The Fantasy Football playoffs are going to be here before you know it, and waiver wire pickups can still make a huge difference. The following few weeks should be spent wisely by owners, especially those who are combing through the waiver wire looking for reinforcements. We’re here to help you with that.
*The following players are all owned under 50.0 percent of ESPN leagues.
10. Gus Edwards – Baltimore Ravens RB (0.0% owned in ESPN)
Edwards is virtually ignored in ESPN fantasy leagues like he’s got the plague, as evidenced by his zero percent ownership, but it’s time to embrace the undrafted rookie product of Rutgers after he rushed for 115 yards and a touchdown on 17 carries in Week 11’s home win over the Cincinnati Bengals. He’s a speculative add based on the fact that he had 32 more snaps than any Ravens’ running back in that game.
9. Chris Conley – Kansas City Chiefs WR (1.5% owned in ESPN)
Conley had his contributions to the record-breaking Monday Night Game game against the Chiefs, as he recorded 74 receiving yards and two touchdowns on seven catches and eight receptions. He benefited from the (almost complete) absence of Sammy Watkins, and should continue to so long as the oft-hurt former Clemson Tigers star is on the shelf.
8. Rex Burkhead – New England Patriots RB (9.0% owned in ESPN)
Burkhead is still on injured reserve, but he’s soon going to find his way out of it. Once he does, he should have a fairly significant role behind rookie Sony Michel in the backfield. Plus, he’ll make for an excellent handcuff should anything happen to Michel, who’s already missed games this season due to injuries.
7. Tre’Quan Smith – New Orleans Saints WR (13.3% owned in ESPN)
Smith is coming off what was easily his best game of his career so far. Smith led all New Orleans players in last week’s annihilation of the Philadelphia Eagles with 157 receiving yards and a touchdown on 10 catches and 13 targets. He’s been on the field in no fewer than 48 snaps in four of the Saints’ last five games. He should continue to benefit in a robust Saints offense that is tops in the NFL in pass completion percentage.
6. Willie Snead – Baltimore Ravens WR (21.2% owned in ESPN)
Ravens quarterback Lamar Jackson had a need for Snead in last week’s home win over the visiting Bengals. Snead dominated Baltimore’s target share with eight. He finished with 51 receiving yards on five catches, which are not scintillating numbers but underline how visible he is to Baltimore signal-callers. He has averaged 8.8 targets over the Ravens’ last five contests.
5. Lamar Jackson – Baltimore Ravens QB (22.4% owned in ESPN)
Joe Flacco’s status remains up in the air, but the Ravens must have liked what they saw from Jackson in Week 11 against the Bengals in which he had 150 passing yards on 13-of-19 completion with zero touchdowns. He threw a badly placed pass that got intercepted, but he made up for it with his ability to turn on the boosters and burn rubber, as he finished with 117 rushing yards on 27 carries.
It’s what Jackson does with his legs that bring tremendous value to his upside, and assuming he starts this week, Jackson will find himself in a tasty matchup with the Raiders’ defense that is ranked second worst against the run.
4. Josh Reynolds – Los Angeles Rams WR (26.0% owned in ESPN)
Reynolds didn’t need much time to show he’s a fine replacement for Cooper Kupp, who’s out for the season with a knee injury. Against the Chiefs on Monday, Reynolds pulled down six of eight targets and converted those into 80 receiving yards and a touchdown. Reynolds is behind Brandin Cooks in the pecking order and possibly Robert Woods, but having capitalized on his increased opportunity in the last game, he’s likely going to be a fixture in the Rams’ passing attack moving forward.
3. Josh Adams – Philadelphia Eagles RB (27.9% owned in ESPN)
Adams finally had his breakout game in Week 11’s loss to the Saints. In that game, Adams led the team with 53 rushing yards and a touchdown on seven carries. It looks like the Eagles are confident in handing the keys to the their backfield to Adams, who has paced the Eagles in carries in each of their last three games.
2. Frank Gore – Miami Dolphins RB (31.0% owned in ESPN)
Does Gore have to come knocking at your doorstep before you pick him up off the waivers? He’s still incredibly under-owned in ESPN leagues despite the fact that he’s the No. 1 option in the Dolphins’ ground game. Gore, who had 90 rushing yards on 13 carries in last week’s road loss to the Green Bay Packers, leads Miami in carries (117) and rushing yards (528).
1. Theo Riddick – Detroit Lions RB (33.1% owned in ESPN)
Riddick hurt his knee in Week 11 and is very unlikely to play on Thanksgiving Day match against the Chicago Bears at home. In other words, Riddick is in line to get more touches out from the backfield in addition to his role as a pass-catching tailback. He’s a more preferred add in PPR leagues.