Waiver Wire Watch: Week 14 Targets
Week 13 was a weird one. Plenty of teams showed us their true colors by getting blown out or showing up flat, while others cemented their status as contenders. We also got to witness some new blood at quarterback, which I’ll get into below. Week 14 brings with it the start of the fantasy playoffs in the vast majority of leagues, so every waiver pickup and lineup choice carries extra weight. The fantasy gods have smiled upon us this year, as this is one of the more robust Waiver Wire Watch columns in the past several weeks, with a bevy of viable options available at every position. So study up, and get ready for the fantasy postseason. This is what we’ve studied and played all year for.
Before we get into the meat of the article, there are a few house-keeping items to clear up. Recommendations are based on a PPR-scoring, four-point passing touchdown, 12-team league, with ownership percentages coming from Yahoo. I try to mention when a player is a better streaming play (short-term/one-week starter) versus a long-term addition. Free-agent acquisition budget (FAAB) suggestions are based on a $100 season-long budget. Lastly, the great John Paulsen will edit this article every week and adjust rankings and prices if necessary. Essentially, you’re getting two minds collaborating on this piece instead of one, so lucky you.
Now, with that out of the way, here are some players to target heading into Week 14.
5. Kyle Allen
6. Daniel Jones
7. Devlin “Duck” Hodges
8. Drew Lock
9. David Blough
Ryan Tannehill, Tennessee Titans, 39% owned ($7)
Tannehill’s hot streak looks to scorch its way into Week 14 when he collides with a Raiders defense that puts up about as much resistance as a stick of butter. Seven of the last eight quarterbacks to face the Raiders secondary have thrown two-plus touchdown passes, with the lone exception being Ryan Finely. Tannehill wasn’t tasked with doing as much in his game against the Colts this Sunday as he threw for just 189 yards and two scores. He lost a fumble too, which depressed an otherwise decent fantasy outing. Tannehill has the Titans offense cooking, though, and has a really nice upcoming slate of games for the fantasy playoffs (at Oakland, vs. Houston, vs. New Orleans). Tannehill could carry your squad through the first two weeks at least, potentially booking you a ticket to the fantasy championship.
Ryan Fitzpatrick, Miami Dolphins, 10% owned ($5)
Fitzpatrick was a low-end streamer in this column last week and WAY surpassed expectations, throwing for 365 yards and three touchdowns en route to the Dolphins’ upset over the Eagles. Fitzpatrick now has four multi-touchdown games in his last six, with 300-plus passing yards in two of his last three. Next up for Fitzpatrick is a pass-funnel Jets team that will be searching for answers after losing to the winless Bengals on Sunday. Fitzpatrick threw for 288 passing yards and three touchdowns when he faced the Jets earlier this season, and is among the week’s better streamers. After this week, Fitzpatrick has a favorable schedule for the fantasy playoffs with matchups against the lowly Giants and Bengals.
Jacoby Brissett, Indianapolis Colts, 38% owned ($4)
Brissett was able to find holes in a beatable Titans secondary, throwing for 319 yards and a touchdown on Sunday. Unfortunately, two ghastly interceptions sunk his fantasy day. Brissett is struggling with many of his top offensive threats either injured (Marlon Mack, T.Y. Hilton) or on injured reserve (Eric Ebron). However, he has another winnable matchup on the horizon against the Buccaneers in what could be a high-scoring game. In the four weeks prior to Week 13, the Buccaneers secondary allowed over 300 passing yards per game with 12 passing touchdowns conceded versus just two interceptions made. That is … abysmal. Don’t let the Bucs’ performance on Sunday against the Jaguars (a team falling apart before our eyes) fool you. This is still a quarterback-friendly matchup.
Mitch Trubisky, Chicago Bears, 19% owned ($2)
While Twitter loves to poke fun at Trubisky, the much-maligned Bears quarterback is producing in fantasy of late. Three of his last four games have resulted in 18-plus fantasy points. He completed 29-of-38 passes on Thanksgiving for 338 yards, three touchdowns, and one interception. He’s scored multiple touchdowns in three of his last four games, with 275-plus passing yards in each of his last two. Up next for Trubisky is a home date with a Cowboys team struggling to live up to its potential. The Cowboys have had issues with mobile quarterbacks recently, with Jeff Driskel tagging them for 51 yards and a touchdown in Week 11, and Josh Allen hitting them for 43 yards and a touchdown on Thanksgiving. Trubisky hasn’t run as much this year as he did last year, but he can scramble when called upon and that could help him have a safer floor in Week 14 if the passing game isn’t as strong as it’s been the last few weeks.
Kyle Allen, Carolina Panthers, 19% owned ($2)
Allen stumbled his way to a potential QB1 finish for the week, completing 27-of-46 passes for 278 yards, two touchdowns, and two turnovers. A late rushing touchdown saved what otherwise would have been a mediocre performance in a plus matchup. The bloom is falling off Allen’s rose a bit down the stretch, but he’s still finding ways to put up fantasy numbers. He enters a favorable matchup with the Falcons next week, who after a couple of weeks of dominant defensive displays have turned back into a bit of a pumpkin after getting smacked by the Saints on Thanksgiving. Allen carries a lot more risk than some of the other streamers, but this Panthers-Falcons game could turn into a sloppy shootout, which favors the quarterbacks for fantasy purposes.
Daniel Jones, New York Giants, 26% owned ($1)
Jones looked on track to take advantage of a favorable matchup against the leaky Packers secondary with an early touchdown to Sterling Shepard, but the rookie looked overmatched the rest of the way, throwing three interceptions and sinking his fantasy day. Jones will have a chance to rebound next week against an Eagles secondary that turned Ryan Fitzpatrick into Joe Montana 2.0 this past week. Jones would be helped by the return of Golden Tate and/or Evan Engram, too, so keep an eye on their status as the week progresses. Given Jones’ penchant for turning the ball over (21 turnovers in 11 games), there’s massive risk starting the rookie in fantasy. But those looking for a streaming QB could trust the matchup at least.
Devlin Hodges, Pittsburgh Steelers, 2% owned ($1)
“Duck” took flight in his second full start for the Steelers, completing 14-of-21 passes for 212 yards with one touchdown and one interception. On the season now, Hodges has completed 41-of-61 passing (67.2%) for 530 yards with three touchdowns and two interceptions. Those are acceptable numbers for a team with a defense as good as Pittsburgh’s is. However, what we’re here for is fantasy, and those willing to roll the dice could look to Hodges in Week 14 as he faces the Cardinals. The Cardinals secondary has struggled all year but is coming off a frighteningly poor performance against the Rams. Jared Goff had over 300 yards passing on Sunday … in the first half. Hodges is a risky play as an unproven starter on the road, but the matchup has the potential to set him up for success.
Lock got the #QBwin against the Chargers on Sunday in his first start, and looked OK in the process. The second-round pick completed 18-of-28 passes for 134 yards (4.8 YPA, not great) but tossed two touchdowns and just one pick. Those are not great numbers generally, but they’ll at least build confidence for the young quarterback before he enters a soft matchup against the Texans next week. There are many better streaming options than Lock, but those in a pinch could roll the dice that he and Courtland Sutton are able to exploit a favorable matchup next week.
David Blough, Detroit Lions, 1% owned ($1)
It was fun watching Blough find success in his first NFL start on Thanksgiving, completing 22-of-38 passes for 280 yards, two touchdowns and an interception on the last play of the game for the Lions. He moved around in the pocket well and made some nice throws. Unfortunately, next week he gets the unenviable task of traveling into Minnesota to face the tough Vikings defense. Blough is a (very) low-end streamer for this week, but he does get Tampa Bay the following week, so it could be savvy to stash him now if you’re streaming quarterbacks at this point in the season.
Nick Foles/Gardner Minshew, Jacksonville Jaguars
Even though Minshew took over in the second half and threw a touchdown pass, it’s likely best to avoid this situation altogether (thus, no recommended FAAB spend in the heading above). The Jaguars team looks to be in disarray, and with the fantasy playoffs starting next week it’d be ill-advised to roster or start a quarterback with an extremely short-leash, which will be the case for either of these passers.
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