Fantasy Football Waiver Wire Pickups: Week 14
A lot of familiar faces return to the waiver-wire scene. Apparently, not nearly enough managers added them in time to enjoy strong Week 13 results before the fantasy playoffs.
This week, it feels especially important to highlight the strong Week 14 matchup plays not listed below. Before looking to the following quarterback streamers, see if Jacoby Brissett (47% rostered, vs. TB) or Sam Darnold (42%, vs. MIA) are still available. A handful of productive tight ends (Jack Doyle, Dallas Goedert, Kyle Rudolph, Jacob Hollister, Ryan Griffin) remain unclaimed in plenty of spots, and the best defenses to stream (CLE vs. CIN, IND at TB, TEN at OAK) fall within the 40-50% range.
There are still plenty of players, including more intriguing running backs than usual, rostered at or below the 30% cutoff point. Waiver-wire claims — and especially FAAB budgeting — becomes entirely dependent on team context, but the right adds could bring you one step closer to a championship.
Ryan Tannehill (TEN): 30% Rostered (17% FAAB)
He’s technically at 30.2%, which is more than 30, but that seemed like too minuscule a difference to justify instead discussing Devlin Hodges or Andy Dalton. As mentioned last week, a matchup against Indianapolis wasn’t particularly tempting for Tannehill. He indeed fell off a bit with 182 passing yards and two touchdowns. It was, however, a strong real-life performance considering he went 17-of-22 with a 131.2 quarterback rating in a 31-17 win. He also again cemented an impressively high floor — those 13.8 fantasy points from Week 13 represent his 2019 low as a starter — entering far prettier matchups against the Raiders and Texans.
Ryan Fitzpatrick (MIA): 8% Rostered (12% FAAB)
Those who acted early might have made the playoff because of Fitzpatrick, who has supplied 49.9 fantasy points in the last two games. He tallied three touchdowns in each contest; the first included 45 yards and a rushing score before he eviscerated the Eagles for 365 passing yards and a trio of strikes through the air. The last time he tossed three passing touchdowns: Week 9 against the Jets. In quintessential Jets fashion, their momentum abruptly halted when once again losing to a winless squad aiming for the No. 1 pick. With no rushing game to speak of in Miami, Fitzpatrick has averaged 37.3 pass attempts in seven games since reclaiming the starting role from Josh Rosen. Perhaps the 37-year-old has a little more magic left in the tank.
Alexander Mattison (MIN): 23% Rostered (90% FAAB)
Dalvin Cook exited Monday night’s game in the third quarter with a shoulder injury. If the prognosis is anything but rosy, go get Mattison at all costs. Arguably the most valuable handcuff in fantasy football, Mattison entered this game as Minnesota attempted to erase a deficit. He thus picked up 51 of his 73 yards as a receiver, but he’d inflict plenty of damage on the ground in a full game as the featured back. Averaging 4.8 yards per carry, the rookie has brandished standalone value in some lopsided victories this season. If Cook can’t go, Mattison is a low-end RB1 against a Detroit defense allowing the third-most fantasy points to running backs. Even if Cook is active, there’s a good chance the Vikings handle their starter with extreme caution as heavy home favorites. Those who roster Cook need to bid every remaining cent on Mattison.
Raheem Mostert (SF): 14% Rostered (40% FAAB)
Mostert nearly made last week’s column on the strength of a late 15-yard touchdown, but he still had not enjoyed double-digit touches in a single game since Week 3. His already scarce role was also in danger of further evaporating if Matt Breida returned from an ankle injury. Not only did Breida stay sidelined, but Mostert suddenly supplanted Tevin Coleman as San Francisco’s featured back. Against Baltimore, which entered the possible Super Bowl preview ranked third against the run, Mostert amassed 146 rushing yards and a touchdown on 19 carries. Coleman, meanwhile, took the rock five times for just six rushing yards in a showdown with significant division and seeding implications.
If Kyle Shanahan continues this backfield meritocracy, Mostert could run away with the starting role just in time for the fantasy playoffs. Even in a tough Week 14 matchup at New Orleans, that’s prime real estate at the heart of the NFL’s premier rushing offense. He would have commanded nearly the entire remaining FAAB budget if not for Breida potentially returning to reform a three-man committee.
Benny Snell Jr. (PIT): 25% Rostered (35% FAAB)
Another game without James Conner yielded 63 rushing yards and a score for Snell. He has 39 touches in two outings without Conner and 18 in a Week 6 bout that the starter left early. The rookie will continue to get all of the running opportunities if Conner can’t go, and there could be plenty with the 7-5 Steelers facing the 3-8-1 Cardinals.
Darwin Thompson (KC): 5% Rostered (22% FAAB)
Already missing Damien Williams, the Chiefs also lost Darrel Williams to a non-contact leg injury. Interestingly enough, LeSean McCoy still only mustered five carries in a 40-9 blowout over Oakland. Kansas City instead dusted off Thompson, who registered 44 yards and a touchdown on 11 handoffs. The trendy preseason sleeper entered Week 13 with eight touches on 21 snaps all season. Thompson will play a part in a prolific offense — albeit against the Patriots — if both Williams’ can’t suit up. Andy Reid already deemed Darrel unlikely to play this Sunday.
Peyton Barber (TB): 29% Rostered (18% FAAB)
If you’ve trusted a Tampa Bay running back at any point this season, Bruce Arians has already broken your spirit. He seemed to anoint Ronald Jones the starter, only to go back to a committee. Just as Jones looks poised to take the wheel once more, Barber instead hammered home two goal-line touchdowns on 17 carries against the Jaguars. Courtesy of Pewter Report, Arians said the change of heart was simply because Jones “missed a blitz pick up and that’s it, you don’t get to play anymore.” So it’s equally likely Barber gets benched again if he fumbles once, gets stuffed on a single run, or sneezes in the huddle. But most gamers can’t ignore a running back with a chance of drawing double-digit carries with goal-line work.
Patrick Laird (MIA): 1% Rostered (2% FAAB)
Back in Week 12, touting Laird became so trendy that it started to feel like a parody. Once the industry was through shaming everyone who took that plunge — all for 20 measly yards — he caught four of five targets for 43 yards while punching home a one-yard rushing score (and ensuing two-point conversion). He amassed five yards on 10 handoffs, so don’t expect any running results even if starting in place of Kalen Ballage. Yet if Miami must turn to its fourth-string running back following Ballard’s leg injury, Laird could at least receive enough pass-catching work to make a viable choice in deeper PPR leagues. Don’t get too hyped, though; investors should be elated if he provides a Week 13 encore against the Jets.
James Washington (PIT): 23% Rostered (45% FAAB)
Washington is listed here seemingly every week, but nothing he does seems to move the needle. A week after collecting a 79-yard touchdown from Devlin Hodges, the second-year pro rediscovered the end zone while quickly topping Week 12’s personal high with 111 yards. He now has 490 yards over his last seven games. That’s nearly the same per-game average (70.0) as Allen Robinson (70.8) has amassed this season. Three of Washington’s last four contests have also featured at least 90 yards and a score. Although certainly not a PPR monster, there’s too much big-play upside to keep overlooking him entering Week 14’s matchup against Arizona’s NFL-worst passing defense.
Zach Pascal (IND): 21% Rostered (34% FAAB)
Playing without T.Y. Hilton (calf), Parris Campbell (hand) and Eric Ebron (ankle), Pascal regained the spotlight for his most targets (11), receptions (seven), and receiving yards (109) of 2019. Before spending all of your FAAB, Pascal has deceived everyone before this season. He’s followed a 106-yard, two-touchdown Week 7 with six yards and deposited 26 yards against Miami after posting 76 yards and a score against Pittsburgh. A maddening waiver-wire option throughout the season, the 24-year-old nevertheless cannot be ignored heading into a savory matchup against the Buccaneers. Pascal will be a major difference-maker to start in leagues of all sizes if Hilton misses another game. He could still at least hold WR4 appeal if Hilton plays. The Colts are down another receiver after Chester Rogers suffered a season-ending knee injury.
Anthony Miller (CHI): 12% Rostered (27% FAAB)
Last week’s column highlighted Miller as a wideout of intrigue due to the matchup and Taylor Gabriel‘s concussion. He did better than expected, setting season-highs in targets (13), catches (nine), and receiving yards (140) in Thursday’s 24-20 win over the Lions. The second-year pro now has now compiled 21 receptions on 33 targets for 271 yards over the last three games. Miller will look to stay hot against the Cowboys, who got ravaged by Cole Beasley from the slot on Thanksgiving. Even without a single end-zone visit, there’s way too much volume to let him fester on the waiver wire.
Cole Beasley (BUF): 28% Rostered (24% FAAB)
Speaking of Beasley, he took one of six catches to the end zone for the second straight week, giving him five touchdowns since the start of Week 7. He also challenged the perception as a solid, no-frills floor piece by procuring a season-best 110 yards. That gives him 52.9 yards per game in 2019 and 298 total yards in his past four contests. A tough schedule (vs. BAL, at PIT, at NE) could actually benefit Beasley, as John Brown will have his hands full against top cornerbacks on the outside.
Allen Lazard (GB): 4% Rostered (16% FAAB)
Lazard always shows up higher in FantasyPros’ weekly waiver rankings, which felt odd for a wideout who was averaging 37.8 yards on 4.3 targets per game before Week 13. Aaron Rodgers only looked his way three times against the Giants, but the rookie caught all of them for 103 yards and a touchdown. Without the volume, his value boils down to playing with Rodgers. Lazard is getting steady snaps alongside Davante Adams, so it’s just a matter of involving him more. With a 75.9% catch rate and 15.0 yards per receptions, even six or seven targets a game would elevate him into a starting option.
Russell Gage (ATL): 8% Rostered (8% FAAB)
Last week’s Gage endorsement would have been far stronger if Julio Jones was known to be out. Playing a personal-high 63 snaps, the rookie corralled five of nine targets for 52 yards and his first career touchdown. He’s seen 37 targets in five games since the Falcons traded Mohamed Sanu, so his value isn’t entirely contingent on Jones’ outlook. A deeper option if Atlanta returns to full strength, Gage vaults into WR3 territory if Jones and Austin Hooper miss Week 14’s rematch against Carolina.
Mike Gesicki (MIA): 15% Rostered (24% FAAB)
Make that two touchdowns in as many games for Gesicki, who has now received six or seven targets in each of his last five games. The 6’6″ tight end showed immense vertical ability on his latest score, and that shouldn’t have shocked anyone given his off-the-charts workout metrics. The last time he faced the Jets, he stockpiled a career-high 95 yards. He’ll then stay in MetLife Stadium to oppose the Giants in Week 15 before closing the fantasy playoffs against the Bengals. Gesicki should be considered a top-12 tight end in all three matchups.
Tyler Higbee (LAR): 6% Rostered (9% FAAB)
It was the Cardinals. Don’t get too excited about Higbee’s 107 yards and touchdown in place of a sidelined Gerald Everett. With that said, this was more than simply vulturing a goal-line touchdown against a favorable opponent. Higbee led tight ends in Week 13 receiving yards and fantasy points, so there’s at least some TE2 intrigue if Everett stays out of commission.
Kaden Smith (NYG): 1% Rostered (3% FAAB)
After scoring a touchdown in Week 12, Smith continued to fill in commendably for Evan Engram with 70 yards in the snow. He’s caught 11 of 14 targets in those two games. As long as Engram stays inactive, the sixth-round pick out of Stanford could capitalize on a favorable schedule against Philadelphia (Weeks 14 and 17), Washington, and Miami.
Green Bay Packers: 34% Rostered (8% FAAB)
Let’s cheat on this one. After all, 34 (rounded up from 33.5) is only a little higher than 30. Besides, only 13 defenses meet our rostered eligibility. After picking off Daniel Jones three times in Sunday’s 31-13 win, the Packers get another terrific NFC East draw against Washington. This one takes place at Lambeau Field, where they’ll stay to host the Bears in Week 15.
Houston Texans: 28% Rostered (5% FAAB)
Houston’s 27th-ranked defense doesn’t have much of a pass rush without J.J. Watt and Jadeveon Clowney. It’s still a home matchup against the Broncos, who rank 30th in scoring and 31st in passing offense. They mustered just 218 total yards in Drew Lock‘s NFL debut, making the Texans a tolerable matchup play in competitive leagues where the waiver wire is already ransacked of the top streamers.