Fantasy Football: Week-Ahead Stash Candidates for Week 11

Fantasy football is all about being a step ahead of your competition, and this weekly column aims to help you achieve just that.

The following offers suggestions for players to pick up now (who are currently under 50% rostered) so that that you won’t need to use a high waiver claim or spend a significant amount of free agent acquisition budget (FAB) on them next week.

Cleveland D/ST

ESPN Roster Percentage: 45.9%

The Cleveland Browns will face the Jacksonville Jaguars in Week 12, which is likely to be the fourth career start for sixth-round rookie quarterback Jake Luton. Luton has been underwhelming in his two games of action thus far, as he’s completed 60.3% of his passes for 6.5 yards per attempt while throwing two touchdowns and two interceptions -- but his play under pressure has especially been alarming.

According to Pro Football Focus, Luton has a passer rating of 0.8 under pressure this season, which is the second-worst rate in PFF history (since 2006) among qualifying quarterbacks. That number should be taken with a grain of salt due to a fairly small sample size, but Luton obviously hasn’t performed well under duress.

That spells trouble against the Browns, a defense that ranks seventh in ESPN’s team pass rush win rate and has Defensive Player of the Year candidate Myles Garrett, who is tied for the lead league in sacks.

Before playing Jacksonville next week, Cleveland will face the Philadelphia Eagles this Sunday in another plus-matchup. The Eagles have allowed the fifth-most fantasy points per game to opposing defenses this season, as they have committed the third-most turnovers in the league. Carson Wentz has taken more sacks than any other quarterback. Cleveland D/ST is a solid pickup to start both this week and next.

Derek Carr, QB, Las Vegas Raiders

ESPN Roster Percentage: 42.8%

Derek Carr currently ranks 20th in both pass attempts and fantasy points among all quarterbacks this season. Carr has scored 20-plus fantasy points in four of nine games, but his lack of volume as well as his annually low average depth of target puts a cap on his fantasy upside.

However, Carr should enjoy perhaps his best matchup of the season in Week 12, when the Oakland Raiders play the Atlanta Falcons. On a per-game basis, Atlanta has allowed the third-most pass attempts, second-most yards, most touchdowns and most fantasy points to opposing quarterbacks this season.

Carr has attempted 25 or fewer passes in each of the past three games after throwing 30-plus passes in each of the first seven weeks of the season. Atlanta’s pass-funnel defense should allow Carr enough opportunity to post a solid fantasy performance, and he should be on the radar of fantasy managers looking for a favorable quarterback matchup in the week ahead.

Wayne Gallman, RB, New York Giants

ESPN Roster Percentage: 35.5%

Don’t look now, but Wayne Gallman has recorded double-digit fantasy points and at least one score in each game in the past month. In the New York Giants' past four contests, Gallman is averaging 13.5 carries, 2.5 targets and 2.5 red zone touches per game while playing 53.2% of offensive snaps and earning 58.5% of all backfield touches.

Gallman hasn’t been overly effective with his touches, as he’s averaging 4.0 yards per carry and 4.7 yards per target on a Giants team that ranks 29th in yards per play this season. But even as an inefficient running back in an inefficient offense, Gallman’s role as a player earning double-digit touches and several red zone looks per game is enough to make him a viable streaming option for fantasy managers who are lacking running back depth.

Gallman will have a solid matchup in Week 12 against the Cincinnati Bengals. Cincinnati has allowed the 13th-fewest fantasy points to opposing running backs this season -- in large part because it’s allowed the seventh-fewest touchdowns to the position -- but the Bengals have permitted the second-most yards per carry.

Michael Pittman, WR, Indianapolis Colts

ESPN Roster Percentage: 15.9%

Second-round rookie Michael Pittman Jr. had something of a breakout game in last week’s Thursday Night Football match between the Indianapolis Colts and Tennessee Titans. Pittman corralled seven receptions and 101 yards on eight targets, all of which were team-high clips, while also leading the Colts pass-catchers in snaps.

In Week 1 through Week 8, Pittman totaled 186 offensive snaps, 85 routes run, 13 targets, 10 receptions and 79 yards (he missed Week 4 through Week 7 with a leg injury). In only the past two weeks, he’s earned 116 snaps, 75 routes, 15 targets, 11 receptions and 157 yards.

Pittman looks like Philip Rivers' new go-to receiver, which could be a valuable role considering Indianapolis’ upcoming schedule. Colts receivers have the sixth-easiest remaining schedule in the league (per ESPN’s Mike Clay), and the best single matchup will come in Week 12 in a rematch against a Titans defense that has allowed the fourth-most fantasy points to opposing receivers this season and just allowed Pittman to have the best game of his young career.

Pittman should be much higher rostered than he currently is given his impressive role and favorable schedule.