Fantasy Football Week 11 Early Waiver Wire: Can Darius Slayton, Brian Hill be late-season difference makers?
We've seen flashes from Darius Slayton, but he put together a huge performance in Week 10, and Chris Towers thinks he could be a star down the stretch for Fantasy.
One of the most difficult things about trying to figure out how to approach the waiver wire in Fantasy is knowing who is worth your time coming off a big game. We've all been burned by one-week wonders, those guys who go off for a big game only to disappear the following week. Darius Slayton burned us just two weeks ago, catching two touchdowns in Week 8 only to follow it up with a one-catch, 6-yard showing in Week 9. Is he about to disappoint us again coming off a huge Week 10?
I don't think so. For one thing, Slayton's big Week 8 was all about the touchdowns, as he scored on both of his catches. That's never going to be a sustainable way to succeed in Fantasy, especially when you play on a team like the Giants that isn't going to wind up in the end zone too often. What was different about his performance in Week 10 is that Slayton would have had a fantastic game even if he didn't score two touchdowns, as he hauled in 10 passes for 121 yards to go along with his scores.
Slayton got legitimate No. 1 receiver usage Sunday, as Daniel Jones targeted him 14 times on his 40 pass attempts — no other receiver had more than Golden Tate's eight. However, despite the big workload, Slayton continued to see a healthy amount of downfield work, racking up 142 air yards for an average depth of target of 10.1 yards per pass. That's down from his season aDOT of 14.8, but the 142 air yards still represented his highest total of the season, so the increased focus from Jones didn't just come in the form of low-value targets.
Slayton, a rookie, was just a fifth-round pick, so you'd be forgiven for being skeptical that this might be real. However, it's fair to wonder if he might have been held back as a prospect by Auburn's offense in his time there. He has good size to go along with elite speed, and he was the team's top receiver, leading them in yards and ranking second in catches in 2018. The Giants are no strangers to the late-round breakout wide receiver, of course, and Slayton's performance Sunday might be a sign that he could be the next generation.
Obviously, the absence of Shepard and Evan Engram played a part in Slayton taking on this big role, and the Jets aren't exactly the toughest matchup ever, so Slayton certainly had some things working in his favor Sunday. And, with the Giants on a bye in Week 11, there's no room for an immediate impact from Slayton.
However, Slayton has been teasing this upside all season long, and if you're looking for a receiver with the potential to be a significant contributor for the stretch run, I'd put my money on Slayton. As he and Daniel Jones continue to improve and grow together, there's the potential for this to become a very valuable duo for the Fantasy playoffs.
Here's who else you'll be targeting on waivers going into Week 11:
Early Waiver Targets
Brian Hill RB
ATL Atlanta • #23
Age: 24 • Experience: 3 yrs.
With Ito Smith on IR due to concussions, Hill is going to be just one Devonta Freeman injury away from a significant workload for the rest of the season, as we saw Sunday. Freeman left Week 10's win over the Saints with a foot injury in the third quarter, and Hill was the primary beneficiary, rushing 20 times for 61 yards and adding a 10-yard touchdown on his only catch of the game. While Hill wasn't terribly effective, Kenjon Barner had just one carry and no targets in the game, so it's clear what the hierarchy is. Hill should at least be Fantasy relevant as long as Freeman is out, which figures to be at least one week, and possibly more after an MRI confirmed a foot sprain Monday. Freeman's expected return after a few weeks keeps Hill from being a potential league-winning Fantasy add, but he should be worth using as a No. 2 Fantasy back for Week 11 against the Panthers.
O.J. Howard TE
TB Tampa Bay • #80
Age: 24 • Experience: 3 yrs.
On Sunday afternoon, Fantasy Football Today podcast host Adam Aizer tweeted the following: "So, now we have to have the 'Can we trust O.J. Howard going forward or was it just the Cardinals matchup?' conversation." I'm not going to pretend to know the answer to that question, but I know I can't ignore whenever Howard shows us something. He hauled in four passes for 47 yards and a touchdown, and was targeted seven times overall, good for third on the team. That's no guarantee Howard will figure that prominently in the team's plans moving forward — he hasn't for most of the season — but with Cameron Brate seemingly out of the picture, this could be Howard's opportunity to finally live up to our expectations. He could be the high-upside Austin Hooper replacement you need.
DET Detroit • #41
Age: 26 • Experience: 3 yrs.
It might not matter much if Matthew Stafford's back injury doesn't heal enough for him to get back soon, but it's pretty clear at this point McKissic is the Lions' top running back option in Kerryon Johnson's absence. In Week 10, he had 10 carries for 36 yards to Ty Johnson's five for 16, and McKissic added another six catches for 19 yards on seven targets, to Johnson's one catch. It's not the greatest situation if Stafford is out, but McKissic looks like he's the guy to have in Detroit, at least.
TB Tampa Bay • #25
Age: 25 • Experience: 4 yrs.
Early on Sunday, it looked like Ronald Jones was finally running away with the running back job in Tampa, but a fumble on the team's penultimate possession opened the door for Barber to close out the game. Barber scored the go-ahead touchdown and finished with 43 yards on 11 carries, along with one catch for 4 yards. Make no mistake, Jones figures to be the top option moving forward, and he was terrific overall Sunday, especially in the receiving game. However, Barber isn't going to just disappear, it would seem, so there's room for him to be a flex play if you've got someone like Aaron Jones, Jamaal Williams, Derrick Henry, Saquon Barkley, or Chris Carson on bye in Week 11.
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