Category Archives: Fantasy Sports

Week 16 Waiver Wire: Bring It On Home

We are going to get you the fantasy fill-ins that will bring home the ship. That means we are streamlining the Week 16 waiver wire. One. More. Win. That’s all that stands between you and roughly 10 months of gloating to your league mates. Unless you are a crazy person, your fantasy championship game is this week.

You are one of the two best fantasy managers in your league but, as the great Dale Earnhardt once said, second place is the first loser. One player from each position. Because at this point if you need more than that, you probably need a prayer. Without further ado, let’s go about securing your next championship.

Bringing Home a Championship with the Week 16 Waiver Wire

Marcus Mariota

Quarterback

Las Vegas Raiders

When Derek Carr pulled up and ducked out of bounds on his scramble the worst immediately came to mind. Fortunately, he suffered one of the lesser forms of non-contact injury; coming away with a groin pull. That will thrust Marcus Mariota under center for his first start since Week 6 of last season. He was Week 15’s QB8, going 17/28 for 226 yards, one touchdown, and one interception. More intriguing, however, he ran nine times for 88 yards and another score.

Mariota gets a tough draw in Week 16, though. The Miami Dolphins are third in fantasy points allowed to quarterbacks. And while they’ve had some impressive wins, none compare to their loss to the Chiefs where they forced Patrick Mahomes into three interceptions. Mariota has a knack for turning the ball over, as we saw this past week. But that is more of a problem in real-life football than fantasy.

Tony Pollard

Running Back

Dallas Cowboys

Tony Pollard has teased us with his talent before; he has three games with double-digit fantasy points and three total touchdowns this season. He had a couple of games crossing the century-mark last season too. So his 12-carry, 69-yard, two-touchdown performance shouldn’t be all that surprising. Opportunity is king, especially for running backs. With Ezekiel Elliott missing Week 15’s contest, Pollard took advantage of his, adding 63 yards on six grabs to boot.

Pollard, Week 15’s RB1, is partially at the mercy of Elliott’s health (though both would still see the field) but he will see the Philadelphia Eagles in Week 16. They’re 23rd in rushing defense, have allowed 19 rushing touchdowns, and are giving up the 13th-most fantasy points to backs. The concern is that most of the production Philly gives up is on the ground where Pollard and Elliott are more likely to split the work.

Russell Gage

Wide Receiver

Atlanta Falcons

The last time Russell Gage was mentioned in this space it was in reference to teammate Olamide Zaccheaus back in Week 12. Well, since Week 13, Gage has been the WR14 in PPR formats. He’s caught 14 passes for 201 yards and two touchdowns while tossing a 38-yard score as well. He’s gotten 25 targets over this span so he hasn’t been terribly efficient. But the volume has more than made up for it.

The rub? Gage and the Atlanta Falcons draw the Kansas City Chiefs in Week 16. K.C. is fourth in the NFL in fantasy points allowed to wide receivers. That stat is a bit misleading, though. Since their bye week, the Chiefs have faced just one opponent, the Tampa Bay Buccaneers, that boasts a receiving corps on par with that of Atlanta. Even if he remains as inefficient as usual, this seems like a good spot for the volume to maintain.

Dawson Knox

Tight End

Buffalo Bills

All season long we have been pounding the mantra that a viable fantasy tight end is one that has a fighting chance at falling into the end zone. It’s a saying that’s brought us Logan Thomas and Robert Tonyan. This week it brings Dawson Knox of the Buffalo Bills. Knox was Week 15’s TE11 and is the TE10 over the last month, having scored a touchdown in three of his last four outings.

You already know Knox is, at best, fourth in the pecking order. But, ya know, tight end is a wasteland. The tougher pill to swallow is the Bills take on the New England Patriots in Week 16. New England is notoriously tough on tight ends and is ranked third in fantasy points allowed to the position in 2020. The hope is with so much of the defense’s attention needing to go to the talented wideouts, Knox finds his way to his fourth touchdown in five games. All fantasy ranking information courtesy of Fantasy Pros.

Week 15 Waiver Wire: MMMBop…

Just two more weeks left for most of us entering Week 15. Hopefully, you were able to advance to the next round of your league’s fantasy football playoffs. If so, you’re likely just one win away from the championship that you have fought all season for. Nothing would be worse than to come all this way just to lose because you missed out on the savviest pick-ups available on the waiver wire.

You’re here so that doesn’t happen. And even though we are so late in the season there is still value to be had out there. One simply needs to know where to look. This week’s wire features an old dog learning new tricks, a rookie former-Raider, and an out-of-nowhere wide receiver. Now, let’s get you through this week and set up to bring home that coveted trophy.

Chad Hansen and Lynn Bowden Headline Week 15 Waiver Wire

Quarterback

Nick Mullens

San Francisco 49ers

This move is not for the faint of heart.There’s exists the chance of an in-game quarterback change. That’s because Nick Mullens is the QB30 on the season, in part because he’s only started seven games. He was the QB26 in Week 14 and has thrown at least one pick in all but two games he’s played this season, including multiple picks in three contests, with three fumbles to boot.

But just two weeks ago Mullens threw three touchdowns against the Buffalo Bills. He’s also thrown at least one touchdown in all but two games. He also gets the Dallas Cowboys in Week 15. They were allowing 34 points per game the three weeks prior to shutting down the battered Cincinnati Bengals. On the year, Dallas is 32nd in scoring defense. So even though San Francisco is just 20th in scoring offense (one slot above Dallas), they should still be able to put up points on a defense ranked 22nd in fantasy points allowed to quarterbacks.

Baker Mayfield

Cleveland Browns

What a year the Cleveland Browns are having and Baker Mayfield is right in the thick of it. The QB20 on the season, Mayfield is coming off of back-to-back weekly finishes. Just a week removed from his QB4 performance against the Tennessee Titans, he was the QB2 for his work in a losing effort on Monday Night Football.

This isn’t a play for Week 15. Mayfield’s Browns head to New York to take on the Giants who will likely be without Daniel Jones. That means, in addition to facing a defense that ranks just 17th against the pass but ninth in scoring doesn’t shape up to be a big one for Mayfield. Instead, look to Week 16 against New York’s other team, the Jets, for your spot. They’re allowing the second-most fantasy points to quarterbacks this season and are tied for second-most passing touchdowns allowed.

Running Back

Jeff Wilson

San Francisco 49ers

Starting another position in the Bay, we turn to the 49ers backfield and Jeff Wilson. He’s actually been on several waiver wire lists in recent weeks with all of the backs in San Fran missing time at one point or another. Wilson got his first real crack in Week 3 against the Giants. He took 12 carries for a whopping 15 yards but added 54 yards on three catches. What allowed him to finish that week as the RB10 were the two touchdowns, one through the air and one on the ground.

He’s only had one other useful week, that coming in Week 7 when he ran for 112 yards on 17 carries and had three rushing touchdowns against the New England Patriots. In Week 15, he draws a defense allowing the fifth-most fantasy points to running backs. The 9ers system is legendary for backs, but keep in mind that Dallas is one of three teams that has yet to allow a rushing touchdown this season.

Handcuffs

Just as with every recent installment, this is your weekly reminder that if you have a stud running back and that back has a clear, defined understudy, roster said understudy. We have seen all year the value of having the handcuff to some of the top backs. Mike Davis has been a fixture in lineups most of the season while we are getting more clarity of late in Baltimore and Los Angeles. This is also useful if you have the space on your bench, though it is less useful with just two weeks left in the majority of fantasy seasons.

Wide Receivers

Chad Hansen

Houston Texans

The story of Chad Hansen is one perseverance. The former fourth-round pick of the Jets bounced around the league for two years despite showing some promise as a rookie just to land in the perfect showcase situation. The Houston Texans were without Will Fuller (suspension) and Brandin Cooks (injury) on Sunday and Hansen caught seven balls for 56 yards against a stingy Chicago Bears secondary. That was his (relatively disappointing) encore to his five grab, 101-yard performance from a week earlier.

The 6-foot-2 Hansen is in a terrific spot. Fuller is done for the season and with the oft-injured Cooks dealing with multiple ailments, Hansen could stick through the end of the season. Keke Coutee is still around, and productive. But he is more of a deep-threat and player to get the ball to in space. Hansen is the big-bodied security blanket, an aspect of DeAndre Hopkins’ game that may have been underappreciated by former management.

Lynn Bowden

Miami Dolphins

Another chance to take advantage of dual eligibility! Rookie Lynn Bowden caught seven of nine passes thrown his way for 82 yards and even took a handoff, though that only netted two yards. That matters because Bowden is eligible as both a wide receiver and a running back in ESPN leagues. Everyone remembers the hubbub around Taysom Hill in his first start, some will remember how they avoided the issue entirely with Kendall Hinton. This though, being much more like Ty Montgomery a couple of years ago, is much more conventional.

Still, Miami takes on the New England Patriots in Week 15 with Bowden as one of the few healthy options for quarterback Tua Tagovailoa. DeVante Parker and Mike Gesicki are both in danger of missing this contest (as is Jakeem Grant) which could open the door for the electric Bowden. New England is 28th in fantasy points allowed to wide receivers. There could be plenty of volume to offset any inefficiency though and that makes this intriguing. Well, that and the dual eligibility.

Tight End

Dan Arnold

Arizona Cardinals

Remember how our motto for tight ends is “chance at falling in the end zone”? Good because Dan Arnold has three of them over the last two weeks. He’s the TE6 over that span with only four catches and 88 yards, just to give you an idea of the state of the position. He’s surprisingly the TE22 on the year, further evidence of the wasteland that is the tight end position.

Not only is Arnold hot and playing for an offense that has run the fourth-most plays (opportunity is king), but he draws the Eagles in Week 15. They are 24th in fantasy points allowed to tight ends and have allowed a tight end to catch a touchdown in each of the last two games. All of this bodes well given Arnold is, at best, fifth in the pecking order.

All rankings courtesy of FantasyPros.com

2020 Fantasy Football Regular Season Awards

Finally, we are through the grueling fantasy football regular season. Well, not in leagues everywhere. But most of them for sure. If you were skilled enough (and had the right amount of luck) to make the playoffs, congratulations! Now the real, work begins.

But before we do that, we should take a look back at this season and recognize the players that got us where we are today. For some, that means appreciation. In regards to others, though, it will be a show of contempt for the disappointment.

Awards for 2020 Fantasy Football Standouts

Most Valuable Player

Kyler Murray

2020 has been a bit up-and-down for Kyler Murray; our preseason pick for league MVP. In his sophomore season, the diminutive passer has improved his completion percentage, touchdown rate, and is on pace to shatter his passing yardage total from last season. He’s even upped his rushing production.

What matters most for our purposes is that he went from 10th in overall fantasy scoring to first in a year. The QB5 with an ADP of 56 in the preseason, Murray gave you MVP-level production with an emphasis on the ‘value’.

We cannot do this without acknowledging the players who came closest to winning this. Patrick Mahomes, who missed out by five points, stands out as obvious, as would most any other top quarterback named. But of the four players to round out the top-10, none was a quarterback.

Alvin Kamara, Dalvin Cook, Tyreek Hill, and Davante Adams outscored the likes of Ryan Tannehill, Tom Brady, Lamar Jackson, and many others this year. Kamara has been without Drew Brees for the last three weeks while Cook and Adams both missed at least one game.

Bust of the Year

Saquon Barkley

Now the “winner” may be Saquon Barkley, but this one could have gone any number of ways. Some might consider Dak Prescott since he was the league’s leading passer when he went down in Week 5. Or maybe you say it’s his teammate, Ezekiel Elliott. He hasn’t missed a game but is the RB7 after being drafted as the RB3 with an ADP of third-overall. Or is it Christian McCaffrey?

No, it’s Barkley who lasted one full week before going down with just four touches in Week 2 against the Chicago Bears. Much was expected from the former second-overall pick. It’s the second year in a row he’s failed to come close to his ADP. Last year he was the first overall pick and finished as the RB17 (82nd overall). He was drafted second overall on average this season. Oof.

Rookie of the Year

Justins

Ok, so we’re breaking the rules a bit here and, no, that isn’t an error in the heading. Justin Herbert of the Los Angeles Chargers is the easy choice. A quarterback and the highest-scoring rookie in the NFL. But we don’t do ‘easy’ around here and so we have co-Rookies of the Year in Herbert and fellow-Justin, Justin Jefferson, wide receiver for the Minnesota Vikings.

The latter has made a strong case for winning the award in real life too. Herbert’s case would be stronger with more winning and fewer critical turnovers. Still, he is the QB9 after going undrafted due to starting the year as a backup. Jefferson, drafted as the WR48 only to finish the regular schedule as the WR7. A tip of the cap, rooks.

Waiver Add of the Year

James Robinson

Herbert could have qualified for this award since he was a hot commodity on waiver wires after Tyrod Taylor was injured. But it’s another player that walks away with this esteemed distinction. The waiver wire is critical to any successful season and missing out on your preferred target is a different kind of pain. You probably didn’t have that problem with James Robinson.

After Jacksonville cut Leonard Fournette the discussion around this backfield was simple: Avoid. Most wrote that any potential production was negligible. Most of that was because without a preseason we didn’t know who the backup was or how they would perform. All Robinson did was finish the regular season eighth among non-quarterbacks and 20th overall in fantasy points. The undrafted rookie out of Illinois State is third in the NFL in rushing attempts and yards.

Comeback Player of the Year

Ben Roethlisberger

One of the beautifully weird things about fantasy football is how different the perception of a player may be compared to real life. Ben Roethlisberger is having a good season by most standards; over 66 percent completion and 27 touchdowns to just seven interceptions. But he’s just 12th in passing yards and his interception last week against the Washington Football Team proved to be costly.

Yet, after missing all but two games last year with an elbow injury, and contemplating retirement, Roethlisberger sits 16 overall in fantasy points and is the QB11 (better than his QB14 ADP). Imagine if he was operating a typical Steelers offense.

Most Improved Player

Davante Adams

Aaron Rodgers is an MVP candidate thanks in no small part to stellar wideout Davante Adams. The former Fresno State Bulldog is fourth in catches, sixth in yards, but is tied for first with 13 receiving touchdowns. Mind you, he’s missed two full games and part of a third this season. He missed four games last season and had 83 grabs for 997 yards and five scores.

All of those numbers, racked up in 12 games, are fewer than Adams has compiled through 10. Being in the second year of the offensive system has helped all of the Green Bay Packers and the connection between Rodgers and Adams appears stronger than ever. Adams was the WR32 and 87th player overall last year. He is 2020’s WR2 and 10th overall player through the regular season.

DST of the Year

Miami Dolphins

In real life, we acknowledge the best player on defense with the Defensive Player of the Year award. In most cases, fantasy football only has entire units. As such, we have to bestow this great honor to the Miami Dolphins. Yup, we’re breaking the rules again. It’s actually the Pittsburgh Steelers DST that leads the way in scoring.

With an ADP as the DST2, their production is only “mildly” impressive. Miami, however, was ranked dead last on average in the preseason. Now? They are ranked second. That’s a stunning turnaround from a unit that finished last season just as they were projected before this one.

All rankings and ADP information courtesy of Fantasypros.com

Week 14 Waiver Wire: Playoffs?!

We’re hitting the Week 14 waiver wire hard. You fancy yourself a contender, huh? Good because you should! Reaching the playoffs (playoffs?!) in fantasy football is so much harder than anything that isn’t real should ever be. That’s why the joy that comes from it is equally as strong. Weeks turned to months as your meticulously put together roster took you on an emotional rollercoaster just for a shot to take home the championship.

But you didn’t join your league just to make the playoffs (playoffs?!), no. You should have every intention of winning it all. We are through all the bye weeks so your teams should be at full strength. That doesn’t mean there aren’t holes on your roster, though, so we can’t just rest on our laurels. With the playoffs trimming the field considerably, we’ll be giving our top pick-up at each position each week and a quick take on one player you could stash. So, let’s build a champion.

Shout Out to Jim Mora Sr in the Week 14 Waiver Wire

Quarterback

Sam Darnold

New York Jets

No, this is not ideal nor a suggestion that would be made under normal circumstances. This is instead a break-glass-in-case-of-emergency option for those still waiting on the return of Drew Brees and/or those who stream quarterbacks. If you fall into either category, Sam Darnold might be the guy for you. Darnold took advantage of a porous Las Vegas Raiders secondary to be Week 13’s QB10 through Sunday.

The squishy matchups continue for Darnold in Week 14 as he draws the Seattle Seahawks. They’ve allowed the second-most fantasy points to quarterbacks and are stout against the run. Seattle’s secondary is so bad they let Carson Wentz put up a performance worthy of being the QB7 in Week 12. Wentz was benched this week for a second-round rookie. Darnold doesn’t have anyone breathing down his neck (yet)  and this matchup should offer him plenty of chances to rack up points.

Jalen Hurts

Philadelphia Eagles

In perhaps the most anticipated benching of the season, the Philadelphia Eagles sent 2016 first-round pick Wentz, who leads the NFL with 15 interceptions, to the bench. Jalen Hurts came in and threw a pretty looking touchdown to Greg Ward. He also only completed 41 percent of his passes and threw a pick so proceed with caution. Philly also takes on the Saints in Week 14. They’re third in fantasy points per game.

Running Back

Peyton Barber

Washington Football Team

It’s been quite some time since Peyton Barber was a useful fantasy asset. He had 57 yards on 11 carries in Week 12, but he hasn’t scored double-digit fantasy points since Week 1 when he scored 2 touchdowns on 17 carries that netted just 29 yards. Washington Football Team leading rusher Antonio Gibson was forced out of their big win against the Pittsburgh Steelers with a toe injury putting Barber right back on the fantasy radar.

Staying true to form, he only managed 23 yards on 14 carries so you know what to expect should Gibson sit in Week 14. Washington also heads West to take on the San Francisco 49ers who are fourth against the run and have allowed just six rushing touchdowns. Still, if the Football Team can get into scoring position, Barber is as good of a bet as any to take it in.

Ty Johnson

New York Jets

No, there isn’t a concerted effort to get Jets on this list. The war of attrition is just such that we are taking the “next man up” approach to our fantasy rosters as they do in real life. Ty Johnson is where those things intersect. La’Mical Perine is on IR and Frank Gore left their Week 13 contest with a concussion. Johnson stepped up with 104 yards on 22 carries and scored a touchdown. He also caught two passes for 13 yards. The still-winless Jets face the Seattle Seahawks in Week 14. They’ve been good against the run but just let Wayne Gallman run for 135 yards.

Wide Receiver

T.Y. Hilton

Indianapolis Colts

Are we finally witnessing a strong connection between T.Y. Hilton and Philip Rivers? The diminutive Indianapolis Colts wide receiver is the WR6 in Week 13 and has caught 12 of 16 targets for 191 yards and two touchdowns over the last two weeks. He had 194 yards on 19 catches (33 targets) and no scores in his six previous games combined. As Philip Rivers continues to play better (eight touchdowns over his last four games after 10 over the first eight), Hilton can deliver too.

Sunday’s big day came against the Houston Texans who rank 21st against the pass. The good news is he’ll see the Las Vegas Raiders in Week 14 and they rank 24th against the pass and are allowing the 12th-most fantasy points to wide receivers. Indianapolis would prefer to be a run-first outfit and the Raiders are susceptible there. But the trends show Hilton on the rise.

Keke Coutee

Houston Texans

Speaking of the Texans, they played their first game post-suspension of Will Fuller and had an unexpected (though not surprising) player step up in his absence. Keke Coutee (WR13) caught eight balls for 141 yards against the Colts which isn’t a cakewalk. With a matchup against the Chicago Bears on deck, Coutee could be in for another big game. The Bears are reeling and Deshaun Watson could look to show out on a team that passed on him in the draft for Mitchell Trubisky.

Tight End

Cole Kmet

Chicago Bears

And speaking of the Bears, Cole Kmet was the TE7 in Week 13 catching five passes for 37 yards and a touchdown. The embattled rookie tight end caught just his second touchdown of the season, had more than one catch for just the third time and had double-digit yards for just the fourth time this season. All of that is disappointing for such a high draft pick but the Bears are searching, desperately, for answers and Kmet is a part of the future.

Houston isn’t the best matchup but they aren’t one to run from either. With folks in the organization fighting for their jobs, look for anything that can be construed as a positive in the last few weeks. Having Kmet turn out to be a quality player would certainly qualify. That might not save any jobs but he could definitely provide a boost to your fantasy team.

Week 13 Waiver Wire: ’13’ Reasons Why

Time for the Week 13 waiver wire already? What a wild NFL season this has been, in both real life and fantasy. We saw huge games from Will Fuller and Antonio Gibson on Thanksgiving only to have Tyreek Hill and Derrick Henry assert their dominance over the landscape. And while we were without Todd Gurley, Julio Jones, and (many) more, no fantasy-relevant players sustained injuries that should keep them out for an extended period.

We aren’t even done with Week 12 since the Baltimore Ravens game against the Pittsburgh Steelers has been moved several times and is now set for Wednesday afternoon. This week’s waiver wire has at least one QB you probably never thought would be a top add, a running back that’s been there the entire time, and a wide receiver that recently returned from injury to make an impact in primetime.

*Remember, waivers will clear on Friday this week and we have the Carolina Panthers and Tampa Bay Buccaneers on bye (the last of the season).*

A Pair of ’13’s Headline the Week 13 Waiver Wire

Quarterback

Kirk Cousins

Minnesota Vikings

This wouldn’t have been a thing just a few weeks ago. Kirk Cousins was the QB25 on the season with 12 touchdowns to 10 interceptions. Flash forward to now and Cousins was the QB3 in Week 12, is the QB12 on the season, and is coming off of back-to-back three-touchdown performances and third in four games. It was his fourth-straight game (a stretch in which he was the QB5) and eighth of the season with multiple touchdowns. All of this is even more impressive when you consider Dalvin Cook is second in the league in rushing attempts.

Cousins draws a cushy assignment in Week 13 as the Minnesota Vikings host the floundering Jacksonville Jaguars. The Jags just fired their general manager and head coach Doug Marrone will likely follow after the season. But what matters for our purposes is Jacksonville is allowing the third-most fantasy points per game to quarterbacks and has given up 23 passing touchdowns, good for second-most. The only thing that could hold Cousins back in this one is if the Vikings get out to a lead large enough that they just ride the running game, leaving fantasy managers to hope his current touchdown explosion lasts at least another week.

Ryan Fitzpatrick

Miami Dolphins

FitzMagic is back, baby! After taking a brief hiatus while Tua Tagovailoa kept his spot warm, Ryan Fitzpatrick was back under center for the Miami Dolphins in Week 12 and led them to a 23-3 victory over the winless New York Jets. He had a modest day, just 257 yards and two touchdowns, but that was good enough to check in as the QB8 through Monday Night Football. In six starts earlier in the year, Fitzpatrick threw for over 1500 yards with 10 touchdowns to seven interceptions (four if you throw out Week 1) and was the QB8.

Truth is Fitzpatrick will start for as long as it takes for Tua’s injured thumb to heal. That should be at least another game and that sets Fitz up to face the Cincinnati Bengals. Cincy is 17th in fantasy points allowed to quarterbacks but have tied for the third-most passing touchdowns allowed with 22. Miami has thrown more than twice as many touchdowns (18) as they have run in (8). The only concern here, as with Cousins, is the Dolphins (who rank second in scoring defense) get out to such a lead you’re left counting solely on touchdowns.

Running Back

Ito Smith

Atlanta Falcons

We probably should have seen this coming. It’s just how 2020 has gone. When it was announced Gurley would miss Sunday’s game against the Las Vegas Raiders, everyone assumed it would be Brian Hill, who had been spelling Gurley all season, to step into the lead role. Instead, Ito Smith came off the bench to take his 12 carries for 65 yards and a score and ranking as the RB10. Hill, who has out-carried Smith 3-to-1 on the season, took his 13 carries for 55 yards and former out-snapped the latter 39-28.

Smith out-targeted Hill 4-to-1 if you need another way to separate the two given how volatile touchdowns are. Atlanta faces the New Orleans Saints for the second time in three weeks and if Gurley misses another game, Smith needs to be the backfield option you deploy. The Saints are fourth against the run and have given up just three touchdowns on the ground. They’re fifth defending passes to backs too so it will be tough sledding either way. Smith has the easier path to fantasy relevance, albeit ever so slight.

Cam Akers

Los Angeles Rams

We are entering troubling waters, my friends. Los Angeles Rams running back Cam Akers has received no more than 10 carries since getting 14 in the opener. He has just two games with 40-plus yards and has just one rushing touchdown. He is far and away third in snaps out of the backfield behind both Darrell Henderson and Malcolm Brown with a less defined role than either. But he keeps popping off for long runs, including the 61-yard scamper that set up his first rushing touchdown of the season on Sunday. He sits ranked as the RB16 (pending Wednesday’s results) in Week 12.

The Rams face the Arizona Cardinals in Week 13 but trusting Akers in lineups is quite the risky proposition. Sunday was literally his first time finishing with double-digit fantasy points. No, this is a move for the future. L.A. has talked of wanting to increase Akers’ workload as the season goes on. Don’t be fooled by Sunday’s loss to the San Francisco 49ers deter you, this offense is still seventh in rushing attempts. Imagine what Akers could do with a larger share of the workload.

Handcuffs

Another week, another reminder that if your stud running back’s backup is sitting out there on the waiver wire you should change that. Unless you are ridiculously deep at running back you need this insurance. Just ask fantasy managers of Christian McCaffrey or Joe Mixon who missed out on Mike Davis and Giovani Bernard if they wish they had been proactive in this regard. This obviously doesn’t apply universally.

Hill is the best example of misreading the room. But in situations like Minnesota where Alexander Mattison is the clear backup to Dalvin Cook or in New Orleans where Latavius Murray has just seven fewer carries and 34 fewer yards than Alvin Kamara even though both have been active all season. Some other names to check the wire for are Devontae Booker, Jamaal Williams, and Boston Scott. These players have more value if you have the starter in front of them but if you have the bench space it’s not a bad idea to use it on a lottery ticket.

Wide Receivers

Gabriel Davis

Buffalo Bills

This was a situation similar to Hill’s as everyone assumed Cole Beasley would see an uptick in work for the Buffalo Bills with John Brown missing time. But Gabriel Davis caught three balls for 79 yards and a score, reverting back to his form of a couple of weeks ago when he caught four passes for 70 yards and a score. It was Davis’ fourth game this season with double-digit (PPR) fantasy points and has him as WR19 as of now but, again, it was second in three weeks.

The Bills take on the San Francisco 49ers in Week 13 but it’s more of a neutral site game as the 49ers cannot play their home games at home and will thus host in Arizona. Who knows what impact that has but Richard Sherman’s return to the 49ers defense helped them keep the Rams in check. Something similar could happen to the Bills but Davis has the benefit of not being Stefon Diggs in that he won’t be the focal point of the defense.

Allen Lazard

Green Bay Packers

Just two weeks back from his core muscle injury that knocked him out for seven games Allen Lazard found the endzone against the division-rival Chicago Bears catching four of his six targets for 23 yards. Don’t get hung up on the yardage output. Despite being woeful for the last month-plus, the Bears defense is still fifth in yards allowed to receivers. Lazard had 18-plus PPR fantasy points in two of his three contests before getting hurt including a six-catch, 146-yard performance that saw him finish as the WR6.

The Green Bay Packers take on the Philadelphia Eagles in Week 13 and we all just saw that secondary get torched by D.K. Metcalf to the tune of 10 catches for 177 yards. This despite shadowing him with top-corner Darius Slay. Davante Adams resides comfortably atop the pecking order for the Packers but Lazard was making headway as the trusted second banana before going down. He could get back to it right in time for the playoffs.

Mohamed Sanu

Detroit Lions

We are playing with fire with this suggestion. There was already a good chance the Detroit Lions would get Kenny Golladay back from a lingering hip injury next week against the Bears. It’s probably all but a given after the Lions fired head coach Matt Patricia. If he does miss, though, Mohamed Sanu filled his role quite capably. Sanu corralled all four of his targets for just 32 yards but he managed to find the endzone. He’s the WR25 ahead of Wednesday.

The dangers are two-fold because Chicago is a tough assignment for receivers and Golladay, itching to prove it was Patricia holding this group back, could find his way back into the lineup. So put in a claim for Sanu at your own risk. It could wind up that those things work together and the Lions hold Golladay out another week so as not to face such a tough opponent fresh off of injury.

Tight End

Kyle Rudolph

Minnesota Vikings

This week’s contestant on “just fall into the end zone”, formally known as the tight end position. We have actually had a good run of suggestions so let’s hope we can keep it going with Kyle Rudolph. He’s the TE8 in Week 12 with seven catches and 68 yards. All of those numbers represent season-highs as Rudolph has lost much of his receiving work in recent years and has ceded even more to Irv Smith this season.

Minnesota faces those Jaguars in Week 13 though. We can attack this matchup with as much fervor as Cousins as Jacksonville ranks 31st in fantasy points allowed to tight ends. They also lead the league in touchdowns allowed to tight ends with nine. Now, Rudolph doesn’t catch many touchdowns, he has just one on the year. But the name of the game is finding a warm body with a chance at falling into six points.

Week 12 Waiver Wire: In Gus We Truzz

Just six weeks are left in the regular season and playoff races are in full swing. The resurgence of the injury bug has taken its toll; both in real-life and fantasy football. Cincinnati Bengals rookie quarterback and first-overall pick Joe Burrow suffered a gruesome knee injury that will end his season. Rex Burkhead seems likely to have suffered the same fate. Theirs were the most-significant injuries but not the only. Kyler Murray injured his shoulder way back on Thursday so some may have forgotten. We also saw Julio Jones and JuJu Smith-Schuster both leave their respective games early yet again.

You likely need injury-replacements if anything, as we have a bye week from bye weeks. Still, while always disheartening especially for the individual players, just means more opportunities to work the waiver wire for us. We have a trash-talking quarterback, a pass-catching running back, and a dirty bird wide receiver to fill out your fantasy roster.

Big Truzz for Ravens RB in Week 12’s Waiver Wire

Quarterbacks

Philip Rivers

Indianapolis Colts

Through the first five games of the season Philip Rivers was the QB26 on the season; completing better than 70 percent of his passes, but throwing just four touchdowns to five interceptions, there was no scoring to offset his averaging just 245 yards on 30 attempts per game. Since then, he ranks a modest but improved 17th among fantasy quarterbacks averaging 291 yards on 39 attempts with 10 touchdowns to just three picks.

Rivers has been dealing lately

He’ll draw the Tennessee Titans for the second time in three week in Week 12, a team he just beat 34-17 to regain control over the AFC South. Rivers only threw one touchdown in that game but he did cross the 300-yard threshold for just the third time this season. For their part, the Titans have given up the 10th-most fantasy points to quarterbacks this season and had given up at least 249 passing yards in six straight games before facing Lamar Jackson on Sunday.

Daniel Jones

New York Giants

As the old adage goes, “no risk it, no biscuit”. Starting Daniel Jones comes with an insane amount of risk baked in due to his propensity to turn the football over but he checks in a few spots higher than Rivers on the year as the QB23. The rollercoaster has been mostly down for him this season, as he’s had six games with fewer than 15 fantasy points, three games with single-digit outputs, and only two games with 20-plus points (depending on your league’s scoring format).

Sometimes, though, a squishy opponent can allay concerns. The Bengals fall just into that category, ranking 19th in fantasy points allowed to quarterbacks. Before facing the Washington Football team on Sunday, Cincinnati had allowed over 300 yards passing in three of its last four contests and four of its last six. The Bengals have also allowed the third-most passing touchdowns on the season. If Ryan Finley can at least keep the Bengals on the board, Jones should be able to deliver.

Running Backs

Gus Edwards

Baltimore Ravens

Okay we’re breaking a few rules on this one but the circumstances justify it. Typically, you won’t see a player repeated here if they were listed in a prior week as Gus Edwards was in Week 9’s edition. You also wouldn’t see a player who scored fewer than one point that week unless they were on a bye or something injury related. J.K Dobbins was the star in the Baltimore Ravens loss to the Titans on Sunday.

The Ravens Truzz Gus on the goal line

But he and fellow back Mark Ingram were placed on the COVID-restricted list on Monday, leaving Edwards and Justice Hill  as the only backs on a short week.the matchup is far from ideal. The Pittsburgh Steelers are third in fantasy points allowed to backs. Not that it matters much for Edwards, but they are equally as stingy through the air as they are on the ground too. Edwards got 16 carries in Ingram’s absence turning them into 87 yards and a touchdown when these teams met back in Week 8. With no Dobbins or Ingram this time around, it could be a big day for the big back.

James White

New England Patriots

Everybody, say it with me now, “you can’t trust a New England Patriots running back”. Great now that we’ve got the legal disclaimer out of the way, James White could be a very useful piece to your fantasy roster down the stretch. Just the RB46 on the year in PPR, White has just three games with double-digit fantasy points. He also missed two additional contests with the tragic loss of his father. White finished as the RB15 through Sunday.

Burkhead vacates White’s old role as the pass-catching back in the Patriots backfield. That;s significant because neither Damien Harris nor they soon-to-return Sony Michel are utilized much if at all in the passing game. They face the Arizona Cardinals in Week 12. They’ve allowed three receiving touchdowns on the season, eighth-most. Meanwhile the Los Angeles Chargers, who they see in Week 13, have allowed the eighth-most receptions and 10th-most receiving touchdowns to backs.

Handcuffs

As mentioned in last weeks edition, and will be mentioned every week until the playoffs, pick up your running back’s handcuff if you have or can clear the bench space. Nothing is worse than being caught flat-footed in the middle of a playoff chase because you snoozed on a player that was always more valuable to you than others. This is a time to be proactive and not wait for injuries to happen. Every owner could use another starting back. Don’t get caught needing one for some fringe wideout you’d never play.

Wide Receivers

Cole Beasley

Buffalo Bills

Bye weeks can be very useful for fantasy managers. For one thing, when a player has a good game right before their bye, they often go overlooked on the waiver wire. Enter Cole Beasley, who had 11 catches (13 targets) for 109 yards and a touchdown in Week 10 before the Buffalo Bills went on hiatus. It was his first time hitting double-digit PPR fantasy points in three weeks but he’d hit the mark in six straight contests before that.

Beasley left all alone

John Brown looks like he could miss some time with an apparent ankle injury suffered in that Week 10 contest. Beasley has averaged the 16th-most fantasy points per game with Brown out of the lineup. Buffalo also returns to face the Chargers, a defense we told you about earlier. They allow the short passes by design so Beasley could be set up for success regardless of whether or not Brown plays.

Damiere Byrd

New England Patriots

After three weeks of being the number-one guy on the Patriots, Jakobi Meyers ceded the role to Damiere Byrd. Cam Newton’s former teammate with the Carolina Panthers delivered with 26.3 PPR fantasy points, good for WR4 through Sunday. It was a helluva bounceback for Byrd (six catches on seven targets for 132 yards and touchdown) after he was blanked in Week 10. He also carried once for 11 yards. It is a similar three game stretch to the one he had from Weeks 2-4.

The Cardinals roll into Foxboro for Week 12, meaning Meyers will likely see a good deal of Patrick Peterson. That means Byrd should see his fair share of Dre Kirkpatrick. He’s allowing nearly 77 percent of passes thrown at him to be completed at more than a first down per completion. Newton has looked *better* over these past few weeks and maybe that means this offense will start to click more down the stretch. Or at least produce two fantasy viable wideouts.

Olamide Zaccheaus

Atlanta Falcons

We’re breaking one of the rules we broke for Edwards yet again, this time for Atlanta Falcons wideout Olamide Zaccheaus. He only had one catch for 10 measly yards in the Falcons 24-9 whooping at the hands (and legs) of Taysom Hill and the New Orleans Saints. More disappointing that the situation being right, Julio Jones had to leave this one early. Worse yet is Zaccheaus was coming off 4/103/1 day against the Denver Broncos.

Jones’ injured hammy could be enough to keep him out by itself or due to an abundance of caution. Russell Gage had the better game this week, but it was Zaccheaus who stepped up when Jones re-aggravated the same hammy against Green Bay earlier in the year. Zaccheaus had eight catches for 86 yards in that one and looked like an explosive playmaker. The Las Vegas Raiders is 20th in fantasy points allowed to wide receivers. Gage is probably an option too, but his role seems rather locked in.

Tight End

Jordan Akins

Houston Texans

In case you haven’t noticed, tight end is a wasteland for fantasy once again. So much so that we should rightfully be interested in anyone showing a pulse in the previous week as we are more often than not banking on a touchdown anyway. Well, Jordan Akins is your guy. The athletic Houston Texans tight end was the TE8 in Week 11 following his five-catch, 83-yard performance against the Patriots.

Be warned, this was just the second time all season Akins has produced double-digit fantasy points, and that’s in PPR. It was also just the second time he’s caught more than three passes or had more than 50 yards in a game all season. Again, anybody with a pulse. He’ll face a Detroit Lions team that is actually in the top-12 in tight end fantasy points allowed so, again, be warned. Just keep telling yourself, all it takes is a touchdown.

Week 11 Waiver Wire: Indy 500

Week 10 is in the books and boy was it a thrilling one. Kyler Murray‘s late-game heroics surely vaulted him back into the MVP discussion while Russell Wilson definitely took a step back. But that’s not why you’re here. You’re here for help filling out your lineup.

We are in the final stretch of bye weeks. It’s a light one as Week 11 sees four teams on bye; the 49ers, Bears, Bills, and Giants. Then no teams are off in Week 12 before the Buccaneers and Panthers take a break in Week 13. But let’s help you replace Josh Allen, Stefon Diggs, and more in this week’s waiver wire.

Week 11 Waiver Wire: Indy 500

Quarterbacks

Jameis Winston

New Orleans Saints

Usually, when we talk about injury replacements impacting the waiver wire, it’s at one of the skill positions. But New Orleans Saints quarterback Drew Brees is set to have an MRI after taking a big hit in the first half against the 49ers. If he misses time, Jameis Winston could be handed the keys to one of the most explosive offenses in the NFL; ranking fifth in points per game.

Lest we forget, Winston threw a career-best 33 touchdown passes last season. He won’t be slinging it nearly as often or as far as he did in 2019 but he could be more efficient. If Brees’ reaction was any indication, he’ll miss next week against the Atlanta Falcons. They’re allowing the eighth-most fantasy points to quarterbacks and that’s with them coming off of their bye. Winston could earn a nice contract out this if it extends multiple weeks.

Running Back

Nyheim Hines

Indianapolis Colts

Yes, this space to push Jordan Wilkins a couple of weeks ago. No, that hasn’t worked out. Yes, we are going right back to the Indianapolis Colts well. This time we turn our focus to Nyheim Hines who was a footnote in the section on Wilkins. He was Week 10’s RB4 through Sunday’s games and has the steadiest role between him, Wilkins, and rookie Jonathan Taylor.

Indy draws the Green Bay Packers in Week 11. They’ve given up a league-worst 15 touchdowns to running backs, four of which have been receiving (tied for second-most), and have allowed the third-most fantasy points to running backs. The same caveats apply here as with Wilkins. This is still a three-headed committee. Week 11 just might present an opportunity for multiple strong performances from this backfield. But Hines is looking like the safest bet right now.

Salvon Ahmed

Miami Dolphins

Is the University of Washington becoming the Miami Dolphins personal ‘Running Back U’? Probably not but like the injured Myles Gaskin, Salvon Ahmed stepped into the starting role and racked up 90 yards on 22 touches against the Los Angeles Chargers. Not overly efficient but he also found the end zone and handled 21 of 25 running back carries. Gaskin is set to miss at least one more game on IR setting Ahmed up so handle another hefty workload.

He faces the Denver Broncos on the road in Week 11. That was once a matchup to avoid but they are middle of the pack in terms of fantasy points allowed to the position in 2020. They also just gave up the RB2 performance to Josh Jacobs and RB6 to Devontae Booker (pending Monday Night Football) of the Las Vegas Raiders in the same game. Miami is playing well defensively and they are trying to limit rookie Tua Tagovailoa’s exposure. These all bode well for Ahmed.

Handcuffs

As mentioned earlier, we are almost out of the woods on bye weeks. With only a handful of fantasy assets out this week and just two teams with byes remaining, bench depth is becoming less important. At certain positions, that is. Running back is the most valuable position because of how monopolized the touches are compared to wide receivers where teams routinely go four and five-deep. There isn’t a lot of depth at tight end as it is and things get murky as guys specialize down the depth chart.

Running back is fairly straight forward for the most part. Chances are, with all injuries this season, you’ve already seen who would be your starting back’s replacement and how he would be used. Be proactive and snag up that backup if you have space on your bench. Receivers that you wouldn’t start are less valuable than your starting runners handcuff. This doesn’t apply to all backups, but certain guys (Alexander Mattison, Latavius Murray, Jamaal Williams, etc.) need to be picked up just in case. Even if the case is to block your opponent if pettiness is your thing.

Wide Receivers

Michael Pittman Jr.

Indianapolis Colts

His dad was a Super Bowl-winning member of the Tampa Bay Buccaneers but the 6-foot-4 rookie out of USC is trying to make his mark on the outside. He did that in Week 10, checking in as the WR15 through Sunday. Pittman caught seven of eight targets for 101 yards and took a handoff 21 yards in his best game as a pro. His 15 targets over the past two games lead the team and came with the Colts both trailing and leading signaling a stable role. That’s notable because it was the first time Indy had Pittman, Zach Pascal, and T.Y. Hilton all active this season.

He’ll see the Green Bay Packers in Week 11. While Indy isn’t a high-volume passing attack by nature, ranking just 20th in attempts, Richie Jame hung a 9/184/1 line on the Packers a coulple of weeks ago. Hines and the guys running the ball might be the bigger worry. But it’s clear there is a desire to get Pittman going and a need for him to do so. It’s tough counting on rookies, though.

Corey Davis

Tennessee Titans

In a tremendous showing of personal fortitude, Corey Davis played last Thursday in the Tennessee Titans loss to the Indianapolis Colts. It was a modest performance, just 11.7 PPR fantasy points. But it was Davis’ sixth time in seven games scoring 10-plus PPR fantasy points this season. The one miss was against the Bears lockdown corners. If you were worried about the A.J. Brown, don’t. Davis’s two biggest games came in Weeks 7 and 8 with Brown in the lineup.

He gets the Ravens in Week 11. The matchup could be better as they’ve allowed the fourth-fewest fantasy points to wide receivers this season. But they have allowed solid outings to Jakobi Meyers and JuJu Smith-Schuster in recent weeks. Davis is right on the threshold for making this list but he also has better staying power than any receiver on the wire right now.

Josh Reynolds

Los Angeles Rams

This one could be tricky. Josh Reynolds led the Los Angeles Rams in Week 10 with 10 targets, catching eight for 94 yards. All team-highs. He’s quietly behind only Cooper Kupp’s 31 targets with 27 of his own over the last three weeks. Kupp, if you remember, received a whopping 20 looks two weeks ago. Reynolds has scored double-digit fantasy points in three of his last four games.

The risks here are three-fold. First, Reynolds is third in the pecking order on his team. Kupp and Robert Woods will generally garner far more looks. Second, the Rams are a run-first operation with three talented backs. Jared Goff moved the ball almost at will through the air in Week 10 and they still scored all their touchdowns on the ground. Last, but not least, L.A. faces Tampa in Week 11. They are 11th in fantasy points allowed to receivers but have shown cracks in recent weeks, allowing useful performances to several players.

Willie Snead

Baltimore Ravens

We’re getting even more dangerous now. Willie Snead snagged five of seven targets for 64 yards and two scores against the Patriots in primetime. It was Snead’s third game in a row with four-plus catches. It’s light work, but he has been effective with it; he caught five of seven targets for 106 yards a couple of weeks ago.

Snead is like Reynolds. His team is run-first with a good defense to keep it on schedule. But the Baltimore Ravens rushing attack is an even greater presence with Lamar Jackson. So Snead is behind the running game first and second even before getting to Marquise Brown and Mark Andrews. Surely the WR7 in Week 10 has some long-term value. Brown and the offense have struggled so perhaps Snead can show some consistency against the Titans who are allowing the sixth-most fantasy points to wide receivers.

Tight End

Tyler Higbee/Gerald Everett

Los Angeles Rams

In what has been an oscillating thing, Tyler Higbee led the Rams tight ends in production in Week 10 with three grabs (on six targets) for 60 yards. Gerald Everett had nine targets just a week ago. Both have the ability to be top-10 at the position but, more often than not, they just cannibalize each other. Everett got hurt towards the end of last season allowing Higbee to take off and we may need to see a similar occurrence to see one elevate fully.

Still, the state of the tight end position is such that if you find yourself needing one, there are worse offenses to attach yourself to. Goff is still 11th in pass attempts despite his team’s preference for the ground game. Tampa, L.A.’s opponent in Week 11, is allowing the 10th-most fantasy points to tight ends and this game could be a struggle on the perimeter.

Week 10 Waiver Wire: Coastal Elite

Hopefully, you were on the giving end of one of the explosive performances from this weekend in the NFL. If you had Dalvin Cook or Davante Adams this weekend there’s a really good chance you walked away with a ‘W’. Unless, of course, the rest of your lineup proceeded to wet the bed (*dries tears*). Basically, there were several stars performing like stars this week.

There were also some surprises, confirmations, and a few other happenings. So this week’s wire will include a quarterback back from the brink, a running back that might finally get his chance, and a receiver that keeps popping up with big games in relief. That’s big with the Atlanta Falcons and Kansas City Chiefs joining the Dallas Cowboys and New York Jets on bye. As usual, most if not all of these players fall below 50% ownership.

Rams and Patriots Headline the Week 10 Waiver wire

Quarterbacks

Jared Goff

Los Angeles Rams

Quick, who is the QB13 on the season? If your answer wasn’t one Jared Goff, thanks for playing. Goff and the Los Angeles Rams are coming off of their bye and he didn’t have a great game before the break. But he does have a couple of appearances in the weekly top-10 and several others in the top-18. Los Angeles is run-heavy this year, but this game presents an interesting challenge.

Goff draws the Seattle Seahawks in Week 10. They’ve allowed the second-most fantasy points to quarterbacks including the QB2 performance of Josh Allen in Week 9. Kyler Murray was the QB2 against them in Week 7. Seattle even let Nick Mullens finish as the QB16 in Week 8. The bottom line is, they are a sieve against the pass and fairly sturdy against the run. Fire up Goff, and all of his weapons for that matter, with confidence.

Nick Foles

Chicago Bears

This is where there is a clear delineation of real-life football from fantasy. In no world (in any way shape, or form) would Nick Foles be a recommended starting quarterback for your real team. But in fantasy, we don’t care how you rack up points, just rack ‘em up. Foles has one of the best defenses in the league behind him but his unit fails to move the ball most of the game; ranking 28th or worse in scoring and on third and fourth downs.

Since his first start in Week 4, however, Foles is actually QB17 on the season. He’s ahead of names like Ben Roethlisberger and Matthew Stafford. Not elite fantasy quarterbacks by any stretch but all very serviceable. With a date against the Minnesota Vikings (who’ve allowed the 10th-most fantasy points to quarterbacks) on deck for Week 10, this might be a hold your nose situation.

Running Backs

Malcolm Brown

Los Angeles Rams

We just got done talking about how good Goff’s outlook was in Week 10 and now we’re going to tell you why Malcolm Brown could be useful in lineups. The Rams are still going to try establishing the run and Brown is just 20 carries and 144 yards behind team-leader Darrell Henderson. They both have three rushing scores. All of that without drawing one start for L.A. Henderson got banged up before the bye though he is expected to be fine. But that shouldn’t deter you from deploying Brown this week.

He’s gotten double-digit carries four times this season and Henderson was active for all of them. But in a game with such a high point expectancy, you want to get any viable piece of the action that you can. You’re probably still hoping he finds the end zone; only Dalvin Cook and Alexander Mattison surpassed 60 yards against the Seahawks. But again, double-digit carries. You aren’t finding that in many back-up running backs across the league. And don’t let the Rams get out to a lead like the Bills did.

Kalen Ballage

Los Angeles Chargers

Injuries suck no matter when they occur. But fantasy owners of Los Angeles Chargers running back Justin Jackson got a big fat goose egg in their lineups when he hurt his knee on the first play of the game against the Las Vegas Raiders. He played two more snaps but didn’t record a touch. It was a blow but Kalen Ballage stepped up in real life and might have a shot to do so for your fantasy team in Week 10.

Los Angeles hosts the upstart Miami Dolphins. They aren’t a cakewalk but they aren’t to be avoided either. Ballage, who was traded by the Dolphins to the Jets this preseason, out-carried rookie Joshua Kelley 15-9. While the latter got more action through the air, the former still managed to haul in two of his three targets for 15 yards, adding to his profile for Week 10. Of course, this depends on whether or not Jackson recovers, but if he misses time, Ballage could help you stay afloat.

Rex Burkhead

New England Patriots

Speaking of wasting entire spiels, we included Damien Harris in our Week 9 write-up. Now Harris is dealing with a chest injury. But that allowed Rex Burkhead to re-emerge as a viable option. Burkhead finished as the RB8 in Week 9, rushing 12 times for 56 yards and three passes for 11 yards. He also scored two touchdowns, one each via the air and ground. It was Burkhead’s second appearance in the top-10. He was RB2 way back in Week 3.

The New England Patriots will face a tough matchup in Week 10, hosting the tough Baltimore Ravens. They’re allowing the fewest points to running backs this season but only the Cleveland Browns and Houston Texans backs in Weeks 1 and 2, respectively, and the Colts backs in Week 9 failed to crack the top-20 against them. James White is still around and Cam Newton is always a threat to vulture at the goal line. But Burkhead’s versatility will serve him well in what is sure to be a hard-fought battle in Week 10.

Wide Receivers

Jakobi Meyers

Sticking with the Patriots, if you watched Monday Night Football in Week 9, first I’m sorry. But second, you certainly noticed one Jakobi Meyers, Week 9’s WR4. The second-year former quarterback out of N.C. State was easily Newton’s favorite target on the night, garnering 14 looks and catching 12 for 169 yards. He was repeatedly open in the middle of the field as the New York Jets wanted Newton to throw down the field. He and Meyers picked them apart instead.

Baltimore is just as tough on wide receivers as back so this is going to be tough sledding for Meyers. The Ravens have allowed the fourth-fewest fantasy points to receivers this season. They have, however, given up top-10 performances to Travis Fulgham and Terry McLaurin, and Tyreek Hill was WR12 in Week 3. Fulgham and McLaurin are probably better comps as target hogs on bad teams. That bodes well for Meyers.

Curtis Samuel

Carolina Panthers

There is some inherent risk in playing Carolina Panthers receiver Curtis Samuel, though admittedly less so than normal. Samuel had buzz coming into the season as a versatile playmaker and the coaching staff even talked him up as such. But he failed to even score double-digit fantasy points in any of the first four games this season. He’s flipped that over his last four contests, recording increasing point totals every week culminating with being the WR7. He’s also scored in each of the last three games. Samuel is the WR12 since Week 5 and is the WR6 (!!!) over the last three weeks.

Carolina draws an almost certainly pissed off Buccaneers team down in Tampa in Week 10. They’re 12th in fantasy points allowed to wide receivers and only four receivers have finished in the top-20 for the week against them. Fortunately for Carolina, two of the receivers were Panthers. Both D.J. Moore (WR10) and Robby Anderson (WR12) did it in Week 2. Perhaps Samuel, who will be in the mix for carries if Christian McCaffrey misses more time.

KJ Hamler

Denver Broncos

This is our first rookie of the week after previous listings often had several at a time. But KJ Hamler might be emerging as a reliable option for the Denver Broncos at the right time. Drew Lock (who made last week’s article) has thrown five touchdowns over his last two starts. Hamler has nine catches, 88 yards, and a touchdown in that same span. He also finished as the WR29 in Week 9.

There are a few hurdles for Hamler to clear to maintain relevance. First, he is competing with fellow rookie Jerry Jeudy and Tim Patrick for targets. In his favor, Noah Fant and Albert Okwuegbunam are both banged up, freeing up space (and targets) in the middle of the field should one or both miss time. Denver faces the Raiders in Week 10. They are 17th in fantasy points allowed to receivers.

Tight End

Irv Smith Jr

Minnesota Vikings

It’s one thing to ignore a one-off, TE4 performance. It’s another thing entirely to ignore Irv Smith Jr. having several top-12 performances. Or that he is the TE15 on the year despite having just three starts and playing behind Kyle Rudolph most of the season. In fact, Smith has out-snapped Rudolph in each of the last two games. The Minnesota Vikings aren’t the defensive force they once were so Smith has been a revelation.

Minnesota travels to Chicago in Week 10 to take on the reeling Bears. They have one of the best defenses in the NFL but there are weak spots. They effectively lock down the perimeter but have shown to be vulnerable to backs and tight ends at times. Chicago is 28th in fantasy points allowed to tight ends and have given up six touchdowns to the position. Smith has been a weapon for the Vikings and that should continue in Week 10.

NFL Week 9 Waiver Wire

Another week in the books just means more opportunities to work the waiver wire. It wasn’t a great week for quarterbacks or running backs; save for Patrick Mahomes and Dalvin Cook, respectively. Tight end has been another issue altogether. We did hit on Joe Burrow and Brandon Aiyuk in Week 8, but it was a rough one overall for our suggested pickups.

There were, as usual, more injuries that will have a fantasy impact. However, they aren’t as pertinent as the status of injuries we were already monitoring. They still provide us with some fill-ins with the Bengals, Brown, Eagles, and Rams all on bye. What might be most shocking is there were a couple of rookies who had strong performances without an injury to a player ahead of them on the depth chart.

NFL Week 9 Waiver Wire: Lock Your Carr

Quarterbacks

Drew Lock

Denver Broncos

The Denver Broncos pulled the upset and got the win over the Los Angeles Chargers on Sunday thanks in no small part to Drew Lock. The second-year pro threw for 248 yards and three scores against L.A. He struggled in his first two games back from injury, completing just 53 percent of his passes with no touchdowns and four interceptions. But Lock completed better than 63 percent of his passes on his way to being the QB7 through Sunday’s games.

He gets the Atlanta Falcons, who have allowed the most fantasy points to quarterbacks this season, in Week 9. Only three quarterbacks have finished outside the top-12 against them; Teddy Bridgewater (in the rematch), Matthew Stafford, and Nick Foles. Lock is a solid option for those going without Burrow this week.

Derek Carr

Las Vegas Raiders

Staying in the AFC West, we land on the most senior quarterback in the division. Derek Carr is in the middle of a career-year in real-life. That hasn’t necessarily translated to fantasy, though, where he’s just QB20 on the season. But he has had usable weeks, peaking as the QB9 in Week 5. He should be back on the streaming radar in Week 9 as Las Vegas takes on the divisional-foe Los Angeles Chargers.

They’ve allowed the fifth-most fantasy points to quarterbacks and just traded away a member of their already depleted secondary. Lock was able to get himself untracked against them, scoring more than 20 fantasy points. Burrow (QB20), Bridgewater (QB21), and Gardner Minshew (QB14) are the only two passers to not crack the top-10 against the Chargers.

Running Backs

Zack Moss

Buffalo Bills

Despite the fairly even overall split of the carries, Zack Moss is the more desirable back going forward for the Buffalo Bills. Devin Singletary (14 carries, 86 yards) drew the start and had more yardage. But Moss (14/81/2) got the ball in high-leverage situations, including all the work inside the 10-yard line. Week 8 was also the first time Moss got the majority of the snaps. Perhaps Moss can help solve Buffalo’s rushing woes.

His Week 9 opponent, the Seattle Seahawks, are tough on backs but this could be a long-term play on the waiver wire. They’ve also allowed 145 yards to Chase Edmonds and 112 yards to  Alexander Mattison in recent weeks. Moss obviously won’t score two touchdowns every week. And Josh Allen, who was playing at an MVP level earlier in the year, is always a threat to take it himself around the goal line. But Moss might be the next best option for a team that led the league in red-zone plays entering the week.

Jordan Wilkins

Indianapolis Colts

What seemed to be out of the ordinary actually has a logical explanation. Indianapolis Colts head coach Frank Reich came out Monday and said rookie starting running back Jonathan Taylor is dealing with an ankle injury. Taylor still managed 11 totes but he could only turn them into 22 yards. Instead, third-year man Jordan Wilkins turned his 20 carries into 89 yards, also catching his lone target for 24 yards. This is Taylor’s role when healthy and Nyheim Hines gobbles up the receiving work pretty effectively.

There is also the matter of the Baltimore Ravens, Indy’s Week 9 opponent. They’ve allowed the fewest fantasy points to backs in 2020. Though, if we’re being honest, four of the seven backs they’ve faced have been the RB17 or better. And two of the other types of performances came over the first two weeks. Wilkins might have a tough time reaching the top-15 considering he gets almost zero action through the air. But he can certainly be a top-24 play in Week 9.

Damien Harris

New England Patriots

You cannot trust a New England Patriots running back. You cannot trust a New Patriots running back. You cannot tru…you get the idea. That’s typically the case but we may be seeing a shift in philosophy that has been looming since Tom Brady left for Tampa. James White has enjoyed the most stable role in this backfield, serving as a safety valve for Brady. But with the Patriots going with a more run-heavy approach with Cam Newton, Damien Harris might be emerging as the most trustworthy asset.

Harris has gotten 10-plus carries in three of four games he’s been active and has hit the century mark in two of them. New England lost all four games; hopefully easing at some concern over his being phased out by game script. He isn’t without worry, though. White isn’t likely completely gone from this offense and Rex Burkhead is the quintessential vulture. But Harris has been playing for Sony Michel and has given no reasons why he shouldn’t continue doing so.

Gus Edwards/J.K. Dobbins

Baltimore Ravens

For one week, at least, fantasy players finally got a glimpse of how the Baltimore Ravens backfield would produce with just two mouths to feed as opposed to three. The results were both Gus Edwards and J.K. Dobbins finishing in the top-15 in Week 8. Should Mark Ingram (ankle) miss another week, Edwards and Dobbins could be right back in the top-15 against the Indianapolis Colts.

Which of the two should be a priority might depend on your format. Edwards had one more carry and got the lone tote inside the 10-yard line so it’s likely him if your league is standard scoring. But Dobbins out-gained him (113 to 87) and was the preferred third-down option. He should be first-priority in PPR leagues.

Wide Receivers

Marvin Jones

Detroit Lions

Things have a way of coming full circle in sports. That usually manifests in the form of a veteran player signing for a final year, or even a one-day, contract to retire as a member of the team that drafted them. For Marvin Jones, it’s a little different. He was generally drafted toward the end of the eighth round or so as part of what was supposed to be a high-octane passing attack. He is just the WR52 on the year. In Week 8, however, he was the WR8.

A large part of why he was able to reach the ranking he did in Week 8 was because he caught two touchdowns. He caught two of them against the Colts; his just his second and third of the year. But he also got more opportunity due to Kenny Golladay exiting early with a hip injury. Golladay has already missed three games this season so perhaps Detroit takes the extra precautious approach. The Lions face the Minnesota Vikings who have allowed the fifth-most fantasy points to wide receivers; just ask Davante Adams.

Darnell Mooney

Chicago Bears

We have had reason to suspect this was coming but it was nice to actually see Chicago Bears rookie receiver Darnell Mooney on the receiving end of a deep pass from Foles. For one thing, the Bears need all the offense they can muster. But, more important for fantasy purposes, it was the process paying off. Mooney has received three-plus targets in every game and has at least five in every game from Week 3 on.

Anthony Miller led Chicago in targets in Week 8 but that includes Allen Robinson; something no one should expect to happen again barring injury. He also still played fewer snaps than Mooney yet again. If one of these two performances was an outlier, it’s probably Miller’s. Sunday was his first game with more than four grabs all season. He’ll need to put together a couple more outing like this to regain the trust he began the year with. But the Tennessee Titans (seventh-most points to wide receivers) on tap, Mooney could yet again crack the top-16 like he did this week.

Kendrick Bourne

San Francisco 49ers

The San Francisco 49ers are probably the most injury-riddled team in the NFL. They’re already down one All-Pro pass-rusher and two other key pieces from their vaunted defense. They are also without their top running back and lost his backup in what was his first game back. Now they will be without stud tight end George Kittle for basically the rest of the season. All of this is to say someone has to catch passes and in Week 8, at least, Kendrick Bourne was one of those people.

Bourne registered just one fewer target and had just 10 fewer yards than Brandon Aiyuk who led the 49ers in both categories. He’ll make for a better asset in PPR than standard, touchdowns will be harder to come by with Jimmy Garoppolo also set to miss an extended period of time. Nick Mullens has shown he can get the ball to his playmakers and with Deebo Samuel set to miss a couple more games, Bourne could be a nice FLEX play.

Tight Ends

Trey Burton

Indianapolis Colts

Another week, another rushing touchdown for Trey Burton. No, he hasn’t switched positions. He has just landed in one of the friendliest offenses for tight ends in the NFL. Frank Reich’s system helped revive the career of Eric Ebron and might be doing the same with Burton. He’s already surpassed his yardage and touchdown totals from 2019 with the Bears and he’s done so in half the games.

Mo Alie-Cox started in this role but got injured a few weeks back. This has allowed Burton to emerge for Reich, whom we won a Super Bowl as a member of the Philadelphia Eagles. There are obvious risks. Philip Rivers hasn’t been great this year, Jack Doyle isn’t going away, and Burton is still a part-time player. Indy also plays the Ravens in Week 9. Their sturdy defense has been just okay at stopping tight ends and allowed the Pittsburgh Steelers Eric Ebron to catch four passes for 48 yards and a score.

Week 8 Primetime Moneymakers: Highly Favored

Another week in the NFL meant another string of brutal injuries. Odell Beckham is out for the season after tearing his ACL and Kenyan Drake will miss time with an ankle injury. We also got word on Wednesday that the Houston Texans shut down their facilities following a player having a positive COVID test. Fortunately, they are on their bye week so we should avoid any rescheduling. That’s assuming the Green Bay Packers, their Week 7 opponent, don’t have any positives pop up.

We broke even last week, bringing us to 4-6. It’s a feat only possible due to the flexing of Bucs-Raiders out of primetime. That game and the Thursday game (Giants-Eagles) came through against the spread. The Cardinals made a statement over the Seahawks, as did the Rams over the Bears. But those just added to the loss column for our purposes. Nailing the total has been a challenge too, but we still hit .500 there too. As usual, there’s money to be made so we might as well make it!

Primetime Moneymakers Week 8: Highly Favored

Atlanta Falcons (1-6) @ Carolina Panthers (3-4)

Spread:  Panthers -2.5

O/U: 51

What more can you say about the Atlanta Falcons (2-5 ATS)? Rarely is scoring the go-ahead touchdown a recipe for disaster. But that’s what happened after Todd Gurley fell into the end zone against the Lions. Atlanta’s 27th-ranked (DVOA) defense allowed Matthew Stafford and the Lions to march 75 yards in five plays and the game-winning touchdown. Their pass defense has been particularly atrocious, ranking 32nd in yards and touchdowns allowed.

The Carolina Panthers have been a mixed bag this season. They are 3-4, which isn’t great. But they’ve only beaten one team with a winning record. Teddy Bridgewater is second in the league in completion percentage but has only thrown eight touchdowns to five picks. Mike Davis has filled in admirably with Christian McCaffrey out of the lineup. But the dynamic back has an outside shot at playing in this one. He missed the first meeting between these two teams, which the Panthers won 23-16.

It’s almost impossible to put money on the Falcons. They have blown leads in every way imaginable. After getting a brief respite in interim-head coach Raheem Morris’ first game; a 40-23 washing of the likewise bombing Minnesota Vikings. Carolina’s offense is 10th in DVOA (Atlanta is 23rd) and their defense is 23rd (27th for Atlanta). There could be a lot of points put up, but the under hit last time they met. Avoid the spread and take the Panthers moneyline. The under is also appealing, though the offenses are far superior to the defenses in this one.

Dallas Cowboys (2-5) – Philadelphia Eagles (2-4-1)

Spread: Eagles -7.5

O/U: 43.5

What’s more ridiculous? That the Philadelphia Eagles play in primetime in back-to-back weeks? Or the Dallas Cowboys getting another primetime game at all? Whatever, we’ll hold our nose and take a swing. Philly (2-5 ATS) eeked out a victory against the wayward New York Giants. Carson Wentz threw just one (or fewer) interception for just the third time this season and the Eagles (25th in DVOA) ascended to first in the NFC East in the process. Now they’ll get a shell of the Cowboys.

The D in ‘Big D’ must stand for despair. After losing star quarterback Dak Prescott to a gruesome ankle injury a couple of weeks ago. Dallas (0-7 ATS) saw replacement Andy Dalton take a cheap shot from Washington Football Team linebacker Jonathan Bostic. He’s now in concussion protocol and, as of Wednesday, wasn’t practicing. In steps rookie seventh-round pick Ben DiNucci at quarterback. He took as many sacks as he had completed passes last week and the Eagles pass-rush is still fierce. They’re third in sacks and fifth in ESPN’s Pass Rush Win Rate.

Listen, nothing has been easy for the Eagles this season. They have been one of the most inconsistent and injury-riddled outfits in the NFL. This one, though, might be the gimme-est of gimmes. A third-string quarterback making his first NFL start playing behind a porous offensive line and backed by an even more porous defense is food for the battle-tested Eagles. Dallas hasn’t covered all season and you shouldn’t expect them to now. The Cowboys likely struggles should also suppress the score here, putting the under in play.

Tampa Bay Buccaneers (5-2) – New York Giants (1-6)

Spread: Giants +10.5

O/U: 46

Antonio Brown made headlines this week when he signed with the Tampa Bay Buccaneers (4-3 ATS), further solidifying the deepest stable of weapons in the NFL. Tom Brady is having a throwback campaign and has thrown 18 touchdowns (second in the NFL) to just four picks. Brown won’t play in this one but the Bucs boast the sixth-best offensive DVOA without him. Add that to their defense (first in DVOA) and it’s a tall task for any opponent.

Daniel Jones has regressed this season. Granted, New York (4-3 ATS) has suffered as devastating injuries as any team. Saquon Barkley comes to mind. But Jones is throwing fewer touchdowns and more interceptions and still has a fumbling problem. The Giants are 30th in offensive DVOA. That defense (19th in DVOA) won’t be able to save them. They were able to keep it close against the Eagles last week. That probably won’t be the case against the Bucs.

To put it in no uncertain terms, this should be a blowout. Tampa has scored 23-plus points in every game but one while the Giants have allowed 22-plus in four of seven contests. New York was able to move the ball and even put up points against the Eagles. Tampa, the number one overall team in total DVOA, is a different animal entirely. 10.5 might not be enough for the Giants to cover this week, friends.