Editor's note: Eric Karabell is off this week. Tristan H. Cockcroft wrote the Four Downs (Sunday night) and flex rankings (Thursday) KaraBlog entries, KC Joyner wrote the year-to-end ranks KaraBlog entry (Tuesday) and AJ Mass wrote this "sneaky pickups" KaraBlog entry (Friday). Eric will return Sunday night (Nov. 20) with his Four Downs blog entry reacting to Week 11 games.
"Whosoever desires constant success must change his conduct with the times." -- Niccolo Machiavelli
"The times, they are a-changin'" -- Bob Dylan
By Week 11, there are no secrets left to be unearthed in the NFL. After all, this is football and not baseball, so there's no Stephen Strasburg-like phenom about to be sprung on unsuspecting defenses. Team rosters and playing time allocations are pretty much locked into place for the next few weeks, with one caveat, of course injuries.
Those are the game-changers, and savvy owners are sure to spring into action immediately when they occur, possibly even before the injured player in question has even been carted off the field. However, just because a player is "next in line" that doesn't mean he's going to become a permanent fixture.
Cases in point: Matt Cassel and Matt Schaub are both most likely done for the season, so their immediate replacements (in all probability) have already been snatched up in your league. But just because Tyler Palko and Matt Leinart are getting "first dibs" on the quarterback action, it doesn't mean that they're going to perform well enough to keep the jobs. Maybe the better pickup in the long run might be the new "guy in waiting" rather than the one rushed into service.
To see all of this week's sneaky pickups, you must be an ESPN Insider.