Well well well, what do we have here. You fancy yourself a contender, huh? Good because you should! Reaching the playoffs (playoffs?!) in fantasy football is so much harder than anything that isn’t real should ever be. That’s why the joy that comes from it is equally as strong. Weeks turned to months as your meticulously put together roster took you on an emotional rollercoaster just for a shot to take home the championship.
But you didn’t join your league just to make the playoffs (playoffs?!), no. You should have every intention of winning it all. We are through all the bye weeks so your teams should be at full strength. That doesn’t mean there aren’t holes on your roster, though, so we can’t just rest on our laurels. With the playoffs trimming the field considerably, we’ll be giving our top pick-up at each position each week and a quick take on one player you could stash. So, let’s build a champion.
Shout Out to Jim Mora Sr in the Week 14 Waiver Wire
New York Jets
No, this is not ideal nor a suggestion that would be made under normal circumstances. This is instead a break-glass-in-case-of-emergency option for those still waiting on the return of Drew Brees and/or those who stream quarterbacks. If you fall into either category, Sam Darnold might be the guy for you. Darnold took advantage of a porous Las Vegas Raiders secondary to be Week 13’s QB10 through Sunday.
The squishy matchups continue for Darnold in Week 14 as he draws the Seattle Seahawks. They’ve allowed the second-most fantasy points to quarterbacks and are stout against the run. Seattle’s secondary is so bad they let Carson Wentz put up a performance worthy of being the QB7 in Week 12. Wentz was benched this week for a second-round rookie. Darnold doesn’t have anyone breathing down his neck (yet) and this matchup should offer him plenty of chances to rack up points.
In perhaps the most anticipated benching of the season, the Philadelphia Eagles sent 2016 first-round pick Wentz, who leads the NFL with 15 interceptions, to the bench. Jalen Hurts came in and threw a pretty looking touchdown to Greg Ward. He also only completed 41 percent of his passes and threw a pick so proceed with caution. Philly also takes on the Saints in Week 14. They’re third in fantasy points per game.
Washington Football Team
It’s been quite some time since Peyton Barber was a useful fantasy asset. He had 57 yards on 11 carries in Week 12, but he hasn’t scored double-digit fantasy points since Week 1 when he scored 2 touchdowns on 17 carries that netted just 29 yards. Washington Football Team leading rusher Antonio Gibson was forced out of their big win against the Pittsburgh Steelers with a toe injury putting Barber right back on the fantasy radar.
Staying true to form, he only managed 23 yards on 14 carries so you know what to expect should Gibson sit in Week 14. Washington also heads West to take on the San Francisco 49ers who are fourth against the run and have allowed just six rushing touchdowns. Still, if the Football Team can get into scoring position, Barber is as good of a bet as any to take it in.
New York Jets
No, there isn’t a concerted effort to get Jets on this list. The war of attrition is just such that we are taking the “next man up” approach to our fantasy rosters as they do in real life. Ty Johnson is where those things intersect. La’Mical Perine is on IR and Frank Gore left their Week 13 contest with a concussion. Johnson stepped up with 104 yards on 22 carries and scored a touchdown. He also caught two passes for 13 yards. The still-winless Jets face the Seattle Seahawks in Week 14. They’ve been good against the run but just let Wayne Gallman run for 135 yards.
Are we finally witnessing a strong connection between T.Y. Hilton and Philip Rivers? The diminutive Indianapolis Colts wide receiver is the WR6 in Week 13 and has caught 12 of 16 targets for 191 yards and two touchdowns over the last two weeks. He had 194 yards on 19 catches (33 targets) and no scores in his six previous games combined. As Philip Rivers continues to play better (eight touchdowns over his last four games after 10 over the first eight), Hilton can deliver too.
Sunday’s big day came against the Houston Texans who rank 21st against the pass. The good news is he’ll see the Las Vegas Raiders in Week 14 and they rank 24th against the pass and are allowing the 12th-most fantasy points to wide receivers. Indianapolis would prefer to be a run-first outfit and the Raiders are susceptible there. But the trends show Hilton on the rise.
Speaking of the Texans, they played their first game post-suspension of Will Fuller and had an unexpected (though not surprising) player step up in his absence. Keke Coutee (WR13) caught eight balls for 141 yards against the Colts which isn’t a cakewalk. With a matchup against the Chicago Bears on deck, Coutee could be in for another big game. The Bears are reeling and Deshaun Watson could look to show out on a team that passed on him in the draft for Mitchell Trubisky.
And speaking of the Bears, Cole Kmet was the TE7 in Week 13 catching five passes for 37 yards and a touchdown. The embattled rookie tight end caught just his second touchdown of the season, had more than one catch for just the third time and had double-digit yards for just the fourth time this season. All of that is disappointing for such a high draft pick but the Bears are searching, desperately, for answers and Kmet is a part of the future.
Houston isn’t the best matchup but they aren’t one to run from either. With folks in the organization fighting for their jobs, look for anything that can be construed as a positive in the last few weeks. Having Kmet turn out to be a quality player would certainly qualify. That might not save any jobs but he could definitely provide a boost to your fantasy team.