We are now firmly in the second half of the 2023 fantasy football season. The NFL landscape continues to shift, and fantasy managers should always be looking to improve their rosters. Let’s take a look at the top Week 12 waiver wire targets and pickups that fantasy managers should consider adding to their rosters.
Top Waiver Wire Pickups in Week 12 | Quarterbacks
Note: As always, all players are rostered in 50% or less of Yahoo leagues.
Baker Mayfield, Tampa Bay Buccaneers (48% Rostered)
It wasn’t the best effort from Baker Mayfield against the 49ers. However, he’s shown us he has QB1 upside.
Before Week 11, Mayfield had four straight games with at least 17 fantasy points. Next week, the Bucs should have a much easier time moving the ball against the Colts’ average pass defense, putting Mayfield firmly on the streaming radar.
FAAB Recommendation: 0-5%
Top Waiver Wire Pickups in Week 12 | Running Backs
The Week 12 waiver wire is a relatively weak one, but we have one running back that is worth pushing all your chips in on.
Zach Charbonnet, Seattle Seahawks (44% Rostered)
Zach Charbonnet is already rostered in plenty of leagues, but he surprisingly remains below the 50% threshold. He was also pushing Kenneth Walker III for playing time, even out-snapping him multiple times over the past few weeks.
Against the Rams, Charbonnet showed what he could do in a lead role. He carried the ball 15 times for 47 yards and caught six passes for 22 yards. He wasn’t overly efficient, but that type of usage is fantastic, and the Seahawks have an above-average offense.
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Of course, Charbonnet’s increased role was a product of Walker leaving early with an oblique injury. We saw Christian McCaffrey not miss a game earlier this season with the same injury. So, it remains to be seen how long Walker will be out.
With the Seahawks playing Thursday night, it seems highly unlikely Walker will be able to go for that one. At the very least, we should get one game of Charbonnet as the RB1. It’s a tough matchup, but he will be startable as an RB2. And he carries continued upside if Walker remains out. He is the clear top pickup this week and worth dropping the proverbial hammer on to acquire.
FAAB Recommendation: Whatever it takes
Rico Dowdle, Dallas Cowboys (17% Rostered)
It was not, in fact, a Rico Dowdle takeover against the Panthers. Tony Pollard had his best performance since Week 2, re-establishing control of this backfield.
With that said, Dowdle is definitely the RB2. If Pollard got hurt, Dowdle would be startable as an RB2. Whether you have Pollard or not, Dowdle is worthy of a spot on benches.
FAAB Recommendation: 3-8%
Tyjae Spears, Tennessee Titans (40% Rostered)
Another week, another 6-8 touches for Tyjae Spears. It’s just what he does. His role isn’t valuable, but he’s definitely the RB2 behind Derrick Henry. If Henry were to go down, Spears would instantly be a startable RB2. That’s at least worth stashing on your bench.
FAAB Recommendation: 2-5%
D’Ernest Johnson, Jacksonville Jaguars (0% Rostered)
There’s certainly no pressing need to add D’Ernest Johnson. Travis Etienne Jr. is perfectly healthy, his back-to-back duds notwithstanding. But we’re at the point in the season where there really aren’t any speculative pickups based on ambiguous situations. We know what teams are doing.
Johnson has clearly overtaken Tank Bigsby for the Jaguars’ RB2 role. He has no standalone value, but if something were to happen to Etienne, I believe it would be Johnson and not the rookie as the lead back.
FAAB Recommendation: 0-5%
Top Waiver Wire Pickups in Week 12 | Wide Receivers
We don’t have a clear priority add off the Week 12 waiver wire at wide receiver, but Odell Beckham Jr., Zay Jones, and Elijah Moore are interesting options.
Odell Beckham Jr., Baltimore Ravens (29% Rostered)
Believe it or not, old man Beckham has posted three consecutive games of double-digit fantasy points. He’s clearly lost a step or three, but OBJ has proven he can still be a productive NFL receiver.
On Thursday night, Beckham caught four of seven targets for 116 yards. It was his first 100-yard game since Week 6 of the 2019 season. Yeah, it’s been a minute.
While I don’t necessarily believe Beckham is suddenly a trustworthy fantasy option, a whole bunch of targets just opened up with Mark Andrews done for the season. They can’t all go to Zay Flowers. That makes Beckham at least worth rostering.
FAAB Recommendation: 5-10%
Zay Jones, Jacksonville Jaguars (18% Rostered)
After a four-game absence, Jones returned to action on Sunday. He wasn’t particularly involved, catching just four passes for 20 yards. However, we’ve seen him be productive in the past. And Trevor Lawrence finally looked like a competent NFL quarterback this week.
Jones is far from being worthy of a spot in fantasy lineups, but there’s WR3 upside here. Given his lackluster return to action, you may be able to get him for very little. Now is the time to stash him.
FAAB Recommendation: 3-5%
Elijah Moore, Cleveland Browns (42% Rostered)
After reaching double-digit fantasy points just once over the first nine weeks of the season, Moore has now done it in back-to-back games. Even with Dorian Thompson-Robinson throwing for a paltry 165 yards, Moore managed to catch six of seven targets for 60 yards.
I am still not a believer in Moore long-term, especially with DTR as the presumptive starter for the remainder of the season. However, there’s not much available on the waiver wire, and 12 points is useful. Moore is worth a pickup.
FAAB Recommendation: 5-10%
Khalil Shakir, Buffalo Bills (11% Rostered)
I don’t know how much I buy Khalil Shakir. If not for an 81-yard touchdown, he would’ve had two catches for 34 yards. But what I do know is that Gabe Davis is not particularly good at playing wide receiver. We also know that this was the first game with the Bills after firing OC Ken Dorsey.
It is entirely possible one of the changes they made was to feature more Shakir and less Davis. Given that Shakir gets to play with Josh Allen on an offense that lacks a third option in the passing game behind Stefon Diggs and Dalton Kincaid, Shakir is worth picking up to see what happens.
FAAB Recommendation: 3-10%
Top Waiver Wire Pickups in Week 12 | Tight Ends
The tight end position is not in a good spot this season, but there are a couple of pickups with decent upside.
Donald Parham, Los Angeles Chargers (5% Rostered)
At this point, we do not know how long Gerald Everett might be sidelined. But in his stead, Donald Parham operated as the Chargers’ TE1 and played well enough to garner fantasy attention.
Parham caught four of six targets for 57 yards. After the 1 p.m. ET games, that was somehow good for the TE5 on the week. I’ll take 9.7 points from a tight end. Parham is definitely worth a look if you lost Mark Andrews.
FAAB Recommendation: 4-8%
Isaiah Likely, Baltimore Ravens (3% Rostered)
There are actually a surprising number of useful fantasy tight ends this season. However, they’re pretty much all rostered. If you had Andrews or Dallas Goedert and are looking for a replacement, it’s tough to find a worthwhile tight end on the waiver wire.
Isaiah Likely is not going to be the answer. But he still may be worth taking a shot on.
In Week 1, Likely filled in for Andrews and saw exactly one target. Last Thursday night, Andrews went down in the first quarter. Likely was the primary tight end for the rest of the game. He saw two targets.
Talent matters. Likely is far from a terrible player. But he’s not Andrews. He’s not good enough to command targets at the expense of the wide receivers the way Andrews is.
If you are desperate for a tight end, the semi-unknown of Likely is still a better gamble than picking up someone we know isn’t going to help you. Unfortunately, between the Ravens’ upcoming Week 13 bye and Likely’s lack of production even when Andrews has been out, I would not get my hopes up.
FAAB Recommendation: 0-2%
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