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Week 12 Quarterbacks - Waiver Wire Pickups and Adds

It was another week full of excitement, tragedy, and confusion at the quarterback position. We had some tough injuries, mid-game benchings, and several exciting deep league options at quarterback for Week 12.

Only two teams are on bye this week, but they are big ones. No Patrick Mahomes or Jared Goff this week, as both the Chiefs and Rams will certainly need their rest after a likely shootout on Monday Night Football. We've also got a few tough matchups from regular starters. Matt Stafford takes on the Bears, Ben Roethlisberger travels to Denver, and Philip Rivers faces the Cardinals.

In standard one-quarterback leagues, the waiver wire is usually pretty rich with talent at the position, unless the league is full of owners that like to hold backup quarterbacks. In two-quarterback leagues, nearly every starter is rostered and the waiver wire tends to be quite barren for quality arms. That’s why a few quarterbacks owned in 15% of leagues or less have been included, so even owners in deep leagues have someone to consider. Ownership is based on Yahoo leagues and is current as of November 18.

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Week 12 Waiver Wire Quarterbacks

Baker Mayfield – CLE @ Cincinnati  Bengals – 40% Owned

Mayfield rolled into his Week 11 bye with a three-touchdown performance in Week 10 against the Falcons. He gets a similarly good matchup in his return this week against the Bengals. Going into Week 11 Cincinnati is allowing the third most points per game to opposing quarterbacks. They have allowed at least 265 yards in seven of their ten games this season and have given up at least 23 points in all but one game this season. The only opponent that failed to top 20 points against them was the Miami Dolphins, a bottom-ten offense in terms of points scored this season. Mayfield has shown signs of improvement since becoming the starter in Week 3 and is the most trustworthy rookie quarterback right now. Cincinnati has a leaky secondary that can be punished by even average quarterbacks. Cleveland’s schedule toughens up a bit after this game, but Mayfield is a nice plug-and-play option this week.

Eli Manning – NYG @ Philadelphia Eagles – 23% Owned

While he didn’t erupt against a bad defense, Eli did everything required of him to pull out the win over Tampa Bay in Week 11. He had only one incompletion and nearly posted a perfect passer rating. That only resulted in 17.1 points in standard leagues, which is on the low side of acceptable from a streaming quarterback. Still, Manning has shown improvement over his last two games, even if those games came against weak opponents in Tampa Bay and San Francisco. He gets another juicy matchup in Week 12 against Philadelphia, a team that was allowing the ninth-most points to opposing quarterbacks before getting their teeth kicked in by Drew Brees and the Saints. Manning offers a decent floor for a streamer, as he’s only posted single-digit points once this season, back in Week 1. Despite the criticism levied towards Manning, and despite the offensive line woes, Eli does offer a degree of safety that can’t be found in many streamers. Hope for 19-22 points from Manning but be okay with 15-18, based on standard scoring.

Lamar Jackson – BAL vs. Oakland Raiders – 18% Owned

Marty Mornhinweg and the Ravens took an alternative approach to their gameplan this week, and Jackson’s stat line looks more like that of a bell cow running back than a quarterback. He rushed 27 times for 117 yards, while going just 13-for-19 passing for 150 yards with no touchdowns and one interception. Baltimore rushed 54 times compared to 19 passing attempts in this game. They clearly don’t trust Jackson to throw, which is scary long-term but could be beneficial in a matchup like the one Baltimore has next week. Going into Week 11 the Raiders were allowing the tenth most fantasy points to opposing quarterbacks. Even if Jackson hardly throws the ball, Oakland has an awful rush defense. They have allowed the fourth-most rush yards in the NFL and 4.8 yards per carry to opposing ballcarriers. Oakland’s defense is bad on all fronts, and if Joe Flacco sits, which seems likely, Jackson could be in a prime position to produce next week. Jackson may be keeping the seat warm for Joe Flacco now, but if things go well enough he could usurp Flacco and remain Baltimore’s starting quarterback for the rest of the season.


Deeper League and Two-QB League Options

Jameis Winston – TB vs. San Francisco 49ers – 9% Owned

Oh Dirk Koetter, how about a little decisiveness? A little conviction. No more waffling, no more flip-flopping, no more mid-game quarterback changes. You’re the head coach of an NFL football team for Pete’s sake. Your own team isn’t going anywhere, but at least stop losing games for thousands of fantasy owners. Yes, Ryan Fitzpatrick was having a Fitz-Tragic kind of day, but your quarterbacks, your team, and most importantly fantasy owners shouldn’t be wondering who’ll start and finish the game at quarterback every week. Between the quarterback changes and utter disaster on defense, this team reeks of incongruity and disharmony. Yet, here we are again, clamoring to add the new Tampa Bay starter, because regardless of who starts for the Bucs, their quarterback should be productive in fantasy.

When comparing Winston to Fitzpatrick straight up from a talent perspective, Winston is the unequivocal winner. Ryan Fitzpatrick has played much better than anyone could have reasonably expected this season, but his owners had been waiting nervously for the other shoe to drop since he won the job back. Regardless, whoever ends up starting at quarterback for Tampa Bay will have value; this team is perfectly designed for an average or slightly above average quarterback to thrive.

The defense is horrible and won’t be improving any time soon, they can’t run the ball, and they are flush with weapons in the passing game. Tampa Bay has an elite receiver in Mike Evans, three more good receivers that bring a variety of skills to the table, and two solid receiving tight ends with O.J. Howard. Even if Howard is out next week Cameron Brate is more than serviceable as a backup. Tampa Bay is the perfect storm for garbage time production, and there is a reason they lead the NFL in passing yards.

Unless you're in a two-quarterback league or crazy desperate for a quarterback, don’t blow a lot of FAAB on Jameis Winston. His job security is far too tenuous. He is, however, a good streaming option most weeks and in a great spot next week against San Francisco, a team that has allowed the eighth-most points per game to opposing quarterbacks. Use Jameis Winston as your quarterback, but hopefully have a backup plan, even if that means owning both Winston and Fitzpatrick to ensure ownership of a playable starting quarterback.

Nick Mullens – SF @ Tampa Bay Buccaneers – 7% Owned

Mullens is still pretty green, as we saw in Week 10 against the Giants, but just about anyone is worthy of consideration against Tampa Bay’s defense. They have allowed at least 20 points in all games except one and have allowed at least 228 passing yards in all but two games. Tampa Bay has also given up the most passing touchdowns in the league and the second-most fantasy points to opposing quarterbacks. It would be tough to expect a repeat of Mullens' debut, the three-touchdown performance against Oakland in Week 9, but he is widely available and going against perhaps the worst defense in football. In deep leagues, he’ll do as a one-week fill-in. After this game, things get rough for Mullens. He faces Seattle, Denver, Seattle, and Chicago to finish the season. This is probably the last time Mullens will be a viable streamer in one-quarterback leagues.

Colt McCoy – WAS @ Dallas Cowboys – 0% Owned

Alex Smith is done for the season after suffering a gruesome broken leg in Washington’s Week 11 loss to Houston, which leaves McCoy as their starter for the rest of the way. Smith already wasn’t producing fantasy numbers before going down, so on the surface, it seems that McCoy has little fantasy value. That is true outside of two-quarterback leagues, but in those deeper leagues where nearly every quarterback is owned McCoy will have value. He’s had a few flashes of brilliance earlier in his career, and his past history suggests McCoy can act as a serviceable game manager. Dallas isn’t a great matchup for quarterbacks; they’ve been about average in points allowed to quarterbacks per game, however, if you need someone McCoy is available in every league. Washington gets a pair of nice matchups after Week 12, taking on the Eagles and Giants in Week 13 and 14. He is a good add for two-quarterback leagues because his job seems relatively safe for an unheralded backup. He has been Washington's backup for four seasons and they have no other quarterbacks currently on the roster. Whoever they sign as a backup to McCoy likely won't be a threat to McCoy's job.

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