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Weekend Waiver Wire Stashes (Week 14 Fantasy Football)

by Mike Tagliere | @MikeTagliereNFL | Featured Writer
Dec 12, 2020

Tim Patrick has overcome a lot in 2020, yet not many have taken notice

How many times have you heard someone telling you to “stream” a position? Whether it be quarterback, tight end, or defense, the idea of streaming is great, provided you get the players you want off the waiver wire. The issue with streaming week-to-week is that everyone knows who you’ll be targeting in those good matchups and you might have that player swiped from underneath you, or even worse, your opponent that week may snag a player just to ensure you don’t get them.

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We started this article so you don’t have to worry about that anymore. Each Saturday morning, you’ll head over to your waiver wire and snag the players who are lined up for good matchups the following week. They may have a brutal matchup for that current week. Great, even better. That just means they’re more likely to be available for you. By snagging them a week prior, you eliminate the need to spend a lot of FAB dollars on the top tier defense that everyone is chasing. Here are the players who have solid Week 15 matchups on tap and are less than 40 percent rostered.

Quarterbacks

Jalen Hurts (PHI) at ARI in Week 15
We don’t really know what to expect from Hurts in his first NFL start, but my guess is that if he’s available in your league, he’ll still be there this time next week. Putting a rookie quarterback in against that Saints defense seems like a disaster, but at least he has mobility, and he seems willing to use it, as he totaled five carries for 29 yards in just one half last week. The Cardinals have allowed a massive 316 rushing yards to quarterbacks, which ranks as the fourth-most in the league. They’ve also allowed 8-of-12 quarterbacks to finish with 18.5-plus fantasy points against them this year. So, provided he makes it through the Saints game as the starter, he should be a decent streamer.

Alex Smith (WAS) vs SEA in Week 15
I didn’t think Smith would make an appearance in here this year, but after throwing for 296 yards and a touchdown against the Steelers, he’s proven to be worthy of consideration, especially in a matchup as good as the one the Seahawks present. Not only has Smith thrown for 296-plus yards in three of his five starts, but the Seahawks have allowed 323.1 passing yards per game, which has led to 10-of-12 quarterbacks finishing with 16-plus fantasy points, presenting a stable floor for Smith. If there’s one thing that Smith has struggled with this year, it’s pressure, though the Seahawks rank as a bottom-12 team in terms of average pressure rate.

Desperation options: Daniel Jones (NYG) vs CLE, Mitch Trubisky (CHI) at MIN

Running Backs

Kalen Ballage (LAC) at LV in Week 15
He’s back on waiver wires with Austin Ekeler back in the lineup but he really shouldn’t be. Not only does he have handcuff value, but he played 27 snaps last week and totaled 11 opportunities. The matchup against the Raiders has been a very good one for running backs, particularly early-down ones, as they’ve allowed the fourth-most fantasy points on the ground to running backs. Sure, Ekeler is going to get his, but the Chargers drafted Joshua Kelley after extending Ekeler, so they clearly had plans of a two-back system, and Ballage has earned that role (Kelley played just 3 snaps last week). I’d expect 10-plus touches for Ballage in this game.

Ito Smith (ATL) vs TB in Week 15
We heard Dirk Koetter admit Todd Gurley has been trying to play through a knee injury, so it shouldn’t be shocking to see him play just 22 snaps in Week 13. That allowed Smith to take a step forward in the offense and lead the team in snaps (yes, he’s passed Brian Hill). Over the last two weeks Smith’s totaled 20 carries and seven targets, which is more than enough to be considered as a streamer. You really shouldn’t be surprised if Gurley is shut down at some point. The Bucs are the fifth-toughest matchup for running backs all together, but if you look at the primary role of Smith as the pass-catcher (has run 29 routes the last two weeks), that’s where they’ve struggled a bit, allowing the sixth-most fantasy points through the air to running backs.

Other alternatives: Gus Edwards (BAL) vs JAX, Peyton Barber (WAS) vs SEA

Wide Receivers

John Brown (BUF) at DEN in Week 15
He’s found his way to the waiver wire in 60 percent of leagues, which is great news for those who stream receivers. The matchup with the Broncos hasn’t been great all year, however things have changed a whole lot over the last few days. The Broncos lost top cornerback A.J. Bouye to suspension, No. 2 cornerback Bryce Callahan to injured reserve, and starting slot cornerback Essang Bassey to injured reserve. They are legit playing nothing but backups. The only risk here with Brown is the chance that he doesn’t return, though by all indications, he should be ready.

Tim Patrick (DEN) vs BUF in Week 15
Wait, Mike… you want us to trust a wide receiver that has Drew Lock throwing him the ball? While I understand that’s a problem, Patrick has made the most of that problem, finishing as a top-36 wide receiver in 7-of-9 games where the Broncos actually had a quarterback under center. He has a ceiling, too, as he’s one of 19 wide receivers who’ve posted three 100-yard games this year. It’s apparent that he’s just never going to get the respect he’s deserved this year.

Russell Gage (ATL) vs TB in Week 15
When playing against Tampa Bay, teams cannot run the ball, plain and simple. The Falcons definitely won’t be able to run the ball. Their run defense is the reason they’ve faced the eighth-most targets to wide receivers. There have been seven slot-heavy wide receivers who’ve finished as the WR44 or better against the Bucs, as the slot is the weak point. Sean Murphy-Bunting covers that area of the field and he’s allowed 36-of-42 passing for 399 yards and three touchdowns in his coverage. Of the 39 cornerbacks who’ve played at least 100 slot snaps in coverage, the 2.24 PPR points per target he’s allowed ranks as the second most. Gage has averaged 7.8 targets over his last four games and should offer a stable floor in this matchup.

Tight Ends

Jordan Reed (SF) at DAL in Week 15
I don’t know why fantasy managers are holding onto Tyler Higbee, but no one wants to grab Reed off waivers. He’s played five full games as the starter without George Kittle and has finished with 11.2 or more PPR points in three of them. He’s averaged 6.0 targets in them, so the volume has been good. There have been seven tight ends who’ve seen four-plus targets against the Cowboys, and six of them were able to finish as top-10 tight ends. They’ve allowed the fourth-most PPR points per target (2.09) to tight ends this year.

Gerald Everett (LAR) vs NYJ in Week 15
It’s easy to glance over Everett because most believe he’s the No. 2 tight end on the Rams. From the start of Week 3, Everett has totaled 34/344/1 for 61.6 half-PPR points while Tyler Higbee has totaled 26/285/1 for 49.6 half-PPR points. Prior to the snooze fest in Week 14, Everett actually ranked 13th in targets among tight ends from Week 7 through Week 13, averaging 5.2 targets per game during that time. The Jets are the worst in the league against tight ends. How bad are they? Well, they’ve allowed 2.29 PPR points per target this year. Remember the Cardinals last year? They allowed 2.32 PPR points per target, so we’re in the same ballpark of bad.

Last-ditch option: Cole Kmet (CHI) at MIN

DSTs

Washington Football Team vs SEA in Week 15
I know what you’re thinking… play a defense against the Seahawks? To be completely fair, they’ve allowed the 17th-most fantasy points to their opponents. A large part of that is because they’ve allowed Russell Wilson to be sacked 40 times, which is the third-highest number in the NFL. That pressure has led to Wilson throwing 11 interceptions. This pressure plays into what Washington really does well, as they’ve generated a sack on 8.3 percent of dropbacks, which ranks third in the league.

Solid alternative: Cleveland Browns at NYG


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Mike Tagliere is a featured writer at FantasyPros. For more from Mike, check out his archive and follow him @MikeTagliereNFL.

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