Although it’s hard to beat draft season and the anticipation leading up to Week 1, the final stretch of the regular season also carries a steady buzz of activity throughout fantasy football leagues. Teams are living and dying on every single game as they battle for playoff spots, trade deadlines are approaching, injured players are returning, and young prospects who were eased into action to start the year are beginning to emerge. At this crucial point of the season, identifying potential breakout performances before they happen can be the difference between a championship run and an early exit to the offseason. Here are a few players that I feel can help keep the party going for your team as the fantasy postseason comes into focus.
* Players marked with an asterisk below can also be found in the priority waiver wire adds article referenced at the end.
Brian Hill* (RB, Atlanta Falcons)
Stepping into the lead back role on a team that, despite a 2-7 record, still has the firepower to move the ball effectively, Brian Hill is this week’s free space as a preferred add. Hill had just ten total touches prior to Week 10 but proved capable of handling a starter’s workload in relief of Devonta Freeman (foot), finishing with 20 carries for 61 yards and one catch for one yard and TD through the air. Listed at 6’1” 219lbs, Hill has the frame, skill set, and opportunity to continue seeing 18+ carries per week as long as Freeman remains out. Add Hill for his Week 11 matchup with the Panthers (fourth-worst vs RBs) and keep an eye on Freeman’s status from there.
J.D. McKissic (RB, Detroit Lions)
The slightly-built McKissic won’t be mistaken for a traditional every-down starter, but he may get the opportunity to collect starter-level touches in the short-term if Ty Johnson (concussion) is forced to sit this week. Even if Johnson does play, McKissic has a locked-in role as a career passing down specialist and takes on the Cowboys (sixth-most catches allowed to RBs) in Week 11. He is averaging a career-high 5.9 yards per carry on the ground as an added benefit to his receiving work, putting McKissic in the conversation as an RB3 with FLEX potential in PPR formats if you’re looking for a floor play to get you through the week.
Will Fuller V (WR, Houston Texans)
As long as Fuller (hamstring) is able to ramp up his participation in practice and return from injury this week, he’s a viable Week 11 streamer who could turn into a season-long hold. Fuller’s boom-or-bust nature will lead to some frustrating stat lines, but there aren’t many players available on the wire who can win you weeks when they’re at their best. Whether you plan on using him in your lineup right away or would prefer to wait a week for him to prove his health, Fuller is a high-upside pickup worth rostering in leagues of 10+ teams. The Texans have a mix of top-10 and bottom-10 defenses vs WRs to close out the year, making Fuller a solid stash as an x-factor to deploy in the right matchup such as those in Week 15 (@Ten) and Week 16 (@TB).
Cole Beasley (WR, Buffalo Bills)
If Will Fuller V is the suped-up sports car that’s fun to drive but breaks down all the time, Cole Beasley is the ultra-reliable midsize sedan that gets you from point A to point B every day. You won’t hear any “oohs” or “aahs” from your league mates if you pick up Beasley, but he’s the type of high-floor player that can help boost your team’s bottom line and nearly always meets his projection even if he rarely blows past it. Week 11 opponent Miami is allowing the eighth-most red zone opportunities per game to opposing offenses (3.7) so Beasley could very well improve on his safe floor by finding the end zone this week. In a sea of volatile streaming WRs, sometimes being a “boring” fantasy option isn’t the worst thing you can be called.
Additional WRs to consider: Dede Westbrook, Deebo Samuel, Darius Slayton*, Randall Cobb, Demaryius Thomas
Mike Gesicki (TE, Miami Dolphins)
I was fortunate enough to find success with both of my TE streaming suggestions last week so this time I’m stepping out onto the ledge a bit with a riskier selection. Gesicki hasn’t shown nearly enough to be considered anything more than a streaming-tier player thus far, but his elite physical tools and increased opportunities down the stretch should lead to a few splash plays and a rise in his stock heading into 2020 draft season. The Bills will present a serious challenge in Week 11 as the first-ranked D/ST vs TEs so far this year, but Gesicki has the ability to overcome 1-on-1 coverage and should see more targets funneled his way with shut-down corner Tre’Davious White likely locked onto DeVante Parker. Preston Williams’ (IR, knee) absence further illustrates the need for playmakers in the Miami offense and Gesicki is as good a bet as any pass-catcher to step up as the #2 option for FitzMagic. He’s among the best athletes at the TE position and has six or more targets in three of the past five games.
Additional TEs to consider:O.J. Howard, Eric Ebron, Dallas Goedert, Jack Doyle Darren Fells, Noah Fant
Accountability is everything so here’s a quick look back at last week’s recommendations
Ronald Jones II (RB, Tampa Bay Buccaneers): After being named the official starter heading into Week 10, it was nice to see Jones get the touches to back it up despite a fumble. He wasn’t particularly effective on the ground (11 carries for 29 yards, one TD) but hauled in eight catches for 77 yards in the passing game. Backfield mates Peyton Barber and Dare Ogunbowale will continue to eat into Jones’ workload to an extent, but Jones’ involvement as a receiver last week is highly encouraging and will help give him a safer floor if the usage sticks.
Kalen Ballage (RB, Miami Dolphins): As a volume-driven floor play, Ballage got the job done in Week 10. He wasn’t efficient (20 carries for 43 yards, 2.2ypc, four catches for two yards), but the volume ensured that he didn’t completely burn you if you started him. Unless the Dolphins get tired of their starting RB averaging less than three yards per carry and sign someone else, Ballage can continue to be used as a low-end FLEX/ RB3 type based on his workload.
Josh Reynolds (WR, Los Angeles Rams): Reynolds essentially gave you his floor numbers in Week 10, finishing with three catches on five targets for 49 yards. In a game where the Rams weren’t able to generate much offense against the talented Steelers defense, just be happy he didn’t hurt you as much as fellow Rams WR Cooper Kupp (zero catches on four targets). Unless you’re in a deeper league (like, 14+ teams deep), Reynolds can be dropped, but keep him on waiver wire speed dial if the Rams have a more favorable matchup for WRs while Brandin Cooks is out.
A.J. Brown (WR, Tennessee Titans): Brown caught one ball on four targets for 17 yards and I should probably just be done suggesting anyone in the Titans offense as a streamer. That isn’t to say that nobody outside of Derrick Henry will provide fantasy value, but it’s going to be very difficult to predict who those supplementary players will be on a weekly basis. Brown has flashed his game-breaking potential on numerous occasions this year and I believe he has a bright future ahead, but the current Titans offense is indifferent toward featuring any one player in the passing game.
Gerald Everett (TE, Los Angeles Rams): Everett’s 12 targets in Week 10 were his most of the season and he turned them into eight catches for 68 yards. In a TE landscape that is a crapshoot outside of the top options, you have to like the volume and the team context for Everett. He should be a back-end TE1 rest of season.
O.J. Howard (TE, Tampa Bay Buccaneers): Hopefully the Bucs realized that good things happen when you target O.J. Howard. Yes, it was the Cardinals (32nd vs TEs this season), but any signs of life for Howard are encouraging given the start he’s had. His final line wasn’t jaw-dropping (four catches on seven targets for 47 yards, one TD), but if he can get six-plus targets per week moving forward, I would feel a lot better about keeping Howard in low-end TE1 consideration.
Make sure to check out the priority waiver wire adds article every Tuesday for more insight on who you should be submitting claims for heading into each Wednesday. Good luck in Week 11!
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