Hold on, folks. We’re nearing the end zone of this fantasy football season, and waiver wire pickups are more important than ever. Your league’s Shiva Bowl Trophy is inching closer to its rightful owner, but even if you’re the Oakland Raiders of your group, that shouldn’t stop you from combing through the fantasy waiver wire. After all, no one wants to take home the Sacko Trophy, right?
10. Jonnu Smith – Tennessee Titans TE (0.6% owned in ESPN)
The Titans are starting to find their groove on offense. The unit was full of promise prior to the season, but it has underperformed over the first several weeks of the 2018 campaign. We say that because along with the improvement in that area is the increase in the chances for Smith to produce meaningful numbers.
In fact, he’s now scored a touchdown in each of Tennessee’s last two games. Better to grab him now than when he becomes a hotter waiver wire item.
9. Maurice Harris – Washington Redskins WR (9.7% owned in ESPN)
Harris has led the Redskins in receiving yards in back-to-back games, a stretch that includes Washington’s Week 9 loss to the Atlanta Falcons in which he had 124 receiving yards on 10 catches and 12 targets. He led the team again with 52 receiving yards in Week 10 against the Tampa Bay Buccaneers, pulling down five catches on five targets.
Harris has yet to score a touchdown this season, but so long as Alex Smith is looking his direction, the third-year pro will compile respectable points, especially in PPR leagues.
8. Jeff Heuerman – Denver Broncos TE (7.9% owned in ESPN)
Thanks to a Week 10 bye, Heuerman remains available in over 90 percent of ESPN leagues despite a huge performance during Week 9’s game against the Houston Texans, catching 10 of 11 targets for 83 receiving yards and a touchdown. That’s also the second game in a row that saw him find the end zone. The departure of Demaryius Thomas helped boost his stock and importance in the Broncos’ passing attack.
7. Rashaad Penny – Seattle Seahawks RB (13.0% owned in ESPN)
Penny had the finest performance of his young NFL career in Week 10, rushing for 108 yards and a touchdown on 12 carries against the Los Angeles. He capitalized on the absence of Chris Carson, who was out with a groin injury.
While Mike Davis got the starting nod in the Rams game, it was Penny who won the backfield snap battle with 37 to Davis’ 27. Carson is expected to play this coming Thursday against the Green Bay Packers, making touches a bit harder to come by for the three running backs, but Penny is the one coming off a nice performance, so head coach Pete Carroll might opt to ride the hot hand.
In any case, Penny should have some flex play appeal against the Packers’ run defense that’s 22nd in the league with 120.9 rushing yards allowed per game.
6. Anthony Miller – Chicago Bears WR (13.3% owned in ESPN)
Bears quarterback Mitchell Trubisky is getting more confident throwing the ball, which is good news for Chicago’s downfield pieces, including wideout Anthony Miller. He has been cashing it big time in Chicago’s passing attack of late, scoring three touchdowns in the last five games while seeing no fewer than six targets in four of those contests. He torched a Darius Slay-less Detroit Lions defense in Week 10, going off for 122 receiving yards and a touchdown on five receptions and six targets.
5. Josh Doctson – Washington Redskins WR (16.8% owned in ESPN)
Another Redskins receiver, huh. With Paul Richardson out for the rest of the season, Doctson is now a go-to guy for quarterback Alex Smith. Doctson has grabbed a touchdown in each of Washington’s last two games and is also the most targeted Redskins player in the end zone so far this season with five. He should be owned.
4. John Ross – Cincinnati Bengals WR (17.6% owned in ESPN)
Ross has been hard to trust in fantasy for the most part of his career, but with A.J. Green out for multiple weeks, the Bengals need him on the field lining up across from Tyler Boyd. In last week’s loss to the New Orleans Saints, Ross caught two of six targets and turned them into 39 receiving yards and a touchdown. The absence of Green combined with the increased defensive focus on Boyd should give Ross some extra looks downfield.
3. Willie Snead – Baltimore Ravens WR (20.4% owned in ESPN)
PPR league owners have every reason to inject their roster with some Willie Snead. The fourth-year veteran only has a touchdown to show so far, but he’s been a ball magnet on the field. He is second among Baltimore players in targets with 72, but he paces the team in receptions with 47. He’s been targeted 36 times in the last four games.
2. Elijah McGuire – New York Jets RB (23.2% owned in ESPN)
McGuire picked up a total of 57 yards from scrimmage in Week 10’s loss to the Buffalo Bills. The Jets don’t have an inspiring offensive environment, but the lack of dependable weapons has opened a window for McGuire to make a case for why he should get more touches out of the backfield and more targets in passing plays. He’s becoming a big threat to Isaiah Crowell’s usage rate, as evidenced by the 32 snaps he saw in the Bills game compared to just 19 by Crowell.
1. Frank Gore – Miami Dolphins RB (33.0% owned in ESPN)
Don’t wait for Gore’s 75th birthday before scooping him up from the waiver wire as an important piece of your fantasy squad. In last week’s loss to the Packers, Gore led his team with 90 rushing yards on 13 touches, adding further proof of why fantasy managers shouldn’t be scared of adding the veteran to their roster. Gore is very much involved in Miami’s offense despite the presence of Kenyan Drake, whose inconsistency is leaving the door eternally open for the ageless wonder tailback.