Next week’s waiver wire: Rico Dowdle, Michael Wilson and more players to add now — before the Week 12 rush

I’m using a data-backed, formulaic approach to discover next week’s waiver wire headliners… today. Going position by position, I mine my favorite obscure fantasy football statistics in regard to volume, depth, and efficiency. Then I mash them all together, hopefully identifying some cheap fantasy gems to grab now before the squares do next week. (Really proud to help readers add Demario Douglas, to go along with  Rashee Rice and Josh Downs, several weeks before the public — chalk another up for the good guys).


Available QBs With +40.0 Dropbacks Per Game (Past Three Weeks)

Available QBs With +3.5 Deep Attempts Per Game (Past Three Weeks)

  • Will Levis, TEN — 7.3 Deep Attempts Per Game
  • Jameis Winston, NO — 6.0 Deep Attempts Per Game
  • Jordan Love, GB — 5.3 Deep Attempts Per Game
  • Zach Wilson, NYJ— 4.7 Deep Attempts Per Game
  • Baker Mayfield, TB — 4.0 Deep Attempts Per Game
  • Geno Smith, SEA — 3.0 Deep Attempts Per Game

Available QBs With +0.01 Expected Points Added Per Attempt (Past Three Weeks)

  • Joshua Dobbs, MIN — 0.30 EPA/Attempt
  • Baker Mayfield, TB — 0.23 EPA/Attempt
  • Russell Wilson, DEN — 0.23 EPA/Attempt
  • Jordan Love, GB — 0.15 EPA/Attempt
  • Aidan O’Connell, LV — 0.05 EPA/Attempt
  • Will Levis, TEN — 0.04 EPA/Attempt
  • Geno Smith, SEA — 0.01 EPA/Attempt

If you’re fighting for a playoff spot, it’s going to take some serious fantasy finesse to navigate this quarterback landscape. Between the consolidated scoring at the position, and having so little time left to execute, take QBs one week at a time. If you’ve been with us from the beginning (thanks!), you’ve heard this before: we’re all about process. When all else fails, I dance with the date willing to go with me, or in this case, I rely on our handy-dandy lists. Yes, it’s been disappointing at certain points, and downright dejecting at others, but I believe in Geno Smith coming off his best start (and only Top 5 finish of the season). More importantly, he finally got both of his prolific pass catching weapons into the WR1 fold. Over the past three weeks, we’ve got the dropbacks, the deep shots and our first glimpse at last year’s efficiency. Don’t give up on Seattle heading into a money matchup against the Rams.

Los Angeles’ pass defense exceeded expectations out of the gate, holding three of the first four QBs they faced under 205 passing yards. Since then, injuries and regression have melded into a more expected and believable reality. Over their past three contests, the Rams defense is dead last in Points Allowed (31.5), Time Of Possession/Drive (3:12), Opposing Drive Success Rate (45.7%), EPA/Dropback (-0.26), Opposing Passer Rating (124.7), and Completion Rate Allowed (78.3%). Why? They’re also 32nd in Pressure Rate (22.5%) and Hurries/Game (6.0). I’m not exactly reinventing an analytical wheel here, but Geno’s much better when not pressured — his 8.2 YPA and 22 Deep Attempts are both in the Top 5 among all QBs. I’m adding my guy Geno this Sunday wherever I don’t have an elite option, but sadly pulling the cord immediately afterward with multiple tough opponents on the horizon.

Week 11 QB Streams Ranked

  1. Geno Smith — SEA at LAR
  2. Matthew Stafford — LAR vs SEA
  3. Joshua Dobbs — MIN at DEN
  4. Jordan Love — GB vs LAC

Week 12 QB Streams Ranked

  1. Joshua Dobbs — MIN vs CHI
  2. Jordan Love — GB vs LAC

Running Back

Available RBs With +8.0 Touches Per Game (Past Three Weeks)

  • Darrell Henderson, LAR— 13.5 Touches Per Game
  • Royce Freeman, LAR — 10.5 Touches Per Game
  • Tyjae Spears, TEN — 8.0 Touches Per Game
  • Justice Hill, BAL — 7.7 Touches Per Game
  • Zach Charbonnet, SEA — 7.3 Touches Per Game
  • Rico Dowdle, DAL — 7.0 Touches Per Game

Available RBs With +0.30 Fantasy Points Per Snap (min. 6 Carries; Past Three Weeks)

  • Darrynton Evans, CHI — 0.61 Fantasy Points Per Snap
  • Jeff Wilson, MIA — 0.43 Fantasy Points Per Snap
  • Raheem Blackshear, CAR — 0.39 Fantasy Points Per Snap
  • Pierre Strong, CLE — 0.36 Fantasy Points Per Snap
  • Ty Chandler, MIN — 0.34 Fantasy Points Per Snap
  • Rico Dowdle, DAL — 0.33 Fantasy Points Per Snap

Available RBs With +40% Touch Per Snap Rate (min. 6 Carries; Past Three Weeks)

  • Elijah Mitchell, SF — 47.8% Touch Per Snap Rate
  • Zack Moss, IND — 44.4% Touch Per Snap Rate
  • Darrell Henderson, LAR — 43.5% Touch Per Snap Rate
  • Ke’Shawn Vaughn, TB — 42.9% Touch Per Snap Rate
  • Jeff Wilson, MIA — 41.4% Touch Per Snap Rate

Depending on your league depth and size, please make sure Ty Chandler’s rostered first. I crossed him off for our purposes after he headlined a mainstream waiver piece even though he’s still somehow below 50% rostered on Yahoo. Anytime there’s a pathway to the lion’s share of work, don’t overthink it — opportunity is the base RB commodity.

Next week’s waiver wire running back headliner has earned a few stars here already but, at 14% rostered, it’s time to make the definitive move for Rico Dowdle. For starters, the Dallas Cowboys look like Super Bowl contenders, a fine place to hitch your wagon. The thing about the DAL backfield is my spreadsheet’s drumbeat getting louder each week. Since their bye, Dowdle has outperformed Tony Pollard (sigh) in Fantasy Points Per Snap (0.33), Fantasy Points Per Touch (0.91), Yards/Attempt (5.5), Yards Before Contact/Attempt (1.5), Yards After Contact/Attempt (4.05), EPA/Rush (+0.22), Rush Success Rate (47.0%), Explosive Rush Rate (15.8%), and Negative Attempt Rate (5.3%). Worst case scenario, we’re battling for the slightly larger piece of the pie in a great offense. But, if things break perfectly for Dowdle, we’re talking about a legitimate league winner available in 86% of leagues.

Most of the other strong contingency plays are rostered but, if you’re in desperate need of RB help, there may be short-term relief in Los Angeles. The Rams didn’t play Week 10, so my stand from the most recent piece remains firm. Despite some positive news for Kyren Williams, he’s still not expected to return until Week 12 at the earliest, and we know anything can happen before then. Darrell Henderson has definitely produced for anyone who added him, but I’m cutting bait — I actually think the usage needle in Los Angeles is moving in favor of “Rolls” Royce Freeman. Since the Rams lost Williams for Week 7, Freeman’s outproduced the starter Henderson in EPA/Rush (-0.09), Yards Per Attempt (4.3), Yards Before Contact Per Rush (1.0), Yards After Contact Per Rush (3.3), Rushing Success Rate (64%), in addition to securing the lone goal-to-go attempt in their past two games.

And in the extreme case you play in a league with one of our other readers, I did get an alert for a backfield takeover in Jacksonville.  It took just over two months, but Tank Bigsby and his 2.3 YPC finally ceded backup duties to D’Ernest Johnson against San Francisco after the Jaguars’ Week 9 bye. It’s a long shot, but Travis Etienne has more carries than anyone in the NFL not named Josh Jacobs. We never, ever wish injuries on players, but we do know that the best predictor of future injury is current workload. One setback for Travis Etienne and there’s a truly coveted fantasy role up for grabs on a competitive team. We have to go all the way back to 2021 for even a glimpse of fantasy goodness from D’Ernest Johnson, but if you squint in the right light, he does have a weekly RB1 finish on the ledger (22-146-1; 2-22-0).

Wide Receiver

Available WRs With +32.0 Routes Run Per Game (Past Three Weeks)

Available WRs With +21.0% Target Per Route Run (min. 6 Targets; Past Three Weeks)

Available WRs With +0.45 Fantasy Points Per Route (min. 6 Targets; Past Three Weeks)

  • Mack Hollins, ATL — 0.87 Fantasy Points Per Route
  • Jamison Crowder, WAS — 0.65 Fantasy Points Per Route
  • Jayden Reed, GB — 0.48 Fantasy Points Per Route
  • Cedrick Wilson, MIA — 0.46 Fantasy Points Per Route
  • Kyle Philips, TEN — 0.45 Fantasy Points Per Route

To be honest, I had a hard time looking at myself in the mirror last week after recommending Alec Pierce (even with a warning), so allow me to try and right this ship. I’m seriously considering Arizona’s third-round rookie Michael Wilson as a potential needle-mover after he popped on the usage list. Of course, it also doesn’t hurt that Arizona just underwent an offensive renaissance with the return of Kyler Murray. Whenever you change the QB, you shake the Etch A Sketch and restart target shares. Despite a lack of efficiency (reasonably chalked up to a lack of continuity), Wilson ran the second-most WR routes, earning the second-most targets on the Cards in Week 10. At 6-foot-1, 215 pounds, he physically fits the X-archetype and, at the very least, we can fairly expect starter’s utilization to continue. If Murray stays his path and returns to form, Wilson could be the FLEX spec play we’ve been waiting for.

My last mention comes courtesy of our good friend, the renowned scholar and gentleman Michael Salfino. This one stings a bit because we were on the Rashee Rice train so early. That said, Kansas City’s Justin Watson could be what we hoped for Skyy Moore and Rashee Rice. In two games since returning from an elbow injury, Watson has led all KC wideouts in Targets (8), Yards/Reception (14.3), and Air Yards/Game (73.5). Mix in the fact those passes are coming from the greatest to ever do it in Patrick Mahomes, and you have yourself as compelling an argument as there is for a $0 add.

Tight End

Available TEs With +65.0% Route Participation (Past Three Weeks)

Available TEs Earning +4.0 Targets Per Game (Past Three Weeks)

  • Cade Otton, TB — 6.0 Targets Per Game
  • Tanner Hudson, CIN — 6.0 Targets Per Game
  • Chigoziem Okonkwo, TEN — 5.0 Targets Per Game
  • Tyler Conklin, NYJ — 5.0 Targets Per Game
  • Hunter Henry, NE — 4.7 Targets Per Game
  • Tyler Higbee, LAR — 4.0 Targets Per Game

Available TEs With +35.0 Air Yards Per Game (Past Three Weeks)

  • Josh Whyle, TEN — 41.5 Air Yards Per Game
  • Chigoziem Okonkwo, TEN — 40.7 Air Yards Per Game
  • Cade Otton, TB — 39.0 Air Yards Per Game
  • Andrew Ogletree, IND — 38.0 Air Yards Per Game
  • Luke Musgrave, GB — 37.0 Air Yards Per Game
  • Hunter Henry, NE — 36.7 Air Yards Per Game
  • Mike Gesicki, NE — 35.3 Air Yards Per Game

Top 10 Rest-Of-Season Available TEs Ranked

  1. Jake Ferguson, DAL
  2. Cade Otton, TB 
  3. Tanner Hudson, CIN
  4. Tyler Conklin, NYJ
  5. Cole Kmet, CHI
  6. Jonnu Smith, ATL
  7. Hunter Henry, NE
  8. Chigoziem Okonkwo, TEN
  9. Luke Musgrave, GB
  10. Michael Mayer, LV

Thanks for reading, please make sure to comment below and let us know what you think. Also, keep an eye out for our Live Q&A this Sunday — I will be manning the lines and answering all of your fantasy questions. If you can somehow stand anymore of me, follow me on X @JohnLaghezza for all of my other work.

(Photo of Rico Dowdle: Tim Heitman-USA TODAY Sports)

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