Week 11 Waiver Wire Pickups (2020 Fantasy Football)
As this year’s rookie quarterback class makes it mark, two former No. 1 overall picks are working their way back to fantasy relevancy.
It should be far too late to add Justin Herbert or Joe Burrow, but Tua Tagovailoa is still available in many leagues. A soft patch in the Dolphins’ schedule could quickly turn him into a mainstream mainstay as well. He’s not, however, the top quarterback on the waiver wire. That honor belongs to a promoted backup looking to restore his stock five years from becoming the first overall pick.
Then there’s another signal-caller who opened the draft a decade earlier and is miraculously back on the gridiron. He just might contribute more than a feel-good story in certain fantasy formats.
Note: Rostered percentages provided via Yahoo leagues.
Top 5 Waiver Targets of Week 10
Wayne Gallman Jr. (RB – NYG): 50% Rostered
He’s only available in half of Yahoo leagues, but let’s shine a light on Gallman anyway. He’s now found the end zone in each of the last four games, and his carries have gradually increased (10, 12, 14, 18) in each contest. Although Gallman has shared some responsibilities with Alfred Morris, the Giants leaned on him in a season-high 59% of their offensive snaps during Sunday’s integral 27-17 win over the Eagles. The Giants placed Devonta Freeman on the IR, meaning he’ll remain sidelined when they return from their Week 11 bye to face the Bengals. Gallman will be a solid RB2 or flex play in that matchup.
Jakobi Meyers (WR – NE): 48% Rostered
A 12-catch, 169-yard performance on Monday Night Football somehow did not land Meyers on a majority of Yahoo leagues prior to Week 10. He didn’t replicate that outing on another primetime stage, collecting five of seven targets for 59 yards Sunday night. The former high school quarterback did, however, receive over half of Cam Newton‘s intended air yards and toss his own touchdown pass to Rex Burkhead. Even without the score, Meyers would have double-digit PPR points in each of his last four games. During that stretch, he has 27 catches for 346 yards on 37 targets.
As highlighted by Rich Hribar, he’s getting targeted at an elite rate when on the field:
Jakobi Meyers has now been targeted on 30.5% of his routes, which trails only Davante Adams (32.8%).
— Rich Hribar (@LordReebs) November 16, 2020
Upcoming matchups against the Texans, Cardinals, and Chargers only sweeten the pot for Meyers as a must-add with WR3 viability.
Salvon Ahmed (RB – MIA): 6% Rostered
In Miami’s second game since placing Myles Gaskin on the IR, Ahmed played 44 of 58 snaps and turned 21 carries into 85 rushing yards and a touchdown. No other Dolphins running back received more than two handoffs in their Week 10 win over the Chargers. The day after making him a healthy scratch, they placed Jordan Howard on waivers.
Gaskin will be ineligible for at least one more game, but it’s from a certainty he returns in Week 12. That leaves the featured role for Ahmed, unless Matt Breida returns from a hamstring injury. Despite those potential barriers to a long-term opportunity, Ahmed remains a priority pick-up in a game requiring short-term action. If he hangs onto the starting gig, the undrafted free agent could capitalize on appetizing matchups against the Broncos, Jets, Bengals, and Chiefs.
Jameis Winston (QB – NO): 2% Rostered
Drew Brees, who exited Sunday’s game early, is expected to miss at least two-to-three weeks (likely more) with multiple rib fractures and a collapsed lung. Despite Sean Payton’s affinity for Taysom Hill, Winston replaced the future Hall-of-Famer under center. Teddy Bridgewater got the nod over Hill last season, so it’s likely Winston will start for the Saints.
Don’t expect the fantasy phenom who compiled 5,109 passing yards and 30 touchdowns (and 30 interceptions) last season, as the Saints are a superior squad to the 2019 Buccaneers. In five starts (all wins) in place of Brees last year, Bridgewater leaned heavily on the ground game and defense. Then again, Winston takes the helm just in time to face the Falcons. That matchup makes him an immediately viable QB1, and he certainly has a higher ceiling (and a better supporting cast) than any other widely available quarterback.
Michael Pittman Jr. (WR – IND): 10% Rostered
Building off last week’s momentum, Pittman took a massive step forward Thursday night. In addition to contributing a 21-yard rush, the neophyte set personal-highs in targets (eight), catches (seven), and receiving yards (101) in his third game back from calf surgery. The role of Philip Rivers‘ top target remains uncast, but Pittman’s size and athleticism make him perfectly suited for the part. Indianapolis plays four games against below-average passing defenses (vs. TEN, at HOU, at LVR, vs. HOU) from Weeks 12-15.
Notable Players 36-50% Rostered
Tua Tagovailoa (QB – MIA): 45%
Tagovailoa helped the Dolphins more than fantasy managers when going 15-of-25 for 169 yards and two touchdowns in Week 10’s win over the Chargers, embellishing his portfolio to a perfect 3-0 as the starting quarterback. The newcomer hasn’t summoned the same fantasy fireworks as Ryan Fitzpatrick, but unlike his predecessor, he hasn’t surrendered a single interception. Tagovailoa’s ceiling could elevate in ensuing weeks, as each of Miami’s next three opponents (DEN, NYJ, CIN) has relinquished at least 19.8 fantasy points per game to opposing quarterbacks.
Los Angeles Chargers D/ST: 42%
The Chargers are playing the Jets in Week 11. Despite a solid performance from Joe Flacco before their bye, Gang Green remains a top streaming option for opposing defenses.
Nyheim Hines (RB – IND): 41%
This could still amount to another trap, but Hines’ enhanced value nonetheless demands recognition. Last Thursday night, the 5’9″ back set season-highs in snap rate (59%), carries (12), and rushing yards (70). The heavy usage, coinciding with five catches, led to one rushing and receiving touchdown apiece. That gives Hines three two-touchdown outings, but he’s combined for 193 total yards in the six other duds. While he’s still too hit-or-miss to trust on a weekly basis, the Indianapolis back has undeniable upside that could manifest more often with Jonathan Taylor getting further de-emphasized each week.
Notable Players 10-35% Rostered
Logan Thomas (TE – WAS): 35%
Thomas has yet to tally five or more catches in a game, and his 66 yards Sunday set a relatively tame season-high. He’s nevertheless the TE5 over the last four weeks. Only the Bengals have ceded more fantasy points to tight ends than the Falcons, so Thomas is an acceptable Week 11 streamer for managers needing to swap out the idle Evan Engram. He may even warrant an extended stay in your starting lineup with a Thanksgiving date at Dallas.
Cam Akers (RB – LAR): 26%
A 10-carry, 38-yard stat line won’t turn heads, but Akers received more handoffs than Darrell Henderson and Malcolm Brown during a pass-heavy game plan against Seattle. At the very least, the rookie is poised to assume a significant role in what could be a frustrating three-man timeshare to close the season.
Rex Burkhead (RB – NE): 24%
One would have assumed Burkhead would get boxed out of a role with Damien Harris and James White back in the lineup. Those fears, however, have not materialized in recent weeks. After turning 15 touches into 67 yards and a touchdown in Week 9, the 30-year-old accrued two more touchdowns (both receiving) on Sunday Night Football.
He’s dazzled on a limited snap count, tightening his margin for error and enhancing his reliance on touchdowns. Yet that’s not necessarily a disqualifier if Bill Belichick continues to trust the long-tenured Patriot near the goal line. Burkhead has touched the ball inside the 10-yard line three times in those last two games. As White’s role dwindles, Burkhead is getting enough work as both a rusher and receiver to matter in most leagues.
Tim Patrick (WR – DEN): 24%
Patrick is averaging 55.5 yards per game, which spikes to 61.8 if removing Weeks 1 and 2 from the sample size. He’s registered 11.6 points per game in six contests since the start of Week 3 with the help of 38 total targets. The third-year pro posted 61 yards before getting ejected early in the fourth quarter of Week 10’s loss to the Raiders, robbing him of garbage-time padding to further solidify his case as an intriguing WR4.
Kalen Ballage (RB – LAC): 19%
Because 2020 needs to be as bizarre as possible, Ballage has 33 carries in the past two games. He added five catches to his 18 carries in Week 10, playing 46 snaps to Joshua Kelly’s 17. This volume would make him a worthy Week 11 starter against the Jets if Austin Ekeler doesn’t return from the IR.
Jordan Reed (TE – SF): 19%
Ross Dwelley saw most of the work in Week 9, but Reed took center billing in his second game back from a knee injury. Reed’s five catches actually led all tight ends in Sunday’s afternoon games, and his 62 receiving yards placed second to Thomas. That says more about the state of the position, which lost one of few reliable weekly options in George Kittle. Reed, who scored two touchdowns in Kittle’s absence in Week 2, could jump the line as a de facto top-12 option going forward.
Marquez Valdes-Scantling (WR – GB): 17%
As I continued to hold my breath for Allen Lazard’s return, Valdes-Scantling continued to make big plays. After posting touchdowns on both of his catches in Week 9, the often-maligned Green Bay wideout delivered a career-high 148 yards with help from a 78-yard score. With just 10 combined targets, those two dominant displays likely are not sustainable. That’s especially true if Lazard comes back from a core muscle injury. But for now, Valdes-Scantling is lining up alongside Davante Adams and catching pinpoint passes from a sizzling Aaron Rodgers. He could be a waiver-wire trap, however, as tough matchups await in the Colts and Bears.
Notable Players <10% Rostered
Breshad Perriman (WR – NYJ): 8%
Denzel Mims (WR – NYJ): 5%
Both Jets receivers were highlighted here last week as well, but there was no urgency to act because of their Week 10 bye. To refresh everyone’s memory, Perriman broke out for 101 yards and two touchdowns in Week 9’s installment of Monday Night Football. Mims has turned 18 targets into 146 yards in just three career NFL games, so the talented rookie makes an intriguing depth piece in deeper leagues.
Josh Reynolds (WR – LAR): 5%
Given a golden matchup against the Seahawks, Robert Woods and Cooper Kupp combined for 83 receiving yards on five catches apiece. The spoils all went to Reynolds, who snagged eight of his team-high 10 targets for 94 yards in the Rams’ pivotal NFC West victory. Only relevant in Kupp’s absence last year, Reynolds has carved out his own role with all three wideouts sharing the field. The Texas A&M alum has drawn 27 targets over his last three games and averaged 56.2 yards over his past five outings. There’s some standalone value here in deep formats, and it’s important to note that he gets the Seahawks again when most fantasy leagues determine their champion in Week 16.
Alex Smith (QB – WAS): 5%
In his first full start since suffering a devastating knee injury two years ago, Smith went 38-of-55 for 390 passing yards. Although the lack of touchdowns didn’t help fantasy backers much, the 36-year-old moved the ball well enough to place firmly on the QB2 radar for appealing November matchups against the Bengals and Cowboys. If he proves himself and maintains the starting job over the next month, Smith could swing fantasy playoff matchups as a Week 15 streamer against Seattle.
Jakeem Grant (WR – MIA): 5%
Grant has hauled in four of five targets in back-to-back games alongside Tagovaiola. With Preston Williams out for the season, Grant served as Miami’s No. 2 receiver and scored his first career receiving touchdown in Week 10. He hadn’t played the majority of the Dolphins’ offensive snaps since Week 1 (53%) before lining up for 76% (44 of 58) plays against the Chargers. The speedy playmaker could have more room for growth as he earns the trust of his first-year passer.
KJ Hamler (WR – DEN): 4%
Hamler has now received 10 targets in back-to-back games. He reached the end zone in the previous week, giving the rookie 27.8 fantasy points (half-PPR) over his past three contests. Since Jerry Jeudy and Patrick are also maturing into meaty roles, Hamler is limited to deep-league viability as a WR4/5.
Willie Snead (WR – BAL): 1%
Since returning from Baltimore’s Week 7 bye, Snead has snagged 14 of 18 targets for 207 yards and two touchdowns. Marquise Brown has caught just six of 13 targets for 55 during those same three games. Snead’s hot streak came against a brutal gauntlet of Pittsburgh, Indianapolis, and New England, but the Ravens will encounter five bottom-12 passing defenses before reaching the finish line.
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