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Week 12 is upon us, which means the fantasy playoffs are right around the corner. This week, 4 teams won't be playing (Cardinals, Chiefs, Chargers, and Vikings) so expect this to be a fairly busy week on the waiver wire. Keep in mind the owner % mentioned is for 10-team standard ESPN PPR leagues. Some of these players below are good for the short-term, while others have more long-term value. You have to make the call on what your team needs. Immediate help to start this week, or a player to stash on your bench and hope he breaks out. Let's get started.
Baker Mayfield: He's only rostered in 45% of ESPN 10-team leagues, and he plays the Dolphins this week.
Jacoby Brissett: He threw for over 300 yards and 4 TDs that last time he played the Texans, so he's worth considering for sure. He's available in 50% of leagues.
Sam Darnold: He's only rostered in 12% of leagues, and he gets the Raiders on Sunday. The matchup doesn't get much better, so grab him if you need him.
Nick Foles: He's available in 80% of leagues and his schedule is pretty nice down the stretch. He plays the Titans this week but next week is really where it's at. He plays the Bucs at home who have been dreadful at stopping the pass.
Jonathan Williams: The Colts' backfield is a little murky right now, and we don't know if Jordan Wilkins will play this week. If Wilkins is out, Williams should get the work on 1st and 2nd down with Nyheim Hines getting the touches on passing downs. Marlon Mack isn't expected to miss a lot of time, so these are short-term options. Williams is widely available.
Derrius Guice and Adrian Peterson: They split the workload pretty evenly last week, so they both might be usable against the Lions defense this week. Detroit is at the bottom of the league when it comes to stopping the run, so it's a beautiful matchup. Guice is rostered in 47% of leagues and Peterson's at 55%.
Bo Scarbrough: He had a nice fantasy game against the Cowboys, but who knows how the Lions will split up the RB touches going forward. He's out there in pretty much every league.
Kalen Ballage: He stinks, but it looks like he'll get the bulk of the carries for Miami. He's rostered in 34% of leagues.
DeVante Parker: I can't believe Parker is still available in so many leagues. This is probably your last chance to add him. He's recorded 100 yards or a TD in 5 of his last 7 games. He's rostered in 45% of leagues.
Darius Slayton: Slayton has 4TDs in his last 3 games, and this dude can run. He's worth adding for upside. If Sterling Shepard returns from his concussion issues, that could negatively impact Slayton's value. Shepard fully practiced on Monday, so you'll have to monitor his status this week. He might be somebody to consider also if he does return to action.
Deebo Samuel: He's been terrific for 2 weeks straight, so he's worth adding. We'll see if he continues to put up big numbers when Emmanuel Sanders gets healthy, but Samuel looks good for the next couple of weeks. He should put up decent numbers in what could be a shootout against the Packers this week. Samuel is dealing with a shoulder injury, but he's expected to play. He's rostered in 33% of leagues.
Mecole Hardman: Tyreek Hill injured his hamstring on Monday night, and Hardman was used as his replacement. Hardman has similar traits to Hill, so he should be a good option until Hill returns from injury. Keep in mind, the Chiefs have a bye this week, and it's certainly possible Hill is ready to return in week 13. But if Hill misses a few weeks, Hardman could help lead your team to the fantasy playoffs. He's available in 80% of leagues, and makes for a good handcuff to Hill at the very least.
Kyle Rudolph: He's recorded 4TDs in his last 3 games, so he's clearly the guy you should target. He's only rostered in 41% of leagues, so he's out there for the taking.
Noah Fant: He's only rostered in 14% of leagues, and this guy can really run, especially for a TE. He's a great option if you're looking for some upside and tired of starting guys like Jimmy Graham.
This week, the Browns have the honor of playing the Dolphins, so they are a good streaming option. If you have any questions, feel free to hit me up on Twitter. Be sure to check out my show MoneyLine with Jerry Bo on ESPN 97.5FM. We're on every Sunday morning from 10-noon, and we'll talk a lot of fantasy football and NFL gambling getting you ready for kickoff every Sunday.
Ten months from free agency, José Altuve knew what he wanted.
“Houston is my home,” he said.
He achieved his goal to remain with the Astros, agreeing to a contract that will pay $125 million from 2025-29, when he will be 39.
“I have obviously two homes," he said Wednesday at a news conference, a day after the deal was announced. "I grew up in Venezuela, my country. Every time I go there, I tell my wife ‘Let’s go home.’ And then when it’s time to come back, I tell her ‘Let’s come back home.’”
An eight-time All-Star, two-time World Series champion and the 2017 AL MVP, Altuve had started to discuss free agency last year with wife Nina.
“I come back every day, after a night game, and I see my daughters sleeping," Altuve said. "I can wake up the next day and take them to school, so that was where the conversation where everything started, and we decided to stay here in Houston. We will never move from here.”
Houston Mayor John Whitmire declared Wednesday Jose Altuve Day, with the date, 2/7, matching Altuve’s jersey number. More than a dozen of Altuve’s teammates and coaches attended the news conference along with Hall of Fame second baseman Craig Biggio.
“Jose Altuve is the heartbeat of this organization,” Astros general manager Dana Brown said. “He’s a franchise player. He’s on pace to be in the Hall of Fame. He’s a fan favorite, and without a doubt, he’s the spark to our Clubhouse, to our dugout, and he’s an Astro for life.”
Altuve's deal raises his career earnings above $300 million, the most among second basemen. It was negotiated by Scott Boras, who also represents Astros third baseman Alex Bregman. Boras said he spoke with Brown on Wednesday about Bregman, who can become a free agent after the World Series.
“Alex has made it clear that he’s open to listening to whatever the Astros have to say,” Boras said.
Just 5-foot-6. Altuve is among the shortest big leaguers. He went to an Astros tryout and was sent home without a contract but returned the next day at the urging of his father. He signed for $15,000 as a 16-year old in 2007.
Altuve debut in 2011 in the first of three straight 100-plus-loss seasons and helped set a winning culture for a team that went on to World Series titles in 2017 and '22. The Astros have reached the AL Championship Series in seven straight seasons.
“ José does a lot of things that not a lot of people get to see,” Astros manager Joe Espada said, “I get to witness his ability to connect with his teammates, to lead a clubhouse, to when we need somebody to step up and speak up and he speaks, and how he commands the room.”
Altuve joked that he didn't remember the lean years on Wednesday but said they made him a better player.
“Obviously, nobody likes to lose, so I think as an organization we learned a lot from those games, and we did the transition," he said. "Now we are a winning team.”