By Marcus Drake
The fantasy football regular season is swiftly coming to an end and, much like you, I find myself frantically still searching for guys that can contribute for the upcoming playoffs. Much to the advantage of the fantasy sports community, Week 11 features a lot of solid players returning from injury, as well as a few players that have been thrust into expanded roles due to injuries to other players above them on their respective depth charts. This article will also include two stash players who may start producing in a big way down the stretch for their NFL teams and fantasy teams alike.
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Rex Burkhead (NE) — Everyone knew the Patriots were going to attack the middle of the field against the Broncos as their perimeter defense is among the best in the league. That being said, I think Burkhead stays relevant in the coming weeks. Of course, this is the Patriots, so proceed with caution, as we all know Belichick can change his entire offensive identity on any given week.
Burkhead played more snaps than any other running back in a Patriots uniform on Sunday (39), outpacing Super Bowl hero James White (11) and Dion Lewis (21). He finished his day with 10 rushing attempts for 36 yards and added 3 receptions for 27 yards and a touchdown. With Gillislee in the doghouse, every Patriots running back gets an upgrade with Burkhead receiving the highest advancement amongst the three. Look for Burkhead to continue to garnish targets in the Patriots pass happy offense in what is a great matchup against the Raiders.
Jamaal Williams (GB) — With Aaron Jones missing extended time with a MCL sprain and Ty Montgomery re-aggravating his rib injury, the rookie will have an opportunity to impress while the other two backs heal up. However, with matchups against the Ravens (31st fewest fantasy points to running backs) followed by the Steelers (29th), Williams is merely a flier for the teams affected by the bye weeks or for teams desperately looking for a flex play.
Corey Coleman (CLE) — Coleman has been out since Week 2 and is owned in less than 20% of leagues. I expect that number to go up drastically after his return this week. In the two games he played prior to breaking his hand he was getting the lion’s share of the targets and I expect that to continue this week against Jacksonville. Even if he doesn’t produce against arguably the best pass defense in the league, better days are ahead for Coleman and these are the types of late season additions that win leagues.
Danny Woodhead (BAL) — If some frustrated owner dropped Woodhead earlier in the year for a guy like Tarik Cohen, go remind him of what this guy is all about. He hasn’t played since Week 1 but Baltimore brought him in for a reason, and with Joe Flacco and the Ravens receivers struggling to consistently connect with each other look for Flacco to look his way often. If he’s available make him your no. 1 target.
If you’re looking at your lineup thinking you’ve got all your starters and some capable bench assets and you’re feeling pretty good rolling into the playoffs, this is still not the time to relax on the waiver wire. Why not pick up a guy up that has a much higher upside than someone else you might have floating around the catacombs of your bench, and wait and see if he makes you into a fantasy genius?
Dede Westbrook (JAC) — Drafted in the 4th round in 2017 out of Oklahoma, we haven’t seen him since the preseason but man, he sure looked like a steal. Westbrook played in three preseason games; totaling 13 receptions for 288 yards and two touchdowns, and two out of those three games were 100-yard receiving games. He returns next week against the hapless Browns secondary, and with fellow receiver Allen Hurns ruled out for the game and Allen Robinson out for the year, the Jags should look to Marquise Lee and Westbrook to shoulder the load at the receiver position. Fireworks could be looming and if they go off you will want to make sure he’s on your roster.
Josh Gordon: (CLE) — This is almost a no-brainer but who knows with this guy? He hasn’t played in a game since 2014, but in 2013 we all remember when he led the league in receiving yards with 1646 yards in 14 games! Now, the troubled but no doubt talented wideout is finally reinstated and is eligible to play this week against the Jags. Who knows if he will, but the fact there is a chance he plays at any time the remainder of the year warrants an add for Gordon. I’m sure the whole Browns organization is thrilled at the prospects of having Corey Coleman and Josh Gordon available for their developing quarterback Deshone Kizer, and you should be as well.