If you’re reading this, chances are you need to find replacements for injuries or players on bye (ARI and KC). There have been plenty of injuries in 11 weeks of action, with top-tier fantasy players out for extended periods of time or were unable to suit up Sunday morning, leaving you scrambling for a plug-in starter. This is why you will need to work the fantasy football waiver wire to grab high-upside players to help fill these empty spots and reduce the Sunday morning pre-kickoff panic.
It is time to drop those later-round flyers you’ve been stashing for weeks and start considering other options that have carved out more significant roles as you attempt a late playoff push. If you need that immediate upgrade now, here are some Week 12 fantasy football waiver wire pickups that could help move your team in the right direction.
Players must be owned in less than 60 percent of ESPN leagues to be included in the Week 12 fantasy football waiver wire pickups column. All ownerships for waiver wire players will be provided and will reflect that of Monday evening.
QB Fantasy Football Waiver Wire Pickups
Cam Newton, Carolina Panthers (40.9%)
Although Cam Newton just joined the team a short time ago, he’s already making a fantasy impact. His dual-threat ability poses a significant task for opposing defenses and, as long as he makes good decisions and holds onto the ball, his fantasy stock will continue trending upward. The Panthers have a bye next week, but he faces some poor opposing defenses in MIA and ATL, which could bode very well for Newton’s fantasy performances moving forward. He’ll never put up amazing passing stats, but his dual-threat ability is what will attract fantasy managers.
Taylor Heinicke, Washington Football Team (12.8%)
Taylor Heinicke is another dual-threat quarterback that can do some serious damage with his legs, which returns solid fantasy value to his managers. But, he’s struggled to hold onto the ball and make good decisions halfway through the season, which limited his ceiling. It led to many fantasy managers dropping him. He’s thrown four touchdown passes to zero turnovers over the past two games while posting double-digit points in four straight. He is able to pick up extra fantasy points with his legs, making him a solid fantasy football waiver wire option with low ownership.
RB Fantasy Football Waiver Wire Pickups
Alex Collins, Seattle Seahawks (50.5%)
Alex Collins has really only had two good games this season, and that’s in part to injury and the poor Seahawks offense. But with the news of Chris Carson having season-ending surgery, he could be in line for much more of a workload as the season winds down. DeeJay Dallas operates as the primary passing-down back and Seattle has found themselves down more often than not, so it is concerning if you own Collins, but his floor should be safe moving forward. Seattle has already had their bye, so there’s no worry about having to bench him one week.
Ty Johnson, New York Jets (18.8%)
With Michael Carter out at least 2-3 weeks with an ankle injury, Ty Johnson will most certainly benefit. He’s clearly a passing back, posting two five-catch performances in the past five games. Once Carter returns, Johnson will still operate as the primary passing back, but he won’t see many carries. His receiving value also depends on who’s starting at quarterback because Joe Flacco is a much more confident quarterback that isn’t afraid to throw the ball downfield compared to the other past quarterbacks who consistently check it down. He’s a pretty solid fantasy football waiver wire addition in deeper leagues.
WR Fantasy Football Waiver Wire Pickups
Van Jefferson, Los Angeles Rams (43.9%)
With Robert Woods out for the season and OBJ unfamiliar with the offensive scheme still, Van Jefferson’s value will likely shoot up moving forward. He’s seen seven targets in three of the last four games. Now, without Woods, he likely operates as the WR2 behind Cooper Kupp. He’s coming off a bye week and the Rams have looked out-of-sorts the last few weeks so, hopefully, they’ve figured it out and Jefferson can become a very consistent fantasy option moving forward. They face some solid opponents in the next three games in GB, JAX and ARI. Hopefully they’ll return to their form from the beginning of the season.
Elijah Moore, New York Jets (40.8%)
Elijah Moore has been looking better and better each week but this was the week where he really took off. He’s caught four touchdowns in the last three games and has seen 25 targets in that span. With Joe Flacco starting, Moore’s value should skyrocket because Flacco is a veteran that isn’t afraid to throw the ball down the field. It was clear he had serious talent entering the season and it took a while to see it from him but the Jets offense has looked much stronger the last few weeks and it should continue for the rest of the season.
TE Fantasy Football Waiver Wire Pickups
Dan Arnold, Jacksonville Jaguars (40.5%)
Dan Arnold has been included in this weekly article for a few weeks now, and it’s because he posts consistent fantasy points at a position that has lacked that all season long, aside from last week. Arnold was targeted at least five times in five straight games prior to not seeing a single target last week. This should be an outlier, as Arnold’s role and target share are important to this offense’s success.
Pat Freiermuth, Pittsburgh Steelers (58.6%)
Eric Ebron is back in the lineup, which will reduce Pat Freiermuth’s value moving forward, but his utility as a red zone threat should still make him valuable. Ebron caught a touchdown last week against the Chargers, but Freiermuth still saw seven targets. Managers should still add him from the fantasy football waiver wire as a higher-volume red zone option.