By Matt Citak
Thanksgiving is here, which means the fantasy football season is nearing its end. With only two weeks left before fantasy playoffs begin in Week 14, every point matters as you fight your way to your league’s postseason. Week 12 signifies the end of bye weeks, but that doesn’t mean you should ignore the waiver wire. As we saw with Chris Thompson and Kelvin Benjamin last week, injuries happen. You never know when one of your starters could go down with an injury, so it’s pivotal to have a replacement player on your bench ready to go in case of an emergency.
With that in mind, here are a few of CBS Local Sports’ favorite waiver wire pickups for Week 12.
QB Tyrod Taylor, Buffalo Bills
Many people dropped Taylor after Bills head coach Sean McDermott announced last week that rookie Nathan Peterman would be taking over as the team’s starting quarterback. Well two quarters and five interceptions later, it was Taylor beginning the second half under center for Buffalo. Peterman’s historically bad NFL debut has seemingly paved the way for Taylor to finish the season as the Bills’ starting quarterback. In mop-up duty during Buffalo’s 54-24 loss to the Chargers in Week 11, Taylor completed 15-of-25 passes for 158 yards and a touchdown, while adding four rushes for 38 yards and a rushing touchdown. McDermott was noncommittal on who would start in Week 12 against Kansas City, but after Peterman’s performance, it seems as if Taylor is the likely choice. Assuming he is re-named the starter, Taylor is a must-add for anyone in need of a QB. With a remaining schedule that includes matchups against the Chiefs, Patriots, Colts, Dolphins, and the Patriots again, Taylor has an incredibly easy stretch to end the season.
RB Samaje Perine, Washington Redskins
Perine was a popular waiver wire add last week following the injury to Rob Kelley. Now with both Kelley and Chris Thompson out for the season, Perine will be the No. 1 pickup this week as becomes Washington’s featured back by default. In his first chance to prove himself in this role, Perine looked impressive, carrying the ball 23 times for 117 yards (5.1 yards per carry) and a touchdown, adding one reception for nine yards. The Redskins are still producing as one of the NFL’s most productive offenses, and with Kirk Cousins playing as well as he is, Perine should have plenty of opportunities to score. Perine could be in the RB2 mix for the rest of the season.
WR Jamison Crowder, Washington Redskins
After being considered one of the bigger fantasy busts early in the season, Crowder has looked back to his old self over the last three games. Crowder has topped 70 yards in each of those contests, totaling 20 receptions for 271 yards. More importantly, Cousins has targeted the third-year receiver a team high 32 times during this stretch. Cousins is treating Crowder as the Redskins No. 1 wide receiver, and with Thompson out for the season and Terrelle Pryor undergoing ankle surgery on Monday, Cousins will likely lean on Crowder even more from here on out. Crowder could prove to be a game-changer in the fantasy playoffs, so add him if he is available.
RB Devontae Booker, Denver Broncos
Booker has played a role in the Broncos’ offense over the last two months, but it was his usage in Denver’s Week 11 loss to the Bengals that lands him on this list. Booker received a career-high 14 carries, and while he was only able to total 44 rushing yards (3.1 yards per carry), the volume is what we like to see. Adding to Booker’s fantasy value is his role in the passing game. Booker, who has served as the team’s pass-catching back in the seven games he’s played in this year, added five receptions (another career-high) for 54 yards to his final stat line. With C.J. Anderson and Jamaal Charles still on the roster, Booker led all of the backs in snaps played (48). Denver’s season is as good as over, so look for the Broncos to use Booker more as they evaluate what they have in the second-year running back out of Utah.
WR Corey Coleman, Cleveland Browns
Coleman was listed in this piece last week, and if you didn’t listen to me then, you better hope he is still available. The second-year receiver returned to the field after missing the prior seven games due to a hand injury, and immediately reminded everyone why he was a first-round pick in last year’s draft. Coleman caught six passes for 80 yards against the Jaguars and their top-ranked pass defense. While that may not sound too impressive, remember this- Antonio Brown is the only wide receiver to top 70 yards against Jacksonville this season. Coleman also led the Browns with 11 targets, and it seems quite clear that he and rookie QB DeShone Kizer are developing a nice chemistry. Coleman will be a top add for anyone in need of some WR depth.
WR Kenny Stills, Miami Dolphins
Stills had the best game of his career against the Tampa Bay Buccaneers in Week 11, catching 7-of-8 targets for 180 yards and a touchdown. The 25-year-old receiver had apparently been suffering from a back injury during practice all week, but showed no evidence of the injury during the game. Stills has now received eight or more targets in four of the last five games (40 total targets over that span), and is clearly a favorite of QB Matt Moore. With Jay Cutler in concussion protocol, Moore could end up starting on Sunday as the Dolphins travel to Foxborough to take on the Patriots. If that is the case, Stills could be in for another strong performance.
TE Adam Shaheen, Chicago Bears
Despite being a second round pick in this year’s draft, Shaheen failed to see much of the field for the first eight games of the season. It wasn’t until starting tight end Zach Miller suffered a gruesome leg injury, and backup tight end Dion Sims came down with an undisclosed illness, that Shaheen began to receive playing time. The rookie tight end has started the last two games, and in Chicago’s Week 11 loss to Detroit, the 23-year-old showed he could potentially provide some value for the fantasy playoffs. Rookie QB Mitch Trubisky has leaned heavily on his tight ends all season, so it shouldn’t come as a surprise that Shaheen caught 4-of-4 targets for 41 yards and a touchdown, with the touchdown grab coming on a one-yard pass. It looks as if Shaheen has earned the starting job, placing him firmly on the fantasy radar. The rookie could be worth a speculative add for those in desperate need of a tight end.
Matt Citak is a producer for CBS Local Sports and a proud Vanderbilt alum. Follow him on Twitter or send comments to firstname.lastname@example.org.