Week 12 Free Agent Focus
Here are our top waiver-wire recommendations across fantasy football formats, based on players available in more than half of ESPN leagues. Make sure you check your Free Agent Finder for the best available options in your specific league.
Jimmy Garoppolo, QB, 49ers
Blind-bid recommendation: 5-15%
If you're just looking for a Week 12 answer, then you don't need to pay up for Garoppolo. But the remaining schedule adds value to his pickup profile.
The 49ers get the 3rd-best QB schedule the rest of the way, trailing only the Chargers and Steelers. And the best of those matchups comes in Week 17 against the Raiders, THE friendliest scoring matchup for QBs on the year.
We won't get too carried away and call Jimmy G a title-winning fantasy QB just yet. But the 1st reason you're looking to pick him up here is that he has been helpful for a while now. Just 1 of his past 6 outings has seen the 49ers QB throw fewer than 2 TD passes -- and even that game found him running for a score.
This week's matchup finds a New Orleans defense that continues to struggle with injuries. Then comes a Miami defense that's been 4th most friendly to QB scoring, in a game with shootout potential.
Taylor Heinicke, QB, Commanders
Blind-bid recommendation: 1-3%
This week brings to town the Falcons, who have been the 3rd most friendly QB defense on the year by our adjusted fantasy points allowed.
You might remember Chargers QB Justin Herbert letting fantasy teams down in Atlanta a few weeks ago. But he is 1 of just 3 QBs through 11 games to fall short of 20 fantasy points against the Falcons. The others: Jacoby Brissett and P.J. Walker. (And even Walker went over 20 in his other meeting.)
The biggest risk with Heinicke is that the Commanders go run-heavy again, as they did that past 2 games. But even those pass-attempt totals weren't out of line with his 1st 3 starts. From Week 7 on, these are his attempt totals:
Heinicke accounted for 2 TDs in each of his first 3 outings before going quiet the past 2. He's certainly no lock for fantasy success, and you shouldn't reach over a solid-to-good starter for the sake of his matchup. But the Washington QB looks like a potential life preserver for those in Week 12 need.
Latavius Murray, RB, Broncos
Blind-bid recommendation: 35-75%
RB Melvin Gordon fumbled again in Sunday’s loss to the Raiders and was waived the next day. RB Chase Edmonds left before that with a high-ankle sprain that's expected to keep him out "multiple weeks."
Murray finished that game with a team-high 17 carries. He mustered just 49 yards but popped in a 1-yard TD. Murray added 23 yards on 4 catches.
He’ll be the best fantasy bet in Denver’s backfield for a plus Week 12 matchup vs. the Panthers -- and quite possibly for the rest of the season. At least until Edmonds returns, Murray's stiffest competition looks like Marlon Mack, who has yet to play an offensive snap despite residing on 3 different rosters since July.
Mike Boone is also due back from IR at some point and makes for an interesting deeper stash.
Samaje Perine, RB, Bengals
Blind-bid recommendation: 30-50%
Joe Mixon’s concussion helped clear the way for Perine to rack up 3 receiving scores in Sunday’s win over the Steelers. Based on the history of concussed players, it also likely gives Perine the Week 12 start.
Unfortunately for him, that will come against Tennessee’s league-best run defense. But any starting RB is worth rostering across fantasy leagues – especially this time of year. The Titans' past 3 games included double-digit PPR points allowed to Aaron Jones, Melvin Gordon and Jerick McKinnon, despite none of those 3 scoring a TD or exceeding 40 rushing yards.
Perine, of course, is also worth stashing in case of further missed time for Mixon.
James Cook, RB, Bills
Blind-bid recommendation: 15-25%
The Bills leaned on the run in Sunday’s win over Cleveland. Cook did his part, matching Devin Singletary in yards (86) despite 7 fewer carries.
The rookie played only 26% of the snaps but continued to look explosive. Cook’s up to 5.1 yards per carry on 33 attempts this season. He’ll be in the RB3 mix for Thursday’s matchup with Detroit.
Treylon Burks, WR, Titans
Blind-bid recommendation: 20-25%
Burks registered encouraging usage metrics in his Week 10 return (75% routes, 17% target share).
So it wasn’t surprising to see him pop for a 7-111 line in Thursday night’s win over the Packers. Burks’ route rate actually sunk to 68% in that one — but his 8 targets were a big 28% of Tennessee’s total. And per PFF, he recorded a target on 38% of his routes run — an excellent mark.
The rookie should continue to be a significant part of this passing game down the stretch. The Titans’ run-heavy offense limits his fantasy potential a bit, but Burks figures to be in the WR3/4 mix going forward. He’s still available in 77% of ESPN leagues.
Next up is a home matchup with Cincinnati.
Darius Slayton, WR, Giants
Blind-bid recommendation: 10-15%
Slayton tallied a 5-86-0 line in Sunday’s loss to the Lions. QB Daniel Jones’ season-high 44 pass attempts certainly helped, but Slayton drew 10 targets for a 23% share. He’s now seen 21% of Giants targets over their last 4 games.
That number could grow following WR Wan’Dale Robinson’s season-ending ACL tear. Just be aware that the Giants enter a tough Thanksgiving Day matchup with Dallas.
Nico Collins, WR, Texans
Blind-bid recommendation: 8-10%
Collins followed his 5-49-1 Week 10 line with a decent 5 catches for 48 yards in Sunday’s loss to Washington. His 7 targets tied for the team lead, 1 ahead of Brandin Cooks and 21% of the team total.
The Texans have the 5th easiest WR schedule from Weeks 12 to 17. That starts Sunday at Miami.
Skyy Moore, WR, Chiefs
Blind-bid recommendation: 8-10%
Moore benefited from Kadarius Toney’s early Week 11 departure. The rookie finished with 6 targets (17.6% share), 5 catches and 63 yards in a win over the Chargers.
Now, Moore wasn’t close to a full-time player. He handled 42% of the snaps — behind Justin Watson (88%), Marquez Valdes-Scantling (71%) and TE Noah Gray (60%). Of course, Kansas City entered without Mecole Hardman (IR, abdomen) and JuJu Smith-Schuster (concussion).
Moore did come on late in Sunday’s win, running a route on 9 of 15 pass plays in the 2nd half (60%). He passed the eye test, too, especially as a route runner.
We’ll see on the status of Toney and Smith-Schuster, but if both guys sit, Moore could have some short-term value as a WR3 or FLEX. The Chiefs are home for the Rams on Sunday.
Logan Thomas, TE, Commanders
Blind-bid recommendation: 10-15%
Back healthy, Thomas led Washington with 5 catches and 65 yards in Sunday’s win over Houston. His 6 targets ranked 2nd on the team and were 22% of the total.
This result reversed a major downward trend, as Thomas tallied 36 yards over his prior 4 games.
Still, given the state of TE, Thomas will be in the Week 12 spot-start mix vs. Atlanta. The Falcons represent a top-8 matchup in adjusted fantasy points allowed to TEs.