Fantasy Football Waiver Wire, Week 12: Expert Advice on Latavius Murray, Jameson Williams, More
Photo by David Becker/Getty Images. Pictured: Jameson Williams (left), Roger Goodell (right).
No matter how deep your league is, Week 11 offered plenty of injuries and potential breakout performances to make sure your waiver wire has intriguing names on it.
Our fantasy football analysts break down key names you’ll be either bidding on or considering with your top waiver claim.
RB Samaje Perine, Bengals
Sean Koerner: Currently in concussion protocol, Mixon’s Week 12 status is up in the air.
If he ends up being held out, Perine would take over as the lead back, but would have a tough matchup against a Titans defense that ranks first in DVOA against the run. Perine is likely a low-end RB2 in this scenario, so only teams desperate for a RB should be trying to obtain him as a potential one-week flier.
Samantha Previte: A heartfelt congrats to anyone who actually started Perine. He exploded in the Bengals’ crucial win over the Steelers, recording a season-high 11 carries for 30 yards with four receptions for 52 yards and three touchdowns. His usage was higher than usual with Mixon going down in the third quarter with a concussion.
This was by far Perine’s best game of the year, which isn’t surprising given he’s primarily been Mixon’s understudy. He would be a viable RB2 if Mixon can’t clear concussion protocol.
Mike Triplett: Perine is obviously a short-term play, and he only has value if Mixon is sidelined. But he should see a true RB1 workload if Mixon does miss time.
Not only did he have 15 touches with three touchdowns in Week 11, but Perine has had three other games with double-digit touches and a TD dating back to last season while splitting time with Mixon. Taking an even wider view, Perine is the exact type of player you should be looking to stash on your bench now that we’ve gotten past the Week 11 bye-nado and don’t have many more future byes to worry about.
You should consider adding any back who is just one injury away from a major workload (Perine, Elijah Mitchell, Rachaad White, Alexander Mattison, Dontrell Hilliard or even Matt Breida).
WR Treylon Burks, Titans
Koerner: Burks is coming off a career game — 7/111/0 — against the Packers. He flashed the upside we all know he has, but it’s going to be tough for him to post consistent WR3 value in such a run-heavy offense.
I’m generally a fan of stashing high-upside rookie WRs like Burks before they have their breakout game, but unfortunately, it may cost quite a bit of FAAB to land him now. If you are in win-now mode and need Burks to be more of a high-floor WR4 going forward, go for it.
Jameson Williams probably offers more long-term upside (i.e., fantasy playoffs) and can probably be had for much cheaper.
Previte: Burks was phenomenal in the Titans’ Thursday night win over the Packers. He logged season highs in every category and caught 7-of-8 targets for 111 yards.
Woods also had a quality game with six receptions (on seven targets) for 69 yards. Nick Westbrook-Ikhine, who was coming off of a strong game in Week 10, caught 2-of-2 targets for 28 yards.
Burks and Woods may both be worth adding, though I would probably give a slight lean toward the former given his age and pedigree. The Titans have two tough matchups coming up, but things get easier in Week 14 against the Jaguars.
Triplett: I agree with Sean’s words of caution on Burks given the Titans’ uninspiring passing offense. But I actually thought of a different rookie WR comp — Green Bay’s Christian Watson.
Both rookies were slow to develop and hampered by injuries early. And in both cases, the teams have been desperate for a true WR1 to emerge. So a stat line like Burks’ should keep the opportunities coming for the 18th overall pick in this year’s draft. I like that kind of upside in a waiver-wire flier.
WR Demarcus Robinson, Ravens
Koerner: Robinson is coming off a massive game — 9/128/0 — and appears set to become the Ravens’ unquestioned No. 1 wide receiver with Rashod Bateman out for the season. However, I view him more as a mid-range WR4 type who still has to compete with Mark Andrews for targets in a run-heavy offense.
The Ravens also have one of the easiest remaining schedules, which means we will likely see run-heavy game scripts more often than not. I would only be aggressive in targeting Robinson if you are desperate for a WR in a deeper league.
Previte: Here’s to you, Demarcus Robinson.
Robinson had a monster game in the Ravens’ 13-3 win over the Panthers. He caught all nine of his targets for 128 yards and is currently the WR7 in half-PPR scoring with one game left to play. Devin Duvernay was held to one catch for three yards.
The Ravens need all the help they can get on the pass-catching side with Rashod Bateman out for the year. Robinson could be emerging as the team’s WR1 and may be teeing up another solid fantasy game with the Jaguars‘ 30th-ranked pass defense (per DVOA) on deck.
QB Deshaun Watson, Browns
Koerner: Watson is eligible to return in Week 13 but there is a chance it’ll take him a game or two to shake the rust off. He looked pretty bad in preseason and wasn’t able to return to practice until last week, so it’s hard to imagine he will return to top-five status immediately.
However, if you are in desperate need of a potential top-10 QB, especially for the playoffs, you should be fairly aggressive trying to acquire him.
Previte: I will continue to put Watson in this column until he surpasses the 50% mark.
Watson practiced with his new squad last week and is expected to make his first NFL start since Week 17 of the 2020 season just after Thanksgiving on the road in Houston (Week 13). He has been permitted to attend meetings and train in the facilities up until this point.
Backup Jacoby Brissett has been serviceable, but you cannot expect a $230 million player to ride the bench once his suspension is over. Watson was the QB5 in 2018, QB2 in ’19 and QB6 in ’20 — all with limited depth on the Texans.
I expect him to put up at least top-12 numbers with the Browns, who have Amari Cooper, Nick Chubb, Kareem Hunt, Harrison Bryant and Donovan Peoples-Jones leading their offensive depth chart. Watson is worth adding prior to Week 13 — especially if you are lean at quarterback and in playoff contention.
WR Jameson Williams, Lions
Koerner: Williams has been designated to return to practice and could be 1-2 weeks away from his potential NFL debut. He isn’t a target for WR-needy teams who need to win now. However, he is a very enticing high-upside bench stash for the fantasy playoffs.
There is a chance the Lions are fighting for a playoff berth later in the season and more willing to fully unleash Williams in a full-time role. With T.J. Hockenson out of the picture, there are more available targets for him to potentially soak up.
Williams profiles as a polished downfield threat with WR3 upside come fantasy playoff time. You will likely be able to get him fairly cheap this week, but his value will only grow as the season goes on.
Previte: Williams has not played this year due to a torn ACL he suffered in the CFP National Championship game against Georgia. In spite of this, the first-team All-American was selected 12th overall in this year’s draft.
Williams has sky-high potential and is estimated to have 4.3-speed. He stands at 6-foot-1 and 179 pounds and should stack up well against physical NFL secondaries.
Once he does return, he will have minimal competition from the Lions’ depth chart for targets. Amon-Ra St. Brown has been the team’s alpha, but the loss of star tight end T.J. Hockenson, whom the Lions dealt to the Vikings at the NFL trade deadline, has left a gaping void in this offense. Williams is worth a speculative add and can be stashed in IR slots in most leagues.
Triplett: This probably goes without saying, but if you’re in a dynasty or keeper league and Williams somehow slipped through the cracks because of his injury status, he’s someone worth emptying your FAAB account on.
Or if you’re out of contention, make an aggressive trade offer. Williams would have been the top receiver drafted in this historic WR draft class if he hadn’t torn his ACL in Alabama’s national championship game in January. And he could leap back to the head of the class heading into 2023 and beyond.
RB Latavius Murray, Broncos
Koerner: Not only did the Broncos release Melvin Gordon, but Chase Edmonds also suffered a high ankle sprain and is expected to miss significant time.
Murray will likely be the Broncos’ workhorse back for the foreseeable future — it’s hard to imagine Marlon Mack will be able leap-frog him at any point or even force a 50/50 committee. Therefore, Murray is worth a pretty big bid for RB-needy teams in “win now” mode.
I view Murray as a low-end RB2 option as long as Edmonds is out, which could be a handful of games.
Previte: Stop me if you’ve heard this one before. Melvin Gordon III is handed the ball at the goal line. Gordon fumbles, ball is recovered by the Broncos, who proceed to miss a very short field-goal attempt to end the half. The Broncos go to overtime and lose 22-16. Time is a flat circle.
Murray led the backfield and recorded 17 carries for 49 yards and a touchdown. He also caught four passes for 23 yards and is currently the RB11 in half PPR. He could emerge as the RB1 with Gordon waived and Chase Edmonds dealing with a high ankle sprain that could sideline him for weeks.
The Broncos next take on the Panthers, whose defense ranks 23rd in rush DVOA and has allowed the fifth-most fantasy points to running backs. Murray will be a RB2 with this newfound opportunity.
Triplett: Murray had 21 touches in Week 11, even while Gordon played 29 snaps. He’s a must-add for anyone in need of RB depth — and he should probably be rostered in most leagues until we find out if the Broncos plan to keep giving him that type of workload.
But count me as a skeptic since the Broncos have been constantly churning different RBs into a committee approach ever since Javonte Williams got hurt in Week 4. It has been an uninspiring offense all year, with Murray averaging less than three yards per carry over the past four weeks.
WR Darius Slayton, Giants
Triplett: Technically I’m cheating here since Slayton is 51% rostered. But he shouldn’t go unmentioned now that he has an even greater opportunity to pair with his recent run of success.
The fourth-year veteran has emerged as New York’s clear WR1 after rookie Wan’Dale Robinson suffered a torn ACL on Sunday. Even with Robinson catching nine passes for 100 yards before his injury, Slayton set season highs with 10 targets and 66 snaps. Slayton now has double-digit PPR fantasy points in five of his last six games.
The Giants might be forced to become more of a pass-heavy team going forward if more defenses follow the Lions’ successful blueprint: Stop Saquon Barkley at all costs and let Daniel Jones throw.