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Fantasy Football Waiver Wire Pickups Week 14

By Matt Schauf | Updated on Tue, 05 Dec 2023 . 11:54 PM EST

Waiver Wire Targets 

You'll notice something missing from this week's version of the waiver wire pickups -- and the remaining few weeks.

We're not making blind-bid recommendations any more.

It's Week 14. Playoffs are fast approaching, or might even be here. There shouldn't be a lot left on your league's waiver wire. And you shouldn't have too many remaining needs.

From here on, go after what you need. Don't get too caught up in hoping for what might be. And spend what you must to get what you need.

There's not as much room for strategy on what you spend in these final few weeks. Just focus on putting your best starting lineup out there every week -- and grabbing insurance where it makes sense.

TIP

Want to know exactly who makes sense for YOUR team in YOUR league? The Free Agent Finder syncs directly with your league to give you the best waiver wire guidance in the industry.

Contents:

 

Shallow Leagues

Ezekiel Elliott, RB, New England Patriots

Rostered: 40%

Rhamondre Stevenson suffered an ankle injury Sunday against the Chargers that could cost him multiple games.

That doesn’t make Elliott an attractive fantasy play. He ranks eighth-worst among 47 qualifying RBs in Next Gen Stats’ rush yards over expected per attempt and is working on the second-lowest elusive rating and lowest yards after contact per attempt of his career.

But Elliott racked up 21 touches in Stevenson’s injury game and should see workhorse level use while the starter is out.

That figures to make Elliott a solid RB3-level play against Pittsburgh – a near-neutral matchup for RB scoring – in Week 14. A negative matchup with Kansas City sits beyond that. And then we’ll see about Stevenson’s status.

Tyjae Spears, RB, Tennessee Titans

Rostered: 35%

The box score from Sunday’s OT loss to the Colts makes it look like both Spears and Derrick Henry loaded up on touches. But don’t be fooled.

Spears got 12 of his 16 carries and 3 of 6 targets after Henry left early in the fourth quarter. His workload before that mirrored his usual. The rookie averaged just 4.5 carries and 3.6 targets per game heading into Week 13.

It looked like we might get a Spears start in Week 14, but initial concussion reports on Henry turned into him not actually entering the protocol.

We'll keep an eye on Henry's status leading up to Monday night's game vs. the Dolphins. But Week 13 was a reminder that Spears is an elite fantasy handcuff.

Noah Brown, WR, Houston Texans

Rostered: 40%

Tank Dell’s season-ending leg fracture presents opportunity, especially in an offense that has ranked among the league’s most pass-favoring over the past five weeks.

Brown ran quiet in his return Sunday from a two-game knee injury, drawing just 2 targets. But he tied WR Nico Collins for the team lead in routes, nearly doubling WR Robert Woods (30-16) in that category.

Of course, Brown isn’t more widely available because he posted two monster weeks – 6-153-1 and 7-172 receiving lines – before missing time.

That displayed ceiling, QB C.J. Stroud’s continued strong play, and Houston’s passing lean should be enough to put Brown on a roster in nearly all leagues of 10+ teams – and maybe even some 8-teamers – the rest of the way.

Odell Beckham Jr., WR, Baltimore Ravens

Rostered: 39%

Beckham trailed Zay Flowers and Isaiah Likely in targets last time out, tying Rashod Bateman for third on the team. But his 5 targets look more impressive when you realize they came on just 12 routes.

That’s one-third of Flowers’ route total for the game and just 41.4% of Bateman’s. Baltimore clearly limited Beckham because of the shoulder issue that rendered him questionable for that game.

We’ll assume he’s healthier coming off the Week 13 bye. And his offense will still need to make up for TE Mark Andrews’ absence the rest of the way.

The remaining slate ranks seventh most friendly to WR scoring by our adjusted fantasy points allowed.

 

12-Team Leagues

Demario Douglas, WR, New England Patriots

Rostered: 26%

Don’t let Douglas’ Week 13 absence (concussion) make you forget that he’s been operating as the team’s lead receiver.

No Patriot has more receptions or receiving yards since Week 7, despite the missed game. Douglas has garnered at least six targets in every game within that span. His two largest target shares of the season – 33.3% and 25.7% – came in his past two outings, even though he left the second early.

New England still listed Douglas as a non-participant in Tuesday's practice. And the short week before the Thursday night game hurts his chances of playing. But Douglas carries WR3 potential for PPR lineups whenever he returns. 

Zay Jones, WR, Jacksonville Jaguars

Rostered: 21%

Jacksonville lost WR Christian Kirk on the first play of Monday night’s loss to the Bengals. He'll be out for a while -- maybe the rest of the season.

Jones ran with Calvin Ridley as the top two wideouts vs. Cincinnati, in route on 93.5% of Jacksonville dropbacks. Jones also tied Ridley for second on the team with eight targets and posted a 5-78 receiving line.

Even with Kirk out, though, Jones sits in just WR4 territory of our Week 14 rankings. He gets a challenging matchup with the Browns and might go without QB Trevor Lawrence (ankle sprain).

There’s another tough spot vs. Baltimore in Week 15 before an upside visit to Tampa Bay.

Consider Jones an “if you need him” option rather than a waiver target.

Minnesota Vikings DST

The Week 13 bye and a loss to Chicago before that might make it easy to overlook that Minnesota has climbed all the way to eighth in defensive DVOA. The Vikings are playing well against the pass (10th in DVOA) and run (sixth).

Now they come off full rest to visit the Raiders and Bengals in consecutive weeks. 

Vegas has scored more than 17 points in a game just three times all season, cracking 20 only twice. And the Raiders logged 5 turnovers among their past three games.

The Bengals looked like a stellar matchup after QB Jake Browning’s first start. But then he put 354 yards on the Jaguars on Monday night, as they scored 34 points in the win.

We’ll see over the next two weeks whether Minnesota’s D will make sense for that Week 15 matchup.

About Last Week:

What about last week's recommended pickups? Let's see if they still make sense for your roster.

Of course, you should check your Free Agent Finder to get the best answer for your specific situation.

Player Pos Keep?
Roschon Johnson RB Yes
Jeff Wilson Jr. RB No
Curtis Samuel WR Yes
Joshua PalmerWRYes
Juwan JohnsonTENo
  • We'll see whether Roschon Johnson gains work coming out of the bye. For now, he's still more stash than use.
  • De'Von Achane's back. Jeff Wilson Jr. barely exists (4 carries in a blowout win where Raheem Mostert barely played in the second half).
  • Curtis Samuel matched his second-largest yardage total of the season last time out. You don't need to keep him through the bye, if you need the spot. But he can offer low-level PPR help.
  • If you picked up Joshua Palmer last week, you did so to stash him for when he returns.
  • Juwan Johnson literally dropped his opportunity last week (turning a target into an INT). No need to hang on here.

  

Deep Leagues

Jonathan Mingo, WR, Carolina Panthers

Rostered: 7%

Over the past two weeks, Mingo has out-targeted Adam Thielen 16 to 9. The rookie has tallied two of his better games over that stretch, with receiving lines of 4-60 and 6-69.

Bryce Young remains one of the league’s worst starters, but Mingo’s target upside puts him in the spot-start mix.

That’s certainly true for Sunday’s matchup with a Saints squad down top CB Marshon Lattimore (IR).

Robert Woods, WR, Houston Texans

Rostered: 6%

Tank Dell’s absence removes 7.5 targets per game from Houston’s offense. It’s reasonable to expect Woods to absorb some of that.

The veteran wasn’t targeted in Week 13 but finished third on the team in routes. That one simply turned into the Nico Collins Show, as he saw a wild 43% target share.

Don’t count on a repeat.

Perhaps John Metchie earns a larger role, but he hasn’t shown an ability to earn targets. He has reached 3 in a game just once this season.

We’re not counting on any secondary Houston target this week at the Jets. But the remaining schedule still includes a couple of plus matchups with the Titans (weeks 15 and 17).

About Last Week:

Player Pos Keep?
Jalen Guyton WR Yes
Tucker Kraft TE Yes
  • There's still no clarity on when Josh Palmer might return. So if picking up Jalen Guyton made sense for you last week, then hanging on to him makes sense. His target count disappointed at New England, but he ran just 3 fewer routes than Quentin Johnston: third among WRs but also ahead of everyone else on the team.
  • Tucker Kraft was fine in the second game without Luke Musgrave: 3-37 on 6 targets. If that helps you, stick with him.

 

Streaming Options

Gardner Minshew, QB, Indianapolis Colts

It’s Week 14. The final two NFL teams are getting their byes. Ideally, you’re not shopping for a streamer at this stage of the season. But if Sam Howell or Kyler Murray has been your primary guy, then Minshew has a shot to help.

Indy’s fill-in clearly isn’t a reliable fantasy option. His nice outing in Sunday’s OT win over the Titans marked just the second time this season Minshew has finished higher than 15th among fantasy QBs.

But Week 14 brings another upside matchup with the Bengals, who arrive allowing the league’s 10th-most QB fantasy points per game.

Green Bay Packers DST

The Packers limited Patrick Mahomes to a QB16 finish in Week 13, sacking him three times and picking him once. That marked their second straight game with three sacks and third in a row with at least one takeaway.

Giants QB Tommy DeVito has limited INTs his past two games but has also taken 6.5 sacks per game over four weeks as the primary QB. 

Even if Tyrod Taylor steps back in, this remains a high-upside matchup.

Houston Texans DST

The Texans delivered their second-best single-game defensive DVOA rating in Sunday’s win over the Broncos. 

That game included 3 INTs, giving the Texans 7 in the four games since CB Derek Stingley Jr. returned from IR. Houston now has 8 INTs in the six games Stingley has played this year vs. just 3 in the six games without him.

No matter which imposter the Jets line up behind center this Sunday, the Texans look like a good bet to add to that INT total.

New England Patriots DST

The Patriots haven’t been very good on defense for the year, but they’re up to 11th in DVOA after a nice outing against the Chargers. New England delivered its third-best single-game DVOA of the year for that one.

Now comes a Thursday night meeting the Mitchell Trubisky.

Trubisky relieved Kenny Pickett Sunday to “lead” Pittsburgh to just a garbage-time TD at the end of a 14-point loss to Arizona. That’s the league’s third-worst defense by DVOA.

Indianapolis Colts DST

The Colts come off four straight double-digit fantasy scores. Bengals QB Jake Browning played really well on Monday night -- but there's still a chance he turns back into a pumpkin.

  

Drop Candidates

These aren’t necessarily players you need to drop, but rather non-obvious candidates who can be dumped for better options.

Kenny Pickett, QB, Pittsburgh Steelers

We don’t know whether Pickett will miss the rest of the regular season. We do know he hasn’t done nearly enough for our fantasy teams to be worth keeping on redraft rosters through his recovery.

Derek Carr, QB, New Orleans Saints

Sunday marked the third time this season that Carr has been knocked out of a game. He has yet to miss the following game, but this week’s menu of injuries includes a concussion.

If you play in a superflex league, you should probably hang on to Carr. But the guy has just four fantasy finishes higher than QB16 this season and none higher than QB10.

He’s simply not worth keeping in 1-QB formats now that byes are almost done.

Miles Sanders, RB, Carolina Panthers

Sanders’ sorry usage had rebounded over the previous two games. Then HC Frank Reich and others on the offensive staff got fired, Chuba Hubbard took the backfield over, and he delivered a shocking 25-104-2 rushing line against what has been a solid Tampa Bay run defense.

There’s simply no reason for the interim Panthers’ staff to go back to Sanders in any meaningful way. And this offense isn’t good enough to make you regret dumping Hubbard’s handcuff, as long as you’re picking up something of value.

Samaje Perine, RB, Denver Broncos

Perine’s 7-55-1 rushing line against Cleveland in Week 12 was a bit of a mirage. He lucked into the TD opportunity by briefly taking Javonte Williams’ place in the middle of a scoring drive. Williams returned form his injury check to beat Perine 18-5 on carries and 6-1 in targets when both were available.

Week 13 found Perine back to his minimal role: 3 touches at Houston. Even if Williams goes down, Perine would split the backfield with Jaleel McLaughlin.

Jerry Jeudy, WR, Denver Broncos

Jeudy’s not a must-drop, especially in a deeper league. But he’s clearly overrated in fantasy at this point – probably even by us.

Jeudy sits 61st among WRs in PPR points per game. He’s 53rd in expected PPR points per game. And he has caught more than three passes just once over the past five games.

He’s not likely to help you the rest of the way.

Jameson Williams, WR, Detroit Lions

Have you found yourself wondering whether you should chase Williams’ big-play speed with that final spot in your starting lineup? Did you decide against it, and then kick yourself when he scored against the Bears in Week 11 – or the Saints this past Sunday?

Well you shouldn’t. Williams hasn’t touched the ball more than twice in any game this season. He has no business getting into your lineup unless you play in an ultra-deep league. And he remains behind Josh Reynolds in routes.

Go ahead and save yourself the frustration by dumping Williams in redraft for someone actually worth starter consideration.

Jonnu Smith, TE, Atlanta Falcons

It was OK to hold Smith through a six-team bye that included T.J. Hockenson, Dalton Kincaid, Cole Kmet, and the Ravens. But Smith’s playing time has dipped, and his usage has disappeared.

He has just 6 targets and 3 receptions over his past three games and has reached 30 receiving yards once among his past six outings. The past three weeks have included Smith’s three lowest snap shares of the season: 44%, 35%, and 40%.

 

Dynasty Stash of the Week

Parker Washington, WR, Jaguars

This Round 6 rookie drew a pre-draft comp of Golden Tate from Dane Brugler of The Athletic.

Washington is an undersized slot target, albeit one with excellent physicality, ball skills, and post-catch ability.

We saw some of that on Monday night. Washington caught all six of his targets for 61 yards and a TD after WR Christian Kirk got hurt on the first play.

After barely playing prior to Week 13, Washington nearly matched Calvin Ridley in percentage of targets per route run (17.6% to 18.1%).

Impressive.

We’re not betting on the rookie for short-term production, especially after QB Trevor Lawrence injured his right ankle late in Monday night’s loss. Though Washington could be helpful now that Kirk appears likely to miss the rest of the regular season.

Beyond that matters more for Washington, however. Ridley is set to hit free agency in March, and Zay Jones has a potential out ahead of the final year on his deal.

That could mean opportunity as soon as 2024.

Need Another Option?

If you’re looking for a dynasty stash and Washington already sits on a roster in your league, consider Browns TE Harrison Bryant.

The fourth-year player doubled his season reception total Sunday, in Joe Flacco’s first start – despite playing time in line with the rest of the year.

But we’re more interested in the chance that Bryant finds regular opportunity in 2024 and beyond. He’s in the final year of his rookie contract, and thus set to hit unrestricted free agency ahead of his age-26 season.

The 6’5, 240-pounder caught 110 passes over his final two college seasons and then showed above-average speed for the position at the 2020 Scouting Combine.

  

Season-Winning Strategy

Your waiver wire strategy needs to fit your overall plan to win your season. Matt and Jared talk more about that in this video.

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