- League Office: Fantasy Football Waiver Pick-Ups – Week 1
- League Office: Waiver Wire Pick-Ups – Week 2
- League Office: Fantasy Football Waiver Wire – Week 3
- League Office: Fantasy Football Waiver Wire – Week 5
- League Office: Fantasy Football Waiver Wire – Week 6
- League Office: Fantasy Football Waiver Wire – Week 4
- League Office: Fantasy Football Waiver Wire – Week 7
- League Office: Fantasy Football Waiver Wire – Week 8
- League Office: Fantasy Football Waiver Wire – Week 9
- League Office: Fantasy Football Waiver Wire – Week 10
- League Office: Fantasy Football Waiver Wire – Week 11
- League Office: Fantasy Football Waiver Wire – Week 12
That’s all that’s left in the fantasy football regular season in most leagues. Four more matchups that either will determine your seed in the postseason or whether you have a spot in the cakewalk for the championship prize.
Your position in these scenarios will be huge determining factors in how you approach the waiver in the coming weeks.
With that in mind, this post will aim at breaking down the two approaches — stashing for the playoffs or pushing for a ticket to the dance — and address waiver-wire targets for each. There will be some overlap.
First, here is the recurring list of must-adds (These are in no particular order):
- WR John Brown (ownership: 83% on ESPN, 86% on Yahoo)
- WR Calvin Ridley (ownership: 80% on ESPN, 85% on Yahoo)
- RB Marlon Mack (ownership: 88% on ESPN, 83% on Yahoo)
- RB Aaron Jones (ownership: 78% on ESPN, 84% on Yahoo)
- RB Jalen Richard (ownership: 54% on ESPN, 53% on Yahoo)
- TE David Njoku (ownership: 83% on ESPN, 88% on Yahoo)
- TE Jack Doyle (ownership: 40% on ESPN, 37% on Yahoo)
If this list looks a tad shorter than previous weeks, that’s because it is. Players owned in more than 92 percent of leagues have been removed (Tarik Cohen, James White, Nick Chubb, and Tyler Boyd). But if any of these are available in your league, they should receive top priority.
There also is a new name in the ranks: Jack Doyle. The Indianapolis Colts tight end was featured in this post last week and needs to be added in all leagues. He seems to be in line to play almost all the snaps in Indianapolis and offers solid upside as a result.
Now that the required non-fried, healthy appetizer is out of the way, it’s on to the good stuff.
Ryan Fitzpatrick (70% ESPN, 66% Yahoo)
- The Fitzmagic show is a must-see event each week. While turnovers come with the territory, the state of the Tampa Bay Buccaneers’ defense requires Ryan Fitzpatrick to air it out all game. With upcoming games against Washington, the New York Giants, the San Francisco 49ers and a rematch with the Carolina Panthers on tap before the fantasy playoffs, he’s a solid option to help a quarterback-needy fantasy squad turn the tide and reach the postseason. He’ll be hard to trust in the playoffs, however, with dates with the Baltimore Ravens and Dallas Cowboys in Weeks 15-16.
Baker Mayfield (38% ESPN, 38% Yahoo)
- Rookie quarterback Baker Mayfield fits in as a hybrid for this breakdown. He has favorable matchups against the Atlanta Falcons (Week 10) and Cincinnati Bengals (Weeks 12 and 16) coming up. And his other matchups aren’t terrifying — the Houston Texans in Week 13, the Carolina Panthers in Week 14 and Denver Broncos in Week 15. He does still have an upcoming bye in Week 11, however. In six games as the starter for the Cleveland Browns, Mayfield has topped 18 fantasy points in three of those outings. With a new offensive coordinator and the re-emergence of Duke Johnson as a passing option out of the backfield, Mayfield should be in a good position each week to deliver a solid fantasy performance.
Josh Rosen (2% ESPN, 3% Yahoo)
- If the boos will just quiet down a bit, I’ll explain why there’s another rookie quarterback on this list. Josh Rosen’s sample size with his new offensive coordinator is just one game. But in that game, he put up 20 fantasy points. He has some very good matchups coming up after his Week 9 bye and will be given the opportunity to audition for your playoff quarterback role. He’s an add now because if he does well, he won’t be on waivers for long. He gets the Kansas City Chiefs and Oakland Raiders in his next two games, which should both inflate his numbers and deliver a good opportunity to evaluate the Arizona Cardinals’ new offense. When the playoffs begin in Week 14, Rosen will face the Detroit Lions at home, the Atlanta Falcons on the road and the Los Angeles Rams at home. Each matchup is both indoors and against a team the Cardinals will need to throw against to keep up with. I know it’s not a popular thing to have on Rosen on this list, but the first time someone decided to shove a can of beer inside of a chicken before roasting it, it probably wasn’t popular either. But beer can chicken is good, and Rosen could be good for your fantasy championship chances.
Duke Johnson (50% ESPN, 48% Yahoo)
- Likely a high-priority claim in leagues in which he is available, Duke Johnson offers solid PPR upside down the stretch. After scoring more than 6.2 PPR points just twice in the first eight games of the season, Johnson was seemingly set free in the Cleveland Browns’ offense under new offensive coordinator Freddie Kitchens (fantastic name, by the way). He snagged all nine of his targets and found the end zone twice. It’s impossible to know if that usage will be the new norm with it being Kitchens’ first game calling the plays. But if that is what we can expect from Johnson moving forward, he will help many teams not only reach the fantasy playoffs but also push for championships. He fits in both categories for the purposes of this post.
Mike Davis (19% ESPN, 24% Yahoo)
- Filling in for starting running back Chris Carson, who aggravated an injury, Mike Davis logged nearly 18 PPR points against the Los Angeles Chargers in Week 9. The upcoming slate isn’t as smooth as the gravy most of will enjoy in a few weeks, but if Carson either misses time or remains limited, the volume Davis should receive can make him a viable flex option or fill-in for bye weeks or injuries. Since his value is tied to Carson’s limitation, his fantasy relevance is short-term.
Elijah McGuire (14% ESPN, 9% Yahoo)
Josh Adams (3% ESPN, 10% Yahoo)
- I’ve decided to put these two options together in an analysis. Neither has a particular appetizing schedule either down the stretch or in the fantasy playoffs. But much like Josh Rosen, who was mentioned above, Elijah McGuire and Josh Adams are great stashes should they continue to see good usage in their respective offenses. With the inconsistency of the New York Jets’ offense, McGuire could develop into a go-to option out of the backfield and even push Isaiah Crowell for carries. The Philadephia Eagles are much different. With a solid offense that figures to reach the red zone often even against stout defenses, Adams could be in line for plenty of scoring chances should he emerge as the lead back in Philadelphia. Both are worth stashing for the fantasy postseason because of the upside they could provide should their usage reach its potential peak.
Marquez Valdes-Scantling (21% ESPN, 38% Yahoo)
- While the Green Bay Packers receiving corps at all the makings of being a committee coming out of the bye week, an injury to Geronimo Allison that should reportedly keep him out for several weeks has paved the way for Marquez Valdes-Scantling. The same logic the Fantasy Sports Chef used in pitching Allison as an end-of-bench stash entering the season applies to MVS now. He’s on the field a lot, with Aaron Rodgers as his quarterback. Good things will happen.
Christian Kirk (18% ESPN, 25% Yahoo)
- Over his next four games, Christian Kirk faces defenses that rank around the middle of the pack in PPR points surrendered to receivers. He’s shown a great rapport with rookie quarterback Josh Rosen this season and has notched PPR point totals of 18, 13.7, 8.7 and 13.2 in his last four games. Coming out of the bye week, the offense should resemble more of what Byron Leftwich envisions rather than the departed Mike McCoy. This could set Kirk up for a more featured role in an offense that doesn’t look like junior high game film.
Courtland Sutton (64% ESPN, 67% Yahoo)
- The Chef loves rookies down the stretch, apparently. Courtland Sutton was the talk of the town when the Denver Broncos traded Demaryius Thomas and expressed how Sutton was poised for a bigger role in the offense in Week 9. The result: five targets, three catches, 57 yards. In other words, he did exactly what he been doing before the trade. There likely will be disappointed managers who played him ahead of much more proven options and could potentially drop Sutton in a fit of rage. He also has a bye this week. However, Sutton has a great schedule the rest of the season, and teams tend to change things during bye weeks (see Aaron Jones getting used properly in Green Bay after its bye). Sutton won’t be a startable option immediately following his bye week but could be a great playoff asset if he does, in fact, become the go-to option on offense. In the fantasy playoffs, Sutton faces the San Francisco 49ers, the Cleveland Browns and the Oakland Raiders. So he doesn’t exactly enter a no-fly zone when you head into the fantasy playoffs.
Jack Doyle (40% ESPN, 37% Yahoo)
- As mentioned above, Jack Doyle should return to his position of being the main tight end in the Indianapolis Colts’ offense. Available on the waiver wire in more than half of leagues, Doyle has the potential to not only help a team reach the postseason but also claim a fantasy championship if the tight end position is what has been a weakness thus far.
Hunter Henry (1% ESPN, 1% Yahoo)
- After tearing his ACL in the offseason, reports are that the Los Angeles Chargers could activate Hunter Henry off of injured reserve within the next four or so weeks, just in time for the fantasy playoffs. There have been several positive reports about his progress. With the Chargers in position to challenge for a deep playoff run themselves, Henry could be a viable asset both in real football and fantasy should the Chargers need his help to win games as much as your fantasy squad does.