Week 11 Waiver Wire: Breaking Down Most Intriguing Pickups
Tinkering can be a blessing and a curse in fantasy football. Generally speaking, once you've done your research and broken down the matchups, tinkering with your lineup is almost always a mistake. Very few sound decisions are made five minutes before kickoff.
But tinkering with your bench each week on the waiver wire is often the difference between reaching the playoffs and listening to your friends heckle you for an entire year because you didn't. If you aren't constantly looking for sleepers and adding them, I promise you, someone else is.
And so I'm here to help. If you've been following my weekly roundup of the waiver wire, you've already added players like Zac Stacy, Nick Foles, Riley Cooper or Jarrett Boykin to your fantasy team, among others. Don't miss out on this week's sleepers. Make sure you know exactly which players to target when you tinker with your bench.
Andre Brown, RB, New York Giants
Percent Owned: 25.2 percent
Analysis: If you were one of the people who stashed Brown a week or two ago, well done. You were rewarded on Sunday if you started him, as he rushed 30 times for 115 yards and a touchdown. I wrote about Brown in more depth here, but essentially he's a weekly starter who has RB2 potential.
And you got him on the waiver wire. Can't complain about that, right?
Nick Foles, QB, Philadelphia Eagles
Percent Owned: 45.4 percent
Analysis: Nick Foles is the 17th-ranked quarterback in standard-scoring leagues despite the fact that he's started just four games this season. Let that one sink in for a second.
It's hard to imagine the Philadelphia Eagles going back to Michael Vick given the recent play of Foles, who has throw 16 touchdowns and no interceptions this season. And it's just as hard to fathom how he isn't more widely owned in fantasy leagues.
Foles has a great matchup against Washington this week, giving up 18.2 points to opposing quarterbacks in standard-scoring leagues per week, 26th in the NFL. He's a QB1 this week despite being owned in less than half of all leagues.
Riley Cooper, WR, Philadelphia Eagles
Percent Owned: 31.3
Analysis: We can't dismiss Riley Cooper as a fluke any longer. He's now scored eight or more fantasy points in four of his last five games, accumulating 79 points (15.8 points per game) during that time.
In games that Foles has started, Cooper has totaled 78 fantasy points. In the six games Foles hasn't started, he's totaled just 14 fantasy points. So long as Foles is under center, Cooper will remain a surprising fantasy stud and is making a strong case for WR2 consideration each week.
Rashad Jennings, RB, Oakland Raiders
Percent Owned: 44.8 percent
Analysis: You'll still want to monitor Darren McFadden's status going forward, as Rashad Jennings can't be started if McFadden is back on the field this weekend. But McFadden is so injury prone—and Jennings has been so good in relief duty—that he should absolutely be owned across the board in fantasy leagues.
The past two weeks, Jennings has rushed 35 times for 190 yards and a touchdown. He's scored 32 fantasy points in that time, though he does have a somewhat tough matchup this week against a Houston Texans defense that is giving up 13.2 fantasy points to opposing running backs per week, 13th in the NFL.
Still, Jennings could end up being the starter in Oakland for several weeks. He absolutely should be rostered in all formats and is a high-end flex consideration (or even an RB2 depending on the matchup) as long as McFadden is out.
Brian Leonard and Bobby Rainey, RB, Tampa Bay Buccaneers
Percent Owned: Brian Leonard (0.2 percent) and Bobby Rainey (0.4 percent)
Analysis: The Tampa Bay Buccaneers just can't keep running backs healthy. First, they lost Doug Martin for the season. Now, Mike James has also been lost for the year after fracturing his ankle on Monday night, as reported by Will Brinson of CBSSports.com.
For fantasy owners, the question is now which running back to target. Leonard got the majority of the workload in relief, rushing 20 times for 57 yards and adding two receptions for 16 yards. But Rainey was the more impressive runner, rushing eight times for 45 yards and a touchdown (he added a catch for another 11 yards).
Leonard has never been much more than a third-down back, so it's not hard to imagine Rainey getting the early work and Leonard playing on third downs or near the goal line. It's hard to know exactly which back will be more productive until their roles are defined, but for now I would target Rainey ahead of Leonard unless Leonard is announced as the starter.
Case Keenum, QB, Houston Texans
Percent Owned: 9.4 percent
Analysis: If you've been looking for a solid QB2—especially if you own Tony Romo, who is on bye this week—look no further than Case Keenum.
In his three starts, he has seven touchdown passes, no interceptions and has thrown for 822 yards. In total, he's accumulated 60 fantasy points, and with matchups against the Oakland Raiders and Jacksonville Jaguars up next, he has a lot of value over the next two weeks.
He isn't the sexiest pickup, but he should absolutely be rostered as a QB2 in all formats.
Josh McCown, QB, Chicago Bears
Percent Owned: 1.4 percent
Analysis: With Jay Cutler officially out this week with a high-ankle sprain, Josh McCown is a nice pickup for fantasy owners (and potentially could see several starts, depending on how much time Cutler misses).
In his one start this season, McCown registered 20 fantasy points. In two spells in relief duty, he stepped in for Cutler and threw for 266 yards and two touchdowns. And the Baltimore Ravens aren't a terrible matchup, currently giving up 16.2 fantasy points to opposing quarterbacks per week, 19th in the NFL.
You aren't starting McCown unless you are in a two-QB league, but he's rostering based on the possibility that Cutler could miss multiple weeks.
Kenny Stills, WR, New Orleans Saints
Percent Owned: 43.2 percent
Analysis: Like most New Orleans Saints not named Drew Brees or Jimmy Graham, Kenny Stills is an inconsistent fantasy commodity. On one hand, he has scored 12 or more fantasy points in three of the last four games.
On the other hand, he's been targeted just 32 times this year and generally has gotten his fantasy value on deep touchdown receptions. Via Pro Football Focus (subscription required), his average depth of target is 18.8, second-highest in the NFL.
If you don't mind waiting for that one play where Brees bombs it down the field for Stills, he's your guy. If you want a player who is a bit less reliant on deep touchdown receptions, there are other options for you.
Donald Brown, RB, Indianapolis Colts
Percent Owned: 6.6 percent
Analysis: In the past five weeks, Brown has registered more fantasy points than Trent Richardson three times. During that period, Richardson hasn't exceeded five fantasy points, while Brown has scored at least nine points twice. Richardson has just 19 points in the past five weeks, while Brown has registered 33.
Not only that, but Brown is averaging a healthy 5.9 yards per carry. What's the point here?
Brown is now the more valuable fantasy commodity than Richardson in the Indianapolis Colts backfield. He has a limited upside, but he's absolutely a flex consideration at this point.
Kendall Wright, WR, Tennessee Titans
Percent Owned: 38.2 percent
Analysis: Consistency, Kendall Wright is thy name.
The young receiver has now scored at least five fantasy points in eight straight weeks and has reached seven points five times in that span. If you don't have a taste for a riskier receiver like Kenny Stills, Wright is virtually guaranteed to get you a handful of points in your flex spot if you are running low on options.
Santonio Holmes, WR, New York Jets
Percent Owned: 10 percent
Analysis: Somebody has to catch passes in New York, right?
Santonio Holmes should become the Jets' top pass-catching option upon his return from injury this week, and he has a tasty matchup against a Buffalo Bills team giving up 29.2 fantasy points to opposing receivers per week, 31st in the NFL.
You're either pretty desperate or in a deep league if you are starting Holmes immediately upon his return, but given the matchup, there is some upside here. He's definitely worth rostering, at the very least.
Mark Ingram, RB, New Orleans Saints
Percent Owned: 65.9 percent
Analysis: No. No, no, no, no, no! I will not fall for your old tricks again, Mark Ingram.
The New Orleans Saints running backs exploded on Sunday night, rushing 14 times for 145 yards and a touchdown. But here's the rub—Darren Sproles and Pierre Thomas are still going to get touches in this backfield, and Ingram has never, ever been a consistent producer for fantasy owners.
If you are in a deep, deep league and desperate at the running back position, I suppose you can add him this week if he's your only option. Just don't be surprised when he produces very little the majority of the time.
Jerricho Cotchery, WR, Pittsburgh Steelers
Percent Owned: 10.6 percent
Analysis: Jerricho Cotchery is one of those players that has fantasy value when he scores touchdowns, and that's about it. He doesn't have the talent of a player like Stills and isn't as consistent as Wright. He is certainly the third-best option at receiver on his own team.
Chase these touchdowns if you want—and yes, Cotchery has four touchdowns the past two weeks—but there are better receiving targets available.
John Carlson, TE, Minnesota Vikings
Percent Owned: 0.1 percent
Analysis: John Carlson certainly has opportunity with Kyle Rudolph injured—and his seven receptions for 98 yards and a touchdown opened some eyes—but he's really only worth adding if you have Jason Witten on a bye and the pickings are slim at tight end on the waiver wire.
Beyond that scenario, I just don't see a reason for rostering Carlson. He's barely a TE2 at an incredibly thin position. Nothing in his past suggests he can consistently produce for fantasy owners.
Hit me up on Twitter—I'll answer your fantasy lineup questions, tweet random fantasy musings and wonder how the New Orleans Saints could earn almost as many first downs (40) on Sunday night as the Dallas Cowboys ran plays (43).