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

Maurice Moton@@MoeMotonFeatured ColumnistNovember 14, 2021

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

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    Ralph Freso/Associated Press

    Among the headline fantasy football pickups for Week 11, one of the most captivating NFL players in history tops the list.

    The Carolina Panthers routed the Arizona Cardinals 34-10 with some help from a familiar face whose fantasy value trends up going forward.

    Managers searching for a new name on the rise should look no further than the Jacksonville Jaguars offense. And no, we're not referring to this year's No. 1 overall pick in quarterback Trevor Lawrence.

    Lastly, the New Orleans Saints may have a consistent threat at wide receiver who's developed a connection with quarterback Trevor Siemian. With a key injury and the lack of playmakers in that offense, he's a decent target on the waiver wire.

    Let's take a look at the top pickups and potential breakouts for Week 11 and beyond. All selections are rostered in 60 percent or fewer of Yahoo leagues.

Top Breakout Candidates and Pickups for Week 11

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    Michael Dwyer/Associated Press

    Mac Jones, QB, New England Patriots at Atlanta Falcons (28 percent rostered)

    Cam Newton, QB, Carolina Panthers vs. Washington Football Team (16 percent rostered)

    Rhamondre Stevenson, RB, New England Patriots at Atlanta Falcons (31 percent rostered)

    Jordan Howard, RB, Philadelphia Eagles vs. New Orleans Saints (49 percent rostered)

    Robby Anderson, WR, Carolina Panthers vs. Washington Football Team (39 percent rostered)

    Tre'Quan Smith, WR, New Orleans Saints at Philadelphia Eagles (3 percent rostered)

    Marcus Johnson, WR, Tennessee Titans vs. Houston Texans (0 percent rostered)

    Dan Arnold, TE, Jacksonville Jaguars vs. San Francisco 49ers (26 percent rostered)

Cam Newton, QB, Carolina Panthers

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    Darryl Webb/Associated Press

    This isn't an overreaction. As Cam Newton said himself, he's back, and fantasy managers should pay attention.

    In Week 10 against the Arizona Cardinals, the Panthers started quarterback P.J. Walker, but Newton had a role. He rushed and threw for a touchdown on the team's first two drives. 

    Walker went 22-of-29 in passing for 167 yards and an interception, so he didn't solidify himself as the starter with a strong performance. According to NFL Network's Ian Rapoport, the Panthers plan to elevate Newton into the lead role. 

    Just signed this week, Newton needs time to learn the offense. Once he's under center full time, the dynamic playmaker could provide a significant boost to the Panthers offense as he can still use his legs to rack up yards and score touchdowns. Last year with the New England Patriots, the dual-threat signal-caller logged 12 rushing scores.

    In Week 11, Carolina will face the Washington Football Team, who did a good job slowing down quarterback Tom Brady, but Newton's fantasy upside makes him an intriguing pickup for the remaining weeks of the 2021 term.

Rhamondre Stevenson, RB, New England Patriots

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    Michael Dwyer/Associated Press

    Fantasy managers have had nightmares about the New England Patriots running back rotation. Behind Damien Harris, they've used Rhamondre Stevenson, Brandon Bolden and J.J. Taylor as complementary options out of the backfield. 

    In Week 10, Harris didn't suit up because of a concussion. Stevenson, who cleared concussion protocol, logged the bulk of the touches among the Patriots' running backs against the Cleveland Browns Sunday. He recorded 20 carries for 100 yards and two touchdowns, along with four catches for 14 yards. The rookie tailback led the team in targets (five).

    Harris may return next week, though Stevenson likely earned a bigger share of the workload going forward. He's clearly the No. 2 ball-carrier on the team with at least 10 rush attempts in three games. The Oklahoma product has at least three receptions in two outings as well.

    When Harris doesn't play, Stevenson becomes a must-start player for an offense that ranked 10th in rush attempts going into Sunday's games. On a short turnaround in a Thursday Night Football matchup, the latter could have a solid workload and a decent fantasy stat line against the Atlanta Falcons, who ranked 24th in run defense heading into Week 10.

Tre'Quan Smith, WR, New Orleans Saints

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    Mark Zaleski/Associated Press

    Still in need of a consistent threat at wide receiver, the New Orleans Saints leaned on running back Mark Ingram II and Tre'Quan Smith in the passing game. They tied for a team-leading seven targets Sunday.

    If you missed out on Ingram, who started in place of Alvin Kamara (knee), take a look at Smith.

    Since quarterback Trevor Siemian took over for Jameis Winston (torn ACL and MCL damage) in Week 8, Smith has become a factor in the passing game. He's scored a touchdown in two of the last three games with 10 receptions for 130 yards in that stretch.

    Michael Thomas will remain sidelined for the entire season because of a setback following ankle surgery. Smith won't match the star wideout's production, but he'll likely have a steady role in an offense that's starving for production out of the wide receiver group.

    Because of Smith's target share, he's a decent hold for the rest of the campaign and an intriguing Week 11 pickup for a matchup with the Philadelphia Eagles, who have allowed 16 passing touchdowns in 10 games.

Dan Arnold, TE, Jacksonville Jaguars

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    Zach Bolinger/Associated Press

    This sounds like a broken record for anyone who saw last week's breakout candidates, but Dan Arnold lands on the pickup list again because he's still only rostered in 26 percent of Yahoo leagues. 

    While managers may be hesitant to add Arnold because of rookie quarterback Trevor Lawrence's struggles in the passing game, the two have built a solid rapport since the Jaguars acquired the tight end from the Carolina Panthers. 

    In each of his last three games, Arnold has commanded at least seven targets and racked up 60-plus receiving yards. He's yet to score a touchdown this season but hauled in a reception for a two-point conversion against the Indianapolis Colts Sunday.

    Still (inexplicably) widely available, Arnold should be rostered in most leagues because of his solid role in the Jaguars' aerial attack. Though he has a tough Week 11 matchup against the San Francisco 49ers, who have allowed the fewest fantasy points to tight ends, managers should hold him for the remainder of the season.

    Maurice Moton is an NFL and Fantasy Football columnist for Bleacher Report. You can follow him on Twitter @MoeMoton.