There are many reasons I enjoy fantasy football, but I was reminded of an important one yesterday.
As the final seconds ticked off the clock in Philly, I stuck a fork in the season of my beloved Eagles; but at least I still have hope for the remainder of the season from a fantasy perspective. So no matter where your favorite team rates on the bed-crapping spectrum, the remaining seven weeks of the season still have a chance to bring you some joy.
For reasons unbeknownst to me, there are four teams on bye next week despite the fact that no teams were off this week. Obviously this merciful lack of a game is too little, too late for Colts fans, but the fact that Houston, New Orleans, and Pittsburgh are on bye has a pretty big impact on the fantasy landscape.
Before I dive into this week’s potential waiver wire adds, I wanted to thank Jerod for filling in for me last week. I was actually out in Arizona, so as punishment, I was forced to watch the Cardinals-Rams game.
As always, players listed here are owned in fewer than 50 percent of Yahoo! leagues.
Fantasy Football Week 11 Waiver Wire Pickups: QB
Carson Palmer (36%), Oakland
After torching the Chargers, Palmer is now averaging over 300 yards passing with five scores over this first two starts of the season. Defenses have to account for the Oakland running game no matter who is in the backfield, which should leave opportunities for Palmer to go downfield.
Adding to his allure is a Week 11 matchup with Minnesota who has allowed eight TD passes in three games leading into Monday night’s affair with Aaron Rodgers. Their secondary may still have their heads spinning from that one by Sunday.
Christian Ponder (15%), Minnesota
Staying in that same game, Oakland’s pass defense has been pretty inept in its own right. They have allowed multiple TDs to opposing quarterbacks in seven of their last eight games. Ponder has acquitted himself fairly well in his first couple games, making him a potential fill-in if you’re desperate.
John Skelton (2%), Arizona
Speaking of desperation, there are a number of intriguing matchup plays at QB like Alex Smith against Arizona or Tarvaris Jackson against the Rams. And while Skelton has an arguably worse matchup against the 49ers, he’s coming off of a big game with 315 yards and three scores versus the Eagles.
The Cardinals will almost certainly be playing from behind, which should mean ample attempts for Skelton. This is obviously predicated on the fact the team realizes he actually gives them a better chance to win than Kevin Kolb, but you’d be hard-pressed to argue the offense hasn’t been more efficient with him at the helm.
Again, he’s likely an emergency starter at best outside of deep leagues, but I liked what I saw on Sunday.
Fantasy Football Week 11 Waiver Wire Pickups: RB
Maurice Morris (30%), Detroit
There isn’t a ton to like here, but Morris has a couple things working in his favor. First, the Lions play Carolina next week, and the Panthers are among the worst defenses against opposing fantasy running backs. Second, with Matthew Stafford’s finger ailing, the team would be well served to mix a few more runs into the game plan.
That said, it’s hard to recommend Morris as much more than a flex option at this point. If you want to really roll the dice, Kevin Smith is back in the mix for the Lions and had six touches in his first game on Sunday.
Dexter McCluster (27%), Kansas City
McCluster tied a season high with 14 touches against the Broncos, as he rushed for 45 yards on eight carries and caught six balls for 48 yards. You can’t question his explosiveness, but the upcoming schedule features some tough defenses. Still, his involvement in the passing game makes him a potential flex option in PPR leagues. Just don’t expect a ton of consistency from the second-year back.
Chris Ogbonnaya (25%), Cleveland
After an abysmal showing in his first start last week, Ogbonnaya tallied 109 total yards on Sunday, albeit against the Rams. The matchup against the Jaguars in Week 11 is a tough one, but he should get 20 touches with Peyton Hillis and Montario Hardesty both potentially out again.
Kendall Hunter (18%), San Francisco
With Frank Gore sitting out most of the second half, Hunter was once again the feature back for the 49ers. He finished with six carries for 40 yards and a score to go with one reception for four yards. The matchup with Arizona next week is a decent one, and given the typical 49ers game plan, Hunter would get close to 20 touches if Gore has to sit out.
There are a number of favorable matchups remaining on San Francisco’s schedule, and Gore isn’t getting any younger. Consequently, Hunter is likely to see his role and fantasy value expand down the stretch.
Lance Ball (5%), Denver
After Willis McGahee and Knowshon Moreno both went down, Ball stepped in and carried the ball 30 times for 96 yards. With Denver’s run-pass mix on the level of Army or Navy, whoever the primary ball carrier is there has solid fantasy value. Moreno is definitely out, while McGahee’s status is a bit less certain, but Ball is worth a pre-emptive add at the very least.
Fantasy Football Week 11 Waiver Wire Pickups: WR
Laurent Robinson (48%), Dallas
Robinson now has four touchdowns over the past three weeks, and with Miles Austin still nursing a hamstring injury, he will once again be a starter. The Redskins have been pretty effective at limiting opposing wideouts, but the Dallas passing game is hitting on all cylinders heading into that matchup.
Greg Little (14%), Cleveland
After a three-week stretch where he didn’t even break 33 yards, Little caught six passes for 84 yards against the Rams. This might tempt you to pick him up, but the Jags have been tough against opposing wide receivers. It’s not as if the Browns are some kind of offensive juggernaut anyway, so even though the athletic ability is there, consistency won’t be.
Vincent Brown (7%), San Diego
The rookie wideout how has at least 79 yards receiving in two straight weeks, and he nearly missed a second touchdown on Thursday night. Brown’s value largely hinges on the health of Malcom Floyd, but early indications are that Floyd will be out again this week.
Damian Williams (5%), Tennessee
After his 107-yard, one TD performance against Carolina, Williams now has a TD or 60 yards receiving in five of his last six games. He seems to have a decent rapport with Matt Hasselbeck, and the Titans have a few favorable matchups remaining. Williams won’t ever be confused for an every week starter, but he’s worth owning as a reasonably reliable bench option.
Harry Douglas (3%), Atlanta
Julio Jones re-aggravated his hamstring injury, which opened the door for Douglas to have a huge game. He was targeted 14 times and finished with eight receptions for 133 yards. Given his performance and target numbers from games where Atlanta’s top receiving options were all healthy, he’s a decent fill-in option if Jones misses time, but that’s about it.
Leonard Hankerson (1%), Washington
With eight receptions for 106 yards on nine targets, Hankerson had a breakout performance for the Redskins on Sunday. Unfortunately it was cut short by a hip injury, which he downplayed after the game. Washington’s search continues for an effective quarterback, but they may have found something at WR in Hankerson, who is a decent PPR league option going forward.
Update: Scratch Hankerson. After his breakout day he was placed on IR because of a torn labrum.
Fantasy Football Week 11 Waiver Wire Pickups: TE
Ed Dickson (12%), Baltimore
After 10 catches, 79 yards, and two touchdowns, Dickson is sure to be a trendy pickup this week. Part of that can be attributed to Baltimore taking what the defense gave them, but Dickson has plenty of talent for a team that seems hell bent on a pass-heavy game plan. This week’s matchup against Cincinnati is tough, but he’s a decent bye week fill-in for this week and a backup going forward.
Jacob Tamme (2%), Indianapolis
The Colts haven’t officially ruled Dallas Clark out for the season, but there is no motivation for them to rush to get him back on the field either. Tamme filled in admirably for Clark last season and hauled in six receptions for 75 yards against the Jaguars on Sunday. Obviously the quarterback situation is nowhere near what it was last season, but that doesn’t mean he has absolutely no value.
With the Colts on bye this week, there’s no need to rush to pick him up, but keep him on your radar, particularly in PPR leagues.
Streaming Defense(s) of the Week
Jacksonville (15%) at Cleveland (10%)
This category got a little tougher with the Colts off, but both of these offensively inept teams have scored over 17 points just once this season. Expect an ugly, low-scoring game in Cleveland between these two.
Have any questions or feedback? Leave them in the comments below or hit me up on Twitter (@andybottoms).