Week 13 Fantasy Football Waiver Wire: Devontae Booker & More
Week 13 Fantasy Football Waiver Wire: Devontae Booker & More
My friends, we have reached the promised land. If you are still spending your time in December reading fantasy football waiver wire articles, it means that you made your fantasy football playoffs. Some of us are looking forward to the playoff rounds in the #HighStaeks leagues such as the FFPC Main Event, but this is also normally the week that the playoffs begin in 12-team PPR leagues on ESPN, Yahoo!, CBS and Sleeper. Hopefully, some of you have earned bye weeks and can look forward to Week 14, but of course, that doesn’t mean you’ll take a week off from the waivers.
Probably the most important thing this year in fantasy football has been the ability to adjust on the fly. Injuries, COVID testing, and general chaos is at an all-time high in the NFL, and owners who have employed a Bayesian process and frequently adjusted their priors should have generally done well. Weeks 13-16 are going to leave many teams in constant flux, especially as COVID absolutely ravages the league. There are going to be many more Travis Fulgham’s, James Robinsons’, and other flash-in-the-pan fantasy football superstars. It may feel wrong to have your fantasy titles sitting in the hands of Jalen Hurts and Devontae Booker, but there are going to be massive amounts of points sitting on the waiver wire in every league.
Each week, we will look at three tiers of players: the “must adds” or players that we expect will be picked up in every league and in every format, the “borderline” tier, and the deep-league darts. The focus will be on 12-team PPR leagues as our frame of reference and as always, if you have any specific questions, feel free to contact me on Twitter @DavisMattek or in the Daily Roto NFL Slack channel.
All players referenced in the Fantasy Football Waiver Wire column are under 50% owned in Yahoo! Fantasy Football Leagues. It is possible these players might be owned in your league.
POTENTIAL DIFFERENCE MAKERS (THESE ARE PLAYERS WORTH > 25% OF YOUR FAAB, OR THE #1 OVERALL WAIVER CLAIM) FROM THE FANTASY FOOTBALL WAIVER WIRE
Jacobs is coming off of his worst game of the season as the Raiders got blown out, and he saw only seven carries and also injured his ankle. Coach Jon Gruden reportedly said that it was “something to worry about,” and the Raiders get the lowly Jets in Week 13. If Jacobs were to miss, Booker would likely rank as a top-15 RB in Week 13 and maybe even higher. Jalen Richard has been a gameday inactive for the last two weeks, and Booker has seen snap shares consistently in the 20-35% range for the last month of the season. He would be the clear lead back if Jacobs were to miss against the Jets. We actually saw this same situation play out last season when Jacobs missed time at the end of the year and DeAndre Washington absolutely crushed while Jalen Richard stayed in his passing-down only role.
If it is confirmed that Jacobs will miss time (or looks likely too) Booker is maybe our last chance to FAAB a starting RB. He would be worth 75% of your remaining FAAB in a nut matchup against the Jets.
Ito Smith/Brian Hill
I know that we are all tilting from Brian Hill’s dud in our DFS lineups at minimum salary on Sunday but look: sometimes things just happen. The NFL is chaotic and random, and players in good spots can have bad games. Hill played 39 snaps to Smith’s 28, and Tony Brooks-James played six offensive snaps with Qadree Ollison OUT. Todd Gurley may or may not come back to play this year (I would be betting against it), but if he doesn’t, Hill is going to have the better part of the timeshare with Ito. If Gurley continues to not play for the rest of the year, I would imagine that Hill will play about 60% of the snaps with Ito maybe playing slightly more on passing downs (five targets to Hill’s one on Sunday), but Hill profiles as the more prototypical goalline back. I would imagine that in most serious leagues, Hill was picked up last week, but Smith should still be out there in a large chunk of leagues. Both of these players are worth 25-35% of your remaining FAAB.
BORDERLINE STARTERS (THESE PLAYERS LIKELY ARE COMING OFF A GOOD GAME BUT DO NOT PROJECT AS MULTI-WEEK STARTERS, WORTH LESS THAN 25% OF YOUR FAAB) FROM THE FANTASY FOOTBALL WAIVER WIRE
How brutal is fantasy football? To force us to bid on Frank Gore last week and then see him ACTUALLY PERFORM WELL is just disgusting. With LaMical Perine out, Gore played 32-of-55 offensive snaps for the Jets, saw 18 carries for 74 yards and was even targeted three times and caught all three of them for 12 yards. That is legit workhorse usage, and even if it makes no sense for the Jets trying to win games, it seems that Adam Gase has no interest in trying out Josh Adams or Ty Johnson to see if they have more juice. He is just going to have Sam Darnold hand the ball off to Gore 15+ times per game regardless of the scoreline. Gore won’t really have any upside because three targets are close to his ceiling, and the Jets don’t score enough points for him to project for a meaningful amount of touchdown points. However, any RB seeing 15+ touches per game needs to be rostered, and welp, that’s where we are with Gore. He is worth 15-25% of your remaining budget.
Keelan Cole/Colin Johnson
With DJ Chark out, Colin Johnson got his first NFL “start.” Replacement WR Trey Quinn played only nine snaps while Cole, Johnson, and Laviska Shenault all played 90% or more of the offensive snaps. It was Johnson who showed up with a long touchdown on an athletic play down the sideline and led the team in targets with eight. I would still imagine that there is more to come with Laviska Shenault as the season comes to a close but with a team with such a condensed target tree, Cole and Johnson are both worth rostering. It is worth noting that Trey Quinn “started” but only lasted one series before injuring his hamstring; it is possible that the team didn’t want to involve Johnson as much as they did. The Jaguars offensive efficiency has been brutal so when Chark returns, all of the other Jags WRs are WR4s for fantasy at best. However, any team that consistently throws 40+ times per game is going to provide ancillary fantasy value even if it is hyper-inconsistent.
Another ancillary fantasy football WR! Renfrow is nominally the fourth target on the Raiders, but he picks up a lot of excess value in games where the Raiders trail. His biggest target games this year game in Sunday’s loss to the Falcons, the blowout loss to the Buccaneers, and the early season Buffalo and New England losses. When the Raiders are ahead, they stay in 12 personnel with Waller, Witten/Moreau/Carrier, Ruggs, and Agholor. When they trail, they sub out a tight end and bring Renfrow in to run 11 personnel. Renfrow won’t be a start against the Jets (they are massive faves) but against the Colts and Chargers in Weeks 14 and 15, there should be some rational chance that he ends up seeing 5-8 targets and 50%+ target share. I wouldn’t bid more than 10% on him, however.
With John Brown on the injured reserve for a minimum of three weeks, it is Gabriel Davis’ time to shine. He caught a touchdown not from Josh Allen but from Cole Beasley but actually played the same amount of snaps as Stefon Diggs. With the Bills being one of the most aggressive pass-rate-above-expectation teams in the NFL, all of their pass catchers are viable in 12-team PPR leagues. Brown’s injury is an added boon to Davis because it allows him to play outside, where he averages 1.46 yards per route run compared to 1.03 from the slot. That probably doesn’t have much to do with his skill set but just how slot wide receivers get used in the Bills offensive system. Playing outside just allows Davis to have a much higher weekly ceiling, it seems. Given how good Buffalo’s offense has been this year, Davis profiling as their WR2 the rest of the way is a very good look for fantasy football. He should be added in all formats for 15-20% of your remaining FAAB.
With Salvon Ahmed and Myles Gaskin both inactive on Sunday, it was DeAndre Washington who led the backfield in snaps. Matt Brieda started and played 11 of the first 14 snaps, but after the first quarter, Washington played 60% of the offensive snaps for the rest of the game. Brieda has just never found his way into a successful full-time role in the NFL, and Washington was very successful in a very similar circumstance last year in Oakland when Josh Jacobs got banged up. Myles Gaskin will likely be back soon, but if he does not play in Week 13, we will be projecting Washington as the starter over Brieda with Patrick Laird still keeping his third-down duties.
With Will Fuller suspended for PEDs for six games, Randall Cobb on the short-term IR with a foot injury and Kenny Stills cut last week, the Texans wide receiver room is down to Coutee, Brandin Cooks, Isaiah Coulter and then they will probably call up two of Artavis Scott, Steven Mitchell, Damion Ratley or Chad Hansen from the practice squad. Keke makes the most sense as a Fuller “replacement” and he did see 50% of the snaps and three targets on Thanksgiving. He probably won’t have a high volume role as most of the passing offense will shift towards Cooks and the tight ends but as someone who has been on high on Coutee since he was at Texas Tech, it never made sense to me why someone like Darren Fells or DeAndre Carter would be out-targeting Coutee. There is at least some possible chance that Keke earns a 15-20% target share of the Texans offense going forwards and that is a really valuable role.
DEEP LEAGUE TARGETS AND BENCH STASHES FROM THE FANTASY FOOTBALL WAIVER WIRE
With Irv Smith Jr. and Adam Thielen both OUT against the Carolina Panthers, Kyle Rudolph played 57-of-73 offensive snaps and turned in his best fantasy performance of the year with his first game with more than five targets. Adam Thielen will be back next week in all likelihood, but this is a good reminder of 1) Rudolph’s fantasy usefulness in the right context and 2) some absolutely random tight ends are going to see 80% snap shares over the next few weeks and given how bad the position is, those random starters are going to have fantasy value. I am willing to spend 3-5% on Rudolph this week just because the Vikings have transitioned away a little bit from their #EstablishIt roots, largely thanks to the presence of Justin Jefferson and also betting on Smith taking a little while longer to come back from injury.
I am writing this before the Monday Night game occurs (and I will come back to edit it if needed), but we are starting to hear some vague reports on Hurts getting “worked in” and taking first-team reps at QB for the first time this year. Hurts had 233 rushing attempts for 1,295 yards and 20 touchdowns his final season as a QB at Oklahoma. We just know the math makes running QBs viable, and after the Eagles lose to Seattle on Monday Night, it is going to be much harder for them to convince themselves that they can win the division. Without the carrot of a home playoff game, there really is not much of a reason to keep running Carson Wentz out there if he is going to perform this poorly. I would imagine that Hurts is going to get at least ONE start this year, so in spots where it makes sense to speculate on a high upside QB, Hurts is a prime bench stash.
In Brandon Allen’s first start of the year, Drew Sample saw his highest amount of targets since Week 7, played 78% of the Bengals snaps, and tallied 40 receiving yards. He is not an overly talented pass catcher, but it does make sense that a QB of Allen’s caliber would be more willing to target tight ends in the short and intermediate area than pushing the ball down the field to Tee Higgins and AJ Green. Also, the Bengals remain one of the highest passing volume teams in the NFL, and we have spilled countless digital ink waxing poetic about how bad the TE position. Guys like Sample, who are on the field the whole game, run a full complement of routes, and see weeks with spiked targets are worth speculating on.
In the massive win against the Detroit Lions, Prosise scored his first touchdown since Week Four of the 2019 season but only played 15% of the Texans snaps while Duke Johnson played 75% of the RB snaps. However, it does look like Prosise is ahead of the Buddy Howell/Scottie Phillips group at RB for the Texans, making him a handcuff in a high-ceiling offense. You won’t need to spend more than $1-$5 to get Prosise in any format, but given his past history as a plus pass catcher, I don’t really think there would be any difference between him and Duke or David Johnson in the role as lead Texans RB.
Look Ahead Defense Bids (5% of FAAB or less): Tennesee Titans (Playing one of Mike Glennon or Gardner Minshew in Week 14), Arizona Cardinals (any defense against the Giants is solid, but with Daniel Jones injured, they may get to face Colt McCoy in Week 14).