Fantasy Football Week 14: Amon-Ra St. Brown Leads Top Waiver Wire Pickups
Week 13 is just about over and after Pittsburgh’s upset over Lamar Jackson and the Ravens, the winner of tonight’s Patriots-Bills matchup won’t just take the lead in the AFC East, but will also take over the top seed in the entire conference! Following tonight’s game, there will be just one more week left in the fantasy football regular season. Some fantasy owners may be fighting for postseason life while others are simply jockeying for playoff seeding. And of course, some of you may have already been eliminated from contention. But for those of you who are likely to move onto the fantasy postseason, It is more critical than ever to optimize your roster with the most valuable players on the waiver wire.
Just like last week, four teams will get some rest in Week 14. The Philadelphia Eagles, Miami Dolphins, Indianapolis Colts, and New England Patriots all have byes coming up. This will be the last week that fantasy owners have to deal with the bye week blues. That said, there are a ton of top-tier playmaker absences that fantasy owners will have to manage in the final week of the fantasy regular season. Jalen Hurts, Carson Wentz, Mac Jones, and Tua Tagovailoa have all shown flashes of QB1 numbers this season. The top player in all of fantasy football, Jonathan Taylor, will not suit up this week along with fellow running backs Miles Sanders, Damien Harris, Rhamondre Stevenson, and Myles Gaskin. Fantasy owners will have to find bye-week cover for wide receivers Devonta Smith, Michael Pittman, Kendrick Bourne, Jakobi Meyers, and Jaylen Waddle. Dallas Goedert, who finally broke out of his slump by eclipsing 100 yards and scoring two touchdowns against the Jets, will highlight the tight ends on bye this week. Fantasy owners will also need to find replacements for Mike Gesicki and Hunter Henry.
Fortunately, there weren’t any significant injuries that promoted backups to workhorse roles. Week 12 featured the injuries of Christian McCaffrey, Dalvin Cook, and D’Andre Swift, so it’s a good thing that the injury bug didn’t strike in back-to-back weeks. However, two of the biggest gems on the waiver wire this week can’t immediately help your team if you are looking for bye-week cover. DeVante Parker and Kenneth Gainwell each performed well in Week 13 but their respective teams will be sidelined in Week 14.
Although there are numerous starting options on bye this week, there are still some low-owned players who are worth picking up for the final stretch of the season. So without further delay, let’s take a look at the top waiver wire pickups at each position heading into Week 14 of the fantasy football season.
Waiver Wire Quarterbacks Heading Into Week 14
QB Taysom Hill, New Orleans Saints
Hill should be owned in all leagues, but he’s surprisingly available in enough formats to warrant a write-up in this article. Hill proved yet again that you don’t have to be a good quarterback in the NFL to be productive in fantasy football. Although he threw four interceptions in the Saints’ loss to the Cowboys on Thursday Night Football, he also totaled 264 passing yards, two passing touchdowns, and 101 rushing yards. After scoring 28.6, 20.3, 27.9, and 25.9 fantasy points during a four-game stint of starts last season, Hill totaled 20.7 points in Week 13. Hill’s rushing upside makes him a worthy starter, particularly in Week 14 against a New York Jets defense that has been shredded all season and ranks in the bottom-third at limiting production from opposing quarterbacks. Whether you need someone to start for the rest of the season or just a Week 14 bye-week cover, Hill is the man for the job if he is still available. His ownership is about to skyrocket.
QB Trey Lance, San Francisco 49ers
At this point of the season, almost nobody with any value whatsoever is left at the quarterback position. However, there could be a quarterback controversy in San Francisco after the 49ers blew a huge lead to the reeling Seattle Seahawks. This was a hugely impactful loss for a Niners team battling to make the postseason. Jimmy Garoppolo threw for 299 yards and two touchdowns, but also threw two interceptions and failed to tie the game up in the final seconds.
"He did some good things," head coach Kyle Shanahan said after the game when asked to evaluate Garoppolo's play. "Those two picks, though, weren't good plays. He's got to be better with the ball."
The fact of the matter is that Jimmy G should be managing the game, but he is still making rookie mistakes. If the Niners lose next week to the Bengals, there is a chance that San Francisco moves on to rookie Trey Lance. Lance may not be the most effective passer, but he certainly has upside due to his ability to move the chains with his legs. In deep fantasy leagues, Lance might be the best option available on the wire. Although he won’t produce right away, he has potential late-season appeal.
Waiver Wire Running Backs Heading Into Week 14
RB Dontrell Hilliard, Tennessee Titans
Hilliard is featured in this article for the third consecutive week. After the Titans waived Adrian Peterson, Hilliard took advantage of his greatest opportunity, especially with Jeremy McNichols sidelined with a concussion. Tennessee is desperately trying to establish the running game with Derrick Henry still sidelined. In Week 12, Hilliard turned 12 carries into 131 rushing yards, which included a 68-yard scamper to the end zone. Hilliard was also trusted to handle the ball and pitch it back to Ryan Tannehill on a flea-flicker.
Although his targets dipped from 10 to two from Week 11 to Week 12, it’s hard to imagine the Titans not utilizing the veteran more in the passing game with A.J. Brown on Injured Reserve and Julio Jones questionable to return for Week 14’s matchup with the Jacksonville Jaguars. The only reason Hilliard may be available in your league is that the Titans had a bye in Week 13. If he’s still available, he should serve as a solid flex option in Week 14.
RB D’Onta Foreman, Tennessee Titans
Hilliard may have had the touchdown in Week 12, but Foreman received more carries (19) and joined Hilliard in surpassing the 100-yard mark. Foreman finished with 109 rushing yards and an additional three yards on one reception. And this came against a very stout New England Patriots defense. Things will be much easier against a Jaguars defense that was just lit up for 37 points against the Rams, including 124 rushing yards on 21 carries to second-stringer Sony Michel. The Titans should have no problem getting out to an early lead against the two-win Jaguars, so Foreman should see plenty of touches in the second half as Tennessee attempts to run out the clock. Although Hilliard has a bit more upside due to his big-play ability and pass-catching prowess, the game flow seems to be in Foreman’s favor in Week 14. He’s probably the superior option, but as we’ve seen before, both can have great stat lines on the same day.
RB Rashaad Penny, Seattle Seahawks
With Chris Carson out for the season and Alex Collins inactive, Rashaad Penny played a prominent role in Seattle’s Week 13 victory over the San Francisco 49ers. Although the Seahawks signed Adrian Peterson to split carries with Penny, it was encouraging to see the injury-prone back flash some of his potential. Penny finished with 62 total yards on 10 carries and one reception. AP is the one who got the goal-line touchdown, but Penny is the superior back. He brings a speed and explosiveness that the Seahawks’ backfield has lacked all season. If Collins remains inactive, Penny should be in the flex conversation in Week 14 against a Texans defense that just allowed over 200 rushing yards to the Colts in Week 13. Houston now allows the most rushing yards per game in the NFL.
RB Tevin Coleman, New York Jets
With rookie Michael Carter still sidelined due to an ankle injury, Coleman served as New York’s workhorse. Coleman saw 11 of the Jets’ 13 carries, finishing with 58 rushing yards. Additionally, he hauled in three of his four targets for 19 receiving yards. After playing 47% of New York’s offensive snaps in Week 12, the veteran played 40% of the Jets’ snaps against the Eagles in Week 13. It was also nice to see New York feed Coleman in the red zone and near the goal line, despite the fact that he failed to find the end zone. New York has a very difficult matchup looming against a New Orleans Saints defense that allows the fewest fantasy points per game to opposing running backs. The Saints shut down Ezekiel Elliott last week, though Tony Pollard broke through late in the game with a 58-yard touchdown. Still, I wouldn’t expect monumental numbers from Coleman in Week 14, but if you are desperate for a flex play, Coleman could be your guy.
RB Kenneth Gainwell, Philadelphia Eagles
If you add Gainwell, remember that you cannot start him this week due to the Eagles’ bye. However, the Eagles have been dealing with tons of injuries in their backfield and Gainwell is currently the only one standing. Miles Sanders left late in Philly’s 33-18 victory over the Jets with an ankle injury, which led to the rookie finally getting some meaningful snaps. Gainwell finished with 87 total yards, five receptions, and a touchdown. Boston Scott was inactive with an illness and Jordan Howard couldn’t suit up due to head and knee injuries. If Sanders seriously hurt himself, Gainwell appears to have earned some serious playing time once the Eagles return to action in Week 15. Despite limited touches (83) all season, the rookie has made the most of his opportunities with five touchdowns. He could be a decent RB2 or flex option, particularly in PPR leagues. The rookie has produced 28 receptions for 228 yards and one receiving touchdown this season. Plus, it’s hard not to like a running back whose last name is Gainwell!
Waiver Wire Wide Receivers Heading Into Week 14
WR Russell Gage, Atlanta Falcons
Without Calvin Ridley, it appears that Gage and Kyle Pitts have established themselves as Matt Ryan’s go-to targets. Gage was absolute gold on Sunday, hauling in 11 receptions on 12 targets for 130 yards. He set career highs in receptions and yards and has now exceeded 18 PPR points in two consecutive outings. And over his last three games, he is averaging 9.0 targets per contest. Against the Buccaneers yesterday, Gage benefited from the fact that Matt Ryan was forced to throw the ball 41 times in Atlanta’s failed comeback attempt. Atlanta could be in a similar position against the Carolina Panthers in Week 14, though Carolina’s secondary is much stingier against opposing wideouts. Despite the tough matchup, Ryan has nobody else to throw the ball to and Gage had to be considered due to the volume he’s seen over the past few weeks.
WR DeVante Parker, Miami Dolphins
Parker made his long-awaited return from IR on Sunday and managed to haul in all five of his targets for 62 yards. Jaylen Waddle is the WR1 on this offense, but the rookie did appear to suffer some sort of injury in Miami’s 20-9 win over the Giants. Even if Waddle returns following Miami’s Week 14 bye, Parker presents all sorts of matchup problems for opposing defenses. The Dolphins face the Jets’ atrocious defense in Week 15, so Parker is a potential WR3 or flex play in the first week of the fantasy football postseason.
WR Amon-Ra St. Brown, Detroit Lions
I boldly predicted that the rookie would score the first touchdown of his career against the Vikings, but I did not know that it would be a game-winning catch as time expired to lift the Lions to their first victory of the season. St. Brown served as Jared Goff’s top target in Week 13; the rookie was peppered with targets, hauling in 10 of the 12 passes thrown his way for 86 yards (all season highs) and the previously mentioned score. St. Brown had lofty expectations coming into the season but got to a very slow start. Things are beginning to turn around and exactly the right time, as the Lions have some favorable matchups looming. St. Brown gets an Atlanta Falcons defense in Week 16 that has allowed the third-most touchdown receptions in the NFL. The following week, fantasy football championship week, the rookie will face a Seahawks defense that has permitted the third-most receiving yards this season. His fantasy postseason schedule and uptick in production make him one of the top waiver wire pickups of the week.
WR K.J. Osborn, Minnesota Vikings
Osborn, who has been quiet in recent weeks, caught four passes on seven targets for 47 yards and a touchdown in the Vikings’ surprising loss to the Lions. Osborn probably wouldn’t have been as productive if not for an ankle injury that sidelined Adam Thielen early in the game.
Over the first six weeks of the season, Osborn was a critical piece of Minnesota’s offense. He produced three double-digit performances in PPR formats (14.6, 20.1, and 19.8 points). He’s back in the double-digit column and should see a much more prominent role with Thielen doubtful for Week 14’s matchup against the Pittsburgh Steelers. Osborn is poised to build on last week’s success against a Steelers secondary that is allowing the eighth-most fantasy points per game to opposing wide receivers. If you own Thielen, Osborn is an obvious handcuff to add immediately.
Waiver Wire Tight Ends Heading Into Week 14
TE Cole Kmet, Chicago Bears
Despite a tough matchup against the Arizona Cardinals, the second-year tight end still saw even targets in Week 14, tied for the second-most on the team. It wasn’t quite the 11 that he saw the previous week, but the volume is there even if he only caught three passes for 41 yards. Fellow tight end Jimmy Graham also caught a touchdown, which could have easily gone to Kmet. Kmet has seen at least six targets in five of his previous six outings. With the lack of options in the tight end pool, if Kmet is available and you need to replace Goedert or Gesicki, Kmet’s target share should provide a somewhat safe floor in Week 14 against the Packers. We know that Chicago will be playing from behind against Green Bay, so the targets should be there no matter who is under center for the Bears. Though, admittedly, it seems like Kmet has more value with Andy Dalton rather than Justin Fields.
TE Tyler Conklin, Minnesota Vikings
Conklin logged the second-most targets on the Vikings behind Justin Jefferson. The big tight end corralled seven of the nine passes thrown his way for a respectable 56 yards. He didn’t score a touchdown this week, but he’s been a red-zone favorite of quarterback Kirk Cousins all season. Conklin is typically a boom-or-bust player, but he provided a steady line in Week 13. Conklin has topped double-digit PPR points five times this season and should see an uptick in production with Thielen sidelined.
TE Ricky Seals-Jones, Washington Football Team
Poor Logan Thomas. You have to feel bad for the guy after he suffered what appeared to be a pretty serious knee injury. Thomas had just returned from IR in Week 12 after missing the previous seven weeks. Thomas caught three balls for 48 yards and a touchdown in Week 13 before going down. Although it was initially believed to be a season-ending injury, the MRI revealed that Thomas did not suffer a torn ACL. Thomas may play again this season, but there is no way he’ll be healthy enough to suit up in Week 14. When Seals-Jones started from Week 5 to Week 11 in Thomas’ place, he produced 9.04 fantasy points on six targets per game. RSJ will get a Cowboys defense that allows the 11th-most fantasy points per game to opposing tight ends. He’s a potential streaming option this week.
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