Fantasy Football Waiver Wire Pickups: Week 11
Three weeks. That’s all the time remaining in most leagues before the fantasy playoffs.
For some managers, the time has flown by as they’ve had fun winning matchups. Others, meanwhile, are panicking at the all ground they must gain in a rapidly shrinking window. Starting with Week 11, every slate now carries significant stakes for countless gamers. And that’s why early expectations and loyalty need to get shoved aside.
Forget about who was supposed to lead you to glory. Unload that dead weight for unheralded contributors either getting the job done or sliding into a more enviable situation. As always, the following players are rostered in under 30% of Yahoo and ESPN leagues, per FantasyPros’ consensus rates, as of Monday evening.
Nick Foles (JAC): 15% Rostered (1% FAAB)
Following Garnder Minshew’s horrid London performance, the Jaguars are giving the keys back to Foles. No, they probably won’t be unstoppable when the Super Bowl champion returns from a broken clavicle suffered in Week 1. There’s still a chance for fantasy results. While orchestrating the offense, Minshew tossed 35.3 passes per start. D.J. Chark has emerged as a legitimate top target, and Dede Westbrook could return as well this weekend. Although Foles isn’t too tempting a streamer in single-quarterback leagues for his next two games at Indianapolis and Tennessee, the schedule gets far easier in December. From Weeks 13-16, Jacksonville faces three bottom-10 passing defenses in the Buccaneers, Raiders, and Falcons. Be sure to at least keep close tabs on Foles in shallower leagues.
Kyle Allen (CAR): 13% Rostered (1% FAAB)
The Falcons just torpedoed several DFS lineups – no, I’m not bitter because I had some of them, why do you ask? – by shielding Drew Brees from the end zone in Week 10’s 26-9 shocker. Even after a surprising display of defensive fortitude, they rank last in opposing quarterback rating (113.2) with the fourth-most yards ceded per pass attempt (8.2). Allen gets them twice more in Weeks 11 and 15 with some tempting matchups (@NO, WAS, SEA) in between. Coming off his first 300-yard outing, it now looks unlikely he’ll abdicate his post back to the injured Cam Newton this season. The rookie should be a more easily attainable streamer after Atlanta’s atypical performance last weekend.
Brian Hill (ATL): 1% Rostered (24% FAAB)
Shortly before Week 10, Hill emerged as an intriguing handcuff to Devonta Freeman when Atlanta placed Ito Smith on the injured reserve. He didn’t spend much time in this new role; Freeman left Sunday’s game early with a foot sprain. Per NFL Network’s Ian Rapoport, the starting back is expected to miss “about two weeks.”Hill, who stepped in to handle 20 carries, can immediately be inserted into starting lineups. While he parlayed that workload into a mere 61 rushing yards, Atlanta goes from facing a stout New Orleans run defense to a Carolina unit ranked 27th in fantasy points allowed to running backs before surrendering three touchdowns to Aaron Jones.
J.D. McKissic (DET): 18% Rostered (9% FAAB)
Ty Johnson left Week 10’s loss with a concussion, prompting Detroit to lean more on McKissic. He once again struggled on the ground, turning a team-high 10 carries into just 36 yards. At least PPR managers in a bind left satisfied, as he enclosed six of seven targets from replacement Jeff Driskel. Matthew Stafford‘s return could lead to more red-zone opportunities, but Driskel would likely feed McKissic more dump-off throws if Detroit’s soaring starter misses more time. McKissic is a viable flex play (particularly in PPR formats) if Johnson can’t go in Week 11.
Darius Slayton (NYG): 11% Rostered (17% FAAB)
For the second time in three weeks, Slayton submitted a pair of touchdowns in a losing effort. The first showing only sparked a minor tremble due to the anticipated return of the Giants’ biggest playmakers. This time, however, the sixth-round pick looks poised to stick around for the long haul. Sterling Shepard could (and probably should) land on the IR after suffering a setback from his second concussion this season. Shortly after returning from a knee injury, Evan Engram went out of action once more due to a foot sprain. That opens the door wide for Slayton, who saw more volume than ever when catching 10 of 14 targets for 121 yards against the Jets. Combining those looks with his downfield upside — he leads the Giants in average air yards — could make the fifth-round pick a bona fide WR3 in the right matchups following Big Blue’s bye.
Demaryius Thomas (NYJ): 6% Rostered (7% FAAB)
To little fanfare, Thomas has resoundingly surpassed Robby Anderson as the Jets’ only outside wide receiver with some fantasy credibility. Since Sam Darnold returned from mononucleosis, the veteran has registered 270 yards on 30 targets in five games. On the heels of an 84-yard outing against a feeble Giants secondary, the schedule remains light for Gang Green. Games against Washington, Oakland, and Cincinnati at least keep Thomas in WR4 territory for gamers seeking a reasonable floor. And while we’re on the subject, Anderson can never be trusted after coming up empty against the Dolphins and Giants.
Diontae Johnson (PIT): 16% Rostered (6% FAAB)
James Washington (PIT): 12% Rostered (3% FAAB)
A question mark during the week, JuJu Smith-Schuster played through a foot injury to meddling results. This presented an opportunity for Washington to finally break through with 90 yards and a touchdown on a season-high seven targets. He’s averaging 58 yards on 5.75 targets over his last four games and the third-most air yards per target (15.5) in 2019.
While Washington was Week 10’s star, Johnson probably deserved a mention here weeks ago. After churning out a solid 4-64 line, the rookie now has 363 yards and three touchdowns this season. He has 39 targets in seven games with Mason Rudolph under center. Since he’s occupying the enhanced role many expected from Washington this preseason, it’s unlikely the duo can coexist in an offense that hasn’t even supported one consistent wideout. Johnson is the clear preference due to his steadier presence. Smith-Schuster’s uncertain health, however, puts both on the radar.
Randall Cobb (DAL): 11% Rostered (2% FAAB)
It’s been years since Cobb has stayed healthy and delivered consistent returns. Firmly off everyone’s radar without the allure of catching balls from Aaron Rodgers, he’s restoring some value as Dallas’ slot wideout. The 29-year-old is averaging 6.6 targets per game after notching eight in back-to-back weeks. The second of those outings resulted in 106 yards and a touchdown Sunday night against the Vikings. Dak Prescott won’t support three fantasy-friendly receivers on a regular basis, but the Cowboys will stay in the NFC North to face the Lions, who are 27th in passing defense after allowing three touchdowns to Mitchell Trubisky. He’s a possible WR4 in the mold of Thomas, but a lower priority as the clear third option behind Amari Cooper and Michael Gallup.
Jacob Hollister (SEA): 4% Rostered (8% FAAB)
Expanded playing time has helped Hollister find the end zone three times in his last two games. It’s not empty touchdown production a la Kyle Rudolph either. After collecting eight catches in Monday night’s overtime thriller, he’s produced a 17.4% target share (24 total) in four games. Plenty of gamers can do far worse at tight end than Hollister, who’s getting regular reps and red-zone chances alongside the superbly efficient Russell Wilson.
Mike Gesicki (MIA): 27% Rostered (4% FAAB)
Nobody who added Gesicki last week will be particularly pleased with his three catches for 28 yards. Let’s take a step back before abandoning the burgeoning tight end. Facing third-stringer Brian Hoyer, the Dolphins didn’t pad their numbers late in a 16-12 upset. Unforeseen winning streak aside, that shouldn’t be the norm going forward. Even in an unfavorable game script and matchup, Gesicki still drew six targets for the second straight game. With Preston Williams out for the season, there’s room for more activity when Ryan Fitzpatrick needs to air it out more in lopsided losses. The skills could coalesce into low-end TE1 production down the stretch.
Chris Herndon (NYJ): 27% Rostered (1% FAAB)
So this is what all the fuss was about? Because an injury followed his four-game suspension, scribes have spent over a month talking up Herndon as a stash. He recorded one seven-yard reception in his 2019 debut. Maybe he’s not even essential to roster when active, but keep in mind the Jets’ aforementioned soft schedule in addition to Sam Darnold finding Ryan Griffin for three touchdowns in four games prior to his teammate’s return. For now, Herndon is a TE2 until he proves otherwise.
Oakland Raiders: 1% Rostered (1% FAAB)
One would think I’d learn my lesson about scraping the bottom of the barrel for a purely matchup-fueled defense to stream. Apparently not. Although still 26th in both yards and points allowed per contest, the Raiders showed some life when procuring five sacks and three interceptions against Philip Rivers‘ Chargers last Thursday night. They’ll get a prolonged period to prepare for the winless Bengals, who accrued 4.3 yards per play with four turnovers in Ryan Finley‘s debut. After suffering a setback, A.J. Green isn’t walking through that door to save a floundering offense. This is a situation too sweet to ignore for anyone needing a widely available plug-and-play defense.