Week 12 Waiver Wire Pickups: Available Sleepers in Most Yahoo Leagues
Andy Dalton has not been a viable fantasy football waiver-wire pickup all season until Thursday.
The veteran quarterback is back under center for the Chicago Bears after Justin Fields was ruled out earlier in the week.
Dalton turned in a decent performance in Week 11's loss to the Baltimore Ravens, and he could put up solid numbers versus the Detroit Lions defense.
Dalton may not be the first player you think about when approaching the waiver wire ahead of Week 12, but he is definitely one of the most available players.
The former Cincinnati and Dallas quarterback is rostered in a small number of Yahoo fantasy football leagues. He could provide help at the position for one week only while Patrick Mahomes and Kyler Murray are on byes.
The off weeks for the Arizona Cardinals and Kansas City Chiefs cause problems at the other offensive skill positions. The bye-week status of Travis Kelce, Tyreek Hill and others could force you into picking up one-week rentals.
Andy Dalton, QB, Chicago
The best ability is availability, right?
Dalton can be picked up in almost every Yahoo league as a one-week rental at quarterback for players on byes or in bad matchups.
The Bears' backup quarterback was not awful in his relief stint against the Ravens. He threw for 201 yards and a pair of touchdowns.
Detroit's defense has conceded at least 320 total yards to every one of its 10 opponents. Dalton could add to that total if he approaches Thursday's game just like he did Sunday's backup appearance.
Dalton connected with Darnell Mooney for a 60-yard touchdown, and he found Marquise Goodwin for a 49-yard passing score.
The connection with Goodwin and Mooney could be critical for Dalton to achieve early success against Detroit's passing defense.
If the Bears erupt for a big play or two in the first quarter, it could set the tone for a high-scoring blowout.
In that case, Dalton could easily match his Week 11 production and give you one solid outing of fantasy relief for Mahomes, Murray or a quarterback in a brutal matchup, like Matthew Stafford versus Green Bay or Ryan Tannehill against New England.
Tre'Quan Smith, WR, New Orleans
Tre'Quan Smith is another Thanksgiving Day participant who could feast in his matchup.
The New Orleans Saints wide receiver has been a reliable target for Trevor Siemian over the last two weeks. Smith has nine catches for 108 yards in that span.
Smith is facing a Buffalo Bills defense that was torched for 370 total yards by the Indianapolis Colts in Week 11.
The strong target rate combined with a matchup against a struggling unit could boost Smith's fantasy football stock in Week 12.
Smith's profile is also boosted by his two touchdown catches in the last four weeks. If he finds the end zone again on Thursday, he could finish high up on the wide receiver rankings for Week 12.
If any of the Arizona or Kansas City wide receivers are on your roster, it is worth taking a flier on Smith because of his growing connection with New Orleans' new starting quarterback.
Austin Hooper, TE, Cleveland
Austin Hooper could be the best waiver-wire option to take over for Travis Kelce or Zach Ertz in Week 12.
The Cleveland Browns tight end is coming off a four-catch, 53-yard performance against Detroit. He found the end zone in the Week 10 clash with the New England Patriots.
Hooper faces one of the best matchups for tight ends in Week 12 against the Baltimore Ravens.
Baltimore gave up the fourth-most receiving yards to opposing tight ends through 10 games. The other four teams in the bottom five all played 11 games.
Baltimore is also tied with five other franchises for the second-highest touchdown concessions to tight ends with six.
Unlike Dalton and Smith, Hooper could be worth keeping for the next few weeks. Cleveland plays Baltimore again in Week 14 out of its Week 13 bye.
If Hooper takes advantage of the matchup on Sunday, he could occupy a bench spot in Week 13 prior to his second meeting with Baltimore depending on what your roster situation looks like.
Statistics obtained from Pro Football Reference.