Next Man Up: Week 11
By Josh Williams
As week 11 arrives, many teams are making that final push for the fantasy playoffs which start in three weeks, in most leagues. With little time to make up ground, it is important now more than ever to be sure that you have the best possible lineup when the games kickoff this week. With that in mind, there are three key injuries/suspensions that could impact your lineup this week and beyond.
In Chicago, Alshon Jeffery has been suspended for four games for violating the league’s substance abuse policy. The misery, and uncertainty continues for the Bears with the status of running back Jordan Howard in doubt. He says he’s fine and will play against the Giants on Sunday, but the team says he may have suffered an Achilles injury that could keep him out for more than one game. Finally, there is the seemingly oft-injured Rob Gronkowski. Whether it is a punctured lung or just a bruised lung, his status for Sunday’s game against the 49ers is in doubt. If you have any of these players on your roster, here’s who you should be looking at to replace them.
Martellus Bennett lead the Patriots with seven catches for 102 yards in their loss to Seattle. Bennett has 38 receptions (third on the team), 504 yards (second) and leads the Patriots with four touchdown catches. He is also a bruising runner after the catch as the Seahawks Earl Thomas found out.
Jeremy Langford has only played in five games so far this year due to injury, but he made his return against Tampa Bay last week and stands to get the bulk of the rushing duties if Howard can’t go. While his yardage totals have been low, he did manage to find the end zone in each of the Bears first two games when he was the starter. Langford remains confident in his abilities and says he is a playmaker. For Howard owners, now would be a good time for him to show it. The Bears may be one of the worst teams in the league, but somebody still has to score some touchdowns.
Cameron Meredith is quite possibly the best wide receiver on waivers right now, he also happens to be Jeffery’s handcuff. After starting the year slowly, Meredith has caught 22 passes for 305 yards in the Bears last four games, including a 50-yard touchdown in their loss to the Bucs. That was his only catch in the game, but it was good for 11 points in a standard scoring format for ESPN Fantasy Football. While Eddie Royal and Zach Miller could also see an increase in targets with Jeffery out, if you’re looking for someone who can carry you for the next four games, Meredith is the safe choice.
If the handcuffs to the injured/suspended players aren’t the way you want to go, here’s a list of potential options from other teams.