Week 12 Waiver-Wire Pickups: Available Sleepers in Most Yahoo Leagues

Steve Silverman@@profootballboyFeatured ColumnistNovember 21, 2018

Lamar Jackson is a dangerous runner early in his career with the Ravens.
Lamar Jackson is a dangerous runner early in his career with the Ravens.Nick Wass/Associated Press

It has been said that the NFL season begins at Thanksgiving, and with the festivities just a day away, it is time for teams to get serious about their prospects.

Actually, teams got serious in September once games started to count, but they need to be fully developed by late November so they can make a major move during the final five or six games of the season.

Teams that are at the .500 mark or better should have an excellent opportunity to determine their own destiny as far as playoff opportunities are concerned.

The same holds for fantasy football players. Those who have won at least half their games have a chance to make a run at a playoff spot.

That's what it's all about, because no matter what kind of league you are playing in, the idea is to win the championship and earn bragging rightsand the cash that came with the entry and transaction fees.

Nearly everyone has moves to make in late November. You may have quarterback Drew Brees on a brilliant pace, but you may be suffering with your running backs.

You may have running back Todd Gurley making big plays nearly every week, but your wide receivers may disappoint.

You are not complaining if you have wideout DeAndre Hopkins, but are you getting anything from your tight ends?

We have sleeper recommendations at the skill positions for your team. Any player who is on fewer than 50 percent of Yahoo rosters qualifies as a sleeper.

While the explosive Kansas City Chiefs and the high-scoring Los Angeles Rams are off this week following their Monday night scorefest, the other 30 teams are in action. We have a number of players who qualify and should make your team better.



Baker Mayfield, Cleveland Browns, (41 percent) at Cincinnati Bengals

Lamar Jackson, Baltimore Ravens (19 percent) vs. Oakland Raiders

Dak Prescott, Dallas Cowboys (48 percent) vs. Washington Redskins


Lamar Jackson

Jackson has all the tools needed to be successful as the leader of the Baltimore Ravens and to be a force in fantasy football.

He may eventually change the way he plays the positionhe ran the ball 27 times in last week's win over the Cincinnati Bengals and threw 19 passesbut his current level of aggressiveness and physical play suits fantasy owners well.

Jackson got his start in Week 11 because of Joe Flacco's hip injury, and he helped the Ravens by completing 13 passes for 150 yards. He did not throw a TD pass, but that is likely to change against the woeful Raiders. Oakland is coming off a rare win over the Arizona Cardinals, and going cross-country is not likely to bring about their best effort.

Jackson ran for 119 yards in the win over Cincinnati, and he should be good for at least 15 rushing attempts against Oakland.

LeGarrette Blount can still run with power for the Lions.
LeGarrette Blount can still run with power for the Lions.Lynne Sladky/Associated Press

Running backs

Rashaad Penny, Seattle Seahawks (49 percent) at Carolina Panthers

LeGarrette Blount, Detroit Lions (9 percent) vs. Chicago Bears

Giovanni Bernard, Cincinnati Bengals (29 percent) vs. Cleveland Browns


LeGarrette Blount

Our most obvious advice would be to take Penny, who has played a key role in helping the Seahawks develop the No. 1 rushing attack in the league with 154.3 yards per game.

The Lions are way down the list with an average of 100.4 yards per game (24th in the NFL), and Blount has not been much of a contributor with 183 yards (2.4 yards per carry) and three touchdowns.

But we are making a gamble that the Lions will be ready to play at home against the streaking Bears on Thanksgiving Day. Detroit played at home Sunday and remain at home, while the Bears played Sunday night and have to play early Thursday.

Additionally, quarterback Mitchell Trubisky has a shoulder injury and may not be at his best if he plays.

That could mean short possessions and turnovers for the Bears, and perhaps Blount punches in a couple of short touchdown runs.

Danny Amendola can handle the physical play and make tough catches.
Danny Amendola can handle the physical play and make tough catches.Stacy Revere/Getty Images

Wide receivers

Anthony Miller, Chicago Bears (42 percent) at Detroit Lions

Danny Amendola, Miami Dolphins (40 percent) at Indianapolis Colts

D.J. Moore, Carolina Panthers (39 percent) vs. Seattle Seahawks


Danny Amendola

The Dolphins have not played consistent football to this point in the year, but they have managed to split their first 10 games, and that means they can make a run at a playoff spot if they can get hot during the season's home stretch.

Amendola figures to play a key role for the Dolphins. The former New England Patriot is head coach Adam Gase's leading receiver with 47 receptions for 456 yards and one touchdown. 

While the Dolphins have lacked consistency and determination in recent seasons, that's not the way Amendola plays. His effort has always been part of his appeal, and it's probably the main reason the Dolphins signed him. 

Amendola has been targeted 61 times this season, and while that's slightly more than six times a game, that figure could approach nine or 10 times a game in the final six games.

The game between the Dolphins and Indianapolis could be a high-scoring shootout, and Amendola will catch eight passes, approach 100 yards and get into the end zone.


Tight ends

Cameron Brate, Tampa Bay Buccaneers (21 percent) vs. San Francisco 49ers

Jeff Heuerman, Denver Broncos (24 percent) vs. Pittsburgh Steelers


Jeff Heuerman

We don't expect Heuerman to have a dominant game against the Steelers, but the Pittsburgh defense is likely to overlook him as they prepare to take on the Broncos in the Mile High City.

Pittsburgh is going to pay much greater attention to a running game that features Phillip Lindsay (670 yards) and Royce Freeman (332 yards) and wideout Emmanuel Sanders (60 receptions for 763 yards).

Heuerman is a role player who has caught 29 passes for 237 yards and two touchdowns. While those are not huge totals, Heuerman can make plays in short-yardage situations, and 12 of his catches have resulted in first downs.

Look for Heuerman to find the open spaces and catch key passes from Case Keenum in Week 12.