This is the home stretch. This is the week many fantasy teams are clinching playoff berths. For others, the sad reality of a lost season is kicking in. They might start giving up on waiver claims, but those who are still alive are going to be more vigilant than ever in trying to find the right player. Many who have been saving their valuable waiver claim are going to finally use it to get that player who they think is going to push them over the hump. Luckily, there are some players who are still running under the radar. They might still be around in a week or two, and might not even cost a waiver claim.
Week 12 Fantasy Football Watch List Featuring Rashaad Penny
Many were probably surprised when the Seattle Seahawks took San Diego State running back Rashaad Penny in the first round of this year’s draft. He went ahead of other backs from more high-profile schools like Derrius Guice and Nick Chubb. Penny led the nation in yards from scrimmage his final year with the Aztecs, but many wondered if it was only because he faced mostly inferior competition.
Once Penny came in, head coach Pete Carroll made it clear that he wasn’t going to just be handed the starting the job. Incumbent Chris Carson looked good last season in limited action and ended up beating Penny out for the starting job. Worse yet, Penny fell further down the depth chart as the season went along in favor of veteran Mike Davis. The past few weeks, however, Penny has started to make a comeback.
He exploded with 108 yards and a touchdown on twelve carries week ten. This demanded Carroll give him more playing time. Though he still didn’t have quite as large of a role this week, he seems to have at least moved up to the number two spot behind Carson. The thing about that is, Carson has been banged up all season. If he goes down, Penny will be an immediate add.
Penny might get picked up on waivers this week, but impatient owners might drop him again if his role doesn’t grow. Keep an eye on his availability.
The Detroit Lions started the season looking really good at wide receiver. The trio of Golden Tate, Marvin Jones, and Kenny Golladay was one of the best in the league. It was so good that the Lions felt they could manage without Tate, sending him to the Philadelphia Eagles in a trade. But Jones went down with a knee injury against the Chicago Bears. He is seeking a second opinion for what appears to be a bone bruise, but there are questions on if he will need surgery. Now, there is a void at receiver. Enter Bruce Ellington.
Ellington was signed right before Detroit played the Bears, he missed that game as he learned the playbook, but was suddenly thrust into action after Jones’s injury. He had a solid day, catching six passes for 52 yards. His nine targets were second on the team, but more showed that quarterback Matthew Stafford already trusts him. Ellington has the potential to see his role grow if he can learn the playbook.
The other wild card in this scenario is obviously Jones’s injury. For now, he is considered day-to-day, meaning he could come back sooner rather than later. However, it seems unlikely that he returns week 12, considering that the Lions play their annual Thanksgiving game. It gives Ellington more time to cement a role for himself, but it could also give him deceptive stats that won’t last when Jones gets back. For now, he is just someone to keep an eye on as more news comes out on the severity of Jones’s knee.
Finally, a tight end makes the watch list. The tight end landscape has been as barren as ever this season, with no real prospects moving up the ranks. Delanie Walker was one of the most consistent names at tight end in fantasy, but he went down early in the season. It has taken a while, but it looks like Jonnu Smith has stepped up for the Tennessee Titans in Walker’s absence.
The first seven weeks of the season, Smith didn’t eclipse 20 yards even once or score a touchdown. The past three weeks, however, Smith hasn’t gone under 30 yards and has scored two touchdowns. He is establishing himself as a red-zone threat and making a place for himself in a Titans offense that is far from established in terms of playmakers.
Despite Smith’s outlook trending upwards, there are still a ton of uncertainties. Mainly, Marcus Mariota’s health is a concern after he suffered a stinger on the elbow he already injured earlier this season. From there, the last three games for Smith could certainly be a fluke. He saw eight targets last week, but never saw more than three in any other game this season. Still, considering the dearth of fantasy relevant tight ends, he could be a streaming candidate if he keeps his production keeps trending up.
Redux: Josh Adams
Last week’s watch list featured Philadelphia Eagles running back Josh Adams. The Eagles have struggled to find a replacement for Jay Ajayi, who went to injured reserve early in the year. After giving the more experienced Corey Clement and Wendell Smallwood their shots to mixed results, Adams finally got his turn. After strong showings, his first two games head coach Doug Peterson promised to get Adams more involved in the run game Week 11.
Just looking at the paper, it is arguable whether or not this happened. Adams still only got seven carries, but he made the most of them, rushing for 53 yards and a touchdown. Context needs to be considered here though. The Eagles went up against the New Orleans Saints and their juggernaut offense. After getting down early, Philadelphia was forced to abandon the run game. The fact that Smallwood was still able to eclipse double-digit fantasy points is a testament to his skill.
Adams has definitely taken over the starting job, as evidenced by Clement and Smallwood’s carries. The duo combined for three carries and 15 yards. There are better days ahead for Adams who still faces the Washington Redskins twice, the New York Giants next week, and the Dallas Cowboys somewhere in there. If he is still available, Adams needs to be scooped up now.
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