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Fantasy Football Waiver Wire Pickups: Week 14

by Jody Smith | @JodySmithNFL | Featured Writer
Dec 3, 2018

Ryan Tannehill takes on a very beatable Patriots pass defense in Week 14

Congratulations on making it this far. Week 14 kicks off the fantasy playoffs in the vast majority of leagues and if you still have enough free agency budget left to add postseason depth, you have achieved a great accomplishment over the past 13 weeks. Even if your team has a bye or your league’s playoffs don’t start until next week, it’s important to continue to make your roster better while also blocking your competition from adding potential difference-makers.

Using ownership data from our friends at Yahoo, here are the widely-available fantasy free agents that could be key additions to championship-winning rosters, and how much of your remaining budget you should consider using to acquire them.

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Quarterbacks

Ryan Tannehill (MIA) 6% owned (3% FAAB)
Streaming quarterbacks into the playoffs is never a good idea, but if you’ve made it this far doing so, stick with what’s been working. Tannehill only threw for 137 yards against Buffalo, but has tossed five touchdowns against a single pick in his two games since reclaiming his job. It’s not saying much, but Tannehill has been a substantial improvement over Brock Osweiler and should remain the starter for the rest of the season.

This week, the Dolphins host a New England Patriots’ secondary that has allowed the 10th-most fantasy points to quarterbacks this season. It’s also a matchup that Tannehill has enjoyed some success against. In his last three home games against New England, Tannehill has averaged 280 passing yards per game and thrown seven touchdowns against one interception.

Josh Allen (BUF) 5% owned (3% FAAB)
The much-maligned first-round rookie is coming off of the best fantasy game of his career, mainly due to running for a career-high 135 yards. Allen is still a work in progress as a thrower, but he’s run for 234 yards in the past two weeks — 88 more than Lamar Jackson has run for in the same span. Despite only playing in eight games, Allen is third among all NFL signal-callers with 389 yards on the ground.

That kind of production can’t be ignored in fantasy lineups, where rushing prowess can off-set a lack of throwing. The Bills play a Jets squad that has been average against quarterbacks, but New York has been vulnerable on the ground to athletic QBs.

Running Backs

Jeff Wilson (SF) 1% owned (50% FAAB)
Matt Breida re-injured his troublesome ankle before Week 13 even got underway, which led to Wilson acting as San Francisco’s lead back in Seattle. Breida rushed five times for six yards while Wilson generated 61 yards on 15 attempts. He also caught eight-of-nine targets for an additional 73 yards. In all, Wilson turned 23 touches into 134 yards.

Breida has already been ruled out for Week 14, which should lead to Wilson having a feature role similar to last week’s usage against the Seahawks. San Francisco ends the season with three straight home games versus Denver, Seattle, and Chicago. Not an ideal run of games, but potentially locking up a starting running back this late warrants an aggressive waiver bid. This is what you’ve been stashing those dollars for. Time to use ’em.

Justin Jackson (LAC) 22% owned (30% FAAB)
Word broke Sunday that Melvin Gordon could return as early as this week, but it’s more likely that he’s held out until Week 15 or later to rest up for the pending NFL postseason. Austin Ekeler is Gordon’s direct backup, but Ekeler struggled in Pittsburgh, producing a mere 21 yards on 15 rushes. Jackson got involved in the second half and averaged a whopping 7.9 yards per carry and scored the go-ahead touchdown.

Ekeler has struggled in both starts this season, so expectations are that Jackson will now get a larger share of the carries starting in Week 14 against a Bengals defense that has ceded the most fantasy points to running backs. Ekeler should remain a factor as a receiver, but Jackson is worth a strong bid facing a fantastic matchup.

Jaylen Samuels (PIT) 8% owned (15% FAAB)
James Conner exited Week 13’s loss with a knee contusion, and Samuels came in and scored a touchdown on a reception. It doesn’t sound like Mike Tomlin is too concerned about Conner’s injury, but the need for Conner owners to potentially secure the handcuff is now apparent.

Conner has been a true workhorse and if he were to be limited or miss Week 14, Samuels has the potential to be a solid RB2 in Oakland. As a bonus for Yahoo fantasy leaguers, Samuels has tight end eligibility, which would make him an intriguing option in that slot.

Darren Sproles (PHI) 5% owned (5% FAAB)
Sproles finally returned to the Eagles on Monday and looked good. He even got into the end zone against Washington. While he won’t get a ton of touches sharing snaps with Josh Adams and Corey Clement, Sproles can be a useful pass-catching weapon out of the backfield.

Damien Williams (KC) 24% owned (5% FAAB)
Spencer Ware is the Kansas City back to own, but Williams got seven touches and could factor in as a pass catcher for a potent Chiefs offense. Ware’s 15 touches generated 52 total yards, while Williams totaled 45. The Chiefs could choose to move forward with more of a committee backfield, which would let Williams factor in as a potential PPR factor.

Chase Edmonds (ARI) 1% owned (1% FAAB)
Those two touchdowns pop out on the stat sheet, but Edmonds only received seven touches against Green Bay, while David Johnson tripled that total. Edmonds is little more than a handcuff for Johnson owners but is on the fantasy radar for Johnson owners looking to protect their ailing starter.

Wide Receivers 

Dante Pettis (SF) 3% owned (18% FAAB)
Second-round rookie Dante Pettis has taken advantage of the absences of Marquise Goodwin and Pierre Garçon to emerge as a legitimate NFL and fantasy threat in San Francisco’s offense. Over his past two games, Pettis caught nine balls for 206 yards and three touchdowns. Pettis has also flashed excellent route-running and showcased his big-play ability. Even if Goodwin or Garçon return, Pettis has likely earned a big role down the stretch and offers a ton of upside as a potential WR3 down the stretch.

Curtis Samuel (CAR) 18% owned (15% FAAB)
Samuel just had his best game of the season, catching six passes for 88 yards against Tampa Bay. With Greg Olsen re-injuring his foot and Devin Funchess still working through a back injury, Samuel should continue to play a ton of snaps and be a factor as a receiver and touchdown scorer. Carolina also has a fantastic schedule for the fantasy playoffs, which includes this week’s tilt in Cleveland, then concludes with two home games versus New Orleans and Atlanta’s struggling secondaries.

Bruce Ellington (DET) 9% owned (8% FAAB)
Ellington has taken over as Detroit’s slot receiver and caught 19-of-26 targets over Detroit’s past three games. He doesn’t offer a lot of touchdown upside, but Ellington can be a useful source of targets and catches against Arizona reserve slot corner Leonard Johnson.

Randall Cobb (GB) 34% owned (6% FAAB)
Cobb returned from a three-game absence to play a healthy 61 snaps in Green Bay’s stunning home loss to Arizona. Cobb only caught three-of-five targets for 25 yards, but he should remain Green Bay’s slot receiver moving forward. While the Packers are in turmoil with a new head coach, Cobb should be a decent source of targets and catches.

DeVante Parker (MIA) 10% owned (5% FAAB) and Kenny Stills (MIA) 30% owned (5% FAAB)
Ryan Tannehill is more likely to get the ball into the hands of his top playmakers, which led to the best game in over a month for both of the Dolphins’ top-two wideouts. Stills has always had a solid rapport with Tannehill, especially as a scorer. Stills scored 15 touchdowns from 2016-2017. Parker scored his first touchdown of the 2018 season in Week 13 against the Bills. Both players are on the WR3/4 radar against the Patriots in Week 14.

Tight Ends

Ian Thomas (CAR) 1% owned (4% FAAB)
Thomas will now take over for Greg Olsen, who suffered a season-ending foot injury. Last week, Thomas came off the bench to secure a season-high five grabs against Tampa Bay. Thomas caught eight passes for 68 yards from Weeks 2-5 while Olsen was originally sidelined by a different foot injury. The rookie fourth-rounder now takes over as the starter and gets a favorable schedule, making him a decent add for teams that have been hit hard by the injury bug.

Charles Clay (BUF) 8% owned (3% FAAB)
Clay caught his first pass since Week 8 and failed to come up with what would have been a game-winning end-zone grab from Josh Allen. Even when he was healthy, Clay has yet to surpass 40 yards in Buffalo’s stunted passing offense, but he can be a dependable option who generally catches three or four each week.

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Jody Smith is a featured writer at FantasyPros. For more from Jody, check out his archive and follow him @JodySmithNFL.

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