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Pickups of the Week: Wendell Smallwood, Tyler Boyd are priority fantasy adds

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Each week throughout the NFL season, we identify six players to target on fantasy waiver wires, plus a lightly owned D/ST. All are available in a majority of Yahoo leagues. Add as needed.

Wendell Smallwood, RB, Philadelphia Eagles, 4%

Ryan Mathews and Darren Sproles both suffered injuries in Sunday’s loss at Seattle, which meant rookie Wendell Smallwood functioned as the featured runner for Philly in the second-half. He performed admirably in a degree-of-difficulty matchup, gaining 79 scrimmage yards on 17 touches (13 carries, four receptions). Smallwood also carried the ball 13 times for 70 yards the prior week against Atlanta, so he was emerging as a relevant piece of the Eagles offense before Mathews (MCL) and Sproles (ribs) went down.

We’ve hyped Smallwood around here before, you might recall, because he flashed serious big-play ability at the collegiate level for West Virginia. He averaged 6.4 YPC for the Mountaineers and tied for the FBS lead in runs of 10-plus yards, matching the total delivered by Leonard Fournette and Derrick Henry. It seems likely that he’ll serve as Philadelphia’s full-workload featured runner for at least one week, and perhaps more. Bid aggressively.

FAAB bid: $22

Wendell Smallwood, suddenly a top-20 fantasy back. (Photo by Otto Greule Jr/Getty Images)
Wendell Smallwood, suddenly a top-20 fantasy back. (Photo by Otto Greule Jr/Getty Images)

Kenneth Dixon, RB, Baltimore Ravens, 28%

To date, the fantasy community hasn’t fully embraced Dixon, presumably because he’s still running in a committee with Terrance West. Just please note that the snap counts have been nearly even in Baltimore’s backfield, and Dixon has averaged 6.5 YPC over his last two games (12 carries, 78 yards). He’s a talented receiving threat who caught 34 balls for 467 yards as a collegiate senior last year, so he pairs well with West in the current RBBC arrangement. Baltimore is set to face two bottom-five run defenses in the weeks ahead (Cincinnati and Miami), so both West and Dixon deserve serious consideration from fantasy owners. The expectation is that Dixon’s role will increase moving forward, so consider this to be last call.

FAAB bid: $16

Mike Gillislee, RB, Buffalo Bills, 25% owned

By now, this should be a familiar fire drill for fantasy owners: LeSean McCoy exited with an injury on Sunday, making Gillislee a must-add in virtually any fantasy format. This time, Shady is dealing with a dislocated thumb that required surgery on Monday. McCoy is expected to play in Week 12, but he’ll obviously be compromised — he might as well have a big red target on his hand. Gillislee is sure to see an increase in workload in the matchup with Jacksonville, and perhaps in the weeks beyond. He’s averaging 5.8 YPC this season on 56 rush attempts, so it’s not as if he’s just another replacement-level back. Regardless of McCoy’s status this week, Gillislee belongs in the flex discussion.

FAAB bid: $8

Tyler Boyd won't lack for targets, with A.J. Green sidelined by injury. (Photo by Joe Robbins/Getty Images)
Tyler Boyd won’t lack for targets with A.J. Green sidelined by injury. (Photo by Joe Robbins/Getty Images)

Tyler Boyd, WR, Cincinnati Bengals, 1%

Cincinnati’s offense just endured a brutal week in terms of injuries, losing the team’s two most dynamic skill players. A.J. Green checked out with a hamstring injury that might very well end his season, and running back Giovani Bernard tore the ACL in his left knee. Horrible stuff. It should go without saying that Cincy cannot adequately replace either player from the depths of the team’s current roster, but the season rolls on nevertheless. In Green’s absence, rookie receiver Tyler Boyd saw his largest target total of the year on Sunday (8), catching six passes for 54 yards and one score. Boyd lacks Green’s freakish athleticism, but he has good size (6-foot-2) and excellent hands. He was never not open at the collegiate level, averaging 84.7 catches and 1120.3 receiving yards over his three seasons at Pittsburgh. Boyd should see a big uptick in targets with Green out of the mix, and he has top-35 potential. He’s clearly the priority add at receiver for Week 12.

FAAB bid: $9

Marqise Lee, WR, Jacksonville Jaguars, 6%

Somewhat quietly, Lee is delivering by far his best season in Jacksonville, having already established new career highs in receptions (42) and receiving yards (544). He finally found the end-zone on Sunday at Detroit, producing multiple highlight plays along the way. Lee has seen at least six targets in eight of his last nine games, so workload hasn’t been a major worry. Jacksonville faces a middle-of-the-pack Buffalo pass defense in Week 12, and Lee has clearly earned the trust of his (deeply flawed) quarterback.

FAAB bid: $2

Ryan Tannehill is facing one of the league's most user-friendly defenses in Week 12 (Getty Images)
Ryan Tannehill is facing one of the league’s most user-friendly defenses in Week 12. (Getty Images)

Ryan Tannehill, QB, Miami Dolphins, 24%

It’s rarely a clinic with Tannehill, but he’s coming off back-to-back multi-touchdown performances and he gets a home date with the Niners in Week 12. San Francisco’s defense has allowed the second-most passing scores in the NFL so far this season (23), and they only rarely intercept opposing quarterbacks (7 INTs). Yes, we can expect Jay Ajayi to run wild against the Niners, because everyone roasts this defense on the ground. But don’t be shocked if Tannehill produces another two-score effort and again finishes among the top-16 at his position. He’s definitely on the radar in deeper pools.

FAAB bid: $5

San Diego Chargers, 18%

San Diego’s defense is coming off a bye and preparing to face Brock Osweiler. Does this really require additional explanation? Osweiler entered Week 11 having topped 200 passing yards just once in his last five games, and he’ll be facing Joey Bosa & Co. on a short week. San Diego’s D is tied for third in the league in interceptions (11) and this group ranks fourth in total takeaways (19). Use ’em with confidence at Houston.

FAAB bid: $2

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