With so many injuries around the NFL, fantasy owners need to look over their waiver wire to see just who is on it.
If you can find me another team in the NFL this season with worse luck than the Tampa Bay Buccaneers, I would love to know who they are. Not only are they down to starting a rookie QB in Mike Glennon, but WR Mike Williams was placed on injured reserve after week 8, Doug Martin is on injured reserve with a torn labrum, and now Mike James is going to hit injured reserve with a broken ankle. Tampa Bay is now down to its 3rd and 4th string running backs and now owners are scrambling to overcome yet another season-ending injury.
So, fantasy owners want to know which RB is the better pick up with the fantasy playoffs around the corner and the waiver wire cupboard is pretty bare in week 11. Well, Buccaneers Coach Greg Schiano said he expects to use Brian Leonard and Bobby Rainey in a timeshare going forward. The truth is that Leonard is probably going to be the early-down back with Rainey coming in as the change of pace back. Neither is much more than a desperation flex play until they prove otherwise, and not someone that is going to save you in the fantasy playoffs.
Staying in Florida and coming home to Miami, Rishard Matthews hauled in 11 passes for 120 yards and two touchdowns in week10, making him an interesting add off the waiver wire. With both Mike Wallace and Brian Hartline at WR already, and Charles Clay at TE, it is going to be hard for Matthews to see 14 targets again this season unless it is by design. I see Matthews as more of a PPR add in 14-team or deeper leagues.
Case Keenum is a very interesting guy for those needing a replacement for Tony Romo (bye), Aaron Rodgers (injured) or an underperforming QB like Colin Kaepernick. Did you know that over the past two weeks Keenum is ranked #3 for QBs on NFL.com in their standard scoring game? His 551 yards passing, 6 TDs and no INTs are only behind Nick Foles and Drew Brees. Keenum is owned in just 7.1 percent of NFL.com leagues, but has been 44,526 times as of Tuesday night.
Speaking of quarterbacks, you could do worse than Josh McCown (owned in 1.0 percent of NFL.com leagues) in Chicago this week. While I’m not a fan of his in fantasy terms, he has been impressive in three appearances this season (two in relief, and one starting), completing 42-of-70 passes (60.0 percent) for 538 yards, 4 touchdowns and no interceptions. These aren’t the same Ravens that won the Super Bowl last year, and the Bears offense has weapons all over the field.
Shane Vereen is due back this week for the Patriots, so make sure he is not on your waiver wire (50.1 percent owned). Stephan Ridley is back in the good graces of the Patriots coaching staff, but they could certainly use a guy like Vereen catching passes out of the backfield.
Those in need of an RB can still go with Rashad Jennings in Oakland as Darren McFadden’s injury looked like a multi-week injury from the second it happened. The Texans defense is not what it once was and the Raiders have to move the ball somehow. For all that Terrelle Pryor is, one thing is for certain: he isn’t a good quarterback. I’d look for Jennings as a top-tier RB2 this week.
Moving on to WR, can you believe that Riley Cooper is only owned in 27.1 percent of NFL.com leagues? Did you also know that Cooper has an insane 15/393/6 statline with Nick Foles as the QB this season? The one thing I will say about Cooper is that he just isn’t as good of an NFL receiver as his stats say he is. But, nevertheless, he has managed to put up 342 receiving yards with 5 touchdowns over the past four games, stats good enough for #3 at WR in NFL.com standard scoring leagues.
As we all know, Tight End in fantasy football is a boom-or-bust position, with far more busts than booms each week. The only guy I can really see on the FA list worth taking a look at right now is Tyler Eifert of the Bengals. Jermaine Gresham missed last week with a groin injury despite running all routes at full speed. Here is the asterisk with Eifert: while he did see 10 targets in week 10, he had just 39 prior last week. If Gresham is active this week (which it looks like he will be), Eifert’s targets are going to be cut drastically and owners will be disappointed. You can add Eifert, but I have a bad feeling that you will be chasing targets more than finding waiver wire gold.
And last but not least, those looking for a streaming defense to plug-n-play in week 11 can give the New York Jets defense a try. Not only are the Jets coming out of their bye (so 2 weeks to prepare), but C.J. Spiller still hobbled with an ankle injury, Stevie Johnson is almost a lock to miss this week with a groin injury, a bye coming in week 12, and a record of 3-7, and Robert Woods is doubtful from what I hear with an ankle injury of his own. E.J. Manuel could be throwing the ball to Marquise Goodwin and T.J. Graham this week.
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