Week 11 Waiver Wire: Early Pickups and Breakout Fantasy Football Candidates

Erik Beaston@@ErikBeastonFeatured ColumnistNovember 12, 2018

Tennessee Titans running back Derrick Henry (22) runs the ball against New England Patriots defenders Elandon Roberts (52), Trey Flowers (98) and Devin McCourty (32) in the second half of an NFL football game Sunday, Nov. 11, 2018, in Nashville, Tenn. (AP Photo/Mark Zaleski)
Mark Zaleski/Associated Press

The New England Patriots have a bye in Week 11, likely opening up several holes on fantasy owners' rosters, not the least of which at quarterback.

The absence of a Tom Brady, a dual-threat like James White or a force of nature like Rob Gronkowski can leave teams scrambling to find a suitable replacement, a Band-Aid of sorts for a week.

Waivers in any league are rarely brimming with difference-makers, but for a week, you can find quality options to turn to in order to maintain your momentum and maybe even score a victory.

Here are some early waiver-wire pickups ahead of Week 11 that should pique your interest and help fill the void left by Bill Belichick's bunch.

Players owned in less than 50 percent of Yahoo Fantasy leagues were considered.



Alex Smith, Washington Redskins (47 percent owned) vs. Houston Texans

Marcus Mariota, Tennessee Titans (30 percent owned) at Indianapolis Colts

Blake Bortles, Jacksonville Jaguars (22 percent owned) vs. Pittsburgh Steelers

Lamar Jackson, Baltimore Ravens (7 percent owned) vs. Cincinnati Bengals

Josh Rosen, Arizona Cardinals (4 percent owned) vs. Oakland Raiders


The Flacco Factor

Jeff Zrebiec of The Athletic reported Joe Flacco is dealing with a hip injury that has called into question his availability for the Week 11 matchup with the Cincinnati Bengals.

"The injury occurred on the Ravens' sixth play from scrimmage in last Sunday's 23-16 loss to the Pittsburgh Steelers as Stephon Tuitt drove Flacco to the ground," Zrebiec wrote.

The injury has potentially opened the door for Lamar Jackson's first NFL start. The former Louisville Cardinal and 2016 Heisman Trophy winner has appeared in every game this season, primarily as a decoy or a runner.

The likelihood of a Jackson start is amplified by the fact that third-stringer Robert Griffin III has been inactive every game of the season, according to Clifton Brown of BaltimoreRavens.com.

Jackson would give the Ravens a spark on the offensive side of the ball, providing a dual threat that would force defenses to account for his rushing ability, too. Throw in a Bengals defense ranked dead last in yards allowed per game, and you have the recipe for a noteworthy and hotly anticipated debut.

That is, if Flacco cannot go. Monitor that situation throughout the week before picking up Jackson.


Running Backs

Derrick Henry, Tennessee Titans (47 percent owned) at Indianapolis Colts

Nyheim Hines, Indianapolis Colts (27 percent owned) vs. Tennessee Titans

Giovani Bernard, Cincinnati Bengals (25 percent owned) at Baltimore Ravens

LeGarrette Blount, Detroit Lions (11 percent owned) vs. Carolina Panthers

Kapri Bibbs, Washington Redskins (3 percent owned) vs. Houston Texans


A Resurgent Henry

Derrick Henry was a disappointment to fantasy owners through the first six weeks of the 2018 season, but since being held to just 21 yards against the stout Ravens, he has bounced back, scoring in each of the next three games.

FanDuel @FanDuel

Derrick Henry adds to the #Titans big lead over the #Patriots #TitanUP https://t.co/Ex6ILKu4s6

He has boasted double-digit fantasy points in two of the last three weeks, and against a Colts defense ranked No. 19 in rushing yards allowed per game, he should find success spelling Dion Lewis.

He is by far the best waiver-wire pickup to be had in a weak running back pool.


Wide Receivers

Chris Godwin, Tampa Bay Buccaneers (44 percent owned) at New York Giants

Maurice Harris, Washington Redskins (37 percent owned) vs. Houston Texans

Dede Westbrook, Jacksonville Jaguars (34 percent owned) vs. Pittsburgh Steelers

Christian Kirk, Arizona Cardinals (34 percent owned) vs. Oakland Raiders

Tre'Quan Smith, New Orleans Saints (34 percent owned) vs. Philadelphia Eagles


Smith Emerging in Explosive Saints Offense

As the New Orleans Saints continue to position themselves as a Super Bowl favorite, Tre'Quan Smith figures to be a valuable asset to quarterback Drew Brees.

Smith was shut out in the Week 10 matchup against the Bengals, but much of that can be chalked up to Brees, running back Alvin Kamara and receiver Mike Thomas accounting for eight touchdowns.

That will not be the case every week. Eventually, Brees and Co. will have to rely on the other, lesser-known offensive weapons. Smith has three touchdowns in his last five games and came up with a few key catches in the Saints' Week 9 win over the then-unbeaten Los Angeles Rams.

New Orleans Saints @Saints

Brees finds the rookie Tre'Quan Smith for a touchdown! #LARvsNO https://t.co/h5qcJ7UDz4

Against a Philadelphia Eagles defense that has given up 33 passing plays over 20-plus yards this season, Smith has the potential to have a big game.

Especially if defensive coordinator Jim Schwartz manages to contain Thomas and Kamara.


Tight Ends

Ricky Seals-Jones, Arizona Cardinals (17 percent owned) vs. Oakland Raiders

Jesse James, Pittsburgh Steelers (10 percent owned) at Jacksonville Jaguars

Vernon Davis, Washington Redskins (6 percent owned) vs. Houston Texans