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Week 14 Waiver Wire Pickups (2020 Fantasy Football)

by Andrew Gould | @andrewgould4 | Featured Writer
Dec 8, 2020

 
The mere fact that you’re still reading a waiver-wire column is a good sign.

No matter the precise circumstances, Week 14 is pivotal in all fantasy football formats. Whether you’re starting the playoffs, advancing to the second round, or looking to secure a postseason spot, the stakes are as dire as a game based on a game can get. Even if a title isn’t in sight, don’t let anyone convince you that it’s wrong to make moves until the season ends — as long as your league has no rules against it — for the sake of pride and competition.

This late in the game, most pickups are based solely on your roster. If you need a wide receiver, don’t spin your wheels playing running back roulette. The quarterbacks available in at least 50% of Yahoo leagues aren’t too tantalizing, but there are actually more intriguing tight ends than usual.

Keep in mind that Cam Akers (53%), Cole Beasley (58%), Le’Veon Bell (60%), and Derek Carr (51%) narrowly missed the cut. Akers and Beasley are especially high-priority adds if available.

Note: Rostered percentages provided via Yahoo leagues.

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Top 5 Waiver Targets of Week 14

T.Y. Hilton (WR – IND): 45% Rostered
Hilton went nine games without a touchdown before scoring in back-to-back games. After recording a season-high 81 receiving yards in Week 12, he quickly topped it Sunday with 110. Even more encouraging for his rest-of-season stock, the speedy playmaker also set 2020 bests in targets (11) and catches (eight) during a 26-20 victory over the Texans. He’ll get that feeble Texans secondary again in Week 15 after facing the Raiders this Sunday. Hilton disappointed anyone who drafted him this season, but he’s now in position to delight those willing to give the Indianapolis wideout a second chance.

Keke Coutee (WR – HOU): 27% Rostered
In Houston’s first game without the suspended Will Fuller, Coutee led the team in targets (nine), receptions (eight), and receiving yards (141). Entering Week 13 with 38 yards all season, he shattered that tally with an early 64-yard strike from Deshaun Watson.

He’s unlikely to outdo Brandin Cooks too often going forward, as the latter left Sunday’s game (and later returned) to get evaluated for a concussion. Nevertheless, Coutee is now a prominent option in an explosive offense. The opposing Bears have faltered mightily in recent weeks, but Coutee could particularly be a game-changer later in the fantasy playoffs when facing the Colts, Bengals, and Titans over the final three weeks.

Adrian Peterson (RB – DET): 48% Rostered
D’Andre Swift did not progress enough from a concussion to return Week 13. In his absence, Peterson has posted two touchdowns in each of the last two games. After gaining 55 yards on 15 Thanksgiving carries, he delivered a near carbon-copy line with 16 rushes for 57 yards against a far more dangerous Chicago front seven. Peterson’s comments about Swift not yet seeming like himself are concerning for the rookie’s health, so there’s no reason to push him back. The veteran has carved out enough of a consistent role in his place to plug into a flex spot.

Ty Johnson (RB – NYJ): 2% Rostered
Having compiled 38 touches over the past two games, Frank Gore entered Week 13’s contest against the Raiders with elevated expectations. However, he left early with a concussion. The Jets transferred his workload to Johnson, who collected 22 carries for 104 yards and a touchdown. Claimed off waivers from Detroit two months, the 2019 sixth-round pick played 63% of New York’s snaps in a clutch crushing loss to the Raiders. Just as was the case with Gore in weeks past, Johnson’s touch count is too high to ignore for a widely available running back.

Logan Thomas (TE – WAS): 40% Rostered
Thomas has given gamers a headache all season long. He’s shown sparks throughout 2020, scoring five touchdowns with a heavy snap rate and fair share of targets at tight end. Yet those who bought in have likely gotten burned, as he has three games with fewer than 10 yards and six at 31 or under. The window stayed open for a breakout, but it never came. Not until Monday. Having previously never posted more than four catches in a game, he submitted nine (on as many targets) against the Steelers for a season-high 98 yards and a touchdown. Since he found the end zone the previous week as well, Thomas now demands attention as a playable top-12 tight end capable of ending the waiver-wire search at tight end.

Notable Players 36-50% Rostered

Philip Rivers (QB – IND): 40%
Rivers has thrown for at least 285 yards in each of his last four games. Although hardly breaking the bank in terms of fantasy production, the newly turned 39-year-old has recorded at least 16 points in six of his last seven contests. His next two opponents, the Raiders and Texans, respectively rank 24th and 21st in passing defense.

Nelson Agholor (WR – LV): 40%
Henry Ruggs III made the 46-yard touchdown grab to keep the Jets winless, but it’s hard to recommend the rookie when the Raiders have another deep threat producing more in enhanced opportunities. Despite finishing Week 13 with a humdrum four catches for 38 yards, Agholor’s 11 targets should not go unnoticed. He now has 26 targets in his last three games, a significant development after accruing 29 through Week 10. Agholor has more touchdowns (six) than Ruggs (two) while averaging a 14.9-yard average depth of target. Even with Ruggs’ game-winning bomb in a game dominated by Darren Waller, Agholor accounted for over 44% of Derek Carr’s intended air yards, per NFL Next Gen Stats. He remains the superior high-upside add.

Notable Players 10-35% Rostered

Washington D/ST: 24%
The 49ers would have headlined Week 14’s defenses to stream on the other end of this matchup if not for getting dismantled by Josh Allen and the Bills. Suddenly, their opponents look like a better option. After handing Pittsburgh its first loss of the season, Washington has relinquished just 32 points over a three-game winning streak. The Steelers held them sackless for the first time in 2020, but the Football Team still has 36 — tied with the Rams and Saints for third in the NFL — in 12 games. Nick Mullens has capitulated nine interceptions and 13 sacks in eight games.

Tim Patrick (WR – DEN): 21%
Erasing the Week 12 debacle from memory, Patrick is averaging 69.25 receiving yards with five touchdowns (two on Sunday night) over his last eight games. Even in a desolate Denver offense, he’s cleared 100 yards three times and offered double-digit half-PPR points in six contests this season. He’ll never accrue a high catch tally alongside the inaccurate Drew Lock, but the 27-year-old has a clear knack for making big plays.

Arizona Cardinals D/ST: 21%
Although he helmed Big Blue’s offense in a monumental Week 13 upset over the Seahawks, Colt McCoy still succumbed to two sacks, a pick, and a safety with just 105 passing yards. The Giants hope Daniel Jones will return this week, but that’s not necessarily bad for Arizona’s defense. The second-year quarterback has surrendered nine interceptions and seven fumbles this season, causing the NFC East leaders to give up the seventh-most fantasy points to opposing defenses prior to last week.

Mitchell Trubisky (QB – CHI): 13%
Baker Mayfield — in a game delayed and impeded by severe weather — is the only quarterback since the start of Week 5 to fall short of 285 passing yards against the Texans. That list includes Gardner Minshew, Cam Newton, and Jake Luton. They tie the Eagles with an NFL-low three interceptions while yielding the fifth-most yards per pass attempt (7.8). You’d have to be really desperate to roll out Trubisky in a single-quarterback league, but the matchup makes him a better two-quarterback or Superflex option than usual.

Denzel Mims (WR – NYJ) 11%
With his stock rising, it was disappointing to see Mims settle for 40 yards on just three targets last Sunday. Yet both represented career-lows, putting his averages at 54 yards and six targets per game. He also chipped in a two-point conversion, keeping that floor steady for a WR4 on an 0-12 team. An improving Seattle defense still presents a promising Week 14 matchup for the neophyte.

Notable Players <10% Rostered

Anthony Firkser (TE – TEN): 9%
MyCole Pruitt snatched two touchdowns (one of which was a fumble recovery inside the end zone) in place of the inactive Jonnu Smith. Firkser, however, factored more heavily into Tennessee’s passing offense. In two fewer snaps (30) than Pruitt, Firkser secured five of seven targets for 51 yards. A Week 14 matchup against Jacksonville makes him a playable streamer if Smith sits out once more. Just keep in mind that an enormous early deficit forced Ryan Tannehill to attempt a season-high 45 passes against the Browns. You’ll probably need the touchdown from Firkser this time.

Rashard Higgins (WR – CLE): 8%
Higgins joined the party for 95 yards and a touchdown in Cleveland’s 41-35 victory over the Titans, matching a season-high six catches from Week 6. He’s shown spurts of big-play potential when Mayfield is clicking, but that’s proven far from the norm. When Cleveland’s passing offense stumbles, so does Higgins. He’s accrued 15 or fewer receiving yards in four games, so he’s a boom-or-bust dart throw for deeper leagues. Don’t throw it in Week 14 against Baltimore, but he may have one more blowup left in the tank when facing the Giants and Jets in Weeks 15 and 16, respectively.

Gabriel Davis (WR – BUF): 5%
Davis has registered 147 yards and two touchdowns in Buffalo’s last two games without John Brown. Even as the clear third option behind Stefon Diggs and Beasley, the rookie has had ample room to make big plays. He’s an appealing option in deeper leagues, though a Week 14 matchup against the Steelers keeps him confined to WR4 territory.

Ito Smith (RB – ATL): 5%
Even in Todd Gurley‘s return, Smith matched his eight carries with modest team-high tallies in snaps (24) and rushing yards (38). The previous week, which Gurley missed due to a knee injury, Smith punched in a rushing touchdown on one of his four red-zone carries. Keep in mind that Atlanta plays two of its final four games (Weeks 15 and 17) against Tampa Bay’s NFL-best rushing defense, so a diversified workload may merely make it easier to avoid this backfield altogether.

Peyton Barber (RB – WAS): 1%
Just as he began to cement his status as a fantasy cornerstone, Antonio Gibson exited Monday’s game early with a toe injury. While J.D. McKissic flourished with a heavy pass-catching role, Barber handled a team-high 14 carries. Although he mustered just 23 yards on the ground, he also punched in a touchdown for the first time since scoring two in the opening week. Gibson had garnered 11 rushing touchdowns in the time between. If Gibson misses time, Barber is a touchdown-dependent option in deeper leagues. In the event of a long-term absence for the rookie, keep in mind that Barber would get a golden Week 16 home matchup against Carolina. McKissic once again is a potential PPR game-changer to snag if available.

Cole Kmet (TE – CHI): 1%
There’s a new primary tight end in Chicago. Jimmy Graham went catchless for the second time in three weeks last Sunday. Kmet, meanwhile, found the end zone while amassing single-game highs in targets (seven) and catches (five). The rookie has seen the field significantly more than Graham lately, playing at least 70% of Chicago’s offensive snaps in each of the last three games. Look for the second-round pick’s role to expand over the final month, putting him in TE2 and possible streamer territory.

Drew Sample (TE – CIN): 1%
It’s a small Sample size, but Cincinnati’s tight end has caught 11 of 12 targets for 89 yards in two games without Joe Burrow. With neither Brandon Allen nor Ryan Finley able to move the ball much downfield, Sample could serve as a short-field safety valve and playable TE2 in deeper formats. A Week 14 matchup against Dallas would be as good a time as any to produce a worthwhile fantasy line.

Collin Johnson (WR – JAC): 0%
Rather than Keelan Cole Sr. or Laviska Shenault Jr., Johnson took center stage for 96 yards and a touchdown when Jacksonville played without D.J. Chark Jr. and Chris Conley in Week 12. Even with Chark and Conley back in action, Johnson procured a team-high 66 receiving yards in Sunday’s overtime loss to Minnesota. While the wide receiver room is likely too crowded to trust any of them in your starting lineup, at least one of them is likely to have a strong Week 14 against a Tennessee defense shredded by Mayfield over the weekend. Yet another promising rookie wide receiver, the 6’6″ newcomer at least warrants a roster spot in deeper leagues.

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Andrew Gould is a featured writer at FantasyPros. For more from Andrew, check out his archive and follow him @andrewgould4.

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