Waiver Wire Dumpster Diving takes you beyond the obvious plays and helps you find undervalued gems for deep leagues.
If you’re a subscriber to this column hopefully you snagged up Cameron Brate and his 11.6 PPR points, or Curtis Samuel’s 12.2 PPR points, while you could. If not, Samuel is still available in 94 percent of leagues so snag him up, but as I’ve advocated for him the past two weeks, I don’t need to repeat myself.
Now is the time to look ahead for the fantasy playoffs. Some leagues tournament starts in Week 13 after all. Even if your leagues don’t start yet, it’s the perfect time to get ahead of the competition and start scouting for your title run. So let’s take a look at who is still available in leagues that can help your team down the stretch.
Rex Burkhead, RB (New England Patriots) Owned 8.8%
Recently activated from the IR, Burkhead is back on one of the most potent offenses in the NFL. With Sony Michel and James White also lurking in that backfield it might feel like a crowded group. But let’s not forget Burkhead was leading the backfield before his injury. Now Michel has taken up that mantle, but that doesn’t mean that Burkhead warms the bench.
Over the last four weeks, White has seen fewer targets each week, bottoming out with only five this past week versus the Jets, even though Michel has been in and out over these past weeks. With on the schedule Minnesota in Week 13 — who allows the fifth fewest fantasy points to running backs — don’t pick up Burkhead and plug him in right away. I think New England will ease him in against a tough opponent.
But with friendlier matchups in Weeks 14 through 16, you have a viable flex play as Burkhead gains more field time with the seventh-highest scoring offense in the NFL.
David Moore, WR (Seattle Seahawks) Owned 6.8%
How is Moore not more widely owned? He has been a staple of this column over the season, as this marks his third inclusion of the season. Moore ranks 45th in standard scoring and 57th in PPR among WRs. But the Seahawks passing volume is the only reason those numbers aren’t higher.
Looking at Russell Wilson’s AYA this season, it is clear Moore and Tyler Lockett have taken over as the teams top passing weapons. With two receptions over 35 yards this past week, earning 103 yards total on the day and a touchdown, Moore showed he has big-play ability. His five touchdowns on the season are second only to Lockett.
Between now and the end of the season, Moore goes up against San Francisco twice and Kansas City as the Seahawks battle for a playoff wildcard spot. As long as Seattle continues having something to play for, Moore has a great chance of finding his way into the end zone and stacking up fantasy points for your team.
Malcolm Brown, RB (Los Angeles Rams) Owned 7.4% / Spencer Ware,RB (Kansas City Chiefs) Owned 6.5%
I don’t normally draft “handcuffs” and everyone has different reasons why they do or don’t. And just in case you were wondering, the general RotoViz consensus is “don’t”.
I do, however, start loading up on key insurance policies once all the bye weeks are finished and the playoffs are in sight. Now is that time. Austin Ekeler is already well owned, and is now paying off for fantasy teams who drafted him or added him heading into the playoffs. With Todd Gurley and Kareem Hunt owned in 100 percent of leagues, Brown and Ware should be too at this point in the season.
Now, I don’t recommend picking up every potential handcuff. I want to be reasonably sure that (a) I know which running back really is the handcuff and (b) they are on a high-powered offense. Brown and Ware check both of those boxes for me.
On the first point, we have seen Ware do it in the past for Andy Reid — he only yielded the job to Hunt after an injury. And Brown showed his value in the Rams’ last contest versus the Chiefs when Gurley rolled his ankle early in that Monday Night Football fantasy points-apalooza.
To the second point, the Chiefs and Rams are number two and three, respectively, in terms of points scored per game. With offensive-minded coaches, young talented quarterbacks and a loaded team around them, both players should be able to produce at a high level if they are needed to step in.
Without needing to fill a flex spot with half of your team on bye, I don’t see any problem dumping your fifth receiver to make sure you have your top running back spot locked in no matter what, especially considering how barren it is out there if you suddenly needed to replace a running back.
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