Each week throughout the NFL season, we identify six players to target on waiver wires, plus a lightly owned D/ST. All are available in a majority of Yahoo leagues and approved for immediate use.
Josh McCown, QB, New York Jets, 31% owned
McCown threw for 307 yards on 36 attempts (8.5 Y/A) against a quality Carolina defense in Week 12, producing three touchdown passes and a rating of 109.4. Just another day at the office, basically. McCown has delivered multiple touchdowns in six of his last seven games, transforming Robby Anderson into a bankable WR1. The Jets will host Kansas City next Sunday, which means McCown gets a matchup with the league’s No. 27 pass D. Expect him to again deliver a top-10 positional finish. Add as needed.
Various media voices are beginning to suggest that New York should give the people a look at Christian Hackenberg, but that seems uncommonly cruel to both fans and the player himself. Hackenberg was a mess in the preseason (5.0 Y/A, two INTs, five fumbles); he was a mess in his final two collegiate seasons, too. It hardly seems necessary for any of us to experience more Hackenberg. McCown is the only NFL-quality QB on this team’s roster, and he can help the fantasy community in Week 13.
Schedule, next three weeks: KC, at Den, at NO
FAAB bid: $7 of $100 budget
Jermaine Kearse, WR, New York Jets, 39%
Fantasy owners have finally boosted Robby Anderson’s ownership to an acceptable level (83%), but Kearse remains unattached in most leagues, despite consistent weekly usage. Kearse has seen 25 targets over his last three games and he’s coming off a season-best 105-yard effort against Carolina. He’s delivered five spikes so far this season and his 42 receptions leads all Jets receivers. Kearse can’t quite match Anderson’s big-play ability, but he’s quietly on pace for a 60-750-7 season. He deserves consideration as a starting option next week, in a home matchup with the Chiefs. KC has allowed the third-most fantasy points to opposing receivers this season.
Schedule, next three weeks: KC, at Den, at NO
FAAB bid: $8
Dede Westbrook, WR, Jacksonville Jaguars, 25%
Westbrook led all Jacksonville receivers in targets on Sunday, as the rookie hauled in six of 10 chances for 41 yards in his team’s road loss at Arizona. As most of you know, Westbrook missed the season’s first 10 games following core muscle surgery, but he’s had a significant role since returning, drawing 16 targets over two weeks. He was a beast in the preseason prior to the injury and a dominant receiver last year at the collegiate level, delivering 1524 yards, 17 TDs and eight 100-yard performances for Oklahoma. Westbrook has a plus-matchup ahead against an Indianapolis defense that’s allowed the fourth-most yards to opposing wideouts (1912). No one should be surprised if he produces WR3-ish numbers, rest of season.
Schedule, next three weeks: Ind, Sea, Hou
FAAB bid: $9
Zay Jones, WR, Buffalo Bills, 14%
Jones didn’t have the most efficient afternoon at Kansas City, catching just three balls for 33 yards on a team-high 10 targets. But he produced the Bills’ only touchdown, snagging an early 11-yarder from Tyrod Taylor. Jones has been targeted 24 times over his last three games, delivering 154 yards and two spikes during that stretch. He’s functioning as the No.1 receiver for Buffalo these days, and it seems unlikely that an injured Kelvin Benjamin (knee) will surpass him. Jones belongs on someone’s roster in any 12-team fantasy league. His upcoming schedule is loaded with friendly matchups, including a pair of games against New England (Weeks 13 and 16) as well as dates with Indy and Miami.
Schedule, next three weeks: NE, Ind, Mia
FAAB bid: $7
Mike Davis, RB, Seattle Seahawks, 1%
Just in case you’d forgotten, Davis was running as the featured back for Seattle only two weeks ago, and he gained 59 scrimmage yards on eight touches against Atlanta before checking out with a groin injury. Davis was sidelined against San Francisco on Sunday, but it sounds like he should be good to go in the Week 13 matchup with Philly. Eddie Lacy rushed for only 46 yards on his 17 carries against the Niners, doing nothing to reclaim the primary early-down role from Davis.
Of course if you have no interest in chasing another Seattle back, we get it. With 11 games now in the books, this team’s two leading rushers are quarterback Russell Wilson and seventh-round rookie Chris Carson, a guy who hasn’t played since Week 4. Lacy and Thomas Rawls have been appallingly unproductive, each averaging 2.6 YPC. Davis was lively and decisive two weeks ago, and he has a clear shot at a substantial workload. He’s a reasonable deep league flier.
Schedule, next three weeks: Phi, at Jac, LAR
FAAB bid: $7
Jonathan Stewart, RB, Carolina Panthers, 38%
We’re all generally looking for high-upside, flavor-of-the-week young players when we hit the waiver wire. But sometimes, the old, boring veteran is the responsible choice. Stewart has received double-digit carries in all but one game this year, and he’s crossed the goal-line in two of his last four. He’s having by far his least efficient season (3.2 YPC) and he hasn’t caught a pass since Week 5, so it’s fair to say that he has a few holes in his fantasy game. No one around here is promising you the 2009 version of J-Stew. However, if you’re a standard league owner with a sudden need at RB, Stewart deserves a look ahead of the matchup at New Orleans. The Saints defense ranks No. 29 in yards allowed per carry (4.6).
Carolina has scored 80 points and gained 847 total yards over the past two weeks, so this is a chance to gain a cheap share of a revived offense.
Schedule, next three weeks: at NO, Min, GB
FAAB bid: $3
Tennessee Titans, D/ST, 24%
Tennessee’s defense ranks fifth in the NFL in YPC allowed (3.6) and ninth in Y/A (6.6), so this group is legit. The Titans also piled up eight sacks in their Week 12 win at Indianapolis, limiting the Colts to just 254 total yards. Over the next three weeks, this team will face Houston (coming off a Monday night game) followed by Arizona and San Francisco. This defense will rank as a starting fantasy unit in each of those matchups. Add ’em now, ride this D to the fantasy playoffs.
Schedule, next three weeks: Hou, at Ari, at SF
FAAB bid: $2
Additional recommended adds: QB Tyrod Taylor (50% owned), RB Rex Burkhead (50%), RB Jamaal Williams (58%), RB Kenyan Drake (56%), RB Jacquizz Rodgers (7%), RB Peyton Barber (0%), WR Corey Coleman (40%), WR Cooper Kupp (51%), WR Martavis Bryant (56%), WR Josh Gordon (51%), TE Tyler Kroft (47%), TE Ricky Seals-Jones (2%), D/ST Los Angeles Chargers (34%)