Welcome to the Week 14 edition of Waiver Wired for the 2020 season. With the fantasy playoffs officially underway, we’ll shift our attention to winning the week, with a handful of stash ideas (and the return of the End-of-Roster Top 10) sprinkled in. We’ll also sift through ongoing injury situations to ensure all our ducks are in a row ahead of the most important stretch of the season.
As a refresher, 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 additions are available in over 50 percent of Yahoo leagues, the Watch List contains in-depth notes on fringe waiver adds, 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 avert your focus to stashing any and all high-upside league winners. Joe Mixon, for example, is an easy candidate to part with since he would return to an abysmal situation on offense even if he actually did get activated from injured reserve. Mike Davis is actually someone we should be holding onto, but circumstances could force a needy roster to part with him (allowing a more flexible and top-heavy team to unfortunately swoop in and pick him up). This is also the time of the year when stashing defenses isn't a crime since the primary goal is to win every matchup over the next 3-4 weeks.
Overall Top 5
For those looking to roster the best available player(s) regardless of position, the rankings above take into account every factor from the positional lists minus players’ actual positions. These are listed in the precise order I would prioritize waiver claims in Week 14. Adjust accordingly for what you need on your roster — touches, high-upside bench stashes, targets, one-week spot-starters, etc.
End-of-Roster Top 10
The time has come to stop rostering backups to our own starters and, rather, target reserves with the most potential opportunity if a door or two randomly opened. That’s why the above list was carefully assembled to highlight league-winners (available in a majority of leagues) 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 managers should obviously feel free to adjust accordingly.
1. Carolina Panthers
2. Dallas Cowboys
3. New England Patriots
4. Arizona Cardinals
1. Philip Rivers, Colts — Rostered in 40 percent of Yahoo Leagues
Sunday’s performance against the Texans was actually the fourth consecutive game that Rivers has finished as a top-15 quarterback despite Jacoby Brissett’s ongoing usage at the goal line. With T.Y. Hilton and Jonathan Taylor both hitting their strides during the softest stretch of Indianapolis’ schedule, the 39-year-old signal-caller also (finally) has multiple playmakers to choose from. This week’s matchup against a Raiders Defense that most recently allowed Sam Darnold to total three touchdowns is another plus spot for managers to stream Rivers with confidence in the first round of the fantasy playoffs.
2. Tua Tagovailoa, Dolphins — Rostered in 3 percent of Yahoo leagues
Miami’s offense has admittedly been stagnant with Tagovailoa under center, averaging 4.5 yards per play in the rookie’s five starts, but coach Brian Flores did afford him a season-high 39 pass attempts against the Bengals on Sunday. That type of volume coupled with Tua’s rushing floor (3.6 carries per game) and the enhanced game environment opposite Kansas City’s aerial attack should propel Tagovailoa into a high-end QB2 streamer by default.
3. Jalen Hurts, Eagles — Rostered in 33 percent of Yahoo Leagues
Fake-sharp Doug Pederson has officially passed the torch to Hurts against New Orleans, which has recorded the second-most sacks (17) and allowed just 8.8 points per game over the last five weeks. Although he's an exciting high-draft capital player with an unknown ceiling under center, we admittedly shouldn't be looking to start him in this impossible spot; it’s just important to add him and be ahead of his eruption in prime matchups against the Cardinals and Cowboys over the last two rounds of the fantasy playoffs. Simply put, Hurts should be picked up over the rest of this list if you’re looking to stash beyond Week 14.
4. Sam Darnold, Jets — Rostered in 8 percent of Yahoo Leagues
On the surface, Seattle’s “improved” defense has totaled 14 sacks and allowed just 222.3 passing yards per game over the last month. Peek under the hood and you’ll notice those numbers have occurred in a meaningless stretch against Jared Goff, Kyler Murray (who injured his shoulder mid-game), Carson Wentz, and Colt McCoy. Darnold could very well become the next sap to join that list, but odds are any of Denzel Mims, Jamison Crowder, or Breshad Perriman are able to exploit Seattle’s corners, which have still permitted the most raw fantasy points to enemy wideouts this year.
5. Mike Glennon, Jaguars — Rostered in 3 percent of Yahoo Leagues
Glennon is only on this list because of his matchup against a non-existent Titans pass rush in the second-highest total (52.5) of the weekend. Baker Mayfield’s four-touchdown performance overshadows the fact that Tennessee has permitted 31.2 points per game over the last month of the season. Glennon, for whatever it’s worth, has also lobbed a league-high 16 passes 20-plus yards downfield while under center the past two weeks.
6. Mitchell Trubisky, Bears — Rostered in 13 percent of Yahoo Leagues
Trubisky has quietly tossed 85 attempts in his last two starts, linking up with Allen Robinson for a team-high 26% target share in that stint. The Texans, if anything, continue to be a fail-proof matchup for opposing quarterbacks, even allowing Cam Newton (365/1) to shine through the air in the last three weeks. Trubisky is a viable 2-QB streamer for it.
Watch List: Drew Brees, who was supposedly seen throwing on the sidelines prior to Sunday's game, closes the year against the Chiefs, Vikings, and Panthers from Week 15 on.
Week 15: Tua in another terrific spot-start against Washington...Rivers in a re-run against the Texans (sans stud CB Bradley Roby again).
Week 16: Mayfield and Cleveland's passing attack in a prime bounce-back against the Jets...Trubisky opposite Jacksonville's secondary...Darnold against Cleveland's funneling corners.
1. J.D. McKissic, Washington – Rostered in 48 percent of Yahoo leagues
We’ll never know if Antonio Gibson’s (toe) recent role change was in fact that or a product of Washington’s friendly game scripts over the last month. What we do know, however, is that McKissic came off the bench and out-snapped Peyton Barber significantly (53-24) over the last three quarters Monday night. Assuming Gibson’s severe turf toe keeps him sidelined for Sunday’s upcoming game against the 49ers, McKissic, who has accrued a team-high 24.3% target share from Alex Smith this year, would become the clear pivot over Barber’s one-yard fart and fall downs.
Recommendation: Should be rostered in 10-team PPR leagues
2. Adrian Peterson, Lions – Rostered in 49 percent of Yahoo leagues
It’s entirely plausible D’Andre Swift (concussion) returns on Sunday, and if that is the case, reminder he was unleashed for a season-high 73% of Detroit’s offensive snaps and a 15% target share the last time he took the field. If Swift is out, though, it’s Peterson’s turn to roll over Green Bay’s leaky front-seven, which has ole’d the third-most fantasy points and 4.5 yards per carry to opposing running backs this year.
Recommendation: Should be rostered in 10-team leagues if D’Andre Swift (concussion) is ruled out
3. Ty Johnson, Jets – Rostered in 2 percent of Yahoo leagues
Frank Gore was concussed in the first quarter against the Raiders, allowing Johnson to come off the bench for 39 snaps (63%) and handle a backfield-high 24 touches over Josh Adams’ middling amount (8). Johnson is breathing, which makes him a pickup in 2020 if Gore is ruled out.
Recommendation: Should be rostered in 12-team leagues if Frank Gore (concussion) is ruled out
Watch List: Peyton Barber's role sans Antonio Gibson (toe) is similar to that of Sony Michel's, who no one is starting in the fantasy playoffs. Expect a team-high in carries that go nowhere, ultimately needing two touchdowns to return any amount of value...With Jaylen Samuels back in the lineup, Benny Snell lost targets to him (3-2) all the while ceding carries to Anthony McFarland (8-4). Much like Tennessee's backfield, there is no true backup to roster behind the starter.
Deep Cuts: Raheem Mostert's role has changed since he returned from injury, handling 'only' 50% of the team's backfield touches ahead of Jeff Wilson's 38.5%; Mostert previously handled 65% of San Francisco's backfield touches in his only two full games this year. That role change makes Wilson, who has received 21 touches the past two games while admittedly looking explosive, a deep league commodity if needing help at his position.
Week 15: Latavius Murray as a top-three play against the Vikings' front-seven if Alvin Kamara goes down...Devontae Booker against the Dolphins if Josh Jacobs (ankle) is still unable to return...Kalen Ballage against the Raiders if Austin Ekeler's hamstring re-aggravates...McKissic against the Seahawks if Gibson (toe) is still out.
1. Keke Coutee, Texans — Rostered in 27 percent of Yahoo leagues
2. Chad Hansen, Texans – Rostered in 0 percent of Yahoo leagues
Isaiah Coulter was healthy scratched on Sunday, cementing Brandin Cooks, Coutee, and Hansen in three-wide sets. Coutee was an obvious standout with a team-high nine targets and 8/141 receiving — his third 100-yard performance in the last four games against DC Matt Eberflus’ zone scheme — but Hansen surprised with 47 routes run (to Coutee’s 42 and Cooks’ 41) on Deshaun Watson’s 50 dropbacks. Coutee, however, still led Houston in air yards (even from the slot) and was used all over the field.
Hansen’s role is here to stay for as long as Randall Cobb sticks on injured reserve since the former was shifted to the slot for only nine snaps all game. But Coutee, who proved interchangeable with a season-high 12 snaps from the boundary, is clearly the priority between the two, especially since he’ll run into Eberflus again in Week 15.
Recommendation: Both should be rostered in 10-team leagues
3. Denzel Mims, Jets – Rostered in 11 percent of Yahoo leagues
New York has played four games with the trio of Jamison Crowder, Breshad Perriman, and Mims all healthy this year and it’s the rookie who leads the team in air yards (480, 42.4%) and targets (27, 27.2%) in that stretch. Even so, Mims is the only one among the three who has yet to score a touchdown in that time. We should continue betting on his role behind the box score until that inevitably happens.
Recommendation: Should be rostered in 12-team leagues
4. T.Y. Hilton, Colts – Rostered in 45 percent of Yahoo leagues
Should you trust Hilton in a must-win matchup for the fantasy crown after he did nothing but lay eggs until Week 12? I genuinely don’t know. But I do know that his role has changed in that time, recording team-highs in target (20.7%) and air yard (32%) shares in Indianapolis’ last two games. The Colts’ team total has also increased to the sixth-highest (27) for Sunday since initially opening.
Recommendation: Should be rostered in 12-team leagues
5. Tim Patrick, Broncos – Rostered in 21 percent of Yahoo leagues
It’s impossible to pin down Patrick’s true role in Denver’s offense since he’s been injured, ejected, and asked to catch passes from Kendall Hinton all in the last seven games. But he has shined ahead of Jerry Jeudy (who’s obviously battling through an ankle injury) the past month, doubling up the rookie in receiving yards (224-110) on one fewer target (21-20) in that stretch. When healthy, Patrick has proven he’s a threatening WR4/5 with a high floor even with Drew Lock under center.
Recommendation: Should be rostered in 12-team leagues
6. Jalen Reagor, Eagles – Rostered in 22 percent of Yahoo leagues
Reagor’s lone catch on Sunday — a 34-yard strike downfield — occurred the moment Jalen Hurts was thrust into Philadelphia’s lineup. Neither are terrific options against New Orleans’ menacing secondary, but Reagor should be added ahead of the Eagles’ soft matchups against the Cardinals and Cowboys in Weeks 15 and 16. He has at least run a receiver-high 134 routes (on 177 dropbacks) since the team’s Week 9 bye.
Recommendation: Should be rostered in 12-team leagues for Week 15
7. Nelson Agholor, Raiders – Rostered in 40 percent of Yahoo leagues
You wouldn’t know Agholor received 11 targets and a team-high four end zone opportunities on Sunday since Derek Carr sailed him on a handful of throws. But Agholor’s target share still squashed Henry Ruggs’ (23.9% to 8.7%), as it has since the rookie returned from injury in Week 7. Agholor remains the most reliable WR5 for fantasy between the two.
Recommendation: Should be rostered in 12-team leagues
Watch List: John Brown is notably eligible to return in Week 15 if planning ahead. There's no guarantee he's available immediately, but the Bills do fortuitously close the fantasy playoffs against the Broncos and Patriots in Weeks 15 and 16 if he is able to return.
Deep Leagues: Rashard Higgins' emergence was noticeable since KhaDarel Hodge was ruled out on Friday. Cleveland's upcoming matchup against the Ravens, while less than ideal, still keeps Higgins on the radar in deep leagues if Hodge is sidelined yet again...Chase Claypool's usage took a hit with James Washington involved more as the latter ran 31 routes to Claypool's 26. Diontae Johnson obviously leads the team in drops, but Washington is usurping the rookie more than Johnson, who still ran 47 routes to JuJu Smith-Schuster's 52 on Monday night...Gabriel Davis has averaged five targets per game and a 13.5% target share in four starts without John Brown (calf), but that would obviously come to a halt once/if the latter returns when he's eligible to in Week 15.
Week 15: James Washington against Cincinnati if he does in fact usurp Chase Claypool...Allen Lazard opposite Carolina's secondary if he's healthy enough to return to a full role...T.Y. Hilton raising another statue for himself against the Texans.
Week 16: Rashard Higgins against the Jets if KhaDarel Hodge remains sidelined...Lazard opposite the Titans' non-existent pass rush...Whichever Texans receivers are starting against the Bengals...All three of the Jets' receivers against Cleveland.
1. Logan Thomas, Washington — Rostered in 40 percent of Yahoo leagues
Thomas has been as sturdy as they come in Alex Smith’s four starts this year, recording at least five targets and/or a touchdown in that stretch. His six red zone targets in that time are also tied with Darren Waller for the most among tight ends.
2. Drew Sample, Bengals — Rostered in 1 percent of Yahoo leagues
If you’ve removed the Bengals from your brain this time of the year, I get it. But while you’ve been watching good teams play, Sample has quietly stacked as many targets (12) as Tee Higgins with Brandon Allen under center the past two weeks. He’s only totaled 89 receiving yards with a safety-blanket 3.9 depth of target in that span, but a floor for the fantasy playoffs is all you’re looking for if bidding on him, anyhow.
3. Jordan Reed, 49ers — Rostered in 26 percent of Yahoo leagues
Reed salvaged his day in garbage time with a last-second touchdown against the Bills, but his usage behind the scenes since San Francisco’s bye (25 routes in back-to-back games) has held strong. Washington’s blitzkrieg pass rush has also forced enemy quarterbacks to funnel the sixth-most targets to tight ends this year.
4. Anthony Firkser, Titans — Rostered in 9 percent of Yahoo leagues
Firsker’s outlook obviously comes down to Jonnu Smith’s (knee) availability. Note that Firkser at least played 29 snaps from the slot and out wide on Sunday, recording a 15.5% target share as the Titans were forced to throw from behind throughout the second half.
5. Kyle Rudolph, Vikings — Rostered in 25 percent of Yahoo leagues
Like Firkser’s status, Rudolph’s is touch and go pending Irv Smith’s (groin) health for Sunday. We should at least expect a safer floor than his most recent zero-catch performance since the Vikings are nearly a touchdown road dog (+6.5) likely to be forced into negative game script for a majority of play against the Bucs.
Deep Leagues: Cole Kmet has been used far more than Jimmy Graham since Trubisky went back under center, running 56 routes to the veteran's 34 over the last two games. Kmet also most recently saw seven targets to Graham's one against Detroit.
1. Carolina Panthers – Rostered in 7 percent of Yahoo leagues
An actual quote that left Drew Lock’s mouth:
“Half the time, right as the ball leaves my hand, I’m like… 'Oh no.’”
Fire up the Panthers with confidence.
2. Dallas Cowboys – Rostered in 16 percent of Yahoo leagues
Brandon Allen has taken seven sacks and handed over three turnovers in his last two starts. Even Dallas’ defense projects for a high floor in this matchup if your waivers are bare.
3. New England Patriots – Rostered in 46 percent of Yahoo leagues
There are more playmakers for the Rams this time around, but coach Bill Belichick did have Jared Goff’s number in dialing up blitzes for four sacks and a 50% completion rate the last time these two teams squared off in the 2018 Super Bowl. Belichick gets the nod on a short week.
4. Arizona Cardinals – Rostered in 20 percent of Yahoo leagues
We can trust the Cardinals to stifle Colt McCoy if Daniel Jones (hamstring) is unable to turn around for Sunday. McCoy of course was unable to move the ball (4.7 YPA) and tossed an interception with his limited dropbacks against Seattle.
Week 15: Cardinals against Jalen Hurts, who can take a multitude of sacks as a running quarterback and exceed expectations with a rushing floor in one fell swoop...Miami's elite secondary opposite Cam Newton through the air.
1. Tyler Bass, Bills – Rostered in 36 percent of Yahoo leagues
Bass remains the clear-cut top option for the fantasy playoffs since he’s sunk five field goals from 40-plus yards out the past three games, notching double-digit fantasy points in five of his last six outings (including last night’s blowout over the Niners).
2. Ka’imi Fairbairn, Texans – Rostered in 19 percent of Yahoo leagues
Even Will Fuller’s absence didn’t stop Fairbairn from notching 9.0 fantasy points in four of his last five games. Chicago’s defense, while menacing to opposing quarterbacks, has actually permitted the most field goal attempts per game (2.9) this year.
3. Graham Gano, Giants – Rostered in 7 percent of Yahoo leagues
The Giants’ second-lowest touchdown percentage inside the red zone has afforded Gano double-digit fantasy points in three of his last four outings. The Cardinals are also allowing the eighth-most fantasy points per game to opposing kickers.