Fantasy Football: Waiver Wire Pickups for Week 12

Wendell Smallwood
Wendell Smallwood

We're over halfway through the 2016-17 NFL season and the fantasy landscape is constantly changing.

Even if your team has performed well thus far, it's still worth considering a few long-term adds that might bolster your roster down the line. These are the players that can be scooped off the Waiver Wire to help you win in the short and long term.

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True to his reputation, Ryan Mathews followed up his best game of 2016 with a knee injury in Week 11, and that MCL sprain is expected to keep him out the standard 2-4 weeks. Unexpectedly, Darren Sproles was also ruled out of that game with a rib injury and if he's looking at a multi-week absence, then Smallwood will be worth splurging on. As it stands, the rookie is still going to have a much bigger role as the Eagles preferred runner on early and downs and between the tackles. That offensive line was dominant in a plus matchup against Atlanta and held their own in a much tougher matchup against Seattle, allowing Smallwood to carry the rock 13 times for 38 yards in a losing effort. He gets the Packers defense at home next week, and if Mathews is out for some time than Smallwood will be an RB1/2 in matchups against the Bengals and Redskins after that.

Sharpe continued to flash with an expanded role on Sunday, as he recorded 68 receiving yards and a TD for the second consecutive week. More encouraging is the fact that he's seen 19 targets while playing on 86% of Tennessee's offensive snaps over last three weeks, while Kendall Wright has been relegated to a part-time role as the Titans third receiver. Sharpe will remain behind Delanie Walker and Rishard Matthews in the pecking order of this passing game, but Marcus Mariota's ascendancy to elite status makes the rookie WR worth a long look for those owners in need.

He was picked up in a few leagues, but not nearly enough given Dixon's potential if he can earn the starting job in this offense. Even in a timeshare with Terrance West, he's going to hold value and he should do better than the 40 YFS he produced in a tough matchup at Dallas last Sunday. The Ravens face two poor run defenses over the next two weeks in the Bengals and Dolphins, so Dixon might be able to increase his productivity when given 10-15 touches once again. Don't be scared off just because West scored the rushing TD to put Baltimore up early, as these RBs are seeing nearly equal playing time right now.

This is clearly the last call on Hill, who started strong with 3 catches for 50 yards in the first half before fizzling out due to Alex Smith's ineffective and conservative play. Still, the Oklahoma State product flashed plenty of ability in the short passing game for the fourth straight week and that is exactly how HC Andy Reid and Smith like to operate through the air. The Chiefs are becoming a bit too predictable with Spencer Ware pounding the ball up the middle and they'll need to incorporate more receivers even once Jeremy Maclin (groin) eventually gets cleared, which gives Hill value as a WR2 in PPR formats and a solid WR3 going forward.

We're breaking the formula a bit by recommending a player that's owned in over half of Yahoo! leagues, but owners in shallow leagues or PPR formats might have dropped Hightower after Mark Ingram erupted for a huge game on fewer touches against San Francisco in Week 10. Yet Ingram suffered a scary concussion last Thursday, and Hightower looked more efficient and frankly, like a better fit alongside Drew Brees as he carried the Saints offense late with 8 receptions for 57 yards on top of his 62 rushing yards against a stout Panthers defense. Ingram is in concussion protocol and his injury history would suggest that Hightower is a must own and a trade target for leagues that aren't quite at the deadline yet.

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Owners in desperate need of production at the TE spot will take note of Will Tye's TD reception in a narrow win over the Bears last Sunday, but he's really been solid aside from that late score. The "move" TE has now caught 11-of-20 targets for 98 yards and that TD over the Giants three games since their Bye, while headcase TE Larry Donnell has barely played a snap. Now that this is no longer a committee, owners can trust Tye as a back-end TE1 with a decent floor in this pass-happy offense.

Just when owners of Shady McCoy thought it was safe to drop his handcuff and ride their horse into the fantasy playoffs, the Bills top RB suffered another bad injury. McCoy is reportedly already working towards playing in Week 12, but a dislocated thumb is no small injury to add to a player that's battling a bum hamstring and has had plenty of issues with ball security in the past. Gillislee should carry value in deep leagues and he might even be usable with McCoy active going forward if the main dog isn't capable of handling his usual huge workload.

The Vikings passing game is way too predictable right now with targets funneled towards Stefon Diggs, to the point that the Cardinals were ready to shadow Diggs with top CB Patrick Peterson AND offer help over the top. That opened things up for Thielen to catch 5 balls for 65 yards and a TD, which is actually his third consecutive game with 60-plus yards and/or a score. If you anticipate any of the Vikings upcoming opponents (DET, DAL, JAX, IND) to use similar bracket coverage on Diggs, then Thielen will be a useful player to start in those matchups.

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Nathaniel Weitzer

Nathaniel Weitzer

Nate Weitzer is a successful DFS player that specializes in Daily NBA and MLB advice. He's currently working as a sports journalist in Boston, but writing about fantasy sports is way better than doing "human interest" pieces on local athletes, so he contributes to multiple fantasy sites on a daily basis. Follow him @nweitzer7 for year-round fantasy sports advice.

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