If injury or bye-weeks is forcing you to take to the waiver wire on this Sunday, November 17, never fear. There’s still some pretty solid plug-and-play options who could be in store for big things. I’ve listed my top three pickup options in order at each position. I ignored anyone owned in more than 50% of leagues since that means they probably won’t be on your waiver wire. With that being said, here’s sleepers at all fantasy positions to consider before kickoff for week 11.
Top 3 Sleeper Quarterbacks
1. Sam Bradford-St. Louis Rams: (40.1% ownership in ESPN leagues) Bradford was solid last week against the tough 49ers defense throwing for 275 yards and a pair of scores while avoiding any interceptions. He has his favorite receiver Danny Amendola back and takes on the Jets defense which gave up a pair of TD throws to Russell Wilson in Seattle last week. He probably won’t go off, but should have a solid game and I’d rather have him than any of the widely available backups expected to start.
2. Nick Foles-Philadelphia Eagles: (7.5%) Foles is the best of the replacements playing this week and has a decent matchup against the Redskins defense that has allowed the third-most fantasy points per game to opposing quarterbacks. Foles threw for 219 yards and a touchdown in his first NFL action last week. He did turn the ball over twice (one interception, one forced fumble), but could have a decent fill-in week mostly based on matchup.
3. Byron Leftwich-Pittsburgh Steelers: (1.3%) The second-best option among the backups set for primetime this week is Leftwich who will face the Ravens Sunday night in Pittsburgh. He has playmakers at the wideout position and the Ravens defense isn’t as strong as years past. He’s little more than a desperation QB2 but if you’re on the wires this morning you’re probably at or nearing the desperation stage.
Top 3 Sleeper Running Backs
1. Marcel Reece-Oakland Raiders: (28.7%) If you’re finalizing your lineup, consider Reece. He’s one of the best pickups headed into this week’s games. He carried the ball 13 times for 48 yards last week and caught seven passes for 56 yards. He’s a huge part of the passing game and should get the bulk of the work out of the backfield this week with Darren McFadden and Mike Goodson still sidelined. In PPR league’s he has even more value, but the main reason I love him this week is his matchup. The Raiders host the Saints who have allowed 162.0 yards per game on the ground this year (worst in the NFL) and have given up more fantasy points to opposing running backs than any team except the Bills. Reece should get the work and finish with solid numbers. He’s a good RB2 this week with upside for even more especially in leagues that rewars pass-catching.
2. Jackie Battle-San Diego Chargers: (15.9%) Battle is most useful for owners who already have Ryan Mathews and can start Battle if Mathews is out. Ronnie Brown will probably take a chunk of the time in passing situations but Battle will be the goalline and first two downs back making him definitely worth adding if you own Mathews. He’s probably a low RB2 if Mathews is out.
3. Jacquizz Rodgers-Atlanta Falcons: (28.7%) Rodgers and the Falcons host the Cardinals who have allowed 99 yards or more on the ground in each of their last five games. Michael Turner has been battling a groin injury and Rodgers outgained him last week with 29 yards on the ground in just three carries and 33 yards receiving on four catches. Rodgers has given Atlanta a spark when called upon, but hasn’t gotten the touches to make him a fantasy star. If he does this week or in the future, you’ll be glad you’ve got ‘Quizz on your roster.
Top 3 Sleeper Wide Receivers
1. Danario Alexander-San Diego Chargers: (4.2%) ESPN Fantasy projection’s comment cracked me up. They said, “After his Week 9 performance against the Chiefs, he was promoted to starter. After a 134-yard, one-touchdown performance in Week 10, he will probably be elevated to mayor of San Diego if he can keep this up.” While I’m not sure about his mayoral candidacy, I do think he’ll have another good game this week. The Broncos entirely shut down the Panthers passing game last week but did allow 99 yards and a touchdown to AJ Green two weeks ago and Philip Rivers threw for 241 yards in their first meeting. Alexander is a solid WR3 in my opinion after leading the Chargers in receiving yards and getting seven targets.
2. Donnie Avery-Indianapolis Colts: (11.3%) The Patriots are the fifth worst against opposing receivers and tend to allow big plays making Donnie Avery a decent plug-and-play option at a flex spot. He hasn’t found the endzone since week one but has at least four catches in each of his last five games.
3. Brandon Stokley-Denver Broncos: (12.0%) Stokely found the endzone again last week and is a part of the growing Broncos passing attack. He’ll be inconsistent since he’s the third option for Peyton Manning but is worth a flier if you’re desperately combing the wire.
Bonus Sleeper: Harry Douglas-Atlanta Falcons: (0.4%) Douglas is expected to play against the Cardinals despite a ankle tweak. He’ll most likely see increased usage due to Julio Jones injury. If Jones doesn’t start, Douglas is a WR3 option. However, even if Jones gives it a go expect more passes to go Douglas’s way which could result in a nice game if the Falcons run it up against the Cardinals.
Top 3 Sleeper Tight Ends
1. Dennis Pitta-Baltimore Ravens: Last week Pitta re-emerged with five catches, 67 yards, and a touchdown after the Ravens supposedly emphasized getting the tight ends involved during the bye week. Pitta will again be a regular target for Joe Flacco in the Sunday Night Football showdown against the Steelers who have been stingy but not unbeatable against opposing tight ends.
2. Brandon Myers-Oakland Raiders: Myers concussion from last week shouldn’t affect him as he plays against the Saints this week. I expect it to be a shootout so Myers should be a TE1. He’s had double-digit targets in two of his last four games ans has 271 yards and a pair of touchdowns in the last five games.
3. Dwayne Allen-Indianapolis Colts: (2.4%) Allen faces a suspect Pats pass defense that has given up five touchdowns to tight ends in the last six weeks. Allen has been targeted 14 times in the last three weeks with 162 yards. He’s a reach, but one that could pay off especially in deeper leagues.
Top 3 Sleeper Defenses
1. Tampa Bay Buccaneers: (22.3%)The Bucs scored 12 points in their first meeting with the Panthers and continue to masterfully shut down the run leading the league in rushing yards allowed per game. They scored 17 in standard scoring last week against the Chargers while the Panthers gave up a league-high 28 to the Broncos defense. The Bucs are a sneaky plug-and-play this week against the struggling Panthers.
2. St. Louis Rams: The Rams host the Jets and have been good at home against poor offensive teams scoring 17 against Arizona and 11 against Seattle. They looked good last week against the 49ers after getting embarrassed by New England before their bye. The Jets are the fifth-worst at allowing opposing D/ST points.
3. Cincinnati Bengals: (47.1%) The leader in opposing D/ST points per game is Kansas City who average over 13 points allowed in standard scoring and have given up double-digit defense points in five of six games falling just short last week allowing Pittsburgh only 9. The Bengals scored 15 last week against the Giants but have only been in double-digits one other time in week 4 against Jacksonville. They’re a good grab, but I’d start the Bucs and Rams over them.