Week 11 Fantasy Football Waiver Wire: Salvon Ahmed & More
Week 11 Fantasy Football Waiver Wire: Salvon Ahmed & More
Tightrope time is upon us as the fantasy football playoffs are a week or two away, depending on your format. In high stakes leagues, Week 11 is the last week of the regular season, and in a vast majority of home leagues, Week 12 is the last regular-season game. In a very weird turn of events, most of my good teams this season are cloistered in high stakes while my home league teams are rather mediocre. It is actually my opinion that at a “league-level,” a lot of the FFPC Main Event leagues are rather soft due to how RB-thirsty your competitors are during the draft.
Regardless of what format you are playing in, it is time to get the heavy artillery ready for the playoffs. If your league stops waiver wire transactions for the playoffs, you’ll need to make sure to have backup QB, TE, K, and DST options. It sucks to drop those late-season lottery tickets at RB (and there will be plenty of them), but you will be tilted beyond belief if you have to take a zero during a playoff matchup. If you’re in a must-win spot this week and next, it is time to unload the clip-on guys like Salvon Ahmed but also the best streaming kickers & defenses.
Each week, we will look at three tiers of players: the “must adds” or players that we expect will be picked up in every league and in every format, the “borderline” tier, and the deep-league darts. The focus will be on 12-team PPR leagues as our frame of reference and as always, if you have any specific questions, feel free to contact me on Twitter @DavisMattek or in the Daily Roto NFL Slack channel.
All players referenced in the Fantasy Football Waiver Wire column are under 50% owned in Yahoo! Fantasy Football Leagues. It is possible these players might be owned in your league.
Absolutely Should Be Owned In Every League, But You Will See There Name In Other Fantasy Football Waiver Pieces: Chase Edmonds, Brandin Cooks, Mecole Hardman, Austin Hooper, Henry Ruggs, Damien Harris, Phillip Lindsay, Laviska Shenault, Tee Higgins, Christian Kirk, Zack Moss, Jalen Reagor, Corey Davis
POTENTIAL DIFFERENCE MAKERS (THESE ARE PLAYERS WORTH > 25% OF YOUR FAAB, OR THE #1 OVERALL WAIVER CLAIM) FROM THE FANTASY FOOTBALL WAIVER WIRE
I clearly need to take an L here because the advice I prescribed last week was wrong. Matt Brieda was again inactive, and Jordan Howard reduced to a healthy scratch in the Dolphins win over the Chargers. Ahmed led the backfield with 44 snaps while Patrick Laird played 10, and DeAndre Washington played only 4. Ahmed had an unheard of 21 carries in the win, which is more than Myles Gaskin had in any game except one. He had only one target and will likely give way to Gaskin in only a week, but the Dolphins have two very easy games coming up against the Broncos and then the Jets. If Ahmed stays in this role, it is not hard to envision him being a top-15 RB over those next two weeks and someone who is an absolute must start.
If Ahmed is still on your waiver wire, you can feel comfortable spending around 50% of your remaining FAAB on him. He will project as a top-15 RB as long as Myles Gaskin is inactive.
Ballage is the clear lead back in the Chargers backfield for this moment in time. Justin Jackson has been placed on the injured reserve, Austin Ekeler has not been activated off the designated-for-return-IR, and Troymaine Pope played ZERO offensive snaps in the team’s loss to the Dolphins. Meanwhile, Ballage led the entire Chargers team in touches. Josh Kelley had only seven carries and zero targets in the passing game. It is unclear why but at some point, Anthony Lynn went from spelling Ekeler with Kelley to placing him behind guys they signed off the street. The Chargers get an easy game against the Jets with some REVENGE at play for Ballage. With no Justin Jackson, Pope not playing on offense and only on special teams, and Austin Ekeler not back yet, it isn’t hard to envision another 20+ touch game for Ballage at home to the Jets in Week 11.
If Ahmed is still on your waiver wire, you can feel comfortable spending around 60% of your remaining FAAB on him. He will project as a top-12ish RB until Austin Ekeler returns.
THE MOMENT WE HAVE ALL BEEN WAITING FOR! Jameis Winston came in for Drew Brees at halftime of Sunday’s game against the 49ers and, to be frank, looked awful in relief of the hall-of-famer. However, we have enough of a sample that when Jamies starts games, he is going to put up good-to-great fantasy numbers in them.
#Saints QB Drew Brees suffered a rib contusion in yesterday’s game, and he’ll have an MRI for cartilage damage today. But sources tell me and @TomPelissero that New Orleans is bracing for Brees to miss some time to fully heal.
— Ian Rapoport (@RapSheet) November 16, 2020
It appears as if Brees is not going to be able to play this upcoming week against the Atlanta Falcons which should set Jameis up for his first start of the season. There is not a scenario I can imagine where Jameis gets this start and doesn’t project as a top-10 QB. If I am relying on the likes of Kirk Cousins, Big Ben, even Brees himself, Jameis is a no-doubter add this week and someone I except to help many fantasy teams get into the playoffs over the next few weeks. For what it is worth, many people around the team expect Jameis to do well in this role.
BORDERLINE STARTERS (THESE PLAYERS LIKELY ARE COMING OFF A GOOD GAME BUT DO NOT PROJECT AS MULTI-WEEK STARTERS, WORTH LESS THAN 25% OF YOUR FAAB) FROM THE FANTASY FOOTBALL WAIVER WIRE
Cordarelle Patterson/Ryan Nall
As of the time I am writing this, the Bears game has not played out on Monday night yet. I will be updating Tuesday morning after we see the snap split between Patterson, Nall, Artavis Pierce, and Lamar Miller. My general advice is pretty bland, but to the point: if there is a clear starter here after Monday night, you should spend about 10% of your FAAB to acquire them. David Montgomery will be back, they are probably going to split snaps to some degree, and unless Patterson is the one who wins, none of these Chicago backs are the sort of explosive athlete that we can expect to create value on their own in what is a really mediocre offense. If you are in a league that has first come, first serve waivers, and you can drop players who played on Sunday, but you did not start, I would add the players in the following order to “take a peek” before the MNF game: Patterson, Lamar Miller, Ryan Nall, Artavis Pierce. One or two of them are likely to gain value after Monday night.
Beasley might as well call himself “the inconvenient truth” right now in the Bills offense. John Brown again got injured in this game while Beasley played the second-most snaps of any Bills pass catcher and racked up 13 targets in this game against the Cardinals while Gabriel Davis played only 37 snaps had had only three targets. If Brown is going to continue to be banged up and miss time, it is Beasley who is the winner here and not Gabriel Davis. Of course, Davis can be re-added again, but with this new super-aggressive passing offense that Buffalo is running, short passes to Beasley are sort of an extension of the running game and in full PPR leagues, playing in a role that can allow you to generate 10+ targets on a weekly basis is really valuable. Beasley is a solid 7-10% bid this week, depending on the results of John Brown’s ankle injury.
It took until Week 10, but Cam Akers finally 1) played significant snaps in a game where the outcome hung in the balance, and 2) looked like the prospect that we expected coming out of Florida State. My guess is that Akers hasn’t been dropped in a ton of competitive leagues, but he has been dropped in a huge chunk of casual leagues with the combination of injury, being benched, and the Rams having a Week 9 bye. While Malcolm Brown scored two touchdowns and Henderson led the team in snaps, at some point, the team should be incentivized to see if the second-round draft capital they spent on Akers is going to be recouped. Realistically, Akers is the same sort of premium-tier handcuff as Tony Pollard or Boston Scott with maybe a sprinkle of standalone value but should be owned in all 12-team leagues.
We were hesitant to suggest starting Jakeem The Dream last week, but he clearly is in a valuable role inside the quick-passing Miami offense. Grant played 44 snaps, which was the second-most of any WR or tight end in the Dolphins first game without Preston Williams. He was also targeted five times and lead the team in receptions with four while no other Dolphin had more than two. What is interesting is that Grant’s snaps have spiked while Durham Smythe has replaced Mike Gesicki in TE snaps. My loose thinking on this is that Smythe is more of a classic blocking TE, and Gesicki is more of a receiver. Grant clearly is not a blocker, but the team is choosing to play him over Mack Hollins and Antonio Calloway, which means they value his receiving skills. I’m filing away Grant as a flex-worthy WR3/4 for the rest of the season and encouraged by what we saw against the Chargers.
Another week, another mention of KJ Hamler in the SportsGrid waiver wire report. The Broncos AGAIN fell down in a giant hole against the Raiders in Week 10, which lead to Drew Lock again topping 40 passes. KJ Hamler played 62-of-71 offensive snaps and was targeted 10 times (the same number as last week). Noah Fant was only able to catch three of his seven targets, which suggests he is still struggling with a high ankle sprain that has limited him all season. Hamler seems fully healthy, and in an offense that is forced to throw the ball this often, he is the type of volatile WR with a semblance of a floor that is a perfect bye-week or injury fill-in.
The Browns barely had to throw in what was the worst game of the entire Sunday slate; Baker Mayfield threw only 20 passes and completed only 12 of them. Higgins recorded four targets and played 38 snaps, which was the same number as Jarvis Landry and KhaDerel Hodge. This was a really bizarre game played in the middle of some of the worst football weather that you will ever see, but it does seem pretty clear that Higgins is basically just stepping into Odell Beckham’s vacated role. Higgins is no OBJ, but the likes of Alshon Jeffery, Golden Tate, Zach Pascal, AJ Green, and other carcasses at WR are still sitting on fantasy football benches everywhere. Higgins certainly has more upside than the average dusty vet (even if he has been gathering dust himself).
Michael Pittman Jr.
This is now the third week in a row I have implored you to pick up Michael Pittman Jr., so I am hoping that this is mostly redundant and you guys already have him on your rosters. The Colts.com weekly mailbag had extremely high praise for Pittman after his first 100+ yard game in Week 10: “I think that’s the next step in Michael Pittman Jr.’s evolution — those red zone, go-up-and-get-it type of plays. But even in training camp, including those scrimmages at Lucas Oil Stadium, we also saw Pittman Jr. targeted quite frequently in traffic across the middle in the end zone, so I’m sure those plays will also start to materialize more and more throughout the second half of the season. This isn’t high-level analysis, but what has been so crystal clear the last couple games has been Philip Rivers’ increasing comfort throwing the rookie Pittman Jr. the ball; he caught four first downs Week 9 against the Ravens, and then on Thursday night against the Titans, getting the ball in Pittman Jr.’s hands was clearly a point of emphasis, and the end result was his seven receptions for 101 yards, as well as that 21-yard reverse play on the ground. Stock up for No. 11.”
To me, that basically sounds like what Eagles beat writers said about Reagor, what Bengals beats said about Tee Higgins, what Cowboys writers said about Lamb, and so on and so forth. This is a legendary class of wide receivers, and Pittman was talented enough to be considered in the same echelon as guys who are going to be multi-year NFL studs. Get Pittman on your rosters.
DEEP LEAGUE TARGETS AND BENCH STASHES FROM THE FANTASY FOOTBALL WAIVER WIRE
Don’t spend more than $1 of your FAAB on Alex Collins, BUT… he is the healthiest running back on the Seahawks roster right now, and it would be the most Seahawks thing of all time to bench Chris Carson, Carlos Hyde, and their young pass-catching backs for Collins. Collins led the Seahawks backfield in snaps and carries and scored the teams only touchdown of the day. With how poor Homer and Dallas have played, it really is not that surprising that they have gone to Collins, who was last with the team in 2016. Collins spent some time out of the NFL and then re-signed with Seattle due to their backfield injuries and quickly went from practice squad to starter. There is some probability that we see the Seahawks backfield degenerate into a gross three-way split between Carson, Hyde, and Collins because of Pete Carroll’s insane affinity for veterans. He is worth a stash in deeper leagues.
This is really not even advice I would follow myself, but Sony Michel is nearing a return from the short-term IR and has a decent chance at getting his normal role back in the Patriots’ offense. It might be a disgusting four-way split with Cam Newton playing as the primary goalline back, so you could argue it is one of the least-desirable backfield spots in the NFL. However, with the Patriots complete inability to throw the ball to anyone but Jakobi Meyers, there are carries and fantasy points to be had in this backfield, and the Patriots have stubbornly remained committed to Michel whenever he has been healthy. He has been dropped in a wide majority of leagues and can be had for $1 this week.
If you play on Yahoo! or any league where Taysom Hill has tight end eligibility, he might be the best add of the week. Drew Brees will miss 2-4 weeks with broken ribs and a collapsed lung, which means that Jameis Winston will start at QB. However, as we already saw with Brees out in the second half against the 49ers, that doesn’t mean Taysom isn’t going to play. Hill had eight rushes (a season-high) against the 49ers and will probably be in a role that gives him extra snaps around the goal line with Brees out. Given just how terrible the tight end position has been this year, getting a player like Taysom who could touch the ball 10-12 times a game over the next few weeks is an absolute slam dunk if you’re able to play him there.
Look Ahead Defense Bids (5% of FAAB or less): Washington Football Team (They will get the Dallas Cowboys and Andy Dalton on Thanksgiving), Cincinnati Bengals (just start your defenses against Daniel Jones and count your profit later).