a personal challenge. This year, spending the holiday with my wife’s family provides a unique chance to indulge in the games. I recently persuaded her brother to join a fantasy football league with his friends, and now he is nearly as hooked as I am. If you face similar challenges with your family, I recommend going to great lengths to get them into fantasy football. It is a near guarantee that they will love it, transforming their football experience forever. A happy family is one that plays fantasy football together. Jokes aside, I wish you a fantastic and safe holiday with your loved ones and suggest taking a brief moment to touch grass throughout the day (or at least during halftime of the games).


Eric says:

Awesome Read! Creative stuff here

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