The fantasy football running back churn continues, unabated. We lost Devonta Freeman and Matt Breida this past week to injury. This week, we will be without Aaron Jones, Jamaal Williams, Saquon Barkley, Chris Carson, and Derrick Henry. Never fear, Football Absurdity is here to help clog the holes in your decrepit roster with some week eleven fantasy football running back sleepers. To qualify as a running back sleeper, a player must be unowned in at least 50% of Yahoo! leagues. And to quiet the squawking about people who complain that the running back sleepers aren’t available in their league, one guy is unowned in at least 90% of Yahoo! Fantasy Football leagues. As always, check to make sure the guys from Waleed’s Waiver Wire Cheat Sheet didn’t slip through the cracks. If you have nowhere else to turn, turn to these guys below.
Week 11 Running Back Sleeper:
Brian Hill at Carolina (43% Owned)
I’m not entirely certain how the league’s hottest waiver wire pickup candidate from week ten going into a good matchup only goes up to 43% ownership. Well, I’m not here to question what the numbers say, and they say that Brian Hill qualifies for this article. Brian Hill doesn’t have a long track record in the NFL, but what we’ve seen of him is somewhat encouraging. Ito Smith was the designated backup to Devonta Freeman this season, but early in the offseason, Hill seemed to be winning the battle. Smith ultimately ended up as the backup to Freeman, but he’s out for the season. Now, Freeman will be out at least two weeks, but more than likely, he’s out for the year as the Falcons lick their wounds and circle the wagons from their disastrous 2019 campaign.
This week, Hill gets one of the best possible matchups for him to get his first start off on the right foot as one of this week’s fantasy football running back sleepers. The Panthers allow the third-most fantasy points to opposing running backs. You may have last seen them feebly trying to stop he 156 yards and three touchdowns by Packers running backs last week. They started poorly against opposing running backs as well, with four running backs getting double-digit fantasy points against them in the first three games.
Week 11 Running Back Sleeper:
Kalen Ballage versus Buffalo (36% Owned)
I am going to start this with a caveat that makes you really feel good about Kalen Ballage’s inclusion on the week eleven running back sleepers list… Kalen Ballage is not good. He had 24 touches for 45 yards last week, in a truly astonishing display of futility. Now that we have that out of the way, I can let you know he does one thing exceptionally well: get up to speed when going in a straight line. That’s the kind of profile you want out of a running back when his opponent has serious issues tackling the guy that’s running right at them. If Ballage can get to the second level, he’ll likely break a long one against the Bills.
Buffalo allows the ninth-most fantasy points to opposing running backs. In the last three games, five different running backs getting double-digit fantasy days against the Bills. Ironically, the split between Kenyan Drake and Kalen Ballage stopped Ballage from completing this task four weeks ago. Last week, Nick Chubb crushed them, and the week before, it was Adrian Peterson. Before that, the tandem of Miles Sanders and Jordan Howard both went over 100 yards with a score. The Dolphins are extremely short on running back talent now, and this could be the fantasy game of Ballage’s career. It could also be 24 touches for 45 yards.
Deep Dive Week 11 Running Back Sleeper:
Raheem Mostert versus Arizona (8% Owned)
San Francisco’s resident indestructible cyborg, Matt Breida, has sprung a leak. It looks as though Matt Breida’s ankle injury will hold him out at least this week against the Cardinals. In steps Raheem Mostert into a position where he’s been twice before. And twice before he’s produced as one of the week’s running back sleepers. Mostert has been a spot starter/spot short-side-of-the-platoon player for the Niners the last two seasons, usually in Breida’s stead. Mostert has never had more than 46% of the snaps for the Niners, but in games where he’s had more than 25%, he’s been a great spot starter. In those games, he averages 79 yards and a catch, and he’s kicked in two touchdowns in the seven games matching those criteria. He’s done all of this on a paltry 10.7 touches per game in qualifying contests.
In short, if and when Raheem Mostert gets touches for the 49ers, he does not disappoint.
All in all, the Cardinals are a positive matchup. They allow the twelfth-most fantasy points to running backs. Matt Breida had double-digit fantasy points two weeks ago against these very Cardinals, and Ronald Jones & Peyton Barber combined for 35.3 fantasy points against them last weekend. Start Raheem Mostert with confidence if you’re in a roster pinch. He has a chance to kick in a touchdown, but he’s been extremely productive in limited touches when given the opportunity.
(Header Image Source: Brian Hill on Twitter)