By Zach Cohen
We’re reaching the final chapter of the 2020 NFL season, which means your fantasy football season has already ended or is on its final legs. Hopefully, the latter applies to you. If you’re one of the few fortunate people remaining in your league, congrats! Just be prepared to crank it up a notch. As you get deeper into the playoffs, you’ll find it a bit tougher to find reliable players. You’ll have to bank on mining gems in an otherwise barren pool of players.
On the bright side, you’ll start to see lesser-known players begin to make a name for themselves. For example, as playoff contenders sit their star players, it will provide more opportunities for new, often younger players. Take that into consideration when setting your lineups, and look ahead when picking up players to compensate for that type of situation. It’ll take a lot of projection, though, so this week’s waiver wire list isn’t too enticing. The main value you can get from waivers will come within the next couple of weeks as bigger roles become more available.
In the meantime, feel free to take a swing on any of these players...
Baker Mayfield (QB - CLE) | Available in 80% of leagues
Mayfield has had a frustrating fantasy season, but anytime a quarterback drops 35 points, you have to take notice. First, the good: He has a higher ceiling than probably every passer who is widely available in leagues. Mayfield also has a solid arsenal of weapons around him. But the bad: Week 13 was only his second 20-plus point game. He has a tough schedule with matchups against the Ravens, Giants, and Steelers, too. I was hesitant to even put Mayfield on this list but, again, I don’t think anyone has much faith in Mike Glennon or Mitchell Trubisky. If you need a quarterback, I’d cautiously recommend Mayfield. Even Jalen Hurts could have some rushing upside.
Cam Akers (RB - LAR) | Available in 65% of leagues
After a disappointing start to the season riddled with injuries and minimal playing time, Akers has been on a tear lately. He had a career-high 21 carries in the Rams’ victory over the Cardinals en route to 16.4 points—also a career-high. Last week, Akers also had 14.4 points as he slowly solidifies his featured role in the Rams’ offense. His lack of involvement in the passing game is a bit disappointing, but the upside is clearly there. With the playoffs afoot, any running back who you can find becomes a priority. Snatch up Akers if you can.
Ty Johnson (RB - NYJ) | Available in 99% of leagues
I’ll give the benefit of the doubt to Johnson because he’s only had one productive game all season. However, 22 carries are pretty eye-opening, especially for a Jets’ running back. The injuries to Frank Gore and La’Mical Perine opened up Johnson‘s role in New York‘s offense. Look, if you have to rely on Johnson, then you’re probably not in the playoffs... right? There is certainly some upside here because we just saw it. If Gore and Perine continue to stay sidelined, I’d consider picking up Johnson. Just don’t put too many eggs in this basket.
Keke Coutee (WR - HOU) | Available in 88% of leagues
All of a sudden, Coutee is the hottest name on the waiver wire. With Will Fuller suspended, Coutee shined with a 22-point performance on a hearty nine targets. The best part? His production is sustainable going forward. Deshaun Watson is no stranger to slinging the ball all over the field, which greatly benefits a speedster like Coutee. After leading the Texans in catches and targets, Coutee seems to be a direct replacement for Fuller. He could be the guy to win you your league.
T.Y. Hilton (WR - IND) | Available in 53% of leagues
I haven’t been high on Hilton this season, yet it’s hard not to notice his mini resurgence. He put up 25 points on 11 targets a week after posting 18.1 points. As WR69, I’ve mentioned Hilton as a player to drop more than once this season. However, if he keeps up this pace, he could be a fine starter in your lineup. Of course, you shouldn’t jump to any conclusions after just two good games, though I don’t blame you for introducing him back onto your roster. Hilton also has juicy matchups against the Raiders and the Texans on tap.
Allen Lazard (WR - GB) | Available in 70% of leagues
If you’re a weekly reader of my waiver column, then you’ll know how much I value consistency—and you should, too. It’s just nice to know what you’re going to get out of your players. Obviously, nothing is too predictable in fantasy football. While Lazard hasn’t been every fantasy owner’s dream this season, that’s mostly been due to injury. He’s averaging 13.6 points in the games that he has played. His recent performance of eight points isn’t too great, and Robert Tonyan does take away a couple of targets from him. But at the end of the day, Lazard is WR2 in Green Bay. That holds enough value to make him rosterable.
Chad Hansen (WR - HOU) | Available in 100% of leagues
Who? We may have a record here, folks. Hansen could be the first player I’ve ever recommended who—according to ESPN—is available in every league. The day after being promoted from the practice squad, Hansen out-snapped every other Texans‘ receiver. The result: 15.1 points on seven targets. There are better options than Hansen available; however, if you’re desperate, why not take a shot on Hansen? There’s clearly some upside here even if he fails to replicate his Week 13 success in future games. Hansen is definitely not a priority pickup, though he should warrant some consideration with another strong showing.
Drew Sample (TE - CIN) | Available in 99% of leagues
Spoiler: Good tight ends are tough to find. That especially holds true for the waiver wire. If you need a tight end, well, desperate times call for desperate measures. Sample has been alright over the last couple of weeks. He saw five targets with Brandon Allen last week and saw seven this week. If Allen misses the next game, I don’t think Ryan Finley will impact Sample’s workload too heavily. At this point, I’d expect popular pick-ups at the position—like Trey Burton, Jordan Reed, Logan Thomas—to be long gone. If not, then go after them. Consider Sample a last-ditch option who could at least meet his expected points.
Cole Kmet (TE - CHI) | Available in 99% of leagues
Rookie tight ends rarely make an impact in their first season. Kmet is no exception, although he has recently turned some heads in Chicago. He’s actually outplayed veteran Jimmy Graham, as Kmet saw more targets than his 34-year old teammate. His playing time has also increased in recent weeks, too. Unless you’re desperate or you feel so strongly about him, I’d probably wait another week to see if Kmet has legitimate value. Luckily, he has solid matchups against the Texans and the Vikings coming up. Like I said for Sample, desperate times may call for desperate measures.
- Aug 22, 2022
- Aug 22, 2022