It’s hard to believe, but the final week of the fantasy football regular season is upon us. For some of you, this may be your last chance to work the waiver wire for those top targets. For others, it may be further preparation for a future playoff run. Whatever your reason, the waiver wire continues to produce a variety of value to a variety of fantasy football managers everywhere.
When considering who to pick up on the waiver wire this week, look at your team, first and foremost, but take a look at the rest of the league, too, especially your opponent. There is a strategy to evaluating your weekly rival’s roster and picking up a player you think they might need to beat you. Never, and I mean never, let it compromise your own roster. However, if you are desperate and have space for such a savvy move, it can be as beneficial as picking up a player for your own lineup.
Again, whatever the reason you’re combing the wire this week, I wish you the best of luck. It’s been a long, often treacherous road, to this point in the fantasy football season. Yet, here you are still playing the game. Don’t go down without a fight and if you happen to be moving on to Week 15, I’ll see you right here next week.
WEEK 14 BYES: Indianapolis Colts, Miami Dolphins, New England Patriots, Philadelphia Eagles
Below, we’ll look at players at each position to target, who are on 50% or less of most fantasy football rosters, that could be considered on the Week 14 waiver wire.
Week 14 Waiver Wire Rankings
Kenneth Gainwell, Philadelphia Eagles
Let me start by reminding you that the Eagles are on a bye this week. If you need a running back, and more importantly, a win, then Gainwell is not the back for you on the Week 14 waiver wire. It’s been a while since the rookie’s made an appearance in the waiver wire rankings. It’s not because he’s been on a high percentage of rosters, but rather last in the pecking order of Eagles running backs the last few weeks.
Now, Gainwell is back in the mix in Philly as well as fantasy football. With Jordan Howard out with a knee injury, and Miles Sanders entering the bye with an ankle injury, Gainwell could very well see fantasy-friendly volume when the Eagles are back on the field. In fact, in Week 13, he logged a season-high 17 touches, five of which were as a receiver.
It’s feasible that either Howard or Sanders is back in Week 15, but neither looks likely to be close to 100% ready. The Eagles will head to Washington for a crucial NFC East battle. The Washington Football Team has allowed a league-high eight receiving touchdowns to running backs. In PPR formats, Gainwell is a top add off of the waiver wire and will likely see enough volume in Week 15 to warrant a start in the fantasy football quarterfinals.
Dontrell Hilliard, Tennessee Titans
Dontrell Hilliard is fresh off of the Titans’ Week 14 bye ready to face a Jacksonville Jaguars defense allowing the ninth-most fantasy points per game to running backs. Last week, in the Rams’ starting running back, Darrell Henderson’s absence, Sony Michel carved up the Jags for 121 yards on 24 rushes and found the end zone. He also caught three of four targets for an additional eight yards.
I expect Hilliard to lead the Titans running backs in touches during this AFC South divisional matchup. It’s likely D’Onta Foreman mixes in, per usual, as he and Hilliard nearly split the team’s Week 12 snap count 50/50 against the New England Patriots.
Hilliard is likely not on many rosters due to last week’s bye. He should be scooped up off of the waiver wire for the fantasy football regular season finale. Especially if you need a fill-in for bye week backs such as Jonathan Taylor, Miles Sanders, or Damien Harris, look no further than Hilliard. He is the top waiver wire add at running back for those in need for Week 14.
Rashaad Penny, Seattle Seahawks
One of the bigger stories ahead of Week 13 was Adrian Peterson signing with the Seattle Seahawks. He worked his way onto the field for 26% of snaps, though it was Penny with 41% who led the running backs in snaps. With that said, Penny is the most logical guess of a Seahawks running back to grab off of the waiver wire this week.
Truthfully, I would avoid this backfield unless truly necessary or if you are in a deeper league. This offense is running a league-low 55.3 offensive plays per game. In their last three, they’re running a league-low 54.0 offensive plays per game. Factoring in that with the idea that this backfield is working as a committee, it’s hard to feel good about Penny, Peterson, or any back in Seattle right now.
It is hard to ignore that their Week 14 opponent, the Houston Texans, are allowing 23.6 fantasy points per game to running backs, which is the second-most across the league. They’ve allowed the most rushing yards and the third-most rushing touchdowns to teams this season. If you feel good about the matchup, I prefer Penny to Peterson this week especially. The latter, as of Monday, is back on the Hawks’ practice squad.
Other Running Backs to Consider
Tevin Coleman looks like he may have the lead-back role in the New York Jets offense for the time being. Although he played fewer snaps than Ty Johnson, he out carried Johnson 11 to 1 and saw the same amount of targets (4) as Johnson against the Eagles in Week 13. Most of Coleman’s success happened early when the Jets held a short-lived lead. The Jets schedule definitely favors Johnson as a pass-catching option in likely come-from-behind games moving forward. It’s hard to ignore Coleman’s 5.27 yards per carry efficiency from last week, though.
Brandon Bolden looks like he is the third option at running back in New England. However, in Monday night’s game against the Buffalo Bills, the presumed lead back, Damien Harris, exited with a hamstring injury. He has the Week 14 bye to get right, but Bolden may be a preemptive waiver wire add for Week 15 if Harris is unable to go. Rhamondre Stevenson, if he is still out there, should be added from the waiver wire immediately in all fantasy football formats, otherwise.
Your Fantasy Team’s Starting Running Back’s Handcuff as well as any stud’s handcuff that’s available at this point. Backup running backs continue to step up in place of the otherwise starter in many NFL offenses. This past week, specifically, Alexander Mattison, last week’s top waiver wire add, finished as the PPR RB8 in Week 13. He could have been added weeks ago. Don’t let valuable handcuffs continue to linger on the waiver wire.
Russell Gage, Atlanta Falcons
Since posting a goose egg performance against the Dallas Cowboys in Week 10, Russell Gage is averaging 16.7 fantasy points per game. Most notably, Gage is dominating the Falcons target share with 27 targets in the last three games. The next closest Falcons pass catcher, tight end, Kyle Pitts, has 18 targets in that same span.
Gage is operating as the Falcons WR1 since lead receiver, Calvin Ridley, stepped away from the team for personal reasons ahead of Week 8. Unfortunately for Gage, however, is that quarterback Matt Ryan continues to struggle this season. He’s only thrown six touchdowns in the Falcons’ last seven games. Ryan has only thrown one of those touchdowns in the last four games.
Regardless, we aren’t chasing touchdowns, we are chasing volume. While the lack of scoring is definitely worrisome, Gage is seeing more than enough volume in this pass-heavy offense to warrant a waiver wire pickup. He is available in far too many fantasy football leagues given his points from just receptions and yards alone the last few weeks.
In Week 14, Gage gets the Carolina Panthers defense who have allowed 12 touchdowns to wide receivers in 12 games this season. Chase his volume and hope the odds play in your favor that he finds the end zone in this one. He is undoubtedly the top wide receiver waiver wire add for Week 14.
Marquez Valdes-Scantling, Green Bay Packers
Now coming off of a Week 13 bye, Valdes-Scantling is a top waiver wire add at wide receiver for those in need at the position for Week 14 especially. In the Packers’ last two games, MVS has 19 total targets. That’s two more the Davante Adams and 12 more than the next closest wide receiver, Randall Cobb, who we last saw dealing with a groin injury.
In Week 14, the Packers host divisional rival, the Chicago Bears. Last time we saw Aaron Rodgers play the Bears, he was telling their fans that he “owns them” following a clutch rushing touchdown. As far as defending the passing game goes, the Bears are allowing the 10th-most fantasy points to wide receivers. They’ve allowed 14 touchdowns to the position through 12 games. This all sets up beautifully for the Packers passing game, at home, this week.
MVS is a great waiver wire for the above reasons, but mostly because the options amongst available wide receivers is more scarce than ever. Valdes-Scantling’s role and volume in Green Bay’s offense, that’s averaging 28.0 points per game in their last three, is a must-add to your fantasy bench at least.
Jamison Crowder, New York Jets
Aside from his lone target in Week 12 against the Houston Texans, Crowder has seen at least five targets in every game he’s played in this season. He’s averaging just over six targets per game. The Jets have had four different starting quarterbacks this season, but Crowder remains a reliable pass catcher. Although they’ve had to deploy such a high number of passers this season, rookie Zach Wilson’s Week 13 performance may have been the best of the bunch all year.
On Monday, the Jets announced that off season acquisition, wide receiver, Corey Davis, is done for the season and will undergo core muscle surgery. Again, aside from Week 12’s outlier lack of volume, Crowder has seen 16 targets in two other games Davis missed that Crowder played in. With Davis now confirmed out for the remainder of 2021, Crowder’s target share will inevitably rise and solidify in Davis’ absence.
It’s definitely a risky play to trust a Jets pass catcher, aside from Elijah Moore, at this point in the season. The PPR value for Crowder should be there if you need desperate flex play from the waiver wire this week or moving forward.
Other Wide Receivers to Consider
Nick Westbrook-Ikhine might just be the Titans top wide receiver in Week 14. With AJ Brown on Injured Reserve, and Julio Jones set to return from the IR, Westbrook-Ikhine should be added just in case Julio can’t go on Sunday. NWI has 14 targets in the Titans’ last two games with both of these receivers missing time.
DeVante Parker is back from nursing a hamstring and caught all five of his targets on Sunday for the Miami Dolphins. He has at least four receptions and 42 receiving yards in six healthy games this season. He has a juicy fantasy playoff schedule after the team’s Week 14 bye.
Amon-Ra St. Brown caught the game-winning touchdown for the Detroit Lions on Sunday. It was his 10th catch on a season-high 12 targets. Next up are the Denver Broncos and Arizona Cardinals, two games the rookie could be involved heavily again in come-from-behind fashion.
K.J. Osborn is the next man up at wide receiver for the Minnesota Vikings in Adam Theilen’s absence. I prefer tight end, Tyler Conklin, as far as volume goes, but Osborn played 92% of snaps after Theilen’s injury Sunday. On a short week, I expect the same on Thursday Night Football against Pittsburgh.
Kendrick Bourne wasn’t fortunate enough to see any of Mac Jones’ three, yes three, targets during Monday Night’s wind and snow game. Don’t let that deter you. Bourne has seen at least four targets in every other game since Week 7. He and the Patriots, however, are on a bye in Week 14.
Tyler Conklin, Minnesota Vikings
The Vikings have a short weekend ahead of them before a Week 14 Thursday Night Football matchup with the Pittsburgh Steelers. It looks like they will be without veteran wide receiver, Adam Theilen, after he suffered a high ankle sprain against the Detroit Lions on Sunday. As a result, Tyler Conklin recorded a season-high nine targets. He hauled in seven of them for 56 scoreless yards, logging his third-highest fantasy total of the 2021 season.
The Steelers defense is one of the best in the league. Furthermore, they’re a bit stingy against the tight end position. However, for fantasy football purposes, we are in the business of chasing volume. In Theilen’s absence, Conklin’s impressive stat line was a result of playing a season-high 95% of team snaps. He was also second in targets amongst the entire team.
Assuming the Vikings are in yet another tight matchup this season, Conklin should again be heavily involved in the passing game. Given the often unpredictability of the tight end position, banking on Conklin’s projected volume isn’t a bad idea. The biggest downside is picking him up off of the waiver wire and plugging him in over other players you are considering that play on Sunday.
Evan Engram, New York Giants
It’s now been three weeks in a row where Evan Engram has recorded at least five targets in a game. Though he has yet to find the end zone since Week 9, Engram is the most consistent pass catcher in a broken New York Giants offense.
In Week 14, it appears the Giants will have to start newly acquired quarterback, Jake Fromm. While Daniel Jones recovers from a neck injury and Mike Glennon deals with a concussion, Fromm, who was picked up off of the Buffalo Bills practice squad last week, is their only option.
With that said, it’s unlikely the Giants, who are also operating under new play-caller, Freddie Kitchens, will complicate the offense for Fromm. I don’t foresee a game plan where he is airing it deep downfield. Evan Engram will likely be the healthiest and most reliable option for Fromm to go to on the road against the Los Angeles Chargers. Engram is another volume-based play to pick up off of the waiver wire for Week 14. He also has a fantasy-friendly playoff schedule to keep possibly keep him around for.
Gerald Everett, Seattle Seahawks
By just looking at fantasy point totals, Everett’s 0.70 score will likely cause many to avoid him on this week’s waiver wire. He caught four of six targets for just seven yards. In PPR formats, the reception points were washed away by two brutal fumbles. However, the turnovers did not cost Seattle the game and they are Everett’s only two of the season.
Looking beyond the fumbles, you’ll see that Everett’s six targets on Sunday give him 27 total since the Seahawks’ Week 9 bye. With Russell Wilson back under center, Everett’s been a go-to pass catcher in this offense. In Week 14, Seattle travels to Houston against the Texans who allow the eight-most fantasy points per game to tight ends. Notably, tight ends have scored six times in 12 games against the Texans. There’s a chance Everett pays off as a waiver wire add this week especially and gets into the end zone.
Taysom Hill, New Orleans Saints
After suffering an early finger injury on Thursday Night Football in Week 13, Hill struggled as a passer throwing four interceptions against the Dallas Cowboys. Other than a junk time 70-yard catch and run touchdown by Deonte Harris with 2:32 left in the game, Hill didn’t get much done through the air.
He did, however, rush 11 times for a whopping 101 yards, which is good enough for 10.1 of his 24.66 fantasy points for that game. Any given week Hill is a threat on the ground with designed runs and that’s where most of his fantasy value lies.
Ahead of Week 14, Hill is still widely available on the waiver wire. He and the Saints get a winnable matchup with the New York Jets. They notably are giving up the third-most rushing yards per game this season. Adding Hill to your lineup is like having an extra running back with added points for any passing production. If you think that is what takes your team to the next level, then Hill should be targeted on the waiver wire this week.
Taylor Heinicke, The Washington Football Team
Don’t look now, but Taylor Heinicke has the Washington Football Team on a four-game winning streak since their Week 9 bye. The Team now controls their own destiny in the NFC East as their final five games are all against divisional opponents. The next four, specifically, alternate between Dallas and Philadelphia to round out the fantasy football season.
With that in mind, Heinicke becomes an interesting waiver wire option ahead of Week 14, especially for 2QB leagues. The Dallas Cowboys, who allow the fifth-most passing yards per game, travel to Washington this Sunday. Furthermore, they are top-10 in rushing yards allowed to opposing quarterbacks. It’s worth noting that Heinicke has 52 rushing attempts in 12 games this season averaging nearly five yards per carry.
Though not the flashiest quarterback, there’s good reason that some of our other Fantrax staff writers love Taylor Heinicke. He’s worth picking up on the waiver wire in deeper leagues especially. Heinicke has thrown for at least 200 yards in nine of 12 games this season and should easily hit that mark against Dallas on Sunday. Couple that with the rushing ability and you’ve got a pretty safe floor at the quarterback position.
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