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Raymond Summerlin

Waiver Wired

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Waiver Wire: Week 17

Tuesday, December 25, 2018


Welcome to the 17th and final edition of Waiver Wired for the 2018 season. Most fantasy championships have been decided, but there are still some leagues which play their most important fake football game on the day many NFL teams are playing their least important real one. For those poor souls, there will be an overview of which teams still have something to play for as well as a look at some fill-in options at each fantasy position at the end of this week’s column. First, let’s look back at the most impactful waiver adds of the 2018 fantasy season.

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Waiver Wire MVPs
While the term “league-winner” gets thrown around too often when it comes to the wire, there are a handful of players every season which emerge throughout the year to seriously shift the balance of fantasy leagues and outperform players drafted in the first few rounds in August. This year was certainly no exception, and limiting this list of MVPs to just five was difficult – which is why I cheated.

1. James Conner – Added Week 1, Jaylen Samuels – Added Week 14
Considering how pivotal Conner was in the playoff chase and how much Samuels has contributed during the playoffs, this duo has to share this reward. Conner gets top billing simply because he did it longer. Taking over as the clear bell-cow with Le’Veon Bell holding out, Conner averaged 115 yards from scrimmage over the first 12 games with 13 touchdowns, good enough to be the RB5 through the first 13 weeks. He did not have as much luck as a touchdown scorer, but Samuels was no slouch himself after taking over in Week 14. He averaged 109 yards from scrimmage over his three games as the starter and finally found the end zone against the Saints. Fantasy players who leaned on this backfield banked RB1 production all season for the price of a waiver add in most leagues.

2. Nick Chubb – Added Week 7
Chubb got started a bit later than Phillip Lindsay (below), but he has simply been a fantasy monster since the Carlos Hyde trade. In the nine games since Chubb has scored eight touchdowns including at least one in all but three of those contests. He had 75, 100, and 115 yards from scrimmage in the games without a score, and he averaged 106 yards from scrimmage over that span. In short, he has been a solid and consistent RB1 for more than half of the season. Not bad for a waiver add.

3. Phillip Lindsay – Added Week 2
Chubb gets the nod in part because of Lindsay’s slow finish to the season, but that should not discount the value he offered as an early-season addition. Lindsay was a viable fantasy starter throughout, but from Week 7 to Week 14 he was an elite option, averaging 103 yards from scrimmage with eight touchdowns in seven games. Even with his lackluster performance in the fantasy playoffs, Lindsay heads into Week 17 as the RB10 in standard scoring.

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4. Marlon Mack – Added Week 7
I was lower than I should have been on Mack the week he was available on the wire in large part because of his struggles as a rookie. He quickly proved me an idiot with 308 yards from scrimmage and four touchdowns in Weeks 7 and 8. He did not have the shelf life of Lindsay or the consistency of Chubb – he totaled 71 scoreless yards in two games against the Jaguars – but Mack scored four touchdowns in the fantasy playoffs including a massive and unexpected 139-2 rushing line against the Cowboys in Week 15.

5a. Tyler Lockett – Added Week 1
5b. Tyler Boyd – Added Week 3
Waiver receivers are rarely as impactful as running backs both because the best “backups” play enough snaps to already be rostered and the position is incredibly deep. That should not diminish, however, the value both Lockett and Boyd offered as somewhat unheralded early waiver additions. An explosive but inconsistent fantasy player early in his career, Lockett found his scoring shoes in 2018 and rode them all the way to nine touchdowns in 15 games. It looks like Boyd will finish his season on the sidelines, but even as the sometimes No. 2 in a somewhat dysfunctional passing offense, he managed to average 77 yards with seven touchdowns over 13 games to close out the fantasy season.

Honorable Mention: 
Derrick Henry never dipped low enough in rostered percentage to qualify for the waiver column – except on The Drop List, mea culpa – but he was certainly available on the wire in many leagues heading into the playoffs. Those with the foresight to add him were rewarded with seven touchdowns and 492 rushing yards over the next three games, almost assuredly helping said team reach the promised land. Like fellow Titan Billy Volek way back in 2004, Henry’s playoff run will not soon be forgotten…Like Henry, Tarik Cohen was found on the wire in some leagues – again, mea culpa – after a lackluster first three games. All he has done since then is average 84 yards from scrimmage with 7 touchdowns, although he did let teams down in the finals…James White and Matt Breida certainly deserve mentions, but they were just a bit too inconsistent to make the top five. Gus Edwards has simply not done it long enough to be considered among the top backs, but he has been quite the find since Lamar Jackson took over at quarterback…It was a game of musical chairs at tight end all season, but one of the earliest finds on the wire turned out to be the most resilient. Added in most formats after a big Week 1, Jared Cook has run hot and cold, but he had seven games with at least 100 yards or a touchdown…The quarterback wire is mostly reserved for streamers, but there were some weekly starters available. The top of that list is the Tampa Bay quarterback. Whether it was Ryan Fitzpatrick or Jameis Winston or Ryan Fitzpatrick again or Jameis Winston again, the Bucs’ quarterback was one of the top options in the league all season until running into the Ravens Week 15. Rookies Lamar Jackson and Baker Mayfield were also featured almost weekly in the waiver column as underrated fantasy assets.  


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Raymond Summerlin is a football writer for Rotoworld.com. He can be found on Twitter at @RMSummerlin.
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