Waiver Wire: Week 14

John Daigle
Rotoworld

Welcome to the Week 14 edition of Waiver Wired for the 2019 season. With the fantasy playoffs officially underway, we’ll shift our attention to winning the week, with a handful of stash ideas sprinkled in. We’ll also set our sights on substitutes for Taylor Gabriel (concussion), Darrel Williams (hamstring), Dalvin Cook (shoulder, probable), Golden Tate (concussion), Kalen Ballage (leg), and T.Y. Hilton (calf), among others. A section highlighting plus matchups for available players in Weeks 15-17 has also been added for each position. 

As a reminder, the drop list consists of players who are rostered in at least 50 percent of Yahoo leagues and are no longer must-have assets, recommended adds are available in over 50 percent of Yahoo leagues, the watch list contains in-depth notes on players who are worthy of roster spots if possible, and deep cuts includes player notes on those rostered in five percent or fewer of Yahoo leagues.

 

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The Drop List

The fantasy playoffs are prime for parting ways with basically any player who won’t cut it in your starting lineup this week or, more reasonably, those who have to jump multiple hoops for direct opportunity. You should look to prioritize winning in Week 14 — even if that means cutting a tried and true FLEX play for a stronger streaming option — then (and only then) avert your focus to stashing any and all high-upside league winners. Jonathan Williams is an easy cut candidate, for instance, since both Jordan Wilkins and Nyheim Hines were involved against the Titans on Sunday. Marlon Mack (hand) is also reportedly targeting a return this week. Some other names that directly come to mind are Ronald Jones (since he was benched for poor pass-pro Sunday), LeSean McCoy (see Darwin Thompson pickup), David Johnson (13 touches in last four games), and Royce Freeman (handcuff only). Some fringe receivers include T.Y. Hilton (calf, out) if necessary, Tyrell Williams, Brandin Cooks, Sammy Watkins, Josh Gordon, and A.J. Green.

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Overall Top 5
1. Alexander Mattison
2. Darwin Thompson
3. Anthony Miller
4. James Washington
5. Raheem Mostert

For those simply looking to roster the best player available regardless of position, the rankings above take into account every factor from the positional lists minus the actual positions. These are listed in the precise order I’d prioritize waiver claims in Week 14.

 

End-of-Roster Top 10
1. Latavius Murray
2. Alexander Mattison
3. Ryquell Armstead
4. Rashaad Penny
5. Jamaal Williams
6. Raheem Mostert
7. Duke Johnson
8. Gus Edwards
9. Tony Pollard
10. Dion Lewis

Previously the ‘Handcuff Top 5,’ the time has come to stop rostering backups to our own starters and rather target reserves with the most potential opportunity if a single door opens. That’s why the above list was carefully assembled (and extended) to highlight league-winners in the event the player ahead of them misses any time. Presumed snaps, carries, targets, and the play-calling each are tied to have been factored in. They’re chronologically listed in the precise order I would stash them for the fantasy playoffs — though fantasy players should obviously feel free to adjust accordingly. Reggie Bonnafon isn’t listed since the Panthers signed Mike Davis mid-November and recently activated him for Week 13.

 

Quarterbacks
1. Ryan Fitzpatrick
2. Jacoby Brissett
3. Ryan Tannehill
4. Mitchell Trubisky
5. Daniel Jones

Running Backs
1. Alexander Mattison
2. Darwin Thompson
3. Raheem Mostert
4. Patrick Laird
5. Benny Snell
6. Derrius Guice
7. Bo Scarbrough

Wide Receivers
1. Anthony Miller
2. James Washington
3. Zach Pascal
4. Darius Slayton
5. Cole Beasley
6. A.J. Brown

Tight Ends
1. Mike Gesicki
2. Kaden Smith
3. Darren Fells

Defense/Special Teams
Philadelphia Eagles rostered in 83 percent of Yahoo leagues. No. 1 add if available.
Minnesota Vikings rostered in 63 percent of Yahoo leagues. No. 2 add if available.
1. Green Bay Packers
2. Indianapolis Colts

Kickers
1. Jake Elliott
2. Matt Gay
3. Younghoe Koo

 

QUARTERBACKS
1. Ryan Fitzpatrick, Dolphins — Rostered in 10 percent of Yahoo leagues

Philadelphia’s “improved” secondary was no match for ‘Fitzmagic’ and DeVante Parker, the latter who continued his unprecedented fifth-year breakout in bullying Eagles corner Jalen Mills for 6/102/2 on Sunday. With All-World safety Jamal Adams (ankle, week-to-week) shelved for the foreseeable future, Fitzpatrick should find zero issues rearing back and carving up a Jets secondary that recently allowed him to post a QB5 finish with three passing touchdowns under his belt in Week 9.  

2. Jacoby Brissett, Colts — Rostered in 38 percent of Yahoo Leagues

Kyler Murray dog-walked the Bucs for 324 yards and three scores in Week 10 — the last time we saw Tampa Bay’s secondary truly taken to the woodshed. Since that time, the Saints laid an egg on the road after partying at Mons Venus all night, Matt Ryan crumbled underneath six sacks behind Atlanta’s Swiss cheese o-line, and the corpse of Nick Foles was benched after multiple three-and-outs. In other words, the worst corners in the league haven’t been tested in nearly a month. Lest we forget this is the same defense that’s allowed the second-most yards per game (281.8) through the air to opposing offenses. Consider Brissett a fringe QB1 streamer in 12-team leagues and high-floor 2-QB/SuperFlex out for Week 14.

3. Ryan Tannehill, Titans — Rostered in 39 percent of Yahoo leagues

31-year-old Tannehill’s biggest concern in this matchup against Oakland isn’t his floor, but his upside as the Titans have leaned on Derrick Henry and the league’s eighth-highest run play rate (46%) in Tannehill’s six starts. While his 72 percent completion rate and 4.5 rush attempts per game ensure points under his name in the box score, it can’t go overlooked that he’s failed to surpass 23 pass attempts in three straight contests. Tennessee’s -3 side on the road spells another voluminous outing for Henry.

4. Mitchell Trubisky, Bears — Rostered in 19 percent of Yahoo leagues

Much like Jared Goff, it’s once again safe to draw up Trubisky as a high-end streaming option in above-average matchups. He’s pasted the Giants (No. 27 pass defense DVOA) and Lions (No. 24), for example, for eight touchdowns and three top-10 finishes since Week 10 but sandwiched a miserable 10-point performance against the Rams’ stout secondary between those outings. A matchup opposite Dallas is ideal since that unit hasn’t forced a single turnover since Week 9.

5. Daniel Jones, Giants — Rostered in 26 percent of Yahoo leagues

NFC East Jameis can’t be trusted entirely since he’s tossed 11 interceptions and lost a ‘Dimes’ worth of fumbles in his first 11 starts. Having said that, both he and Philadelphia’s defense can simultaneously have a day since their secondary recently stumbled against Fitzpatrick, allowing a top-10 finish for the first time since Week 6; for what it’s worth, Jalen Mills rejoined the team in Week 7. The rookie’s floor is disastrous in this matchup, but his ceiling is enticing if it turns out Philly’s corners haven’t truly turned the page.

Week 15: Gardner Minshew versus Raiders. David Blough against the Bucs. Daniel Jones versus the Dolphins (and to that point, Fitzpatrick versus the Giants). Mitchell Trubisky goes head-to-head with the Packers’ secondary.

Week 16: Gardner Minshew in another plus matchup against the Falcons. Andy Dalton squares off against the Dolphins. Dwayne Haskins against the Giants if you’re desperate.

Week 17: Matt Ryan versus Bucs. Carson Wentz against the Giants. Jared Goff gets Arizona again. Daniel Jones versus the Eagles.

 

RUNNING BACKS
1. Alexander Mattison, Vikings – Rostered in 31 percent of Yahoo leagues

Prior to Minnesota’s Week 12 bye, Dalvin Cook (chest) took a hard hit against the Broncos that ultimately limited him in practice 10 days after the fact. His immediate trip to the locker room — being escorted past the blue medical tent altogether — and prompt inactivity Monday night highlights the importance of rostering Mattison everywhere (or wherever applicable, at least). The versatile third-round rookie notably handled every backfield touch for the Vikings once Cook left in the second half, too. Prioritize Darwin Thompson (see below) over Mattison if you need a FLEX option ASAP since the latter has more instantaneous value with Cook reportedly “ready to go” for Sunday against Detroit.

Recommendation: Should be rostered in 10-team leagues

2. Darwin Thompson, Chiefs – Rostered in 5 percent of Yahoo leagues

It took 14 weeks and a revolving door for Thompson to get on the field, but the sixth-round rookie quietly handled a season-high 11 carries on 24-of-67 snaps against the Raiders. And it wasn’t a fluke; LeSean McCoy had his workload “managed,” Darrel Williams (hamstring) left following a non-contact injury, and Damien Williams (ribs) hasn’t practiced since exiting in Mexico City. Even if McCoy and Damien are available against the Broncos, Thompson’s presence at the very least disrupts this backfield over Kansas City’s last four games. There’s also a “good chance” Darrel misses Week 14 altogether, projecting Thompson for an uptick in routes run following his season-high mark (7) against Oakland. He has PPR FLEX appeal immediately with an RB2 ceiling if Damien’s scratched.

Recommendation: Should be rostered in 12-team leagues

3. Raheem Mostert, 49ers – Rostered in 14 percent of Yahoo leagues

Let’s be clear: Mostert isn’t handling 70-plus percent of San Francisco’s snaps moving forward, just like Tevin Coleman was never doing so following his four-score outlier against the Panthers. But the former’s involvement on 42-of-57 snaps (74%) and 21 touches (!) against Baltimore did prove that a week-winning ceiling is suddenly in his range of outcomes. Mostert’s recent performance simply ensures he sticks around in a possible three-headed timeshare to close the year with an outside shot at leading all in snaps and touches each and every week down the stretch when Matt Breida (ankle) returns.

Recommendation: Should be stashed in 12-team leagues

4. Patrick Laird, Dolphins – Rostered in 1 percent of Yahoo leagues

With Kalen Ballage (leg) out the picture, our Laird and Savior played a season-high 43-of-72 snaps (60%) against the Eagles, handling 10 carries (and 14 touches altogether) ahead of Myles Gaskin’s 2. Laird also got both of Miami’s touches inside the 10-yard line, punching it in from four yards out. The difference, of course, is Laird’s soft hands and explosiveness relative to Ballage’s sloth-like profile; whereas Ballage averaged 2.63 yards per target and literally batted balls away, Laird’s averaged 7.79 and 12/109 receiving in his last four contests. His season-high 24 routes run against Philadelphia setup well in this particular matchup since the Jets have permitted the third-most receptions (76) to enemy runners.

Recommendation: Should be rostered in 12-team PPR leagues

5. Benny Snell, Steelers – Rostered in 34 percent of Yahoo leagues

Snell has handled 65 percent of Pittsburgh’s backfield carries in their last two games without James Conner (shoulder). His usage, however, remains worrisome since he’s only seen two targets in that stint, applying touchdown deodorant on 10 carries inside the 20 to ensure back-to-back top-20 finishes. It’s easy to predict Snell’s role bottoming out the moment Conner returns since Jaylen Samuels has still led this backfield with 30 routes to Snell’s 9 over the last two weeks.

Recommendation: Should be rostered in 12-team standard leagues if James Conner (shoulder) is out

6. Derrius Guice, Washington – Rostered in 51 percent of Yahoo leagues

Guice was in on a season-low 19 snaps (30%) against Carolina but rushed for season-highs in yards (129), touchdowns (2), and yards per attempt (12.9) into the teeth of the Panthers’ next-to-last rush defense DVOA. Chris Thompson returned and actually ended up mirroring Adrian Peterson in snaps (23, 36%), keeping Guice strictly as a low-end FLEX option with a disastrous floor. Start with caution moving forward.

Recommendation: Should be rostered in 14-team PPR leagues

7. Bo Scarbrough, Lions – Rostered in 43 percent of Yahoo leagues

‘Lions Benny Snell’ has averaged 17.7 attempts the past three games but failed to catch his lone target in that span. Without any receiving role to speak of, it’s near impossible to lean on Scarbrough as a two-score road dog (+14) with Detroit’s third-string quarterback under center. He’s merely a desperation option in standard leagues for those with multiple FLEX spots to plug.

Recommendation: Should be rostered in 14-team standard leagues

Watch List: Jordan Wilkins was declared the “hot hand” for the Colts in the second half on Sunday, getting 13 touches in place of Jonathan Williams (8/14). Nyheim Hines is also the RB24 over the past two weeks without Marlon Mack (hand), who will reportedly attempt to return this Sunday against the Bucs. It’s a situation to monitor and perhaps avoid entirely…Ronald Jones was benched for a pass-protection error against the Jaguars, allowing Peyton Barber to rush for 17/44/2. Banking on Barber’s potential egg in the fantasy playoffs (or trusting Jones’ supposed receiving-game role) isn’t an ideal strategy…Chase Edmonds didn’t see a single snap behind Kenyan Drake and David Johnson in his first game back from a hamstring injury...Jay Ajayi played eight snaps against Miami.

Deep League: Ameer Abdullah and perhaps Mike Boone would be deep dynasty grabs if Dalvin Cook (chest) is truly banged up.

Week 15: Benny Snell up the middle against Buffalo if James Conner’s (shoulder) still out. The 49ers’ backfield versus the Falcons. Wayne Gallman would face the Dolphins if Saquon Barkley, for whatever reason, can’t go. Royce Freeman squares off against the Chiefs if Phillip Lindsay goes down. Rashaad Penny (if he’s even available) versus the Panthers.

Week 16: Giovani Bernard against Miami if Joe Mixon isn’t available. Jordan Wilkins’ and Jonathan Williams’ turns against Carolina if Marlon Mack (hand) is still sidelined.

Week 17: Darrell Henderson against the Cardinals if Todd Gurley is shutdown. Justin Jackson potentially back to close the Chargers’ season finale against the Chiefs. Damien Harris against the Dolphins if any Pats running backs are rested. Bo Scarbrough against Green Bay. Tony Pollard against Washington if Dallas locks a playoff berth up in Week 16. Latavius Murray versus Panthers if Alvin Kamara rests.

WIDE RECEIVERS
1. Anthony Miller, Bears – Rostered in 14 percent of Yahoo leagues

Taylor Gabriel (concussion) remains in the league’s protocol at the time of this writing, keeping Miller firmly entrenched as a trustworthy WR3 for at least one more week. The second-year slot wideout has leveraged Gabriel’s touch-and-go status into 33 targets and a team-high 26 percent target share in his last three performances. Simply put, Miller steps into the same situation against the Cowboys on Thursday that allowed Cole Beasley to bully Jourdan Lewis for 6/113/1 from the slot on Thanksgiving.

Recommendation: Should be rostered in 10-team leagues

2. James Washington, Steelers – Rostered in 23 percent of Yahoo leagues

Since returning from his shoulder injury in Week 8, Washington has quietly ranked as fantasy’s WR16 behind team-highs in targets (33), air yards (539), and receiving touchdowns (3) in that six-game stretch. He’ll go hunting for another downfield score from ‘Duck’ Hodges against the Cardinals’ defense, which has allowed the fifth-most yards per game (83.9) to opposing No. 1 wideouts, in Week 14.

Recommendation: Should be rostered in 10-team leagues if JuJu Smith-Schuster (knee) is out

3. Zach Pascal, Colts – Rostered in 17 percent of Yahoo leagues

With T.Y. Hilton (calf), Devin Funchess (collarbone), Parris Campbell (hand), and Chester Rogers (knee) unavailable against the Titans, Brissett had no choice but to force-feed Pascal (7/109) for 10 targets on 100 percent of Indy’s snaps. He’ll remain a low-end every-down WR3 if Hilton isn’t cleared for Sunday’s tilt against the Bucs.

Recommendation: Should be rostered in 14-team leagues

4. Darius Slayton, Giants – Rostered in 27 percent of Yahoo leagues

Slayton (6’1/194) doesn’t have the frame of DeVante Parker (6’3/209), but the rookie’s seven targets per game since Week 6 may be just enough to beat up Jalen Mills for the second straight week. Downgrade Slayton if Golden Tate (concussion) is cleared prior to Monday night.

Recommendation: Should be rostered in 12-team PPR leagues if Golden Tate (concussion) is ruled out

5. Cole Beasley, Bills – Rostered in 32 percent of Yahoo leagues

Sunday easily makes for Beasley’s toughest test to date, but he’ll be targeted often if the Ravens bounce out to their typical early lead. He’s a floor play in PPR leagues since he’s hauled in four receptions or corralled a touchdown in seven straight outings.

Recommendation: Should be rostered in 12-team PPR leagues

6. A.J. Brown, Titans – Rostered in 25 percent of Yahoo leagues

It was easy to overlook since Ryan Tannehill only attempted 22 passes on Sunday, but Brown played 90 percent of Tennessee’s offensive snaps for only the second time this season. He’s obviously the pick to lead this team in receiving if Tannehill’s needed at any point. For what it’s worth, the total (47.5) in this one is tied for the second highest in Week 14.

Recommendation: Should be rostered in 12-team leagues

Watch List: N’Keal Harry (0/0) was benched against the Texans for running an incorrect route. It’s the same issue he had in offseason activities when struggling with the playbook…Auden Tate continues to be a sneaky floor-play, seeing seven targets from Andy Dalton on Sunday.

Deep League: John Ross was the overall PPR WR15 in his first four games before fracturing his clavicle and getting placed on injured reserve. His return this week ensures the Bengals move forward with an enticing three-wide set featuring Tyler Boyd in the slot and Auden Tate and the former on the outside…There aren’t enough targets to go around to support him weekly, but Allen Lazard (3/103/1) would be first in line behind Davante Adams if there were an injury to either Geronimo Allison or Marquez Valdes-Scantling.

Week 15: Darius Slayton would start against the Dolphins if Golden Tate (concussion) is still out. Chris Conley faces the Raiders if Gardner Minshew can elevate Jacksonville’s offense.

Week 16: Cincinnati’s three-wide set versus the Dolphins. Randall Cobb against the Eagles if Amari Cooper or Michael Gallup sits. Allen Lazard versus the Vikings’ sieve of a corners room. Darius Slayton versus Washington. James Washington gets another great matchup against the Jets. Kenny Stills versus the Bucs.

Week 17: Russell Gage and Christian Blake versus Tampa Bay if Julio Jones is shutdown. Anthony Miller against Minnesota. Josh Reynolds against the Cardinals if Brandin Cooks can’t go. Darius Slayton gets another tremendous matchup versus the Eagles. Cole Beasley faces the Jets.

 

TIGHT ENDS
1. Mike Gesicki, Dolphins — Rostered in 19 percent of Yahoo leagues

Parker’s fifth-year breakout gets all the headlines, but Gesicki’s become an integral part of Miami’s offense since Preston Williams (knee) went down, ranking top-five among all tight ends in targets (26) and air yards (236) in his last four games. Jamal Adams (ankle, week-to-week) was partly responsible for covering tight ends in DC Gregg Williams’ blitz-happy scheme.

2. Kaden Smith, Giants — Rostered in 1 percent of Yahoo leagues

It’s simple: Smith is a premier streaming option if Evan Engram (foot) remains out for Week 14. In his last two spot-starts for Rhett Ellison (concussion) and Engram, for example, Smith played on an astonishing 120-of-129 snaps, all the while accruing a 19 percent target share on 73 routes run. The sixth-round rookie is an unarguable plug-and-play TE1 against the Eagles if Engram doesn’t return.

3. Darren Fells, Texans — Rostered in 38 percent of Yahoo leagues

The Broncos are tied with the Dolphins in allowing the 10th-most receptions (61) to opposing tight ends, keeping Fells as a boom-or-bust streamer in the first round of the fantasy playoffs. It’s obviously nice when he hits pay dirt, much like he did from 13 yards out against the Patriots Sunday night, but his total 2/42 in two games prior shows his disastrous floor when glossed over in the red zone.

Watch List: Tyler Higbee accrued an 18.6 percent target share on 91 percent of Los Angeles’ snaps without Gerald Everett (ankle) Sunday. He’s in line for similar usage against the Seahawks if the latter misses his second straight contest…Ian Thomas (4/24) stepped in for Greg Olsen (concussion) on Sunday and hauled in four targets in the last 15 minutes of regulation. Reminder the second-year standout ranked No. 6 among all tight ends in receiving yards (200) in Carolina's last four games in '18, spiking two touchdowns on 84 percent of the team's snaps during that month-long stretch. He would likely get run on every down if Olsen's scratched...David Blough targeted T.J. Hockenson (ankle, IR) on a whopping 29 percent of his pass attempts against the Bears. That role would presumably fall to Logan Thomas since Blough is expected to close the year under center.

Week 15: Either David Njoku (wrist, IR) returns against the Cardinals or fantasy players are left banking on the ghost of Demetrius Harris to keep the ‘flow chart’ alive. Mike Gesicki gets another plus matchup against the Giants.

Week 16: It’s Jacob Hollister’s turn to posterize Arizona. Darren Fells versus Bucs. O.J. Howard takes on the Texans in an up-tempo matchup, which is obviously not for the faint of heart.

Week 17: Jaeden Graham faces the Bucs if Austin Hooper is shutdown. Dallas Goedert gets the Giants if Zach Ertz is sidelined. Tyler Higbee’s or Gerald Everett’s second go-round against the Cardinals. Jonnu Smith against the Texans.

 

DEFENSE/SPECIAL TEAMS
1. Green Bay Packers - Rostered in 48 percent of Yahoo leagues

It took the Panthers allowing a combined 30/248/3 rushing to ruin the three-game streak of top-10 D/ST performances against Washington with Dwayne Haskins under center. This is a bet the Packers start a new streak since the No. 15 overall pick was still shaky against Carolina, completing 13-of-25 passes for a poor 5.88 adjusted YPA tally.

2. Indianapolis Colts - Rostered in 27 percent of Yahoo leagues

This total (47.5) between the Colts and Bucs has plummeted a full field goal since initially opening. Consider this an incentive (in a thin defensive streaming week, nonetheless) into a low-scoring affair that could lead to multiple points via turnovers opposite Jameis Winston.

Week 15: Kansas City’s surging secondary against Drew Lock. Jacksonville’s stout pass rush opposite Derek Carr.

Week 16: Houston’s turn to accept Jameis Winston’s weekly turnover. Bengals and Dolphins square off against one another (if that matters).

Week 17: Packers against whomever is under center for Detroit. Chiefs potentially against Tyrod Taylor if Philip Rivers is benched for the season finale. Broncos and Raiders in similar situations against each other. Tampa Bay and Atlanta square off, too.

 

KICKERS
1. Jake Elliott, Eagles – Rostered in 42 percent of Yahoo leagues

Elliot totaled 8.0 fantasy points against the Patriots and Seahawks due to inclement weather. His three field-goal tries — two shots from 40-49 yards out included — against the Dolphins was on par with what we should expect in advantageous matchups moving forward. Monday’s divisional bout against the Giants is no different.

2. Matt Gay, Buccaneers – Rostered in 44 percent of Yahoo leagues

Gay simply hasn’t been needed the past three weeks since the Bucs have scored 17, 35, and 28 points at will. Reminder he scored double-digit fantasy points in his three performances before this recent drought. Tampa Bay’s Week 14 matchup against the Colts projects to finish Under its 47.5 total, but that shouldn’t keep Gay from taking shots from just outside the red zone in one of the league’s more prolific offenses.

3. Younghoe Koo, Falcons – Rostered in 50 percent of Yahoo leagues

Koo remains Atlanta’s lead placekicker after it was announced Monday that Matt Bosher would return and solely punt. Koo’s attempted a 40-plus yard kick in 3-of-4 games with the Falcons, notching at least 10 fantasy points in as many, too.

Week 15: Gay and Koo get back-to-back plus matchups against the Lions and Washington. Josh Lambo would benefit against Oakland if Gardner Minshew gets Jacksonville’s offense back to moving the ball.

Week 16: Michael Badgley and the Chargers’ O get the Raiders. Another great matchup for Lambo versus the Falcons. Gay versus Houston.

Week 17: Koo and Gay against one another in a meaningless Week 17 divisional bout. Robbie Gould plays in Seattle if healthy.

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