Free Agent Forecast: Week 11

Free Agent Forecast: Week 11


Free Agent Forecast: Week 11


Rockstar Rock Star Free Agent
Injury Injury Replacement
Grab & Stash Grab & Stash
1 Week Plug & Play 1 Week Plug & Play
Dumpster Dive Dumpster Dive
Free Agent Auction
Bid (FAAB) Scale

$ $0 – $5
$$ $6 – $15
$$$ $16 – $25
$$$$ $26 – $40
$$$$$ $41+
Based on $100 cap,
12-team league.

Given the diverse scoring systems and sizes of fantasy leagues, producing a weekly list of free agents that satisfies the masses can be challenging. For the most part, the column will hone in on players who are available in at least 35% of all fantasy leagues. If you play in a small league (8 teams), chances are there may be better players to pick up than you see listed here. If you play in a large league (16 teams), the majority of the players highlighted may already be on a squad; however, expect to find hidden gems, as well.

In addition to scouting “rock star” free agents who had breakout performances in the previous week, the Forecast will dig deep to identify players who may be worth a spot start or a roster stash.


Josh McCown, Bears
Injury Replacement1 Week Plug & PlayJay Cutler started Sunday’s game but was unable to finish because of groin and ankle injuries. Cutler has already been ruled out for Week 11 but the Bears’ offense is in good hands with McCown. Filling in for Cutler this year McCown has hit 60 percent of his passes, while throwing for 538 yards, four touchdowns and no interceptions. McCown is a viable option against the Ravens if you need him. Remember, it was just two weeks ago that Jason Campbell threw for 262 yards and three touchdowns against Baltimore’s defense.
Availability: Owned in ~ 21% of leagues.
FAAB: $-$$
Forecast: McCown will put up around 20 fantasy points on Sunday.

Carson Palmer, Cardinals
1 Week Plug & PlayThe Cardinals’ offensive line has started playing better over the last two games and so has Palmer. He has thrown two touchdown passes in each of his last two games. Palmer hasn’t been anything more than a QB2 this season but he could have his best game of the year on Sunday. Jacksonville ranks in the middle of the pack in pass defense and just let Tennessee backup Ryan Fitzpatrick torch them for 264 yards and three scores in three quarters. If you lost Aaron Rodgers and are scrambling for a quarterback, Palmer is an option this week.
Availability: Owned in ~ 39% of leagues.
Forecast: Palmer will throw for over 250 yards and three scores against Jacksonville.

Case Keenum, Texans
Grab & StashKeenum had a tougher go of things on Sunday against an aggressive Cardinals’ defense but he still managed to throw for three touchdowns. Keenum is kind of like the Mad Bomber. He loves throwing downfield and Keenum gets the ball to his outside receivers. In three starts Keenum has thrown for 822 yards, seven touchdowns and zero interceptions. Fantasy football is about numbers and right now Keenum is putting up the numbers.
Availability: Owned in ~ 58% of leagues.
FAAB: $-$$
Forecast: Defenses may catch up to Keenum but until they do, he has the weapons to keep putting up strong fantasy numbers.

On the Radar: Scott Tolzien (1%), Ryan Fitzpatrick (2%), Kellen Clemens (5%)

Running Backs

Rashad Jennings, Raiders
Rock StarJennings racked up 107 total yards filling in for the injured Darren McFadden on Sunday. It’s now the second straight game Jennings has gone over 100 total yards and with McFadden hampered by a hamstring injury, he could get another start Sunday against Houston. The bottom line is McFadden has had hamstring issues in the past, so even if he returns soon there’s no guarantee he’ll remain healthy for the rest of the season. Jennings has shown that he can put up consistent RB2 numbers in the Oakland offense. He should be owned in all leagues at this point.
Availability: Owned in ~ 76% of leagues.
FAAB: $$-$$$
Forecast: Jennings will be a viable RB2 option as long as McFadden is out.

Mark Ingram, Saints
Rock StarIngram missed five games with a toe injury before returning two weeks ago against the Jets. He finally looked healthy while ripping the Cowboys for 145 yards and a touchdown. This is the old good news, bad news scenario though. Ingram did his damage on just 14 carries and he still has Pierre Thomas and Darren Sproles ahead him in the pecking order. Also, Ingram is a gameplan specific running back in the Saints’ offense, so some weeks his carries will be limited. On the positive side Ingram looked as healthy as he’s been in a long time and his performance Sunday puts him in line for more carries going forward.
Availability: Owned in ~ 18% of leagues.
FAAB: $-$$
Forecast: Ingram will still be an inconsistent fantasy play in the Saints’ offense. 

Donald Brown, Colts
1 Week Plug & PlayGrab & StashThe Forecast suggested Brown as a Plug & Play last week and he caught five passes for 64 yards and a touchdown. As Trent Richardson continues to bomb, Brown’s touches should increase. He has an appealing match-up this week against the Titans. Tennessee doesn’t give up a lot of yards to running backs but has allowed the second most fantasy points to backs over the last six weeks because of receptions and touchdowns. Receptions are where Brown earns his money, so expect another strong fantasy game out of him.
Availability: Owned in ~ 50% of leagues.
Forecast: Brown will catch 5-6 passes and score.

Brian Leonard, Buccaneers
Injury ReplacementGrab & StashMike James fractured his left ankle Monday night and probably out for the remainder of the season. The only healthy running backs left on the Buccaneers’ roster are Leonard and Bobby Rainey. Leonard carried the ball 20 times for 57 yards against the Dolphins. He’s nothing special as a runner but he is a good receiver out of the backfield. Rainey 45 yards and a score on eight carries and will be in the mix for touches as well but Leonard looks like the first in line to be James’ replacement.
Availability: Owned in ~ 5% of leagues.
FAAB: $-$$
Forecast: Leonard’s added ability as a receiver makes him a potential flex play option going forward.

Dennis Johnson, Texans
Grab & StashArian Foster needs back surgery and is done for the season. Ben Tate is one of the better backups in the NFL but he’s playing through four broken ribs. Johnson beat out Ray Graham and Deji Karim to emerge as the Texans’ No. 2 back behind Tate. There’s no guarantee that Tate is going to make it through the season. Johnson only ran the ball four times for seven yards against Arizona but he could emerge as a bigger fantasy factor later in the year.
Availability: Owned in ~ 24% of leagues.
Forecast: Johnson would become a weekly flex option if Tate goes down.

Chris Ogbonnaya, Browns
Grab & StashThe Browns headed into their bye week wanting to get Ogbonnaya more touches. Willis McGahee is averaging just 2.6 yards per carry, compared to Ogbonnaya’s 5.3. Ogbonnaya is also a much better receiver out of the backfield. Head Coach Rob Chudzinski said he wanted to “refine” Cleveland’s ground game during their off week. That should mean a much bigger role for the versatile Ogbonnaya starting this Sunday versus the Bengals.
Availability: Owned in ~ 26% of leagues.
Forecast: Ogbonnaya will start to see around 10-12 touches a game and could replace the ineffective McGahee at some point.

On the Radar: Benny Cunningham (1%), Bobby Rainey (1%)

Wide Receivers

Tavon Austin, Rams
Rock StarAustin had the first big game of his NFL career against Indianapolis. He scored on a 98-yard punt return and pass receptions of 81 and 57 yards. Once owned in 99 percent of leagues, Austin was dropped in over 60 percent of leagues after doing next to nothing in the Rams’ first nine games. Owners will likely be running to pick him back up but just keep a few things in mind. Austin was only targeted three times on Sunday. He caught two passes and both went for touchdowns. Kellen Clemens completed just nine passes but threw for 247 yards. Coming into the game Austin had a total of 207 yards receiving and two scores. Overall, Austin played only 15 offensive snaps. So while Austin had a breakout game, it was out of the ordinary. Make sure you don’t overpay for a performance you likely won’t see again.
Availability: Owned in ~ 37% of leagues.
Forecast: Austin still won’t be heavily targeted, meaning inconsistent fantasy weeks going forward.

DeAndre Hopkins, Texans
Rock StarLike Austin, Hopkins was once owned in almost every league but was dropped after Matt Schaub’s early season struggles. Now that Keenum is the starter though, Hopkins’ fantasy value is back on the rise. Schaub didn’t like to throw the ball down the field much; instead opting to drop the ball off and throw to his tight ends. Keenum is just the opposite. He loves airing it out, which means more opportunities for Hopkins and Andre Johnson. Against Arizona Hopkins caught six passes for 69 yards on 11 targets. Johnson has been red hot since Keenum became the starter. Expect defenses to try and slow him down, giving Hopkins more chances to make big plays in the coming weeks.
Availability: Owned in ~ 65% of leagues.
FAAB: $-$$
Forecast: With Keenum getting the ball downfield more, Hopkins will have a strong finish to the season.

Jerricho Cotchery, Steelers
1 Week Plug & PlayThe Forecast wasn’t a big believer in Cotchery after his three touchdown performance against New England because of the way the Patriots’ defense was playing. New England was doubling Antonio Brown and Emmanuel Sanders much of the time, leaving Cotchery with the favorable match-ups. However, Cotchery scored again on Sunday, giving him four touchdowns in the Steelers’ last two games. With defenses now focusing extra attention on stopping Brown, Ben Roethlisberger is looking Cotchery’s way more often down in the red zone. Touchdowns tend to come in bunches, so Cotchery could score again versus Detroit in a game that should see plenty of points.
Availability: Owned in ~ 37% of leagues.
Forecast: Cotchery will continue his Eddie Royal-like scoring streak and find the end zone again on Sunday.

Kenny Stills, Saints
Grab & StashStills was a Forecast Plug & Play and while he doesn’t get the luxury of playing Monte Kiffin’s defense every week, the rookie is becoming a big part of the Saints’ offense. In Stills’ last four games he’s caught 12 passes for 303 yards and four touchdowns. He’s not going to rack up a ton of receptions for owners but Stills gets down the field and most importantly, he finds the end zone. Stills has had big fantasy games in three of the last four weeks. He’s becoming a consistent fantasy factor.
Availability: Owned in ~ 68% of leagues.
FAAB: $-$$
Forecast: Stills is on the radar as a weekly WR4/flex play.

Michael Crabtree, 49ers
Grab & StashCrabtree has started practicing and the 49ers are hoping he can return sometime around Weeks 13 or 14. That would mean he will be available for owners right around fantasy playoff time. Given the current state of San Francisco’s receivers and how much Colin Kaepernick likes throwing to Crabtree, it shouldn’t take him long to get heavily involved in the offense once he returns. If you’re expecting to make the playoffs and have the roster room, Crabtree is worth stashing.
Availability: Owned in ~ 47% of leagues.
Forecast: Crabtree will provide a boost for owners come playoff time.

Mike Brown, Jaguars
Grab & StashBrown only caught two passes for 40 yards on Sunday but he’s still a good guy to grab right now. With Justin Blackmon suspended for the season, Brown becomes the second option in Jacksonville’s passing game behind Cecil Shorts. Last week was the rare occasion when the Jaguars weren’t playing from behind. However, most weeks they will be trailing and Brown will benefit by racking up receptions and yards in garbage time. He’s worth adding if you need help at receiver.
Availability: Owned in ~ 43% of leagues.
Forecast: Brown will be a solid plug and play for the rest of the season.

Rishard Matthews, Dolphins
Grab & StashMatthews came into Monday night’s game with only 10 receptions on the season. Against Tampa Bay he had 11 receptions on 14 targets for 120 yards and two touchdowns. Matthews is replacing the injured Brandon Gibson as Miami’s slot receiver but his huge game probably had more to do with the Buccaneer’s coverage scheme of leaving him wide open all night long. Matthews is worth a flier but a repeat performance is unlikely.
Availability: Owned in ~ 3% of leagues.
Forecast: Matthews had his best performance of the year against Tampa Bay.

Jermaine Kearse, Seahawks
Dumpster DiveKearse was impressive in the preseason as an undrafted rookie and he’s made the most of his opportunities the last two weeks after Sidney Rice was lost for the season. Kearse has scored in each of his last two games and now has four touchdowns on the season. Kearse is an explosive player who can really separate from defenders. Percy Harvin is expected back in a limited role this week but Kearse has the ability to be a big-play receiver in the Seahawks’ offense.  
Availability: Owned in ~ 4% of leagues.
Forecast: Kearse is only an option in 14-16 team leagues right now but he is a player on the rise.

On the Radar: Andre Roberts (4%)

Tight Ends

Vance McDonald, 49ers
Injury ReplacementVernon Davis suffered a concussion Sunday and his status for Week 11 is up in the air. If he can’t play, McDonald could help fantasy owners for a week. McDonald didn’t do anything against Carolina after Davis went out but no one on the 49ers’ offense did much of anything against the Panthers’ defense. McDonald is an athletic tight end and San Francisco really needs someone to step up and make plays in its offense right now. If Davis can’t go, McDonald could have a decent fantasy day in his absence.
Availability: Owned in ~ 2% of leagues.
Forecast: McDonald will put up between 7-10 fantasy points in PPR leagues if he starts.

Delanie Walker, Titans
Grab & StashWalker isn’t a fantasy stud but he’s been solid in PPR formats over the last month. Since October, Walker has scored 8, 6, 14, 3 and 16 points in PPR leagues. While that doesn’t make Walker a TE1, he’s scoring more than tight ends like Heath Miller and Jared Cook who are owned in a much higher percentage of leagues. Plus, Ryan Fitzpatrick will now be the Titans’ starter and he likes to target the tight end more than Jake Locker. Walker could help as a plug and play option for the rest of the year.
Availability: Owned in ~ 23% of leagues.
Forecast: Walker will be a solid TE2/match-up play for owners struggling at the tight end position.

On the Radar: John Carlson (1%), Brandon Pettigrew (7%), Rob Housler (6%), Brandon Bostick (1%)


Ryan Succop, Chiefs
1 Week Plug & PlaySuccop has scored double-digit fantasy points in each of his last two games. The Chiefs play Denver on Sunday and that should provide Succop with a few scoring opportunities. Succop has made at least three field goals in four games this season, so he’s been dependable. He should have another good fantasy outing on Sunday night.
Availability: Owned in ~ 39% of leagues.
Forecast: Succop will kick three field goals against Denver.

Nick Folk, Jets
1 Week Plug & PlayIt’s hard to believe that Folk is still owned in just 41 percent of leagues. Folk has kicked at least three field goals in his last three games. He’s a perfect 23-of-23 on the season and that includes 11-of-11 from between 40-49 yards. Toss in that Buffalo ranks in the Top 10 at giving up fantasy points to kickers this year and you have a must start for Folk this week.
Availability: Owned in ~ 41% of leagues.
Forecast: Folk will kick another three field goals and rack up double-digit fantasy points once again.

On the Radar: Robbie Gould (77%)

Defense/Special Teams

St. Louis Rams
Rock StarThe Rams’ defense mauled the Colts on Sunday. St. Louis scored two touchdowns, picked off Andrew Luck four times, registered three sacks and recovered a fumble. Heading into their bye, the Rams’ defense now has five touchdowns, 32 sacks, 11 interceptions and eight fumble recoveries in 10 games. The schedule toughens after the bye but keep in mind St. Louis hosts Tampa Bay in Week 16 when many owners are playing their Fantasy Super Bowls.
Availability: Owned in ~ 44% of leagues.
Forecast: The Rams defense will be a solid match-up play over the final month of the season.

Buffalo Bills
1 Week Plug & PlayThe Bills haven’t been a great fantasy defense because they allow too many points but they do get sacks and interceptions. Through 10 games Buffalo has 32 sacks and 13 interceptions. On Sunday the Bills get the inconsistent Jets’ offense at home, which means more sacks and turnovers could be on the way. The Jets lit up Buffalo the first time they played. Expect a much better effort out of the Bills’ defense at home this time around.
Availability: Owned in ~ 29% of leagues.
Forecast: The Bills’ defense will get a few sacks and cause a couple of turnovers on Sunday.

On the Radar: Pittsburgh Steelers (46%)


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