Waiver Wire, Week 11: Add Michael Pittman

John Daigle
·20 min read



Welcome to the Week 11 edition of Waiver Wired for the 2020 season. With the Buffalo Bills, Chicago Bears, New York Giants, and San Francisco 49ers on bye, we’ll highlight two running backs that should not only get you through Week 11 as confident replacements but stay serviceable for the next few weeks. Reminder that this is also the best time of the year to shed dead weight at the back of your bench for handcuffs and players with upside if only to still have an edge over your league mates during the fantasy playoffs.

As a refresher, The Drop List consists of players who are rostered in at least 50 percent of Yahoo leagues and are no longer must-have assets, recommended additions are available in over 50 percent of Yahoo leagues, the Watch List contains in-depth notes on fringe waiver adds, and Deep Cuts includes player notes on those rostered in five percent or fewer of Yahoo leagues.

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The Drop List

QB: Drew Brees

RB: Devin Singletary, David Johnson, Ravens RBs

WR: A.J. Green

TE: Mike Gesicki

Devin Singletary has been out-carried (16-6) and out-touched (19-10) by Zack Moss in Buffalo's last two games. Already the low man on the totem pole in touches inside the 10-yard line behind Josh Allen and Moss, Singletary's plummeting backfield shares across the board make him expendable. He's totaled 10 touches in that time...The Texans were already trying to feature Duke Johnson during the home stretch and David Johnson's recent trip to injured reserve allows just that. Duke has handled 100% of Houston's backfield carries (30) since David exited in Week 9...J.K. Dobbins out-snapped (29) Mark Ingram (17) and Gus Edwards (15) Sunday night, but the rookie clearly wasn't "given the opportunity to emerge" with just six touches to Ingram's seven and Edwards' backfield-high eight. All are droppable and not startable as long as Ingram is healthy and/or in the mix...A.J. Green has totaled 19 yards on his last 10 targets and has yet to score at any point this year.

Overall Top 5

1. Michael Pittman
2. Salvon Ahmed
3. Kalen Ballage
4. Jalen Reagor
5. Josh Reynolds

For those looking to roster the best available player(s) regardless of position, the rankings above take into account every factor from the positional lists minus players’ actual positions. These are listed in the precise order I would prioritize waiver claims in Week 8. Adjust accordingly for what you need on your roster — touches, high-upside bench stashes, targets, one-week spot-starters, etc.

Quarterbacks

1. Jameis Winston
2. Derek Carr
3. Philip Rivers
4. Tua Tagovailoa

Running Backs

Wayne Gallman rostered in 50 percent of Yahoo leagues. No. 2 add if available.

1. Salvon Ahmed
2. Kalen Ballage
3. Nyheim Hines
4. Jordan Wilkins
5. Malcolm Brown
6. Cam Akers

Wide Receivers

Jakobi Meyers rostered in 48 percent of Yahoo leagues. No. 1 add if available.

1. Michael Pittman
2. Jalen Reagor
3. Josh Reynolds
4. Allen Lazard
5. Breshad Perriman
6. Denzel Mims
7. Sammy Watkins
8. Jakeem Grant
9. Rashard Higgins

Tight Ends

1. Taysom Hill
2. Logan Thomas
3. Mo Alie-Cox

Defense/Special Teams

Miami Dolphins rostered in 58 percent of Yahoo leagues. No. 1 D/ST add if available.

1. Cleveland Browns
2. Detroit Lions
3. Atlanta Falcons

Kickers

1. Jason Myers
2. Greg Zuerlein
3. Michael Badgley

QUARTERBACKS

1. Jameis Winston, Saints — Rostered in 3 percent of Yahoo leagues (2-4%)

This is a touch-and-go situation since New Orleans did gift Taysom Hill a two-year, $21 million contract with $16 million guaranteed (!) back in April. If Winston is under center, though, the Falcons don’t present a single threat (outside of a walk-in pick-six) in allowing a league-high 6.5 yards per play and the second-most completed air yards and fantasy points per game to enemy quarterbacks. Although his floor could bottom out, his ceiling is the highest of any of this week's options.

2. Derek Carr, Raiders — Rostered in 37 percent of Yahoo Leagues (Suggested 2-4% FAAB Bid)

Even without Trent Brown (COVID complications), Richie Incognito (Achilles’), and Kolton Miller (ankle) on Sunday, Carr was under pressure at the league’s sixth-lowest rate against a Broncos front-seven that ranks No. 6 overall in Football Outsiders’ Adjusted Sack Rate. The Chiefs on the other hand are No. 22 in said metric and bring to town a game environment that Vegas sportsbooks have slated with an implied total (57) six points higher than the next closest game (51) on Sunday’s slate. Carr’s 24 attempts per game the past three weeks should increase dramatically now that Patrick Mahomes is on the other side of the field.

3. Philip Rivers, Colts — Rostered in 22 percent of Yahoo Leagues (1-2%)

Indianapolis’ team total has been bet up from 25 to 26.75 — the largest increase of any team's this week — over the last 48 hours. This game total has also jumped from 49 to 51 in that span. Jaire Alexander’s (concussion) and Kevin King’s (quad) potential absences would be the cherries on top.

4. Tua Tagovailoa, Dolphins — Rostered in 45 percent of Yahoo Leagues (1-2%)

The Broncos’ injuries have finally caught up to them as Denver has allowed a league-high 36 points per game in its last four contests. With at least six carries in back-to-back starts, Tua’s floor in this matchup makes him one of the safer plays at his position this week. Prioritize Tagovailoa over Rivers if bidding for a starter for the rest of the season.

Watch List: Laugh all you want, but Alex Smith's 5.2 average depth of target the past two games have carried him to QB25 and QB14 finishes since Washington is littered with playmakers that can explode for a splash gain at a moment's notice. It only helps that the Bengals have allowed the sixth-most fantasy points per game to Smith's position...Ignore Nick Foles' performance against Minnesota since the Vikings are still creating the league's seventh-lowest rate of pressure weekly. Andy Dalton is at least healthy and has playmakers at his disposal for Sunday.

RUNNING BACKS

1. Salvon Ahmed, Dolphins – Rostered in 9 percent of Yahoo leagues (Suggested 45-50% FAAB Bid)

Myles Gaskin (knee, IR) is eligible to return in Week 12, but Miami’s schedule over the next month (Broncos, Jets, Bengals, Chiefs) makes Ahmed worth breaking the bank for just in case he holds off Gaskin for an extended time. Not only did Ahmed log 44-of-58 snaps and handle three touches inside the 10-yard line without Jordan Howard (waived) Sunday, DeAndre Washington was an afterthought on only four snaps on the afternoon. Miami’s aforementioned upcoming schedule also suggests positive game scripts that the Dolphins should lean on Ahmed for if only to milk clocks.

Recommendation: Should be rostered in 10-team leagues

2. Kalen Ballage, Chargers – Rostered in 21 percent of Yahoo leagues (18-20%)

Even with Troymaine Pope (neck) available Sunday, coach Anthony Lynn leaned on Kalen Ballage for a backfield-high 46 snaps (73%) and 23 touches — the second-highest mark of any running back for the Chargers all year. In fact, Ballage’s 40 touches the past two weeks trail only Dalvin Cook’s (58), James Robinson’s (50) and Derrick Henry’s (41) in that span. With Justin Jackson (knee) on injured reserve and thus sidelined for both upcoming games against the Jets and Bills, Ballage should at the very least be treated as a usage-based RB2/3 despite Joshua Kelley’s and Pope’s minimal involvements.

Recommendation: Should be rostered in 10-team leagues

3. Nyheim Hines, Colts – Rostered in 42 percent of Yahoo leagues (8-10%)

4. Jordan Wilkins, Colts – Rostered in 17 percent of Yahoo leagues (8-10%)

To be clear, Hines’ 17 touches as the Colts’ workhorse Thursday night was not a changing of the guard; he rushed for 21 yards on his first two carries (and 58 with his first seven touches) and was then leaned on over Jonathan Taylor and Wilkins the rest of the way. And that’s exactly how this backfield will be treated moving forward: win the first two series, win the role. It’s obviously an unpredictable situation weekly, but both available running backs for the Colts are worth rostering if only for the team’s soft schedule (Packers, Titans, Texans, Raiders, Texans again) through the fantasy playoffs. Starting any (Taylor included) is simply an agreement with yourself to take on risk for the opportunity to hit on an RB2 (or lay an egg) in that particular week.

Recommendation: Should be rostered in 12-team leagues

5. Malcolm Brown, Rams – Rostered in 25 percent of Yahoo leagues (8-10%)

6. Cam Akers, Rams – Rostered in 26 percent of Yahoo leagues (8-10%)

In what was a pivotal matchup to move the Rams ahead of the Seahawks in the NFC West standings, coach Sean McVay deployed Akers for a team-high in carries (10), Brown for a backfield-high in routes run (14), and Darrell Henderson for his fewest carries (7) since Week 1. Was it because Henderson went into and came out of the bye week with a lingering quad injury, or was this Ravens-esque committee the plan all along? It at least makes Brown and Akers worth sprinkling on in case either have a larger role than we expect down the stretch.

Recommendation: Both should be rostered in deep 12-team leagues

Watch List: Travis Homer (hand) played seven snaps before missing the entire second half against the Rams. Even so, Alex Collins still out-snapped (32-22) and out-touched (12-4) DeeJay Dallas off the bench. The issue in rostering either Collins or Dallas is that Carlos Hyde (hamstring) is also expected to return Thursday. Assuming all are available, I rank them Hyde > Dallas > Collins > Homer. Chris Carson (knee) will obviously handle the lion's share of touches when healthy...Rex Burkhead, who now has 25 touches including three inside the 10-yard line the past two weeks, remains the pivot if Damien Harris (ankle, chest) misses time. Sony Michel is lower on the priority list since he'll revert to season-ending injured reserve if the Patriots don't activate him for Sunday...Tevin Coleman will return from San Francisco's bye week as the handcuff to Raheem Mostert — both of who are expected to be healthy for Week 12 against the Rams. Reminder Mostert handled 19 of the team's 30 backfield touches in his only full game with both Jerick McKinnon and Coleman this year.

Deep Cuts: For those who were box score hunting post-Sunday, note that all five of Trayveon Williams' carries against the Steelers occurred on the final possession with the Bengals trailing 36-10. Nothing to see there.

WIDE RECEIVERS

1. Michael Pittman, Colts — Rostered in 10 percent of Yahoo leagues (Suggested 30-35% FAAB Bid)

While T.Y. Hilton continued his season-long streak of failing to exceed 70 yards or score a touchdown in any game this year, Pittman stepped in on Thursday and recorded the most targets (8), snaps (57), red zone targets (3), and routes run (38, 95%) among all of Indy’s wideouts. Rather than wasting our time guessing which of its running backs will lead in touches in a given week, it’s much easier to pivot to Pittman as a direct beneficiary of the Colts’ upcoming schedule (Packers, Titans, Texans, Raiders, Texans again). The rookie’s shallow 6.8 average depth of target (and ability to then turn upfield) lend him a higher floor-ceiling combo than the rest of Indianapolis' receivers, Hilton included.

Recommendation: Should be rostered in 10-team leagues

2. Jalen Reagor, Eagles – Rostered in 26 percent of Yahoo leagues (12-15%)

Greg Ward out-snapped (59 to 46) and ran more routes (36 to 26) than Reagor in the latter’s return before the bye, but that wasn’t the case on Sunday as the rookie finished with a team-high in routes run ahead of Travis Fulgham. Reagor has also cannibalized Fulgham’s heaping target share the past two games, seeing 20.3% of Carson Wentz’s pass attempts to Fulgham’s 18.7% in that stint. You don’t have to squint to view Reagor as the better option over Fulgham for fantasy leagues the rest of the year.

Recommendation: Should be rostered in 10-team leagues

3. Josh Reynolds, Rams – Rostered in 5 percent of Yahoo leagues (12-15%)

Reynolds is admittedly a tough sell against Tampa Bay's suffocating secondary, but he still earns a mention since he's led Los Angeles in end zone targets over the last four games, leads Robert Woods in total targets (32-29) in that time, and most recently stacked a team-high 27.7% target share on more routes (37) than either Woods (35) or Cooper Kupp (30) out of the bye. Reynolds is the better long-term add over Allen Lazard and Breshad Perriman (see below) though I would still rank them Perriman > Reynolds > Lazard for this week only.

Recommendation: Should be rostered in 10-team leagues

4. Allen Lazard, Packers – Rostered in 42 percent of Yahoo leagues (8-10%)

Lazard was (finally) activated from injured reserve Tuesday afternoon. Reminder he out-targeted Marquez Valdes-Scantling 12-11 (and tied Aaron Jones for team-highs in red zone and end zone looks) in the three games the two played together this year. I prefer Lazard over Perriman through the fantasy playoffs but would rank Perriman ahead of him for Week 11.

Recommendation: Should be rostered in 12-team leagues

5. Breshad Perriman, Jets – Rostered in 8 percent of Yahoo leagues (8-10%)

Perriman is only one week removed from returning to the field at full health and sponging a 29.1% target share with team-highs in red zone (2) and end zone (2) targets from Joe Flacco, who’s expected to make one more start in place of Sam Darnold (shoulder). Los Angeles’ 31.3 points allowed per game since Week 4 instill hope in an otherwise flaccid Jets Offense.

Recommendation: Should be rostered in 10-team leagues

6. Denzel Mims, Jets – Rostered in 5 percent of Yahoo leagues (5-8%)

Perriman may have spiked two touchdowns in his return to the field, but Mims still led all with a team-high eight targets and 46.7% of New York’s air yards against the Patriots. The second-rounder has now seen seven targets in 2-of-3 games and at least 40 receiving yards in every appearance this year.

Recommendation: Should be rostered in 12-team leagues

7. Sammy Watkins, Chiefs – Rostered in 38 percent of Yahoo leagues (3-5%)

Rostering Watkins before he comes back is an easy way to gain exposure towards Patrick Mahomes and Kansas City’s offense down the stretch. Watkins unsurprisingly averaged 8.0 fantasy points per game following his 7/82/1 eruption in the team’s season opener but was on the field for 76.7% of snaps before straining his hamstring in Week 5.

Recommendation: Should be rostered in 12-team leagues

8. Jakeem Grant, Dolphins – Rostered in 6 percent of Yahoo leagues (3-5%)

Not only has Grant seen five targets in back-to-back games without Isaiah Ford (traded) and Preston Williams (foot, IR) in the lineup, the former was also the only other receiver outside of DeVante Parker to record any number of end zone targets from Tua Tagovailoa Sunday. With 21 routes to Parker’s team-high 26 against Los Angeles, Grant is Miami’s clear No. 2 receiver for as long as Williams is out.

Recommendation: Should be rostered in 12-team PPR leagues

9. Rashard Higgins, Browns – Rostered in 16 percent of Yahoo leagues (3-5%)

Cleveland’s box scores the past two weeks can be tossed out altogether since both games have involved sustained 30 MPH winds and gusts exceeding 50 MPH. And Higgins has been directly impacted by those elements since his 12.9 aDOT remains the highest on the team. Fantasy players in deeper leagues should still have faith in Higgins, who has run just three fewer routes than Jarvis Landry in that weather-stricken stint.

Recommendation: Should be rostered in 14-team leagues

Watch List: Tim Patrick was well on his way to another 100-yard, double-digit target performance before being ejected for fighting Sunday. He saw six targets in only two quarters' worth of game action...We'll see how Michael Gallup fares in Andy Dalton's return under center, but this matchup against Kris Boyd and/or Chris Jones sets up well for Gallup since both corners have combined for 25 catches and 297 yards on only 30 targets (and 9.9 yards per target) in coverage this year...Keelan Cole was Laviska Shenault's direct replacement with seven targets (20.5%) against the Packers, but your waiver wire would have to be completely stripped to start him with Jake Luton against Pittsburgh.

Deep Leagues: Steven Sims' snap rate has progressively increased (30% < 45%) over the last two games. It could be chalked up to negative game script, but it speaks volumes that he was targeted on a whopping 40% of his routes against the Lions despite getting out-snapped 83-40 by Cam Sims...Richie James ran the second-most routes for San Francisco against New Orleans but will tumble further down the pecking order with Deebo Samuel, Raheem Mostert, and Tevin Coleman expected on the field after the bye...Tyler Lockett didn't practice on Monday and is considered "day-to-day" ahead of Thursday night. He should play, but David Moore would be the pivot if Lockett surprisingly sits...K.J. Hamler has quietly seen 20 targets in Denver's last two games but still falls in line behind Jerry Jeudy (22 targets in that span) and Tim Patrick (15) since the last two are tied for the team lead in end zone targets (3) since Week 9.

TIGHT ENDS

1. Taysom Hill, Saints — Rostered in 2 percent of Yahoo leagues (Suggested 15-20% FAAB Bid)

Hill is worth sprinkling on as a quarterback for 2-QB and SuperFlex leagues just in case he gets the nod under center. He’s most valuable as a tight end in ESPN leagues, though, considering the handful of touchdown-dependent players that are still being streamed in order to fill holes in lineups. Even if Jameis Winston were named the starter prior to kick-off, I would still start Hill at TE over Hayden Hurst, Robert Tonyan, and Hunter Henry, among others — Hill’s eight carries without Drew Brees (ribs, week-to-week) this past week warrants that type of recognition.

2. Logan Thomas, Washington — Rostered in 36 percent of Yahoo leagues (2-4%)

Thomas has seen six targets in back-to-back games from Alex Smith and now faces a Bengals Defense that’s permitted the second-most fantasy points per game to his position. Although Washington was in a three-score hole from the second quarter on Sunday, it’s worth noting Thomas ran 62 routes on Smith’s 63 dropbacks against the Lions.

3. Mo Alie-Cox, Colts — Rostered in 3 percent of Yahoo leagues (1-2%)

Indianapolis officially passed the torch to Alie-Cox on Thursday night, allowing him to out-snap (46-37) and out-target (4-3) Trey Burton on five more routes run. The Colts’ team total (26.5) has increased more than any other team’s ahead of Sunday, hopefully leading to trickle down for Alie-Cox’s production.

Looking Ahead: Jordan Reed ran 25 routes on Nick Mullens' 41 dropbacks Sunday, accruing a 16% target share only two weeks removed from returning from injured reserve. Even with Deebo Samuel (hamstring) likely back after the bye, Reed is a viable streaming option for as long as George Kittle (foot) remains out. The issue is that most rosters probably can't afford to keep a tight end stashed over their bye...Kyle Rudolph saw season-highs in snaps (78%), targets (5), and route rate (78.9%) in Monday's win sans Irv Smith (groin). Rudolph would budge to No. 2 on among the priority adds if Smith were ruled out again...Zach Ertz is a tantalizing speculatory addition off waivers, but reminder that he simply was #notgood in averaging the 24th-most fantasy points per game among tight ends when healthy. He also averaged 4/30 receiving in six appearances despite hoarding 7.5 targets per game...Cole Kmet quietly ran three more routes than Jimmy Graham, who still led the team in red zone targets, Monday night. Kmet is in tight-end purgatory in that the Bears want to feature him but still prefer Graham in the rare occasion its offense gets inside the 20.

DEFENSE/SPECIAL TEAMS

1. Cleveland Browns – Rostered in 19 percent of Yahoo leagues

No player has taken more sacks (35), thrown more interceptions (12), and lost more fumbles (9) than Carson Wentz this year. Paying up for the Browns’ D/ST now also gifts fantasy players a cush Week 12 matchup opposite Jake Luton and the Jaguars’ offense.

2. Detroit Lions – Rostered in 9 percent of Yahoo leagues

This is assuming P.J. Walker, former Houston Roughnecks quarterback and XFL MVP, is under center. Walker took a sack on only five dropbacks off the bench Sunday.

3. Atlanta Falcons – Rostered in 2 percent of Yahoo leagues

Jameis Winston took two sacks and threw a dropped interception to S Jimmie Ward on only 14 dropbacks for Drew Brees Sunday. It’s possible (if not probable) he leads Week 11 in both touchdowns and interceptions thrown in an uptempo and voluminous divisional match.

Watch List: Los Angeles Chargers are a formidable option against Joe Flacco if Joey Bosa (concussion) can get back in time for kick-off...Pending when your fantasy playoffs commence, it's worth keeping an eye on the Rams' D/ST for stashing since it takes on the Patriots and Jets in Weeks 14 and 15.

KICKERS

1. Jason Myers, Seahawks – Rostered in 39 percent of Yahoo leagues

Seattle's recent red zone regression and lack of defense have impacted Myers directly, allowing him to score 12.0 fantasy points and attempt multiple tries from 40-plus yards out in three of the Seahawks' last four games. Rostering Myers is also an off-the-wall way to be involved in Week 11's highest total (57.5) with the Cardinals.

2. Greg Zuerlein, Cowboys – Rostered in 37 percent of Yahoo leagues

Dallas' inability to cross the sticks or punch the ball in allowed Zuerlein to attempt seven field goals in the two contests leading into the Cowboys' bye. The Vikings have also fortuitously allowed the most fantasy points per game to opposing kickers this year.

3. Michael Badgley, Chargers – Rostered in 22 percent of Yahoo leagues

Anthony Lynn's bumbling game-planning has been a treasure trove for Badgley who, prior to last week, had scored 8.0 fantasy points in every game coming out of Los Angeles' bye. Sunday is a terrific bounce-back spot since the Jets have sieved the second-most fantasy points to kickers this season.