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Waiver Wired: Week 14

by Raymond Summerlin
Updated On: October 4, 2018, 4:04 pm ET

Welcome to the 14th edition of Waiver Wired for the 2015 season. Plug-and-play options at the running back and wide receiver positions are scarce as we head into the playoffs, but there are plenty of streaming options at quarterback and tight end to consider and some interesting upside adds at running back and receiver who could have big value as early as this week. There is also a bevy of low-owned players to discuss in the deep cuts section, and we even have some time to look ahead to the money weeks of the fantasy playoffs. Let’s get to it.

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The Drop List
QB: Peyton Manning, Teddy Bridgewater
Melvin Gordon, Carlos Hyde, Rashad Jennings
Tavon Austin, Andre Johnson, Julian Edelman
Martellus Bennett, Kyle Rudolph, Jordan Cameron

Peyton Manning is not getting his job back and would not be a fantasy starter even if he did. Dump him. Teddy Bridgewater is still 37 percent owned. I have zero idea why. Melvin Gordon was benched for the second time this season for fumbling, has still yet to score a touchdown and plays for a collapsing offense. No thanks. I doubt Carlos Hyde plays again this season. I believed in Tavon Austin earlier in the year, but there is just no way to trust him in a playoff matchup with Case Keenum at quarterback. Julian Edelman is not going to play again in the regular season. Martellus Bennett has more than 60 yards once this season and has 3 or fewer targets in four of his last five games as the Bears have transitioned to a run-heavy scheme. Kyle Rudolph’s moment in the sun appears to be at an end.

1. Tyrod Taylor
2. Marcus Mariota
3. Jameis Winston
4. Ryan Fitzpatrick
5. Brian Hoyer
Looking Ahead: Tyrod Taylor, Matt Ryan, Brock Osweiler, Andrew Luck

Running backs
1. Ryan Mathews
2. Matt Jones
3. James White
4. Darren Sproles
5. Theo Riddick
Looking Ahead: Karlos Williams, Jay Ajayi, Tevin Coleman, Charles Sims, Robert Turbin, Denard Robinson

Wide receivers
1. Dorial Green-Beckham
2. DeVante Parker
3. Brian Hartline
4. Brandon Coleman
Looking Ahead:  Ted Ginn, Tyler Lockett, Javontee Herndon

Tight ends
1. Austin Seferian-Jenkins
2. Jacob Tamme
3. Will Tye
4. Owen Daniels
Looking Ahead:
 Eric Ebron, Luke Willson, Ryan Griffin

Defense/Special Teams
1. Detroit Lions
2. New York Giants
3. Chicago Bears
Looking Ahead:  Tampa Bay Bucs

1. Matt Prater
2. Phil Dawson
3. Connor Barth
Looking Ahead: Matt Prater

1. Tyrod Taylor, Bills – Owned in 36 percent of Yahoo leagues

Tyrod Taylor has been an enigma all season, but he is back healthy and playing great in an offense with as high a ceiling as any in the league. LeSean McCoy is back to playing like LeSean McCoy, and Sammy Watkins has proven to be an electric playmaker when the Bills decide to send the ball his way. That has been happening too infrequently even in the last two weeks, but, either way, Taylor should be able to eat up an Eagles defense which won their Super Bowl against the Patriots last week. He is an easy QB1 in all formats.
Recommendation: Should be owned in 10-team leagues

2. Marcus Mariota, Titans – Owned in 44 percent of Yahoo leagues
I have been on the Marcus Mariota train for three weeks, and he has yet to do me wrong. Even more than that, he showed the immense upside a player with his skill set offers week to week against the Jaguars. With the Jets’ struggling secondary likely to be without Darrelle Revis again, there is no reason to bail. He remains an upside streaming option.
Recommendation: Should be owned in 10-team leagues.

3. Jameis Winston, Bucs – Owned in 40 percent of Yahoo leagues
Jameis Winston was incredible against the Falcons. He made several perfect passes into tight windows and made perhaps the play of the week on a 3rd-and-19 scramble which set up a game-winning touchdown throw. The concern for Winston, and the reason he is not higher on this list, is always volume. Winston has fewer than 30 pass attempts in two of the last three games, and Tampa has consistently utilized a run-heavy offense whenever possible. Doug Martin should be able to have his way against New Orleans this week, but the Saints’ defense gives up so many big plays Winston should be able to find success even on limited throws. He is a safe play with big upside if the game devolves into a shootout.
Recommendation: Should be owned in 12-team leagues.

4. Ryan Fitzpatrick, Jets – Owned in 44 percent of Yahoo leagues
Always the steady play, Ryan Fitzpatrick finally established his ceiling by putting up QB3 and QB9 weeks in the last two. The Titans were once a stout pass defense, but injuries both in the secondary and especially to pass rusher Derrick Morgan have taken a lot of the bite out of Tennessee. With the defense struggling, Fitzpatrick will likely be relied on to duke it out with Marcus Mariota. As he has proved last week, he can score big fantasy points in those situations.
Recommendation: Should be owned in 12-team leagues.

5. Brian Hoyer, Texans – Owned in 21 percent of Yahoo leagues
After a disappointing, low-volume performance against the Saints, Hoyer got right back to his 40-pass ways against the Bills. Playing from behind much of the day, Hoyer threw for 293 yards and three touchdowns on his way to a QB11 finish. New England’s offense has been struggling, but opposing quarterbacks have still consistently been forced into high-volume days, Sam Bradford aside. Even Brock Osweiler threw 42 times two weeks ago. This could be another 40-attempt game for Brian Hoyer, and he has shown he can be a solid starting option in those situations.
Recommendation: Should be owned in 14-team leagues.

Looking Ahead: Tyrod Taylor has another great matchup against Washington in Week 15. Set him and forget him. Matt Stafford is owned in most leagues, but he does get New Orleans in two weeks. Pick him up if he is still floating around. Matt Ryan could be dropped in a lot of leagues after being terrible for the better part of a month, but he has the Jaguars in Week 15. Brock Osweiler gets a great matchup against the Steelers in two weeks, but he has not had the volume to be fantasy relevant. Perhaps the Steelers’ offense can force Denver to throw. Andrew Luck has a good shot to be back in time for a meeting with the Dolphins Week 16.

Watch List: Blaine Gabbert has been competent and led San Francisco to a great win last week, but he was on his way to a single-digit fantasy day with two minutes left to go in the game. Gabbert attempted just five passes of 10 or more yards against Chicago according to Pro Football Focus. It just turns out one of them was a 71-yard touchdown to win the game. Don’t go chasing points. … Johnny Manziel could be interesting against the 49ers, but they actually played well on the road last week, and putting playoff eggs in Johnny’s basket does not sound particularly appealing. … Jay Cutler has attempted 33 or fewer pass attempts in five of his last six games, and he should be headed for another slow-paced encounter with Washington this week. … Much like Cutler, Alex Smith is a low-volume quarterback who is too inconsistent to trust even in good matchups.

1. Ryan Mathews, Eagles – Owned in 46 percent of Yahoo leagues
Looking likely to return from a concussion issue this week, Ryan Mathews should be given a shot at lead-back carries after DeMarco Murray was basically benched against the Patriots. Mathews has shown he can be explosive in Chip Kelly’s offense already this season, and he would have RB1 upside if given the starting job. He may not return immediate value if the concussion continues to linger, but no back on the wire this week offers matchup-winning upside. Once he gets back, that should be exactly what Mathews brings.
Recommendation: Should be owned in 10-team leagues.

2. Matt Jones, Redskins – Owned in 44 percent of Yahoo leagues
I am finished attempting to predict how Washington’s backfield will shake out week to week after Alfred Morris played zero snaps in the final three quarters Monday night the week after seeing 24 touches. There are not many options available on the wire, however, and it at least makes sense for rookie Matt Jones to lead the backfield over impending free agent Morris. Chicago is still a plus matchup for running backs, so Jones will be a risky RB3 for the first week of the playoffs despite the playing time concerns.
Recommendation: Should be owned in 12-team leagues.

3. James White, Patriots – Owned in 27 percent of Yahoo leagues
Color me suspicious of James White’s ability to replicate his 14-touch, 119-total-yard performance against the Eagles moving forward. White had 25 touches total on the season heading into the game including 11 total in the three games after Dion Lewis’ injury. He had only two touches in the first half against Philadelphia and five heading into the fourth quarter. It is possible White gained trust with his performance in the fourth quarter, which is the reason he is on this list at all, but I would have serious trouble putting him into my lineup in a must-win situation. He is a stash with some upside in deeper leagues.
Recommendation: Should be owned in 12-team leagues.

4. Darren Sproles, Eagles – Owned in 41 percent of Yahoo leagues
Like James White above, Darren Sproles will be difficult to trust in fantasy lineups this week despite a strong game last time out. With DeMarco Murray essentially benched, Sproles played 35-of-61 snaps and gained 100 total yards on 19 touches against the Patriots. He also contributed a punt-return touchdown in what was easily his best game of the year. The problem is Sproles had been languishing as a 6-8 touch player most of the season before this breakout, and it looks likely Ryan Mathews returns this week. Sproles will not a risky RB3 play at best even if Mathews sits against the Bills.  
Recommendation: Should be owned in 12-team leagues.

5. Theo Riddick, Lions – Owned in 29 percent of Yahoo leagues
Theo Riddick does not get enough work to be a real consideration in standard leagues, but he has proven himself a solid RB3/FLEX option in PPR leagues, scoring double-digit points in 7-of-12 games this season. The Rams have given up the tenth-most receptions to running backs, and Riddick has played the most snaps of any Lions back in two of the last three games. He will have a decent PPR floor this week and some nice upside as well.
Recommendation: Should be owned in all PPR leagues.  

Looking Ahead: ‘Tis the season for handcuffs. With depth almost meaningless in the playoffs, the best decision for most teams is dropping low-upside depth for high-upside handcuffs. My favorites who are available in at least 50 percent of Yahoo leagues are Karlos Williams, Jay Ajayi, Tevin Coleman, Charles Sims, Robert Turbin and Denard Robinson.

Watch List: Duke Johnson and Isaiah Crowell have good matchups against San Francisco, but neither has been good enough or is getting consistent enough work to be trusted in a playoff matchup. Duke is the better play based on the 49ers’ struggles against receiving backs this season. … Antonio Andrews is now sharing time with David Cobb and should lose more work to a returning Dexter McCluster this week. Sharing work and in a tough matchup, all three can be left on the wire. … Dan Herron played just 13 snaps even in a pass-heavy game flow against Pittsburgh. … Bilal Powell had a huge game in a great game-flow situation, but he is nothing more than deep PPR consideration.

Deep Cuts: Kenjon Barner saw one more carry and just two fewer snaps than DeMarco Murray. He is a stash-and-see in deep leagues. … Chris Polk and Jonathan Grimes easily out-snapped Alfred Blue against the Bills. It is possible the switch had more to do with the game flow than a permanent change, but Polk and Grimes are both better runners than the plodding Blue. If the switch becomes permanent, Polk would have value in deep standard formats, and Grimes could be useful in deeper PPR leagues. … Ka’Deem Carey saw a surprising amount of work against the 49ers, but he is still buried behind Matt Forte and Jeremy Langford. … Juwan Thompson took over some of C.J. Anderson’s role after he left with an ankle injury. It does not look like the injury is serious, but Thompson could see 8-10 carries against the Raiders if Anderson is forced to miss. … Kerwynn Williams should serve as David Johnson’s backup while Andre Ellington is out. … Not buying John Crockett as a realistic option for the Packers, but crazier things have happened. … Terrance West, Cameron Artis-Payne, and Stevan Ridley are some other deeper league handcuffs to consider.

1. Dorial Green-Beckham, Titans – Owned in 14 percent of Yahoo leagues
Here we go again. Just when I thought I was off the Dorial Green-Beckham bandwagon, he sucked me back in with a dominating 5-119-1 performance against the Jaguars. What I liked most about the game was Green-Beckham’s response to a terrible drop which resulted in a Jacksonville interception. Instead of going into a shame spiral, Green-Beckham came back with two big plays on the very next drive to help extend the Titans’ lead at halftime. A 47-yard touchdown later in the game in which he ran clean over a defensive back and away from a couple others showed all of the traits which make DGB such an exciting prospect. He is a high-upside WR3 in deeper leagues with Marcus Mariota running hot, and he is worth a stash everywhere else.
Recommendation: Should be owned in 10-team leagues.

2. DeVante Parker, Dolphins – Owned in 30 percent of Yahoo leagues
Not much changed for DeVante Parker since last week. He started -- as expected -- played most of the snaps -- as expected – and tied with Jarvis Landry for the most snaps on the team – which was not really expected but was a nice bonus. To top it off, Parker hauled in a beautiful, leaping touchdown late in the second quarter. It ended up being Miami’s only offensive touchdown of the game, however, and Parker falls behind Green-Beckham on this list because of Miami’s offensive struggles. He will still be worthy of starting consideration in a great matchup against the Giants on Monday night.
Recommendation: Should be owned in 10-team leagues.

3. Brian Hartline, Browns – Owned in 2 percent of Yahoo leagues
Brian Hartline is not an exciting add in standard formats because he lacks both yardage and touchdown upside, but he has turned into a quietly solid PPR option of his last four games. Hartline has turned 42 total targets into 26 catches for 266 yards and two touchdowns since Week 8, finishing as the PPR WR19, WR25, WR30 and WR24 over that span. One of those games was a 6-77 performance while playing with Johnny Manziel in Week 10. With Travis Benjamin questionable at best, Hartline should be guaranteed another big workload. He is a solid PPR option, and he could be a WR3 option in deeper standard leagues as well.
Recommendation: Should be owned in all PPR leagues.

4. Brandon Coleman, Saints – Owned in 4 percent of Yahoo leagues
Preseason sensation Brandon Coleman finally made some noise by catching 4-of-7 targets for 73 yards and a touchdown against the Panthers. It was Coleman’s first game with more than three targets since Week 2 and his first touchdown since Week 1. Willie Snead, who jumped Coleman on the depth chart earlier this season, did not participate in practice last week because of a calf injury and has been on a downward trend recently anyway. Coleman will not be usable if Snead returns this week, but he will be an upside WR4 play in deeper leagues if Snead missed because of a good matchup and New Orleans’ terrible defense creating shootout potential.
Recommendation: Should be owned in 14-team leagues.

Looking Ahead: Ted Ginn has been best utilized this season against teams which give up the big play. That will not be the case this week against Atlanta, who have given up three fewer 30-yard pass plays than any other team in the league this season, but it will be next week against the Giants, who are tied with New Orleans for the second-most surrendered. Despite Russell Wilson’s newfound affinity for throwing from the pocket, I am not trusting Tyler Lockett as a fantasy wide receiver at this point. That could change if he puts up another solid showing against the Ravens this week. A tasty matchup with the Browns at homes awaits Lockett in Week 15. With everyone else hurt, it will be interesting to see Javontee Herndon’s role this week against Kansas City. If he sees the targets, he could be worth a look in a good matchup with the Dolphins in two weeks.

Watch List: Torrey Smith made the big play, but he still has two or fewer catches in six straight. … Despite a great performance from Marcus Mariota, Kendall Wright did nothing against the Jaguars. … Devin Funchess ceded the starting job back to Corey Brown. … Rueben Randle is terrible. … Markus Wheaton played as many snaps as Martavis Bryant and found the end zone again, but I just cannot believe this is real. He did not have a single target in the second half, and four of his six including the touchdown came in the two-minute drill at the end of the first. … Despite all the injuries in the receiver corps, Malcom Floyd, who is also injured, has not become a fantasy factor. Javontee Herndon is the better desperation add. … Nate Washington just missed on two deep plays against the Bills, but he and Cecil Shorts are too inconsistent to trust in the playoffs. … Dontrelle Inman’s neck injury is thankfully not serious, but it could keep him out a couple weeks. He does not have enough upside to stash. … Keshawn Martin keeps playing the snaps, keeps dropping passes and keeps not mattering in fantasy.

Deep Cuts: Seth Roberts continue to get targets and make plays. He has a low floor behind target hogs Amari Cooper and Michael Crabtree, but he is worth a look in deep formats. … Phillip Dorsett is set to being practicing this week. The speedster will hopefully steal snaps from Andre Johnson once he is healthy. … The Bears keep sending out hints Kevin White could return this year. I doubt it, but keep an eye out. … Jared Abbrederis appeared to steal some snaps from James Jones against the Lions. He and Jeff Janis need more playing time. … With Allen Hurns on the way back, Marqise Lee will take back his rightful place on the bench. … J.J. Nelson made another big play, but he played just 12 snaps. He is buried on the depth chart with John Brown and Michael Floyd healthy.

1. Austin Seferian-Jenkins, Bucs – Owned in 36 percent of Yahoo leagues
I am gun-shy after Austin Seferian-Jenkins burned me when his shoulder injury lingered way longer than expected, but he played last week against the Falcons and saw the second-most targets on the team despite playing limited snaps. The snap limitations should come off soon enough, and ASJ has a great matchup this week against the Saints, who have given up 25, 16.4, 15.2, and 17.4 points to starting tight ends the last four weeks.
Recommendation: Should be owned in 10-team leagues.

2. Jacob Tamme, Falcons – Owned in 40 percent of Yahoo leagues
Jacob Tamme was a major disappointment last week, but he has a reasonable history of success when Leonard Hankerson is out of the lineup this season. Hankerson is not coming off injured reserve, and Devonta Freeman will not dominate underneath targets every week. The Panthers are not scary against tight ends, and Tamme has great matchups against the Jaguars and Saints Weeks 15 and 17. He should be a TE1 the rest of the way.
Recommendation: Should be owned in 10-team leagues.

3. Will Tye, Giants – Owned in 2 percent of Yahoo leagues
Will Tye made some spectacular catches in his second 70-yard performance in as many games and now has 25 targets total in his last four. Tye has become the clear starter with Larry Donnell likely done for the year, and he has shown some playmaking ability the last two weeks. Miami has played better against tight ends recently, but they have been exploited several times this season. Tye could find some success this week.
Recommendation: Should be owned in 12-team leagues.  

4. Owen Daniels, Broncos – Owned in 32 percent of Yahoo leagues
This may be blow up in my face, but there is an opportunity for Owen Daniels to have some success with Vernon Davis likely out because of a concussion. Brock Osweiler has targeted tight ends on 27.4 percent of his throws as a starter with Daniels seeing 14 targets in the three starts. If Davis sits, Daniels should see at least six targets against a defense which has tightened up in recent weeks but is still an above-average matchup. Daniels goose egged against the Raiders earlier in the year, but this is a different offense and Daniels has been more successful as of late. He is a good streaming target in deeper leagues.
Recommendation: Should be owned in 14-team leagues.

Looking Ahead: Eric Ebron has seen his playing time and offensive involvement decrease recently, but he has a stellar matchup against the Saints next week. Luke Willson made some impressive plays against the Vikings early, but he finished the day with three targets. If he can get more involved in the offense this week, he will have some streaming appeal against Cleveland Week 15. Ryan Griffin has back-to-back games with five targets and a touchdown, although his score last week had more to do with the Bills’ ineptitude than his ability. He is not worth a look against the Patriots’ stingy defense, but he could be useful against the Colts if his involvement with the offense continues.

Watch List: I will get lambasted for not having Richard Rodgers as an add, but I am not point chasing a guy who gained 22 percent of his career receiving yards last Thursday night. Rodgers had not gone over 58 yards in any game in his career prior to Thursday, and Dallas has been tough against tight ends all season. … Charles Clay was forgotten on his long touchdown, but it was his first score since Week 3. His target totals the last two weeks have been encouraging, but the Eagles limit tight ends. … Coby Fleener keeps getting the targets and has a good matchup, but it has not happened yet. … Crockett Gillmore had just one target against Miami. … Clive Walford is averaging 3.6 targets a game over his last five, but he is still just a Dynasty stash.

1. Detroit Lions – Owned in 11 percent of Yahoo leagues
The Rams offense is a train wreck. The Lions defense has played extremely well since the bye week. Sometimes it is this easy. (That statement doomed the Lions to failure.)

2. New York Giants – Owned in 22 percent of Yahoo leagues
The Giants have not been a great real defense, but they have succeeded in fantasy on the back of turnovers, touchdowns, and, more recently, sacks. The Dolphins have been generous in 2-of-3 of those categories this season and were almost comically unwilling to let Ryan Tannehill do anything against the Ravens on their way to eight first downs and 46 plays in 12 drives. There is little chance the Giants give up a big score this week, and they can create some turnover opportunities by putting Miami in a position to throw in the second half.

3. Chicago Bears – Owned in 28 percent of Yahoo leagues
Based partly on a slowed pace and partly on an improving pass rush and secondary, the Bears defense has quietly put together a strong five weeks. The team has recorded 14 sacks, forced five turnovers and given up an average of 17.6 points per game over the last five. This week they get a Washington team at home who could not do anything for 58 minutes against the Cowboys.

Looking Ahead: The Tampa Bay Buccaneers have three sacks in four straight and have forced 21 turnovers this season. They get the Rams on Thursday night in Week 15.

1. Matt Prater, Lions – Owned in 28 percent of Yahoo leagues
After starting slow, Matt Prater has multiple field goal attempts in three of his last four games and had six extra points in the one “dud” over that span. This week he gets to kick in the dome in St. Louis against a team which has faced the third-most field goals this season and multiple field goals in all but three games.

2. Phil Dawson, 49ers – Owned in 11 percent of Yahoo leagues
The inability of the 49ers offense to appear anything resembling competent most of the year has limited Phil Dawson, but he has made all but one of his field goal attempts and gets to face the team which has given up the most points per game to kickers this season. San Francisco’s offense should find at least some success against Cleveland, and Dawson will benefit.

3. Connor Barth, Bucs – Owned in 17 percent of Yahoo leagues
Connor Barth has slowed down considerably since his hot start, but this week he gets to face a Saints defense which gives up touchdowns for fun and has given up several big games to opposing kickers. The extra points should give Barth a solid floor, and there is always upside for more in what should be a high-scoring game.

Looking Ahead: Matt Prater has another good matchup in New Orleans next week. He is a great two-week add. 

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