By Zach Cohen
What do the Denver Broncos and the waiver wire have in common? Both don’t have any quarterbacks. Okay, Denver will be fine next week, but your roster won’t be if you need a passer. Teddy Bridgewater has a bye this week, Andy Dalton has looked average as usual, and would you really bank on Mike Glennon? So unless Ryan Fitzpatrick becomes the Dolphins’ starter (that’s not happening), you’ll have to survive with whoever you have on your team. That’s why I didn’t include any quarterbacks in this week’s column, though there are some intriguing options at other positions.
Although most of the good players have probably been added in your league, that’s always expected as the season winds down—though COVID-19 has certainly thrown off the normal fantasy loop. Players are missing games left and right due to COVID-19, and who knows how many more have injuries directly related to a lack of normal training and practice? Among the widespread impact that the virus has had on the 2020 NFL season, it’s made the waiver wire especially important. Hopefully, some of these players can help your team somehow, someway…
Note: These recommendations are geared toward 12-man PPR leagues.
Benny Snell (RB - PIT) | Available in 99% of leagues
I’ve suggested picking up Snell before, but with James Conner on the COVID-19 list, it only helps to have insurance in case Conner misses more time. And even if Conner just misses one game, it helps to have Snell as a handcuff in case Conner gets hurt or sees limited action again. Besides, it’s not like Snell just rides the bench these days. He’s become the Steelers’ primary back for goal-line carries. He doesn’t have much impact in the passing game—which hurts his value a bit—though he could put up two-to-three touchdowns a game on, like, five carries. There is more upside than you think with Snell. Keep an eye on how Anthony McFarland is used, too; the rookie has more receiving prowess.
Frank Gore (RB - NYJ) | Available in 81% of leagues
The 37-year-old running back continues to defy time and space. Albeit, he hasn’t had a great season or even a good one for that matter. But since his bye in Week 10. Gore has seen at least 15 carries and 60 rushing yards in each of the Jets’ last two contests. With La’Mical Perine on IR, it’s Gore’s backfield. I’m not saying Frank Gore will have a Derrick Henry-like finish to the year—Gore isn’t really that good and isn’t too involved in the passing game. However, he can give your lineup—and especially your running backs—a rare boost of consistency. If you need at least 10 points in a matchup, why not roll the dice on Gore? His next two matchups are especially favorable, too: Home against Las Vegas and at Seattle.
Ito Smith (RB - ATL) | Available in 99% of leagues
Brian Hill was pegged as the Falcons’ starting running back this week, so naturally, there was a race to add him in fantasy leagues. Unfortunately for him and anyone who picked Hill up, Smith was the running back to own in Atlanta surprising victory over Las Vegas. Hill actually saw one more carry than Smith did, but it was Smith who found the end zone. He also saw five targets in the passing game, while Hill saw just one target. It’s unclear how long Todd Gurley will be out for, but if he misses more time, Smith is the Falcons’ running back to own. Be careful if you pick him up because the Saints have surrendered the second-fewest points to running backs in fantasy this season, per ESPN.
Denzel Mims (WR - NYJ) | Available in 95% of leagues
Mims was a sleeper who I targeted prior to the season, so I’m not totally surprised that he’s starting to ball out. In the five games he’s played, he’s averaging just shy of nine points, including an average of 10.3 points in the last three games. Mims also leads the Jets in targets over that period. With Sam Darnold at the helm against Miami, nothing appeared to change for Mims. He can be a consistent option for your team.
Breshad Perriman (WR - NYJ) | Available in 86% of leagues
It must really be the end times for me to recommend three Jets players in one column. Perriman has struggled with injuries all season, but he’s been pretty effective over the last five games. In that time, he’s reached double-digits in four games while averaging 13.5 points. He was targeted eight times against Miami, though he only caught four of those balls. Either way, you may want to consider adding him as the Jets’ season winds down. They might start to throw the ball a bit more. Aside from that projection, though, is the consistency that Perriman could provide based on his previous five games. Injuries are always a concern with him, but considering how decimated most fantasy rosters are at this point, I wouldn’t buy too much into a players’ injury history.
Gabriel Davis (WR - BUF) | Available in 99% of leagues
The Bills placed John Brown on IR, which opened up Davis to have a bigger role in the Bills’ offense. He’s had a few performances of note throughout the season, but Sunday’s game was his first that could have real implications moving forward. While Stefon Diggs is the top dog in Buffalo, Davis and Beasley were second on the team with four targets. He isn’t the greatest option, but he could be a formidable addition to your team until Brown returns, if at all.
Josh Reynolds (WR - LAR) | Available in 89% of leagues
Reynolds makes the list again after continuing to be a beacon of consistency in the Rams‘ pass-heavy offense. In Sunday’s loss to San Francisco, he was second in targets behind Robert Woods. In fact, he’s averaging more than eight targets per game over the last six games. He may not be posting starter-caliber numbers, but he is proving to be a consistent option. Also, he’s one Woods or Cooper Kupp injury away from seeing an elevated role, which gives him a decent amount of upside.
Chad Beebe/Bisi Johnson (WRs - MIN) | Available in 99% of leagues
With Adam Thielen out on the COVID-19 list, it was expected that either Beebe or Johnson would see more action. Well, both of them benefited from Thielen’s absence as they each saw and caught seven passes. While I don’t expect Kirk Cousins to throw the ball 45 times every game, both of these guys could make for an intriguing addition to your bench, especially if Thielen misses next week. However, their relevance hinges on Thielen’s return, so this could be a one-week rental if anything. The main reason I’m mentioning these guys is to ensure that you don’t accidentally spend too much or use a high waiver spot on a guy who probably won’t have much value in two weeks. Beebe or Johnson should only be picked up if your team is one of the thousands of teams that has been ravaged by injuries in this weird season.
Dalton Schultz (TE - DAL) | Available in 70% of leagues
Schultz is averaging 9.4 points this season, which is good for TE7 in fantasy. Yes, you read that right. I’m more interested in Schultz’s recent stats, though. Over the last four games, he’s averaged 10 points and six targets. That is more than enough to get him added in all leagues. Schultz may not be the No. 1 option on the Cowboys offense, but he seems to have something going after his up-and-down start to the season. If he is still available in your leagues, pick him up as soon as possible.
Trey Burton (TE - IND) | Available in 94% of leagues
Burton is a bit risky because he is dependent on touchdowns. But as I’ve said all season long, you have to bet on risky plays for tight ends. Outside of Travis Kelce, Darren Waller, and maybe T.J. Hockenson, this position is really been a dart throw this season. I wouldn’t be too comfortable with starting Burton yet, but he could be a viable option based on how bare the position is.
Kyle Rudolph (TE - MIN) | Available in 92% of leagues
Rudolph turned back the clock a bit with a vintage performance against the Panthers. He posted 13.8 points on a solid eight targets. The numbers look good but don’t anticipate this happening every game. With Thielen out on the COVID-19 list, it allowed for Rudolph to see more targets, just like with Beebe and Johnson. And like with his teammates, Rudolph is only relevant if Thielen misses next week’s game against the Jaguars.