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Week 11 fantasy pickups include Rishard Matthews, Bernard Pierce, Case Keenum, Shane Vereen

Bernard-Pierce-RavensCompared to recent weeks, there is probably not a whole lot available on the fantasy waiver wire in your leagues heading into Week 11. There were very few breakout performances in Week 10 and not many injuries, but that doesn’t mean valuable pieces can’t be found. In addition to the players we told you to keep an eye on when Tampa Bay Buccaneers running back Mike James went down on Monday night, here are some other players to consider for Week 11.

Rishard Matthews, WR, Dolphins: We can almost guaranteed that Matthews’ 11/120/2 game against Tampa Bay on Monday night will be his best of the season. That doesn’t mean he won’t have some WR3 value going forward, especially in PPR leagues. After catching just five passes in the first six games of the season, Matthews has clearly developed some chemistry with Ryan Tannehill. He has 16 catches on 24 targets in the past three weeks. He has also received a bump since Brandon Gibson went down with an injury. We don’t expect him to light it up by any means, but you could do worse for receiver depth.

Bernard Pierce, RB, Ravens: Pierce is already owned in many leagues as a handcuff to Ray Rice. The Ravens’ run game is an absolute mess. Rice has been completely ineffective in recent weeks, which could be the result of a lingering hip issue and is certainly the result of poor offensive line play. John Harbaugh told reporters this week that the team is planing to go with a “hot hand” approach going forward. That could mean Pierce is in for more carries if he can provide a spark. The Ravens can only be so loyal to Rice if he is not getting the job done, making Pierce worth an add.

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Brian Leonard a fantasy option after Mike James injury

Brian LeonardBrian Leonard became a decent fantasy football pickup option after Tampa Bay Buccaneers starting running back Mike James went down on the team’s opening drive Monday night.

James was running the ball down the Miami Dolphins’ throat on the opening drive, gashing them for 41 yards on five carries. But he went down with an ankle injury near the goal line and was carted off:

Brian Leonard, who was the No. 2 back behind James, became the primary ball carrier after the injury.

Leonard was a second-round pick by the St. Louis Rams in 2007 and played for Greg Schiano at Rutgers during his college career. He served mostly as a fullback during his NFL career and has been an effective receiver out of the backfield. He’s not an ideal player to carry the load, but the Bucs felt confident enough in him to give him the pill after James’ injury.

Leonard has never carried the ball more than 86 times in a season (that was in his rookie season). Bobby Rainey is the team’s other running back, but he didn’t see nearly as much action as Leonard, though he did break a touchdown. The Bucs’ offense is starting to look somewhat better, so their running back spot has some value.

GIF via GIFD Sports

Week 10 fantasy pickups include Nick Foles, Rashad Jennings, Aaron Dobson

Nick-Foles-EaglesAs we mentioned last week, you have probably reached or are nearing the trade deadline in your fantasy league. That means the only way to acquire players who can help you down the stretch is by working the waiver wire. We’re here to help out with that as best we can, and there were a couple of players who had breakout performances in Week 9 that can certainly give you a boost in the coming weeks. Here are your Week 10 fantasy football pickups.

Nick Foles, QB, Eagles: The Eagles have had an unprecedented revolving door at quarterback this season, mostly because of injuries. With a seven-touchdown performance against the Raiders on Sunday, you can bet your bottom dollar Foles has secured the job for the immediate future. Foles’ game against Oakland will likely be his best of the season, but he has plenty enough weapons at his disposal to produce at a high level in fantasy formats. DeSean Jackson is having his best season as a pro and LeSean McCoy makes it so teams can’t commit to defending the pass. Philly’s next five games are against the Packers, Redskins, Cardinals, Lions and Vikings. Those matchups lock Foles in as a fantasy starter.

Rashad Jennings, RB, Raiders: Stop me if you’ve heard this before — Darren McFadden is battling a hamstring injury. Run DMC tweaked his already tender hamstring in the second quarter against the Eagles and did not return. Jennings stepped into the feature back role and carried the ball 15 times for 102 yards and a touchdown. He also added 74 yards receiving on seven catches. Philly’s defense is very soft, but Jennings will be handling the bulk of the work for Oakland going forward. The Raiders are unlikely to rush McFadden back this time, as we see what happens when they do.

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Week 9 fantasy pickups include Marvin Jones, Darrius Heyward-Bey, Andre Brown

Marvin-Jones-BengalsFor many of you, the trade deadline in your fantasy leagues is likely just around the corner. It may have already even passed. One thing that means is that working the waiver wire will be more important than ever down the stretch. If your trade deadline has passed, picking guys up and strategically using your waiver priority will be the only way to acquire players. Here are some solid players you should be targeting on the Week 9 waiver wire.

Marvin Jones, WR, Bengals: Jones has come out of nowhere this month, hauling in 15 catches for 250 yards and a whopping six touchdowns over Cincinnati’s past three games. Most of us expected Mohamed Sanu to be the second option in the passing game for Andy Dalton behind AJ Green, but Jones has been that guy. He was probably added in a lot of leagues last week and will still be the most popular add this week. There are some red flags, however. Is his ridiculous touchdown pace going to continue? Not a chance. Andrew Hawkins is set to return from short-term IR soon and should steal some targets from Jones. He can still be productive, but don’t get sucked into the Eddie Royal trap if you already have decent receiver depth. His fantasy scoring rate simply can’t continue.

Darrius Heyward-Bey, WR, Colts: Reggie Wayne is out for the season with a torn ACL. The Colts are not going to stop passing with Andrew Luck, so Heyward-Bey and TY Hilton should both see a significant increase in targets. Heyward-Bey has shown some big-play ability and has played on roughly 75% of Indy’s offensive snaps this season. The Colts were on a bye last week, which should have helped DHB and Hilton prepare for expanded roles. The fact that the Colts did not swing a trade for a wide receiver or add a veteran means they trust the guys they have now. Heyward-Bey should be a viable WR3 based on volume alone.

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Brandon Jacobs goes off on Twitter followers after receiving death threats over fantasy

Brandon JacobsBrandon Jacobs was disappointed he could not suit up for the New York Giants on Monday night after breaking out in a loss to the Chicago Bears in Week 6. Jacobs was inactive with a hamstring injury, and many of his fantasy football owners were frustrated that his status for the game remained unknown until Monday afternoon.

It’s one thing to be upset that Jacobs’ inability to suit up cost you a fantasy week. Losing isn’t fun. However, the extent to which people cross the line when ripping players over fantasy football seems to be getting worse by the year. Jacobs tweeted a perfect example of that early Tuesday morning:

Brandon-Jacobs-death-threat

Talk about uncalled for. Not only that, but those tweets will be handed over to NFL Security and the user could find himself in legal trouble. As the NY Daily News pointed out, “Andre Raynor” began frantically apologizing to Jacobs from his since-deactivated account after his tweets went viral.

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Cierre Wood no longer fantasy football option after being cut for violating team rules

Cierre-Wood-TexansHouston Texans running backs Arian Foster and Ben Tate were among the many casualties across the National Football League on an injury-ridden Sunday. As a result, there was speculation that former Notre Dame running back Cierre Wood could be in for an increased role when the team returned from its Week 8 bye. That will not be happening, as Wood and two other Texans players — defensive end Sam Montgomery and linebacker Willie Jefferson — have been cut for violating team rules.

All three rookies were declared inactive before Houston’s loss to the Kansas City Chiefs on Sunday. According to the Houston Chronicle’s John McClain, the team gave no explanation for releasing the three players but a source claims they violated unspecified team rules at their hotel on Saturday.

Jefferson had shown potential as a pass rusher after being signed as an undrafted free agent. He played at Stephen F. Austin last year after he was kicked out of Baylor for failing multiple drug tests for marijuana. Montgomery was a third-round pick out of LSU who was a disappointing inactive for every game this season.

You could make the argument that Wood is the team’s most significant loss. The undrafted rookie easily won the No. 3 job at running back during the preseason when he rushed for 132 yards on 25 carries and added 35 yards on four receptions. The Texans are now dangerously thin at running back, unless both Foster and Tate can heal quickly during their two weeks off.

H/T Rotoworld

Peyton Hillis, Michael Cox fantasy football options with Brandon Jacobs likely out

Peyton-Hillis-CIAThe New York Giants have already dealt with a number of injuries to their backfield this season, and that theme is expected to continue this week with Brandon Jacobs likely out against the Minnesota Vikings. Jacobs hurt his hamstring during a breakout performance against the Chicago Bears last week, leaving only rookie Michael Cox and recently-signed veteran Peyton Hillis as options on Monday night.

Neither option is all that intriguing, but the Giants have to run the ball at some point. While you can expect to see a ton of passes from Eli Manning against a weak Minnesota secondary, both Hillis and Cox should see some carries. Figuring out which one will get more is basically a coin flip.

Cox is an extremely raw rookie who has not touched the ball this season. He was drafted in the 7th round out of UMass, so he is obviously not an exceptional talent. However, he does have an advantage over Hillis in that he has been with the team for the whole season and likely has a better understanding of the playbook.

On the other hand, Hillis is a proven veteran who has been effective at the NFL level before. Giants offensive coordinator Kevin Gilbride recently said Hillis is a “bright guy” who can pick up on a new scheme quicker than some others would. Hillis also has a reputation for being a bruiser, so he seems more likely get the goal line work against the Vikings.

Again, we don’t expect either running back to light up the box score on Monday night. But if you were counting on Jacobs to get you a handful of points to put you in position to win your matchup on Monday night, you don’t really have a choice.