Early Week 11 Fantasy Football Waiver Wire: Rex Burkhead, Jamaal Williams, Austin Ekeler, Rod Smith, Marqise Lee will be among targets
Week 10 brought another unpredictable set of results. Fantasy Football owners hoping to weather the storm via the waiver wire could be in for a challenging week ahead.
Devonta Freeman's fall-back-to-earth season continued when he was ruled out with a concussion about halfway through the first quarter of Sunday's game against the Cowboys. He finished with 3 yards on two carries and no catches while teammate Tevin Coleman found the end zone for the second week in a row.
What makes Freeman's injury even scarier is a comment from Panthers linebacker Thomas Davis, who played against the Falcons last week.
If Freeman's concussion is serious then he'll likely miss the team's Week 11 game at Seattle. Considering the opponent, maybe that's a good thing for Freeman. Not sure it's so good for Tevin Coleman, though any running back with a big workload has to be considered for Fantasy.
While the Falcons figure out Freeman's future, here are some players you'll consider off waivers for use in Week 11:
The big get
Take all of what you're about to read with a grain of salt because it's the Patriots and they seem to always mix and match their running backs.
It looks like Burkhead is the new featured back of choice. Against the Broncos, Burkhead played the most snaps (39), had the most touches (10 carries, three catches) and played the most inside Denver's red zone (10 snaps!). He also scored the first of several Patriots touchdowns. All of this was done while Mike Gillislee, the Patriots' previous early-downs back, was inactive. You better believe Burkhead will become a popular pick-up off waivers this week, and he's potentially worth starting right away in a great matchup against the Raiders in Week 11.
The Packers dealt with their own running back injuries on Sunday, losing Aaron Jones to what's believed to be a sprained MCL and Ty Montgomery to another rib injury. Rookie Jamaal Williams replaced both and had an uninspiring 67 yards on 20 carries with a seven-yard catch.
Williams has been incredibly underwhelming since the preseason. A 7-yard run he had on Sunday was his longest since college! And even if he's "the guy" for the Packers, they're about to run into the Ravens and Steelers in consecutive weeks. Williams might be a popular pickup, but you'd have to take a major leap of faith to start him and expect good things.
Melvin Gordon Fantasy owners, be nervous! Ekeler played 24 snaps and touched the ball on 15 of them, rushing for 42 yards and catching five balls for 77 more with not one but two scores on catch-and-runs from Philip Rivers. But it's what happened on Ekeler's last touch that could cost him some run in the future. Ekeler fumbled on a crucial clock-killing carry deep in the fourth quarter, setting up the Jaguars with a golden chance to win the game in regulation. But even after the Jags turned it back over, Ekeler wasn't involved on offense on the Chargers' final two drives in the fourth quarter and overtime. He's a must-add for anyone relying on Gordon and a consideration for those who don't have Gordon.
The Alfred Morris hype train in Dallas slowed to a crawl after piling up 53 touchdownless yards on just 11 carries. Third-year back Rod Smith didn't do a whole lot -- 14 yards on three carries and 15 yards on four catches -- but he played 39 snaps compared to Morris' 21. One reason for it is because the Cowboys trailed for much of the game and clearly made a move toward Smith in come-from-behind mode. With a home game against the Eagles and their tough run defense up next, Smith could again lead the way in playing time. He deserves a speculative bench spot in every league.
If Rob Kelley is going to miss playing time with a knee injury suffered on Sunday, then Perine figures to be the Redskins' primary early-downs running back and goal-line grinder. That doesn't mean he's going to be great -- he's working on a 3.2 rushing average this season and has only one touchdown on a reception. The Saints are on deck for the Redskins in Week 11 and they haven't been half bad against two-down backs like Perine. He's risky but also someone Fantasy owners could cling to if Kelley is hurt.
Woodhead didn't play in Week 10 -- he actually hasn't played since Week 1 -- but he's due back soon for the Ravens and should regain his expected role as a passing downs back. More valuable in PPR leagues than standard, Woodhead should come back in Week 11 at Green Bay before taking on the Texans and Lions at home. It's a pretty good time for him to return and rack up some receptions.
Lee scored for the second week in a row, but it's the volume of targets and receptions he's been getting that will make Fantasy owners take notice. Against the Chargers, Lee caught 6 of 11 targets for 55 yards with the score -- and he could have had another huge play if not for a dropped a deep ball in overtime. He's become the go-to receiver for Blake Bortles ... not that that's a glorious thing, but hey, targets are targets and stats are stats. Also, matchups are matchups and the Jaguars play the winless Browns in Week 11.
Crowder's four-catch, 76-yard game was pretty good, but it could have been so much better. He dropped five passes -- five! -- including a touchdown. Kirk Cousins gave him opportunities with three targets inside the Minnesota 5-yard line but he couldn't come through. Guess what? He'll keep getting chances because there aren't many other receiving choices in Washington. Crowder has 24 targets in his last two games and appears to be back as a featured player for the Redskins. Hopefully the drops stop.
What's gotten into Keenum? On Sunday he threw a career-best four scores at Washington, completing 21 of 29 passes for 304 yards with a couple of turnovers. It's his second straight game with 20-plus Fantasy points -- a coincidence given the return of Stefon Diggs? He'll get tested against a Rams pass defense that's held four straight quarterbacks to 16 or fewer Fantasy points each, including Russell Wilson. He's under consideration as a streaming choice in Week 11.
You'd have to be pretty desperate to start Bortles, especially since he's had one game north of 20 Fantasy points this season. But he has come up with 17 or 18 points in each of his last three and should accumulate at least that much in Week 11 at Cleveland. The Browns have allowed multiple touchdown passes to opposing quarterbacks in 7 of 9 games.
Maybe we rushed Clay back into our lineups too soon -- he played only 29 snaps and had his worst game of the season versus the Saints. But there's still plenty of optimism about the remainder of his year, especially with matchups against the Colts, Patriots and Dolphins literally filling his dance card for the final five games of the year. A tough matchup at the Chargers is up next, so don't hustle him into your lineup unless you're needy, but try hard to keep him on your roster for a late-season surge.
The only reason this guy is here is because the Jaguars play the Browns in Week 11 and Lewis leads the Jaguars' tight ends in all receiving categories. He's strictly a streaming option for next week against a Cleveland defense that can't hold on against tight ends.
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