Fantasy football waiver wire: Rashaad Penny offers best bang for the buck

At this stage of the season, most fantasy owners are far more likely to improve their rosters by making trades than by sifting through the waiver wire. Nevertheless, there still might be an opportunity to build some depth for the stretch run … or prepare for the playoffs. 

Recommended bids based on a free agent acquisition budget (FAAB) of $100 for the season.

BEST BETS

RB Rashaad Penny, Seattle Seahawks ($10). As a first-round pick, Penny was probably on someone's roster to start the season. But his lack of production and his plunge down the depth chart likely got him cut. In Week 10, Chris Carson's injury opened up playing time — and Penny cashed in. He ran for 108 yards on 12 carries, and will have a solid share of the backfield rotation this week even if Carson returns. 

WR Anthony Miller, Chicago Bears ($8). Another late-blooming rookie, Miller caught five passes for a season-high 122 yards and a touchdown against an admittedly depleted Detroit Lions secondary. The Bears offense has been clicking lately, but they'll face a tough challenge this week from the Minnesota Vikings. 

WR Josh Reynolds, Los Angeles Rams ($6). The Rams were dealt a crushing blow Sunday when Cooper Kupp suffered a torn anterior cruciate ligament. Reynolds had a two-TD game in Week 8 when Kupp was out, so he could thrive once again as the team's No. 3 wideout.

REPLACEMENTS

WR Zay Jones, Buffalo Bills ($4). Jones is coming off his best game of the season, catching eight passes from new quarterback Matt Barkley for 93 yards and a touchdown. However, the Bills are on bye this week and they don't know if Barkley or Josh Allen will start in Week 12. 

RB Giovani Bernard, Cincinnati Bengals ($4). Recovered from a knee injury and playing for the first time since Week 4, Bernard served as a change-of-pace back behind starter Joe Mixon. He had only two rushes and two receptions, but he could gain a larger share going forward if there are no issues with the knee. 

SPECULATIVE PICKUPS

QB Lamar Jackson, Baltimore Ravens. Starter Joe Flacco is battling a hip injury and coach John Harbaugh says he could still play on Sunday, even if he doesn't log any practice time during the week. If Flacco is out, however, Jackson becomes an interesting addition because of his strong arm and his outstanding running ability. But beware: Robert Griffin III could also be in the mix to start.

WR Brandon Marshall, New Orleans Saints. Sadly, the Dez Bryant era in New Orleans lasted all of two days before he tore his Achilles tendon. The role of veteran receiver now falls to Marshall, who just signed this week. It'll be difficult for him to contribute quickly.

RBs Malcolm Brown, Los Angeles Rams and Spencer Ware, Kansas City Chiefs. These two represent a class of understudies who could get a chance to take over the main roles on their teams if an unexpected injury occurs. Playoff-bound fantasy teams should start thinking about adding the handcuffs to their key players over the final three weeks of the regular season.

Possibly still available from last week's list:  WR John Ross, TE Jeff Heuerman

Follow Gardner on Twitter @SteveAGardner

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