Targeting weekly waiver picks is a completely subjective business,
but this column hopes to point out some obvious and not-so-obvious
selections to help your team from week to week while you strive
to collect fantasy wins, reach your league playoffs, and win the
elusive title that your friends say is out of your grasp. While
I’m a big proponent of making trades to bolster your roster,
the waiver wire can be an almost limitless resource when it comes
to discovering fantasy value in strange places. Each week, I’ll
highlight some of the popular (and not-so-popular) players who can
help your squad and may still be available in your league. I’ll
also provide a brief update on the players I covered the previous
WAS – A favorable matchup against the Bengals in Week 11
put Smith (only about 5-10 percent owned) squarely on the waiver
wire radar. He’s only thrown one TD pass through two and a half
games, but he threw for 390-0-0 on Sunday against the Lions and
the next couple games (CIN, @DAL) could see multiple TDs from the
likely 2020 NFL Comeback Player of the Year.
Winston, NO – If Drew Brees (ribs)
misses time, we could see Winston post some of his trademark fantasy
numbers (lots of TDs, lots of INTs) in the next few matchups (ATL,
@DEN, @ATL). He’s universally available and has loads of weapons
at his disposal.
UPDATE: With Brees dealing with
multiple fractures on both sides of his chest and a collapsed
lung, the Saints will turn to a combination of Winston and the
TE-eligible Taysom Hill over the next 2-3 weeks.
Walker, CAR –UPDATE:
The former XFL star could be a viable spot-start fill-in in deep
leagues as a superflex or QB2 if Teddy Bridgewater can’t
suit up for Week 11 in a cake matchup with the Lions. Walker completed
2-of-4 passes for 12 yards in relief of the veteran on Sunday,
and while an MRI showed there’s no structural damage to
Bridgewater’s knee, he’s considered questionable for
this week’s home matchup against Detroit.
Bridgewater, CAR – Bridgewater (136-2-1,
three carries for 16 yards and a TD) is undergoing an MRI on his
right knee after leaving Sunday’s game in the fourth quarter,
The injury isn't believed to be overly serious and he hasn't been
ruled out for next week just yet.
UPDATE: See Walker blurb above.
Tagovailoa, MIA – Tagovailoa completed
15 of 25 passes for 169 yards with two TDs and no INTs in the
Dolphins’ 29-21 win over the Chargers on Sunday. He gets a tougher
matchup in Week 11 vs. the Broncos, but he’s accurate and serviceable
in the running game.
JAC – Luton wasn’t super accurate on Sunday but posted
169-1-1 on 18-for-35 passing in the loss to Green Bay. The sixth-round
draft pick is 0-2 as a starter, but he could remain under center
even when Gardner Minshew (thumb) returns from injury. Stay tuned.
Gilbert, DAL – Following a Week
10 bye and heading into a Week 11 matchup with the Vikings, Gilbert
should have plenty of prep done and a healthier offensive line
with a bevy of offensive weapons. Expect solid QB2 numbers.
Hines, IND – I imagine Hines (12 carries
for 70 yards a TD; 5-45-1 receiving in Thursday night) is frustrating
to roster for the 40-50 percent of fantasy owners who have him,
because you just never know when he’s going to go off in this three-headed
backfield committee. Still, he continues to make a case for consistent
touches and has more upside than both rookie RB Jonathan Taylor
and Jordan Wilkins when you consider his usefulness in the passing
Harris, NE – Harris is running like
a man possessed, averaging about 5.5 YPC this season. He’s now
nursing chest and ankle injuries but posted another big day on
Sunday night with 22 carries for 121 yards. He should be owned
in all formats even with Sony Michel working his way back off
IR and makes for a solid RB3/flex play in Week 11 against a pitiful
Texans run defense.
Hyde, SEA –UPDATE:
Pete Carroll said Monday that Hyde (hamstring) is “a little
bit ahead” of lead back Chris Carson in his return to the
field, and that he could be back in Week 11 against the Cards.
Hyde is owned in just 10-25 percent of fantasy leagues after his
extended absence, so he may be available to post significant numbers
as soon as this week.
Brown, LAR – I really screwed up
by dropping Brown in one league after finding out that Darrell
Henderson was playing on Sunday, because Brown rushed for 33 yards
and two TDs on just six carries – adding 2-18-0 in the win over
Seattle. He’s rostered in about 40-50 percent of leagues but the
committee aspect of the Rams backfield is a glaring issue.
Johnson, HOU – Duke rushed 14 times
for 54 yards in Sunday's 10-7 loss to the Browns but was conspicuously
absent from the passing game (no catches on one target), despite
that being one of his biggest strengths. David Johnson will miss
at least two more weeks after being placed on IR, so Duke will
be a viable option again in Week 11.
McKissic, WAS – Rookie RB Antonio
Gibson had a big game but McKissic carried eight times for 6 yards
and a TD while adding 7-43-0 on 15 targets (wow!) in the loss
to the Lions. He’s now been targeted 29 times over the last two
games and should be part of the offense once again facing the
Bengals next Sunday.
Ballage, LAC – Justin Jackson hit
the IR and Ballage carried the ball 18 times for 68 yards on Sunday,
adding 5-34-0 in the loss to the Dolphins. Austin Ekeler (hamstring)
could return as soon as Week 12 against the Bills, but Ballage
has made a case for lead back duties until then. The former Dolphin
and NFL castoff is a plug-n-play RB2 against the Jets in Week
Ahmed, MIA – Ahmed (just 7-15 percent
owned) had another big game with 21 carries for 85 yards and a
score in the win over the Chargers on Sunday. He’s not a huge
passing down back (one catch this week) but the undrafted rookie
assumed a lead role with Matt Breida (hamstring), Jordan Howard
(coach's decision) and Lynn Bowden (coach's decision) all out
in Week 10. He could see another big workload in Week 11 against
Wide Receivers / Tight Ends
Valdes-Scantling, GB – Aaron Rodgers
isn’t just throwing to Davante Adams anymore! Valdes-Scantling (10-20
percent owned) had 4-149-1 on six targets Sunday in the win over
the Jaguars, hauling in a deep throw from his QB down the right
sideline, and showing some solid elusiveness after the catch. The
talented WR now has three TDs over his past two games heading into
a Week 11 matchup with the Colts.
Snead, BAL – Snead (universally
available) might not be a weekly contributor, but he made his
mark in Week 10 with 5-64-2 on seven targets as Lamar Jackson
looked for him in the red zone. The Titans are a solid defense
so we could see Jackson look Snead’s way again in Week 11 if TE
Mark Andrews and Marquis Brown are covered heavily.
Cole, JAC – Cole (15-20 percent
owned) posted another solid game in Week 11 with 5-47-1 on seven
targets and adding a monster 91-yard punt return for a touchdown
during Sunday's 24-20 loss to Green Bay. He’s benefited from rookie
Laviska Shenault missing time and seems like a boom-or-bust play
heading into Week 11 against a much tougher Steelers defense.
Thomas, WAS – Thomas (20-25 percent owned) seems
to be developing some rapport with Smith, hauling in four of six
targets for 66 yards in Week 10. He gets a favorable matchup against
the Bengals in Week 11, so he’s worth adding if you need a TE
with some upside.
Mims, NYJ –UPDATE:
Mims left off on a high note, with 4-62-0 on a team-leading eight
targets in the Week 9 loss to the Patriots. The Jets have now
had a couple weeks to work some plays into Mims’ route tree,
so we could se even more targets go the rookie’s way in
a favorable Week 11 matchup with the Chargers.
Grant, MIA – Grant and Tua are showing
some nice chemistry, and Grant finished Sunday with 4-43-1 on
five targets in the 29-21 win over the Chargers. Keep an eye on
him in deeper formats.
Reynolds, LAR – Reynolds had a big
game Sunday with 8-96-0 on 10 targets from Goff. But he might
have a rough time repeating that performance in Week 11 on the
road against the stingy Bucs defense. Still, he’s worth a look
in deeper formats.
CIN – Despite unfavorable weather conditions, Higgins
hauled in another seven receptions on nine targets for 115 yards
and a TD in Week 10 against the Steelers. He should be owned in
all formats by now.
BUF – Brown injured his ankle Sunday in the fourth quarter
against the Cardinals and has battled a knee injury this season,
so this would be a big blow to the Bills offense if he misses
more time after the Week 11 bye. He finished with 6-72-0 on eight
targets prior to leaving the game.
Aiyuk, SF – Now up to 70 percent
owned in ESPN leagues, Aiyuk is a future superstar. He caught
seven of 14 targets for 75 yards and a TD despite losing 8 yards
on his only rushing attempt during the loss to New Orleans. The
Niners are on a bye in Week 11.
Meyers, NE – Why is he only 20-25
percent owned in ESPN leagues? Meyers is getting regular targets
from Cam Newton (and was the only WR targeted by Newton on Sunday
night), finishing with 5-59-0 and tossing a gorgeous 24-yard TD
pass to Rex Burkhead on his lone passing attempt. He should be
owned in all formats and has a favorable matchup against the Texans
Perriman, NYJ – The Jets were on
a Week 10 bye and face the Chargers in Week 11. Perriman is a
priority add if he’s available.
Gallup, DAL – His arrow could be
trending up after a bye week and more time to gel with Gilbert.
James, SF – James had 3-26-0 on
five targets Sunday, and he’s barely a fringe fantasy option with
a Week 11 bye coming up.
Davis, BUF – Davis was targeted
three times but didn’t make a catch on Sunday. The rookie still
has loads of potential and could see more targets if John Brown
misses time following the Week 11 bye.