By Matt Citak
(CBS) — The fantasy regular season has two just weeks remaining.
At this point of the year, your playoff scenarios should be quite clear. You are either battling for a first-round bye, working on improving your playoff seeding, fighting to clinch your spot in the postseason or already eliminated from playoff contention. Chances are, if you fall into that final category, you aren’t still looking for recommendations on the waiver wire.
For those of you still in the playoff hunt, only two opportunities remain to improve your situation before the start of the postseason. Now you don’t typically find great fantasy contributors on the waiver wire this late into the season. However, just like everything else we’ve seen this year, 2020 is full of crazy surprises, and some interesting names top this week’s waiver wire list.
With that said, here are the top waiver wire adds heading into Week 12.
QB Taysom Hill, New Orleans Saints- After most people spent last week hyping up Jameis Winston’s opportunity in New Orleans (myself included), it was Hill that got the start and excelled for the Saints. The fourth-year quarterback completed over 78 percent of his passes for 233 yards, adding a season-high 10 rush attempts for 51 yards and two rushing touchdowns. With Drew Brees out for at least the next two games, Hill should continue to thrive under center for New Orleans, with road matchups against the Broncos and the Falcons up next. Hill should continue to produce QB1 numbers for as long as he remains the starter.
QB Derek Carr, Las Vegas Raiders- Despite the loss to Patrick Mahomes and the Chiefs, Carr looked great for the Raiders on Sunday night. The veteran quarterback completed 23 of 31 passes (74.2 percent) for 275 yards, three touchdowns and one interception against Kansas City’s tough pass defense. Things are about to get a whole lot easier for Carr in the coming weeks. The Raiders will be on the road for the next two weeks, but get tasty matchups against the Falcons and the Jets before facing a stingy Colts defense in Week 14. For those teams still fighting for a playoff spot and in need of a QB stream for the next two weeks, look no further than Carr, who should be able to get the job done.
RB James White, New England Patriots- While it took a devastating knee injury to Rex Burkhead for it to happen, James White has officially returned to fantasy relevance. White had fallen off the fantasy radar over the previous four games, totaling no more than 35 yards in any game during that stretch. But after the injury to Burkhead, White stepped up as the Patriots’ clearcut pass-catching back, a role in which he has dominated in the past. In Sunday’s loss to the Texans, White finished the game with six receptions for 64 yards on nine targets while also contributing five rushes for 19 yards. The Patriots have a tough slate of opponents coming up, with a home game against the Cardinals before hitting Los Angeles for matchups with the Chargers and Rams in Weeks 13 and 14. As long as the Patriots can stay in the playoff hunt, White should continue to put up solid fantasy numbers. The veteran needs to be added.
RB Frank Gore, New York Jets- You’re never going to feel good about starting a member of the New York Jets. However, an injury to Lamical Perine could open the door for Gore to put up some decent fantasy numbers. As dismal as the Jets offense is, as we have learned over the years, fantasy football is all about volume. If Perine is forced to miss time, Gore is likely to receive most, if not all, of the backfield touches. In Week 11, the never-aging running back carried the ball 15 times, his highest number of attempts since getting 15 carries in Week 3, for 61 yards and a score, adding two receptions for 10 yards. The Jets take on the Dolphins and Raiders at home before hitting the road to face the Seahawks in Week 14. Again, you aren’t going to feel confident trotting out Gore in your lineup. But if Perine misses time with his ankle injury, Gore could find himself in FLEX territory.
RB Wayne Gallman, New York Giants- This is one from before their Week 11 bye, but if he is still out there, rush to snag Gallman off the waiver wire. The last time we saw the Giants on the field, Gallman took 18 carries for 53 yards but was able to score two touchdowns. It was the fourth consecutive game in which Gallman was able to find the end zone, totaling five scores during that span. The former Clemson running back has seen double digit rush attempts in every game since Devonta Freeman’s Week 7 injury, and that is unlikely to change in the Giants’ Week 12 matchup. Big Blue matches up against the Joe Burrow-less Bengals this week, in a game that the Giants opened as 5-point road favorites. Clearly, Las Vegas believes the Giants are the favorite in this contest, meaning Gallman should see plenty of opportunity. Gallman will be a solid RB2 for this Week 12 battle.
WR Michael Pittman, Indianapolis Colts- Since returning from injured reserve, Pittman has solidified himself as the number-one receiver in the Colts’ passing attack. Going up against a tough Packers secondary, the rookie receiver caught all three passes thrown his way, finishing with 66 yards and a touchdown. Over the last three weeks, Pittman has totaled 14 receptions for 223 yards and the score, clearly operating as Philip Rivers’ favorite target. The Colts get three consecutive appealing matchups now as they face off against the Titans at home before going on the road to play the Texans and Raiders. Pittman is the top wide receiver add this week.
WR Jalen Reagor, Philadelphia Eagles- I have been beating the Reagor drum ever since he returned from injured reserve, and all he has done in the three games since is continue to produce. The rookie first-round pick out of TCU caught four of five targets on Sunday for 52 yards. While the targets finished second among Philly’s wide receivers, trailing Travis Fulgham’s seven targets, Fulgham was only able to reel in one of those passes for eight yards. The rookie receiver has also seen his playing time increase each week he is further removed from the injury, as he played a season-high 93 percent of the Eagles’ offensive snaps against the Browns in Week 11. Philadelphia will try to keep up with Seattle’s potent offense in Week 12, meaning Carson Wentz is likely going to have to air it out early and often. With the Eagles likely playing from behind in more games than not, Reagor should be added by any team in need of a wide receiver.
WR Russell Gage, Atlanta Falcons- Unfortunately for many fantasy owners, Julio Jones seemed to have reaggravated his hamstring injury during Atlanta’s Week 11 loss to the Saints. While it remains unclear just how severe this latest injury is, fantasy owners should make contingency plans just in case. The easiest route to go is adding fellow Falcons receiver Russell Gage. Gage was fantasy relevant towards the start of the year, while both Jones and Calvin Ridley dealt with respective injuries. The slot receiver has been mostly quiet since those first few weeks, but jumped back on the map this past Sunday once Jones got hurt. Gage wound up being targeted a whopping 12 times against the Saints, turning that into seven receptions for 58 yards. If Jones is forced to miss any time, Gage will once again be a decent FLEX play, especially in a Week 12 game against the Raiders.
TE Jordan Akins, Houston Texans- Akins was playing his way into TE1 territory at the start of the season before an ankle injury and a concussion forced him to miss some time. The Texans have been slowly working Akins back in the lineup over the last few weeks, with the 51 percent of offensive snaps he played in Week 11 being his highest since Week 3. The third-year tight end caught five of six targets against the Patriots on Sunday, finishing with 83 yards. His return to full health, combined with the seemingly serious toe injury suffered by Randall Cobb, should make Akins a potentially start-able tight end for the next few weeks (or as long as Cobb is sidelined). The tight end will likely serve as Deshaun Watson’s security blanket over the middle of the field.
TE Dalton Schultz, Dallas Cowboys- Schultz has not been lighting the fantasy world on fire by any stretch of the imagination, but he has been putting up decent numbers in recent weeks. Schultz caught just four passes for 25 yards against the Vikings in Week 11, but was able to find the end zone for his first touchdown since Week 4. In the previous two outings, the tight end totaled 10 receptions for 101 yards. While these are far from jaw-dropping numbers, they make Schultz a borderline TE1 given the lack of depth at the tight end position this season. His next three matchups are not the greatest (vs. Washington, at Baltimore and at Cincinnati), but if the Cowboys can remain in the NFC East race, Schultz should continue to put up decent-to-solid numbers.
We don’t normally touch on Defense/Special Teams units in these recommendation articles. But since we have reached the end of the fantasy regular season, I will be adding a few of the top streaming DSTs at the end of the waiver wire piece each week moving forward.
Bonus: DST New York Giants– This one is easy. With Joe Burrow suffering a season-ending knee injury, Ryan Finley will now take over as the Bengals’ starting quarterback. Coming on in relief of Burrow against Washington, Finley completed just three of 10 passes for 30 yards and an interception this past Sunday. The Giants are fresh off their bye and should be relatively healthy as they enter the final stretch of the season firmly in the hunt for the NFC East crown. The Giants’ defense has looked solid for most of the season, and with the extra week of preparation, the Giants are the top streaming DST in Week 12.
Bonus: DST Green Bay Packers- The Packers take on the Bears in Week 12, who are also coming off their bye week. However, unlike the Giants, the Bears are facing a ton of questions, none more important than who will be under center for Chicago this Sunday. Nick Foles was banged up the last time we saw the Bears out on the field, while Mitchell Trubisky has been sidelined with a shoulder injury since Week 8. Regardless of who gets the start, the Packers, at home, will be one of the top streaming DST options this week, as both quarterbacks have struggled this season. If you want to look a bit ahead as well, the Packers take on the Eagles at Lambeau Field in Week 13 as well, meaning picking them up now could solve your DST concerns for the final two weeks of the fantasy regular season.