Week 11 Waiver Wire: Early Pickups and Breakout Fantasy Football Candidates
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More than halfway through the NFL season, it’s hard for players—even rookies, at this point—to surprise us with breakout fantasy performances. How many players who are available in a majority of leagues are really going to not only turn in big performances but have enough future performance potential to warrant a waiver claim?
It turns out, there are quite a few. Multiple players who are available in more than half of fantasy leagues as of Week 10 turned in impressive double-digit-point performances. Not only that, but they have a high likelihood of doing it again in future weeks, whether because of injuries at their positions or offenses taking a slightly new shape.
Let’s take a look at three of the players who will be popular waiver claims this week ahead of Week 11.
For players to be considered breakout candidates, they must have been rostered in fewer than 50 percent of Yahoo leagues as of Week 10.
Keaton Mitchell, RB, Baltimore Ravens
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Rostered: 47 percent
Week 10 stats: 3 att, 34 rush yds, 1 rush TD, 1 rec, 32 rec yds, 13.60 pts
Undrafted free agent rookie Ravens running back Keaton Mitchell appeared on our breakout waiver wire targets list last week, when he was rostered in just 1 percent of leagues.
Many players clearly took the note, as Mitchell’s rostered percentage jumped to 47 percent at the start of Week 10. But the talented rookie is still available in more than half of Yahoo leagues, and if yours is one of them, make sure you put in your claim now.
A week after he totaled 20.4 points (points-per-reception scoring) against the Seattle Seahawks, Mitchell proved he’s anything but a fluke in Week 10 against the Cleveland Browns. Though he didn’t have the ball in his hands that often, seeing just three carries and one reception, he made the most of all his opportunities, finding the end zone on the ground and taking his lone reception 32 yards. Mitchell was also targeted on a second pass in the red zone.
Mitchell spent the first few weeks of the season recovering from a hamstring injury, so we have very little reps on which to judge him. But he’s proven at the very least that he’s worth stashing until we get a better sense of what the Ravens backfield looks like with J.K. Dobbins out for the year.
Ezekiel Elliott, RB, New England Patriots
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Rostered: 41 percent
Week 10 stats: 13 att, 54 rush yds, 2 rec, 34 rec yds, 10.80 pts
Ezekiel Elliott has had a solid fantasy season as a pinch-hitting bench player; he’s scored nine or more points four times this season, including a 10.80-point outing in Week 10 as the New England Patriots fell to the Indianapolis Colts in Germany.
Though he’s been a solid depth option, Elliott is still only rostered in 41 percent of leagues, and there are a couple potential reasons why. The New England backfield has been infamously tricky for fantasy managers to figure out; Rhamondre Stevenson and Elliott both offer receiving ability, and even though the former has gotten more usage this season, Elliott has outscored him on more than one occasion.
The 2-8 Patriots are also…not very good this season, scoring just 15 points per game on average, the second-lowest in the league. Falling into a hole often means fewer carries for running backs, though Elliott can mitigate this somewhat with his receiving ability.
Elliott may be a frustrating sit-or-start decision week to week, but he’s proven that he’s reliable enough to serve as an insurance option on your bench.
Ty Chandler, RB, Minnesota Vikings
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Rostered: 6 percent
Week 10 stats: 15 att, 44 rush yds, 1 rush TD, 10.50 pts
The Minnesota Vikings backfield has been a carousel this season.
When the Vikings released Dalvin Cook, it seemed logical that his longtime backup, Alexander Mattison, would take over as their three-down back. Then Minnesota traded for Cam Akers in mid-September…and had to place him on season-ending injured reserve ahead of Week 10.
That opened the door for 2022 fifth-round pick Ty Chandler to finally prove what he can do. Chandler mainly saw action on the special teams unit in his rookie season. This year, he’s had a handful of carries but didn’t see significant usage until Sunday’s win over the New Orleans Saints, in which he rushed for a career-high 15 attempts and also found the end zone.
Chandler nearly doubled Mattison’s carries in Week 10. It’s too early to say if he’ll become Minnesota’s go-to guy for the rest of the year, but he’s worth stashing until we figure it out.