You’re not going to be wowed by the top Week 12 fantasy waiver wire pickups and free agent adds, we’ll just tell you that up front. That’s not necessarily a bad thing because it means there weren’t many big injuries, at least to running backs. However, if you need some reinforcements heading into a tough week at several positions, then you’ll mostly need to rely on streamers. The likes of potential rest-of-season sleepers, such as Cam Newton, Marquez Valdes-Scantling, and Adam Trautman ,aren’t going to excite you too much.
Fortunately, our full free agent list features plenty of Week 12-specific streamer suggestions at QB, WR, TE, and D/ST. We also have some potential bench stashes, such as Rex Burkhead, DeAndre Carter, and Jamison Crowder. Again, the wire is not strong this week, and depending on the size/competitiveness of your league, it’s likely pretty picked over. Unless we get more injuries or teams start featuring certain players late in the year, things will continue to be pretty rough. The Week 12 streamers can be found at the end of this list.
Unless someone who shouldn’t be is floating around your waiver wire, this isn’t the week to use a waiver claim. It’s possible you’re a Patrick Mahomes owner in need a backup QB, but using a high claim on Newton or another quarterback isn’t the best use of resources. That said, if you’re desperate at a certain position and in desperate need of a win, then you can justify it. Otherwise, continue to watch the injury reports and see if situation develops that creates a more appealing pickup.
UPDATE: Michael Carter reportedly suffered an ankle injury in Week 11, giving potential value to Tevin Coleman or Ty Johnson in Week 12.
Top fantasy football waiver wire pickups for Week 12
Unless otherwise noted, only players owned in fewer than 50 percent of Yahoo leagues considered.
Cam Newton, QB, Panthers. Newton told us he was back last week, and he drove that point home in his first start. Taking advantage of a highly favorable matchup, Newton completed 21-of-27 passes for 189 yards and two TDs and added another 46 yards and a TD on the ground. That’s a vintage Newton line, and if he continues completing passes at a high percentage and running for around 40-plus yards, Newton will be a borderline QB1 every week. Again, this was a favorable matchup, so things won’t always be this “easy,” but Newton should also continue to get more comfortable in the Panthers offense. He could be even better next week against Miami.
Marquez Valdes-Scantling, WR, Packers. The absence of Allen Lazard (shoulder) certainly opened up more targets for MVS, who took advantage with four catches on a team-high 10 targets, 123 yards, and a TD. More efficiency would be nice, but MVS has the kind of big-play ability to pay off even if he’s not being targeted often. With this kind of workload, he’s a solid bet to produce. Next week’s matchup against the Rams will be tough, but MVS could actually be in line more more targets if Jalen Ramsey is blanketing Davante Adams all game.
Adam Trautman, TE, Saints. Trautman was a popular preseason sleeper, but after a disappearing act in the early portion of the season, many lost interest in the big TE. That should change after his fourth straight game with at least six targets. His Week 11 performance was his best yet, as he tied a season high with five catches on a season-high eight targets, 58 yards and his first score of the year. Clearly, Trevor Siemian has found something he likes, and Trautman should continue to be a popular target in a tough matchup against Buffalo next week.
Cedrick Wilson, WR, Cowboys. Wilson didn’t do much in Week 11 (4-36 on seven targets), but with Amari Cooper (COVID) and CeeDee Lamb (concussion) likely “questionable,” at best, for Thursday afternoon’s game against the Raiders, Wilson could be the Cowboys’ No. 2 receiver. That gives him potential WR3/flex value, and we know he can produce big plays when given the chance.
Rex Burkhead, RB, Texans. Against Tennessee, Burkhead rushed 18 times. He netted just 40 yards, but that many attempts should raise eyebrows. If he can take control of this backfield at some point, we know he has some upside thanks to his receiving ability. Ultimately, he won’t have a high ceiling, but he’s worth grabbing as a flier if you’re hurting at RB. Houston takes on the Jets in Week 12, who give up the most fantasy points per game to the position.
For additional waiver/free agent suggestions, including more streaming options at every position, check out our full Week 12 list.