While Nico Collins has had outside fantasy football value all season, he is an intriguing Week 12 waiver wire target after his last two performances. Since returning from a groin injury, the Houston Texans‘ WR has been heavily involved, playing over 80% of the offensive snaps.
Entering Week 12, is Collins now a player that should be a target for fantasy managers, and how should he be prioritized this week?
Is Nico Collins a Waiver Wire Target for Fantasy Managers in Week 12?
In the last two games, Collins has 17 targets, with 10 receptions for 97 yards and a touchdown. He has never seen more opportunities over a two-game stretch than in the last two weeks, even if the output has not been as high as we might have hoped with those opportunities.
Across the season, Collins is averaging 5.88 targets per game, so this seems to be a concerted effort to get him more involved in the offense since his return. Before the injury, he had only topped six targets in one other game this season and three times in his two-year career.
There also appears to have been a slight shift in Collins’ usage since his return. His rookie year’s average depth of target (ADOT) was 11.3. While his ADOT this year is at 11.7 for the season, it has been much lower in the last two weeks. In Week 10, his ADOT dropped to 9.7 and then down to 6.2 last week. That may just be a diluted sample size, but it is worth noting.
The reason that’s worth noting? Collins had a 71.4% catch rate with the 6.2 ADOT last week. That is in contrast to a career catch rate of 57%, having been below 60% in both weeks. The downside is that despite the higher catch rate, it has resulted in Collins averaging less than 10 yards per reception in the last two weeks (compared to a career average of 13.9).
That drop in ADOT significantly impacts Collins’ value in Underdog Fantasy Best Ball tournaments. If that trend continues, he will rely on touchdowns to produce value weekly. He would still be worth a late-round selection because of his 17 targets in the last two weeks, but it is a later pick than if his ADOT had been around 11 in the last two weeks.
Additionally, Texans head coach Lovie Smith was noncommittal about which QB would be playing in Week 12. That adds further confusion to the fantasy value of Collins going forward. The opportunities he has had in recent weeks certainly make him intriguing, but with uncertainty over both his floor and ceiling, it will be tough to know when to start him.
How Should Fantasy Managers Prioritize Collins This Week?
There is a lot to unpack regarding the WR waiver wire priority. Parris Campbell and Donovan Peoples-Jones have floors that make them the clear front-runners. However, after that, there are several different ways to look at this. Besides Collins, the main names to consider are Treylon Burks, Darius Slayton, and Demarcus Robinson.
Burks has just come back from the injured reserve and also saw a shift in his usage. He has 14 targets in the past two games, catching 10 for 135 yards. However, the Tennessee Titans’ passing game has been tough to trust. So, while Burks is coming off a 111-receiving-yard performance, it is hard to know whether the Titans can be as good passing the ball going forward as they were last Thursday.
Additionally, the Titans have a couple of tough matchups against the Cincinnati Bengals and Philadelphia Eagles in the next two weeks. Collins has a slightly easier pair of matchups in the form of the Miami Dolphins and Cleveland Browns, so he gets the slight edge.
However, Collins sits behind Darius Slayton and Demarcus Robinson in the waiver priority among these options. Slayton’s value has seen a huge boost with the news that Wan’Dale Robinson has suffered a torn ACL. Slayton had 10 targets last week, catching six for 86 yards. He now has more than 50 receiving yards in each of his last four games.
Meanwhile, Robinson has 23 targets over the past three weeks, totaling 204 receiving yards in that stretch. With Rashod Bateman on the IR, Robinson should continue seeing solid usage as the Baltimore Ravens’ No. 1 WR option right now. With more certainty at QB, he is arguably the third priority of this list behind Peoples-Jones and Campbell.
Where does that leave Collins? Well, he is the fifth priority on this list right now, and that means fantasy managers should not get too ambitious with their FAAB (or waiver priority). Campbell and Peoples-Jones are potential league winners, so they should command 20-25% of your remaining FAAB. Robinson (15% region) and Slayton (around 10%) are the next-best targets as potential leading receivers for their teams.
That puts Collins and Burks in the 5-7% region. Both have a lot of upside, but there are also a lot of question marks. It will be hard to throw either into your starting lineup blindly. Therefore, you should show caution on the pair and prioritize your FAAB elsewhere at the position.