Welcome back to another week of Spin’s Fantasy Factory! I’m Spin, UConn’s self-proclaimed “fantasy football expert.” Even though the “expert” portion of that title may be a bit of an overstatement, that doesn’t stop me from doing what I enjoy: Providing just a bit more fantasy insight to help you set your lineup for the upcoming week.
Last week, I focused on three players that you should’ve considered streaming in your fantasy lineups as bye weeks continue to haunt fantasy managers. All three players were rostered in less than 40% of all fantasy leagues and easily acquirable via your league’s waiver wire. From last week’s picks, WR Zay Jones tallied 14.8 PPR points, RB Jerick McKinnon had 11.8 and TE Noah Fant recorded 6.4. While those numbers don’t scream “fantasy superstar” for any of those players, those point totals are exactly the type of production that managers hope to receive when plugging in a streaming option into their starting lineups.
With Seattle, Miami, Tampa Bay and Jacksonville all on bye this week, in addition to any injuries that were suffered by players last week, fantasy managers may need to turn towards reinforcements to patch their lineups together. After the success of last week’s streaming options, I’ve decided to compile another list of worthy streaming candidates for Week 11 of the 2022 NFL season. These are players who I believe will produce adequate fantasy stat lines based on matchups, projections, schemes or even just a plain hunch I have. Without further ado, here are two favorable streaming matchups for Week 11 of the NFL season.
Nico Collins, WR, Houston Texans vs. WSH
Prior to this season, Brandin Cooks would’ve been the only skill player on the Texans that fantasy managers would even consider rostering. However, Cooks has not had the same “alpha-receiver” role that he had last season in Houston. That’s partly due to him falling out of favor with the team’s coaching staff after he voiced his displeasure with the team’s direction, but also due to the evolution of Collins. The 6-foot-4 second-year wideout from Michigan has a formidable body whenever he takes the field, and it appears that he may be phasing out Cooks as Houston’s top receiver. In last week’s contest against the New York Giants, Collins commanded 10 targets — the best on his team. Although Houston quarterback Davis Mills had a solid game overall, he was inconsistent when targeting Collins, only completing five of these attempts. In the end, it made little difference as Collins turned his five catches into 49 yards and a touchdown.
The Texans are not a good football team and will continue to chase points from behind — or at least that’s the way that things have been for the last couple of seasons. The result has been that Mills has been forced to throw more than Houston would probably prefer, causing Cooks to finish the season as a top 20 fantasy option at the wide receiver position. It appears that it may be time for Cooks to pass the torch over to Collins. The team will be taking on the Washington Commanders, a defense that did its job forcing turnovers against the Philadelphia Eagles on Monday night, but is otherwise allowing opposing wideouts to score fantasy points at the 10th-highest rate in the league. Opportunity alone should be a selling point for fantasy managers to acquire Collins when they can, as he’s one of the top two receiving options on a team that is forced to throw the ball a lot and that lacks true playmaking receivers beyond its two best. This is a smart start for Week 11, but if Collins’ upward trend continues, managers may want to carve out a roster spot for him for the rest of the season.
Jaylen Warren, RB, Pittsburgh Steelers vs. CIN
Unfortunately, as the running back position goes, there aren’t many great streaming options to be found on the waiver wire. These players are typically backups in real-life, meaning they very rarely see high rates of opportunity. However, there is one player in particular that intrigues me not only in Week 11, but for the rest of the season as his role presumably grows: Jaylen Warren, an undrafted rookie free agent from Oklahoma State, who has shown glimpses of stardom in a limited role for the Steelers this season. Prior to its Week 9 bye, Pittsburgh utilized Warren as a change-of-pace back when starter Najee Harris needed a rest. It’s become clear that Warren is the team’s more-efficient back when the ball is in his hands, and the coaching staff promised a larger role for the rookie when the team returned from its bye. The result was Warren’s most rushing attempts in a single game this season, his highest yardage total (77) and 10.7 PPR points.
Though Harris still operates as the team’s clear-cut RB1, it appears that Warren’s role in his team’s offense is secure and will continue to trend upward. The Steelers have operated as a run-first offense for the past couple of seasons, and given the inconsistent performance of the team’s quarterbacks all season, both Harris and Warren figure to handle the team’s most valuable touches. In Week 11, the Steelers will host their AFC North rivals, the Cincinnati Bengals, a team that is yielding fantasy points to opposing running backs at the ninth-lowest rate in the NFL. However, despite the tough matchup, Warren has yet to show that he can be exposed by stout run defenses. In fact, his backfield mate Harris has been much more susceptible to tough defenses this season, with Warren being the main beneficiary. And when Harris has struggled, Pittsburgh’s coaching staff has rewarded Warren with more touches. I’m excited to see what Warren can do with his increased role; given the Steelers’ commitment to the run, there are worse streaming options than the explosive back.