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Bye Week Blues: Week 11 Options

With stars like Matthew Stafford and Cooper Kupp on a Week 11 bye, fantasy managers must plan accordingly.

The countdown is on—only four more bye weeks for fantasy managers to endure. After four teams were off in Week 10, only two teams will be on a bye in Week 11. Unfortunately for some, though, two of the highest-scoring fantasy players will be out of action. Here’s what you need to know to prepare for Week 11:

Week 11 byes: Rams, Broncos

What you’re missing

Rams: Forget about the Odell Beckham Jr. hype. The Rams being off means that Week 11 will be played without two of the top five scorers in fantasy. Heading into Week 10, WR Cooper Kupp was the leader in fantasy points per game (FPPG), and QB Matthew Stafford was fifth. Darrell Henderson, 12th in FPPG among running backs, will also be missed. Robert Woods was WR12. For those who have Woods, the bye week is irrelevant—he’s out for the season after tearing his ACL.

Broncos: Fantasy managers won’t be crippled by the loss of any Broncos, but some will be missed. Running backs Melvin Gordon and Javonte Williams split carries, but both have been valuable. Noah Fant is ninth among tight ends in FPPG.

Week 11 waiver wire options

Some fantasy squads might be deep enough to have a satisfactory fill-in on their bench when it comes to bye week replacements. If not, you’ll need a short-term waiver add—and it’s not about fighting for the hottest waiver-wire candidates. You just want a stand-in who happens to have a favorable matchup in your week of need.

Here are some Week 11 options:

Quarterbacks

Not only does San Francisco allow the third-most FPPG to quarterbacks, but the 49ers also have the dreaded situation this week of being a West Coast team traveling cross country for a 1 p.m. ET game, in this case at Jacksonville. It could be an opportunity for Trevor Lawrence to put up some big numbers. … Will Cam Newton take over the starting job in Carolina this week? Pay close attention to developments this week. The Panthers face the Washington Football Team, which has allowed the most FPPG to quarterbacks—a nice launching pad for Newton. And if P.J. Walker starts, he might be worth a flier himself, given the competition. … The last time Mac Jones played at Mercedes-Benz Stadium, he passed for 418 yards and five touchdowns. That was for Alabama in the 2020 SEC title game. The Patriots’ offense isn’t quite as prolific, but Jones has a nice matchup this week against the Falcons’ shaky pass defense.

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Running backs

Even if Nick Chubb is back from the COVID list in Week 11, it might be worth playing D’Ernest Johnson. With the Browns hosting the Lions, who allow the second-most FPPG to running backs, Johnson should get some opportunities regardless. … The Raiders host the Bengals, who allow the sixth-most FPPG to running backs. Even if Josh Jacobs is healthy, Kenyan Drake could see enough action to get you some points. … If you’re looking for a real deep sleeper—or if you’re just in desperation mode—Miami’s Salvon Ahmed might be your guy. Myles Gaskin will get most of the carries, but Ahmed could join in the fun against the Jets, who allow the most FPPG to running backs by a wide margin.

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Wide receivers

Michael Gallup returned to action Sunday in the Cowboys’ blowout win over Atlanta, after being out since Week 1. Dallas could be in a shootout in Week 11 against a still-shaky Chiefs defense, so Gallup—available in more than 40% of fantasy leagues—will surely be in the mix. ... The Texans return from a bye to face Tennessee, which allows the most FPPG to wide receivers. Houston’s second-leading receiver, rookie Nico Collins, is still looking for his first NFL touchdown. This might be the week. … Packers WR Marquez Valdes-Scantling had 96 receiving yards and a touchdown in last season’s game at Minnesota. The Vikings have been very kind to opposing receivers, so don’t be surprised to see Valdes-Scantling enjoy another trip to Minnesota.

Tight ends

The Ravens have allowed the second-most FPPG to tight ends, so this might be the week Cole Kmet is a factor for the Bears. … The Texans have allowed the fourth-most FPPG to tight ends, so Week 11 could present an opportunity for Tennessee’s Geoff Swaim, who has quietly become a factor for the Titans … Colts TE Jack Doyle hasn’t done much this season, but it’s worth noting that he had seven receptions for 70 yards and a score in last year’s playoff game against the Bills, this week’s opponent.