Mike Fanelli | November 19th, 2019
The end is finally here! Well, the bye weeks that is. Week 12 is the last week with teams on the bye this season as the Arizona Cardinals, Kansas City Chiefs, Los Angeles Chargers, and Minnesota Vikings all finally get a week off. Unfortunately, for fantasy owners, that means they will be without several top performers as they push for the fantasy playoffs. Those players include Patrick Mahomes, Kyler Murray, Kirk Cousins, Travis Kelce, Hunter Henry, and Harrison Butker among others.
However, the best way to fill these players’ shoes is to stream and pick up players on the waiver wire. Below I have put together nine players fantasy owners can use as a fill-in this week as they make a push for the fantasy playoffs. Keep in the mind this article focuses on quarterbacks, tight ends, defenses, and kickers only as they are your typical streaming positions. For bye week fillers at running back and wide receiver, be sure to check out our weekly waiver wire adds.
All players listed are owned in less than 50% of ESPN leagues.
Baker Mayfield, QB, Cleveland Browns (45.3%)
Unfortunately overshadowed by the Myles Garrett mess, Mayfield has played his best football of the season in November. He has scored 17 or more fantasy points in all three games, averaging 18.8 fantasy points per game. He has six total touchdowns and zero turnovers this month. Mayfield’s next four games are against the Dolphins, Steelers again, Bengals, and Cardinals. He just scored 21.8 fantasy points against the Steelers and the other three opponents all have fantasy friendly defenses. The Dolphins are first up and they just gave up 33.8 fantasy points to Josh Allen while giving up 21.4 fantasy points per game this season to quarterbacks.
Sam Darnold, QB, New York Jets (12.3%)
Entering the game against the Redskins, Darnold had thrown for seven touchdowns this season. He then threw for a career-high four touchdowns against the Redskins. During the Jets two-game winning streak, Darnold has thrown for 523 yards and scored six total touchdowns while throwing just one interception. He has scored a total of 47.1 fantasy points during that span as well. By comparison, Darnold scored a total of 51 fantasy points in his other five games this season. He faces the Raiders this week and they have given up 22.5 or more fantasy points in four of their last seven games to quarterbacks. After he faces the Raiders this week, he gets the Bengals and Dolphins, offering fantasy owners three straight positive matchups to close out the fantasy regular season.
Jeff Driskel, QB, Detroit Lions (4%)
If you are playing in a bigger league or a super flex league, Driskel should still be on your waiver wire and is worth a look this week. Matthew Stafford will likely miss this game and could miss up to another month with his back injury. In his stead, Driskel has been solid for the Lions. In his two starts, he has thrown for 478 yards and scored four total touchdowns, while averaging 22.8 fantasy points per game. The Redskins just gave up 25.4 fantasy points to Darnold and have allowed quarterbacks to scored 23.9 or more fantasy points in 40% of their games this season. If you are in a pinch, Driskel isn’t a bad option this week.
Dallas Goedert, TE, Philadelphia Eagles (28.3%)
The Eagles’ wide receivers are banged up. DeSean Jackson is on injured reserve while Alshon Jeffery missed Sunday’s game against the Patriots with an ankle injury. With both guys missing time, Goedert has stepped up his game. Over his last four games, Goedert is averaging 3.5 catches on five targets for 41.5 yards and 11.7 fantasy points. He has scored at least 11 fantasy points in three of those four games and has three touchdowns during that span. While the matchup against the Seahawks isn’t ideal, Goedert’s recent volume and success offers fantasy owners upside this week if they need to replace Kelce or Henry.
David Njoku, TE, Cleveland Browns (17.7%)
Njoku hasn’t played since week two with a wrist injury but is expected to come off injured reserve this week and play against the Dolphins. As I mentioned in last week’s Thursday Night Football Fantasy Preview, you should have grabbed Njoku last week when no one was thinking about him. Njoku had a solid week one, catching four of six targets for 37 yards and a touchdown while scoring 13.7 fantasy points. He got hurt early in week two and hasn’t played since. The Dolphins gave up 11.2 fantasy points to Dawson Knox last week and give up an average of 12.6 fantasy points per game to tight ends this season. It’s a risk play Njoku in his first game back from injury but given how well Mayfield has played lately, it’s worth the risk.
Ryan Griffin, TE, New York Jets (1.1%)
Let’s go dumpster diving! Griffin is owned in just 1.1% of ESPN leagues for a reason but this week he should be on fantasy radars. Over his last four games, Griffin has scored 11 or more three times and more than 21 fantasy points twice. He has scored three touchdowns during that span while seeing an average of 4.5 targets per game. Griffin had a season-high 109 yards against the Redskins on Sunday and has another fantasy friendly matchup this week against the Raiders. Since their bye week, the Raiders have given up four touchdowns to tight ends in five games. Furthermore, the Raiders give up 14.7 fantasy points per game to tight ends this season. With Darnold playing well and the good matchup, Griffin is worth a look in bigger or two tight end leagues.
Detroit Lions, D/ST (7.6%)
Is there a bigger joke in the NFL than the Redskins? The only correct answer is no. Until the fourth quarter on Sunday against the Jets, the Redskins hadn’t scored a touchdown in 16 straight quarters. Needless to say, this offense is pathetic and Dwayne Haskins has no chance of succeeding with this group. However, I digress to some degree. D/STs have scored 11 or more fantasy points against the Redskins in three of their last four games. Furthermore, D/STs are averaging 10.9 fantasy points per game against the Redskins this season. While the Lions D/ST has scored negative fantasy points in two of their last three games, they haven’t faced an offense as ugly as the Redskins’ this season. If you are in a pinch and need a D/ST this week, the Lions’ matchup offers upside.
Atlanta Falcons, D/ST (1.9%)
Before their bye week, the Falcons D/ST had scored negative fantasy points in 50% of their games and had given up at least 20 points in every game. However, since the bye week, the Falcons have held their opponents to a total of 12 points, while scoring 32 fantasy points. They have forced four interceptions, gotten 11 sacks, and scored a touchdown during that span. Now they face Jameis Winston and the turnover happy Buccaneers this week. On Sunday against the Saints, the Buccaneers turned the ball over four times, gave up two sacks, and a touchdown, allowing the Saints D/ST to score 17 fantasy points; their season-high. Furthermore, the Buccaneers are giving up an average of 2.5 turnovers and 3.6 sacks per game. Expect the Falcons’ hot play on defense to continue again this week.
Younghoe Koo, K, Atlanta Falcons (5.7%)
Koo has only been with the Falcons for two weeks but during those two weeks, the team is undefeated. Coincidence? I doubt it. In all seriousness, Koo has been great for the Falcons and fantasy owners. He scored 15 fantasy points against the Saints in week 10 while scoring 10 fantasy point Sunday against the Panthers. Koo has made all of his extra points and seven of his eight field goals. He faces the Buccaneers this week and they have given up the most fantasy points to kickers this year, including 11 to Wil Lutz last week. Kickers have scored double-digit fantasy points against the Buccaneers in 70% of their games this season and I expect Koo to do the same this week.
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