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Injuries continue to ravage the fantasy football game, and quarterbacks continue to suffer the brunt of it on a nearly weekly basis. Behind the men under center there's one back who exploded in Week 10 that everyone will want, even if they probably shouldn't. Ditto out wide were a superstar performance is going to lead to an awful lot of overbidding in Week 11. Finally at tight end there are a couple of options people can turn to, though neither is likely to be anything more than a Bye or injury fill-in. Here's the article you need to read if you're trying to figure out how to play the waiver-wire in fantasy football.
A WEEKLY FANTASY BATTLE
Take on Ray Flowers. Show me that you've got more football knowledge than the arrogant one.
Sign up for the Weekly Fanduel.com/BaseballGuys.com NFL Salary Cap Contest. Pick your one week squad based on salary cap levels for players. Finish in the top-15 in Week 11 and you will at least double your $10 investment (all top-15 finishers will receive at least $20). Win the battle and you're looking at a $250 windfall. Simple as that. You interested?
BYE: DAL, STL
(Assuming a $100 Budget)
Ryan Fitzpatrick, Titans
The last three years Ryan Fitzpatrick threw for at least 3,000 yards and 23 touchdowns. Peyton Manning didn't do that. OK, Manning missed the season in 2011, but hopefully the point was made. Fitzpatrick is a decent NFL QB. He's nothing more than a QB2 so don't get ahead of yourself, but he can move the football even if he can't win football games on his own. Coming in for Jake Locker in Week 10, Fitzpatrick threw for 264 yards and two scores, though it was against a bad Jaguars defense. With Locker out for the rest of the season with his foot injury, Fitzpatrick will play out the string for the Titans as long as he can stay healthy. He could crack the top-20 QBs from here on out, but in a best case scenario Ryan would be extremely fortunate to even get to the midway point among all fantasy signal callers in the ball control Titans offense.
FAAB BID: $5-10
Scott Tolzien, Packers
Gotta admit, I was fairly impressed when the undrafted QB had to come in to relieve the injured Senaca Wallace (who himself was subbing for Aaron Rodgers). With Wallace (groin) already ruled out for Week 11, it will be Tolzien under center against the Giants. The matchup obviously isn't an overly difficult one, but talent evaluators are pretty consistent in their nonplussed assessment of Scott T's talent (most think, at best, that he's backup QB material long-term). Still, he's got talent around him, but take his 280 yard, TD effort with a grain of salt. He also threw two interceptions in the game against the Eagles, one of the worst offenses in football. If you're a Wallace owner, or maybe Jay Cutler or Lcoker, maybe you look to Tolzien. Still, it better be in a league that starts two quarterbacks though cause Tolzien's nowhere near a top-20 option in fantasy this week.
FAAB BID: $1-5
Benny Cunningham, Rams
Daryl Richardson has been missing time due to injury, so Cunningham has been spelling the red hot carry monster that is Zac Stacy. And therein lies the problem with Cunningham or Richardson for that matter. Stacy has been a touch monster the past month. Here are his touch totals the last five games: 20, 21, 27, 33 and 28. There's just not much to go around after the big dog eats. Cunningham had a fine effort in Week 10 with 72 yards on just seven totes, and he also caught a ball for another 18 yards. However, that's the first time he's been over 25 years in a game this season, and the first time he's had more than four carries. He only get's a bigger role if Stacy goes down. Even if that happens, if Richardson is healthy it's not at all clear what Cunningham's role would be. Plus, the Rams are on a Bye this week anyway, so don't get too crazy with bidding on the old Bennymiester.
FAAB BID: $1-5
Mark Ingram, Saints
The breakout performer of the week in the backfield. Ingram carried the ball 14 times for 145 yards an a score in a dominating performance against the Cowboys. Note however, that the Saints were in total control of the game racking up 49 points and 625 yards of offense (including an NFL record 40 first downs). It was comical how bad the Cowboys were actually. As such, it's pretty hard to gain much of anything of value from this effort. Here's what we know. (1) Ingram is still third on the depth chart in the backfield with the Saints. Don't overlook the fact that Pierre Thomas ran 17 times for 87 yards and a touchdown while also catching seven passes an another score in Week 10. Then there is the case of Darren Sproles who, fresh off a concussion, went bonkers himself with seven receptions for 76 yards an a score. He also scored another time on the ground. I wonder how many of you out there noted that even with his great effort, Ingram was still third on the Saints in fantasy points this week in a PPR league – Thomas had 30.1, Sproles 27.8 and Ingram 24.0? (2) Ingram is the third most talented player in the backfield with the Saints. (3) This was the first time that Ingram ran for more than 20 yards in his four games this season as he's missed substantial time with a wonky foot. Last season he ran for 50 yards six times, but only once did he clear 68 yards. With Thomas, the most versatile of the trio, and the pass catching phenom that is Sproles, Ingram's production from week-to-week is the most likely to be varied of the trio. Bid carefully on Ingram as many are going to overspend wildly this week.
FAAB BID: $10
Jonathan Dwyer, Steelers
Six carries for 38 yards in Week 10 give him 68 yards on his last seven carries. The handcuff, for those of you interested in that, to Le'Veon Bell but nothing more and Bell has touched the balls 20, 19, 20, 19, 20 and 25 times when active this season. Nothing to see here.
FAAB BID: $1-5
Brian Leonard / Bobby Rainey, Buccaneers
Doug Martin (shoulder) is done. Mike James (ankle) is done. That leaves the Bucs with these two fellas to carry the load. HC Greg Schiano says that both will have a role in the offense. Thanks for the newsflash Greg, no one could have predicted that both backs would have had a role. Leonard led the way on Monday Night Football with 22 touches while Rainey had nine. Think of the backfield like this. Leonard, even with his ability to catch passes, is likely to get the majority of 1-2 down work with Rainey seeing most of his touches on third down. Both should have a role. Leonard is more of the non-ppr option, Rainey more of the PPR option. Could be something like the Cardinals with Mendenhall/Ellington, though Leonard will also catch passses (unlike Mendenhall). Neither is likely to be much more than a flex option without a full compliment of touches in an offense that is regressing.
FAAB BID for Leonard: $15-20
FAAB BID for Rainey: $10-15
Tavon Austin, Rams
Just don't. That's the answer to the question 'should I blow my budget to add Austin who was awesome in Week 10?' Austin was “awesome,” even if I hate the word, as he had 138 yards and two scores as a receiver an a 98 yard kick return for a score leading to 314 all-purpose yards. Why wouldn't you blow your budget on a guy like that? Two. That's the number of catches Austin had. The last three games he has four receptions on eight targets. He simply doesn't have a role in the offense as evidence by the fact that he played a grand total of 15 offensive snaps in Week 10. He's had one game with more than three receptions in his last seven games, and for the season has one game, Sunday, with more than 50 yards receiving. Don't go chasing fool's gold.
FAAB BID: $5-10
Leonard Hankerson, Redskins
For two straight weeks Hankerson has caught five passes for 55 and 61 yards. The problem is that he's the “Z receiver” in an offense where that position just isn't a focus. It would be safe to expect similar results the rest of the way, but there is nothing to get excited about here.
FAAB BID: $5-10
Justin Hunter, Titans
Ryan Fitzpatrick is under center, so we have to take a fresh look at the receivers with the Titans. Kendall Wright will get his 10 targets, and Nate Washinton is firmly established as the 2nd option, but who's the third? Seems like it was a battle between Damien Williams and Hunter, but the scales are now tipping to Hunter. Why? Williams is being listed as week-to-week with a quad injury and that menas the talented rookie just might have a big game or two in him the rest of the way, even if he's not someone you can trust on a weekly basis. There is no disputing that Hunter has big time talent.
FAAB BID: $5
Jermaine Kearse, Seahawks
Kearse has scored in 2-straight games and he went for 75 yards in Week 10. This is as good as it gets. The main reason being that Percy Harvin is about ready to return. When he does he'll likely quickly move to the top of the Seahawks target list on a weekly basis meaning a guy like Kearse will have no chance to see his role grow, and that's a problem for a guy who only has 19 targets on the season.
FAAB BID: $1-3
Rishard Matthews, Dolphins
He's not very big. He's not very fast. He does have good hands though. Ryan Tannehill has been under a lot of pressure lately with the Dolphins o-line in a shambles, and the result is lots of dump offs to the slot man that is Matthews. Not exaggerating either. Matthews had 14 targets against the Bucs leading to 11 catches, 120 yards and two scores. It will be his best effort of the season, he's not had another game with more than four catches or 42 yards, but he might be able to fill the role of WR4 in a PPR setup from here on out.
FAAB BID: $5-10
John Carlson, Vikings
Seven receptions for 98 yards an a score. Yeah, we all knew that was gonna happen. In one of the most out of nowhere efforts of the season, Carlson went from nobody to superstar overnight. Well, hopefully you know that he's way more ordinary than anything else. Even with Kyle Rudolph out there is no reason to expect Carlson to be a weekly TE1. Beyond the continuing uncertainty at QB for the Vikings, you should consider the following facts. (1) Prior to Week 10 Carlson has a total of 11 receptions for 61 yards. (2) He caught eight balls in 2012. (3) Over his last 38 games he has two touchdowns and 57 receptions. Nothing to see here unless you are desperate.
FAAB BID: $3-5
Tyler Eifert, Bengals
Eifert only had three catches for 55 yards in Week 10 but he also had 10 targets. Time to get excited about the talented rookie? Not really. He received those looks cause Jermaine Gresham was out with a groin injury. Seems extremely likely that Gresham will return in Week 11 so don't overspend on Eifert.
FAAB BID: $5
Rob Housler, Cardinals
Finally. A talented and athletic pass catcher, Housler has been virtually invisible in the Bruce Arians offense this season. However, he's slowly gaining a foothold. He scored for the first time this season against Houston and he's caught at least four passes in three of the last four games. Things likely won't get any better than they are right now, and they may not even stay at this level in the Cardinal's offense, so avoid spending. He's still a nice dynasty hold, and there are worse options out there if you're in a very deep league.
FAAB BID: $7-10
Ray Flowers can be heard daily on Sirius/XM Radio on The Fantasy Drive on Sirius 210 and XM 87, Monday through Thursday at 7 PM EDT & Friday's at 9 PM EDT. For more of Ray's analysis you can check out BaseballGuys.com or the BaseballGuys' Twitter account where he tirelessly answers everyone's questions.