Bjorn Yang-Vaernet examines which players on the waiver wire are worth prioritizing for Week 12 and highlights others to stash preemptively.
Week 11 was very weird. Through the morning games, it felt like real-life scoring was way down and any fantasy-relevant production that did occur happened through random players. However, the afternoon and night games restored my faith in the NFL with Davante Adams, Tee Higgins, Tony Pollard, and Travis Kelce, among others producing meaningful fantasy scores. While fantasy output varies from week to week, the one thing fantasy managers can control is putting ourselves in the best position to capture scoring when it happens. By Week 11, it is probably fairly obvious that knowing who to target on the waiver wire is one way we can do that. With that, the players to prioritize and pick up are below!
The waiver wire is one of the most important pieces of season-long draft leagues. It is the easiest way to acquire new players and every year there are gems to be found. The goal of this article will not only be to highlight which weekly breakout players to prioritize but find others to preemptively pick up before the breakout happens.
This article will be published once on Mondays with a quick run through my favorite pickups and again on Tuesdays with more charts and data points added in.
This article will only reference players that are less than 50% owned in ESPN leagues. The players are categorized by position group and within each group is the order of how I would prioritize them. In lieu of free agent acquisition budget percentages, which are highly dependent on the makeup of each league, I have highlighted which players I would prioritize on the week.
Deshaun Watson (Available in 64% of Leagues)
This blurb matches last week’s article — the story remains the same. Note that he was picked up in 8% of ESPN leagues last week, a number that should increase again in this week’s waiver run.
Deshaun Watson is still serving his 11-game suspension and is eligible to return in Week 13. However, he will start to get picked up more and more in the coming weeks. If possible, Watson is a good hold for those who can afford one less roster spot. The reason Watson is worth the stash is because of how much rushing QBs have separated from the rest of the field in terms of who can win a week. Josh Allen, Patrick Mahomes, Lamar Jackson, and Justin Fields all have multiple 30-plus FP games in which their rushing ability played a big role. Watson is one of the few QBs in this league that has that skill set. Although Week 11 stats are not yet finalized, the top QBs in points per game overwhelming come from these rushing players.
Jimmy Garoppolo (Available in 64% of Leagues)
One of the hardest parts of streaming QBs is that many of the options on the waiver wire have the unfortunate combination of a low floor and ceiling. While Jimmy Garoppolo won’t help on the ceiling aspect, he does provide a solid floor. Garoppolo has zero games with more than 25 fantasy points on the season, but he also only has one game, in eight active games, with less than 15 points. Garoppolo has been so consistent because of all the offensive weapons that the 49ers have. With so many potential mismatches on the offense, it is hard for defenses to completely shut down the 49ers’ offense. Garoppolo is a solid fill-in during the last month of bye weeks.
Update: On Monday, Garoppolo showed what can happen when everything goes right for him. His ceiling is about 25 fantasy points but it’s hard for him to fail on any given week with all the offensive skill players on the 49ers. Monday’s game highlighted the different ways Garoppolo can accrue points. The two TD passes to Brandon Aiyuk were pinpoint throws in the red zone while George Kittle had two TDs from big gains after the catch.
Rachaad White (Available in 65% of Leagues)
Tampa Bay was on bye in Week 11. Somehow Rachaad White was only picked up in an additional 11% of leagues last week. This is probably the last chance to pick up White before he starts again in Week 12 and plays meaningful snaps. The blurb below is the same as last week, the story hasn’t changed.
White has been a staple in this article for several weeks and Week 11 might be the final chance to grab White before he returns to action in Week 12. In Week 10, White started over Leonard Fournette for the first time this season. White out-snapped Fournette 28 to 22 before the latter left the game with a hip injury in the third quarter. White took the vast majority of the remaining snaps. Unlikely in previous weeks, White had some big runs that finally match the athleticism that he displayed at the combine. This highlight is just one of White’s four 10-plus-yard rushes.
Rachaad White seals it.@TomBrady is fired up.
— NFL (@NFL) November 13, 2022
Fournette’s hip injury is not considered serious according to reporters, but White is still the priority pickup. At worst, White is now in a timeshare with Fournette and at best, he gets the majority of the work as the Buccanneers look for a spark coming out of the bye week.