It’s a must-win week for many of us — not technically the fantasy playoffs just yet, but basically the same experience. Trade deadlines have passed for most of you, which means the only way to improve your roster is via the wire. If you have fantasy needs, we have options. All players discussed below are available in a majority of Yahoo leagues and approved for immediate use.
Wide receivers and tight ends of interest
Jones is suddenly a pass magnet for Jacksonville, having drawn 24 targets over his last two games. We can’t very well leave a player on the wire when he’s seeing this sort of volume. Trevor Lawrence delivered a signature performance in Sunday’s win against Baltimore and Jones was targeted on 37.8 percent of his quarterback’s attempts, catching 11 for 145 yards. He also snagged the game-winning two-point conversion on an absolute dart from Lawrence:
The Jaguars have a pair of beatable pass defenses on deck (at Det, at Ten), so we likely haven’t seen the last outburst from Jones. He’s hauled in 27 of his 32 chances over Jacksonville’s last four games, ridiculous efficiency from a player who actually sees the occasional downfield target.
Recommended waiver offer, assuming $100 budget: $12
It’s been a wild ride for McKenzie this year, from preseason fantasy sleeper to mid-season bust and, suddenly, back to relevance following a six-catch, 96-yard performance on Thanksgiving. McKenzie played a season-high 73 percent of the offensive snaps against Detroit, drawing 10 targets and making a first-quarter house call:
He’s had a few rough moments this year, but he clearly remains inside Josh Allen’s circle of trust. On Thursday night, McKenzie travels to New England to face a defense he repeatedly roasted last December in an 11-reception, 125-yard breakout performance. He deserves flex/WR3 consideration this week.
Additional receivers to stash: Van Jefferson (with both Cooper Kupp and Allen Robinson sidelined by injuries, plenty of targets are available for Jefferson moving forward), Nico Collins (he saw another nine targets on Sunday, giving him 26 in his last three games), Elijah Moore (he only caught two balls on two targets against the Bears, but he definitely made the most of those receptions, finishing with 64 yards and one score), Richie James (he’s found the end zone in back-to-back weeks, he tied for the team-high in targets on Thursday and the Giants have a dire situation at receiver these days), Michael Gallup (he saw eight targets and 135 air-yards in the Thursday win over the Giants).
Various available tight ends: Foster Moreau (it’s a bit surprising that he’s still so widely available given his solid history; he’s found the end zone twice in the past three weeks and saw seven targets against Seattle), Hunter Henry (he’s as TD-dependent as it gets, but he spiked in Week 12), Jordan Akins (he caught all five of his targets on Sunday, producing 61 yards and a touchdown).
Running backs to target
So the Jets were just full of surprises on Sunday. First, they healthy-scratched James Robinson, a player they acquired via trade not so long ago. Then they leaned on Zonovan Knight in the win against Chicago, and the rookie was effective in a friendly matchup. Knight delivered 103 scrimmage yards on a team-high 17 touches, regularly bulldozing Bears defenders if not actually avoiding them. He’s a standard-sized back who runs as if he’s a 230-pound battering ram. Michael Carter appeared to be set up for a huge day, but an ankle injury sidelined him after eight touches.
Knight was an efficient runner and capable receiving threat at N.C. State over three collegiate seasons, though he didn’t crush the combine (which hardly matters). He had fumbling issues in college and he put the ball on the ground on Sunday, too, so that’s a concern. But Knight ran impressively (and angrily) against Chicago; he and Ty Johnson might very well be the 1-2 punch for New York in this week’s matchup at Minnesota.
Offers: $14 and $8
JaMycal Hasty and Darrell Henderson, Jacksonville Jaguars (3% and 47%)
Travis Etienne suffered an early foot injury on Sunday, which led to a two-touch performance and much consternation within the fantasy community. Etienne himself downplayed the issue in postgame comments, for what it’s worth. But in his absence, Hasty had an excellent day against the Ravens, gaining 95 yards, catching five passes and making an early house call:
(Apologies for the mature-audiences-only celebration by Jaxson. Conduct unbefitting a mascot, no question.)
Hasty is a smallish (5-foot-8), athletic back with receiving ability, probably best used in a rotational role. He was good enough on Sunday, however. Henderson was inactive in Week 12 after being claimed off waivers on Wednesday, but he would presumably step into a meaningful role if Etienne’s foot injury limits him in the weeks ahead. Both Hasty and Henderson deserve a look from fantasy managers this week, but this is not an empty-the-wallet situation.
Offers: $5 and $4
We’re not gonna give you a hard sell on a player attached to an offense as poor as LA’s, but it’s worth mentioning that Williams gained a respectable 60 yards on 14 touches against Kansas City. He out-snapped Cam Akers, 38 to 16, while running 21 routes. Williams will face the Seahawks, Raiders and Packers over the next three weeks, so his schedule is definitely appealing. As we’ve discussed a time or two, Williams was a fantastically productive runner at Notre Dame and he caught 77 balls over the past two seasons. He’s a legit all-situation RB attached to a team with few notable backfield weapons.
Jaylen Warren and Benny Snell Jr., Pittsburgh Steelers (15% and 1%)
After Najee Harris exited with an abdominal injury on Monday night (yet another addition to his long list of 2022 health issues), Snell dominated carries for Pittsburgh and scored the go-ahead touchdown. He finished his night with a respectable 13 touches for 68 yards while Anthony McFarland Jr. delivered 41 yards on eight touches.
Of course the only reason Snell was dusted off for Monday’s game was that Warren was unavailable due to a hamstring injury, which may not linger into Week 13. Warren has been a revelation for the Steelers, averaging 5.0 YPC (to Harris’ 3.7) and catching 16 balls on 18 targets. If he’s available for the upcoming matchup with Atlanta, Warren is definitely a player of interest. For now, both he and Snell are reasonable waiver fliers.
Offers: $11 and $6
Other RB adds: Jordan Mason and Tyrion Davis-Price (Elijah Mitchell is dealing with another multi-week knee issue, which opened the door for Mason to handle five carries on Sunday; he and TDP should have enhanced value moving forward, given the fact that Christian McCaffrey is also managing a knee concern), Chuba Hubbard (he’s headed into his bye, so he can’t help this week, but please note that he’s coming off a 17-carry effort in the win against Denver), Tyler Allgeier (he’s splitting carries with Cordarrelle Patterson and both backs are running effectively; Allgeier has averaged 4.6 YPC and 50.2 rushing YPG), Jerick McKinnon (his services weren’t essential against the Rams on Sunday afternoon, but he could play a more significant role in this week’s matchup with Cincinnati), Melvin Gordon (it’s been an absolute disaster season for Gordon to this point, but at least he’s now landed with an elite offense; he’s no obvious threat to Isiah Pacheco, but he’s a fine deep league flier).
Quarterbacks on the wire
After serving up 240 yards and two touchdowns against Buffalo’s defense on Thanksgiving, Goff draws a much friendlier matchup with Jacksonville in Week 13, coming off an extended break. The Jaguars have allowed 300-yard, 3-TD performances this season to luminaries such as Carson Wentz and Matt Ryan; it wouldn’t be much of a surprise if Goff torched them as well. Amon-Ra St. Brown has been an unstoppable force — he’s caught 23 balls for 317 yards in his last three games — and the supporting members of Detroit’s receiving corps are plenty dangerous, too.
Don’t be surprised if Goff delivers another 20-plus fantasy point performance. It’s not a clinic at all times with him, but the Lions offense actually ranks eighth in the NFL in both total yards (362.9 YPG) and scoring (25.0 PPG).
OK, yes, it would have to be a pretty deep league, but, well … this Mike White thing is kinda fun. He’s definitely on the 16-team and superflex radar. White has made four NFL starts over the past two seasons and he’s topped 300 passing yards in two of them, including Sunday’s home win against the Bears. He completed 22 of 28 throws for 315 yards and three scores against Chicago, producing a near-perfect passer-rating (149.3) and averaging 11.3 yards per attempt. Obviously he was facing one of the league’s most talent-starved defenses in Week 12, but he did exactly what you’d want any quarterback to do under the circumstances.
This year’s version of Zach Wilson was never gonna unlock all the talent in New York’s receiving corps, but White just might. Garrett Wilson definitely isn’t complaining, coming off a 95-yard, two-score performance.
Other approved QBs: Marcus Mariota (this is strictly about the matchup ahead against Pittsburgh, one of the most generous defenses to opposing QBs).
If you’re streaming D/STs
Cleveland’s defense has definitely been a disappointment this season, although Myles Garrett remains a game-wrecker (10 sacks). The Browns face one-win Houston in Week 13, which should mean a matchup with Kyle Allen, a turnover-prone QB who was sacked five times by Miami on Sunday. Allen is generally a gift for opposing defenses, so Cleveland is back in our fantasy plans.