Priority fantasy football pickups for Week 11 and beyond

Each week, we highlight six recommended fantasy pickups plus a team defense available in over 50 percent of Yahoo leagues. Another rough bye week is upcoming, with four teams out of action in Week 11 (GB, NYG, Sea, Ten). If you have roster needs, we've got solutions. 

Running backs

Brian Hill, Atlanta Falcons (2% rostered)

Hill entered Sunday's action as Atlanta's unchallenged No. 2 back, following the team's decision to send Ito Smith (neck) to injured reserve. He exits the week as the Falcons' No. 1 backfield option, because Devonta Freeman suffered a foot sprain in the win at New Orleans. Freeman is headed for a Monday MRI to determine the nature and severity of his injury; Hill is presumably headed for a significant workload at Carolina next Sunday. He's the clear priority fantasy add this week. 

In case you missed Hill's impressive Week 10 performance in relief of Freeman, here's the highlight play:

Hill finished with 21 touches for 71 scrimmage yards against a tough Saints D, and he might very well be in line for similar usage next week in a blow-up spot against the Panthers. Aaron Jones and Jamaal Williams tortured Carolina on Sunday afternoon, combining for 156 rushing yards and three scores on 26 carries. The Panthers have allowed a ridiculous 17 touchdowns and 5.0 YPC to running backs through nine games. 

We should note that Hill was a favorite of preseason fantasy Twitter, for what it's worth. He was a terrific/violent player back in his Mountain West days at Wyoming, gaining 1927 scrimmage yards and scoring 22 touchdowns on 357 touches in his final season. He's not a burner, but he has ideal size for a featured runner (6-foot-1, 220). Place an aggressive bid for his fantasy services. 

FAAB bid: Go big or you won't get him.

Atlanta Falcons running back Brian Hill leaps into our fantasy plans. (Photo by Jonathan Bachman/Getty Images)

Derrius Guice, Washington (37%)

Guice will make his long-awaited re-return from injury this week when Washington hosts the Jets. You might recall that Guice had a firm grip on the lead role in his team's backfield entering the season, but, in his absence, Adrian Peterson has been entirely serviceable (4.3 YPC). We have to assume a committee arrangement in this backfield moving forward. Washington's line is nothing special and opposing defenses will (or should) invite Dwayne Haskins to put the ball in the air. Guice is a flier worth taking, but he's not a player you can start with any confidence in Week 11. New York's defense has allowed a league-best 3.0 YPC and they stone-walled Saquon Barkley on Sunday. 

FAAB bid: $16 of $100 budget

Additional RBs worth adding: Alexander Mattison (premium handcuff finished with 52 yards and a near-TD on Sunday night), Gus Edwards (another premium handcuff), Rashaad Penny (yet another premium handcuff), Ryquell Armstead (and still another premium handcuff, in the truest spirit of cuffing season), J.D. McKissic (Detroit’s running game has been dreadful, but he could be in for a substantial workload with Ty Johnson concussed), Kalen Ballage (no one feels great about this recommendation, but, hey, he did see 20 carries on Sunday). 


Derek Carr, Oakland Raiders (44%)

Oakland is somehow 5-4 at the moment, having survived a series of distractions that would have sent most teams into tank-mode. Most of the credit for the Raiders' success, of course, should go to head coach Jon Gruden, but let's save just a bit for Carr. He's thrown only one pick in his last six games, he has a career-best passer-rating of 104.4 and he's completing 70.8 percent of his throws. Carr is very likely headed to his fourth Pro Bowl, and possibly to the playoffs. Oakland's second-half schedule is relatively kind, too. 

Next Sunday, the Raiders host the winless/hilarious/tragic Bengals, a flaming disaster of a franchise. Cincinnati has allowed a league-worst 9.0 yards per pass attempt and the fifth-most fantasy points to opposing QBs. Carr is the preferred waiver target for fantasy managers looking to replace Aaron Rodgers or Russell Wilson, both of whom have byes in Week 11. 

FAAB bid: $9

Nick Foles, Jacksonville Jaguars (19%)

So the Gardner Minshew experience was fun while it lasted, but his four-turnover faceplant in London last week allowed Jacksonville to reinsert Foles as the team's starting QB with minimal controversy. Foles started well in the season-opener (5-for-8, 75 yards, TD) before suffering a broken collarbone, requiring surgery. He returns to a squad with an exciting young receiving corps and an excellent run game, plus an inviting schedule ahead. Take a look at the Jags' next six games:

Week 11 - at IND

Week 12 - at TEN

Week 13 - vs. TB

Week 14 - vs. LAC

Week 15 - at OAK

Week 16 - at ATL

Tampa, Oakland and Atlanta all rank among the six most QB-friendly defenses in terms of fantasy points allowed. If Foles can simply remain healthy, he's a good bet to deliver a few useful stat lines in the money weeks. 

FAAB bid: $7

Other QBs to consider: Kyle Allen (Atlanta's fantasy-friendly defense awaits and he's coming off a 307-yard game), Sam Darnold (it's not always pretty, but his receiving weapons are perfectly respectable and Washington's defense awaits).

Wide receivers and tight ends

Demaryius Thomas, New York Jets (8%)

At age 31, Thomas is not exactly the same dude you might remember from his Denver years. But he's still a 6-foot-3 receiver who's on the field for over 70 percent of his team's offensive snaps, and he's averaging 6.5 targets per game over the past six weeks. Thomas hauled in six balls for 84 yards on nine targets in Sunday's win, with a 47-yard gain included. He also shrugged off an injury along the way. He's not entirely cooked. 

Also worth noting: New York's upcoming schedule is a gift. The Jets face Washington, Oakland, Cincinnati and Miami over the next four weeks, before a brutal pair of matchups in the fantasy playoffs (at Bal, vs. Pit). Thomas can assist the PPR community in the chase for a postseason spot. 

FAAB bid: $3

Noah Fant, Denver Broncos (13%)

Fant trucked his way into the fantasy conversation with this touchdown reception in Week 9:

That score, however, was just his second of the season and he saw only four targets on the day, catching three for 115 yards.

Still, Fant is a near-lock for increased opportunities in the closing weeks, with Emmanuel Sanders no longer in the receiving mix for Denver. The rookie tight end saw nine targets in the Broncos' first game following the Sanders deal. He's also played over 80 percent of the team's offensive snaps in his last two games. Fant is an upside option for fantasy managers looking to replace the injured Austin Hooper (knee).

FAAB bid: $4

Darius Slayton, New York Giants (10%)

The Giants are headed into their bye week, so Slayton won't be of any help in your upcoming matchup. If you're simply trying to find a temporary roster fix for Week 11, move along. If instead you're looking for a rest-of-season flier, Slayton is basically an auto-add following Sunday's 10-catch, two-touchdown feast. He was a monster:

Slayton saw 14 targets on the afternoon, snagging 10. He scored five touchdowns in each of his last two collegiate seasons at Auburn, and he's already matched that total as an NFL rookie. Slayton destroyed the combine (4.39 speed, 40.5-inch vertical) and his exceptional athleticism has translated to immediate success.

Sterling Shepard (concussion) and Evan Engram (foot) aren't guaranteed to return following the bye, so Slayton has a path to continued fantasy relevance.

FAAB bid: $9

Various other WR/TE options: Randall Cobb (coming off his first 100-yard performance of they year and preparing to face a miserable Lions' pass D), Cole Beasley (drew six targets on Sunday, catching four for 74, and he's about to face Miami), Diontae Johnson (a big-play, boom-or-bust receiver who finished with four catches for 64 yards against the Rams), Darren Fells (currently ranks as a top-8 fantasy TE, thanks to his six TDs), Kyle Rudolph (goal-to-go specialist has four spikes in his last four games), Ross Dwelley (just in case Kittle can't return for next week's matchup with TE-friendly Arizona). 


Oakland Raiders (2%)

Hopefully you don't need a hard sell on a defense that's about to face the Bengals, an 0-9 team with a point differential of -122. Cincinnati's offense has the fourth highest turnover total (18), the seventh-most sacks (31) and the team averages just 15.2 points per game. Quarterback Ryan Finley had both a pick-six and a fumble returned for a score in his first start, which is, um ... not ideal. Play the Raiders with confidence. 

FAAB bid: $2

Other streamable D/STs: New York Jets (a respectable D coming off a 6-sack performance, traveling to face Washington and rookie QB Dwayne Haskins), Kansas City Chiefs (this unit didn't impress in Week 10, but it heads to L.A. to face an INT-prone Philip Rivers). 

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