Is anyone else curious as to why there are no teams with byes in Week 10? Seriously. I, like Tiki Barber, am flabbergasted by this. Twenty-eight teams had their byes prior to this week, and the final four will have their byes in Week 11. Yet there’s none this week. Is the NFL now taking bye weeks on doling out bye weeks?
Anyway, onto more pretend football related things. Whilst this lake of byes does befuddle me, it does make all of our fantasy lineups look a bit less replacement-y, so that’s definitely a good thing. So though you may not need it as much this week, let’s talk about some easy-to-be-had waiver wire fodder that can benefit you in Week 11.
Same deal as usual here: these aren’t player you necessarily wanted to start this week, but due to injury, byes or general suckery, you have to. It’s your backup plan. Here’s a rundown of some of the top widely available fill-ins by position and which guys they’ll be better than this week.
Matt Hasselbeck vs. Carolina
Yahoo: 56 percent owned, ESPN: 54 percent owned
Game Manager! Matty-Hass has been exceptionally decent this season, making him the premier waiver wire spot start. He’s averaging 20 fantasy points per game, and while he definitely won’t ever win you a week, he likely won’t lose you one either. It’s clear the Titans can’t rely on that dreadlocked man who they’re paying $30 million to average three YPC, so Hasselbeck will have to continue throwing. You need 20 points from your QB? Hasselbeck’s got it for you.
Christian Ponder vs. Green Bay
Yahoo: 15 percent owned, ESPN: 11 percent owned
We know two things about the Packers: 1) Aaron Rodgers is literally a god among quarterbacks and should be praised as such, and 2) The Packers’ defense is kind of a travesty. For as good as they are, they rank 31st in the league in pass defense, and those are numbers us fantasy players should exploit. Enter: Christian Ponder. C-Ponds totaled 220 yards and two scores in his first start against Green Bay, and improvements should continue in his third career start.
Guys he’s better than this week: Josh Freeman, Matt Cassel
John Beck vs. Miami
Yahoo: 8 percent owned, ESPN: 3 percent owned
Clearly one of the most anticipated games of the season. John Beck is returning to Miami to face the team that drafted him; can you say revenge? Honestly, I’m surprised that NBC didn’t flex this game into primetime. Anyway, Beck has actually been decent of late, if you can call 200+ yards and maybe 1 touchdown “decent.” But Miami ranks 30th in the league against opposing quarterbacks, so expect Beck to go H.A.M. all over his former team.
Roy Helu vs. Miami
Yahoo: 52 percent owned, ESPN: 33 percent owned
The Shanahanigans will not stop in Washington First, Tim Hightower was Shanahan’s guy. Then it was Ryan Torain. Now it’s Roy Helu. At this point, it wouldn’t even that surprising if former Broncos running back Reuben Droughns was called in for a tryout. But with nearly 150 total yards last week, Helu is the current star of Shanahan’s “I can get anybody on the planet to run for 1,000 yards” rushing attack, so roll with him if you got him.
Guys he’s better than this week: Marshawn Lynch, every other Washington RB
Maurice Morris vs. Chicago
Yahoo: 29 percent owned, ESPN: 10 percent owned
Mediocre Maurice “Mo Mo” Morris. Mmm-Mmm adequate. Morris has meticulously matriculated down the mat this month, mounting up 22 marches for 108 yards and one scoring mark. And with Jahvid Best still marred with a head malady, Mo Mo Morris should have miniature misfortune maiming the Chicago munitions this week. The letter M.
Guys he’s better than this week: Brandon Jacobs, BenJarvus Green-Ellis
Chris Ogbannaya vs. St. Louis
Yahoo: 25 percent owned, ESPN: 14 percent owned
Disclaimer: This is not an endorsement of Ogbonnaya. While his name is super fun to say, it’s definitely not super fun to read it on a box score. With 13 carries for 28 yards last week, Ogbonnaya almost became the NFL’s single-game leader in rushes for no gain. But the St. Louis defense does allow more than 23 standard fantasy points to opposing RBs per game, so if there’s ever a week OGB will be good, this is it.
Guys he’s better than this week: Delone Carter, James Starks
Antonio Brown vs. Cincinnati
Yahoo: 75 percent owned, ESPN: 43 percent owned
He’s got 21 receptions, 278 yards and one touchdown in his last three games. He’s scored 13 standard fantasy points in each of them. Yet, somehow, after three weeks of solid WR2 play, he’s owned in less than 60 percent of leagues. Which is ridiculous. If he’s unowned in your league, get him in your lineup. Like right now, even against a good Bengals defense.
Guys he’s better than this week: Brandon Marshall, Brandon Lloyd
Steve Breaston vs. Denver
Yahoo: 40 percent owned, ESPN: 41 percent owned
Stevie “Big Breasts” Breaston (that’s not his real nickname) is going to have a big game this week against the Broncos. Mark it down on your calendars. His buddy Dwayne Bowe is going to draw the best efforts of Champ Bailey, so Breaston, who had seven catches for 115 yards last week, will be left to run wild against Andre Goodman. Advantage: Stevie Breasts.
Guys he’s better than this week: Pierre Garcon, Jonathan Baldwin
Laurent Robinson vs. Buffalo
Yahoo: 37 percent owned, ESPN: 7 percent owned
Why have you forsaken us Miles Austin? After scoring 56 standard fantasy points in the first two weeks this season, Austin has been M.I.A., scoring just 16 points in the past six games as he’s been “hamstrung” by injuries (get it?). But with injury comes opportunity, and that’s where our friend Laurent Robinson comes in. He’s scored a touchdown in each of the past two weeks as a fill in, and should continue to find success opposite an inconsistent Dez Bryant.
Guys he’s better than this week: Greg Little, Deion Branch
Brent Celek vs. Arizona
Yahoo: 30 percent owned, ESPN: 16 percent owned
After apparently not knowing he existed last season, Michael Vick has finally started getting Celek involved in the Eagle’s offense. B-Cels saw nothing more than a few balls per game early this season, but Vick has targeted him like eleventy-hundred times in the past two, where Celek has totaled 14 catches, 154 yards and a score. Arizona has only been decent against opposing tight ends this season, so with Celek’s role growing, it would behoove you to start him.
Guys he’s better than this week: Owen Daniels, Dustin Keller
Visanthe Shiancoe vs. Green Bay
Yahoo: 20 percent owned, ESPN: 22 percent owned
Consistency in fantasy is usually a pretty good thing; unless you’re consistently as bad as Visanthe Shaincoe. Shaincoe hasn’t caught more than six balls in a game yet this season, hasn’t topped 60 yards receiving and only has two touchdowns. Three strikes, that sucks. But, of his two scores, one of them came against the Packers, who rank 30th against opposing tight ends. Are we willing to bet on how bad the Green Bay defense is? Yes. Yes we are.
Cleveland vs. St. Louis
Yahoo: 8 percent owned, ESPN: 22 percent owned
There are a lot of words one can use to describe the Rams’ offense this season: tepid, stagnant, abortion, or, my personal favorite, Josh McDaniels. The Rams have topped 20 points scored just once this season, and there’s a decent chance they won’t ever do it again. Hell, they scored just 13 against a Cardinals defense that ranks in the bottom-five in the league. Is Cleveland a good defense? No. Is the St. Louis offense really that bad? Yes.
Defenses they’re better than this week: Green Bay, Cincinnati
Jacksonville vs. Indianapolis
Yahoo: 10 percent owned, ESPN: 3 percent owned
Peyton Manning is this season’s NFL MVP. There is no question about this. The Colts were perennial 12-win team with him at the helm, but without him, they’d be ecstatic to finish with one. Streaming the Jacksonville defense against Indianapolis in years past would have been fantasy suicide. But streaming them against a 2011 Colts team led by Curtis Painter? That’s something you almost have to do.
Defenses they’re better than this week: San Francisco, New York Giants
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