Fantasy Football: Waiver-Wire Pickups after Week 11
Injuries are unavoidable. They happen every year to some of the best players in the league. Even though they can suck the life right out of your team, you deal with them and move on because, hey, this is fantasy football, not fantasy badminton.
Week 11 gave us another crop of injuries to thin out an already depleted league even more, so with six teams playing early on Thanksgiving this week, what do you do? Hopefully you stashed a little depth on your squad that you can just plug right in there...but what if you didn't?
This is where the all-important waiver wire comes in handy, and this is why you need to know exactly which players to pick up.
QB Chad Henne: Jacksonville Jaguars
Henne stepped in for an injured/benched Blaine Gabbert and was finally able to get their first-round wide receiver, Justin Blackmon, involved in the offense to a huge degree.
He finished the game with 354 yards, four TD passes, zero interceptions and had the offense moving pretty darn well against a very tough Texans defense on the road.
In my opinion, Henne just took the starting job from Gabbert for at least the next couple of weeks, and should be able to do well seeing that the Jags have the Titans and the Bills next on their schedule.
On a side note, his promotion is a major boon to the owners of WRs Cecil Shorts and Justin Blackmon as well.
RB Bryce Brown: Philadelphia Eagles
LeSean McCoy was carted off the field with what was confirmed after the game to be a concussion.
Bryce Brown would be the replacement for McCoy if he misses any time, and from the looks of the hit, he will probably miss at least next week’s Monday night game, especially with his concussion-like symptoms still lingering (via Geoff Mosher, CSN Philadelphia) a day after the game.
Despite his superior talent, McCoy hadn’t really been able to get off behind this offensive line, so don’t expect a ton of production out of Brown; though Brown did have five carries for 35 yards in relief against the Redskins, so you never know.
RB Ronnie Hillman: Denver Broncos
When Willis McGahee left the game with a knee injury in the second quarter, Ronnie Hillman stepped in and saw the most playing time he had seen all season, finishing the game with 43 yards on 12 carries while adding another 16 yards on two catches.
With reports coming back (via ESPN) that McGahee both tore his MCL and fractured a bone in his lower right leg, Hillman suddenly becomes a sure-fire starting fantasy running back, so there's no doubt he'll be one of the best pickups of the week.
It is still unclear how much time McGahee will miss, but if it turns out to be 6-8 weeks, then Hillman needs to be grabbed and can be used as a regular RB2 in this dynamic Broncos offense.
RB Jalen Parmele: Jacksonville Jaguars
Supposedly the Jaguars coaching staff got sick of Rashad Jennings’ ineffective play (i.e. one touchdown and 2.86 YPC on 77 carries), so they decided to go with backup Jalen Parmele instead.
My guess would be that Jennings’ failure had as much to do with the rest of the NFL being completely unafraid of QB Blaine Gabbert, but now we’ll never know.
Parmele, however, will not have to deal with the same disrespect for his QB as Jennings did because it looks like Chad Henne will take over under center (via John Oehser, Jaguars.com) for the time being.
If the rest of the RBs on this list are already taken, and you need a flex option for the next week or two until Maurice Jones-Drew comes back, Parmele wouldn’t be the worst guy you could pick up this week as the Jags next two opponents (Tennessee and Buffalo) happen to give up the first and second-most fantasy points to running backs this season.
RB Marcel Reece: Oakland Raiders
It may have been a massively lopsided defeat for his team, but Reece certainly made an impression on fantasy owners after his explosion on Sunday.
Not only did Marcel finish the day with a game-high 103 yards rushing, but he also added a game-high 90 yards on four catches as well.
Granted, this was the Saints defense he was putting these numbers up against, but the way he played out there was pretty impressive regardless.
Whatever the case, after a performance like that, Reece is going to continue to be utilized in this offense for the rest of the season... even when Darren McFadden returns.
RB LaRod Stephens-Howling: Arizona Cardinals
Stephens-Howling was very impressive running against the Falcons, touching them up for a ripe 127 rushing yards plus a TD.
The Falcons may not have a very good run defense, but LSH still showed he can be explosive with two long runs of 40 and 52 yards.
The bummer about snagging him is that Beanie Wells is eligible to return next week, so LaRod is undoubtedly going to lose some carries, but I still believe he is going to be a part of the Cardinals' plans in the backfield.
WR Danario Alexander: San Diego Chargers
Alexander backed up his big game in Week 10 with a seven-catch, 96-yard and two-TD performance on Sunday against the Broncos.
"DX" has quickly become Philip Rivers’ favorite receiver and has seemingly entrenched himself as the biggest playmaker on the team—as was evident by his one-handed, 21-yard TD catch this week.
With Alexander looking like he will continue to see major love from Rivers the rest of the way, he’s definitely one of the best adds of the week... if he’s still available, of course.
WR Justin Blackmon: Jacksonville Jaguars
Blackmon finally made his mark on both the NFL and fantasy game with his earth-shattering performance in Week 11.
The first-round rookie finished the game with 236 yards on seven receptions (including an 81-yard TD catch) and showed more speed than anyone ever thought he had—and did it all with Chad Henne under center!
As long as he’s been mentioned, Henne has been announced as the starter for at least Week 12, a move which definitely makes Blackmon worth taking a shot on; especially with the rapport he and Henne displayed in this last game against the Texans.
If you drafted Blackmon and held on to him through all his woes, kudos to you. If not, go and get him back immediately!
WR Julian Edelman: New England Patriots
Edelman was all over the field in Week 11.
The former seventh-round pick out of Kent State had five catches (on seven targets) for 58 yards and a TD, as well as a 47-yard run and a 68-yard punt return for a TD on special teams.
With TE Rob Gronkowski suffering a broken forearm in the game and likely to be out 4-6 weeks, I have no doubt the Patriots will give Edelman an increased role in the weeks ahead.
By the way, an "increased role" in this New England Patriots offense is pretty much the equivalent to striking fantasy gold.
WR T.Y. Hilton: Indianapolis Colts
We’ve been mentioning this guy most of the season and as it turned out, Hilton showed yet again why he’ll continue to be a big hit-or-miss candidate with his monster performance on Sunday.
This time, the Colts little speedster out of Florida International ended up with six catches for 100 yards and two TD grabs of 14 and 43 yards, and if his fellow rookie QB has anything to say about it, it won’t be his last big game.
T.Y. is still going to be hit-or-miss, but he is developing a nice rapport with Andrew Luck right now and has the skills to be the home run hitter your fantasy team needs down the stretch.
TE Garrett Graham: Houston Texans
Graham had himself a bit of a breakout game on Sunday with eight catches for 82 yards and two TDs.
In fact, this was an absolute explosion of a game in general as we saw QB Matt Schaub throw for 527 yards (tied for second-most in modern NFL history) and the two teams combine for 80 points in a three-hour and 49-minute overtime marathon.
Graham might be a hot pick-up this week, but don’t expect this type of performance to happen again this season with starting TE Owen Daniels returning to full health.
TE Tony Moeaki: Kansas City Chiefs
Now that he's over a full year removed from ACL surgery, talented tight end Tony Moeaki is finally starting to make an impact for the Chiefs this season.
Coming off a three-catch, 68-yard game last week, Tony did well to follow it up with 73 yards on another four catches this past Sunday.
Moeaki is undoubtedly a deep option at the position, but his performance over the last two weeks and the most recent injury to Dwayne Bowe (head/neck) should keep him on his current pace.
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