Fantasy football can be an extremely fun game to play. It can also be highly frustrating at times. Nothing is more annoying than needing to make a last-minute waiver wire move because someone in your starting lineup is out for the week.
Sadly, there isn’t much you can do about it. However, I’m going to try and help.
Every week I will have six players you can grab off the waiver wire at the last minute and throw into your lineup. Some will succeed, while others will fail. Unfortunately, that’s how the game of fantasy football is played.
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Last-Minute Waiver Wire Pickups & Injury Replacements
All the players in this article are rostered in under 35% of ESPN leagues.
Gardner Minshew (QB – IND) vs. Cincinnati Bengals (16.4% Rostered)
Last week, Minshew was one of my favorite quarterback streaming options. He had an appealing fantasy matchup against the Tennessee Titans and produced. The veteran quarterback completed 61.9% of his pass attempts for 312 yards and two touchdowns, scoring 18.7 fantasy points in the overtime win. After a few poor performances heading into the bye week, Minshew has played well lately. He has scored 14.6 or more fantasy points in four of the past six games, averaging 1.5 passing touchdowns and 0.8 rushing scores in those four matchups.
More importantly, the Colts will lean on the passing attack with Jonathan Taylor out of the lineup. Meanwhile, the Bengals have surrendered 17.8 fantasy points per game to quarterbacks this year, the seventh-most in the NFL. However, they have severely struggled to slow down quarterbacks lately. Cincinnati gave up 21.5 fantasy points per game to quarterbacks over the past five weeks, including 24 or more three times. While he won’t have a massive performance, Minshew should put up 17 fantasy points against this struggling defense.
Keaton Mitchell (RB – BAL) vs. Los Angeles Rams (34.3% Rostered)
The rookie running back has been a pleasant surprise to the Baltimore backfield. Mitchell was the RB19 from Week 9 through Week 12, averaging 67.3 rushing yards and 11.9 half-point PPR fantasy points per game. Furthermore, he has averaged 9.3 yards per rushing attempt and 7.5 yards after contact (per Fantasy Points Data) since becoming part of the backfield in Week 9. More importantly, Mitchell has cut into Gus Edwards‘ workload. The rookie had nearly twice as many snaps as the veteran in the Week 12 win against the Los Angeles Chargers.
Baltimore has to lean on their run game more than ever with Mark Andrews out of the year and Odell Beckham Jr. not at 100%. Meanwhile, the Rams have held running backs to 15.9 fantasy points per game this season, the seventh-fewest in the NFL. However, no one runs the ball like the Ravens. More importantly, Los Angeles has struggled at times against opposing rushing attacks, including last week against the Cleveland Browns. Mitchell has explosive rushing abilities and only needs to break one run to score double-digit fantasy points.
Hopefully, the talented rookie is available on your waiver wire. However, if Mitchell isn’t available, Joshua Kelley (11.1% rostered) is an appealing backup option. Head coach Brandon Staley suggested the former UCLA star could see more touches this week. More importantly, he faces a Denver Broncos defense that has had no answers for opposing running backs, giving up the most rushing yards (128.8) and fantasy points per game (26.5). Hopefully, Kelley gets enough touches to find the end zone against the division rivals.
Ty Chandler (RB – MIN) vs. Las Vegas Raiders (24.9% Rostered)
While the Vikings will stick with Joshua Dobbs at quarterback in Week 14, don’t be surprised if the team shakes things up in the backfield. Chandler had only four rushing attempts compared to 10 for Alexander Mattison in the team’s last game. However, the veteran running back has been on the brink of losing his starting job all year. More importantly, Chandler had back-to-back impressive performances before the Week 12 loss to the Chicago Bears, totaling at least 10.5 half-point PPR fantasy points in both contests.
Meanwhile, Minnesota is coming off their bye and had had two weeks to prepare for the Raiders. Las Vegas has surrendered 22.6 fantasy points per game to running backs, the sixth-most in the NFL. They have given up over 175 rushing yards to running backs twice. More importantly, the Raiders had no answer for Isiah Pacheco in their last game, giving up two rushing touchdowns to the second-year player. If Chandler can get enough touches, the former UNC star should be a solid flex option in Week 14.
Jameson Williams (WR – DET) vs. Chicago Bears (13.1% Rostered)
Fantasy players have been waiting for Williams to have a breakout performance. However, the former Alabama star missed the first four games this year with a suspension. Since his season debut in Week 5, Williams has been the WR59, averaging 5.7 half-point PPR fantasy points per game. Yet, the second-year player has been the WR29 over the past three weeks, averaging nine fantasy points per game, totaling 9.5 or more twice, including last week. More importantly, fantasy players should have high hopes for him in a critical NFC North matchup.
The Lions faced the Bears back in Week 11. Williams had two receptions on three targets for 44 receiving yards and a touchdown, scoring 11.4 fantasy points. It was the second-best fantasy game of his young career. Meanwhile, Chicago has surrendered 27 fantasy points per game to wide receivers this season, slightly above the league average. However, they have given up the sixth-highest catch rate (73%) and 11th-most receiving yards per game (248.3) in 2023 (per Fantasy Points Data). Don’t be surprised if Williams has his second consecutive double-digit performance against the Bears.
Xavier Gipson (WR – NYJ) vs. Houston Texans (0.5% Rostered)
Many had never heard of Gipson until the Jets were on Hard Knocks this season. However, New York is playing for the future and decided to give the undrafted rookie wide receiver more of a role on offense. After totaling two targets over the first eight weeks, Gipson has averaged three targets per game over the past five weeks, seeing at least two in every contest. More importantly, he had five receptions on six targets for 77 receiving yards and 10.3 half-point PPR fantasy points last week, all career-highs.
This week, Gipson faces a Houston defense that has held wide receivers to 25.8 fantasy points per game this year, slightly below the league average. However, the Texans have struggled to slow down slot receivers over the past month. Since Derek Stingley Jr. returned from an injury in Week 10, Houston has the fifth-highest target slot rate in the league (per Fantasy Points Data). Furthermore, the Texans have given up 10.9 or more fantasy points to opposing slot receivers in three of the past four games. Gipson should keep that trend alive on Sunday.
Tanner Hudson (TE – CIN) vs. Indianapolis Colts (4.5% Rostered)
Last week, the Bengals’ offense looked like it hadn’t missed a beat without Joe Burrow under center. Jake Browning completed 86.5% of his pass attempts for 354 yards and 26.2 fantasy points in the win over the Jacksonville Jaguars. While Ja’Marr Chase was the focal point of the passing attack, Hudson had a solid performance, totaling four receptions for 35 receiving yards and 5.5 half-point PPR fantasy points. Furthermore, it was the fourth time over the past five weeks that the veteran tight end had at least four receptions and 5.5 fantasy points.
More importantly, Hudson has an appealing fantasy football matchup in Week 14. The Colts have surrendered 10.9 fantasy points per game to tight ends, the ninth-most in the NFL. Furthermore, they have given up 4.8 receptions for 58.2 receiving yards and 12.3 fantasy points per game to tight ends over their past five contests, surrendering 8.2 or more fantasy points in all but one matchup. While he won’t have a massive performance, Hudson is the perfect safe-floor bye-week replacement option for Trey McBride.