Win the Wire
The best players to add to your fantasy rosters (based on Football Outsiders' advanced metrics).

Win the Wire: Week 12

Indianapolis Colts RB Jonathan Williams
Photo: USA Today Sports Images

The four Week 12 byes include four prolific offenses in the Chiefs, Chargers, Vikings, and Cardinals, which makes this another important week to secure the backups who should enjoy temporary boosted workloads with their starters out. The Steelers and Colts offer a lot of options to that respect this week, but my top waiver wire recommendation continues to be a player who could help your team for the rest of the 2019 season.

Each listed player includes my recommendation for how much of your Free Agent Acquisition Budget (FAAB) you should bid to try to win them as well as whether I think you should use a No. 1 waiver priority in a format where you would then fall to the back of the line.

Ownership percentages are for ESPN/Yahoo/

Shallow Leagues

Players to Target

Derrius Guice, RB, Washington Redskins

Derrius Guice returned from a knee injury that landed him on injured reserve at the start of this season into a full committee. He saw seven carries and two targets compared to nine and two for Adrian Peterson. And his and Peterson's 29% and 25% respective offensive snap shares trailed receiving back Wendell Smallwood at 46%. That workload makes Guice's Week 11 success a bit of fluke courtesy his 45-yard screen pass touchdown, but I still view it as a positive step in his return. Peterson has underwhelmed with -10.5% rushing DVOA this season on a heavy volume of carries. Given Peterson's inefficiency and age, the Redskins will likely want to audition Guice as a primary early-down option over the back half of the season, and that could make him an RB2 for the fantasy playoffs.

Recommended FAAB bid (% of maximum): 22%
Should you use your No. 1 waiver priority on him: No

Jonathan Williams, RB, Indianapolis Colts

Jonathan Williams only needed a half to run for 116 yards and come close to 150 yards from scrimmage against the Colts on Sunday. Marlon Mack left that game in the third quarter, and the prognosis of his broken hand is a multi-week absence. Despite Williams' excellent performance in relief on Sunday, I'd give the edge for Mack's job to his traditional backup Jordan Wilkins, but Wilkins also missed Sunday's game with an ankle injury. With just a short week to recover before facing the Texans on Sunday night, Williams is likely a better bet to start this week.

Recommended FAAB bid (% of maximum): 18%
Should you use your No. 1 waiver priority on him: No

Jordan Wilkins, RB, Indianapolis Colts

And because Mack will likely miss several games, you should also pick up Wilkins. Again, he's my best guess as to who will take the bulk of the Colts' early-down carries when everyone but Mack is healthy, even if Frank Reich suggests there could be a committee.

Recommended FAAB bid (% of maximum): 12%
Should you use your No. 1 waiver priority on him: No

Miles Sanders, RB, Philadelphia Eagles

Jay Ajayi was active but didn't play for the Eagles in Week 11, which left rookie Miles Sanders as the team's featured option, logging 13 total touches on 85% of the team's offensive snaps. Assuming Jordan Howard misses another week with his shoulder injury, Ajayi will likely see the field coming off his first full week of practice with his new-old team. But Sanders should still be the Eagles back to start in fantasy, in particular because of his excellent efficiency as a receiver this season (35.9% DVOA).

Recommended FAAB bid (% of maximum): 12%
Should you use your No. 1 waiver priority on him: No

Jaylen Samuels, RB, Pittsburgh Steelers

Continuing with the trend of injuries, James Conner re-aggravated his shoulder injury and could miss Sunday's game against the Bengals, an enticing matchup for opposing running backs given their poor run defense (No. 29 DVOA) and tendency to trail in games, promoting rushing attempts to kill clock. If Conner does miss the game, then Trey Edmunds is likely the team's lead early-down option, but Jaylen Samuels should be much more valuable. Samuels has 32 targets in five career starts and a 52.5% college receiving ratio that suggests he can continue to see a heavy receiving volume in the pros. He'll be a no-brainer top-20 PPR option this week if Conner is unable to play, and he was dropped in a number of leagues with Conner starting last week.

Recommended FAAB bid (% of maximum): 11%
Should you use your No. 1 waiver priority on him: No

James Washington, WR, Pittsburgh Steelers

Conner was one of several Steelers fantasy-position injuries last Thursday. Both receivers JuJu Smith-Schuster and Diontae Johnson suffered concussions on Sunday, and Smith-Schuster also injured his knee. Both players could miss Sunday's game against the Bengals. James Washington's possible status as the team's de facto No. 1 receiver merits his pick-up on its own, but Washington has also been showing improvements to drive that consideration independent of his teammates' injuries. He has averaged 5.5 targets per game since his Week 8 return from a shoulder injury and is up to a solid 15.3% DVOA. And if he is the team's primary receiving option this week, he'll draw that Bengals defense that is even worse against the pass (No. 32 DVOA) than the run.

Recommended FAAB bid (% of maximum): 9%
Should you use your No. 1 waiver priority on him: No

Mecole Hardman, WR, Kansas City Chiefs

With all things being equal, I'd rather start Mecole Hardman in Tyreek Hill's absence than Washington in Smith-Schuster's and Johnson's absences, but all things aren't equal. Hill injured his hamstring on Monday Night Football, and Hardman showed that he has developed into the Chiefs' top replacement playing 76% of the team's offensive snaps versus just 57% for Demarcus Robinson. Hardman is about as fast as Hill is and has been phenomenal this season with a 42.8% DVOA in a small sample. He would threaten top-10 receiver consideration if Hill missed time, but Hill has an extra week to try to recover from his injury with the Chiefs on bye in Week 12. You may get nothing out of a Hardman pick-up, but the upside is great enough to justify the effort even in shallow formats.

Recommended FAAB bid (% of maximum): 8%
Should you use your No. 1 waiver priority on him: No

Kareem Hunt, RB, Cleveland Browns

If there was any lingering doubt of Kareem Hunt's role on the Browns after his Week 10 debut, it was clarified on Thursday when he took six carries versus a massive 27 for Nick Chubb. But despite that attempts disparity, Hunt continued to show that he belongs on shallow-league rosters, in particular in PPR formats. He caught another six targets for 46 yards on eight targets on Thursday and now has 13 catches in two games with his new team. It's just two games, but that is a 100-catch pace over a full season, a feat only Christian McCaffrey accomplished at the position a year ago. Hunt has a similar fantasy value to Austin Ekeler and has similarly excellent upside as a handcuff to Chubb.

Recommended FAAB bid (% of maximum): 6%
Should you use your No. 1 waiver priority on him: No

DeVante Parker, WR, Miami Dolphins

As the Dolphins have rehabilitated their image over the last five weeks with Ryan Fitzpatrick at quarterback, DeVante Parker has seen his fantasy ownership percentages creep up to close to 50%. But that is still not enough. After another 10-target day on Sunday, Parker is up to an average of 8.8 targets, 5.4 catches, and 75 yards per game over the last five games with Fitzpatrick under center. His 31.0% wide receiver and tight end target share is 13th highest at the position in that time. And he has also scored touchdowns in four of his last seven starts.

Recommended FAAB bid (% of maximum): 4%
Should you use your No. 1 waiver priority on him: No

Will Fuller, WR, Houston Texans

Will Fuller didn't make it back for the Texans' Week 11 blowout against the Ravens, but he has a decent chance to return in Week 12 even on the short week. He was a limited participant in practice on Monday and has indicated that he feels fully healthy recovering from a hamstring injury. Although boom-and-bust, Fuller has enticing averages of 53 yards and 0.42 touchdowns per game in 38 career games. He just needs to stay healthy.

Recommended FAAB bid (% of maximum): 3%
Should you use your No. 1 waiver priority on him: No

Players to Avoid

Gus Edwards, RB, Baltimore Ravens

Gus Edwards enjoyed a surprising season-best day against the No. 10 DVOA Houston Texans and their No. 6 DVOA run defense on Sunday. He carried the ball eight times for 112 yards and a touchdown, and he now has a touchdown in two of his last three games. Those touchdowns might well continue. Edwards has seven carries within 5 yards of the end zone this season, and while that trails teammate Mark Ingram by five, it is still tied for 31st at the position. But Edwards is still seeing just 30.1% of the Ravens' carries, and five of his eight carries on Sunday came with his team up by multiple touchdowns. And while that may feel like an every-week occurrence after their blowout wins against the Texans and Bengals the last two weeks, the Ravens have played close games more often than not this year and will be hard-pressed to blow out the Rams, 49ers, and Bills the next three weeks. Edwards should be owned in deeper formats, but you can leave him on the wire in shallow leagues.

Recommended FAAB bid (% of maximum): 1%
Should you use your No. 1 waiver priority on him: No

Players You Can Drop

Marlon Mack, RB, Indianapolis Colts
Tre'Quan Smith, WR, New Orleans Saints
Kenny Stills, WR, Houston Texans
Malcolm Brown, RB, Los Angeles Rams
Darrell Henderson, RB, Los Angeles Rams
Jonnu Smith, TE, Tennessee Titans
Ty Johnson, RB, Detroit Lions
Sterling Shepard, WR, New York Giants
Cameron Brate, TE, Tampa Bay Buccaneers
Peyton Barber, RB, Tampa Bay Buccaneers
Cam Newton, QB, Carolina Panthers
DeSean Jackson, WR, Philadelphia Eagles
Gardner Minshew, QB, Jacksonville Jaguars
Mark Walton, RB, Miami Dolphins
Marquez Valdes-Scantling, WR, Green Bay Packers
Brandin Cooks, WR, Los Angeles Rams
Chase Edmonds, RB, Arizona Cardinals
Will Dissly, TE, Seattle Seahawks
Wayne Gallman, RB, New York Giants
Daniel Jones, QB, New York Giants
Byron Pringle, WR, Kansas City Chiefs
Baker Mayfield, QB, Cleveland Browns
Darrel Williams, RB, Kansas City Chiefs
Geronimo Allison, WR, Green Bay Packers
Justin Jackson, RB, Los Angeles Chargers
JJ Arcega-Whiteside, WR, Philadelphia Eagles
Antonio Brown, WR, Free Agent
Darwin Thompson, RB, Kansas City Chiefs
Ben Roethlisberger, QB, Pittsburgh Steelers
Dion Lewis, RB, Tennessee Titans

Deep Leagues

Players to Target

Deebo Samuel, WR, San Francisco 49ers

You can make a strong case that Deebo Samuel deserves universal fantasy consideration after his second consecutive eight-catch game upped his total production to 16 catches and 246 yards the last two weeks. I think that volume is in large part a product of Emmanuel Sanders' rib injury. Sanders played against Arizona but fell short of his normal snap volume, playing just 47% of the team's offensive plays. But even when Sanders returns to full health, Samuel should join him as an every-play option. He played 79% of the snaps in Sunday's game, 24% more than slot receiver Kendrick Bourne and 49% more than Marquise Goodwin.

Recommended FAAB bid (% of maximum): 75%
Should you use your No. 1 waiver priority on him: Yes

Bo Scarbrough, RB, Detroit Lions

Bo Scarbrough went from practice squad to Lions starter in one week, and I'm not sure that was totally the result of Ty Johnson's concussion. In fact, Johnson was cleared and returned to action in Week 11, but Scarbrough still started and took 14 of the Lions' 19 running back carries. He also scored a touchdown and figures to do that a lot more if he maintains even a share of the team's attempts given his size of 6-foot-1 and 235 pounds. Scarbrough might well be a one-week wonder, but in deeper formats, he's potential as a primary ballcarrier merits a sizable FAAB expenditure.

Recommended FAAB bid (% of maximum): 42%
Should you use your No. 1 waiver priority on him: Yes

Noah Fant, TE, Denver Broncos

Sunday confirmed that rookie tight end Noah Fant is the biggest beneficiary of the Broncos trade of receiver Emmanuel Sanders. Fant now has an impressive 15 targets in two games without Sanders and an even more impressive 35.5% of the team's wide receiver and tight end target share. That's the rate highest at the position over the last two weeks.

Recommended FAAB bid (% of maximum): 28%
Should you use your No. 1 waiver priority on him: No

Tim Patrick, WR, Denver Broncos

Meanwhile, the tit-for-tat Sanders replacement appears to be Tim Patrick, who made his return from injured reserve on Sunday with four catches and 77 yards on eight targets. Patrick immediately slotted in as the team's No. 2 receiver behind Courtland Sutton, playing 73% of the team's offensive snaps, well ahead of slot receiver DaeSean Hamilton (52%) and every other wide receiver. Neither Hamilton (-36.9% DVOA) no Fred Brown (-43.6%) have impressed with their efficiency this season, and that offers Patrick a chance to carve out a fantasy-relevant role in an offense that previously had a tight target distribution to help buoy the production of its primary skill players in a low-volume passing offense.

Recommended FAAB bid (% of maximum): 8%
Should you use your No. 1 waiver priority on him: No

Ryan Griffin, TE, New York Jets

Chris Herndon's brief return to the Jets in Week 10 disrupted his run, but Ryan Griffin has 225 receiving yards and three touchdowns in his last three starts with the team in Weeks 8, 9, and 11. Year 7 is an odd time for a player to experience a breakout, but Griffin is the No. 1 tight end option playing with a second-year quarterback in Sam Darnold who is showing some fantasy promise. Griffin is among the positional leaders with a 19.9% DVOA this season and will likely remain a top-20 option at the position for the rest of the season.

Recommended FAAB bid (% of maximum): 6%
Should you use your No. 1 waiver priority on him: No

Jay Ajayi, RB, Philadelphia Eagles

While Sanders is clearly the best back to own in Philadelphia, Jay Ajayi could carve out a meaningful carry volume if Jordan Howard misses more weeks with his shoulder injury. The Eagles signed Ajayi last week, and so he didn't make it into the team's Week 11 game. But he will likely play this week if Howard is out, and with Sanders' relative inefficiency as a runner this year (-14.9%) as compared to as a receiver (35.9%), Ajayi could take over Howard's full and fantasy-relevant role as the team's primary early-down back and goal-line option.

Recommended FAAB bid (% of maximum): 4%
Should you use your No. 1 waiver priority on him: No

John Ross, WR, Cincinnati Bengals

I would never have guessed that John Ross might return to the Bengals lineup sooner than A.J. Green, but it's mid-November and Ross is just three weeks away from a potential return. The encouraging news for Ross is that he is already back at practice, which makes his December 8 potential return from injured reserve look likely. Ross was enjoying a breakout season before he hurt his shoulder, and his 1.3% DVOA should make him the clear choice to play in front of his substitute Auden Tate (-16.2%) when he is eligible. In deeper formats, pick up Ross now to avoid the competition on the eve of the fantasy playoffs.

Recommended FAAB bid (% of maximum): 2%
Should you use your No. 1 waiver priority on him: No

Johnny Holton, WR, Pittsburgh Steelers

James Washington will be the clear top receiver start for the Steelers if they miss either Smith-Schuster or Johnson on Sunday. But if both top receivers miss this week, then backup Johnny Holton may have some plug-and-play fantasy relevance in deeper formats. With slot receiver Ryan Switzer landing on injured reserve and offseason addition Donte Moncrief now on the Panthers, Holton is the Steelers' best reserve option. He played 59% of the offensive snaps last week.

Recommended FAAB bid (% of maximum): 2%
Should you use your No. 1 waiver priority on him: No

Scotty Miller, WR, Tampa Bay Buccaneers

For most of this season, the Buccaneers offense has focused entirely on its top two wide receivers, Mike Evans and Chris Godwin. But Jameis Winston made slot receiver Adam Humphries a relevant deep-league fantasy option for years, and now Humphries' replacement, rookie Scotty Miller, has started to tease that same potential. Miller barely played over the first half of the season, but he has now seen three and six targets in his last two games and set new career highs of four catches and 71 yards on Sunday while playing 51% of the team's offensive snaps. He is a true deep-league-only option, but consider Miller in those deeper PPR formats where four catches per game can help you.

Recommended FAAB bid (% of maximum): 1%
Should you use your No. 1 waiver priority on him: No

Players to Avoid

Chase Daniel, QB, Chicago Bears

If you stuck around to watch the end of the dreadful Sunday night game between the Bears and the Rams, then you saw that backup quarterback Chase Daniel replaced Mitchell Trubisky with three minutes left in the fourth quarter. One might have assumed that head coach Matt Nagy made that switch because of Trubisky's poor play this season; his -17.8% passing DVOA is in line with Andy Dalton's and Marcus Mariota's before they were benched. But Nagy insists that Trubisky's benching was the result of a hip injury that shouldn't keep him out and does not indicate an imminent quarterback switch. That could still happen and justifies Daniel's ownership in a league where every starter merits consideration. But it is far from a given for Week 12.

Recommended FAAB bid (% of maximum): 1%
Should you use your No. 1 waiver priority on him: No

Players You Can Drop

Josh Oliver, TE, Jacksonville Jaguars
Case Keenum, QB, Washington Redskins
Chris Herndon, TE, New York Jets
Ryan Finley, QB, Cincinnati Bengals
Adam Shaheen, TE, Chicago Bears
Parris Campbell, WR, Indianapolis Colts
Mitchell Trubisky, QB, Chicago Bears
Preston Williams, WR, Miami Dolphins
Matt Moore, QB, Kansas City Chiefs
Teddy Bridgewater, QB, New Orleans Saints
Matt Schaub, QB, Atlanta Falcons
Keke Coutee, WR, Houston Texans
Javon Wims, WR, Chicago Bears
Luke Willson, TE, Seattle Seahawks
Marquise Goodwin, WR, San Francisco 49ers
Ito Smith, RB, Atlanta Falcons
Jon Hilliman, RB, New York Giants
Devin Smith, WR, Dallas Cowboys
Randall Cobb, WR, Dallas Cowboys
KeeSean Johnson, WR, Arizona Cardinals
Robert Foster, WR, Buffalo Bills
Andy Dalton, QB, Cincinnati Bengals
Elijhaa Penny, RB, New York Giants
Rashard Higgins, WR, Cleveland Browns
Donte Moncrief, WR, Pittsburgh Steelers
Ryan Switzer, WR, Pittsburgh Steelers
Albert Wilson, WR, Miami Dolphins


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