Fantasy Football Week 12 Early Waiver Wire: Marlon Mack injury creates opportunity for Jonathan Williams
Injuries often create opportunity for Fantasy, and Marlon Mack's injury could give us a starting running back to prioritize on waivers in Week 12.
Injuries are one of the key ways Fantasy value is created, but it's always bittersweet to watch it in action, because it usually means we're losing another viable Fantasy option. Jonathan Williams looks like he will be the top add on waivers ahead of Week 12, but it's going to come at the expense of Marlon Mack, who suffered a fractured hand in Sunday's game.
Mack was gashing the Jaguars in Week 11, rushing for 109 yards on 14 carries, including a touchdown, but left the game and was ruled out almost immediately due to the hand injury. According to reports, Mack is set to undergo tests in the coming days to determine whether he needs surgery — which would obviously influence the timetable of his potential return — but he is already out for Thursday against the Texans. With Jordan Wilkins sitting out Week 11 due to an ankle injury that kept him out of practice all week, it seems like Williams is going to be looking at a starting gig in just four short days.
But based on what we saw Sunday, that's not necessarily a bad thing because Williams was just as effective as Mack. He rushed for 116 yards on 13 carries and added 31 yards on his lone catch and target in the game. The Colts took advantage of a surprisingly advantageous matchup because the Jaguars came into Week 11 allowing the third-most yards per carry to opposing running backs in the NFL, and Williams looked good running behind a very good Colts line. Nyheim Hines still got his typical work, catching three of four passes thrown his way in addition to 11 yards on three rushes, including a touchdown. Expect Hines to remain in the game plan no matter who is starting for the Colts Thursday.
Williams has bounced around since being a fifth-round pick for the Bills in 2016, which means you shouldn't necessarily expect him to be a must-start Fantasy option if he does start in Week 12. Anyone who started Brian Hill fresh off the wire in Week 11 got burned by that approach. However, at the very least, Williams is looking at a significant role on a team that wants to run the ball — the Colts ranked third in rush attempts per game before they ran the ball 36 times Sunday.
Williams probably isn't going to replicate his effectiveness from Sunday, as the Texans have been a bit stouter against the run than the Jaguars have been. However, he's in a good spot and has a great opportunity, and should be a high priority add on waivers in all leagues heading into Week 12.
Here's who else you'll be targeting on waivers going into Week 12:
Early Waiver Targets
Deebo Samuel WR
SF San Francisco • #19
Age: 24 • Experience: Rookie
Week 10 was no fluke for Samuel, who produced a near mirror result of last week's showing Sunday, following up his eight-catch, 112-yard showing with eight more catches for 134 yards against the Cardinals in Week 11. Samuel has now been more productive over the last two games (246 yards) than he was in seven games prior (227 yards), and it's clear the No. 36 overall pick in this year's draft is establishing himself as a top option for the 49ers. He played 84% of the team's snaps in Week 10, his most since the season opener, and remained the team's most productive option Sunday even with Emmanuel Sanders back from injury. Samuel is a must-add option in any of the 27% of CBS Fantasy leagues where he is available, and should be viewed as a viable starter for what could be a shootout against the Packers in Week 12.
WAS Washington • #29
Age: 22 • Experience: 2 yrs.
Rostered in 76% of leagues, Guice is a bit higher than our typical limit for this piece, but he's out there in enough leagues that he deserves a mention after scoring his first NFL touchdown. He mostly split touches with Adrian Peterson as expected — eight for Guice, nine for Peterson — but Guice was more efficient in the ground game and broke off a big play on his lone catch, a screen pass he took 45 yards. It was the kind of big play we were hoping to see from Guice in his first action since Week 1, and you have to think Washington will continue to feature him more moving forward in developing for the future. It's a tough situation, but Guice was viewed as the kind of prospect who could shine even in less-than-ideal circumstance before all his knee issues, and he's worth taking the chance on if he still out there in your league.
DET Detroit • #43
Age: 23 • Experience: 1 year
Ty Johnson was cleared to play Sunday, but it was former Alabama back Bo Scarbrough who got the bulk of the work as the Lions continue to search for their replacement for Kerryon Johnson. Scarbrough wasn't terribly efficient Sunday, but he flashed enough to garner 14 carries, which eventually led to 55 yards and a touchdown. He was a nonfactor in the passing game, as J.D. McKissic (three catches for 40 yards on four targets) continued to handle that role out of the backfield ably. However, the Lions want to establish the run, and with Matthew Stafford potentially looking at a longer-than-expected absence due to his back injury, there should continue to be opportunities here. Scarbrough figures to see a significant role after Sunday's performance, making him worth a look if you can't get Williams.
Jeff Driskel QB
DET Detroit • #2
Age: 26 • Experience: 4 yrs.
A few weeks back, I wrote about the dominance of rushing quarterbacks this season, and mentioned that quarterbacks who can tuck it and run should be a priority when looking for bye week or injury replacements. Driskel has been a pretty good example of that. He had 20.1 Fantasy points in his Week 10 start against the Bears and was even better Sunday against the Cowboys. Driskel passed for 209 yards and two touchdowns and added 51 yards on the ground along with another touchdown, finishing with 31.5 Fantasy points. Driskel runs a 4.5 40-yard dash, so this isn't just a fluke. Will Driskel ever be a must-start quarterback? Actually … he gets Washington in Week 12, so maybe. Either way, if you need a replacement for Patrick Mahomes, Kyler Murray, Philip Rivers or Kirk Cousins, Driskel is going to be a viable option, assuming Matthew Stafford remains sidelined.
Noah Fant TE
DEN Denver • #87
Age: 22 • Experience: Rookie
It seems we're witnessing the emergence of another dynamic young tight end in Fant, the 20th overall pick in this year's draft. Fant had four catches for 60 yards on 11 targets in Week 11 and has now been targeted 24 times over the past three games. He showed his big-play potential last week with a 75-yard catch and run, and added a 31-yard catch Sunday. It's fair to wonder whether you can rely on Fant for weekly production with Brandon Allen throwing him passes, but with tight end such a perpetually shallow position, Fant deserves to be on someone's roster in every Fantasy league. You can't ignore the kind of upside he represents.
Tim Patrick WR
DEN Denver • #81
Age: 26 • Experience: 2 yrs.
Patrick was a forgotten man in the Broncos passing game in the preseason, when you could find any of Courtland Sutton, Daesean Hamilton, and Emmanuel Sanders on pretty much every Fantasy sleeper list. This despite the fact that Patrick was actually pretty productive once he got a chance late in the season, catching 19 of 30 passes for 242 yards over the final four games in 2018. Patrick has the size (6-foot-4) and speed (4.52 40-yard dash) you want from an NFL wide receiver, and he made his return from IR in Week 11 after recovering from a broken hand, catching four of eight passes for 77 yards. Patrick doesn't need to be a huge priority, but in deeper leagues, it might be worth taking a flier to see if he turns into anything down the stretch.
Ryan Griffin TE
NYJ N.Y. Jets • #84
Age: 30 • Experience: 7 yrs.
With Chris Herndon on IR, Griffin figures to continue to see extensive playing time for the Jets. In two games prior to Herndon return brief return in Week 10, Griffin played at least 90% of the snaps in both games, hauling in 10 of 12 passes thrown his way for 116 yards and two touchdowns. He nearly matched that with Herndon out of the way Sunday, catching five passes for 109 yards and a score. Now, he won't have the pleasure of facing Washington's defense every week, but the Jets upcoming schedule features the Raiders, Bengals and Dolphins in three consecutive weeks, so the schedule won't get too much tougher. If you're desperate (and Fant isn't out there), you can do worse than seeing if Griffin can continue to be a factor given his role.
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