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Through The Wire - Week 11

By Antonio D'Arcangelis | 11/16/20 | Updated: 11/17/20

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 week.

Feedback is always welcome, appreciated and encouraged. I’ll get to as many e-mails as I can.

Alex Smith


Alex Smith, 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.

Jameis 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.

P.J. 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.

Other QBs to consider: Derek Carr, Jared Goff, Joe Burrow


Teddy 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.

Tua 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.

Jake Luton, 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.

Garrett 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.

Running Backs

Nyheim 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 game.

Damien 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.

Carlos 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.

Malcolm 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.

Other RBs to consider: La’Mical Perine, Devontae Booker, Gus Edwards, Alex Collins, Cam Akers


Duke 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.

J.D. 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.

Kalen 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 11.

Salvon 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 the Broncos.

Wide Receivers / Tight Ends

Marquez 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.

Willie 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.

Keelan 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.

TE Logan 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.

Denzel 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.

Jakeem 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.

Josh 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.

Other WRs/TEs to consider: Jalen Reagor, Cole Beasley, Marvin Hall, Jalen Guyton, TE Cameron Brate, Michael Pittman Jr., TE Trey Burton


Tee Higgins, 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.

John Brown, 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.

Brandon 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.

Jakobi 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 on Sunday.

Breshad 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.

Michael Gallup, DAL – His arrow could be trending up after a bye week and more time to gel with Gilbert.

Richie 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.

Gabriel 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.