Alright boys and girls, the waiver wire pieces are usually Waleed’s territory, but he spoke ill of our lord and savior, Mike Davis, so he’s gotten the boot this week. It’s a regular coup d’etat over here, which is French for, “get outta here, Frenchy!” It’s the finals, and it’s time to dump the rest of the cash you have in FAAB, burn your waiver priority, and go get your players you need. If you’re in the finals on the shoulders of here-and-gone-again A-A-Ron Rodgers, or fell off the Wentz Wagon week fourteen and need some help, or if you thought Mike Davis was a good idea, or if you just want to get some light reading in, or you just want to go for a glory victory in the finals, here’s this week’s free agent fantasy football waiver wire guys available to you in at least 50% of Yahoo! leagues. If you lose in the finals, don’t blame me, you’re the one who listened to me. If you win, you’re welcome, you were smart to heed my advice.
SPECIAL CONSIDERATION: Blake Bortles at San Francisco (54% owned)
The Bort Report has been on special assignment for a few weeks now, and has posted three straight games of over 18.5 fantasy points, with two of them going for over 25 fantasy points. Sit down for this next stat: WarBortles has seven touchdowns, zero picks and has averaged over 300 passing yards in that span. He takes on a Niners squad that has allowed the third-most fantasy points per game this season. The Niners have allowed eight QB touchdowns in their last four games (since their Bye), and only Mitchell Trubisky hasn’t had at least two scores against them in the last two months.
Eli Manning at Arizona (33% owned)
The rumors of Eli’s demise are greatly exaggerated. He chucked the ball 57(!) times last week against the Eagles and absolutely funslanged, totaling 434 yards with three touchdowns and a pick. Manning is on a lot rockier ground than Bortles, but he did it last week against an extremely stout Eagles defense. This week he gets the Cardinals, who give up the eighth-most fantasy points to QBs. The Cardinals are a mess and should give him some short fields with Elijhaa Penny and Drew Stanton leading the offense.
ABSURDITY CHECK: Nick Foles versus Oakland (28% owned)
If you feel the need to be one of the people who Rolls with Foles™ this week, I can’t blame you. However, please consider the following. The Raiders are a middling proposition for opposing quarterbacks, and this is because they’ve been nails in limiting opposing quarterback production since the Bye. Only Tom Brady has topped sixteen points against them in their last five games. Sure Foles rocked and rolled last week against the Giants, but so did C.J. Beathard. He’s a hot pickup this week because people have pegged the Raiders as a great matchup, but they’re middling at best. Foles isn’t a home run play, but might provide a good floor for you. Emphasis on might.
Joe Flacco versus Indianapolis (18% owned)
The Flacc Attacc rises from his grave. I swore I would never recommend him again after he’s repeatedly burned me. Well, rules are made for breaking, and Flaccos are made for inexplicable deep-season blasts of effectiveness. In his last three games, he has five touchdowns and one pick while averaging over 300 yards per game. He’s on a roll, and takes on the Colts this week, who have allowed six touchdowns to QBs in their last three games, allowing a floor of 17.76 fantasy points.
Mitchell Trubisky at Cleveland (6% owned)
Trubisky isn’t great, but the Browns are worse. I always like to have a guy available in fewer than 10% of leagues to really spread out the potential. The Browns have given up at least 17.5 fantasy points to six-of-seven quarterbacks they’ve faced, and only three QBs this year didn’t reach at least 15 points against them this season. Trubisky is chucking the ball, with mixed results, but this is a defense he can take apart with 30+ pass attempts.
THE WIDE RECEIVERS
SPECIAL CONSIDERATION: Martavis Bryant at Houston (58% owned)
There’s no more Antonio Brown for one of the most potent offenses in the NFL. While removing AB84 removes a great amount of that efficacy, it also creates a good amount of opportunity to mine. This leaves Martavis Bryant and JuJu Smith-Schuster, rivals-turned-co-starters, as the best two wide receivers on the team. They take on a Houston defense that allowed 42.7 fantasy points to Keelan Cole and Jaydon Mickens last week.
Dede Westbrook versus San Francisco (44% owned)
I still believe in Dede. Sure he had just four targets last week, but he had gotten 27 targets in his prior three games. The Jags will be without Marqise Lee, and likely without Allen Hurns. That makes Dede the top option against an inconsistent 49ers defense that allows the fourteenth-most fantasy points to WRs and has given up four WR touchdowns in their last three games. I expect Dede to feast as the Jags might need to lean on him in the playoffs and they need to get him fully up to speed.
Mike Wallace versus Indianapolis (41% owned)
If you’ve come this far, clearly you trust me. Or you’re desperate. Either way, it’s MIKE WALACE TIME, BABY! Joe Flacco is on a roll and is likely to continue to eat this weekend against the Colts. With Jeremy Maclin somewhere between useless and dead, that makes Mike Wallace the WR1 in Baltimore. Wallace has 23 targets and 277 yards in his last three games. If this was earlier in the year, or if he’d thrown a touchdown or two in there, or if he wasn’t Mike Wallace, this would be a big deal. Instead, he’s a waiver wire option.
Keelan Cole versus San Francisco (4% owned)
49 yards and a score, 99 yards and a score, 186 yards and a score. That’s the last three games for Keelan Cole. With the Jags WR corps completely chewed apart (Allen Robinson, Allen Hurns, Marqise “Allen” Lee), it’s down to the mat for the Jaguars, and that means opportunity for Keelan Cole. He gets the same bad 49ers pass defense as Dede Westbrook above.
ABSURDITY CHECK: The Out of Nowhere Guys AKA Points Chasers AKA The Gloriest of Plays
The following players have 0% ownership and had huge games last week (alongside their week sixteen opponents)
Tavarres King at Arizona
Jaydon Mickens at San Francisco
Cody Latimer at Washington
Damiere Byrd versus Tampa Bay
Here’s the best case I can make for all of them: well, they did it last week? I’d rank them Tavarres King (opposite-of-Patrick-Peterson-effect), Jaydon Mickens (49ers pass defense can be leaky), Cody Latimer (Cecil Lammey Hype Train on a Three Year Delay Effect) and Damiere Byrd (because there are four players). These guys are pickup and stash at best and are complete desperation plays if it was mid-season. If you’re considering them for your finals, guess what? You already lost.
THE RUNNING BACKS
Let me get this out of the way: Mike Davis exists. After that offense laid a big fat one last week, do you really want to slot him in your lineup? He’s a desperation RB3 at best. He’s in the “if you have to play him you’ve already lost” territory. He’s an Elijhaa Penny or Wayne Gallman at quintuple the ownership.
SPECIAL CONSIDERATION: James White versus Buffalo (51% owned)
James White had a six-week stretch where he was a usable fantasy football commodity, right before Rex Burkhead came back and messed everything all up for him. Well… Rex Burkhead is gone again with a leg injury, which means it might be time to get back to James White in the passing back role. It’s a limited upside and risky play, but one that should trend positive. He won’t get the touchdowns (more on that below), but in a PPR league, he should get you double-digit fantasy points. The Bills give up the most fantasy points to running backs, including 36.5 fantasy points to Burkhead, Dion Lewis and White back in week thirteen.
Peyton Barber at Carolina (33% owned)
He’s the man in Tampa Bay with Doug Martin benched for violating a team meeting and the paperwork to cut Martin all but filed going into 2018. It’s full-on evaluation time in Tampa Bay, and they need to see what they have in Barber. That’s been a trend, as he has 48 carries in his last three games. The Panthers are usually stout against the run, but they’ve allowed 5.67 yards per carry to running backs since their Bye game.
Mike Gillislee versus Buffalo (27% owned)
Hoo boy. How fitting would it be that Mike Gillislee gets three touchdowns in his first game, three touchdowns in the fantasy finals, and does almost nothing in-between? The Rex Burkhead injury opens up the goal-line back role with the Patriots. This is the gloriest of glory plays, and solely to be able to rub it in your opponent’s face… or a complete desperation move. Either way, if he’s active, I peg him at a 50-50 shot at a touchdown against an awful Bills rush defense. Hey, crazier things have happened.
Dual Deep Dive Dudes
These two backs will go up against each other and might actually do something! Probably not, given that one of them has a profoundly misspelled first name and the other was stuck behind Paul Perkins and Orleans Darkwa all year. They did something last week so here you go, here are some words about them:
Wayne Gallman at Arizona (5% owned)
This is still an RBBC, but Gallman led Giants running backs in touches in each of the last two games. It’s a better PPR play than standard scoring (six catches last week), and he won’t lay down the hammer, but you definitely have worse options if you’re desperate for a flex in a deep league. The Cardinals, however, are not a great opponent. They allow just the seventh-fewest fantasy points per game to the position. If you want more encouragement than that, they are #6 in receiving yards and #9 in catches to running backs over the last five weeks, and that seems to be Gallman’s specialty in this offense.
Elijhaa Penny versus New York Giants (0% owned)
It took me three tries to make sure I got that right, and I’m still not sure. I wouldn’t recommend him, but there’s some chance for an opportunity here. Here’s the situation in Arizona: Adrian Peterson is hurt, Kerwynn Williams is hurt, and Elijhaa Penny is next on the depth chart. He’s not a great back, just sort of big and bruising and hard to bring down, but he should get an opportunity again this week. He’s a decent bet for a score on the goal-line… if the Cardinals can get there. The matchup is good, as the Giants allow the fourth-most fantasy points to running backs.
THE TIGHT ENDS
SPECIAL CONSIDERATION: None! Tight End is an endless wasteland right now. We might be in trouble here…
Eric Ebron at Cincinnati (43% owned)
Now, hear me out. I know I’ve burned you with Ebron in the past, but he’s gotten a good amount of run in the last couple of games. He has eighteen targets… catching a shocking fifteen of them. Matthew Stafford has started leaning on Ebron more, and he has rewarded him. He’s turned those targets into 94 yards week fourteen and 33 and a score last week. He’s a streaming play, against a Cincy defense that is middling against the tight end. That stat is misleading, as they are quickly unraveling; tight ends have scored against them in two straight games. He’s not the best play, but the trends are there.
Jesse James at Houston (25% owned)
He had an amazing touchdown catch last week against the Patriots, and is a shoo-in for big produc—wait, that wasn’t a catch? Hoookay, sure. Whatever you say, NFL rules. Anyway, imagine if the rules weren’t insane. That would be 97 yards two weeks ago and a touchdown last week… and the Steelers will be without the most important part of their offense. They take on a top-five matchup with the Texans, who have allowed four TE touchdowns in their last five games, including two scores to…
ABSURDITY CHECK: Ricky Seals-Jones versus New York Giants (33% owned)
It’s a good matchup but my man’s weekly fantasy point production by week is an asymptote of sadness
Adam Shaheen versus Cleveland (2% owned)
It wouldn’t be a Football Absurdity article if we didn’t pick on the Browns at Tight End. Shaheen is banged up, but he’s gotten four or more targets twice this season (both in his last four games) and he’s produced 40 yards and a score in both. And the Browns STINK against Tight Ends.
There you have it, a supersized edition of the fantasy football waiver wire piece. Good luck out there in week sixteen. If you need us in week seventeen… find a new league! Your league is garbage. See you back next year for the hot week one waiver wire pickups in 2018.