Elijah Moore, Brandon Aiyuk Make Fantasy Playoff Push

New York Jets WR Elijah Moore
New York Jets WR Elijah Moore
Photo: USA Today Sports Images

NFL Week 10 - Traditionally, Week 10 has signaled a shift in waiver wire perspective from filling in for the bye weeks to preparing for the fantasy playoffs. But with the expansion of the regular season, at least two teams will have their byes in each of Weeks 10, 11, 12, 13, and even 14 midway through December. The change will require a balancing act. My top two waiver recommendations this week, Brandon Aiyuk and Elijah Moore, lean more toward future upside. But consider the needs of your fantasy teams with your waiver bids. And feel free to spend up on shorter-term options such as Jordan Howard and Devin Singletary if their additions could be the difference between your ticket to the fantasy playoffs and an early fantasy offseason.

Roster percentages are for ESPN/Yahoo.

Brandon Aiyuk, WR, San Francisco 49ers

46%/60%

I was worried I had overreacted to head coach Kyle Shanahan's modest praise for Aiyuk after Week 8 when the coach had buried the first-round sophomore receiver on the 49ers depth chart for the first two months of the season. But after a six-catch, 89-yard, one-touchdown outburst on Sunday even with top tight end target George Kittle back on the field, Aiyuk finally looked like the player that finished third among all receivers with 20.9 PPR points per game between Weeks 7 and 15 in 2020. And while it was just one game of production, Aiyuk has trended to this point, increasing his snap share from 67% in Week 4 to 71%, 71%, 88%, and 93% over the last four games. There are surprisingly few receivers with fantasy potential on the waiver wire, so I wouldn't hesitate to expend a No. 1 waiver pick on one with a WR1 ceiling with the fantasy playoffs on the horizon.

Recommended FAB bid (% of maximum): 31%
Should you use your No. 1 waiver priority on him: Yes

Elijah Moore, WR, New York Jets

15%/27%

Thanks to a pair of touchdowns, Moore had a better fantasy game in Week 9 than even Aiyuk. But to me, Moore's breakout seems much less sustainable. Both touchdowns came from 19 yards away from the end zone and owed more to poor coverage than to Moore's (very apparent) abilities. He had 0.5 expected touchdowns on the day and just 1.1 all season. Moore's eight targets represented just a 15.4% target share as Mike White and Josh Johnson combined for 52 pass attempts as they attempted to overcome a persistent multi-score deficit. And even with Corey Davis out, Moore played just 60% of snaps, the same rate as Denzel Mims and substantially less than slot receiver Jamison Crowder (79%). Moore has demonstrated his exceptional route-running this season even if he didn't need it as much on Sunday. But the Jets failed to make room for the rookie in their 2021 lineup, holding onto Crowder and others at last week's trade deadline. It still makes sense to add Moore with the hope that the Jets will prioritize the development of their presumed future No. 1 receiver. But he will need to increase his 14.3% target share from the first half dramatically to become a consistent fantasy option, because that rate is outside the top 60 at the position.

Recommended FAB bid (% of maximum): 16%
Should you use your No. 1 waiver priority on him: No

Logan Thomas, TE, Washington Football Team

48%/53%

Washington had their bye in Week 9, so we won't have real updates on Thomas' timeline of return from a hamstring injury until practices this week. But Thomas had an initial four-week estimated absence at the time of the injury that would have had him ready last Sunday. And the team released recent tight end addition Jace Sternberger last Tuesday. Both bode well for Thomas' chance to return in Week 10. The veteran tight end finished seventh at the position with a 19.2% target share in 2020. And he looked poised to repeat that finish with a 15.7% share the first three weeks this year before his injury. With so few plus options at the position in fantasy, I wouldn't hesitate to spend some FAB if I didn't have one of the small handful of Tier 1 or 2 options.

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

Pat Freiermuth, TE, Pittsburgh Steelers

33%/40%

Steelers general manager Kevin Colbert has a reputation for finding sleeper wide receivers in the NFL Draft. He landed Mike Wallace in the third, Antonio Brown in the sixth, Emmanuel Sanders in the third, JuJu Smith-Schuster in the second, Diontae Johnson in the third, and Chase Claypool in the second rounds in the last decade-plus. Well, after Monday night, we may need to expand that credit to pass-catchers in general because second-round rookie tight end Freiermuth dominated a Bears defense that entered the night as a top-four defender of tight ends by DVOA. Freiermuth may owe to injuries to JuJu Smith-Schuster and Eric Ebron his spike in snap share from around 50% the first month-plus to 60% and 78% in Weeks 6 and 8. But his two-touchdown outburst last night should lock him into the regular lineup no matter the health of the talent around him. Freiermuth's most impressive grab was his second touchdown where he manhandled 189-pound cornerback Kindle Vildor.

But Freiermuth has the prototypical athleticism of a former basketball player to beat bigger linebackers with speed. Typically, even the best rookie tight ends fail to make a fantasy impact. But need could spur the Steelers to rely on Freiermuth in the second half of the season and elevate their rookie to borderline TE1/2 status.

Recommended FAB bid (% of maximum): 10%
Should you use your No. 1 waiver priority on him: No

Justin Fields, QB, Chicago Bears

19%/26%

Speaking of impressive Monday Night Football performances, the rookie quarterback Fields set a career high with 291 passing yards against a Steelers defense ranked 10th in overall defensive DVOA. Unlike in some previous starts, Fields played to his scouted strengths with the deep passing game, averaging double-digit air yards per attempt. That approach should offer the rookie chances for explosive plays and passing touchdowns. But the real key to Fields' potential fantasy value is an increase in his carries per game from three in Weeks 3, 4, and 5 to eight or more carries in Weeks 7, 8, and 9. That latter run rate would vault Fields to third in carry share at the position behind just Lamar Jackson and Jalen Hurts.

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

Alex Collins, RB, Seattle Seahawks

39%/43%

While I think it's fair to expect Logan Thomas to return to action this weekend, I don't know what to think about Chris Carson of the Seahawks. Just days after he had questioned Carson's chances to return to the field at all in 2021, head coach Pete Carroll suggested that the running back could potentially play this Sunday. I don't think Carroll is intentionally misleading anyone. I suspect Carson has the sort of neck injury that doctors prefer to slow play because of the consequences of an aggravation so close to the spinal cord. But that uncertainty makes it difficult to handicap Collins as a waiver target. The substitute No. 1 back has a 58.1% carry share since Week 5 that is 14th-best at his position. He could be a second-half RB2 in fantasy at the very least with Russell Wilson poised to return to action. But Collins could also revert to a high-end handcuff on Sunday. Desperation may force you to chase a potential impact player at the position. But I'll recommend a modest 8% FAB spend with an expectation that Collins' widespread availability in fantasy means that many fantasy players will overlook him this week coming off a bye.

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

Adrian Peterson, RB, Tennessee Titans

51%/65%

He may have salvaged it with a fourth-quarter touchdown, but Peterson had a discouraging Titans debut for his 2021 fantasy prospects. Derrick Henry had dominated this backfield with consistent 59% to 81% snap shares before his injury. But Peterson played just 33% of snaps in a game the Titans led by multiple scores for the better part of three quarters and was part of a committee with both Jeremy McNichols (45%) and D'Onta Foreman (21%). And while Peterson scored the touchdown and is big by non-Henry standards at 6-foot-1 and 220 pounds, he didn't even dominate the team's red zone work. He took three red zone carries, took two carries inside the 5-yard line, and had 0.9 expected touchdowns, but McNichols had two, one, and 0.5 while Foreman had one, zero, and 0.2. Maybe it was a soft debut. The Titans signed Peterson off the street, and so maybe the 36-year-old needed more than a week to return to football shape. But I wouldn't spend much more than my recommended 6% of FAB this week if Peterson somehow slipped through the Week 9 cracks—especially with the Saints' No. 2 DVOA run defense next on the Titans' schedule.

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

Kenyan Drake, RB, Las Vegas Raiders

60%/63%

The Raiders are dealing with a pair of scandals that could portend major changes to their play on the field. And since one of those changes is their head coach, it may take a few weeks to disentangle the real differences from the randomness every team sees in its carry and target distributions in individual weeks. I wouldn't start Drake in shallow formats just yet, but I would pick him up if he made it to the waiver wire. Drake saw a fantasy-friendly volume of four carries and eight targets on Sunday. Under Jon Gruden, Drake had just five, zero, one, and two targets in his previous four games with Josh Jacobs healthy. Perhaps Drake was in Gruden's doghouse and has a second chance at his presumed role from the preseason with interim head coach Rich Bisaccia. Or perhaps Drake will fill some of the target void from the loss of Henry Ruggs. Wide receivers Bryan Edwards and Zay Jones saw just four targets apiece on more than 90% of snaps played on Sunday. And quarterback Derek Carr targeted a running back on 38.3% of his aimed passes. He finished second behind the Christian McCaffrey-focused Sam Darnold (39.4%), and no other quarterback made it to 30% for the week.

Recommended FAB bid (% of maximum): 5%
Should you use your No. 1 waiver priority on him: No

Hunter Renfrow, WR, Las Vegas Raiders

71%/65%

Zay Jones may have replaced Ruggs in the Raiders' lineup with a snap share increase from 18% in Week 7 to 96% on Sunday. But as I explained in the Drake paragraph, I'm skeptical that will translate to fantasy value in shallow formats. Ruggs maintained a modest 14.0% target share in September and October and reached fantasy relevance because of his seven catches, 289 yards, and two touchdowns on deep targets thrown more than 20 yards down the field. Jones does not have the same skill set. He is a possession receiver and ran a pedestrian-for-the-position 4.46s 40 at his 2017 combine. And the recently signed and soon-to-be-35-year-old veteran DeSean Jackson earned just 15 targets in seven games with the Rams and strikes me as a long shot to rediscover his youth with simply a change of scenery. As such, I expect the Raiders to change their offense, and the early returns point to the slot receiver Renfrow as the biggest receiver beneficiary. He had the most fantasy success on Sunday with seven catches, 49 yards, and a touchdown. But Renfrow also tied his season high with nine targets and played more than 60% of snaps for just the third time this season. Maybe that was the game plan. Slot receivers often see their workloads ebb and flow from week to week—just ask Cole Beasley. But Renfrow already had eight or nine targets in four of seven games this season. He didn't have far to advance to reach flex value in PPR formats.

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

Hunter Henry, TE, New England Patriots

58%/79%

Beyond Logan Thomas, it's Whac-a-Mole territory for waiver wire tight ends. And with a 12.9% target share that is tied for just 20th at the position, Henry qualifies. But Henry has also scored touchdowns in five of his last six games. And while that production outstripped the tight end's expected total of 3.0 touchdowns in that stretch, that latter total was second-best at the position, and so too were his five targets in the end zone. With Dawson Knox still sidelined with a broken hand, Henry looks like the best tight end bet to score each week outside of the elite tiers at the position.

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

Dan Arnold, TE, Jacksonville Jaguars

17%/27%

If you play in a PPR format or just prefer more week-to-week consistency, Arnold has you covered. Since a soft debut after his in-season trade, Arnold has played at least 57% of snaps in four straight games with the Jaguars. And in that stretch dating back to Week 5, he has a 19.6% target share that is ninth-highest at the position. I don't think Arnold cracks the top 10 at the position in overall fantasy expectations as part of an offense that ranks 27th in passing DVOA. But he should at least avoid the "one catch for 7 yards" floor that most TE2s provide their fantasy teams once every month or two.

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

Tyler Conklin, TE, Minnesota Vikings

46%/38%

With expected starter Irv Smith out for the season, Conklin has quietly become a trustworthy TE2 for fantasy with 71% or more snaps played and three or more targets every week this year. His overall 15.2% target share is just 15th-best at the position, but Conklin has the potential to improve that a bit or at least score more than his one touchdown to date in the second half of the year. After playing the eighth most difficult first-half schedule by DVOA, the Vikings should have an easier time with the 20th-hardest schedule the rest of the season.

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

Devonta Freeman, RB, Baltimore Ravens

13%/20%

When Latavius Murray injured his ankle in Week 7, head coach John Harbaugh sounded optimistic if short-winded in his initial media reports. And so I assumed Murray would return to the field in a week or so. Two full weeks later, Murray has yet to play or even practice. And with the full extent of Jerry Jeudy's six-week absence for his ankle injury fresh in my mind, I think it's past time to consider Freeman a waiver wire option. The veteran back was already trending from an 8% snap share in Week 4 to 27% and 30% shares in Weeks 5 and 6. But then Freeman played 40% and 58% of snaps with Murray mostly sidelined in Weeks 7 and 9. And Freeman has averaged 8.5 carries and 3.0 targets per game in that stretch and paced the Ravens at the position with two rushing and receiving and 1.6 expected touchdowns. He looks like a borderline RB2/flex option at the position until Murray can return.

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

Jordan Howard, RB, Philadelphia Eagles

8%/13%

This is my third Eagles' running back recommendation in as many weeks, so maybe you shouldn't trust me on this one. But I would argue you shouldn't trust an Eagles running back, either. Jordan Howard has paced the team in rushing production with 29 carries, 128 yards, and two touchdowns since Miles Sanders landed on injured reserve. But he has split carries with a 34.1% carry share versus 25.9% and 17.6% shares for Boston Scott and Kenneth Gainwell. He has split the red zone work with 1.8 versus 1.4 and 1.1 expected touchdowns and been fortunate to score three times. And he has yet to see a target. You maybe can play Howard one more week as the Eagles continue their run of opponents with poor run defenses from the Lions and Chargers (ranked 26th and 32nd in run defense DVOA) the last two weeks to the Broncos (ranked 27th) this week. But then the Eagles face the Saints' No. 2 run defense, and Sanders becomes eligible to return from IR.

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

Devin Singletary, RB, Buffalo Bills

58%/63%

I promise I'm not falling for this again. I'm just recommending Singletary as a temporary fantasy option if teammate Zack Moss misses time with the concussion he suffered on Sunday. As a de facto lead back, Singletary played 72% of snaps and caught seven passes for 43 yards. And while Matt Breida would likely play after being a healthy inactive on Sunday, Singletary should have flex value facing a Jets team that ranks 23rd in run defense DVOA, increases carries by 6% per game, and increases touchdowns by 106% per carry if Moss can't play.

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

J.J. Taylor, RB, New England Patriots

1%/0%

Concluding the run of one-week running back fantasy options, J.J. Taylor could vault from a healthy inactive to leading ballcarrier this Sunday after both Damien Harris and Rhamondre Stevenson suffered head injuries in last week's fourth quarter. Receiving back Brandon Bolden played that part on Sunday with four fourth-quarter carries, but he had not taken more than four carries total in any game this season. And while Taylor seems small at 185 pounds, he has a compact build at 5-foot-6. By BMI, Taylor is about as big as Bolden (5-foot-10 and 220 pounds, which is a 30.7 BMI), and he has outpaced his teammate with 1.8 versus 1.4 yards after contact per attempt the last two seasons, albeit with limited attempts for both players. Taylor should have a decent workload if Harris and Stevenson are unable to play. Just don't expect an RB2 performance against a Broncos defense that ranks third against the run and cuts yards and touchdowns per carry by 16% and 44%, respectively.

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

Players on More Than 80% of Rosters to Add

George Kittle, TE, San Francisco 49ers (96%/96%)
Antonio Brown, WR, Tampa Bay Buccaneers (91%/93%)
Damien Harris, RB, New England Patriots (90%/96%)
Joe Burrow, QB, Cincinnati Bengals (90%/95%)
Rob Gronkowski, TE, Tampa Bay Buccaneers (90%/88%)
Kareem Hunt, RB, Cleveland Browns (89%/90%)
David Montgomery, RB, Chicago Bears (88%/92%)
Clyde Edwards-Helaire, RB, Kansas City Chiefs (88%/90%)
Dalton Schultz, TE, Dallas Cowboys (88%/85%)
Michael Carter, RB, New York Jets (88%/84%)
Russell Wilson, QB, Seattle Seahawks (86%/92%)
Elijah Mitchell, RB, San Francisco 49ers (84%/85%)
Javonte Williams, RB, Denver Broncos (83%/86%)
Chris Carson, RB, Seattle Seahawks (82%/89%)
Jerry Jeudy, WR, Denver Broncos (82%/86%)
Zach Ertz, TE, Arizona Cardinals (73%/86%)

Players on More Than 20% of Rosters You Can Drop

Chase Edmonds, RB, Arizona Cardinals (94%/94%)
Derrick Henry, RB, Tennessee Titans (91%/87%)
Chuba Hubbard, RB, Carolina Panthers (75%/76%)
Mike Davis, RB, Atlanta Falcons (74%/76%)
DeVante Parker, WR, Miami Dolphins (66%/43%)
Robby Anderson, WR, Carolina Panthers (58%/43%)
Tua Tagovailoa, QB, Miami Dolphins (55%/33%)
Jamaal Williams, RB, Detroit Lions (53%/47%)
Michael Thomas, WR, New Orleans Saints (44%/25%)
Marquez Callaway, WR, New Orleans Saints (39%/34%)
Kenneth Gainwell, RB, Philadelphia Eagles (37%/40%)
Robert Tonyan, TE, Green Bay Packers (36%/26%)
JuJu Smith-Schuster, WR, Pittsburgh Steelers (29%/17%)
DJ Chark, WR, Jacksonville Jaguars (28%/15%)
Ricky Seals-Jones, TE, Washington Football Team (25%/16%)
T.Y. Hilton, WR, Indianapolis Colts (24%/28%)
Ronald Jones, RB, Tampa Bay Buccaneers (24%/21%)
Damien Williams, RB, Chicago Bears (21%/11%)
Jordan Love, QB, Green Bay Packers (20%/28%)
Trey Sermon, RB, San Francisco 49ers (18%/23%)
Sam Darnold, QB, Carolina Panthers (17%/21%)
Derrick Gore, RB, Kansas City Chiefs (5%/37%)

Comments

14 comments, Last at 11 Nov 2021, 9:56am

1 PPR WR question

Thanks Scott!  Where would you put Devonta Smith relative to Aiyuk and Moore - do you see the opportunities and volume being there to justify consideration?

3 Re: Smith

In reply to by super.mighty

I'm projecting Smith for 89.7, Aiyuk for 87.4, and Moore for 67.9 PPR points over the rest of the season, and Smith has 8 games left versus 9 each for Aiyuk and Moore.  If you can work around the bye, then Smith is my preferred choice.  And I would spend up on him if he's on the waiver wire since he had a big game with a TD last week.

6 great thanks Scott - if I…

In reply to by Scott Spratt

great thanks Scott - if I might ask one more question on this - to get Smith/Aiyuk/Moore, who would you preferentially drop - Jamal Agnew or Jamison Crowder?

2 Trying to decide whether to…

Trying to decide whether to hold Kadarius Toney through his bye or add Aiyuk or Moore instead. He's my WR5, so it's not a hugely important decision, but am curious to hear your thoughts. I love the talent, but I'm afraid the Giants' coaching staff is going to relegate him to secondary duties once Shepard is back, sadly. They haven't exactly leaned on him the past few weeks. I also don't have much faith in Joe Judge or Jason Garrett's ability to maximize his players' talents. My one hesitation is if they make it a priority to get their first-round pick more involved coming out of the bye. At the very least, he should not be playing behind Darius Slayton!    

4 Re: Toney

I lowered Toney's projected ROS target share a decent bit this week after his poor output in Week 9 even with Sterling Shepard sidelined.  I now have him projected for 71.4 PPR points the rest of the season (in 8 games) versus 87.4 for Aiyuk and 67.9 for Moore.  I think the choice is between Toney and Aiyuk and I lean Aiyuk since he has had an extended stretch of WR1 value previously.  But both Toney and Aiyuk strike me as super high ceiling and super low floor fantasy options - which is what you should target with your fifth fantasy receiver.

5 The Giants called plays…

In reply to by Scott Spratt

The Giants called plays yesterday like a team terrified of their quarterback, and their recent defensive improvements facilitate that cautious, run-heavy approach. I think I'm with you on preferring Aiyuk as a bench WR and will try to get him tomorrow morning. Thank you for the response!   

10 ROS projections

Hi Scott, do you share your ROS projections anywhere on the site? This is my first year subscribing to FBO+ and still trying to find/navigate through all the tools FBO offers

11 Re: ROS projections

In reply to by forgotaboutdeandre

It's not on the site now, but I believe it's in the works.  We just have some higher priority features that could bump its development to next offseason.  That said, always feel free to ask me ROS projection questions in the comments or on twitter.

12 Ricky seals Jones

Logan Thomas felt sore after Monday practice and could potentially miss week 10.  If that's the case, would a precautionary add of Jones be a wise decision.  Or just keeping Arnold for week 10 be the suggested move?

PPR 12 team.  

Need a w 

14 Re: Seals-Jones

I wouldn't know for sure unless I made the projections switch, but I suspect I'd still have Dan Arnold ranked higher this week.  Washington has a difficult tight ends matchup in the Bucs, so even a featured Seals-Jones probably wouldn't crack my TE1 rankings.