“What if I say I’m not like the others?
What if I say I’m not just another one of your plays?
You’re the pretender.
What if I say I’ll never surrender?”
–“The Pretender” by the Foo Fighters
We’ve got three weeks left in ESPN leagues and four to go in most others before the playoffs begin. It’s getting closer towards crunch time and every week on the waiver wire can be the difference between being a contender or a pretender.
Week 10 saw plenty of injuries to quarterbacks and it will make the waiver wire for week 11 one of the busiest ones for this season. We saw Michael Vick, Jay Cutler and Alex Smith were all felled by concussions while Ben Roethlisberger suffered a shoulder injury last night against Kansas City. To make the week even more unbelievable, we saw a tie game for the first time in four years.
The final teams on bye this week are the NY Giants, Seattle, Minnesota and Tennessee. Percentages are based on availability on ESPN leagues and FAAB are off of a $100 budget.
New Orleans RB Chris Ivory (97.5%; $8) is definitely worth an add this week. Ivory looked sharp on his 56-yard touchdown run against Atlanta. The reason you want Ivory is that he looks like the closest thing to a true running back on the Saints roster while guys like Darren Sproles are more of a hybrid back. And did we mention the Saints play Oakland this week? Mark Ingram had 16 carries last week but produced just 67 yards. Ivory is averaging 7 yards per carry. Advantage: Ivory
Jacksonville WR Cecil Shorts (84%, $4) has come on strong as of late and has emerged as the only receiving threat the Jaguars have. Shorts has seen his numbers climb with two 100-yard games in the last three weeks. In addition, his 21 catches in the last four weeks are more than any other Jacksonville wideout since their bye.
Temper your expectations for this week as the Jaguars take on a very stout Houston defense. And Jaguars still don’t have any real answers at the quarterback position but Shorts has the ability to make your team a few points.
San Diego WR Danario Alexander (99.9%; $2) has come up on the radar in the last two weeks. Alexander has 8-195-1 in his last two games and had an 80-yard bomb touchdown against Tampa Bay. QB Phillip Rivers looked his way several times and seemed to be comfortable with him. Alexander will have some tough matchups with Denver this week but has a promising end of the season. The Chargers close out with Carolina, the Jets and Oakland so he could be a late-season stud that puts you over the top.
St. Louis QB Sam Bradford (60%, $4) has come back into focus with the return of WR Danny Amendola. Bradford was able to guide the Rams’ offense to 24 points of production against San Francisco and only had a tie to show for it. With games against the Jets (this week) and Arizona upcoming, Bradford could be a serviceable bye week filler. He could also be a quarterback to keep in mind for your fantasy playoffs as the Rams take on Minnesota and Tampa in weeks 15-16.
Carolina TE Greg Olsen (55%; $3) came back on the radar with his two-touchdown game in the loss to Denver. Olsen has become the top receiving threat since Steve Smith has virtually melted into oblivion. Olsen has favorable matchups with Kansas City (week 13) and closes out with Oakland and New Orleans on weeks 16-17 so he could be a sneaky piece to pick up and stash on the bench should another TE get felled by injury.
Philadelphia QB Nick Foles (99.5%; $5) is someone we mentioned a couple weeks ago and now is the time to get Nick. With Vick being out for a while with his concussion, Foles is scheduled to start and walk into a peachy matchup with the Redskins. If Vick is out for any extended period of time, Foles would get tasty matchups with Carolina next week and then close the season with TB-CIN-WSH-NYG.
Dallas DST (56%, $5) was mentioned last week in this spot as a defense you could ride the rest of the way and it started last week with a three-touchdown performance against the Eagles. This week could be just as promising as they host Cleveland. With Washington, Philly and Cincy looming, Dallas is set up to have a run as a top-flight defense.
Cincinnati DST (86%; $3) also gets a look here since they take on woeful Kansas City this week. They also get Oakland and San Diego next so they could also be poised to put up some points as well. With the Seahawks, Giants and Vikings on bye they have the add luster of being a final bye week filler.
Avoid these guys…
San Francisco QB Colin Kaepernick, Chicago QB Jason Campbell, Pittsburgh QB Byron Leftwich since they will all be playing this week against very tough defenses. These guys are more likely to be carted off hurt than have successful fantasy days in Week 11.
A name to watch…
FA QB David Garrard could be making his way back onto the scene in light of the spate of quarterback injuries. His phone should be ringing this week so see if anyone picks him up. As you may remember, Garrard was battling for the starting job in Miami in training camp before suffering a minor knee injury. Garrard has healed and could be back on a roster this week. It’s hard to predict which one at this time.
As always, leave your questions below and good luck in Week 11.