Week 12 waiver-wire pickups and fantasy targets

All the Week 11 injuries make for fertile waiver soil, and Jeff Ratcliffe has advice for how to approach it.

| 7 months ago
(Thearon W. Henderson/Getty Images)

(Thearon W. Henderson/Getty Images)

Week 12 waiver-wire pickups and fantasy targets

Week 11 was one of the worst injury weeks of the season, with several major players going down. Believe it or not, this is actually a good thing, as the waiver wire is chock full of quality adds this week.

Remember, we cast a wide net every week in our waiver wire advice. Below you’ll see recommendations for shallow, regular, and deep leagues. Players are listed in order of priority and the suggested auction budget percentage is in parentheses.

Keep in mind that some leagues may be more aggressive or conservative in terms of bidding, so know your league tendencies. Regardless of the size of your league, it’s suggested that you work your way down the list and prioritize the top players in your waiver claims for this week.

Shallow leagues (8-10 teams)


1. Colin Kapernick, San Francisco (15%) – Like it or not, Kaepernick is a QB1. He’s averaging the ninth-most fantasy points per game among quarterbacks since taking over as the starter back in Week 6 and consistently gets the benefit of garbage-time production.

Running back

1. Thomas Rawls, Seattle (50-100%) – With C.J. Prosise likely to miss the rest of the regular season, Rawls is now in the driver’s seat as the Seahawks feature back. Spend everything you have left on him.

2. James Starks, Green Bay (40%) – The Packers remain a pass-heavy offense, but Starks is the clear lead back. He touched the ball 14 times in Week 11, and managed to find the end zone as a receiver. Starks’ ceiling isn’t as high as some of the other options this week, but his usage in the Green Bay offense gives him a weekly RB2 floor.

3. Dion Lewis, New England (35%) – He finally got back on the field this week and saw eight touches – five as a runner and three as a receiver. Expect that workload to increase down the stretch, especially in matchups that don’t favor LeGarrette Blount’s ground-and-pound style.

4. Wendell Smallwood, Philadelphia (30%) – Injuries to Ryan Mathews (knee) and Darren Sproles (ribs) could open the door for Smallwood to start and get the lion’s share of touches this week. He notched 17 touches in relief duty last week, including four catches out of the backfield. He’ll be in the RB2 conversation if Sproles and Mathews can’t go.

5. Chris Ivory, Jacksonville (25%) – Ivory did little as a runner after T.J. Yeldon exited last week’s game with an ankle injury, but he did manage six catches for 75 yards. With Yeldon looking iffy for this week’s contest, Ivory could be in store for a feature back workload.

6. Tim Hightower, New Orleans (20%) – Hightower would be higher on the list if Mark Ingram was guaranteed to be out this week. However, Ingram has a full 10 days to recover from the concussion he sustained last Thursday night. Regardless of whether Ingram gets through the protocol this week, Hightower is a must-own as part of the committee in the New Orleans backfield.

Wide receiver

1. DeVante Parker, Miami (25%) – Just like he did last season, Parker is surging down the stretch. He’s seen 18 targets over the last two weeks, catching 13 for 182 yards and a score. While Ryan Tannehill’s inconsistencies make Parker a bit volatile, his upside is ideal for a fantasy playoffs push.

2. DeSean Jackson, Washington (20%) – Speaking of upside, Jackson has displayed one of the higher fantasy ceilings at the wide receiver position over the course of his career. He got back on the field this week after a missing Week 10 and found the end zone. He isn’t going to be a target monster, but Jackson still has plenty of big play ability.

3. Tyler Boyd, Cincinnati (20%) – A.J. Green’s injury isn’t as bad as was initially feared, but he’s still likely to miss at least the next two weeks. That opens the door for Boyd to see more targets. The rookie caught six balls on eight targets for 53 yards and a score with Green out last week. He’s the preferred fantasy option in the Bengals receiver corps.

4. Sterling Shepard, NY Giants (15%) – Here’s another rookie worth a fantasy roster spot. After sluggish numbers in the middle of the season, Shepard is starting to heat up. He’s scored in each of the last three weeks and is coming off his first double-digit target game of the season.

Tight end

1. Jared Cook, Green Bay (20%) – Remember this guy? Aaron Rodgers certainly does after he pepper Cooks with 11 targets in Week 11. Cooks was the surprise top fantasy performer of the week at the tight end position with six catches for 105 yards and a score. Given the inconsistencies at tight end this season, he’s worth strong consideration in all formats.

Regular leagues (12 teams)


1. Carson Wentz, Philadelphia (10%) – The rookie signal-caller is in the midst of rough patch, but those looking for a multi-week streamer may want to dial up Wentz. He gets back-to-back top-10 matchups against the Packers and Bengals.

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| Director of Fantasy

Jeff Ratcliffe is the Director of Fantasy at Pro Football Focus. He produces all of our projections and is 2016's second-most-accurate ranker in the fantasy industry. Jeff also is the host of our show on SiriusXM fantasy sports radio and is one of the main hosts of our Fantasy Slant podcast.

  • JGaLaXY

    would you trade aj green for corey coleman if one more loss might put out of playoff hunt?

    • geo2209

      Not unless I really liked the guy with Coleman. I’m assuming this is a really deep league (14 or more) otherwise there should be comparable value on the WW close to Coleman. For example, if Diggs can’t go then Thielen is going to be very valuable on the short week. He’s available on most WWs.

      • JGaLaXY

        this is a depressing 14 teamer, how about kyle rudplph/ty montogomery for hunter henry while everyone hates hunter

        • geo2209

          Yeah I like Hunter, just a lot of mouths to feed in SD with Benjamin back. Henry is extremely talented and I think grades higher than Rudolph who I like.

  • Jason

    Have the #1 waiver priority. Lost AJ, Gio, Woods, and Possibly Luck to injury. Am in 1st place. Want to know if I should use waiver priority to pick up anyone for fantasy playoffs run? Not worried about next week’s. Names out there: DeSean, Ivory, McKinnon, Smallwood, RMathews, DukeJ, Boyd/LaFell, Sanu, Cooks, Fiedrowicz, & JWhite
    Full PPR. Any Help is appreciated. Thx

    • geo2209

      djax would help ease the pain of losing AJ/Woods. But it also depends on the rest of your team.