It’s never a good sign this late in the season when a QB is the waivers headliner, but Cam Newton was one of the very few players who stood out last weekend. He, along with Jets handcuff RBs Ty Johnson and Tevin Coleman, and WR Marquez Valdes-Scantling, will be among the top Week 12 fantasy waiver wire pickups and free agent adds. No one in this group screams “must-add,” so the players who will be targeted as free agents after waivers clear around 4-5 a.m. ET on Wednesday mornings in Yahoo and ESPN leagues are more important this week.
Let’s face it — it’s streaming season. As such, our full free agent list is mostly comprised of Week 12 streaming suggestions at QB, WR, TE, and D/ST. We also have some potential depth pieces, such as DeAndre Carter and Jamison Crowder, who caught our eye in Week 11, but most of those players are nothing more than deck chairs who are interchangeable with the current players on your bench. Maybe they’re trending up and about to peak at the “right time,” but it’s just as likely they fade into irrelevance down the stretch. The Week 12 streamers can be found at the end of this list. If you’re into Black Friday deals, you can also check out our Week 12 fantasy kicker rankings for FREE!
MORE WEEK 12: Full waiver list
Because this isn’t a strong week for pickups, you’re better off just saving your high claim. Some RBs, like Johnson, Coleman, Rex Burkhead, David Johnson, and Boston Scott, might be worth a low claim, but unless you’re desperate, there’s no need to spend valuable FAAB money or waiver status on a borderline flex. Also, chances are some pickups will emerge later in the week as we learn more about injuries, so you might need your waiver claim depending on how your waiver/free agent system works.
Ultimately, it’s all about surviving and advancing at this point in the season, so do what you have to do. If you need a TE or QB because you’ve been riding Patrick Mahomes or Travis Kelce with no backups, then by all means spend up to get one. But if your lineup is solid and you’re just looking for a flex, then you can likely do as well (or better) with someone on your bench or the free agent wire.
Top fantasy football waiver wire pickups for Week 12
Unless otherwise noted, only players owned in fewer than 50 percent of Yahoo leagues considered.
Ty Johnson and Tevin Coleman, RBs, Jets. After Michael Carter suffered an ankle injury in Week 11, Johnson and Coleman split time in New York’s backfield. The focus seems to be on Johnson, who’s had more success this season, but there’s a good chance Coleman leads the Jets in carries if Carter is out. Either way, both could have value given the favorable matchup against Houston in Week 12. It’s a bit risky to spend a high waiver claim on either, but if you’re hurting at RB, one of these two could pay off this week.
Marvin Jones and Laviska Shenault, WRs, Jaguars. With Jamal Agnew (hip) out for the year, Jones and Shenault figure to see more consistent targets. Neither has been particularly good this year, but against the Falcons’ bottom-barrel pass defense in Week 12, one (or both) is in good position to break out. Jones has more big-play/standard-league potential, while Shenault figures to have a slightly higher floor in PPR leagues. Both are fairly equal in terms of upside, though, and in a tough week for WRs, you might need to pick one up and slot them in your WR3 or flex spot.
MORE WEEK 12: Full waiver list
Taysom Hill, QB, Saints. Many thought Hill would take over under center when Jameis Winston (knee) was placed on IR, but Trevor Siemian got the nod instead. After several lackluster performances from Siemian, rumors are circulating about a potential benching. If that happens, Hill would have borderline QB1 value like he had last year. Essentially, he provides the exact same type of production as Cam Newton, right down to the similar floor and ceiling. New Orleans’ receivers aren’t quite as strong as Carolina’s, but Hill might get even more goal-line rushing chances. Either way, he’ll be worth owning if he’s starting, at least after a tough matchup with Buffalo in Week 12.
Boston Scott, RB, Eagles. With Jordan Howard (knee) out at least one week, Scott should see a healthy amount of touches as the Eagles’ No. 2 back. It’s clear Philadelphia has transitioned to a run-oriented offense, and Scott has shown the ability to pick up tough yards between the tackles, even frequently staying in around the goal line. Even with Howard out, the Eagles will still likely rotate backs. Against the Giants in Week 12, that means potential flex value for Scott.
David Johnson, RB, Texans. Johnson actually received five fewer carries than Rex Burkhead last week, but he handled all of the RB receiving work and totaled 16 touches. That resulted in just 34 total yards, but if he gets that many chances against the Jets in Week 12, he should produce flex-worthy stats. New York allows by far the most fantasy points per game to running backs, so it’s possible both Burkhead and Johnson can work in fantasy lineups.
For more waiver/free agent suggestions, including top pickups Cam Newton, Marquez Valdes-Scantling, and more streamers, check out our full Week 12 list.