Some key players went down with injuries in Week 11, so here are some potential waiver wire pickups to help your team compete down the homestretch.
Brandon LaFell — WR, Cincinnati Bengals
The biggest injury of the week was obviously A.J. Green, who went down with what’s rumored to be a torn hamstring that will cost him anywhere from a couple weeks to the remainder of the season. On top of that, CIN also lost Giovani Bernard to a torn ACL. The point is almost half of Andy Dalton’s targets this season were to those two players. It’s all hands on deck at this point, and LaFell’s been playing almost every snap for the Bengals already. He’ll look to add on to his 419 yards and four TDs.
Jared Cook — TE, Green Bay Packers
Cook hadn’t played since Week 3, but made a lot of noise after missing six games. The tight end hauled in 6-of-11 targets for 105 yards and a TD on SNF against Washington. With the Packers now on a four-game losing streak and slinging it to remain in games, Cook could be a solid option.
Malcolm Mitchell — WR, New England Patriots
The Patriots have liked the rookie WR but have used him sparingly all season. However in a Gronk-less environment on Sunday, Mitchell broke out — seeing five targets from Tom Brady and producing a 4-98-1 line. Mitchell played 66 snaps, so it’s conceivable he’s going to have a role going forward even when completely healthy at WR/TE.
Pierre Garcon — WR, Washington Redskins
Kirk Cousins has been spreading the love in D.C., primarily targeting his tight ends and possession receiver Jamison Crowder. However, in two games out of the Week 9 bye, Garcon has been returning to form and had his two best games of the season. He’s now been targeted 17 times, catching 12 for 197 yards and a touchdown. Seems like a solid option going forward if you need receiver help.
Kenneth Dixon — RB, Baltimore Ravens
Dixon and Terrence West have essentially been splitting snaps of late, although West has been getting more touches. West has been solid, but the Ravens have plans to shift towards Dixon as the feature back in the future. Dixon has looked good in limited work lately — carrying 12 times for 78 yards over the last two games. Dixon’s time could come sooner rather than later.
Mike Gillislee — RB, Buffalo Bills
LeSean McCoy went down again on Sunday, this time with a thumb injury that already required surgery on Monday. The plan is for Shady to play next week, but that could change or he could get re-injured if he does suit up. Gillislee has been great filling in for McCoy all year and would be the RB for Buffalo if McCoy does miss time. In his last three games Gillislee has rushed 34 times for 189 yards and two TDs (only being the starter in one of those games).
Wendell Smallwood — RB, Philadelphia Eagles
It was not a good week for the Eagles, who lost both Ryan Mathews (MCL sprain) and Darren Sproles (fractured rib) out of the backfield. Both of their recovery timelines are unknown, but neither are pleasant injuries. That left Smallwood, who was already coming off a 13-carry, 70-yard performance with all Philly’s RBs healthy, to step in and be the feature back. He saw 17 touches for 79 yards with Mathews and Sproles going down, and should be in for a larger role going forward if those two miss time.
Tyler Boyd — WR Cincinnati Bengals
I don’t need to repeat how bad of a week it was for the Bengals, but Boyd makes for an interesting pickup this week as potentially Dalton’s top target at WR (Tyler Eifert figures to be the biggest beneficiary of Green’s absence). Boyd only had 295 yards receiving on the season entering Sunday, but the rookie matched season-highs with six catches on eight targets. He turned that into 54 yards and the first TD of his career. No A.J. means a lot of targets opening up … a bunch should go to Boyd.
Rishard Matthews — WR, Tennessee Titans
If Matthews isn’t owned by now in your league, you need to go get him. He failed to score a TD on Sunday for just the second time in seven games, but snagged 9-of-13 targets for a season-high 122 yards. He’s looking more and more like Marcus Mariota’s top option every week. Tajae Sharpe is also becoming relevant after falling flat on his face out of a preseason filled with hype. He’s got back-to-back games with a score, and I think he is also a worthy add.
Thomas Rawls — RB, Seattle Seahawks
What a place Seattle’s backfield has been. In short: Marshawn Lynch retires, Thomas Rawls gets hurt, Christine Michael takes over, Michael gets benched for C.J. Prosise, Michael gets cut, Rawls is named the back up. That takes us from the offseason to Sunday, when Prosise went down with a shoulder injury that’ll cost him time (making the Michael cut look a bit premature). In the end, Rawls is now the starter again in Seattle, which can be a very valuable job in fantasy land.
For questions or comments don’t hesitate to reach out to me on Twitter @julianedlow.
I am a promoter at DraftKings and am also an avid fan and user (my username is jedlow) and may sometimes play on my personal account in the games that I offer advice on. Although I have expressed my personal view on the games and strategies above, they do not necessarily reflect the view(s) of DraftKings and I may also deploy different players and strategies than what I recommend above.