Before we close the books on the 2018 season, we take a look back and talk about the best of the “Waiver Wire Wonders” from the course of this season. The high-impact additions were not plentiful this season, but there were several players who came out of the depths to provide a much-needed fantasy boost. Thanks to everyone for reading all season. On to the wonders!
Ryan Fitzpatrick, Tampa Bay
We start with what to many will be a controversial choice, but as they say “numbers don’t lie.” With Jameis Winston on the sideline for the first few games of the season, Tampa Bay brought in Fitzpatrick and he “won” the starting job out of training camp. Not much was expected, but then Fitzpatrick went ahead and threw for 417 yards and four touchdowns in the opening game of the season. If fantasy owners were not convinced, Week 2 brought much of the same, another 400-yard game with four more touchdown throws. Sadly, the ride would only last one more week, and after opening the season with three 400-plus yard games and 11 touchdown throws, three interceptions in Week 3 and a rough start to Week 4 brought Winston back onto the field. Fitzpatrick would have a brief resurgence mid-season, coming on in relief in Week 8, then putting together two more strong games in Weeks 9 and 10 before the ride would end and he would not return to the field. For the eight games that he saw action, he averaged just under 300 yards and over two touchdowns per game. He was not exactly a “one hit wonder, but he was a two time “Waiver Wonder” who flamed out early both times.
Baker Mayfield, Cleveland
After taking over as the full-time starter in Week 4, Mayfield and Cleveland enjoyed a lot of success this year, and the numbers for Mayfield were pleasing to the fantasy owner. Over the course of his 14 weeks of play, he averaged 266 yards and close to two touchdowns throws per game. His best effort was Week 12 when he tossed four touchdowns and no interceptions against Cincinnati. Down the stretch, he was strong, ending the season with eight touchdown throws in the final three games of the season. He was a waiver wire wonder who did well and was very consistent, and he finished just outside the Top 10 as far as fantasy quarterback performance from Week 4 to the end.
Josh Allen, Buffalo
After a rough start to the year, it may have been a blessing in disguise that Allen was hurt and had to miss a month from Weeks 4-8. After the bye week, Allen was back as the starter in Week 12, and from there he was the No. 2 fantasy quarterback over the final stretch of the season. His passing numbers were not spectacular as he averaged just over 200 yards a game while throwing eight touchdowns over the six games. Where he made up for that was in the running game, averaging close to 80 yards per game while scoring five times over that span. He was a top producing fantasy quarterback and a strong mid-season “Waiver Wire Wonder.”
Phillip Lindsay, Denver
One of the bigger surprises this year, and the top “Waiver Wire Wonder” of the season, is Phillip Lindsay. Denver is a team that over the years has produced some unlikely fantasy gold at the running back position, and I know many owners in leagues that I play in make it a point to make sure several Denver backs are selected on draft day. Having an undrafted rookie deep down the preseason depth chart emerge as a Top 15 overall fantasy producer at the position is a story that not many could have foreseen nor predicted. After rushing for 71 yards against Seattle on opening day, Lindsay got the attention of the astute fantasy owners. He backed that up with 107 yards on only 14 carries, a performance that was likely the last time he was available in many leagues. After being tossed from a Week 3 contest against Baltimore, he settled in as the starter for Denver, rushing for over 1,000 yards over the course of the season. He sprinkled in nine rushing touchdowns and became more involved in the passing game as the season progressed. Unfortunately, those who were able to ride him into their fantasy championship game saw him leave the Week 16 contest with a hand injury that ended his season. Overall, he was a great add who was a fantasy starter all season long.
Nick Chubb, Cleveland
Working behind starter Carlos Hyde, the rookie was biding his time waiting for an opportunity for some more playing time. The coaching staff saw the potential, and Cleveland traded Hyde, de facto making Chubb the starter in Week 7. He did not disappoint, and from that point on Chubb ended up with numbers making him the No. 6 fantasy running back over that time span. He averaged a little over 80 yards in those 10 contests, finding the endzone eight times. Many fantasy owners who took a chance on him had released him, making him a solid midseason “Waiver Wire Wonder” pickup.
Damien Williams, Kansas City
For those leagues that still had free agent options in Week 14, Damien Williams ended up being a white hot “Waiver Wire Wonder.” With the suspension of Kareem Hunt, then the injury to Spencer Ware, Williams came to the forefront as main ball carrier in Kansas City for the final four games of the season. He scored twice against Baltimore in Week 14, then went on to ring up an average of over 100 yards in total offense the last three games, which included finding the endzone four times in those three games. He was a Top 5 fantasy running back over those four weeks.