Waiver Wire Week 12: Fantasy Projections for Top Pickups and Sleeper Targets

Kristopher Knox@@kris_knoxFeatured ColumnistNovember 19, 2019

Indianapolis Colts' Jonathan Williams (33) runs during the second half of an NFL football game against the Jacksonville Jaguars, Sunday, Nov. 17, 2019, in Indianapolis. (AP Photo/AJ Mast)
AJ Mast/Associated Press

We're headed into Week 12, fantasy football fans, which means that if you haven't reached your playoff yet, they're right around the corner. Now is not the time to be lax with your lineup decisions.

Just because your roster has been good enough to get to the postseason—or on its cusp—doesn't mean there isn't room for improvement. As is always the case, it's worth scouring the waiver wire for potential upgrades and sleeper options.

Plus, there is still another round of byes to navigate, as the Arizona Cardinals, Kansas City Chiefs, Los Angeles Chargers and Minnesota Vikings are off in Week 12.

Here, you'll find a look at the top waiver-wire options, along with projections for the top sleepers of Week 12. Picks and projections are based on PPR scoring formats.


Fantasy Football Week 12 Waiver-Wire Targets

QB Nick Foles, Jacksonville Jaguars

QB Ryan Tannehill, Tennessee Titans

RB Jonathan Williams, Indianapolis Colts

RB Nyheim Hines, Indianapolis Colts

RB Alexander Mattison, Minnesota Vikings

WR Randall Cobb, Dallas Cowboys

WR Darius Slayton, New York Giants

WR Hunter Renfrow, Oakland Raiders

TE Vance McDonald, Pittsburgh Steelers

TE Dallas Goedert, Philadelphia Eagles

TE Noah Fant, Denver Broncos


RBs Nyheim Hines and Jonathan Williams, Indianapolis Colts

The Indianapolis Colts are set to be without starting running back Marlon Mack for the immediate future. The 23-year-old suffered a fractured hand in Week 11 and will sit out Thursday's game against the Houston Texans—at the very least:

Indianapolis Colts @Colts

Per Coach Reich, RB Marlon Mack (hand) and S Khari Willis (concussion) have each been ruled out for Thursday's game.

This likely means the Colts will turn to the tandem of Nyheim Hines and Jonathan Williams, as they did on Sunday. The latter finished with 116 rushing yards and one reception for 31 yards, while the former recorded three receptions, 35 total yards and a touchdown.

Williams will be the back to target in most formats, as he'll likely lead the rushing attack against Houston. However, Hines has value in PPR leagues, after being Indianapolis' receiving back even with Mack healthy. He has 30 receptions in 10 games this season. He may be utilized even more against the Texans, who rank 29th against the pass and 13th against the run.

According to FantasyPros, Williams is available in 98 percent of Yahoo leagues, while Hines is available in 83 percent of Yahoo leagues.

Projection for Hines: 18 rushing yards, five receptions, 48 receiving yards

Projection for Williams: 98 rushing yards, one reception, 12 receiving yards, one TD


WR Hunter Renfrow, Oakland Raiders

OAKLAND, CA - NOVEMBER 17: Wide receiver Hunter Renfrow #13 of the Oakland Raiders catches a pass against the Cincinnati Bengals during the second quarter at RingCentral Coliseum on November 17, 2019 in Oakland, California. (Photo by Jason O. Watson/Getty
Jason O. Watson/Getty Images

Over the past few weeks, rookie wideout Hunter Renfrow has emerged as a go-to option for the Oakland Raiders and quarterback Derek Carr.

In his past four games, the 23-year-old has averaged just under five receptions and 63 yards per game and has scored twice.

Carr has begun to trust the fact that, while it won't always look pretty, Renfrow finds ways to get open.

"Early on, we wanted to be so precise," Carr said, per Matt Kawahara of the San Francisco Chronicle. "'No, do it like this.' But then it started to get like, 'Actually, you just get open. We need you at that spot at this time. You just do it how you want to.' And as we started to see, he started to play more freely."

Renfrow should have plenty of opportunities to get open against a New York Jets secondary that has allowed an average of 253.3 passing yards per game this season. Expect Carr to look in his direction early and often.

Renfrow is currently available in 86 percent of Yahoo leagues, according to FantasyPros.

Projection: six receptions, 67 receiving yards, one TD


TE Vance McDonald, Pittsburgh Steelers

PITTSBURGH, PA - NOVEMBER 03:  Vance McDonald #89 of the Pittsburgh Steelers celebrates his touchdown during the third quarter against the Indianapolis Colts at Heinz Field on November 3, 2019 in Pittsburgh, Pennsylvania. (Photo by Joe Sargent/Getty Image
Joe Sargent/Getty Images

Landing Pittsburgh Steelers tight end Vance McDonald on the waiver wire could prove a bit trickier, as he's currently available in just 47 percent of Yahoo leagues, according to FantasyPros.

It's worth putting in a claim if the 29-year-old is available, though, especially if you need a bye-week replacement for Travis Kelce or Kyle Rudolph this week.

The Steelers may be forced to rely heavily on McDonald in the passing game this week, after wideouts JuJu Smith-Schuster and Diontae Johnson both suffered concussions in Week 11. According to ESPN's Adam Schefter (h/t ESPN's Brooke Pryor), Smith-Schuster is also dealing with a knee injury.

If one or both receivers can't go against the Cincinnati Bengals, quarterback Mason Rudolph will be low on reliable targets—and McDonald should be one of his top options. This should set the Rice product up for a strong outing, as Cincinnati has allowed an average of 258.1 passing yards per game.

The last time these two AFC North rivals met, McDonald did not play.

Projection: five receptions, 68 receiving yards, one TD