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
NE – Jones (10-15% owned) completed 19 of 23 pass attempts
for 198-3-0, his second-best fantasy performance of his rookie season.
Jones is getting more comfortable attacking opposing defenses downfield,
which could elevate him to the next level as a fantasy QB2. The
Pats get a TNF date with Atlanta on a short week, but it’s a matchup
where we can take advantage and deploy Jones as a bye week fill-in
or emergency replacement should any COVID issues arise for your
CAR – The newly signed Newton (10-15% owned) returned
to the Panthers in style on Sunday, producing TDs in his first
two plays from scrimmage. Overall, he completed three of four
passes for eight yards and a TD while rushing three times for
14 yards and another score in the decisive 34-10 win over the
Cardinals. Sam Darnold was the default starter but is on IR with
a multi-week shoulder injury, and P.J. Walker – who completed
22 of 29 passes for 167 yards but threw an interception and lost
a fumble Sunday – got the start. Still, the Panthers are operating
under the assumption Darnold will not return in 2021 and that
Newton could be the starter as soon as next week’s matchup with
Washington. Newton may no longer be the MVP-caliber fantasy superstar
he was in 2015 – and much of his first seven seasons in the league
– but he could be a capable fantasy QB on this talented team and
make an immediate impact.
UPDATE: Adam Schefter was yammering
on the MNF game about how Newton is prepping to make the start
in Week 11, so that’s what we should probably expect.
Wentz, IND – Wentz completed 22
of 34 passes for 180 yards but had no TDs or INTs in the Colts’
23-17 win over the Jaguars on Sunday as Jonathan Taylor stole
the show from an offensive perspective. He’s got a tough matchup
in Buffalo in Week 11.
Mayfield, CLE – Before he left with
a knee injury that doesn’t appear too serious, Mayfield was 11-for-21
passing for 73-1-1. He gets a bounceback spot against the winless
(but not tie-less!) Lions next week, but this offense seems dedicated
to running the ball and he doesn’t have the receiving weapons
to put up dominant fantasy numbers right now.
Bridgewater, DEN – Bridgewater completed
22 of 36 passes for 226-0-0 in Sunday’s 30-13 loss to the Eagles.
The team is on a bye in Week 11, and they’ll be scheming up more
ways to get the passing game ready for Week 12 matchup with the
Chargers – though it’s pretty clear they currently view Bridgewater
as a “game manager” type of signal caller.
NO – With Alvin Kamara on the shelf in Week 10, Ingram
carried 14 times for 47 yards and a TD in Sunday’s narrow 23-21
loss to the Titans. He also added 4-61-0 on seven targets, an encouraging
sign that he’s getting more involved in the passing game. If Kamara
remains sidelined for the team’s Week 11 matchup against Philadelphia,
Ingram (60-65% owned) could put up more big numbers.
GB – Dillon (60% owned) had a big day for the Packers,
rushing for 66 yards and two touchdowns on 21 carries (2-62-0
receiving) in the win against Seattle on Sunday, but the bigger
story is the injury to Aaron Jones, who left the game with a knee
injury. The Packers initially believed it to be an MCL injury
of some sort, which could mean a multi-week absence, but you should
stay tuned on just how serious it is in the coming days. Regardless
of whether he’ll be assuming a three-down, workhorse-type of role
for the Packers, Dillon has carved out an opportunity for more
touches with his Week 10 performance.
UPDATE: Jones has a “mild”
MCL sprain and is expected to miss 1-2 weeks, which puts Dillon
as the top waiver wire addition this week if he’s available.
Mattison, MIN – Mattison (40% owned)
hasn’t done much with Cook the lead back in Minnesota, but last
week’s news that Cook has been accused of physical and emotional
abuse in a lawsuit filed by his ex-girlfriend means that the fantasy
RB1 could ultimately take action and vault Mattison from handcuff
to fantasy starter. The NFL is reportedly reviewing the matter
and there’s no word on any imminent action, but Mattison’s latent
value secures him as a solid speculative addition in 12-team leagues.
Wilson SF –UPDATE:
Wilson (about 10% owned) was activated off of the PUP list last
week, but he did not record a snap in the Week 9 loss to the Cardinals.
On Monday night, with JaMycal Hasty unavailable, he ran the ball
10 times for 28 yards. The fact that he got 10 carries in his
first action makes him a must-add in deeper leagues, where the
RB position is pretty thin. And should anything happen to lead
back Elijah Mitchell, he’d likely assume a much bigger workload.
Breida, BUF – Breida (universally
available) rushed three times for 28 yards and a TD while catching
all three of his targets for 22 yards and another score in Sunday’s
45-17 win over the Jets. He also lost a fumble, and while he remains
the third rushing option on the Bills, he could get more opportunities
in the coming weeks and should be considered for super-deep fantasy
Hines, IND – Two rushes for 12 yards
and 2-17-0 on four targets. Not what we were hoping for in a matchup
that could have seen more involvement and production from him.
Johnson, CLE – Johnson assumed lead
back duties on Sunday, rushing for 99 yards on 19 carries and
hauling in 7-58-0 on eight targets. While he failed to reach the
end zone, he was just about all of the Browns offense in the blowout
loss to the Patriots. He’ll fade back to irrelevance once Nick
Chubb(COVID) is cleared to play.
Howard, PHI – Howard rushed 12 times
for 83 yards in Sunday’s 30-13 win over the Broncos, leading the
Eagles’ committee – though Boston had 81 yards on 11 carries.
Howard now has 211 rushing yards and three TDs in the three games
since rejoining Philly’s offense, but with Miles Sanders eligible
to return from his ankle injury in Week 11 against the Saints,
the entire unit could be reshuffled again.
Freeman, BAL – Freeman rushed 10
times for 35 yards, adding 3-23-0 on four targets for 23 yards
in the TNF loss to the Dolphins. Freeman's future as lead back
is a murky one, as Latavius Murray (ankle) could be healthy by
the time the Ravens square off in Week 11 road matchup against
Stevenson, NE – I’m glad I included
Stevenson in my write-up last week, as he rushed for 100 yards
and two TDs on 20 carries, adding four catches for 14 yards on
five targets against Cleveland on Sunday. Stevenson may have earned
a larger workload split with starter Damien Harris who sat out
Sunday with a concussion. It’s tough to assess his relevance moving
forward, but we know he can be a workhorse if Harris misses additional
UPDATE: Harris did not practice
Monday, which is an inauspicious start to the week for a guy in
the concussion protocol – elevating the chances that Stevenson
gets another start. Stay tuned.
Benjamin, ARI – Benjamin had just
six carries for 22 yards and remains a fringe fantasy asset.
Wide Receivers / Tight Ends
Mooney, CHI –UPDATE:
I’m adding Mooney because while I thought he was owned in over two-thirds
of leagues (about where I draw the line for inclusion in this column,
with a few exceptions), he’s still under the 50% threshold in ESPN
leagues. With Mooney coming off a bye week and the Bears passing
game clicking into gear a bit, it could be a good time to scoop
him off the waiver wire. The second-year speedster has seen 28 targets
over the past four games, and that’s included a couple weeks where
he was nursing a nagging groin injury. It’s entirely possible the
Bears used the down time to allow this talented, explosive playmaker
to get healthy, and draw up some plays for burgeoning rookie QB
Justin Fields to get him the ball.
Bourne, NE – I’ve written up Bourne
before, and I happened to play him in a couple of my DFS lineups
yesterday – benefiting greatly from his 4-94-1 performance, which
was bolstered by 43 rushing yards on three carries. He’s a playmaker
who doesn’t see huge target volume but he’s growing into an integral
part of the New England offense because of his utility – and he
seems to have a nose for the end zone. Bourne is only 3-5% owned
in fantasy leagues.
Arnold, JAC – It’s time to acknowledge that Arnold,
a big part of the Jacksonville offense, is worth adding in all
12-team leagues. He’s sixth among NFL tight ends in targets (30)
over the past five weeks, and while he hasn’t found the end zone
(not too many Jags do), he’s getting looks and provides a high
floor each week. Week 11’s matchup isn’t a great one for TE, but
at a tough fantasy position, Arnold (25-30% owned) might be what
Edwards, LV – Edwards saw just four
targets on Sunday night, but hauled in 3-88-1 and could see more
opportunities down the stretch as the Raiders – woefully thin
at the wide receiver position – try to salvage their season amid
a plethora of organizational and personnel issues. He’s only 15-20%
owned and should be owned in 12-team leagues.
Jefferson, LAR – We’ll know how
much more involved Jefferson (35-40% owned) is in the Rams’ offense
after Monday night football, but with Robert Woods (torn ACL)
on the shelf it’s likely he’ll absorb a few more targets per game
– which could translate into fantasy relevancy. Even before Woods
went down, his targets over the past few weeks increased to 7-6-7,
and I’m banking on increase production (especially in the next
few weeks as Odell Beckham Jr. gets up to speed with the Rams
playbook) in one of my leagues, where I added him to fill the
slot left by Woods.
UPDATE: Jefferson’s main
rival for targets outside Cooper Kupp – Mister Beckham –
looked lost in his limited snaps on MNF and the Rams just didn’t
seem to come to play against a 49ers team that had a plan and
executed it perfectly. Jefferson’s 3-54-0 on seven targets
reflected the difficultly Stafford has getting the ball to his
receivers in prime time, a performance peppered by overthrown
balls, miscommunication and general fecklessness in the face of
a Niners defense that limited the Rams offense to one TD and a
Smith, NO – Along with Jefferson,
Smith is the second wideout I had listed in my “WRs to consider”
for Week 10. While the jury is still out on whether adding Jefferson
would have paid immediate dividends, Tre’Quan saw a season-high
seven targets on Sunday and hauled in 4-44-1 – a solid WR3 performance
in any league. The next few matchups promise more involvement
in the Saints offense.
Zaccheaus, ATL – Zacchaeus saw seven
targets on Sunday but the Falcons offense never got off the ground,
and the frequent red zone target had just 2-22-0.
Gage, ATL – It was a disastrous
week for Atlanta’s fantasy production, and Gage was held without
a catch despite three targets from Matt Ryan. He’ll look to rebound
against a tough Patriots defense this upcoming Thursday, but weeks
12 and 13 (@JAC, TB) could be better matchups.
Aiyuk, SF –UPDATE:
Aiyuk hauled in just three of four targets for 26 yards in the
MNF win, as he was clearly back to being the third receiving option
behind a very busy Deebo Samuel and a resurgent George Kittle,
who’s looked excellent since his return from IR. I still
like Aiyuk, but Monday night was al about the top options in the
Moore, NYJ – Moore’s involvement
has remained steady lately despite the QB shuffle in Jetsville.
He caught three of six targets for 44 yards and a TD in Sunday's
45-17 loss to the Bills, and has now seen 26 targets over the
past four weeks, turning them into 17-208-3. The rookie is now
owned in 35-40% of leagues but is still a worthwhile addition
given his favorable
schedule for fantasy WRs over the next several weeks.
Swaim, TEN – Swaim recorded four receptions on five
targets for 26 yards in Sunday’s 23-21 win over the Saints. He’s
been steady over the past few weeks and has a favorable Week 11
matchup against Houston.
DEN – Despite notching his highest target volume (6)
since Week 6, Patrick had just 3-14-0 in the loss to the Eagles.
The Broncos are on a bye in Week 11.