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Deeper League Free Agent Pickups for Week 12


Rotoballers, if you're not active on the waiver wire this time of year, there are only two reasonable explanations: 1) You're sitting at 3-8 (or worse) and don't find it enjoyable to play spoiler to your league mates, or 2) You're 8-3 (or better) and have nothing but matchup-proof studs on your starting lineup and bench. Anyone who's not still committed to watching the waiver wire is playing a dangerous game.

As a reminder, keep an eye out to see if anyone in your league happened to drop players from teams previously on bye to make space on their roster. It happens more often than you may think.

The following players are owned in approximately 10% or fewer of Yahoo leagues, so they won't be the flashiest names on the market. But if you're looking for a good spot start or just need some high-upside lottery tickets, these are your guys. Let's look at some potential waiver wire adds in deep leagues.

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Free Agent Quarterbacks

Jeff Driskel, Detroit Lions - 3% owned

If you gagged just reading that name, know that it wasn't much easier to type it. Driskel is certainly no one-for-one swap for the injured Matthew Stafford, but if you've constantly been railroaded by underperforming "brand name" quarterbacks, you may want to consider Driskel as a legitimate option. He threw the ball just 26 times for a paltry 209 yards against Dallas, but found the end zone twice and added 51 yards (and another TD) with his legs. Driskel gets a friendly matchup against Washington in Week 12 and may end up being "the guy" in Detroit for at least a few weeks longer.

Mason Rudolph, Pittsburgh Steelers - 10% owned

Death, taxes, and Mason Rudolph in this space every week with 10% ownership. Yes, he looked bad against Cleveland in Week 11, and his involvement in the end-of-game extracurriculars has earned him a fine (along with a lot of ire, especially from Browns fans), but he isn't likely to miss any time. He'll pay his fine and then face the Bengals in Week 12, who have allowed the third-most fantasy points to opposing quarterbacks thus far.

 

Free Agent Running Backs

Gus Edwards, Baltimore Ravens - 7% owned

Anyone who watched Edwards roll all over the Houston Texans last Sunday and didn't immediately transition him into "must have" status as a running back handcuff...well, maybe this game just isn't for you. Edwards racked up 112 yards and a touchdown on his eight touches, though nearly half of that production came on one play late in the fourth quarter. He's certainly not a dependable weekly starter so long as Mark Ingram is active and healthy, but Edwards could be a dominant fantasy force if the almost-30-year-old Ingram were to miss any time.

Jonathan Williams, Indianapolis Colts - 6% owned

Marlon Mack is out indefinitely after undergoing surgery on a broken right hand, which frees up an enormous opportunity in this Colts backfield. Indianapolis has averaged the fourth-most rushing attempts per game, and without their underrated bell cow, someone will have to step up. Williams did just that when Mack left the Colts game against Jacksonville, picking up 147 total yards on just 14 touches. The Colts have a short week and play the Texans (and their mediocre run defense) on Thursday. Provided that quick turnaround, Williams should lead Indy's rushing attack at least for one week.

 

Free Agent Wide Receivers

Demaryius Thomas, New York Jets - 10% owned

The trusty veteran has seen no fewer than five targets in four of his last five games, and five of his last seven. Thomas hasn't really boomed at all this season, as he's not topped 85 yards in any single outing, but he's remained a steady and reliable presence in the Jets offense. He should be in line for some positive touchdown regression as well, as he's somehow yet to come down with one in the end zone so far this year.

John Ross, Cincinnati Bengals - 8% owned

Ross has been designated to return from IR, and this week officially marks the opening of his practice window. Granted, Ross can't actually return to game action until Week 14, but the speedy wideout faces off against Miami in Week 16, known in the majority of leagues as the fantasy championships. Ross was electric in the four games he played, and even with Ryan Finley under center, Ross should be in line for a good chunk of targets.

 

Free Agent Tight Ends

Cameron Brate, Tampa Bay Buccaneers - 2% owned

For those of you who thought O.J. Howard had finally broken out after his 4-71-1 stat line in Week 10, allow me to reintroduce you to Jameis Winston's true BFF, Cameron Brate. In route to a stunning 10 receptions for 73 yards, Brate usurped all other options on the field in terms of targets and overall production. Howard, meanwhile, was benched after bobbling a catch that led to an interception. Brate should return to being the top tight end option on the team and gets a soft matchup against Atlanta in Week 12.

Irv Smith Jr., Minnesota Vikings 3% owned

Again, we have to start considering the fact that Smith will be a larger part of this offense moving forward. The rookie tight end finally found the end zone against the Broncos in Week 11, which was the final piece to his fantasy puzzle. It's obvious the Vikings feel comfortable scheming him -- and Kirk Cousins feels comfortable targeting him -- so you should consider him scooping him up to stash him as he heads into his bye week.

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