By Matt Citak
We have reached a very important point of the fantasy football season. Week 11 represents the final week of teams playing on a regular-season bye, and means there are only three weeks left before the start of the fantasy playoffs. While bye weeks may be coming to an end, it is still important to have as deep of a bench as possible come playoff time. You never know when one of your starters could go down with an injury. It’s pivotal to have a replacement player on your bench ready to go in case of an emergency.
With that in mind, here are a few of CBS Local Sports’ favorite waiver wire pickups for Week 11.
Teams on bye: Carolina Panthers, Indianapolis Colts, New York Jets, and San Francisco 49ers
RB Jamaal Williams, Green Bay Packers
Williams hasn’t been great in 2017, taking 31 carries for 101 yards (3.3 yards per carry) and a touchdown in limited action this season. But with Aaron Jones out multiple weeks and Ty Montgomery once again banged up, Williams should take over as Green Bay’s featured back. In that role during the Packers’ Week 10 win, the rookie running back was far from impressive, gaining only 67 yards on 20 carries. But it is not often that a running back who could get 20 touches a game becomes available this late in the season. Williams is the top add this week, especially for anyone in need of a running back.
WR Marqise Lee, Jacksonville Jaguars
Lee has put together a stretch of four consecutive solid outings, totaling at least 72 receiving yards or a touchdown in every game during that span. Dating back to the Jaguars’ Week 8 loss to the Rams, Blake Bortles has targeted Lee 39 times, and the young receiver has been able to catch 23 of those passes for 285 yards and a pair of touchdowns. The fourth-year receiver has emerged as the top target in Jacksonville’s passing game, a role that could increase with Allen Hurns out for at least one week. Lee should be the top add for those looking to add WR depth.
RB Dion Lewis, New England Patriots
Lewis has solidified his role as the Patriots’ lead early-down back after receiving double digit carries in each of the last four games. Although Bill Belichick has made it obvious that New England will not rely solely on one running back, instead choosing to use a committee, Lewis has carved out a steady role in the offense. The 5-foot-8 back has 53 carries over the last four games and has scored three touchdowns in those contests, including returning a kickoff 103 yards for a touchdown against Denver this past Sunday. While depending on a Patriots running back on a weekly basis could prove to be rather frustrating, Lewis should offer flex appeal for the remainder of the season.
RB Rex Burkhead, New England Patriots
Week 10 was Burkhead’s second straight outing with over 15 fantasy points, and similar to Lewis, it appears as if he has earned a steady role in New England’s offense moving forward. Burkhead carried the ball 10 times for 36 yards in the Patriots’ Sunday night victory, while catching all three of his targets for 27 yards and a touchdown. Belichick will continue to use Burkhead as both a runner and a receiver, which should help the 27-year-old back offer flex appeal on a weekly basis. But just like with Lewis, it’s important to remember that the Patriots’ running back committee consists of at least three, and sometimes four, players, thus making each back a little tough to trust week in and week out.
WR Dontrelle Inman, Chicago Bears
While the Bears have made it very clear that they prefer to run the ball, Week 10 saw Chicago QB Mitch Trubisky reach career-highs in completions (21), pass attempts (35), passing yards (297) and completion percentage (60.0 percent). The biggest beneficiary of Trubisky’s play was recently-acquired wide receiver Dontrelle Inman. Making his Bears debut, Inman caught 6-of-8 targets for 88 yards. His eight targets tied Kendall Wright for a team-high, which should continue to be the trend as Chicago lacks any other real threats at wide receiver. With the Bears likely to be trailing in most games, Trubisky will be forced to air it out more, which could make Inman a sneaky pickup for the fantasy playoffs.
WR Dede Westbrook, Jacksonville Jaguars
Westbrook has spent the entire season on the IR, but finally looks ready to return for Jacksonville’s Week 11 tilt against the Cleveland Browns. And with Hurns out for at least this week, what better time for the rookie wide receiver to make his NFL debut? The fourth-round pick led the NFL with 298 receiving yards during the preseason, despite missing one of the game’s with a core muscle injury that eventually needed surgery and landed him on IR. Westbrook could step right in as the Jaguars No. 2 receiver, or at the very least, he should see the field on three-receiver sets with Lee and Keelan Cole. Either way, Westbrook could be worth a speculative add.
TE Austin Hooper, Atlanta Falcons
The tight end position has not been very deep this season, meaning there is a decent chance that entering Week 11, many of you are still looking for an consistent tight end. If this is true for you, then Hooper is certainly worth an add. The second-year tight end out of Stanford has slowly seen his role in the Falcons offense increase as the season progresses. Hooper has received six targets in each of the last three games, and has caught touchdowns in two of them. Hooper is a nice fill-in tight end this week with several TE1’s on bye. The matchup against the Seahakws might seem daunting, but with several members of Seattle’s secondary hurt, it might not be as tough as it appears.
WR Corey Coleman, Cleveland Browns
Coleman looks set to make his return to the field after a prolonged absence. The second-year receiver has been relegated to the sidelines ever since he broke his hand during the Browns’ Week 2 loss to the Ravens. In Week 1, Coleman caught 5-of-6 targets for 53 yards and a touchdown. Last year’s first-round pick out of Baylor is clearly Cleveland’s most talented wide receiver, and should step right in and lead the team in targets. The Browns are likely to be playing from behind every week as the team searches for its first victory of the year, which should result in plenty of opportunities for Coleman. Keep in mind though that we’re talking about the Cleveland Browns here, with rookie DeShone Kizer still serving as the team’s starting quarterback.
Matt Citak is a producer for CBS Local Sports and a proud Vanderbilt alum. Follow him on Twitter or send comments to firstname.lastname@example.org.