Under The Wire: Week 12 NFL sleeper and waiver wire picks

colts-jonathan-williams-run-against-jaguars

Indianapolis Colts' Jonathan Williams (33) runs during the second half against the Jacksonville Jaguars, Sunday, Nov. 17, 2019, in Indianapolis. (AJ Mast/AP)

Every Tuesday, Sportsnet fantasy analyst Andy McNamara will highlight the best sleeper and waiver wire picks of the week. And if you’re looking for more fantasy football advice, message him on Twitter using #AskAndy.

Welcome to tight-end hell for fantasy football owners as we enter Week 12 in the NFL. The Chiefs, Vikings, Cardinals and Chargers are on bye, which means no Travis Kelce, Hunter Henry or Kyle Rudolph. Let’s not forget that other TE1 candidates George Kittle and Evan Engram are not 100 per cent healthy, and Austin Hooper remains sidelined.

Luckily, I’ve got a couple of under-the-radar possibilities at the position as well as players to add and avoid at wide receiver, running back and quarterback.

What to do in the Colts backfield

Marlon Mack underwent hand surgery Monday, which will put the steady RB2 on the shelf for at least Thursday night’s game. It’s not expected to be season-ending, but it does deliver a blow to the fantasy running back group. This also opens up the chance for one of the other three Indianapolis rushers to fill the void.

Nyheim Hines, Jordan Wilkins and Jonathan Williams are all owned in less than 6 per cent of NFL.com leagues.

The Fantasy Show
Breaking down the Colts backfield in wake of Marlon Mack’s injury
November 19 2019

TE: Jacob Hollister, Seattle Seahawks

Owned in 11.4 per cent of NFL.com fantasy leagues
Draft Kings salary of $4,300

If you’re in tight end trouble, go grab Seattle’s Jacob Hollister. The two weeks before the team’s bye, Hollister totalled 12 catches on 16 targets and three touchdowns. Not a big yardage guy so he is TD dependant, but Russell Wilson is finding him and you’re likely to find him on waivers too.

The Wyoming alum faces a Philadelphia unit that is top-10 against TEs. That doesn’t bother me. As we’ve seen, Hollister doesn’t need YAC to be effective as long as he finds the end zone.

QB: Sam Darnold, New York Jets

Owned in 3.7 per cent of NFL.com leagues
Draft Kings salary of $5,800

Sam Darnold must’ve channelled his inner Peter Venkman the past two weeks because “he ain’t afraid of no ghosts” anymore. After hitting rock bottom in the Oct. 21 loss to New England, the sophomore QB has crawled his way back and become fantasy relevant in consecutive Jets victories. Up over 21 fantasy points in those pair of contests had Darnold combine for five touchdowns and just one interception. The competition wasn’t steep, but neither is an Oakland defence that’s allowed the eighth-most fantasy points to quarterbacks. The pivot makes for a great streaming option Sunday.

WR: N’Keal Harry, New England Patriots

Owned in 8.5 per cent of NFL.com leagues
Draft Kings salary of $3,300

N’Keal Harry made his NFL debut on Sunday after spending all year on the IR, and was eased into action to the tune of three receptions for 18 yards.

Philip Dorsett left the game with a concussion, so if he misses any time then Harry rises to WR3 on the depth chart. The reality is that if the rookie can get up to speed and earn the confidence of Tom Brady, his elite athleticism should result in more opportunity anyway.

The Patriots need a jolt to their sliding 16th-place offence, why not look to involve a six-foot-four, 225-pound, fast, physical freak? Harry can open up the passing game the way that Bill Belichick was hoping Josh Gordon could. The 32nd-overall pick from the 2019 draft might not pay dividends immediately, but is a smart stash for down the stretch.

Avoid the Lions’ Den!

More running back issues as Detroit head coach Matt Patricia does his best Bill Belichick impression of ruining fantasy owners’ days with seemingly random decisions on RB carries. Like a Stone Cold Stunner out of nowhere – boom – Bo Scarbrough is brought up from the practice squad Saturday and suddenly gets starting reps.

He doubled the snap counts of Ty Johnson and J.D. McKissic, rumbling for a TD on 14 carries for 55 yards.

Bo’s available in 98 per cent of NFL.com leagues, but we clearly cannot trust that Lions backfield. McKissic is a fringe PPR-only flex prayer, while Scarbrough and Johnson are dart-throw stashes until some sort of running-back pecking order is established.

TE: Ryan Griffin, New York Jets

Owned in 1.2 per cent of NFL.com leagues
Draft Kings salary of $4,200

Chris Herndon’s official journey to season-ending injured reserve on Nov. 12 leaves now-starter Ryan Griffin with no obstacles. He’s become a quiet force when given a chance, most recently rattling off 109 yards and a touchdown on five catches for 21.9 fantasy points in PPR. This isn’t a one-off as the sure-handed 29-year-old has produced a trio of scores and three double-digit fantasy point efforts out of the five games prior.

The Jets schedule favours further happy afternoons for Griffin owners as the Raiders, Bengals and Dolphins are up next. This offers an interesting contrarian DFS contest Darnold/Griffin stack as well as a solid TE2 league pickup if you’re in a bind at the position.

RB: Chase Edmonds, Arizona Cardinals

Owned in 8.6 per cent of NFL.com leagues
Draft Kings salary N/A (on bye)

I like to try to get ahead of the crowd when it comes to projections, and scooping up a top handcuff running back on a bye is just the type of forward thinking that could pay off in your fantasy playoffs.

Enter Chase Edmonds, the Cardinals rusher who exploded in October before a hamstring injury put him out of commission. He’s on track to return for Week 13, and that’s great news with the future availability of David Johnson unknown. The fourth-round draft selection from 2018 averaged 23.1 fantasy points in his previous full three games prior to getting hurt.

Kenyan Drake’s become a reliable middle-tier RB2 since his escape from Miami so it’ll be interesting to see the workload share once Edmonds gets back onto the field.

WR: Darius Slayton, New York Giants

Owned in 8.5 per cent of NFL.com leagues
Draft Kings salary of $5,300

Coming off a bye, Giants wide receiver Darius Slayton is a terrific depth add with wide waiver wire availability. Slayton’s benefitted from Sterling Shepard missing the past five games from his second concussion of the season. Shepard is practicing, but those head issues make him difficult to trust. Evan Engram is also still banged up, which could once again help Slayton’s target share.

The rookie caught an incredible 10 of 14 passes in Week 10, and scored four total touchdowns in his last three games. Slayton’s growing rapport with Daniel Jones cannot be ignored even when New York’s offensive health improves.

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