Fantasy Football Waiver Wire Pickups: Week 11
Week 10 wasn’t nearly as eventful as Week 9 — no huge fights, no random Sunday-morning inactives due to disciplinary issues, nothin’. We even skirted the injury bug, for the most part. I know, Devonta Freeman owners, it still hurts. To make matters worse on that end, Tevin Coleman is owned in so many leagues that you can’t even bid for his backup! You can pick up Terron Ward if you’re in those dire 16-team leagues, but I wouldn’t spend up.
With the last bye week approaching, now is when many of you can not only be making those injured player stashes, but also the notable RB handcuffs. Players such as James Conner and Charcandrick West should find their way onto benches. As usual, ownership levels discussed here are taken from Yahoo leagues.
Priority Pickups – <30% Owned
Jamaal Williams (RB – GB) 7% owned (20% FAAB)
The good news for Williams’ speculators is that Aaron Jones is likely to miss at least three weeks with a knee injury, and while Ty Montgomery‘s rib injury may not force him to miss Week 11, it likely limits him. Williams is also the bigger body with a more typical RB frame, but the bad news, of course, is that Brett Hundley still leads this offense and Williams himself simply hasn’t looked good. With Green Bay facing a hit-or-miss Baltimore defense next, hopefully, his line can win in the trenches and create some space to build confidence early.
Rod Smith (RB – DAL) 26% owned (14% FAAB in PPR)
In the Cowboys’ first Ezekiel Elliott-less game, it was Alfred Morris who notched 11 carries to Smith’s three. That stat alone would be discouraging, but Smith would also make four catches for 29 total yards on the day to show off his PPR muscle. Dallas was stampeded by Atlanta’s defense as we saw how badly they need Tyron Smith on the line. The only good news for anything Dallas-related out of that was Smith ended up playing on 63 percent of the snaps. They should find themselves playing from behind with Philadelphia up next on the schedule — especially with Sean Lee on the shelf — meaning a whole lot of Smith.
Rex Burkhead (NE – RB) 11% owned (10% FAAB in PPR)
Burkhead’s versatility was taken to another level on Sunday night against Denver, as he scored on a slant route after lining up as a wide receiver, only to then block a punt. These are the things that make Bill Belichick “smile,” and while we can’t ignore that a Denver matchup profiles more as a pass-catcher’s game, Burkhead was also given some opportunities to smash between the tackles. He would only rush for 36 yards on 10 carries, but his three catches for 27 yards and the score highlight his potential in PPR leagues. If Chris Hogan continues to miss time then don’t be surprised to see good ol’ Rex split out wide more.
Samaje Perine (WAS – RB) 7% owned (10% FAAB)
Rob Kelley has been diagnosed with a high-ankle and MCL sprain after going down early in Week 10, which leaves Perine as the next man up for those tough, between-the-tackles carries. Even though Perine hasn’t impressed when given a chance before, Washington’s offensive line is finally intact and may improve his lot as they become a unit once again. Washington will face New Orleans next, who boasted the fourth-best pass DVOA and the fifth-worst rush DVOA entering Week 10. Perine’s got some stars lining up here.
Corey Coleman (WR – CLE) 22% owned (10% FAAB)
Once again, Coleman is not getting the respect he deserves given his imminent return to the playing field. Part of this is likely his being a Brown, with another part being everyone’s attention going to Josh Gordon. Coleman is a superb talent who should have very little competition in an offense that will face negative game scripts often. Week 11 will be a rough welcome-back party against the Jaguars, but there will be brighter days ahead.
Austin Ekeler (LAC – RB) 4% owned (10% FAAB)
Ekeler has finally hit the fantasy radar in earnest after slicing through the Jaguars for 119 total yards (42 rushing, 77 receiving) and a pair of receiving touchdowns. He squeaked out toward the right flat and then tore down the sideline on each touchdown and looked much better than Melvin Gordon on the day. The Chargers shouldn’t bat an eye at a spark right now, so we could see more of a split in this backfield with Ekeler contributing in the passing game moving forward. We can’t ignore that the undrafted free agent lost a crucial fumble in the fourth quarter and was subsequently benched for Gordon, but the overall game should be rewarded with a date against the Bills — who were just eviscerated by the Saints — in Week 11.
Eddie Lacy (SEA – RB) 17% owned (6% FAAB)
People are going to huff and puff about Lacy being washed up but the truth is that Seattle has improved its offensive line with the acquisition of Duane Brown and no matter what, someone is going to line up at running back. Everyone’s buzzing about Chris Carson potentially returning in December, but I doubt he gets back for many meaningful weeks of fantasy football. Thomas Rawls just did nothing on Thursday night while Lacy sat out with a groin injury. Lacy was going to get the first crack at establishing a hot hand before he was hurt, and that chance should be his again if he’s healthy since no one else has stepped up. At the end of the day, opportunity and volume make a big difference.
Marquise Goodwin (SF – WR) 15% owned (5% FAAB)
Last week we said how “the Giants are certainly prone to the big play and could allow Goodwin to score his first TD of 2017.” Lo and behold, his one catch on the day was an 81-yard touchdown. He only saw two targets in a game that San Francisco scored 31 points, which is surprising on the surface, but all four wide receivers who saw the field combined for just seven catches. They’ll likely need to throw deep balls to keep up with Seattle when they come out of their bye in Week 12, and then games against the Bears, Texans, and Titans should yield decent matchups. You can then safely jettison all San Fran pass-catchers before Week 16’s date with the Jaguars.
Deep League Targets – <10% owned
T.J. Yeldon (JAC – RB) 9% owned (6% FAAB in PPR)
For the first time this season, Yeldon and stud rookie Leonard Fournette were active at the same time. This resulted in Fournette garnering 45 snaps and Yeldon getting a significant 31 snaps behind him. Chris Ivory would step on the field for just eight snaps, as he has clearly fallen by the wayside here. Yeldon would only rush the ball three times (for 11 yards), but much like Rod Smith’s touch distribution, he would catch six-of-eight targets for 39 additional yards.
Jacksonville is stepping into a smash spot against Cleveland in Week 11, and Yeldon could be a sneaky weapon given how the Browns sported the best rush defense per FootballOutsiders’ DVOA metric heading into last weekend. He may also be leaned on a bit more in the passing game with Allen Hurns out. This is as good a time as any to remind you that Dede Westbrook is finally supposed to take the field and slide into a role, but Keelan Cole could still be the No. 2 WR for Dede’s first game. Marcedes Lewis is also worth eyeing for the truly needy given the Browns’ horrible TE defense thus far — second-worst only to the Giants.
Elijah McGuire (NYJ – RB) 8% owned (5% FAAB)
While we all salivated over Bilal Powell‘s prospects with Matt Forte out, it was McGuire who led the Jets backfield in snaps with 33 to Powell’s 31. He would also touch the rock 12 times to Powell’s 11, which could signal more of an even split here than we were prepared for. The Jets hit their bye, but then games against Carolina, Kansas City, Denver, New Orleans and the Los Angeles Chargers should provide opportunities for him to work around tough fronts.
Dontrelle Inman (CHI – WR) 2% owned (5% FAAB)
The Bears weren’t afraid to show off their recent acquisition, as Inman was peppered with eight targets and led all Chicago WRs with 57 snaps (Kendall Wright was second with 46) in his Chicago debut. He would catch six of those balls for 88 yards and looks to suddenly be the No. 1 receiver for Mitch Trubisky. That may not even warrant an eyebrow-raise from many of you, but eight targets can’t be ignored. Even if you don’t want to buy in long-term, Week 11’s game against the potent Lions should require the Bears to hit the gas pedal.
Corey Clement (PHI – RB) 9% owned (4% FAAB)
Remember this guy? If Philadelphia’s bye week helped you forget, Clement scored three times on just 13 touches in Philly’s 51-point shellacking of Denver in Week 9. While we can’t reasonably project anyone to score so hyper-efficiently (Antone Smith, anyone?), he’s now notched double-digit touches in Philadelphia’s last two games and despite Jay Ajayi joining the fold, remains the best pass-blocker in the RB stable. With Dallas missing Sean Lee, Clement could strike yet again as he becomes a nifty deep-league commodity in this high-flying offense.