We’re entering the part of the season where the waivers are looking pretty darn rough. It’s time to really scrape the bottom of the barrel in your leagues. It also means you have to pay extra attention to the weeks ahead.
By now, you should have a pretty good idea of who has easy or tough upcoming schedules. Players like Miles Sanders, James Robinson, Brandon Aiyuk, Evan Engram, and Austin Hooper all have juicy-looking schedules to end the season. The same can’t be said about players like Josh Allen, Leonard Fournette, Damien Harris, Jarvis Landry, Kenny Golladay, and T.J. Hockenson. I’ll have some more info in my weekly start/sit column in time for the Thanksgiving games, but until then, feel free to reach out on Twitter @ZachCohenFB with any more questions. Also, follow TDN Fantasy @TDNFantasy for more fantasy advice! I used FantasyPros’ consensus ownership stats to reference a player’s general availability.
Cam Newton (QB - CAR)
Week 11 Stat Line: 26.16 points, 189 passing yards, 2 passing TD, 46 rushing yards, 1 rushing TD
*plays Without Me by Eminem* Guess who’s back, back again? After the Panthers cut Newton in March 2020, the former MVP made his return to Carolina with quite a performance. It cemented his status as a must-add quarterback moving forward. His rushing ability alone sets a high-enough floor. And while Washington’s defense is last in fantasy points allowed (FPA) to quarterbacks, Newton completed 21-of-27 passes for two touchdowns. One more performance like this and Newton will be back in QB1 territory. He should be a top priority for any fantasy team that needs a quarterback.
Tyrod Taylor (QB - HOU)
Week 11 Stat Line: 19.08 points, 107 passing yards, passing TD, 28 rushing yards, 2 rushing TD
Taylor is another quarterback who gets the job done on the ground. Taylor’s matchup was a bit tougher than Newton’s, yet unlike Newton, Taylor secured a tough win (don’t worry, I still don’t believe wins are a QB stat). Many fantasy managers were understandably turned off by Taylor’s horrendous 5.9 points against the Dolphins in Week 9. Well, the week off must have helped Taylor regain his footing. His Week 11 performance was much more similar to what we saw in Weeks 1-2 before his injury. Taylor also gets a favorable upcoming schedule as the Jets and Colts are both in the bottom-eight of FPA to quarterbacks. Taylor is a solid streaming option in Week 12 and possibly beyond.
Trevor Siemian (QB - NO)
Week 11 Stat Line: 24.16 points, 214 passing yards, 3 passing TD, 2 interceptions, 16 rushing yards, 1 rushing TD
Anyone have “Trevor Siemian being a relevant fantasy quarterback” on their 2021 Bingo card? Prior to Monday Night Football, Siemian was the overall QB4 since taking over the full-time job in Week 9. He has seven touchdowns in that span, too. Siemian hasn’t been the most accurate quarterback, but who cares? He’s getting points! Although, he faces the No.1 defense in FPA to quarterbacks, Buffalo, next. Siemian isn’t a must-add, though he’s certainly trending toward it. He’s a fine option if you have Kyler Murray or Patrick Mahomes on byes this week.
Players to watch: Taylor Heinicke, Jimmy Garoppolo, Mac Jones
Devonta Freeman (RB - BAL)
Week 11 Stat Line: 20 points, 49 rushing yards, 1 rushing TD, 6 catches on 6 targets, 31 receiving yards
If you need a running back, I’m sorry. I can’t confidently advise you to pick up more than these three running backs. Players like Matt Breida and DeeJay Dallas may have value next week, but it’s no certainty. At this point, it all depends on who you have left on your roster. If Freeman is somehow still available, pounce on him immediately. He’s posted double-digit points in four of the last five games, and he appears to be the Baltimore running back of choice. Latavius Murray did virtually nothing in his first game back from injury, though that could change next week against Cleveland. It’s more of a testament to how barren the position is, but Freeman is the hottest running back on waivers—if he’s still available in your league.
Tevin Coleman (NYJ - RB)
Week 11 stats: 2.8 points, 16 rushing yards, 1 catch on 1 target, 2 receiving yards
After Michael Carter left with an injury, Coleman stepped in to fill Carter’s role. Now that the rookie will be sidelined for 2-3 weeks, Coleman could be in line for a hefty chunk of work. Carter was seeing 11-16 carries each game while seeing anywhere from 2-14 targets. The Jets face the Texans and Eagles next, both of whom are ranked in the bottom half of FPA to running backs. Coleman is a better option than most running backs available in leagues. Ty Johnson is a solid pickup, too, though he’s been featured enough on my waiver column. He’ll likely see more of the receiving work, anyway.
Rhamondre Stevenson (RB - NE)
Week 11 Stat Line: 8.5 points, 69 rushing yards, 1 catch on 1 target, 6 receiving yards
Yes, Damien Harris did come back, thus capping Stevenson’s upside. And yes, the Patriots did run the ball a ton due to a positive game-script all game. It still doesn’t take away the upside Stevenson has. The rookie balled out just two games ago, and he’s another injury to Harris away from potentially doing it again. While he isn’t someone you can confidently start, Stevenson still has enough upside to warrant a roster spot.
Players to watch: Matt Breida, DeeJay Dallas, Dontrell Hilliard, Rex Burkhead
Brandon Aiyuk (WR - SF)
Week 11 Stat Line: 21.5 points, 7 catches on 7 targets, 85 receiving yards, 1 receiving TD
Aiyuk’s sophomore campaign has been one heck of a roller coaster. After scoring a total of 25.7 points in just six games, Aiyuk has turned it on lately. He scored double-digit points in three of the last four games, including three games of 7+ targets. His latest performance is further indication you should target him for your rosters. While the Jaguars’ defense isn’t anything to write home about, few available receivers have flashed the upside Aiyuk has this season. If Aiyuk hasn’t been picked back up in your league, now is the time to do so.
Tre’Quan Smith (WR - NO)
Week 11 Stat Line: 11.4 points, 5 catches on 8 targets, 85 receiving yards
Smith once again led the Saints wideouts in snaps, routes run, and targets. It feels like each week I’m rotating in someone from that group. Can you blame me? Since Jameis Winston tore his ACL in Week 9, the Saints have had the 11th-highest neutral pass rate. In the eight weeks prior, they were dead last. In that span, Smith has averaged 54 receiving yards with a point range of 8.3-14.4. In Week 8, Smith also scored 12.3 points thanks to a touchdown. He now has two through his five games this season. Smith isn’t Michael Thomas, but he has seemingly emerged as the WR1 in New Orleans. He’s played more snaps than any offensive skill player in the last three weeks. It all adds up to a roster spot on your lineups ahead of a crucial Week 12 tilt against the Bills.
Robby Anderson (WR - CAR)
Week 11 Stat Line: 8 points, 5 catches on 6 targets, 30 receiving yards
It may be time to put Anderson back on fantasy rosters. While he’s only been targeted six times in each of the last two games, his catch rate has drastically improved from his season average. Again, it’s only two games, but now is the time to think ahead about players who could perform well in the playoffs. Clearly, Newton’s return has sparked a change in the Panthers’ offense. It’s not a huge change, but it’s arguably better now than it was Sam Darnold and P.J. Walker. Based on his stats from Sunday, Anderson is the clear WR2 in Carolina. He can provide depth to your lineup with the possibility of returning to his flex-worthy ways.
Cedrick Wilson (WR - DAL)
Week 11 Stat Line: 7.6 points, 4 catches on 7 targets, 36 receiving yards; 2nd-most snaps, routes run, and targets
At first glance, Wilson isn’t worth a waiver pick-up based on his Week 11 performance. However, there is a good chance Amari Cooper and CeeDee Lamb miss Thursday’s game against the Raiders. That could open up Wilson to ample opportunities in a Dallas offense that’s attempted the seventh-most pass attempts in the last three games and the ninth-most all season. He also was tied for the second-most snaps and routes run in Sunday’s defeat to Kansas City. Wilson has seen more than five targets just twice all season, though he does have three touchdowns. Considering how often the Cowboys run three-receiver sets—nearly 60% of the time, per Sharp Football Stats—Wilson should have a large enough role on Thursday. He’s an intriguing flier in all formats.
Nick Westbrook-Ikhine (WR - TEN)
Week 11 Stat Line: 17.7 points, 7 catches on 8 targets, 107 receiving yards
The Titans’ receiver room is a hot mess. Julio Jones is on IR and won’t be able to play until after Tennessee’s bye in Week 13. A.J. Brown suffered a pair of injuries in Sunday’s loss to Houston, though initial reports suggest he may not miss time. Last week’s star, Marcus Johnson, also left the game early with a hamstring injury. That paved the way for Dez Fitzpatrick, Chester Rogers, and Westbrook-Ikhine to each see more than six targets. Of the three, I like Westbrook-Ikhine the best. He showed a glimpse of a modest floor with his scoreless performance. Westbrook-Ikhine has also seen the third-most playing time at the position this season, just behind Brown and Jones. He’s not a priority right now, but he could be worth a stash if Tennessee’s wideouts continue to get banged up.
Players to watch: Jamison Crowder, Kendrick Bourne, Rondale Moore, Russell Gage, DeAndre Carter
Austin Hooper (TE - CLE)
Week 11 Stat Line: 9.3 points, 4 catches on 7 targets, 53 receiving yards
Full disclosure: I had a nice little paragraph on why Adam Trautman is a great pickup. Then this happened. Maybe Juwan Johnson fills Trautman’s shoes in his absence, but he’s not worth a roster spot yet. For now, I’ll just bump Hooper up from my players to watch list. Hooper’s had a pair of decent consecutive weeks, featuring a touchdown in Week 10. Look, I’m not recommending you start Hooper. If you absolutely need a tight end at this point in the season, you just need to ride the hot hand. Hooper is available in roughly 78% of leagues, per FantasyPros. This is me shrugging and saying “I guess?”
Players to watch: Gerald Everett, Evan Engram, Cole Kmet, a time-traveling Mike Ditka