With the Thanksgiving weekend behind us, it’s now a dead sprint to the fantasy playoffs, which begin either next week or Week 15, depending on your league settings. At this point, most of your starting lineup should be well-established, especially with the bye weeks over. But it’s always a good idea to keep an eye on the waiver wire.
There were a handful of notable injuries in Week 12 that fantasy owners have to watch for. Amari Cooper took a brutal hit that left him concussed, and he’s questionable to play this week. Doug Martin is also in concussion protocol. Greg Olsen aggravated the foot injury that kept him out for most of this season. In non-injury news, Michael Crabtree could be looking at a suspension after starting a massive brawl against the Denver Broncos. So fantasy owners will have to make adjustments for those players over the coming week.
With all that said, let’s take a look at the top five waiver options owned in 50 percent or less of Yahoo! leagues.
1. RB Rex Burkhead, New England Patriots (51 percent)
Just slightly over the 50-percent threshold, Burkhead is well worth picking up if he’s available in your league. He’s still splitting time with Dion Lewis, but Burkhead is a legitimate scoring threat with three touchdowns in the past three games. He scored twice in the Patriots’ demolition of the Miami Dolphins and is a legitimate asset in PPR leagues at this point. Burkhead has a good matchup with the Buffalo Bills, whose defense remains wildly inconsistent.
2. WR Josh Gordon, Cleveland Browns (51 percent)
Gordon is definitely coming back this week, sober and newly committed to football after years in the wilderness. That’s the good news. The bad news is that we really have no clue what Gordon will look like on the field — he hasn’t played a regular season game since 2014, an eternity in football years. He’ll also be on a snap count, which doesn't make him a serious starting option in most fantasy leagues. With all that said, Gordon’s impending return will be one of the most fascinating subplots of 2017 — and if he can still play, he’ll be a difference-maker in the fantasy playoffs.
3. WR Josh Doctson, Washington (43 percent)
We’re still waiting for a true breakout game from Doctson. The talent is undeniably there, as is the target volume with Terrelle Pryor and Chris Thompson done for the year. However, Doctson has yet to reach 100 yards, and a touchdown was the only notable part of his Thanksgiving performance (two catches, 28 yards). He’ll have a decent matchup with the fading Dallas Cowboys this Thursday, a team he scored on in Week 8. Doctson remains a risky play, though.
4. RB Jacquizz Rodgers, Tampa Bay Buccaneers (seven percent)
This ranking is contingent on the health of Doug Martin, currently in concussion protocol. Rodgers got 36 total yards on nine touches in relief duty, though he got vultured twice by Peyton Barber at the goal line. Rodgers was reasonably productive as the starter during Martin’s three-game suspension (40 carries, 165 yards, one touchdown), and will be an effective RB2 against the Green Bay Packers if Martin isn’t cleared.
5. WR Zay Jones, Buffalo Bills (14 percent)
A favorite among the draft community this spring, it took Jones a while to get going in his rookie year. He was legitimately terrible the first half of the season, but seems to have flipped a switch in recent weeks with 13 catches for 154 yards and two touchdowns in the past three games. With Kelvin Benjamin out and Jordan Matthews invisible in this offense, Jones is actually starting to produce with Tyrod Taylor feeding him targets. He’s on the WR3/4 radar against the New England Patriots this week.