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Waiver Wire: Week 14

by Raymond Summerlin

Welcome to the 14th edition of Waiver Wired for the 2018 season. With the playoffs upon us, this column will shift its focus almost solely to the present. That does not mean stashes will be ignored completely, but they will be moved down. Also, a section highlighting widely-available players with good matchups in Weeks 15, 16, and 17 has been added for each position. 

As a reminder, the drop list consists of players who are no longer must-roster assets in shallow leagues, recommended adds are available in at least 50 percent of Yahoo leagues, the watch list consists of players who are worth monitoring, and deep cuts are players rostered in five percent or fewer of Yahoo leagues.

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The Drop List

With the playoffs upon us, the drop list can be simplified to any player, within reason, who is not going to be in the starting lineup this week. Of course, stashing players like Rex Burkhead makes sense if bench space is available, but do not be afraid to cut a bench stash to pick up someone with less upside who will actually help get a win this week. As for some specific names, Duke Johnson’s usage spike appears to have been an anomaly. Especially with Nick Chubb’s recent involvement in the passing game, Johnson can be sent packing. The same could be true of Baltimore’s receivers, but it might be worth keeping them around to see what the Ravens do at quarterback.

Quarterbacks
1. Lamar Jackson
2. Marcus Mariota
3. Josh Allen

Running Backs
1. Jeff Wilson
2. Justin Jackson
3. Jaylen Samuels
4. Rashaad Penny
5. LeGarrette Blount
6. Stevan Ridley
7. Damien Williams
8. Rex Burkhead

Wide Receivers
1. Chris Godwin
2. Antonio Callaway
3. Curtis Samuel
4. Chris Conley
5. Dante Pettis
6. Bruce Ellington
7. Michael Gallup

Tight Ends
Jaylen Samuels is tight end eligible in Yahoo leagues. No. 1 add on that site.
1. Ian Thomas
2. C.J. Uzomah
3. Rhett Ellison

Defense/Special Teams
1. New Orleans Saints
2. Buffalo Bills
3. Tennessee Titans

Kickers
1. Brett Maher
2. Mike Badgley
3. Robbie Gould

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QUARTERBACKS
1. Lamar Jackson, Ravens – Rostered in 46 percent of Yahoo leagues

It is impossible to know what the Ravens will do at quarterback, but until he hits the bench, Jackson will be a starting option in fantasy leagues on the back of his rushing production – 88 yards per game over the last three with two touchdowns – and upside if he ever gets it going in the passing game. His matchup this week against the Chiefs certainly does not hurt.

2. Marcus Mariota, Titans – Rostered in 34 percent of Yahoo leagues
Prior to last week, the Jaguars’ defense would not have been one to avoid, but limiting Andrew Luck to 248 scoreless yards on 52 attempts changes things a bit. That said, it is a bad week for streamers, and Mariota has four solid fantasy days in his last five games. He has also been a threat on the ground all season while Jacksonville has given up the most rushing yards and scores to quarterbacks so far this season.

3. Josh Allen, Bills – Rostered in 5 percent of Yahoo leagues
The discount Lamar Jackson over the last two weeks, Allen has logged a QB4 and QB2 finish on the back of 234 yards and a touchdown on the ground. He also looked better as a passer against the Dolphins, throwing for 231 yards and two scores. His rushing production has not exactly been consistent this season, raising some concern, but he the best of the desperation options.  

Week 15: Dak Prescott’s good run continues with the Colts. If he is still the starter, Lamar Jackson will get a matchup with the Bucs. It would be a gutsy play in the semi-finals, but Derek Carr gets the Bengals.
Week 16: Prescott’s great playoff run finishes off against the Bucs. Baker Mayfield gets another matchup with the Bengals.
Week 17: The Tampa Bay starter will be in a great spot against the Falcons. Colt McCoy will finish his season with the Eagles.

Watch List: Ryan Tannehill has five touchdowns in two games since returning despite throwing just 49 passes in those contests. He is among the best desperation options…Case Keenum has another solid matchup this week, but he cannot be trusted after putting up just 151 yards and a touchdown against the Bengals…Derek Carr had a big game against the Chiefs, but he has not been consistent enough this season to really trust in a tough matchup against the Steelers…Nick Mullens blew up for 414 garbage-time-aided yards and two scores against the Seahawks, but he struggled against Tampa the week before…Sam Darnold will be back this week, but he is not a fantasy option against the Bills.

~RUNNING BACKS
1. Jeff Wilson, 49ers – Rostered in 2 percent of Yahoo leagues

Wilson tops a surprisingly good list of Week 14 wavier adds because he carries some certainty. Matt Breida was ruled out on Monday, meaning Wilson will at the very least get a start this week against Denver. The other two top backs this week cannot confidently make that claim. Wilson also looked good against the Seahawks on Sunday, and the 49ers have consistently created fantasy points for running backs. San Francisco backs have scored the 10th-most points this season and have the third-most rushing yards in the league.
Recommendation: Should be rostered in 10-team leagues

2. Justin Jackson, Chargers – Rostered in 23 percent of Yahoo leagues
Jackson was on this list last week because of the possibility he emerged as a better fantasy option than Austin Ekeler. It certainly did not look like that was going to be the case early on Sunday night, but Jackson came on strong with 63 yards and a touchdown on just eight carries in the second half. A breakout game with just nine touches and 14 snaps would usually garner some side-eye, especially since Ekeler played 49 snaps and touched the ball 18 times, but Jackson matched Ekeler with nine opportunities in the second half and did much more with his work. That turn suggests Jackson will at worst get an even split of the backfield work in a great matchup against the Bengals this week. Of course, that could all change if Melvin Gordon returns, something Adam Schefter reports is a real possibility. That concern keeps Jackson below Wilson.
Recommendation: Should be rostered in 10-team leagues

3. Jaylen Samuels, Steelers – Rostered in 9 percent of Yahoo leagues
Samuels should certainly be added in all formats, but he is a step behind the top two backs for two reasons. First, it is unclear if James Conner will even miss any time. Coach Mike Tomlin called his injury a contusion after the game, and Ian Rapoport reported the issue is not a major concern. At this point, it seems like Conner has a good shot to play this week. Second, Samuels has just 12 carries so far this season, and it is possible if not likely he will lose touches to Stevan Ridley even if Conner sits. Samuels needs to be added – especially in Yahoo leagues, where he has tight end eligibility – but he is the third option this week.
Recommendation: Should be rostered in 10-team leagues

4. Rashaad Penny, Seahawks – Rostered in 30 percent of Yahoo leagues
Penny is even less likely than Samuels to get a start this week, but it is worth noting Chris Carson exited Sunday’s game with a dislocated finger. Penny has looked pretty good the last several weeks, and he would be an RB3/FLEX even in a tough matchup against the Vikings if Carson is forced to sit.
Recommendation: Should be rostered in 12-team leagues

5. LeGarrette Blount, Lions – Rostered in 42 percent of Yahoo leagues
Blount came back down from his high a bit against the Rams, but he still rumbled for 61 yards on 16 carries. He gets a better matchup in what should be a better game script this week in Arizona. Assuming Kerryon Johnson does not return, he will be a FLEX option in that spot.
Recommendation: Should be rostered in 12-team leagues

6. Stevan Ridley, Steelers – Rostered in 0 percent of Yahoo leagues
Like Justin Jackson last week, it is possible Ridley jumps the more highly-regarded waiver add and ends up being the best value. He has not logged a snap since Week 10, but he did carry the ball 17 times in a spot start Week 17 of last season, showing the Steelers do trust him to carry the load.
Recommendation: Should be rostered in 12-team leagues

7. Damien Williams, Chiefs – Rostered in 24 percent of Yahoo leagues
Spencer Ware unsurprisingly worked as the lead back in the first game without Kareem Hunt, but Williams played 19 snaps of his own and turned seven touches into 45 yards. The addition of Charcandrick West is a concern, but Williams is the back to roster behind Ware right now and could get more work if Ware struggles.
Recommendation: Should be rostered in 14-team leagues

8. Rex Burkhead, Patriots – Rostered in 24 percent of Yahoo leagues
Burkhead saw 23 percent of the snaps and touched the ball nine times in his first game back. Both of those numbers fell well below both Sony Michel and James White, but Burkhead remains worth a stash if possible to see if his role grows as he works his way back.
Recommendation: Should be rostered in 14-team leagues

Week 15: Justin Jackson will once again have a great matchup against the Chiefs if Melvin Gordon is still sidelined. Doug Martin gets to face the Bengals. He does not have much of a role right now, but Royce Freeman gets to face the Browns.
Week 16: Freeman gets another good matchup against the Raiders. It is Chris Carson’s backfield right now, but Rashaad Penny will be in a good spot against the Chiefs if that changes between now and then.
Week 17: Both the Chiefs and Rams are in good spots if they decide to rest their starters. If the Bucs decide to give him a shot, Ronald Jones would finish up with the Falcons.

Watch List: Kenneth Dixon is back and saw eight carries against the Falcons, but he played fewer snaps than both Gus Edwards and Ty Montgomery, who dominated the passing-game work. With a likely negative game script in Kansas City up next, Montgomery is probably a better fantasy bet than Dixon, who will need to jump Edwards to return fantasy value…Royce Freeman has a great schedule down the stretch, but he is not getting enough work to trust in a fantasy lineup…Chris Thompson returned on Monday night, but he managed just 21 total yards on six touches…Jalen Richard made big plays against the Chiefs, but his usage has sunk the last two weeks. He is probably rostered in the leagues he should be…Ito Smith saw basically the same workload as Tevin Coleman against the Ravens, but neither did anything with the work…Still without any rushing touchdowns on the season, Frank Gore remains a low-upside FLEX option in deeper leagues…In a game which suited him, Nyheim Hines caught nine passes for 50 yards against the Jaguars. The matchup this week against the Texans could be a similar story, making him worth a look in PPR leagues…Giovani Bernard actually saw a usage bump against the Broncos, but he still lacks standalone fantasy value…Even if Chris Carson is forced to miss time, it looks like Mike Davis will play a secondary role behind Rashaad PennyCorey Clement has created big plays each of the last two games, but he is not getting enough work right now…Getting eight touches a game in a bad offense, it is tough to see the upside with Elijah McGuireRonald Jones had just four carries in his first game action since Week 8…Alfred Blue has at least 13 carries in four of his last five games. With the Texans utilizing a run-heavy offense, he could be useful down the stretch in deep leagues if D’Onta Foreman does not return. On Foreman, head coach Bill O’Brien refused to say if the running back will be activated. The deadline is this week.

Deep Cuts: Darren Sproles scored a 14-yard touchdown, but he played just nine snaps on offense on Monday night while touching the ball just four times. He will likely struggle to return consistent fantasy value behind Josh AdamsChase Edmonds has had five carries and played around 20 percent of the snaps each of the last three games. He just happened to score two touchdowns against the Packers. He remains just a handcuff, albeit a high-upside one…With Malcolm Brown banged up, John Kelly and Justin Davis are the new names to know behind Todd GurleyRod Smith and Wayne Gallman are other handcuffs to know…Signed on Monday, it seems unlikely Charcandrick West jumps all of Spencer Ware, Damien Williams, and Darrel Williams on the depth chart, but his history with the team at least makes him interesting. The Chiefs also flirted with C.J. Anderson before signing West, so he is a name to keep in mind if Ware struggles.

~WIDE RECEIVERS
1. Chris Godwin, Bucs – Rostered in 46 percent of Yahoo leagues

Godwin topped this list last week, and he delivered with 101 yards and a touchdown against the Panthers. Godwin has now played four games in his career without either Mike Evans or DeSean Jackson, and he has averaged 95 yards per game with two touchdowns in those contests. Godwin will be an upside WR3 for as long as Jackson sits.
Recommendation: Should be rostered in 10-team leagues

2. Antonio Callaway, Browns – Rostered in 13 percent of Yahoo leagues
Jarvis Landry bounced back against the Texans, but Callaway continued his good run with 84 yards. He should have had a better game, but a long touchdown was called back just a couple plays before he fumbled at the end of another long catch. A big-play threat who is getting consistent targets, Callaway is worth a look in deeper leagues.
Recommendation: Should be rostered in 12-team leagues

3. Curtis Samuel, Panthers – Rostered in 18 percent of Yahoo leagues
Samuel is a difficult player to value. Efficient with his targets all season, Samuel was not getting many before popping up with 11 against the Bucs, although he did play over 90 percent of the snaps the week before against the Seahawks. Devin Funchess did not play in that game, however, and he appeared to be on something of a snap count in Tampa. He should become more involved moving forward, but then again, the Panthers will now be without Greg Olsen for the rest of the season. It is all confusing. As it stands, Samuel is worth picking up as a player who has consistently made plays when given a chance this season, but he will not be a safe start if it looks like Funchess is back to full health.
Recommendation: Should be rostered in 12-team leagues

4. Chris Conley, Chiefs – Rostered in 16 percent of Yahoo leagues
I completely spaced on Sammy Watkins’ injury last week and forgot to talk about Conley, who now has 15 targets and three touchdowns in the last two games. The matchup this week against the Ravens is not good, but Conley will be an option in deeper leagues if Watkins continues to miss time.
Recommendation: Should be rostered in 12-team leagues

5. Dante Pettis, 49ers – Rostered in 4 percent of Yahoo leagues
Coming off two massive performances – nine catches for 206 yards and three touchdowns the last two weeks – Pettis would be much higher on this list if not for Marquise Goodwin’s expected return this week. Perhaps Pettis will retain the No. 1 job and remain productive the rest of the season regardless, but Goodwin is a major concern.
Recommendation: Should be rostered in 12-team leagues

6. Bruce Ellington, Lions – Rostered in 9 percent of Yahoo leagues
Detroit’s offense is in shambles, but Ellington is benefitting from the downturn with 26 targets and 19 catches the last three games. He has turned that work into just 115 scoreless yards, but the volume makes him an option in PPR formats and deep standard leagues.
Recommendation: Should be rostered in 14-team leagues

7. Michael Gallup, Cowboys – Rostered in 6 percent of Yahoo leagues
It is possible Dallas’ offense simply cannot support two fantasy receivers, but Gallup does have at least five targets in five of his last six games and went for 76 yards on five catches against the Saints. He also has a great schedule in the fantasy playoffs, facing the Eagles this week before the Colts and Bucs in Weeks 15 and 16.
Recommendation: Should be rostered in 14-team leagues

Week 15: The Chicago duo faces the Packers. Josh Reynolds gets the Eagles. Michael Gallup has the Colts
Week 16: Gallup’s good run continues with the Bucs. Curtis Samuel gets the Falcons. Antonio Callaway faces the Bengals.
Week 17: Mohamed Sanu finishes up with the Bucs. Dante Pettis finishes with the Rams. Josh Doctson finishes with the Eagles.

Watch List: Tre’Quan Smith will likely have another blow-up game, perhaps even this week against the Bucs, but he is impossible to trust following two goose eggs in his last three games…Mike Williams does have at least 50 yards or a touchdown in each of his last three games and gets a great matchup with the Bengals this week, but he is a part-time player getting three targets a game. Tyrell Williams is not any better a bet…Keke Coutee lit up the Colts the last time he played them. He is too big of an injury risk to trust in the fantasy playoffs, but he could be a good DFS play if he is active…With the offense struggling, neither Marquez Valdes-Scantling nor Randall Cobb is an exciting fantasy option...Marquise Goodwin is expected back this week, but it is tough to know what to do with him following Pettis’ emergence…Nelson Agholor popped up with eight targets on Monday night, but he had three total the two games before that…Perhaps the return of Mitchell Trubisky will help, but Taylor Gabriel is doing nothing with is targets. That is better than Anthony Miller, who is not getting any. It is a shame because the Bears have a great schedule in the fantasy playoffs…Both Kenny Stills and DeVante Parker caught touchdowns on Sunday, but their upside is muted in an offense which does not want to throw more than 30 times a game. The Patriots have also been a tough matchup for receivers as of late…With Washington turning to Mark Sanchez at quarterback, both Josh Doctson and Jamison Crowder should be avoided…Following a great game last week, David Moore disappeared on Sunday…Jordy Nelson had zero catches on two targets in his two games prior to 10 for 97 against the Chiefs…John Ross should see more targets with A.J. Green on injured reserve, but he has been woefully inefficient with his work to this point.

Deep Cuts: After catching two touchdowns against the Dolphins, Zay Jones now has two good fantasy games in the last three weeks. Of course, he had a goose egg in the other game, and the inconsistency of Buffalo’s passing attack makes it tough to trust him in fantasy…Marcell Ateman took a backseat to Jordy Nelson against the Chiefs, but he did catch his first career touchdown…Taywan Taylor went for 104 yards in his first game back from injury, and he probably should have had a bigger day…Each of Keith Kirkwood’s last two catches have been touchdowns…With Christian Kirk out for the season, Chad Williams should step into the No. 2 role assuming he can get healthy…Jaron Brown randomly caught two touchdowns against the 49ers. He had two catches total since Week 3 heading into that game…Martavis Bryant appeared close to playing last week, so he should be out there in a #RevengeGame against the Steelers.

~TIGHT ENDS
Honorable Mention: Jaylen Samuels, Steelers – Rostered in 10 percent of Yahoo leagues

This is specifically for players who play at Yahoo. Samuels has tight end eligibility on that site, making him an even more valuable addition. If James Conner sits, Samuels would be an elite option at tight end.

1. Ian Thomas, Panthers – Rostered in 1 percent of Yahoo leagues
Trusting Thomas is tricky considering he did not do much when Greg Olsen was sidelined the first time, but he did turn five targets into 46 yards after Olsen left against Tampa and gets a pretty good matchup against the Browns. At a very weak position, that makes him worth a gamble.

2. C.J. Uzomah, Bengals – Rostered in 26 percent of Yahoo leagues
He has not done anything with him, but Uzomah has 19 targets over the last two weeks. He has yet to top 55 yards in a game this season, but that volume, especially in PPR formats, makes him an option in the black hole known as tight end.

3. Rhett Ellison, Giants – Rostered in 1 percent of Yahoo leagues
It will not matter if Evan Engram returns, but Ellison now has 13 targets and has turned those looks into eight catches for 119 yards over the last two games. If Engram continues to sit, Ellison will be an option.

Week 15: The quarterback situation could sink him, but C.J. Uzomah will be in a good spot against the Raiders. If he establishes himself, Matt LaCosse gets to face the Browns.
Week 16: Uzomah is once again in a good spot against the Browns. LaCosse gets the Raiders.
Week 17: Chris Herndon gets a great matchup against the Patriots. If a Baltimore tight end has emerged at this point, they will get to face the Browns.

Watch List: Chris Herndon remains a desperation option, but he has averaged 46 scoreless yards the last four games and gets the Bills this week…Gerald Everett and Tyler Higbee reverted back to the players we know and wished were used more against the Lions...Nothing much has changed for Jonnu Smith, but Anthony Firkser emergence is a big concern…Matt LaCosse played 80 percent of the snaps, but he disappointed with just one target…Charles Clay returned to face his former team and promptly dropped a game-winning touchdown. He remains off the fantasy map…Mark Andrews appears to be the most reliable member of the Ravens’ passing attack with 121 total yards the last two weeks. Of course, 74 of those came on one catch…Dan Arnold looks like an exciting prospect for deep Dynasty leagues, but his role is not growing right now…Adam Shaheen caught a touchdown and saw two targets against the Giants. He might be someone to watch down the stretch.

DEFENSE/SPECIAL TEAMS
1. New Orleans Saints – Rostered in 46 percent of Yahoo leagues

Thursday’s loss was a disappointment, but New Orleans’ defense continued their upward trend with 7 sacks against the Cowboys, giving them 13 in the last two games along with six takeaways. Tampa has not been as turnover prone as of late, but the Saints are creeping into must-start territory.

2. Buffalo Bills – Rostered in 30 percent of Yahoo leagues
Sam Darnold did not play in Buffalo’s walloping of the Jets, but he is unlikely to do much better than Josh McCown against the Bills, especially since the game is in Buffalo.

3. Tennessee Titans – Rostered in 44 percent of Yahoo leagues
Cody Kessler did not turn the ball over and took just three sacks in his first start, but he also managed just six points against the Colts. Tennessee is in a good spot at home.

Week 15: Seahawks @ 49ers, Washington @ Jaguars
Week 16: Broncos @ Raiders, Browns vs. Bengals
Week 17: Seahawks vs. Cardinals, Chiefs vs. Raiders

KICKERS
1. Brett Maher, Cowboys – Rostered in 20 percent of Yahoo leagues

As illustrated below, Maher’s inclusion on this list has as much to do with his upcoming schedule as his game against the Eagles this week. Each of his next three games will be in a dome against the Eagles, Colts, and Bucs, and then he finishes up with the Giants, by far the best kicker matchup so far this season.

2. Mike Badgley, Chargers – Rostered in 27 percent of Yahoo leagues
Badgley had an adventure on Sunday night, but he eventually got the job done. He is in a good spot this week against the Bengals.

3. Robbie Gould, 49ers – Rostered in 38 percent of Yahoo leagues
Gould has attempted just one kick each of the last two games, but he has multiple tries in eight of his games this season.

Week 15: Ryan Succop, Brett Maher
Week 16: Aldrick Rosas, Brett Maher
Week 17: Ka’imi Fairbairn, Brett Maher

Raymond Summerlin
Raymond Summerlin is a football writer for Rotoworld.com. He can be found on Twitter at @RMSummerlin.