Fantasy Football: Week 14 Waiver Wire Pickups
Fantasy Football: Week 14 Waiver Wire Pickups
Playoff time is coming in a lot of fantasy football leagues, or it’s the final week of the regular season for leagues that use Week 17. Either way, it’s obviously a critical time for fantasy owners with wins and losses carrying more weight.
Regardless of your place in the standings it’s still worth keeping an eye on the waiver wire in your league for potential additions, if only to play spoiler to potential playoff teams and bolster any chance of winning the consolation bracket in your league.
The pool of available players that can make an impact for fantasy owners at this stage of the season is certainly shallow, making it slightly easier to narrow things down to who are the best options to consider adding for these critical weeks. Factors like league size and scoring format obviously play a role in who should be targeted or who is even available in each fantasy league.
This week I have again focused on players, or team defenses where appropriate, that are available in over half of Yahoo! leagues. The options I have listed should be available in a similar percentage of leagues across all league hosts, but do obviously be sure to check each guy’s availability in your league.
It is also clearly appropriate to focus on players who have favorable matchups over the next few weeks, so those that have at least a majority of good matchups over the rest of the season have moved to the top of my list again this week.
Here are my “Waiver Wire Pickups” for Week 14.
Brandon Weeden, QB, Cleveland Browns
Weeden went 25-for-36 for 364 yards with one touchdown and two interceptions against the Oakland Raiders in Week 13, and now has at least 14 fantasy points (ESPN scoring) in two of his last three games. He has a good chance to continue that momentum with a couple of nice matchups coming in Week 14 and Week 15 against the Kansas City Chiefs and Washington Redskins. The Chiefs have allowed multiple passing touchdowns in six of their last seven games, and the Redskins entered Week 13 allowing the third-most fantasy points (18.4 per game, ESPN scoring) to opposing quarterbacks. Interceptions have been an issue for Weeden at times this season, with 15 total and five games with at least two thrown, but otherwise he has a good chance to make an impact as a high-end QB2 over the next two weeks.
Jake Locker, QB, Tennessee Titans
Locker completed less than half of his passes (21-for-45) and accounted for five turnovers (three interceptions) against the Houston Texans on Sunday, but he did throw for 309 yards and a touchdown while also rushing for 38 yards in the game. He has 36 fantasy points (ESPN scoring) over his last three games heading into a favorable Week 14 matchup with the Indianapolis Colts. The Colts have allowed at least 290 passing yards in four of their last five games, and entered Week 13 in the bottom half of the league against opposing quarterbacks (16.8 fantasy points per game, ESPN scoring). After that things get tougher in Week 15 against the New York Jets, but a Week 16 matchup with the Green Bay Packers looks promising as the Titans are likely to be throwing the ball a lot in that game. Now that he is healthy, Locker has the makings of a solid QB2 during some crucial weeks for fantasy owners.
Joique Bell, RB, Detroit Lions
Bell had seven carries for 81 yards and three catches for 21 yards against the Indianapolis Colts on Sunday, giving him 10 fantasy points (ESPN scoring) in back-to-back games and double-digit fantasy points in three of his last five games. Mikel Leshoure is still in line to get most of the work in the Lions’ backfield rotation, though he is dealing with an ankle issue that has a chance to limit him going forward. Detroit’s Week 14 opponent, the Green Bay Packers, allowed 210 rushing yards to Adrian Peterson of the Minnesota Vikings on Sunday and they have allowed five rushing touchdowns to opposing running backs in their last four games. So Bell has a chance for some success with even a partial workload, and his ability as a pass catcher should help him. After that a couple more fairly favorable matchups will come in Week 15 (Arizona Cardinals) and Week 16 (Atlanta Falcons), as the Cardinals have allowed 341 rushing yards to running back over their last two games and the Falcons entered Week 12 in the bottom 10 of the league against opposing running backs (ESPN scoring). Bell is worth a look in deeper leagues for those who need to add a running back with some level of upside.
Bilal Powell, RB, New York Jets
Powell had 12 carries for 58 yards against the Arizona Cardinals in Week 13, and he now has 35 carries over the last three games. Shonn Greene is still the Jets’ primary ball carrier, but the team’s offense may be even more conservative if Greg McElroy or Tim Tebow takes over under center in Week 14 against the Jacksonville Jaguars. Starting with that game next week, three of the Jets’ final four opponents came into Week 13 in the bottom five of the league against opposing running backs (ESPN scoring). So there should be plenty of work to go around to give Powell some value in deep leagues from this point forward, and he is still widely available (nine percent ownership in Yahoo! leagues).
Chris Givens, WR, St. Louis Rams
Givens had 11 receptions for 92 yards against the San Francisco 49ers on Sunday, giving him 16 catches (on 20 targets) over the last two games with Danny Amendola hampered by a foot injury. With Amendola’s status going forward at best up in the air, Givens is in line to be the top target for quarterback Sam Bradford with some favorable matchups coming. Two of the Rams’ next three opponents (the Buffalo Bills and Tampa Bay Buccaneers) entered Week 13 in the bottom 10 of the league against opposing wide receivers (ESPN scoring), and a Week 15 matchup with the Minnesota Vikings looks fairly favorable too. Givens may fall far below the radar of most fantasy owners, but he is worth a look in deep leagues as a potential difference maker during the playoffs.
Golden Tate, WR, Seattle Seahawks
Tate had five receptions for 96 yards and a touchdown against the Chicago Bears in Week 13, giving him 22 catches and four touchdowns over his last five games as he and quarterback Russell Wilson have built some rapport. The only clearly favorable matchup left on Seattle’s schedule is Week 15 against the Buffalo Bills, who entered Week 13 allowing the ninth-most fantasy points (22.9 per game) to opposing wide receivers. But the other three games that remain are against NFC West opponents, with one game against each other team, and all three have been generous to opposing wide receivers in recent weeks. Leaving out the play at the end of Week 3 against the Green Bay Packers, four of Tate’s six other touchdowns have come at home this season and Seattle plays three of their last four games at home. All things consider he is worth a look in deeper leagues for owners that need to add wide receiver depth.
Connor Barth, K, Tampa Bay Buccaneers
Barth went 3-for-3 on field goals and 2-for-2 on extra points on Sunday against the Denver Broncos, and he is now 10-for-11 on field goal attempts over his last four games with at least 10 points (ESPN scoring) in four of his last five games overall. He has an excellent chance to continue producing at that level over the rest of the season, as each of the Buccaneers’ next two opponents (the Philadelphia Eagles and New Orleans Saints) entered Week 13 in the bottom half of the league against opposing kickers (ESPN scoring). Barth also had a good performance against Tampa Bay’s Week 17 opponent, the Atlanta Falcons, back in Week 12 by going 3-for-4 on field goals and 2-for-2 on extra points. He fairly inexplicably remains available in over 60 percent of Yahoo! leagues right now, but fantasy owners looking to add a kicker during these critical weeks should grab Barth now while they can.
Cincinnati Bengals, Team Defense
The Bengals’ defense put together another strong performance on Sunday against the San Diego Chargers, allowing six offensive points and forcing two turnovers while registering four sacks. They have now allowed 13 or less offensive points in four straight games with 16 sacks over that span. A challenging matchup is coming against the Dallas Cowboys in Week 14, but the Cowboys have had issues along the offensive line and quarterback Tony Romo can be turnover-prone at times. After that a much more favorable matchup will come against the Philadelphia Eagles, who will simply be playing out the string at that point, in Week 15. Quarterback Ben Roethlisberger (ribs/shoulder) may be back in action for the Pittsburgh Steelers in Week 16, but even that matchup is not that bad for the Cincinnati defense. This unit barely meets the criteria for this list right now (49 percent ownership in Yahoo! leagues), but there is really not another defense playing better in the entire NFL.