Week 12 Waiver Wire: Fantasy Football's Top Pickups and Breakout Candidates

Paul KasabianSenior ContributorNovember 19, 2018

BALTIMORE, MD - NOVEMBER 18: Running Back Gus Edwards #35 of the Baltimore Ravens runs with the ball in the fourth quarter against the Cincinnati Bengals at M&T Bank Stadium on November 18, 2018 in Baltimore, Maryland. (Photo by Rob Carr/Getty Images)
Rob Carr/Getty Images

Fantasy football players' decisions over the next few weeks will make or break entire seasons. The playoffs start in Week 14 or 15 in the vast majority of leagues, so every start/sit call or waiver add will be crucial down the stretch.

On that note, here's a look at some recommended Week 12 waiver-wire plays. Note that players rostered in 50 percent or more of Yahoo leagues were not considered.


Week 12 Waiver Wire: Top Breakout Candidates and Pickups

Houston Texans WR Keke Coutee (vs. Tennessee Titans): Rostered in 30 percent of Yahoo leagues

Tennessee Titans TE Jonnu Smith (at Houston Texans): 7 percent

Carolina Panthers WR D.J. Moore (vs. Seattle Seahawks): 38 percent

Baltimore Ravens QB Lamar Jackson (vs. Oakland Raiders): 18 percent

San Francisco 49ers QB Nick Mullens (at Tampa Bay Buccaneers): 7 percent

Baltimore Ravens RB Gus Edwards (vs. Oakland Raiders): 1 percent

Chicago Bears WR Anthony Miller (at Detroit Lions): 42 percent

Detroit Lions WR Bruce Ellington (vs. Chicago Bears): 0 percent

Detroit Lions RB Theo Riddick (vs. Chicago Bears): 32 percent

New Orleans Saints WR Tre'Quan Smith (vs. Atlanta Falcons): 23 percent

Tampa Bay Buccaneers WR Chris Godwin (vs. San Francisco 49ers): 45 percent


Target Baltimore Ravens Backfield Against Oakland Raiders

Baltimore Ravens quarterback Lamar Jackson and running back Gus Edwards combined for 232 rushing yards on 34 carries in a 24-21 Week 11 win over the Cincinnati Bengals. They could keep it going in Week 12 against the Oakland Raiders.

In Week 11, Jackson replaced usual starter Joe Flacco, who sat with a hip injury. Head coach John Harbaugh told reporters postgame that "it will be tough" for Flacco to be ready for Baltimore's Week 12 matchup. If that's the case, then expect Jackson to get another chance.

Don't expect any explosive passing numbers if his Week 11 workload is any indication (Jackson ran 27 times and threw 19 passes), but his excellent mobility (117 yards) should continue being a weapon moving forward.

Edwards should join him in the backfield. The rookie carried the ball 17 times, or 10 more than starter Alex Collins. Mike Clay of ESPN talked up Edwards' late-season potential:

Mike Clay @MikeClayNFL

The Ravens have an incredibly light late-season schedule for running backs, so Gus Edwards certainly has fantasy appeal. Could produce RB2 numbers if he manages ~15 touches/game.

With the desperate 5-5 Ravens fighting for a playoff spot, they should ride the Jackson-Edwards tandem as far as it can take them.

As for Sunday, Oakland's defense ranked 29th in defense-adjusted value over average (DVOA) through 10 weeks, per Football Outsiders. The Raiders also allowed the third-most rushing yards per game in football (141.0) during that span.

Ultimately, Jackson and Edwards dominating for the second straight week is definitely in play.


Intriguing Pass-Catchers in AFC South Monday Night Football Matchup

Tennessee Titans tight end Jonnu Smith has emerged with 11 catches, 122 yards and two touchdowns in his last three games. Those figures crush the totals from his first seven games (five catches, 44 yards, no touchdowns), so it's clear Smith has become a larger focal point in the Titans offense.

His eight targets on Sunday against the Indianapolis Colts were a career-high (and team-high on Sunday). Smith's increased usage could be a trend moving forward, so consider adding him if you're looking for a Week 12 tight end starter.

Similarly, Houston Texans wideout Keke Coutee could be a solid flex option. The rookie has battled injuries all season and only played four full games, but he's done quite well in those efforts thanks to 26 catches for 273 yards (over a 16-game season, that translates to an impressive 104 catches on 1,092 yards).

Coutee caught five passes for 77 yards on nine targets on Sunday in a 23-21 win over the Washington Redskins. Those stats either led or co-led Texans pass-catchers.

Coutee also told reporters postgame that he did not feel the effects of a hamstring injury that forced him to miss time. Provided he's still good to go for next Monday, Coutee is worth a Week 12 flier.


Opposing Quarterbacks Against Tampa Bay Buccaneers Always in Play

These were New York Giants quarterback Eli Manning's stats against the Tampa Bay Buccaneers on Sunday: 17 completions, 18 attempts, 231 yards, two touchdowns, no interceptions.

The lone incompletion came on a wheel route to running back Saquon Barkley, who was wide open but couldn't haul in a pass that Manning threw behind him.

The Bucs have struggled against all signal-callers this season, but Sunday was the nadir given that Manning threw just one incomplete pass in a 38-35 Giants win.

Injuries to key defensive players hurt, as linebacker Lavonte David, defensive end Vinny Curry, safety Justin Evans and cornerback M.J. Stewart were out. However, the Bucs had allowed the second-most fantasy points per game to opposing quarterbacks through 10 weeks, per Pro Football Reference.

Tampa Bay is in more trouble if some (or all) of that aforementioned group is out for Sunday's matchup with the San Francisco 49ers, but even so, Tampa may have a tough time stopping its opponent's passing attack.

San Francisco quarterback Nick Mullens, who has started two games and completed 70.5 percent of his attempts for four touchdowns (and two interceptions), will be starting again.

He's developed a tremendous rapport with tight end George Kittle, in particular, as the ex-Iowa star has caught 13 passes for 191 yards and a touchdown with Mullens under center.

The Mullens-Kittle duo could dominate the Bucs' struggling and potentially shorthanded defense, so consider the signal-caller in two-quarterback leagues or if you're looking for a decent start option as you enter the stretch run.


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