Working the waiver wire each week is crucial if you’re going to make it in your fantasy football league. Guys rise up depth charts because of injuries or benchings, some have mid-season breakouts, and others are still available just because they’re flying under the radar. Whatever the case, there are always valuable contributors waiting for you to claim them. I’m giving you guys who are owned in under 50% of ESPN leagues as of writing. So, check your waiver wire right after reading this and pick up a difference-maker for your fantasy squad for Week 12.
Andy Dalton (4.6% owned)
Did you lose your Week 11 matchup because Joe Burrow’s knee exploded? Are you worried about your playoff run because Drew Brees currently doesn’t have any functional ribs?
Well, that means it’s Red Rifle time.
I was high on Dalton’s fantasy prospects following Dak Prescott’s season-ending injury in Week 5. Sure, the Cowboys were already dealing with injuries along the offensive line, but they have arguably the best wide receiver trio in the league to go along with an all-pro running back. Not to mention, Dallas’ defense is so bad, they were going to need to keep leading the league in pass attempts if they wanted to have any shot at remaining competitive.
Well, he had an auspicious start: Dalton put up a dud against the Cardinals in Week 6, suffered a concussion the following game, and then came down with the corona. He’s back now though, and he’s looking pretty good. The 10-year vet passed for 203 yards and three touchdowns in Minnesota, posting a top-15 weekly finish. He might be a mediocre quarterback at this point in his career, but with a supporting cast that can do things like this, mediocre will suffice.
There aren’t any really favorable matchups left for Dalton, but with the Cowboys due to take on the Ravens, Bengals, and 49ers in December, the opposing slate isn’t terrifying, either. Dalton’s the Week 12 Waiver Wire QB for your Superflex spot if you’re in a pinch.
Gus Edwards (31.7% owned)
Both J.K. Dobbins and Mark Ingram tested positive for the rona on Monday and will miss Thursday’s contest against the Steelers. Baltimore’s top running backs should be good to go for Week 13, but for this one game, you’re going to want Gus Edwards in your lineup.
At 6’ 1” and 240 lbs., the third-year back has one job in the Ravens’ running back committee: Run between the tackles and bulldoze every motherfucker you come across. And boy is he good at it. According to NFL Next Gen Stats’ measure of rushing yards a runner is expected to gain based on the relative location, speed, and direction of blockers and defenders, Edwards has outperformed on 47.6% of his carries. That’s the third-best mark in the league. Still not impressed? Well, the only other back to gain more yards than expected on over 45% of carries while also facing 8+ defenders in the box on over 30% of rushing attempts is Dalvin Cook.
Baltimore’s Offensive Coordinator Greg Roman has built this offense around the run game. He’s sure as hell not about to abandon that and let Lamar Jackson air it out against Pittsburgh’s lockdown pass defense. That’s not to say the Steelers’ run defense is some sort of revolving door, but Edwards already put up 87 yards and a touchdown against them in Week 8 thanks to chunk plays like this one.
Edwards offers absolutely nothing in the passing game, so he’s a borderline flex play in PPR. If you’re playing standard though? He’s the must-add of the Week 12 Waiver Wire. Go ahead and join the Ravens on the Gus Bus.
Tim Patrick (16.6% owned)
Yep, he’s back again.
I’m not trying to take the easy way out here. Believe me, it would be very convenient to rinse and repeat the same things I wrote about Patrick in Weeks 5 and 10. But I don’t have a choice. He keeps producing while sitting on all your waivers.
Let me clue you in on what the Utah product has been up to the past two weeks: nine catches on 14 targets for 180 yards. He may not be a first-round pick like Jerry Jeudy or Noah Fant (both of whom are owned on over 60% of leagues), but it’s Patrick who leads the Broncos in receiving yards per game, receptions per game, yards per target, and receiving touchdowns.
Yes, I know Denver’s passing game is in the toilet because there’s a massive disassociation between Drew Lock’s confidence and talent level. For some reason though, that’s not holding Patrick back. And the sample size is too large at this point to deny him. He has three top-25 weekly finishes among wide receivers in his nine games played and six double-digit performances in the past seven games in PPR. He’s a high-floor WR4 with some big-game potential. No matter what format you’re in, Patrick’s well-worth a roster spot. I don’t want to have to say this a fourth time.
Denzel Mims (4.8% owned)
I’ll be honest, I thought Mims had bust written all over him on draft night. But you probably did, too. He was a combine hero, he spent his college years facing Big 12 defenses, and the Jets drafted him. That’s a trifecta of red flags for your NFL career.
Well, the early returns look pretty good.
Mims didn’t make his debut until Week 7, but in his first four career games, he averaged 3.3 receptions on 6.5 targets for 54.3 receiving yards per game. The Baylor product hasn’t reached the endzone yet, but between the opportunities he’s getting and the whopping 16.8 yards his average target travels downfield, that scoreless streak won’t continue for long.
Granted, I’m not sure how Mims is going to handle the transition back to Sam Darnold at quarterback from Joe Flacco, which could be as soon as this week. Mims is at his best stretching the field vertically, which pairs well with Flacco, who leads the league with an average of 11 air yards per pass. Darnold’s not quite as willing to air the ball (and for good reason), but in the two games he and Mims have played together, the rookie wideout hauled in six of 10 targets for 84 yards. Not particularly eye-popping stats, but still encouraging enough to think the two can make this marriage work.
This is the wide receiver you want in standard leagues on the Week 12 Waiver Wire.
Jacob Hollister (0.3% owned)
I didn’t think I was going to end up including Hollister on this list. I just couldn’t for the life of me find any guy worth picking up and figured I would check his numbers after I saw that the Seahawks placed Greg Olsen on injured reserve. Turns out, there’s a lot to like.
The Seahawks were using this sort of tight end by committee approach with Olsen, Jacob Hollister, and Will Dissly, so none were worth rostering in fantasy. But now that the head of the committee is out, Hollister’s next man up on the pecking order. The former Wyoming Cowboy is comfortably outpacing Dissly in targets of late, getting 11 passes over the last three weeks to Dissly’s four. Hollister’s also made the most of his opportunities with Seattle when given the chance. In his four starts with the Seahawks over the past two seasons, Hollister has 27 targets, 17 catches, 159 receiving yards, and two touchdowns.
People seem to think the Seahawks don’t involve their tight ends in the passing game, but it’s not really true. Olsen, Hollister, and Dissly have combined for 71 total targets this season. On the list of teams’ combined targets to their tight ends, Seattle’s group places 17th. And now that there’s one less mouth to feed, Hollister’s in line for a sizable bump in targets. Dissly’s still in the picture, but he’s primarily there to handle blocking duties.
 You might not think being a Big 12 receiver is a bad thing for an NFL prospect, but among the top-100 leaders in receiving yards this season, just five went to schools in the conference.