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.
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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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.
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.
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
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.
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.
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 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.