Waiver Wire Watch: Week 14
Editor's Note: We’re happy that 4for4 Contributor Pat Fitzmaurice (formerly of Pro Football Weekly) is back on the Waiver Wire Watch this year. He will continue to work in conjunction with Senior Editor John Paulsen to compile this list of the top pickups each week.
Here is a look at the top waiver wire pickups for Week 14. To be eligible for discussion, the player must be owned in 50% or fewer Yahoo leagues, though we’ll stretch the rules a bit for the RB position, which is usually very thin. We’ll also include suggested bid prices (with a $100 budget) for those leagues that use Free Agent Acquisition Budgets. Of course, player value depends on league characteristics and team needs. Players are listed by position in order of importance. For extremely shallow or extremely deep leagues, be sure to review our Rest-of-Season Rankings (updated every Tuesday) to get an idea of how to value players not on this list.
This week’s matchup against the Saints should make Winston the primary target for any fantasy owner who’s been streaming quarterbacks. Remarkably productive for a rookie, Winston has thrown for 17 TDs and has run for five more, which puts him just two TD runs behind Cam Newton on the year. Winston has averaged 239.8 passing yards per game this season. In an earlier meeting with the Saints, Winston threw for just 207 yards and one TD back in Week 2, but it was a highly efficient performance in which he completed 14-of-21 throws and averaged 9.86 yards per pass attempt. He also ran for a touchdown in that game. The New Orleans defenses has now hemorrhaged a league-high 35 TD passes and is giving up 287.3 passing yards per game. If you’re streaming, or if you have a marginal every-week starter at QB, you owe it to yourself to make a bid for Winston this week.
Despite turning in a gem of a season so far, Taylor is owned in only 36% of Yahoo leagues and has a delicious matchup against this week against the Eagles, who have given up 28 TD passes this season. Taylor threw three TD passes and ran for a touchdown against the Texans on Sunday, giving him 17 passing TDs and three rushing TDs for the year. The lone potential drawback here is passing volume. Taylor attempted only 21 passes against the Texans and is averaging 27.1 attempts per game. But Taylor has also been highly efficient, helping to make up for lack of volume. He’s completed 64.9% of his throws this year and is averaging 8.01 yards per attempt.
Mariota turned in monstrous fantasy numbers in Week 12, throwing for 268 yards and three TDs against the Jaguars and adding 9-112-1 as a runner, highlighted by an 87-yard TD dash. The rookie is averaging 251.2 passing yards and 1.9 TD passes per start, and he’s run for a touchdown in two of his last three games. Mariota’s matchup against the Jets this week isn’t ideal, but nor is it prohibitive. The Jets rank near the middle of the pack in adjusted fantasy points allowed to opposing quarterbacks, though the potential return of CB Darrelle Revis could complicate matters for Mariota.
The Jets may well have the best WR tandem in the league, and by playing Fitzpatrick, fantasy owners can leverage the talents of Brandon Marshall and Eric Decker without actually owning those guys. #FitzMagic threw for a season-high 390 yards and two TDs against the Giants on Sunday, with Marshall and Decker accounting for 232 of those yards. Fitz has thrown 11 TD passes over his last five starts and has averaged 269.6 passing yards and 17.0 rushing yards per game over that span. None of his next three matchups are particularly attractive, but they’re all playable.