Tuesday, November 11, 2014


By Will Hoover

It’s that time in the fantasy football season where the contenders begin to separate themselves from the pretenders. With three weeks remaining some teams are desperate to make a final push for a playoff spot, while others are padding their roster and preparing for a hopeful championship run. Either way the waiver wire can help you. This week’s list has several rookies ready to break out, a team’s new starting quarterback (not named Vick). And a couple of veterans returning from injury. Below I’ll list my top seven players by name, position, percentage of ownership (espn leagues) and their current week 11 opponent.

  1. Jordan Matthews: WR, 24% ownership, WK 11 @ Packers
The second cousin of hall of famer Jerry Rice, Jordan Matthews has what it takes to be an excellent NFL receiver. Since Nick Foles’ injury in week 9 Matthews has exploded with 10 receptions for 178 yards and 3 touchdowns. His career best game came Monday night when Matthews had 7 receptions for 138 yards and 2 touchdowns. Jordan Matthews slipped into the second round in the wide receiver rich 2014 NFL draft, any other year he would have been considered a first rounder. Jordan Matthews’s emergence with Mark Sanchez at quarterback was almost predictable after their stellar preseason performances together. The chemistry between Sanchez and Matthews is getting stronger as they continue to work outside of practice on their timing and routes. With Nick Foles out for at least another 7 weeks Mark Sanchez isn’t going anywhere. This is great news for Jordan Matthews who may be mentioned in the same breath as early first rounder’s Sammy Watkins and Mike Evans when all is said and done.

  1. CJ Anderson: RB, 2.8% ownership, WK 11 @ Rams
The Broncos backfield has become a fantasy football crap shoot. First with Montee Ball’s injury, then the rise and fall of Ronnie Hillman, and now the emergence of CJ Anderson who knows who’ll be the running back to own. Anderson is an undrafted rookie from the University of California who looked good in the Broncos offense this preseason. With Ronnie Hillman having a slow start and eventual injury in week 10 CJ Anderson got his chance to shine. Anderson had 13 carries for 90 yards rushing and a more impressive 4 receptions for 73 yards and a touchdown receiving. This performance will not be ignored, with Ronnie Hillman likely missing 2-3 weeks Anderson could become the top running back even with a healthy Montee Ball. Pick up Anderson and monitor the Broncos situation going forward.

  1. Ryan Mathews: RB, 55% ownership, WK 11 vs Raiders
The Chargers will welcome back Ryan Mathews in week 11 versus the Raiders. Mathews has been out since week 2 when he suffered a MCL knee sprain. Meanwhile the Chargers lost Danny Woodhead for the season in week 3 and the ineffective Donald Brown has missed time for concussions. Leaving undrafted rookie Branden Oliver to carry the load. While Oliver was overachieving in his debut he gradually slid to being ineffective in recent weeks. If a healthy Ryan Mathews can replicate what he did in the second half of 2013 (average over 100 yards per game) the Chargers will be happy and so will Mathews fantasy owners. Add Mathews for a starter quality running back ready for your playoff run.

  1. Pierre Thomas: RB, 33% ownership, WK 11 vs Bengals
After recovering from a shoulder injury Pierre Thomas will be back in week 11. Mark Ingram has been on fire when in the line-up, but if you know about Ingram you know he hasn’t always held up to the abuse NFL running backs endure. Pierre Thomas is a good insurance plan for Ingram owners, also even when Ingram is healthy Thomas will get the bulk of receiving out of the backfield. So far in 2014 Thomas has 30 carries for 133 yards with 2 touchdowns over 6 games compared to 26 receptions for 204 yards with 1 touchdown receiving. Add Thomas for running back depth and potential flex starts.

  1. Carlos Hyde: RB, 20.4% ownership, WK 11 @ Giants
Rookie second round draft pick Carlos Hyde has found a home in the 49ers back field. With Frank Gore’s age and high mileage Carlos Hyde is like a vulture eying it’s pray. As the 49ers get back to their run first approach Hyde should see a good increase in touches especially in the red zone. A big back (6’ and 235lbs) who hits the hole with speed and power, Hyde is a hard running back to stop in short yardage. Punishing the defenders who tackle him, Hyde is the type of back who can wear defenses down though out the game. Add Hyde as a handcuff for Frank Gore owners, or for potential spot plays if the 49ers continue to commit to a run heavy attack.

  1. Ryan Mallett: QB, 2.9% ownership, WK 11 @ Browns
A big (6’7” 245lbs) strong armed college Phenom Ryan Mallett was a for sure first round talent. After rumors of attitude, arrogance and all around immaturity (his interview portion on Gruden’s QB camp was a disaster.) Mallett fell to the 3rd round. Since the Patriots invested in Mallett it speaks volumes for his talent, but the fact they moved him in favor of Jimmy Garoppolo also says something. The Texans acquired Mallett and now have benched QB Ryan Fitzpatrick for Ryan Mallett, mainly to see what they have in the young gun slinger. Mallett will have plenty of weapons with receivers DeAndre Hopkins, Andre Johnson and do it all running back Arian Foster at his disposal. Expect big numbers for the passing game but also expect an increase in interceptions as the young QB gets a feel for NFL defenses. Add Ryan Mallett as a sleeper QB prospect who could surprise many by seasons end.

  1. Mychal Rivera: TE, 39.7% ownership, WK 11 @ Chargers
Making the list for a second straight week Mychal Rivera is proving to be a good starter quality tight end in a season where good tight ends are scarce. Last week Rivera continued his hot streak by getting 6 receptions for 64 yards and 1 touchdown. Over his last 3 games Rivera has 185 yards receiving and 3 touchdowns. Its apparent QB Derek Carr has found Mychal Rivera to be a trustworthy target and a big part of the Raiders’ offense in recent games. Add Rivera and start him with confidence as the Raiders offense looks to him often especially in the red zone.

No comments:

Post a Comment