Fantasy Football Week 12: Michael Pittman Jr. and Other Top Waiver-Wire Targets
Only six weeks remain in the 2020 NFL regular season. While there's still a lot of football left to be played, the fantasy football postseason is right around the corner.
As has been the case all season, the waiver wire will be a valuable tool for Week 12. No teams are on bye this week, but the injury bug is still roaming the sidelines and making some of our fantasy favorites unavailable.
Cincinnati Bengals quarterback Joe Burrow, who was among the front-runners for Offensive Rookie of the Year, is now done for the season after tearing his MCL and ACL, according to ESPN's Adam Schefter and Ben Baby. With players like Joe Mixon and Drew Brees also on injured reserve, shorthanded fantasy managers may need to turn to the waiver wire for replacements.
Here, we'll examine eight waiver-wire targets for Week 12. We'll be looking specifically at players who are rostered in less than 50 percent of Yahoo leagues, and all choices are based on points-per-reception (PPR) scoring.
Derek Carr, QB, Las Vegas Raiders
While he hasn't produced eye-popping statistics often this season, Las Vegas Raiders quarterback Derek Carr has been steady, reliable and efficient. It's surprising he isn't rostered more widely as an insurance policy.
Despite having thrown for 2,431 yards with 19 touchdowns and just three picks on the season, he is rostered in only 36 percent of Yahoo leagues and 38 percent of ESPN leagues.
Against the Kansas City Chiefs in Week 11, Carr passed for 275 yards with three touchdowns and a last-minute interception. He may have even more success this week against the Atlanta Falcons, who rank 31st against the pass, 25th in points allowed and made New Orleans Saints backup Taysom Hill look like a star in his first-ever NFL start.
While Carr won't have the added rushing upside that Hill presented against Atlanta, he should shine as a passer. Managers who need a quality Week 12 streamer or a replacement for Burrow should pounce.
Taysom Hill, QB, New Orleans Saints
Here's how bad the Falcons defense was on Sunday: In Taysom's Hill first start as a quarterback since 2016 with Brigham Young, he finished the game 18-of-23 for 233 yards with 51 rushing yards and two rushing touchdowns.
The Saints wanted to get a good look at Hill over the more experienced Jameis Winston, and he delivered.
"There was a lot of pressure on him," head coach Sean Payton said, per NBC Sports' Peter King. "A lot. I felt it, too."
However, Hill won't face a defense as inconsistent as Atlanta's every week. His Week 12 opponent, the Denver Broncos, rank 10th against the pass and just stymied Miami Dolphins rookie Tua Tagovailoa, leading to his benching. There's a real chance that we see a sprinkling of Winston under center in the coming weeks.
Still, fantasy managers can look to Hill's running ability as upside, and he's worth a pickup because of it. Hill is rostered in 43 percent of Yahoo leagues and 84 percent of ESPN leagues, where he maintained TE eligibility heading into Week 11. (He will lose that eligibility in Week 12.)
James White, RB, New England Patriots
During the Tom Brady era, New England Patriots running back James White was a fantasy mainstay. He's been more of an afterthought this season, though, as New England has leaned more heavily on the likes of Damien Harris and Rex Burkhead.
Unfortunately, Burkhead went down with what is believed to be a torn ACL on Sunday, per Jeff Howe of The Athletic, opening the door for White.
"I'm hurt for him. I'm still hurting for him," White said, per Andrew Callahan of the Boston Herald.
With Burkhead out, White jumped right back into the utility-back role, finishing with 11 touches and 83 scrimmage yards. It appears likely that he'll maintain that role for the remainder of the season.
White is a solid addition for PPR streamers or for managers who have been relying on Burkhead over the past few weeks. He is rostered in 40 percent of Yahoo leagues and 36 percent of ESPN leagues.
Frank Gore, RB, New York Jets
New York Jets running back Frank Gore isn't a high-upside fantasy option, but he could be a high-volume option for the immediate future.
Rookie running back La'Mical Perine exited Sunday's game against the Los Angeles Chargers with an ankle injury after logging only 11 offensive snaps. Gore took over as the lead back, finishing with 61 rushing yards, a touchdown and two receptions.
Perine suffered a high ankle sprain and is expected to "miss some time," according to Brian Costello of the New York Post, so it's worth putting in a claim for Gore now if you need RB help. The ageless veteran has 447 rushing yards and 10 receptions this season, and he's heading into a favorable Week 12 matchup.
Gore and the Jets have a date with the Dolphins. While Miami had been playing well heading into its Week 11 loss against the Los Angeles Chargers, it hasn't been stout against the run. The Dolphins rank 27th in run defense and 29th in yards per carry allowed.
If you're in a pinch, Gore may be able to help get you out of it—and he's almost assuredly available. He's rostered in only 10 percent of Yahoo leagues and 9 percent of ESPN leagues.
Michael Pittman Jr., WR, Indianapolis Colts
Rookie wide receivers like Justin Jefferson, Chase Claypool and Tee Higgins have made their presence felt in fantasy this season. Indianapolis Colts' first-year pass-catcher Michael Pittman Jr. wasn't among that group early in the season—due, in part, to injury—but he has come on strong in recent weeks.
The fast, physical Pittman is dangerous with the ball in his hands, and the Colts have made an effort to put it there.
"He's fearless in every way, but when the ball is in his hands, he wants to hurt somebody. He runs very aggressively," coach Frank Reich told reporters.
Over his last three games, Pittman has caught 14 passes for 223 yards and a score. He has been targeted 18 times in that span and caught three of three targets for 66 yards and a touchdown against the Green Bay Packers on Sunday.
Expect Pittman to continue seeing a large target share moving forward. He is rostered in just 44 percent of Yahoo leagues and 24 percent of ESPN leagues.
Jalen Reagor, WR, Philadelphia Eagles
Thanks in part to Carson Wentz's struggles under center, Philadelphia Eagles wideout Jalen Reagor has yet to have a true breakout game. However, the Eagles have been trying to get him involved.
Reagor has been targeted at least four times in every game in which he has appeared this season. He has been targeted 18 times over the past three weeks and has caught four passes in each of the past two. He had four catches for 52 yards against the Cleveland Browns on Sunday.
The fact that Reagor has been at least somewhat consistent makes him a relatively safe pickup, particularly in PPR formats, albeit not a high-end one. However, he does have the potential to break out this week against a Seattle Seahawks defense that ranks dead last in passing yards allowed.
To fully explode, Reagor will need Wentz to stay upright and avoid making poor decision, which is a lot to ask for at this point. However, there's some solid upside in this matchup, and Reagor is a fine waiver-wire target for those in need at WR. He's rostered in 28 percent of Yahoo leagues and 22 percent of ESPN leagues.
Tim Patrick, WR, Denver Broncos
Broncos wide receiver Tim Patrick remains largely available in most formats, which is remarkable given his recent production.
The third-year wideout has topped the 100-yard mark in three of his last six games and has caught at least four passes in all but two contests this season. He has been targeted at least four times every single week, and he caught five of eight targets for 119 yards Sunday against the Dolphins.
Despite all of that, Patrick is still rostered in only 21 percent of Yahoo leagues and 14 percent of ESPN leagues. That's likely to change after yet another strong performance, and Patrick should be one of your top waiver claims if you need WR help.
Patrick and the Broncos have a tough matchup against the New Orleans Saints and their eighth-ranked scoring defense in Week 12. However, he should see the volume needed to be a viable PPR flex option.
Jordan Reed, TE, San Francisco 49ers
It's tough to find a high-level tight end on the waiver wire since there aren't many in general. San Francisco 49ers standout George Kittle is one of the few truly elite fantasy tight ends, and he's out indefinitely because of a foot fracture.
Kittle's replacement, Jordan Reed, hasn't picked up where he left off, and it would be silly to expect him to. However, he has been a serviceable starter for the 49ers and is worth a long look by TE-needy managers.
In his last game, against the Saints, Reed caught five passes on six targets for 62 yards. While these aren't jaw-dropping numbers, they fall in line with what managers can typically expect from a second-tier starting fantasy tight end.
Reed doesn't have the juiciest Week 12 matchup against the Los Angeles Rams and their second-ranked pass defense, but his PPR value could carry him. The 49ers will likely look to get the ball out quickly to help negate Aaron Donald and the L.A. pass rush, which could lead to Reed getting peppered with targets.
If you're still searching for a replacement for Kittle or are streaming at the position, you could do worse than adding Reed. He's rostered in 15 percent of Yahoo leagues and 13 percent of ESPN leagues.
Eligibility restrictions apply. See draftkings.com for details.