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Fantasy Football Week 12 Waiver Wire Pickups: James White, Sterling Shepard & More

Fantasy Football Week 12 Waiver Wire Pickups: James White, Sterling Shepard & More article feature image

Carmen Mandato/Getty Images. Pictured: James White

  • James White headlines our Week 12 waiver wire pickups as the fantasy football season hits the home stretch.
  • While waivers thin out toward the end of the season, there are still a few players who can make a difference in the postseason.

And down the stretch they come!

Week 12 is a time to fine tune your roster and get prepared for the impending fantasy playoffs. The waiver wire gets thinner every week, but there are always a few gems to help improve your team, even in the slightest way.

Let’s take a close look at the best pickups for Week 12, including old faces that are just now starting to be fantasy relevant.

Also check out Sean Koerner’s rest-of-season tiers and week-by-week projections to prepare for the postseason.

Note: We’ve limited recommendations to players owned in less than 50% of Yahoo leagues. All data as of Monday.

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Week 12 Waiver Wire Pickups

Running Backs

James White, Patriots

Ownership: 40%

Fantasy players have been disappointed all season by receiving back James White. However, an injury to Rex Burkhead may trigger a strong fantasy finish.

White caught six of nine targets for 64 receiving yards in New England’s 27-20 loss at Houston. He also rushed five times for 19 yards.

New England has a soft remaining schedule for White, including the Chargers and Dolphins. White is a great PPR Flex play rest of season with massive upside if his passing-game usage returns to normal.

La’Mical Perine, Jets

Ownership: 34%

There were rumors that coming out of their bye week, the Jets would commit to Perine as the their lead running back. However, it was still veteran Frank Gore leading the way with 17 total touches to Perine’s eight.

It’s hard to trust Perine moving forward, as head coach Adam Gase seems determined to keep this a timeshare backfield.

The Jets do have two favorable upcoming home matchups with Miami and Las Vegas, but it’s too difficult to trust Perine more than an RB4/5.

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Sony Michel, Patriots

Ownership: 27%

Michel was activated off the injured reserve, but was still a healthy scratch in favor of Damien Harris, Rex Burkhead, and James White. However, Burkhead left the game with a serious injury, leaving the door open for Week 12.

The problem is Damien Harris has performed well in Michel’s absence, tallying 100 total yards or a touchdown in three of the past four games.

Michel brings little to the passing game, so his fantasy value is predicated on rushing volume. Unless he supplants Harris in that role, he is not worth a waiver wire claim.

Tony Pollard, Cowboys

Ownership: 19%

There is an argument to be made that Pollard is the Cowboys most efficient running back. On Sunday, he broke free for a 42-yard touchdown run in Dallas’ 31-28 upset of Minnesota.

Pollard now has consecutive games of 57 and 60 rushing yards, but is still limited in volume behind Ezekiel Elliott.

He is intriguing, but is only a bench stash in the event Elliott gets injured.

Frank Gore, Jets

Ownership: 10%

Gore is similar to Arizona’s Larry Fitzgerald. Veteran players who are beloved by the coaches, and provide consistent fantasy production with limited fantasy upside.

In Week 11, Gore turned 15 carries into 61 rushing yards and a touchdown. He also caught both of his targets for 10 receiving yards.

If you are desperate at the running back position, Gore is a touchdown-dependent RB4/5.

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Wide Receivers

Emmanuel Sanders, Saints

Ownership: 49%

It was surprising to see that Sanders dropped below 50% ownership in Yahoo leagues.

Sanders is still part of one of the most concentrated target shares in the league. He, along with Michael Thomas, accounted for 17 of New Orleans’ 23 targets in the Saints 24-9 win over Atlanta.

Even with backup quarterback Taysom Hill, Sanders had for 66 receiving yards on four receptions. The Saints will face Atlanta again in Week 14, along with a very wide receiver friendly matchup at home against Minnesota in Week 16.

Sanders is a nice Flex play with Hill under center, maintaining WR3 upside.

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Sterling Shepard, Giants

Ownership: 45%

Shepard could slide under the radar coming off the Giants bye week, but he’s a definite waiver target in PPR formats.

Since returning from a turf toe injury, Shepard has averaged eight targets, 6.5 receptions, and 54.8 receiving yards per game. During that time, he has been a WR3 or better on three occasions.

Shepard will enjoy one of the best fantasy wide receiver schedules for the rest of the year. Here are the Giants upcoming games with their respective rank against opposing fantasy wide receivers:

  • Week 12: at Cincinnati (25th)
  • Week 13: at Seattle (32nd)
  • Week 14: Arizona (26th)
  • Week 15: Cleveland (27th)

Shepard is a top waiver priority in all fantasy formats, but especially PPR leagues.

Michael Pittman Jr., Colts

Ownership: 44%

If you didn’t pick up Michael Pittman last week, you may have one more chance.

The rookie from USC was again the most productive Indianapolis receiver, with three receptions, 66 receiving yards, and a touchdown. This followed Pittman’s Week 10 performance of seven receptions and 101 yards against the Titans.

The Colts have Tennessee at home in Week 12, with two games remaining against Houston’s poor pass defense. Pittman is this week’s top waiver wire pickup.

Allen Lazard, Packers

Ownership: 42%

Lazard was activated but on a limited snap count in Green Bay’s 34-31 overtime loss to the Colts. He caught two of four targets for 18 receiving yards.

Fantasy owners may remember Lazard’s last game before going on injured reserve. He torched the Saints for six receptions, 146 yards, and a touchdown in a 37-30 win at New Orleans.

The Packers have a tough upcoming game at home vs. Chicago, but have a very favorable wide receiver fantasy playoff schedule. During Weeks 13-16, the Packers have three home games, including a Week 16 battle against Tennessee’s poor pass defense.

Jalen Reagor, Eagles

Ownership: 28%

After missing most of the season with a thumb injury, Philadelphia’s rookie wide receiver is making up for lost time.

Reagor battled poor weather to finish with four receptions and 52 yards as the Eagles top wide receiver.  He is one of the few explosive offensive playmakers for Philadelphia.

Reagor is a viable WR3 as a result of a fantastic upcoming schedule. Next week the Eagles host Seattle, which has the most generous defense to opposing wide receivers.  In the fantasy playoffs,  Reagor will face the soft pass defenses of Arizona and Dallas in Weeks 15-16.

Tim Patrick, Broncos

Ownership: 24%

Tim Patrick keeps finding quality fantasy production.

He led Denver in targets (eight), receptions (five), and receiving yards (119) en route to Denver’s 20-13 win over Miami.

Patrick is a WR3 option for the next few weeks, but will face the most difficult slate of opposing pass defenses during Weeks 13-16.

Nelson Agholor, Raiders 

Ownership: 19%

Another week, another touchdown for Nelson Agholor.

The Philadelphia castoff has continued his oscillating fantasy production with a six-catch, 88 receiving yard, one touchdown performance in the Raiders Week 11 loss to the Chiefs. This followed last week’s one-reception, eight receiving yard disappointment against the Broncos.

Agholor is a strong WR3/4 play in favorable upcoming road games at the Falcons and Jets.

Rashard Higgins, Browns 

Ownership: 12%

Cleveland slogged out another ugly win under poor weather conditions.

Higgins remains the Browns most consistent receiver option, with three catches and 65 yards in the 22-17 win over Philadelphia,

With Odell Beckham out for the season, and Jarvis Landry still not looking 100% healthy, Higgins could be Baker Mayfield’s top target rest of season.

Outside of a tough Week 14 home matchup against Baltimore, the Browns have a very favorable slate of opposing pass defenses in Weeks 13-16. The Titans, Giants, and Jets all rank among the league’s eight most generous defenses for opposing fantasy wide receivers.

Higgins should be considered a WR3 rest of season.

Damiere Byrd, Patriots

Ownership: 2%

After watching teammate Jakobi Meyers explode over the past few weeks, Byrd decided it was his turn in Week 11.

Byrd had six receptions for 132 receiving yards and a touchdown. This included a 42-yard bomb from quarterback Cam Newton in the third quarter.

His 4.32 speed always allows for the big play, and that is even more valuable in a shallow Patriots receiving core.

Byrd is worth WR4/5 consideration next week at home against Arizona.

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Tight Ends

Robert Tonyan, Packers

Ownership: 46%

Tonyan found his way back into the end zone for the first team since his three-touchdown performance in Week 4. He caught all five of his targets for 44 receiving yards.

In a year with very few usable weekly tight ends, Tonyan should be owned in all fantasy formats. He has two favorable matchups at home against Chicago and Philadelphia the next two weeks.

Jimmy Graham, Bears

Ownership: 38%

Most fantasy players fail to realize, Jimmy Graham is third among all tight end in touchdowns (five).

Coming off a bye week, Graham is certainly worth a pickup for any team in need of a starting tight end.

The matchup against Green Bay is challenging, as the Packers allow the third-fewest fantasy points to opposing tight ends. However, how often is a player with the third-most touchdowns at his position available on the waiver wire heading into Week 12?

Dalton Schultz, Cowboys

Ownership: 21%

Schultz entered Week 11 ranked sixth among all tight ends in targets (55). In the Cowboys 31-28 upset win at Minnesota, Schultz caught four passes for 25 yards and a touchdown.

Dallas has three favorable matchups for Schultz upcoming, including Washington at home on Thanksgiving. He is absolutely worth a claim if you need a starting tight end due to injuries.

Jordan Reed, 49ers

Ownership: 21%

If Reed can stay healthy, he will be the premier fantasy difference-maker at tight end. He inherits the George Kittle role on this offense and is coming off a solid five receptions and 62 receiving yards against the Saints. In a year where tight end production is so tough, that ranked as the overall TE5 stat line for Week 10.

With superb positional home matchups against Buffalo and Washington, Reed is my top tight end waiver wire pickup.

Jordan Akins, Texans

Ownership: 2%

Akins finally looked healthy after a Week 5 concussion sidelined him for three games. Against a tough Patriots defense, Akins totaled five receptions for 83 receiving yards.

Akins splits target with Darren Fells, making him nothing but a desperation play for Week 12.

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