The fantasy football season is officially in its stretch run. The bye weeks are finally over and owners can gun for the playoffs without needing to worry about replacing their stud players. The regular season only has two or three weeks left (depending on league settings), so now’s the time to clinch a playoff spot.
This week’s biggest injury is a pretty rough one. Washington running back Chris Thompson, in the middle of a successful breakout season, got his leg rolled up and fractured a fibula. His season is over and Washington loses yet another important weapon. Thompson was an ace in both PPR and regular leagues, thanks to his yards-after-catch ability. His loss will be felt.
With Thompson’s injury and several other key players banged up (keep an eye on Leonard Fournette, who’s playing through an ankle injury), the waiver wire will still be important even after the bye weeks. Let’s take a look at the top five waiver options this week, owned in 50 percent or less of Yahoo! leagues.
1. RB Samaje Perine, Washington (35 percent)
With Thompson and Rob Kelly both out for the year, it’s time for Perine to start living up to his potential. Sunday was a good start with 117 yards and a touchdown on 23 carries, but he still has terrible hands and won’t be a factor in the passing game. Nevertheless, Perine figures to get all the work between the tackles, and that’s enough to keep him in the streaming conversation. Averaging just 3.7 yards per carry on the season, Perine is a low-end RB2 against the New York Giants on Thanksgiving.
2. WR Kenny Stills, Miami Dolphins (38 percent)
It feels like Stills always has a big game whenever Matt Moore comes in for relief duty, and that played out again in Week 11. Moore replaced Jay Cutler, who left the game with a concussion, and the Dolphins offense suddenly came to life. Stills had a monster game with seven catches, 180 yards, and one touchdown on nine targets. If Cutler can’t get cleared for Week 12, Stills will be a worthy WR4 against the New England Patriots.
3. WR Josh Doctson, Washington (27 percent)
In addition to losing Thompson, Washington will be without Terrelle Pryor, who had ankle surgery and is likely done for the year. That leaves Doctson and Jamison Crowder as Washington’s top two receivers, and we’ll give the nod to Doctson for being the better talent with more upside. Doctson has 19 targets in the past three games, and we figure his volume will increase as Kirk Cousins keeps running out of weapons. With Washington playing the Giants, Doctosn’s fantasy value could depend on whether Janoris Jenkins feels like playing that week.
4. RB Danny Woodhead, Baltimore Ravens (49 percent)
Last we saw Woodhead in Week 1, he was catching Joe Flacco checkdowns and playing on third downs before suffering a hamstring injury. Now Woodhead’s back and ... catching Joe Flacco checkdowns and playing on third downs. There are worse ways for PPR owners to get points, we suppose. We don’t know how much Woodhead has left at 32, but his sure hands will keep him fantasy relevant in a Ravens offense that’s all but abandoned the deep passing game.
5. WR Corey Coleman, Cleveland Browns (32 percent)
Coleman had a pretty tough test coming into Week 11, making his return from a broken hand and facing the Jacksonville Jaguars’ fierce secondary. Coleman did pretty good, all things considered, catching six passes for 80 yards on 11 targets. The target number is particularly encouraging, since it indicates that Coleman will be used as a true alpha No. 1 receiver. DeShone Kizer remains a concern, but Coleman is getting the kind of workload that could make him a factor in the fantasy playoffs, even with Josh Gordon’s impending return.