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Best fantasy football waiver wire pickups for Week 12

Get ready for the final few weeks of the fantasy regular season with our top Week 12 fantasy waiver wire pickups and free agent adds, which include Josh Adams, Tre'Quan Smith, Gus Edwards, and D.J. Moore.

We're entering the final two weeks of most fantasy football regular seasons, which means the race for the playoffs has reached its peak. There are only two weeks to climb into the playoff field; two weeks to grab one of the coveted first-round byes that ensure you'll have to win just one game to get to your fantasy championship. Of course, different leagues have different settings, but all leagues share one common factor. The waiver wire is critical to the success of top teams, and this week's crop of potential pickups and free agents adds is strong.

With players like Josh Adams, Tre'Quan Smith, Gus Edwards, and D.J. Moore all available, fantasy owners are going to have to make some major moves. It's time to capitalize on these young playmakers and grab some potential matchup-based FLEX plays who could have an impact in the fantasy playoffs. That's all you can ask for at this point, and if you've been saving a high waiver claim, now is the time to use it, as it could help save your season if you need depth at the skill positions. 

Week 12 Rankings:
Quarterback | Running Back | Wide Receiver | Tight End | D/ST | Kicker

Here's a look at the best waiver wire pickups and free agent adds for Week 12. The QB, TE, and D/ST streamers are at the end of the list.

  • Alex Collins was on the field in the second half against the Bengals, but Edwards still received the majority of the carries, running 17 times for 115 yards and a TD. The undrafted rookie out of Rutgers had 10 more carries than Collins and looked like a feature back despite his fullback size (6-1, 238 pounds). Obviously, a run-heavy game plan in Lamar Jackson's first start and a highly favorable matchup helped his cause, so it's tough to know what to expect next week and beyond, but with Joe Flacco (hip) once again questionable and the Raiders nearly as bad against the run as Cincinnati, it's possible Edwards has another solid performance in Week 12.

  • It seemed like only a matter of time before Adams broke out, as he had been the Eagles leader in carries for each of the previous two games. That has only netted him 16 carries and 108 yards, but the arrow was still pointing up. Once again, Adams had a modest amount of carries for a team leader (7), but he made the most of them, producing 53 yards and a TD (plus another 19 receiving yards on three catches). Philadelphia has been finding itself facing big deficits lately, but if it can even keep a game close (or get out to a lead), Adams could do major damage.

  • Smith has been here before, but he failed to really take advantage of his opportunities. With New Orleans signing veteran wideouts in consecutive weeks (Dez Bryant, Brandon Marshall), perhaps Smith felt the heat. Either way, he responded in a big way in Week 11, catching 10 of 13 targets for 157 yards and a TD. With upcoming matchups against the Falcons in Week 12 and Tampa in Week 14, Smith could be a huge fantasy factor down the stretch.

  • Sharp owners grabbed Reynolds after CooperKupp'sseason-ending knee injury last week, but he's still available in 55 percent of Yahoo leagues. Even with the Rams on bye in Week 12, he'll be scooped up this week. With solid matchups in Weeks 13-15 (@DET, @ CHI, vs. PHI) -- plus his role as the No. 3 receiver in a matchup-proof offense -- Reynolds is a great add for the fantasy playoffs. He showed his worth in Week 11 with six catchers for 80 yards and a TD on eight targets.

  • Coutee return to the Texans healthy, and he immediately took back his role as the No. 2 receiver. He saw a team-high nine targets and led the team in receiving yards (77) on five catches. He's clearly one of Deshaun Watson's favorite receivers, and he has more chemistry wtih the QB than Demaryius Thomas currently does. He can be trusted as a potential WR3 moving forward, and with a solid matchup with the Browns approaching in Week 13, he's well worth owning.

  • Yeah, we know that Blount had just a single yard on seven carries last week against the Panthers, but Kerryon Johnson did leave the game with an injury. With a short turnaround on deck for the Lions, who play on Thanksgiving Day, Johnson may not be able to suit up depending on how serious the injury is. If that happens, Blount will be the early-down back in the Lions' RB rotation and will get the goal-line work. That will give him a chance to put up some points on Thanksgiving. Add him as potential insurance either way.

  • Kerryon Johnson was hurt against the Panthers, and that opened the door for Riddick to take over as the primary passing back. He finished the game with 30 yards on five catches, and if Johnson can't go on Thanksgiving, Riddick should see an uptick in work. With the team generally lacking receiving weapons, Riddick could see more action anyway, so adding him as a potential FLEX option isn't a bad move. The Lions have a couple of good matchups approaching against the Rams and Cardinals, too, so that could help him have a little more value in PPR leagues.

  • Richard is the Raiders top receiving back, and in most games, the game-script will favor him. Against the Cardinals, he saw 14 touches and turned them into 93 scrimmage yards. He's definitely worth owning and should be considered a high-end FLEX option in solid matchups. The matchup with the Ravens in Week 12 may favor him more, as the Ravens are good stopping backs between the tackles and something might be up with Doug Martin.

  • This was the carry split for the Raiders RBs against the Cardinals: Doug Martin (10), Jalen Richard (11), and Washington (12). Washington only managed 39 yards on his 12 totes, but it seems that Jon Gruden may want to get his younger players more touches moving forward. Washington can be added as the potential lead back, though Maritn may still end up getting his share of the carries, depending on his situation.

  • Moore is no stranger to breakout games (and disappointing follow-ups), but he seems to be emerging as Carolina's No. 1 receiver after a seven-catch, 157-yard outing against Detroit (eight targets). All those totals led the team. He showed his big-play potential on an 82-yard catch that he almost broke for a TD and also reliable possession ability on his other targets. As long as he keeps getting looks, he should be a solid WR3. And with more favorable matchups on deck against Tampa Bay, Atlanta, and New Orleans, Moore is a potential WR2 candidate for some weeks. Scoop him now and hope that he can make an impact for you in the fantasy playoffs.

  • Jackson more than held his own in his first career NFL start, as the Ravens clearly crafted a game plan to take advantage of his unique abilities. Jackson ran a whopping 27 times for 117 yards, and he added another 150 through the air (13 for 19). He threw one bad INT and wasn't responsible for any touchdowns, but it's clear Jackson has a path to fantasy points given his running ability. His ceiling is capped by his limited passing potential, but against the Raiders in Week 12, Jackson has similar upside if he starts in place of Joe Flacco (hip).

  • Gore is the lead back in Miami. Gore is the lead back in Miami. Gore is the lead back in Miami. We've said it over an over, yet he's still owned in just 25 percent of Yahoo leagues. Gore has a revenge game against the Colts coming off his bye, so he could have another big game. Scoop him up while he's still available.

  • In two games since returning from the IR, McGuire has posted 60 and 57 scrimmage yards in each of his respective outings. He should continue to get touches as the primary receiving back with Bilal Powell out for the season. If the Jets continue to trail, he could see more action in a better game-script for him, and he could eventually overtake the unimpressive Isaiah Crowell for the lead-back role. Grab him now, as people are sleeping on him after his bye week.

  • We all think of Ross as a speed-based playmaker, but he actually has been a TD threat for the Bengals. He has scored in three of the past four games that he has played, and he saw seven targets against the Ravens in Week 12, good for second on the team. The Bengals get to take on the Browns twice and face the Chargers and Broncos in the next four weeks, so he has some decent matchups that he can take advantage of. And even when A.J. Green comes back, the team will probably still find ways to get the ball to Ross.

  • Conley's value is contingent on Sammy Watkins (foot) being out, and even then he's no sure thing. But he showed in Week 11 (7-74, two TDs) he can have value in Kansas City's high-powered attack. After the Chiefs Week 12 bye, KC faces the Raiders, Ravens, Chargers, and Seahawks in Weeks 13-16. It's unclear when (or if) Watkins will be back, so if nothing else, Conley is worth grabbing as a free agent for that Week 13 matchup in Oakland, as Watkins didn't look close to 100 percent after his early exit in Week 11.

  • Inman's stock is really starting to trend up. It seems that he is becoming the No. 2 receiver on the Colts, and he saw six targets in Week 11 and turned them into four catches, 34 yards, and a TD. Because Inman is playing in one of the best passing offenses in the league, he has a lot of upside, and if he keeps seeing targets (17 in the past three games), he should stay relevant in fantasy.

  • Ellington was second on the Lions with nine targets in Week 11, and he totaled six catches for 52 yards against the Panthers. It seems that he will be the slot receiver replacement for Golden Tate. With the Lions on a short week and Marvin Jones' status questionable for Thanksgiving Day, Ellington is worth adding as a potential FLEX play.

  • Snead was virtually the only receiver that Lamar Jackson targeted. He saw eight targets, which was more than double any other receiving option, and he totaled 51 receiving yards. He should continue to be a security blanket no matter who the QB is for the Ravens.

  • In the past five weeks, Amendola has seen 41 targets and has been the most consistent target in the Dolphins offense. He should continue to serve as the top option, as the team is lacking depth at the position and he has established himself as the favorite target of Brock Osweiler. With solid matchups with the Colts and Bills coming up, Amendola could catch some more passes and be used as a WR3 -- especially in PPR leagues.

  • Doctson was second on the Redskins team in targets against the Texans, but his scoring streak was unfortunately broken during the contest. Doctson has a tough matchup next week at the Cowboys on a short week, and Colt McCoy being the starter could have an impact on him, as well. That said, he's still the team's No. 1 receiver and is worth stashing on the bench at the very least, especially with a favorable matchup against the Eagles coming up in Week 13.

  • Penny is owned in 51 percent of leagues, but if he's available, he should be added. Penny is emerging as the true handcuff to Chris Carson, and he out-touched Mike Davis 8-6 in this contest. The Seahawks are going to continue to be a ground-heavy offense this season, so they will be able to support multiple relevant fantasy backs some weeks. And at the very least, Penny will have a chance to start and see lead-back volume if Carson misses time with an injury, something that has already happened twice this season.

  • Marshall didn't play for the Saints last week, but that was likely because he's still learning the offense. With favorable matchups against Atlanta and Tampa Bay approaching, Marshall may have a chance to grab a TD and become a red-zone threat for the Saints offense. Any time you can grab a potential volume guy in a great offense, you have to grab him. That said, Tre'Quan Smith's breakout may render Marshall the third option at best in the offense, so he's more of a speculative add than anything else.

  • Burkhead is going to be returning from the injured reserve fairly soon, and it seems that he is targeting the team's Dec. 2 game against the Vikings as his return date. He's worth a speculative add, as he could find a role in the Patriots backfield upon his return. If not, he'll become the primary handcuff to Sony Michel as the top running back. Burkhead has upside, so scooping him up now as a stash and potential RB2 down the road is a smart manuever.

  • Mayfield has tossed multiple TDs in each of the past four games and gets the hapless Bengals defense in Week 12. Even on the road, he's in play as a potential QB1.

  • With O.J. Howard now out for the season with ankle and foot injuries, Brate will step into the lead TE role for the Tampa Bay offense. He has a great matchup in Week 12 with the 49ers, so he can be started in that contest as a TD-dependent streamer. If you're a Howard owner, grabbing Brate at this point isn't a bad move, as you will likely have to stream at the position moving forward. Brate at least operates in an offense that throws a lot and has TD opportunities, so he could be a TE1 in some matchups.

  • Heuerman has been trending upward, and a Week 12 matchup against the Steelers, who entered Week 11 allowing the seventh-most fantasy points per game to TEs, should help him keep rolling.

  • Herndon has come on since the middle of the season, and a Week 12 matchup against the Patriots, who entered Week 11 allowing the third-most fantasy points per game to TEs, should get him back on track.

  • In Weeks 9 and 10, Smith had two scores, and in Week 11 against the Colts, he led the team in targets (8), catches (6), and yardage (44). He seems to be earning a bigger role in the team's offense, so he can be added as a backup TE/potential streamer, especially with a solid matchup with the Texans on deck.

  • Uzomah has been a disappointment since Tyler Eifert and Tyler Kroft got hurt, but he has another favorable matchup in Week 12 against a Browns team that's now in the top 10 in fantasy points per game allowed to TEs.

  • The Panthers are the worst team against TEs in fantasy, and it's not close. That makes the Seahawks TEs quality streamers this week, but it seems that Vannett is the top option there. He has scored in two of his past three games and recently saw eight targets against the Chargers in Week 9. Some may point to Ed Dickson as an option in a revenge game, and that could be a sensible move given that he scored last week. However, he has only seen four targets in his past four games, so he won't have enough volume. Vannett is the man to own this week as a result.

  • Andrews will see his second straight favorable matchup in Week 12 as Baltimore gets a visit from the Raiders. The long road trip isn't going to do anything to help Oakland's downtrodden defense, so Andrews has some upside in this one even though Nick Boyle seemed to be the TE of choice in Week 11.

  • The Cowboys get a home game matchup on a short week against a Redskins team that is going to start Colt McCoy at QB. McCoy isn't a bad backup, but with so little time to prepare, it may be tough for him to develop chemistry with his receiving weapons and compete in front of a hostile Dallas crowd. Plus, the Cowboys have been good against pass defenses this season and just limited the Falcons to one offensive TD. He's a great sleeper.

  • Indy's pass rush has stagnated lately, but a Week 12 home matchup against Brock Osweiler and the Dolphins could be what it needs to get back on track.

  • The Jaguars could easily be "dead team walking" in this cold-weather Week 12 matchup against an opportunistic and rested Bills defense. Buffalo has a knack for creating turnovers, and Jacksonville is prone to offensive lapses, making Buffalo a nice under-the-radar streamer.

  • Cleveland is second in the league in takeaways, so even in a road matchup against Cincinnati in Week 12, this unit has upside.

  • San Francisco's defense won't have an easy time in Week 12 after a long road trip to Tampa, but the Niners are coming off a bye and Tampaalwaysturns the ball over, so it could still be a profitable day for the Niners' D/ST.

  • The Bucs pass rush has picked up in recent weeks, and a Week 12 home matchup against the 49ers, who will be making a long road trip for an early start, is a recipe for fantasy success.

  • The Browns will be able to move the ball against the Bengals in Week 12, but Baker Mayfield has struggled on the road this year (nine sacks, five turnovers in three games, two of which were against Tampa and Oakland), so this isn't a bad matchup for Cincinnati.

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