I won’t dwell too much on how weird or out-of-place this week felt. I’ll be short with the introduction. But we do have a nice batch of players to look at on waivers this week. I know you need replacements at quarterback, you probably need help at running back, and you may need a D/ST streamer so we have you covered.
As always I’ll be in the NFL Seasonal Chat tonight from 8:00pm ET to 10:00pm ET. And if you can’t make the chat, just hit me up via firstname.lastname@example.org for waiver questions or start/sit questions later in the week. I normally have it open on my desk all day at work so don’t hesitate to reach out if you have questions and won’t be in the chat tonight.
Jameis Winston (NO) With Drew Brees likely to miss two-to-three weeks, the New Orleans Saints backup quarterback is a very intriguing add. I hesitate to label Winston the replacement for Brees because Sean Payton and the Saints have said they’re not naming the starter for Week 11 just yet. Winston came in and replaced Brees in the second half of Sunday’s game and while he wasn’t great, he’s a better fit for this style of offense. If they wanted to go with Taysom Hill as the starter they would have to shake things up with the overall game plan. So Winston does make more sense than Hill, but again this isn’t official. I wrote in the Hot Takes article yesterday that I do believe Winston provides more excitement and if he gets a full week of work with the first team on offense then he’ll be better prepared for this week’s game against Atlanta. It’s a great matchup, he has a good offensive line in front of him, and he has weapons at his disposal that he can elevate. He’s a good streamer this week if he’s named the starter. In Two-QB leagues he’s a must add right now. FAAB Bid: 12% You may need to bid more based on need for a quarterback.
Derek Carr (LV) While he isn’t as available as Winston on waivers, there’s a good chance Carr is available as a streamer or a replacement in your shallower leagues. He’s been relatively quiet his last three games with back-to-back-to-back games with under 200 passing yards. But he isn’t turning the ball over and he’s taken on the role of game manager and the Raiders have seen a little success this season. The Raiders have their matchup against the Chiefs this week and so far, the Raiders are the only team to have beaten Kansas City this year. This will be a big revenge game for Kansas City and Carr will have to do more than just manage the game. They catch a break as the game will be at home, but the Chiefs are coming off their bye. Even after this game, the short-term schedule for the Raiders is looking pretty nice with road games against the Falcons and Jets on the horizon. FAAB Bid: 7-8%
Alex Smith (WFT) If Carr isn’t available in your league and you don’t want to spend up for Jameis Winston , then Alex Smith is a cheap streamer at the quarterback position you can look at this week. In back-to-back games for Washington, Smith has thrown for over 300 passing yards. The downside is that he hasn’t found the end zone much with just one touchdown in his last two games. However, the Football Team faces off against Cincinnati this week and the Bengals have allowed multiple touchdown passes to quarterbacks in six straight games so there may be a respectable floor for Smith next week as a streamer. FAAB Bid: 5-6%
Do monitor your waivers and see if Cam Newton is available. His ownership is a little too high to include him in the waiver column. But he’s registered a rushing touchdown in six-of-eight games this season and when he’s scoring with his legs he’s returning value for fantasy. The passing numbers are virtually non-existant with just three touchdowns through the air. But there are some great matchups coming up for Cam that will require him to put the game in his hands. Also don’t sleep on Tua Tagovailoa. He’s made the waiver column a couple times the last few weeks and I just don’t want to sound like a broken record but he’s another quarterback who has a seemingly friendly schedule coming up.
Damien Harris (NE) He may only be available in shallower leagues and that’s likely just on ESPN where he’s about 44% owned. He’s over 50% owned on Yahoo so scour your ESPN leagues and see if he’s available. He’s hardly involved in the passing game with just two catches on the season, but he’s on pace for over 1,000 rushing yards and he’s easily the preferred running back to own in New England’s backfield. Like we said, his stock takes a hit in PPR formats, but he has a pretty good floor and has the Texans next week. We always complain that we can’t get a read on the New England backfield, but Harris has emerged as the one getting a majority of the carries next to Cam Newton . The lack of receptions and touchdowns limit him but his volume still gives him a good enough floor to be considered as a flex play each week. FAAB Bid: 15-17%
Kalen Ballage (LAC) Another week without Justin Jackson and Austin Ekeler so it led to another week of Kalen Ballage getting a featured back role. He now has 40 totals touches in the last two games and Troymaine Pope was even active on Sunday and he didn’t touch the ball once. So, without Justin Jackson the Chargers were content giving Ballage another heavy workload. Austin Ekeler is likely to return soon. He’s posted videos on social media of himself running at almost full speed, but he isn’t seen cutting or pivoting. It’s a good start. If Ekeler’s out again this week then Ballage is in a great smash spot against the New York Jets, but be cautious since New York will be coming off their bye week. FAAB Bid: 12-13%
Nyheim Hines (IND) I don’t want to fall for this trap again. It feels like over the last two seasons this is the fourth time that Nyheim Hines has made the waiver column and he usually follows his big games up by vanishing the next game. Between Hines, Jordan Wilkins , and Jonathan Taylor we have a committee that is impossible to read each week. The disappointing aspect of Taylor’s game is that there’s a great offensive line blocking for him and the schedule is great. But he just doesn’t have the best vision and decision making. I’m officially concerned as much as that sucks because I’ve been high on him all season. But with this unfortunate turn we can turn our attention to Hines, who was the “hot hand” last Thursday against the Titans. The previous week it was Jordan Wilkins . Hines is the preferred add in PPR formats since he likely catches the most passes out of the backfield. But we can’t get enamored with whoever the flavor of the week running back is in Indianapolis because it all boils down to whoever looks the best as the game progresses. The upcoming schedule for the Colts (Packers, Titans, Texans, Raiders, and then the Texans again) is another reason to consider Hines as a top add this week. FAAB Bid: 12-13%
Wayne Gallman (NYG) Credit to Fantasy Alarm’s James Grande for this little nugget on Twitter Monday afternoon. Since Week 7, Wayne Gallman has scored five touchdowns on the ground, ranks third at running back in PPR formats, and is the 14th-best skill position player in that time frame. He doesn’t strike you as an efficient running back, but when you’re in line for goal line work that’ll go a long way to improving your fantasy stock. Unfortunately the Giants are on bye next week so if you grab him you’ll get no use out of him. But the schedule when the Giants come back is pretty inviting against the Bengals, Seahawks, and Cardinals. The good news is that Devonta Freeman won’t be back for Week 12’s game against the Bengals so at least we know Gallman’s in line for a similar workload after the team’s week off. FAAB Bid: 11%
Salvon Ahmed (MIA) Most waiver columns will acknowledge Ahmed as a good add this week, and while this is true, I don’t think I’m as high on him as others might be in the industry. He had 22 touches on Sunday and found the end zone. That’s a great workload and he yielded great results. It’s still very early in the week, but it’s possible Matt Breida returns this week. He was a limited participant in practice last week while ultimately being declared inactive. So, if he continues to trend in the right direction then he may play this week. But Ahmed has looked good in a small sample size so far so he warrants some consideration as a waiver claim. Myles Gaskin will be eligible to come off IR after this week’s game in Denver so keep that in mind as well. FAAB Bid: 10%
La’Mical Perine (NYJ) The Jets were off last week, but they still made light news as they announced Perine would be the featured running back going forward. And this is music to our ears as we can finally see what they have with him. If I had to venture a guess, I’d say he gets 12-15 carries with a couple receptions each week going forward. As much as we love volume in fantasy football, this is still the worst team in the league and at the end of the day it’s production that matters. With matchups coming up against the Chargers, Dolphins, Seahawks, and Rams he could be a frustrating play. But the announcement from last week makes him a great stash. FAAB Bid: 7-8%
Cole Beasley (BUF) We were a little worried about Beasley’s upside with John Brown returning and unfortunately for Brown he tweaked his ankle and could miss some time. I’m not overly concerned about the games against Seattle and New England where he saw five total targets. I’m in the camp where we should expect six-to-eight targets each week going forward with John Brown potentially absent. With defenses focusing more on Stefon Diggs than Beasley, this opens things up for him and he’s a nice player to add in PPR formats. The Bills are on bye this coming week but they get a nice matchup against the Chargers in Week 12 at home. FAAB Bid: 14%
Jakobi Meyers (NE) The Patriots don’t throw it often, but when they do there’s a good chance it’s going to Meyers. Over his previous three games entering Sunday night Meyers was getting 38% of the team’s targets and in crappy weather Cam Newton only attempted 17 passes, but seven of those went Meyers’ way. Meyers even managed to throw a touchdown pass as well Sunday night so while we shouldn’t expect that to continue, he is finding ways to be involved in this offense and the target share is still ridiculously high. The Patriots are back in the playoff hunt with some great matchups coming up against the Texans and Cardinals. He may struggle to find the end zone, but he is a key piece for this offense when they’re moving the ball down the field. FAAB Bid: 14%
Michael Pittman (IND) The Colts rookie wideout is coming off his first 100-yard game of his career and he now has 15 targets in his last two games. He hasn’t found the end zone yet this year, but if we’re seeing an increase in targets then it’s possible a touchdown is on the horizon. Indianapolis primarily wants to run the ball as it’s apparent Phillip Rivers is a hazard to himself and his team when he’s airing it out too much. But with Pittman back and healthy we have a potential star on our hands. Don’t sleep on Zach Pascal either but if looking for a high-upside pass catcher, Pittman is a nice find that could see seven-to-eight targets this week against Green Bay. If Jaire Alexander and Kevin King are in danger of missing this game then Pittman’s in great shape. FAAB Bid: 8-10%
Jalen Reagor (PHI) While the offense certainly struggled Reagor was able to impress a little bit. He finished with four catches on seven targets for 47 yards. In two games since returning he has 13 targets. Philly obviously wants to get as much from their first-round pick as they can and when he’s had the ball in his hands he’s looked great. The one thing holding him back will be the abundance of other mouths to feed and the oscillating production from Carson Wentz . FAAB Bid: 6-8%
Josh Reynolds (LAR) Reynolds was a favorite DFS play of mine this past week and upon further review, we have to at least acknowledge the workload he’s had the last three weeks and maybe this trend continues in season-long leagues? He has 27 targets in his last three games and he was surprisingly the leading receiver for the Rams on Sunday against the Seahawks. That game didn’t live up to the scoring expectations we all had for it, but Reynolds has been more involved lately. The Rams face the Bucs in primetime this week and all the attention will likely go to Cooper Kupp and Robert Woods . This should open things up again for Reynolds to be a featured part of the offense and maybe he notches his fourth straight game with eight targets. FAAB Bid: 5-7%
Logan Thomas (WFT) It’s a bad year for tight ends. And it was a very underwhelming week with Mark Andrews and Rob Gronkowski leading all tight ends with just 13.1 PPR points. But Thomas has been a little steady the last few weeks. He has double-digit points in PPR formats in three of his last four games and he has at least four targets in every game this year with six targets in each of his last two games. It’s not sexy by any means, but Alex Smith has thrown for over 700 yards since taking over as the starter for Washington so there is opportunity for every pass catcher right now. They have a pair of great matchups coming up against Cincinnati and Dallas and he can probably be grabbed for cheap. FAAB Bid: 7-8%
Jordan Reed (SF) Thomas is probably the preferred player to look at if you need immediate help this week. But there’s an argument for Reed as the long-term grab if you can afford to stash him on his bye week. With Kittle out it’s clear the 49ers want to keep their tight ends involved in the offense. Against the Saints he caught five-of-six targets for 62 yards and that’s the kind of production you’ll take and run. We know that he’s had issues staying healthy in the past, but if he’s on the field and active this is a great tight end to stream each week. Again, San Francisco has the week off but they return in Week 12 with a divisional game against the Rams. FAAB Bid: 6-7%
Taysom Hill (NO) This is more of a longshot grab off waivers. And this really only applies to ESPN leagues where he’s eligible at tight end and quarterback. On the off chance he’s named as the starting quarterback for New Orleans, then you essentially have a superflex play at tight end this week. ESPN has said they won’t take away Hill’s eligibility at tight end so he’s locked in and eligible at both tight end and quarterback this week. Now it’s still a longshot because the Saints haven’t officially said who is starting at quarterback. But without Drew Brees we can assume they give Hill some reps under center to throw the Falcons defense off. Again, if Sean Payton throws a curveball and announces Hill as the starter then you can plug a quarterback in your tight end spot in ESPN leagues. FAAB Bid: 3-4%
Los Angeles Chargers – They play the Jets this week. We could easily stop the analysis right there. The Jets are really bad. Sure, they’re coming off their bye week but only to travel across the country and get a road game against a Chargers team that is hungry for a win with Justin Herbert under center. The Jets give up sacks and they turn the ball over plenty. You can easily see the Bolts getting double-digit points in this matchup with Joe Flacco at quarterback once again for New York. This is the most obvious D/ST to stream this week.
Miami Dolphins – The Dolphins defense is actually pretty solid. Over their last five games they’ve put up 57 fantasy points with ten forced turnovers and 13 sacks in that span. They travel to Denver this week to take on the Broncos and Drew Lock may not start this game for Denver. Even if he does start, that doesn’t turn me off from the Dolphins or anything. This is also a good opportunity to get ahead of the game and grab the Dolphins ahead of their Week 12 matchup against the Jets.
Kansas City Chiefs – A lot of fantasy managers unloaded the Chiefs last week since they were on bye, but Andy Reid is phenomenal at coaching him team up coming out of the bye week. Sure, the Raiders dropped 40 points on this defense earlier in the year and the Chiefs have delivered negative fantasy points in three games as well. But they still have a very good ceiling and I’ll trust Andy Reid to have his team ready to dominate the Raiders.
Detroit Lions – This is certainly one of my bolder suggestions on waivers. In standard scoring leagues, the Lions have delivered -2 fantasy points over their last three games. Expand that to their last four games and they’ve yielded just one point. As a D/ST in fantasy they’ve netted just EIGHT points this year. In Week 6 against the Jaguars, that’s where we found those eight points. So that means in their other eight games they’ve managed to cancel all their performance out and put up zero points. So why would we possibly play them this week? In deeper leagues, if the Panthers are without Teddy Bridgewater and Christian McCaffrey then we can stream this team. I am a PJ Walker truther. Trust me I covered the XFL from a DFS angle with Ryan Hallam earlier this year, I know how explosive he was. But it’s a different ball game in the NFL so if you’re in a 16-team league and there are no better options, the Lions have a shot at finishing in the black in Week 11.