Win the Wire: Week 11

New Orleans Saints QB Jameis Winston
New Orleans Saints QB Jameis Winston
Photo: USA Today Sports Images

There are no guarantees that the big injury-boosted fantasy options for Week 11 will help you for the rest of the season. But we're less than a month away from the fantasy playoffs. If your teams' postseason berths are in question, don't hesitate to spend some FAB on the players that can help get you there.

Roster percentages are for ESPN/Yahoo.

Wayne Gallman, RB, New York Giants


Gallman can blame his persistently low roster percentages on bad timing. Even when it seemed likely he would substitute for an injured Devonta Freeman in Week 8, Gallman's Monday night game time offered few fantasy backups if Freeman did play, and his matchup against the Bucs and their No. 3 DVOA run defense was unappealing in any case. And then each of the last two weeks, Freeman entered the weekend questionable to return from his ankle injury. Finally, we have clarity. With Freeman required to miss the next two games on injured reserve, Gallman should continue as lead back. And while most fantasy players likely failed to benefit from his production in recent weeks, it did reveal a fantasy-friendly role. Gallman has a 46.3% carry share since Week 8 that is 16th-highest among running backs. And while his four rushing touchdowns are a 1.27-touchdown surplus over his opportunity-adjusted total, that latter number still dwarfs Alfred Morris' total of 0.16. Gallman may be the smaller back at 6-foot-0 and 210 pounds, but he is the team's preferred red zone option. The timing remains imperfect with the Giants entering their bye week, but Gallman has become too valuable to leave on the wire.

Recommended FAB offer (% of maximum): 100%
Should you use your No. 1 waiver priority on him: Yes

Salvon Ahmed, RB, Miami Dolphins


The Dolphins definitively answered any questions about their backfield pecking order on Sunday, handing the undrafted rookie Ahmed 21 of their 26 running back carries and playing him on 76% of offensive snaps. New trade acquisition DeAndre Washington saw just two and 7%, and Jordan Howard returned to the bench as a healthy inactive, then was subsequently released. And while outsiders had no prior perspective on his performances in practice, Ahmed channeled James Robinson in showing better game speed than his 4.62s 40 time would indicate. On an 18-yard run, he sped past linebacker Kyzir White who matched that 40 time at his personal pro day.

I don't think Ahmed is a slam-dunk rest-of-season fantasy starter the way Robinson was after Week 1. He produced more than half of his 85 yards on three carries for 18, 18, and 11 yards. He didn't stand out when he found contact near the line of scrimmage. And while he can credit his speed for some of those longer runs, Ahmed also benefited from a massive hole on his second 18-yard carry.

Still, Ahmed seems poised to contribute in the two most critical areas for fantasy, with touchdowns and receptions. To the former point, Ahmed took a goal-line carry and scored after the Dolphins blocked the Chargers punt on their opening drive. He perfectly matched his score with 1.00 opportunity-adjusted rushing touchdowns on the day. And while he has seen just one target the last two weeks after incumbent Myles Gaskin had four or more in all seven of his healthy gains, Ahmed nearly doubled Gaskin's college receiving ratio at 12.4% versus 6.4% in the same backfield at the University of Washington. And both players were similarly efficient as receivers there with 6.6 and 7.2 yards per reception. Gaskin could return after the one more absence required by injured reserve. Matt Breida could return next week. But neither of those backs has more claim to the Dolphins' RB1 job than Ahmed made on Sunday. This late in the fantasy season, that potential is enough to exhaust your FAB to find out if he can keep it.

Recommended FAB offer (% of maximum): 100%
Should you use your No. 1 waiver priority on him: Yes

Jakobi Meyers, WR, New England Patriots


It seems that Meyers is Julian Edelman's replacement in more ways than one, something he demonstrated with a 24-yard touchdown toss on Sunday night that may identify him as the best pure passer on the Patriots.

That is a bonus you can't rely on every week, but I'm still starting to think that Meyers deserves a regular place in shallow-format fantasy lineups. I like to rely on carry and target shares to evaluate skill player fantasy potential. That tends to correct for extreme game scripts such as the one J.D. McKissic enjoyed the last two weeks (which I will discuss shortly). But I think it's clear at this point that Meyers' position-leading 38.5% target share since Week 7 overstates his likely fantasy impact. The Patriots want to run the ball and almost certainly will to an extreme split versus the pass against the lesser teams on their remaining schedule, such as the Texans in Week 11 and Jets in Week 17. Still, looking at totals, Meyers has enjoyed a top-10 volume of 37 targets over the last month. And while normal starters Edelman and N'Keal Harry missed much of that time with injuries, Harry's return to a 60% snap share in Week 10 did not conjure a target for him. Damiere Byrd went untargeted on Sunday night as well, and suddenly Meyers has more than double the target volume of any other Patriots player in recent weeks.

Recommended FAB offer (% of maximum): 51%
Should you use your No. 1 waiver priority on him: Yes

Brandon Aiyuk, WR, San Francisco 49ers


Compared to Meyers, Aiyuk is the safer bet to produce in fantasy over the rest of the season. Aiyuk has contributed at least 75 yards on at least seven targets and scored twice in his last three games (he missed Week 9 due to a false-positive COVID test). Cherry-picking Weeks 7, 8, and 10, Aiyuk has a 30.8% target share that is the fifth-highest among wide receivers. And unlike Meyers, Aiyuk is a consistent threat to score in the red zone. His 0.065 opportunity-adjusted receiving touchdowns per target are 10th-most of the 42 wide receivers with 50 or more targets. That is the same rate as fellow rookie Chase Claypool and ahead of Davante Adams at 0.062. Those receivers have been particularly lucky to score seven and nine touchdowns, the latter of which leads the position. And while relatively poor quarterback play from Nick Mullens may explain the touchdown shortfall and force it to continue, there is little doubt that Aiyuk will continue to produce at least at the level he has shown. His 96% offensive snap share on Sunday nearly doubled Kendrick Bourne's at 58%. Aiyuk will start even when Deebo Samuel can return healthy from a hamstring injury. That will likely happen in Week 11 after the team's bye, but that bye is the reason that Aiyuk doesn't land a higher FAB recommendation.

Recommended FAB offer (% of maximum): 32%
Should you use your No. 1 waiver priority on him: No

J.D. McKissic, RB, Washington Football Team


I already teased that I thought game script was part of the reason McKissic exploded for 14 and 15 targets on season-high 83% and 70% snap shares the last two weeks. Washington has trailed in both games by three scores, and that has skewed their play calling toward the pass. Still, Washington routinely faced deficits over the first two months, and McKissic hit a ceiling of eight targets in a game before Alex Smith became his quarterback. And even if his target share regresses in future weeks, McKissic has been such an extreme outlier that he could fall and continue to be a standout PPR value. His 31.5% target share the last two weeks is nearly 7% ahead of Alvin Kamara in second place (24.6%). Kareem Hunt has a 21.1% share in that time, and no other back is over 20%. McKissic's 29 targets the last two weeks are more than Melvin Gordon, David Johnson, or James Conner has all season. McKissic has become the Jamison Crowder of running backs, and if you play in the right fantasy format, that should make him an RB2.

Recommended FAB offer (% of maximum): 31%
Should you use your No. 1 waiver priority on him: No

Tee Higgins, WR, Cincinnati Bengals


Higgins' roster rates barely moved from 77% and 79% last week coming out of the Bengals' bye. Maybe that reflects a higher percentage of dead leagues. Or maybe fantasy players were scared of a matchup with the Steelers -- their No. 3 DVOA pass defense left teammate A.J. Green without a catch on five targets on Sunday. But Higgins continued the remarkable consistency of his rookie season with seven catches, 115 yards, and a touchdown in Week 10. Since Week 3, his 20.8% target share is now 23rd among receivers, and he has seen at least eight targets in four of his last five games. Don't mind the difficult pass defenses he still has to face in Washington, the Dolphins, and Steelers again. Higgins has become matchup-proof. Pick him up if he remains on the wire in any of your leagues.

Recommended FAB offer (% of maximum): 30%
Should you use your No. 1 waiver priority on him: No

Hayden Hurst, TE, Atlanta Falcons


Coming out of the Falcons' bye, Hurst is the tight end equivalent of Tee Higgins. With no more off weeks in November and December, Hurst belongs in fantasy lineups. His 17.6% target share since Week 4 is seventh among tight ends, and he has at least six targets in five of six games in that time.

Recommended FAB offer (% of maximum): 30%
Should you use your No. 1 waiver priority on him: No

Jameis Winston, QB, New Orleans Saints


After a hard hit sidelined him in the second half of Week 10, Drew Brees received confirmation of fractured ribs and a collapsed lung on Monday. He will certainly miss games, but that is where my certainty ends when it comes to Winston's potential fantasy boost. Despite his 30 interceptions last season, Winston finished third in fantasy points at the position. With similarly excellent skill players around him in New Orleans such as Alvin Kamara, Michael Thomas, and Emmanuel Sanders, Winston would figure to have that same ceiling. That motivates my substantial FAB recommendation. But Brees and 2019 backup Teddy Bridgewater have also been league trailers in average depth of target, an antithetical approach to the one Winston followed to fantasy success but real-life misfortune in his Tampa career. I wouldn't be surprised to see him skew conservative and land in the teens in fantasy points per game, which is where Bridgewater finished between Weeks 3 and 7 last year after Brees injured his hand. And I also wouldn't be surprised to see Taysom Hill increase his snap share and render both quarterbacks unusable in shallow formats.

Recommended FAB offer (% of maximum): 28%
Should you use your No. 1 waiver priority on him: No

Damien Harris, RB, New England Patriots


The Patriots' extreme tendencies are more obvious in their running backs than their wide receivers. That makes Harris a difficult player to value in fantasy. His lack of targets and goal-line opportunities cost him the two most valuable types of touches for backs in fantasy. And even his increased 45.6% carry share since Week 8 lands him at just 18th among players at the position. That doesn't seem like the resume of even a flex consideration in standard formats. But the Patriots are so committed to the run that Harris has translated that timeshare into 52 carries the last three weeks, third-most at the position behind just Josh Jacobs and Derrick Henry. And Harris has been so effective that his share could increase even with Sony Michel available to return from injured reserve. Harris has a 5.5 yards-per-carry average and an 18.0% rushing DVOA, and his 55% offensive snap share in Week 10 was a marked bump on his previous season high of 40%. That positive trend may not make Harris an every-week start in PPR formats, but he should at least provide value against the team's lesser opponents when the Patriots can build leads and run in the second halves to kill clock.

Recommended FAB offer (% of maximum): 27%
Should you use your No. 1 waiver priority on him: No

Kalen Ballage, RB, Los Angeles Chargers


Ballage is another back who should benefit from some clarity. Justin Jackson finally went on injured reserve with his knee injury, and that makes Ballage the Chargers' clear No. 1 option until Austin Ekeler can return from his knee and hamstring injuries. Joshua Kelley has been one of the least efficient backs in football this season -- his -121 rushing DYAR are 99 fewer than any other back with 72 or more carries, and that ineffectiveness has propelled Ballage from the practice squad to obvious top option in just two weeks. Since Week 9, Ballage has doubled Kelley (26.7%) with a 55.0% carry share that is 14th among all running backs. He also has a 12.3% target share that is 12th at the position and 1.61 opportunity-adjusted rushing touchdowns that suggest his single score has underachieved his neutral-luck expectations. Ekeler is teasing that his return could be imminent. But even if Ballage has just one more week, fantasy players can be confident in his RB2 status.

Recommended FAB offer (% of maximum): 26%
Should you use your No. 1 waiver priority on him: No

Alex Collins, RB, Seattle Seahawks


When it comes to injury replacements, two weeks of evidence is dramatically better than one. As such, it's difficult to endorse Collins as a Week 11 fantasy start even if Chris Carson and Carlos Hyde miss their fourth consecutive games -- hardly a guarantee since both players were questionable until Saturday last week. This recommendation is one for talent. Collins was a star runner in 2017 with the Ravens. He produced 4.6 yards per attempt on 212 carries that season and was top-10 at the position in both rushing DYAR and yards after contact per attempt. His efficiency declined the next season, but the reason he disappeared from football was his arrest in early 2019 for possession of marijuana and a handgun in a car that he crashed. Pete Carroll has given players second chances before, and it's hard not to see some Marshawn Lynch in Collins' resurgence and running style. On his 13-yard touchdown run, Collins cut sharply and drove through contact.

But he really showed it on a 7-yard scamper in which he pushed multiple defenders for a couple of yards after contact.

Collins hits his would-be tacklers with that ferocity on every run, and I think that explains his quick ascension from the practice squad to a team-leading 48% snap share and taking 11 of 13 running back carries in Week 10.

Recommended FAB offer (% of maximum): 21%
Should you use your No. 1 waiver priority on him: No

Marvin Jones, WR, Detroit Lions


Jones is the last of my injury-boosted workload recommendations, and he is the easiest to explain. Although he has played 80% of more of the Lions' snaps every week this season, Jones has seen a dramatic increase in his target share to 18.3% since Week 8 when Kenny Golladay injured his hip. That rate is still just 44th among wide receivers in that time and wouldn't on its own make Jones an obvious fantasy start. But independent of workload, Jones is one of the premiere touchdown-scorers at the position. He has four touchdowns in those last three weeks. And while they aren't fully supported by his 1.88 opportunity-adjusted scores in that time, that latter total is still eighth-highest at the position. Assuming Golladay misses more time, Jones should have tremendous opportunities to score in Weeks 11 and 12 facing the Panthers and Texans with the 21st and 23rd DVOA pass defenses.

Recommended FAB offer (% of maximum): 13%
Should you use your No. 1 waiver priority on him: No

Michael Pittman, WR, Indianapolis Colts


Pittman had 92% and 87% snap shares in Weeks 2 and 9 to bookend a calf injury that sidelined him for a month and a half. That made me suspect the rookie could already be the Colts' No. 1 wide receiver, and he seemed to confirm that suspicion with another 81% in Week 10. That led the team by 14% over both T.Y. Hilton and Zach Pascal. And his eight targets on Sunday led the team by two. Pittman likely won't be the fantasy star that many teams' No. 1 receivers are. Even his improved 19.7% target share from the last two weeks is just 38th among wide receivers. The Colts have a top-three DVOA defense and an aging quarterback and play like it with a run-focused offensive approach. But Pittman can still be a flex-worthy consideration in shallow formats to justify more than his current feeble roster percentages.

Recommended FAB offer (% of maximum): 12%
Should you use your No. 1 waiver priority on him: No

Breshad Perriman, WR, New York Jets


At least by target share, Perriman is not the Jets' No. 1 receiver. Even after a two-target Week 9 prior to the team's bye, Jamison Crowder owns that distinction. He had 10 or more targets in Perriman's other three healthy weeks. But Perriman has still accounted for an 18.6% share in his healthy Weeks 1, 6, 7, and 9, good for 35th-most at the position and more than enough to lend him fantasy relevance given his touchdown-scoring. Perriman's two touchdowns in Week 9 are his only two this season, but he has 0.073 opportunity-adjusted receiving touchdowns per target, tied for 15th-highest among the 104 receivers with his volume of targets. That matches his top-three rate of 0.078 from last year and easily beats teammates Denzel Mims (0.064) and Crowder (0.026) this year, albeit over small sample sizes.

Recommended FAB offer (% of maximum): 11%
Should you use your No. 1 waiver priority on him: No

La'Mical Perine, RB, New York Jets


Like his teammate Perriman, Perine has more potential than production so far this season. But reports suggest that the Jets plan to make him their featured back in the second half of the season to help evaluate him for future years. That piques my interest. The team likely won't offer him many touchdown opportunities, but Perine could still contribute with rushing and receiving volume. His 21.3% receiving ratio this year is even better than his 12.7% ratio from college and suggests the 216-pound back could play all three downs if he showcases the necessary efficiency.

Recommended FAB offer (% of maximum): 2%
Should you use your No. 1 waiver priority on him: No

Austin Hooper, TE, Cleveland Browns


Hooper contributed just one catch for 11 yards in his return from a multi-week absence from an appendectomy, but he also dealt with sustained winds north of 20 mph in Cleveland on Sunday. Baker Mayfield only threw 20 passes. As such, I'm more interested in Hooper's 85% offensive snap share that I think indicates he has returned to full health. After a 12.8% target share in Weeks 1 to 3 that was outside the top 20 at the position and before his appendicitis, Hooper was top five among tight ends with a 25.3% target share in Weeks 4 to 6.

Recommended FAB offer (% of maximum): 1%
Should you use your No. 1 waiver priority on him: No

Players on More Than 80% of Rosters to Add

Miles Sanders, RB, Philadelphia Eagles (99%/99%)
Chris Carson, RB, Seattle Seahawks (98%/98%)
Joe Mixon, RB, Cincinnati Bengals (97%/99%)
Nick Chubb, RB, Cleveland Browns (97%/98%)
Chris Godwin, WR, Tampa Bay Buccaneers (96%/97%)
Rob Gronkowski, TE, Tampa Bay Buccaneers (94%/94%)
Antonio Gibson, RB, Washington Football Team (94%/92%)
Mike Davis, RB, Carolina Panthers (93%/90%)
D'Andre Swift, RB, Detroit Lions (91%/92%)
Chase Claypool, WR, Pittsburgh Steelers (91%/90%)
Justin Herbert, QB, Los Angeles Chargers (91%/90%)
Leonard Fournette, RB, Tampa Bay Buccaneers (90%/91%)
Brandin Cooks, WR, Houston Texans (87%/89%)
Travis Fulgham, WR, Philadelphia Eagles (87%/84%)
Austin Ekeler, RB, Los Angeles Chargers (86%/92%)
DJ Chark, WR, Jacksonville Jaguars (85%/92%)
Antonio Brown, WR, Tampa Bay Buccaneers (84%/83%)
Diontae Johnson, WR, Pittsburgh Steelers (83%/89%)
Jarvis Landry, WR, Cleveland Browns (82%/82%)
Jamison Crowder, WR, New York Jets (81%/74%)
Raheem Mostert, RB, San Francisco 49ers (79%/86%)
Duke Johnson, RB, Houston Texans (77%/83%)
Jerry Jeudy, WR, Denver Broncos (70%/81%)

Players on More Than 20% of Rosters You Can Drop

Chase Edmonds, RB, Arizona Cardinals (88%/90%)
Devin Singletary, RB, Buffalo Bills (81%/85%)
Drew Brees, QB, New Orleans Saints (80%/94%)
Justin Jackson, RB, Los Angeles Chargers (57%/40%)
Jamaal Williams, RB, Green Bay Packers (54%/66%)
T.Y. Hilton, WR, Indianapolis Colts (50%/43%)
Michael Gallup, WR, Dallas Cowboys (45%/47%)
Joshua Kelley, RB, Los Angeles Chargers (44%/36%)
Henry Ruggs, WR, Las Vegas Raiders (40%/34%)
Julian Edelman, WR, New England Patriots (39%/29%)
Alexander Mattison, RB, Minnesota Vikings (39%/35%)
DeeJay Dallas, RB, Seattle Seahawks (34%/37%)
Adrian Peterson, RB, Detroit Lions (32%/48%)
Odell Beckham, WR, Cleveland Browns (32%/26%)
Jordan Howard, RB, Miami Dolphins (30%/23%)
Teddy Bridgewater, QB, Carolina Panthers (29%/46%)
JaMycal Hasty, RB, San Francisco 49ers (29%/19%)
Saquon Barkley, RB, New York Giants (26%/24%)
Preston Williams, WR, Miami Dolphins (25%/14%)
Courtland Sutton, WR, Denver Broncos (24%/16%)
Kerryon Johnson, RB, Detroit Lions (24%/10%)
Dak Prescott, QB, Dallas Cowboys (19%/20%)
Laviska Shenault, WR, Jacksonville Jaguars (17%/20%)
Alshon Jeffery, WR, Philadelphia Eagles (8%/20%)



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