Who would have thought Matt Ryan would be the top ranked QB, racking up an average of nearly 25 Fantasy points per game through the first 10 weeks of the season? Not I, that’s for sure. But I do own him in one of my big three leagues, so I’m surely happy about it.
And Philip Rivers just keeps trucking along despite not having a real No. 1 receiver, with Keenan Allen going down in Week 1. Ten weeks later Rivers is ranked in the back end of the Top 10, depending on your league settings.
Well, neither of those guys are available this weekend with the Falcons and Chargers, along with the Broncos and the Jets, having their bye weeks. That also leaves Trevor Siemian and Bryce Petty/Ryan Fitzpatrick on the pine, but none of those three options should be starting in single QB leagues.
With the trade deadline having come and gone, the best way to fill that empty QB slot is through free agency. Without Ryan and Rivers racking up big point totals, these are viable plug and plays for the week — in the order I’d add them with all five options available. Hopefully you planned ahead, but if not these signal callers could snag you a W in Week 11.
In Tyrod We Trust
Tyrod Taylor has looked like a low-end QB1/high-end QB2 for nearly two seasons now. He is absolutely the real deal after backing up Joe Flacco in Baltimore for four seasons. He proved that last Monday night in what might have been the actual best game of his career in prime time versus the vaunted Seahawks defense in Seattle.
He went 27-for-38 (he’s thrown the same number of passes in each of the past two games) for 289 yards and two TDs — one through the air and one on the ground. His legs are an added perk, as made evident by the 43 rush yards and a score he added during Monday Night Football.
Taylor has scored 15 or more points in his last eight contests and has topped 24 in three of those games, including Week 9. Coming off a bye, the Bills face a Cincinnati defense that gives up nearly 380 yards per game along with the fifth-most Fantasy points to QBs this season.
With Taylor still available in 35 percent of leagues, he’s a top QB option to snag off the waiver wire in Week 11 with a high floor, making him a true QB1 this Sunday.
Keep an Eye on Kaepernick
If Taylor isn’t available in your league, turn to another mobile QB that’s owned in just 15 percent of leagues. Colin Kaepernick has quietly been a top performing Fantasy QB since being named the starter in San Francisco in Week 6.
And since the 49ers’ Week 8 bye, Kaepernick has put up back-to-back 22-plus point performances in four-point quarterback touchdown leagues, 25-plus with 6-point QB TDs. I added Kaepernick in a single QB league to back up Aaron Rodgers, but also to keep him off the roster(s) of other teams competing for a playoff spot. These next few weeks are crucial, and Kaepernick could be a player that puts you over the hump.
The 49ers will likely be behind much of the game against the Patriots, which means Kaepernick is in for a high-volume day. Expect close to 40 pass attempts and 50-plus rushing yards for the San Francisco signal caller, making him a must-start in two-QB leagues and a perfect pick up if you’ll be without Ryan or Rivers this week.
Bank on Brock for Big Game on MNF
I’m starting Brock Osweiler in a two-quarterback league this week. Wow, I thought that would be harder to admit than it was (wipes brow). With Ryan on a bye, I’m plugging in Osweiler and I’m not worried about the recent run-heavy shift the Texans’ offense has gone to.
The reason(s): Houston’s Monday night matchup with Oakland will likely turn into a shootout, and the Raiders’ D ranks 30th in pass defense giving up the eighth-most Fantasy points to QBs so far this year.
Osweiler should put up his best numbers since Week 6, when he threw for 269 yards and two touchdowns. Numbers just like that should be very doable for the quarterback owned in just 10 percent of leagues.
Snag Smith for Sweet Match Up
Alex Smith is purely a match-up play in Week 11, but a great one at that. The Chiefs QB will face a Tampa Bay defense that has given up the sixth-most Fantasy points to quarterbacks this season, including four-touchdown efforts over the past three weeks to Ryan and David Carr.
While I wouldn’t expect four TDs from Smith, I do expect him to at least match his season high of two, along with 225 yards through the air. Smith isn’t part of an offense like Ryan or Carr but since he’s owned in just one-quarter of leagues, he makes for a sneaky good play this weekend. He’s got a high floor and that’s just what you need when your big guns are on bye.
Bradford A Back-End QB2 in Week 11
Last, but certainly not least, is a quarterback that has thrown 37 or more passes each of his past four contests. He’s also coming off his first 300-yard game of the season. That QB is none other than the Vikings’ Sam Bradford.
Yes, it’s tough match up for Bradford, who will be facing an Arizona defense that will likely have Patrick Peterson shadowing his favorite target, Stefon Diggs, all day. But the high volume of passes the former No. 1 pick will be forced to throw on Sunday makes him a viable streaming option. If you’re stuck, you could do a lot worse than Bradford who is owned in just over 10 percent of leagues.
All of these quarterbacks should put up quality games in Week 11, making them easily accessible bye-week replacements for top QBs like Ryan and Rivers.