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2021 Fantasy Football: Week 12 Waiver Wire Rankings

The waiver wire options get thinner and thinner as the fantasy football playoffs draw near. However, like every week, there is still value to be had. While the running back options are slim pickings, there are interesting pass-catchers especially to target.

You will notice for a few of these players that I refer to their fantasy football player schedule as a reason to add them from the waiver wire. If you’re still working the waiver wire at this point in the season, you’re likely fighting or preparing for the playoffs. So, it’s good to think ahead, but a few of these players also offer immediate value, as well.

WEEK 12 BYES: Arizona Cardinals, Kansas City Chiefs

Below, we’ll look at players at each position, who are on 50% or less of most fantasy football rosters, that could be considered on the Week 12 waiver wire.

More fantasy football fun for Week 12: Waiver Wire | FAAB Guide | Start & Sit | Loves & Hates | Stock Watch | Sleepers & Streamers | D/ST Streamers

Week 12 Waiver Wire Rankings

Running Back

Dontrell Hilliard, Tennessee Titans

I’ll be honest and say I don’t love any of the running back options on the waiver wire ahead of Week 12. If you scroll down to the end of the running back section, I’m going to again suggest you try and pick up the handcuffs to your top running back or other top running backs on high-powered offenses.

However, it’s probable that most of those players are already on rosters. So, looking elsewhere, Hilliard appears to be the latest running back in Tennessee that should be targeted on the waiver wire.

I know I’ve cycled through suggestions of Adrian Peterson, Jeremey McNichols, and D’Onta Foreman. The truth is, and it’s what we’ve always known, that Derrick Henry is irreplaceable. However, looking at Week 11, Hilliard dominated the Titans backfield snaps playing 51 total to that of Peterson and Foreman’s 15 each. McNichols missed the game due to a concussion.

Most of Hilliard’s work was through the passing game, logging 10 targets, in a sloppy, rainy loss to the Houston Texans. Hilliard only received 30% of the running back carries, but the running game was simply ineffective causing Tannehill to toss 52 passes.

Now down Julio Jones (hamstring, IR), likely Marcus Johnson (hamstring), and possibly AJ Brown (chest), at receiver, Hilliard could be just as involved in Week 12 against the top-notch Patriots defense. He’s worth a pickup in PPR leagues as a volume-based flex play. I’m exhausting all options in 10 and 12 team leagues before plugging Hilliard into my lineup.

Ty Johnson and Tevin Coleman, New York Jets

The options on the waiver wire aren’t great when the Jets backfield is one to consider targeting. However, sticking to the guidelines of “players available in more than 50% of leagues”, Johnson and Coleman are two of the more notable options out there. They at least have one of the better opportunities for volume, which is crucial, especially this late in the season.

The lead back for most of the season, rookie, Michael Carter Jr., is expected to be out two to three weeks with an ankle sprain. Upon his exit in Week 11, Coleman carried the ball five times and caught his only target for two yards. Johnson carried the ball once and caught his only target for eight yards. Joe Flacco spent most of the day airing it out, throwing the ball 39 times, with Elijah Moore breaking out for an eight-catch, 141-yard, and one-touchdown performance. He’s been in this waiver wire column plenty of times this season.

So, as Carter nurses an ankle injury, I expect Ty Johnson to be the PPR back to roster from this backfield. He’s much more involved as a pass-catcher, regardless of Week 11’s usage. I do expect Johnson and Coleman to split carries somewhat evenly. However, Johnson figures to be on the field more getting passing down work and that’s what I’m banking on. I’m not really targeting either player off of the waiver wire unless I’m absolutely desperate or in a deeper league.

Other Running Backs to Consider

Boston Scott is the backup running back to Miles Sanders following a knee injury to Jordon Howard. It’s unclear at this point how long Howard figures to be sidelined, but I don’t expect him to suit up in Week 12. That also opens the door for rookie, Kenneth Gainwell, to dress on game day, though, since he was a healthy scratch in Week 11 upon Sanders’ return, he figures to be the odd man out here. For fantasy purposes, Scott presents low-end flex value in deeper leagues. The Eagles offense is humming and running the ball well as of late. Scott is your best way of getting in on that.

Your Fantasy Team’s Starting Running Back’s Handcuff becomes increasingly more important as the weeks go by. Players like AJ Dillon and Mark Ingram have already proven their worth plugging in behind the lead backs, Aaron Jones and Alvin Kamara, in their respective offenses.

Even if you don’t have Christian McCaffrey, Dalvin Cook, or Ezekiel Elliot on your roster, players like Chuba Hubbard, Alexander Mattison, and Tony Pollard should not be left available on the waiver wire. In the event that one of those top backs goes down, having their backup on your bench is more valuable than most of the above or other names on the waiver wire.

Not every backfield has a clear-cut handcuff to roster. The Titans are an obvious example of that. However, names like Khalil Herbert, D’Ernest Johnson, Samaje Perine, Chris Evans, Nyheim Hines, and others are some to consider given their production from filling in earlier this season.

Wide Receivers

Elijah Moore, New York Jets

This is the absolute last week Elijah Moore will be available on your league’s waiver wire. He is THE TOP WAIVER WIRE ADD ahead of Week 12. I don’t usually use the caps lock when writing fantasy football columns, but this is important. Moore is looking more and more (see what I did there) like a league winner.

I mentioned in last week’s waiver wire column that Moore was on a four-game streak with at least 10.2 PPR points. So, what does he do? Raises and the bar going out to have his best game of the season. Against Miami on Sunday, with Joe Flacco under center, Moore caught eight of 11 targets for 141 receiving yards. All career highs. In his last three games, he has 18 catches for 284 total yards and four touchdowns.

What’s most encouraging is that the rookie played more snaps (48) than teammate Jamison Crowder (41), who many believed would cash in the most with Flacco at quarterback. Moore looks like the team’s best offensive player and should see more of a workload moving forward. He’s a must-add on the waiver wire and a must-start moving forward.

Darnell Mooney, Chicago Bears

Similar to Elijah Moore, this is probably your last opportunity to pick up Mooney off of your league’s waiver wire. Mooney, like Moore, also set a career-high in targets (16) and receiving yards (121) on Sunday. With Allen Robinson sidelined, out of the bye, with a hamstring injury, Mooney stepped up as the team’s top receiving option.

On 93% of the team snaps, Mooney accounted for 48% of the target share. He was the focal point in a close loss against the Baltimore Ravens. What’s more impressive is that he kept up the production with Andy Dalton under center following Justin Fields’ exit due to a rib injury.

With a short week ahead of the Bears, it’s unlikely Robinson or Fields are able to play on Thanksgiving Thursday. Mooney, therefore, becomes a must-start after adding him from the waiver wire. He will, again, be the top receiving option against a Detroit Lions team that’s allowing the third-most points per game (27.3) this season. Given the trickiness and uncertainty of hamstring injuries, Mooney should remain on rosters for the remainder of the season even if Allen Robinson returns.

Nick Westbrook-Ikhine, Tennessee Titans

Westbrook-Ikhine should be added in most deep leagues as a consistent receiving option in this Titans offense, specifically in the absence of their usual starters. With Julio Jones still on Injured Reserve, and AJ Brown getting opinions on a Week 11 chest injury, Westbrook-Ikhine could be the top option in Tennessee in Week 12.

Marcus Johnson looks like he could miss some time after he pulled up with a hamstring injury in the end zone on Sunday. He was ruled out for the remainder of the game. That opened the door for NWI to record 107 receiving yards, catching seven of his eight targets. Up next, the Titans head to Foxborough to face the top-rated Patriots defense who just shut out the Atlanta Falcons in prime time. The Titans have a better chance at finding the end zone. If Tannehill throws anywhere close to 52 times, as he did in Week 11, then Westbrook-Ikhine could have value.

Cedrick Wilson, Dallas Cowboys

Wilson, like Westbrook-Ikhine above him, presents specific Week 12 value if circumstances are in his favor. Amari Cooper is unlikely to play on Thanksgiving due to testing positive for Covid-19 last Friday ahead of Week 11. Furthermore, Ceedee Lamb suffered a concussion in that game which he was ultimately ruled out for the remainder.

On such a short week, playing in their usual Thursday holiday spot, Lamb carries a high risk of suiting up. If that were the case, Michael Gallup looks like he would operate as the team’s top receiving option. Wilson, however, would present value of his own. He’s had a few big moments this season. Specifically, in Week 11, in Cooper and Lamb’s absence, he saw seven targets, which ties a season-high.

Wilson should be added in deeper leagues off of the waiver wire. If Lamb is ultimately ruled out, Wilson presents high-end flex value in most leagues. He’s going to be a top receiving option on one of the top-scoring offenses in 2021 that are playing at home on Thanksgiving.

Kadarius Toney, New York Giants

Toney is a player that generated a lot of buzz earlier this season but has since been battling injuries. The Giants’ Week 10 bye should have done him and the entire team some good as far as recovery goes. In back-to-back weeks, Weeks 3 and 4, Toney caught 16 of 22 targets for a whopping 267 yards. Prior to last night’s Monday Night Football game, he had just 15 catches for 111 yards in four games played. He recorded seven of those catches last night on 12 targets, but for just 40 yards

It’s clear, when healthy, Toney is a player the Giants want to get involved in this offense. Health is the big concern for this entire offense, really. Kenny Golladay, Sterling Shepard, Darius Slayton, and Toney have all only been on the field together for three games. That was Weeks 1 through 3.

It’s worth noting Toney and the Giants face off at home against the Dallas Cowboys in the first round of most fantasy football playoffs. Toney’s best game this season was against Dallas where he posted a 10/189/0 stat line on 13 targets. He currently can be considered a high-end flex option but could see his value increase as the season winds down. He did suffer a hip injury in last night’s game, so check for updates on that before submitting a waiver wire claim.

Other Wide Receivers to Consider

Laviska Shenault is a waiver wire consideration after the Jaguars placed receiver Jamal Agnew on Injured Reserve. The fact that it took an Agnew injury to make Shenault relevant again says a lot about the year Shenault has had. Shenault is still second in team targets this season. However, Agnew’s 38 targets in six games since Week 5 have put a dent in the overall target share of this offense. Shenault is a bench stash for now off of the waiver wire.

Robby Anderson caught a touchdown in Cam Newton’s first game back with Carolina two weeks ago. In Week 11, he caught five of six targets for 30 yards. It’s still not nearly enough of what we expected Robby Anderson to do this season, but he’s not a bad player to stash on the bench just in case.

Rondale Moore is coming off of an 11-reception game in Week 11. The good news is he caught all 11 targets, which is good for 11 PPR points in receptions alone. The bad news is he only managed 51 receiving yards with that volume. There’s a lot left to be desired with Moore, especially with DeAndre Hopkins set to return after the Week 12 bye. He’s not a bad player to add onto a deeper league bench.

Tight End

Evan Engram, New York Giants

Next up for the Giants is a home matchup with the Philadelphia Eagles. It will be the first time these two meet since the Eagles somewhat screwed New York out of a 2020 playoff spot by subbing in bench players to concede to the Washington Football Team.

While the Eagles defense is starting to find their identity, they still struggle mightily against the tight end position. They’re currently allowing the most targets, receptions, yards, and touchdowns to the position. So, it shouldn’t surprise anyone that tight ends average 12.5 PPR points per game against Philly.

In Week 11, New Orleans’ Adam Trautman had his best game by far hauling in five targets for 58 yards and a touchdown. Engram not only gets the Eagles this upcoming week but in the fantasy football semi-finals, as well. It’s worth mentioning there’s a soft schedule for tight ends in between.

That said, go grab Engram now off of the waiver wire before someone else does. Especially since the other Giants tight end, Kyle Rudolph looks like he could be out with an ankle injury. Other than Travis Kelce, the tight end position is very fluid with rankings. Engram could sneak his way into the top-10 or higher by the end of the season.

Logan Thomas, Washington Football Team

Logan Thomas is due back from Injured Reserve any day now. Based on reporting, I expect him to play in Week 12. The Washington offense could use him back as he and backup tight end, Ricky Seals-Jones, have been out or struggling with injuries.

Prior to his injury, Thomas dominated the tight end target share with 14 total through the first three weeks of the season. That accounted for about 16% of the team targets in that time. Picking up Thomas off of the wire and starting him right away will certainly come with some risk. However, stashing him for what’s ahead is the play here.

Thomas and the Football Team get the Philadelphia Eagles twice in three weeks. Those games happen to be the fantasy football quarter-finals and championship. Refer back to what I said about the Eagles above when I suggested Evan Engram. It’s the top-notch matchup for tight ends.


Cam Newton, Carolina Panthers

I advised last week in the waiver wire column to pick up Cam, but keep him on the bench. I did, however, say to take a “wait and see” approach for his Carolina comeback. Week 11 was pretty typical of Cam. He posted less than 200 passing yards, tossed two tuddies, and rushed 10 times for 46 yards with a rushing touchdown, as well. It was so typical, that Fantrax’s own, Lauren Auerbach, nailed her Week 11 prediction for Newton.

The rushing aspect of his game is what’s appealing here. On top of that, the Panthers’ schedule for the rest of the season presents favorable matchups for the former MVP that include Miami in Week 12 and a Week 14 matchup with Atlanta after a bye.

Unfortunately, for fantasy football managers, the Panthers go on the road against the Bills in the fantasy semi-finals then on the road to New Orleans on fantasy football championship weekend. I love Cam as a plug and play in his next two games, but would hold onto a more trustworthy option or the playoffs. Regardless, Cam is a solid add off of the waiver wire in all formats.

Week 12 Rankings: QB | RB | WR | TE | Kicker | D/ST | PPR | Flex

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