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Best fantasy football waiver wire pickups for Week 11

Random running backs have been dominating the waiver wire in recent weeks, and we might have our most random batch among our top Week 11 fantasy waiver wire pickups and free agent adds. The Giants’ Wayne Gallman has been a staple of this list (are you all finally ready to pick him up?), but Salvon Ahmed and Alex Collins were surprise leaders in their respective backfields (just like Kalen Ballage was last week) while Cam Akers finally got a chance to make good on all of his rookie promise. The long-term value of these backs varies — as does the value of breakout WRs Marquez Valdes-Scantling and Josh Reynolds and backup QB Jameis Winston — but they’re at least on the pickup radar this week. 

Our full free agent list is packed with players who are leftovers from the previous weeks and are still worth considering. Guys like Malcolm Brown, Cole Beasley, Sterling Shepard, Logan Thomas, and Tua Tagovailoa are available in at least 50 percent of Yahoo leagues, and all have enough upside to merit bench spots, at the very least. We also have our usual Week 11 streaming recommendations at QB, TE, and D/ST, which can be found at the end of this list.

It’s tough to recommend using a high waiver claim on any of the backs mentioned above. Gallman will have some near-term value, but with the Giants on bye in Week 11, he won’t be able to help next week. Collins is likely nothing more than a one-week wonder with Chris Carson (foot) due back next week. Ballage and Ahmed are also on borrowed time, but they could both be plenty valuable for at least one more week. If you’re desperate in Week 11, they’re worth more than Gallman. It’s possible a receiver like Beasley, Shepard, or MVS has more value to a lot of owners, but they either have medium ceilings or, in Valdes-Scantling’s case, a low floor.

Winston might be the toughest call, as most fantasy owners don’t need a QB. However, with the Falcons on tap in Week 11, Winston could be a top-six QB if Drew Brees is out. Is that worth a waiver claim? It could be, depending on your QB situation. — Matt Lutovsky

Unless otherwise noted, only players owned in fewer than 50 percent of Yahoo leagues considered.

Gallman has been operating as New York’s lead back for three weeks now, but he’s still just 49-percent owned in Yahoo leagues. After a big Week 10 (18 carries, 53 yards, two TDs) and news that Devonta Freeman (ankle) will miss at least the next three games, Gallman is poised to be a difference-maker down the stretch. He had 10 more carries than Alfred Morris against the Eagles, including some key carries around the goal line, so while Morris will be involved, this is clearly Gallam’s backfield. New York has a bye next week, but a matchup against Cincinnati in Week 12 will be another chance for Gallman to put up big points. —Matt Lutovsky

Ahmed quietly led the Dolphins backfield last week, but heading into this week, many expected Matt Breida (hamstring), Lynn Bowden, or DeAndre Washington to be more involved. Instead, Breida remained injured and Jordan Howard and Bowden were healthy scratches, leaving Ahmed to dominate carries. He rushed 21times for 85 yards and a score, seemingly cementing himself as Miami’s lead back until Myles Gaskin (knee) returns. Of course, if Breida is back next week, things could change, but Ahmed is still worth picking up given his workload this week. — ML

Hines was the star of the Colts’ Thursday Night Football win over the Titans. He was the team’s leading rusher (12 carries, 70 yards) and second-leading receiver (five catches, 45 yards), and he totaled two TDson the day. The Colts have a three-headed monster in the backfield, so it’s tough to know if this carry split will continue, but with the Colts taking on the Packers and their bottom-five run defense in Week 11, Hines will have a chance to be a playmaker. He needs to be owned as a potential standard flex option and possibly better in PPR. —Jacob Camenker

Even with Troymaine Pope back, Ballage was the clear leader in the Chargers backfield in Week 10, rushing 18 times for 68 yards and catching five-of-six targets for 34 yards. Ballage’s ascension is mildly incredible given how bad he looked dating back to last season, but the Chargers have clearly found something they likeand Ballage should continue getting a dozen-plus touches every week until Austin Ekeler (hamstring) comes back, which could be several weeks from now. —ML

Drew Brees took a hard hit in the second quarter on Sunday, but after finishing the half, he was relegated to the sidelines in the second half. Winston came in and completed six-of-10 passes for 60 yards, but more important is his upcoming Week 11 matchup against Atlanta’s 31st-ranked pass defense. If Brees is still out, Winston would be worth starting in all formats, and while it’s tough to justify using a waiver claim on it, he might be worth it given his high ceiling in that game. Taysom Hill will also be in the mix at quarterback, but Winston would still have the most upside. —ML

Fantasy owners have been eagerly anticipating the activation of Allen Lazard (core) off the IR, but it turns out MVS might have been the real WR2 for Green Bay all along. After disapointing performances early in the season, Valdes-Scantling has turned it up lately, catching two TDs in Week 9 and four passes for 149 yards and a TD in Week 10. Lazard will be back next week — andtough matchups against Indianapolis and Chicago in the next two weeks will limit the value of all non-Davante Adams WRs — but MVS has proven he belongs on fantasy benches as potential boom-or-bust WR3.–ML

Beasley and the Bills receivers had a good game against the Cardinals’ defense, and he ended up with a team-high 13 targets, 11 catches, 109 yards, and a TD. Josh Allen loved throwing to him in check-down opportunities, but he also looked for him deep on several plays. With games upcoming against the Chargers, 49ers, and Steelers, Beasley should have a chance to be a productive flex play and WR3 in PPR. Grab him now if he’s available — he’s owned in exactly 50 percent of Yahoo leagues at the moment. —JC

Darius Slayton led the Giants in receiving against the Eagles, but Shepard saw just one fewer target than Slayton. Shepard caught all six of his targets for 47 yards, giving him at least six catches in all five of his full games this year. Shepard should continue to get a lot of attention from Daniel Jones moving forward and has a couple of nice matchups upcoming against the Bengals and the Seahawks. —JC

Reagor saw seven targets for the Eagles on Sunday, good for the team lead. He turned them into four catches and 47 yards despite playing against James Bradberry, who has been one of the best cornerbacks in the NFL this season. The first-round pick will continue to see targets as a top option across from Travis Fulgham. The Eagles are playing the Browns, Seahawks, and Packers the next few weeks, so Reagor should be a solid flex play with deep-threat ability in those contests. —JC

Lazard (core) was thought to have a chance to play against the Jaguars, but the Packers once again exercised extreme caution with him and elected to sit him for one more week. He almost certainly will return against the Colts in Week 11, and while that matchup may not be a great one, Lazard is still a potential flex play considering that he scored in two of his first three games this year. —JC

After being largely an afterthought during the first half of the Rams’ season, Akers handled a team-high 10 carries for the Rams and totaled 38 rushing yards, good for the most on the team. While the team’s three rushing TDs went to Malcolm Brown (2) and Darrell Henderson (1), Akers still established that he’s a part of this team’s backfield rotation. He may not be a starter for fantasy teams right away, but if the second-round rookie can continue to earn more work, he could eventually become a flex play in later-season matchups against the Patriots (Week 14) and Jets (Week 15). —JC

Brown only saw six carries in Week 10, which ranked third out of the Rams’ three RBs. However, Brown played a big role in the red zone and scored twice. He also caught two passes for 18 yards, which was more than both Darrell Henderson and Cam Akers. Brown doesn’t have the touch floor of some of the other players on this list, but he does have the TD-upside of a speculative flex play. If he can earn more carries again or further establish himself as the goal-line back, he will be worth considering as a flex play moving forward. —JC

With Preston Williams (foot) on IR, the Dolphins needed someone to step up as the No. 2 receiver across from DeVante Parker. That ended up being Grant. While Tua Tagovailoa spread the ball around quite a bit, Grant was able to bring in four-of-five targets for 43 yards and a TD. Grant is an elusive speed threat, and with the Dolphins facing the Broncos, Jets, and Bengals in the coming weeks, he could end up being a solid flex play. —JC

Well, it looks like Philip Rivers may have a new favorite receiver. Pittman had a breakout game against the Titans, putting up 101 receiving yards on seven catches and adding 21 yards on a run. The second-round rookie should get better as the season goes along, and if he continues to be the team leader in targets (he had eight on Thursday), he should have a chance to put up some solid numbers. The Colts are taking on the Packers, Titans, Raiders, and Texans in the next four weeks, so Pittman should have a chance to do some damage against those units. —JC

Cole had five catches for 47 yards in Week 11, which is decent enough, but it was his two TDs that makes him worthy of being added. He had one as a receiver and one on a 91-yard punt return TD and showcased his versatility. Cole was second on the team in targets (7) and should continue to get looks downfield as long as Jake Luton is starting. The Jaguars are playing the Steelers, Browns, and Vikings in the coming weeks, and all three defenses rank top nine in fantasy points per game (FPPG) allowed to WRs. That’ll make Cole a nice WR3/flex sleeper option. —JC

Patrick was once again a top-two receiver for the Broncos. He racked up four catches for 61 yards on six targets while Jerry Jeudy outdid him by just six yards during the contest. Patrick has had at least four targets in each of his outings this year, so that gives him a decent floor, and his size gives him TD upside. The Broncos have a tough matchup with the Dolphins in Week 11, but after that, they play the Saints and the Chiefs. Patrick can be flexed in those matchups, as those defenses will likely focus on slowing down the explosive Jeudy. —JC

Over the Patriots’ games in Weeks 7-9, Meyers averaged 10 targets per contest for 7.3 catches and 95.7 yards. He is the clear-cut No. 1 receiver for the Patriots and has demonstrated good chemistry with Cam Newton. The Patriots are playing the Texans, Cardinals, and Chargers the next three weeks, so Meyers could have a strong performance against those teams if he keeps getting looks from Newton. —JC

Higgins led the Browns in receiving against the Texans. Though the team operated a ground-dominant attack with each Nick Chubb and Kareem Hunt getting 19 carries and going for over 100 yards, Higgins put up decent numbers (three catches, 48 yards) and saw four targets, good for the second-most on the team, despite horrible weather conditions. The Browns’ matchups won’t always skew this run-heavy, so Higgins has upside moving forward, especially in a great Week 11 matchup against a weak Eagles secondary. —JC

The Jets had their full WR corps available for the first time against the Patriots in Week 9, and the returns were excellent for Perriman. He saw the second-most targets (7) and racked up 101 yards and two TDs on five catches. Perriman should continue to be the top deep threat for the Jets, and as long as Jamison Crowder and Denzel Mims are there to take attention away from him in Week 11 against a Chargers defense that has struggled to contain passing attacks this year, he is worth considering as a flex option. —JC

Wilkins didn’t have a huge game against the Titans, and he failed to convert a receiving opportunity in the red zone and couldn’t find the end zone on a carry from the two-yard line. That said, he was second on the team in carries (8) and out-gained Jonathan Taylor (seven carries) 28-12. Wilkins will probably continue to be the lead between-the-tackles back for the Colts until Taylor improves or overcomes the rookie wall. With a matchup on deck against the Packers, Wilkins should be added and considered a potential flex play in that contest. —JC

Collins was the Seahawks’ lead rusher on Sunday with Chris Carson and Carlos Hyde out once again. Collins totaled 43 yards on 11 carries and managed to find the end zone. He’s worth adding in case Carson or Hyde can’t go on a short week against the Cardinals, but it’s worth noting that it seems like Carson will be back. Still, Collins is a good handcuff/rotational back, which are always important in Seattle. —JC

Edwards has a TD in three straight games and has been averaging 14.4 touches per game since Mark Ingram (ankle) went down with an injury. Though Ingram is back, Edwards still needs to be owned in most leagues. He will still get opportunities with Ingram in the lineup, and if he continues to see goal-line touches, he could be a speculative flex in good matchups and a potential RB2 if either Ingram or JK Dobbins misses more time. —JC

Burkhead took over for an injured Damien Harris against the Jets and racked up 67 yards and a TD on 15 touches in that contest. Harris is back for the Patriots (and Sony Michel will be back soon, too), but Burkhead still has some potential value for the Patriots against the Texans in Week 11. The Texans are the worst defense against running backs, and they just let both Nick Chubb and Kareem Hunt log 100-plus rushing yards against them. Burkhead isn’t quite in that class, but he could be a flex option if he gets enough touches. —JC

Michel (quad/COVID) is set to return from IR soon, and when he’s back, he could take away some carries from Damien Harris and Rex Burkhead. His first game back will be against the Texans, a team that has allowed more rushing yards to RBs than any team in the league, so if he returns, he’s worth considering as a flex option, as he could find the end zone even if he has just a few touches. —JC

Pollard has started to earn more touches in the Cowboys’ offense. In his past four games, he has averaged 10 touches per game for 46 yards. With Ezekiel Elliott being outgained on the ground by Pollard in Week 9 and dealing with a minor hamstring injury, Pollard needs to be kept around as he could get a chance to be the Cowboys’ lead back if Elliott aggravates his injury again. —JC

Reed was able to catch 5-of-6 targets for 62 yards against the Saints as the team’s top tight end target. The 49ers are on bye next week, but after that, they take on the Rams and then get two favorable matchups against the Bills and Washington, both teams that have had trouble against TEs this year. He can be scooped by TE-needy teams as a potential streamer in the weeks leading up to the fantasy playoffs. —JC

In Week 11, Thomas is taking on a Bengals team that had allowed the second-most FPPG to TEs this year (11.8) before their Week 10 matchup against the Steelers. Thomas has averaged 5.8 targets per game this season and has found the end zone three times. He’s coming off a four-catch, 66-yard outing against he Lions, and he could put up similarly solid numbers against Cincinnati this week. —JC

Schultz ranks 10th among TEs in targets per game (6.1), and in two games before the Cowboys’ bye, he logged 15 targets, 10 catches, and 101 yards despite playing with Ben DiNucci and Garrett Gilbert at quarterback. With Andy Dalton likely to return and the Cowboys taking on a Vikings defense that has been middle-of-the-pack against tight ends, Schultz can be trusted. —JC

The Vikings are taking on the Cowboys and their weak defense in Week 11. It stands to reason that one of their tight ends will have a solid day against the Cowboys, especially considering their dedication to the run game and play action in the red zone. Irv Smith had two TDs against the Lions in Week 9, but he is out Week 10 with a groin injury. If he’s healthy, Smith will be worth considering as a streamer. If not, it’ll be Kyle Rudolph, who has two 40-yard games in his past three outings. —JC

Hill is only TE-eligible in ESPN leagues, but he could be worth a flier if you’re desperate for TE help this week. His opponent, the Falcons, have allowed a league-high 12 FPPG to TEs this year and while that could benefit Jared Cook, it may also help Hill. The Saints use Hill in a variety of roles, so he has a decent rushing floor and could rack up some catches against Atlanta. He had 54 rushing yards, 21 receiving yards, and 48 passing yards against the Bucs, so if he can post even half of those numbers against a weaker defense, he’ll be a worthwhile streamer. Drew Brees’s Week 10 injury could mean more time at QB for Hill, too, which gives him even more potential value. —JC

In five of his past seven games, Bridgewater has logged at least two passing TDs. On the year, he is averaging 268.4 passing yards per game before his Week 10 meeting with the Buccaneers. The Panthers are taking on a Lions team that has allowed the 12th-most FPPG to QBs this season, so as long as Bridgewater (knee) is healthy, he should be a solid start against that defense. —JC

In seven of his last eight games, Carr has logged multiple TDs and is averaging over 250 passing yards per game since Week 2. Carr will get a chance to continue his steady play in Week 10 against the Chiefs in what should be a high-scoring matchup in which Carr will have to throw a lot. —JC

After a mediocre first start at the NFL level, Tagovailoa found a lot more success against the Cardinals and their weaker defense. He totaled 248 passing yards and two TDs, and he showed off his mobility with 35 yards on the ground. Against the Chargers, he had another two-TD effort through the air. He’s a high-end streamer and against the Broncos, a team that had allowed the 10th-most FPPG to QBs entering Week 10. —JC

Dalton (concussion, COVID) should have a chance to return for the Cowboys after missing the two games before their Week 10 bye. Coming out of the bye, the Cowboys are playing the Vikings, a team that entered Week 10 allowing the seventh-most fantasy points per game to QBs (21.7) and has had some issues at the cornerback spot. Dalton, if healthy, should be able to take advantage of this matchup and work his way into streamer territory thanks to the solid offensive weaponry that is surrounding him. —JC

The Jets are taking on the Chargers coming out of their Week 10 bye. It’s unclear whether Sam Darnold (shoulder) will be healthy enough to start or if Joe Flacco will be in action once again. That said, the Chargers have been in the top-five of fantasy points allowed to QBs almost all season, so whoever starts for the Jets could be a good streamer, especially considering how Flacco looked with his full complement of receivers (Denzel Mims, Breshad Perriman, Jamison Crowder) available in Week 9. —JC

The Chargers are taking on the Jets in Week 11, which will make them the best defensive streamer in fantasy. The Jets are averaging a league-low 13.4 points per game and only 266 yards per game. The Chargers have had their share of issues on defense this year, but if they Joey Bosa (concussion) back for this game, they should have a chance to force the Jets into a lot of mistakes. Trust them even despite their subpar numbers against QBs this year. —JC

Washington has been a solid defensive unit this season, as they had allowed the fifth-fewest yards per game entering Week 10 (314.3) and they also were averaging the third-most sacks per game (3.4). They get to take on a Bengals team that has struggled to protect Joe Burrow this season. He had been sacked 28 times before Week 10 and had a turnover in four of his previous five games. If Washington’s defensive line shows up, they should be a solid play in a favorable matchup. — JC

No quarterback had thrown more picks (12) or been sacked more times (32) than Carson Wentz before his Week 10 game against the Giants. The Browns get the pleasure of taking on the Eagles in Week 11 after they did well to limit a more powerful Texans offense. Myles Garrett should be able to dominate a decimated Eagles offensive line, so he could create enough plays to make the opportunistic Browns defense a worthwhile play. —JC

The Vikings are taking on a Cowboys team that has scored 19 or fewer points in their past four games and have started three different QBs. The Vikings defense hasn’t been consistent this year, but they will have a chance to be a streamer given the Cowboys’ penchant for turning the ball over (they lead the league with a whopping 20 giveaways on the season). —JC

Washington is averaging the third-fewest yards per game (306.4) and third-fewest points (19.1). The Bengals defense recently limited the Titans and their high-flying offense to 20 points, so they should have a chance to work their way into the streamer category in a favorable matchup against Alex Smith. —JC

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