Congratulations if you did not face Le’Veon Bell in your first round of the playoffs. If you did then my condolences to your fantasy team and championship aspirations. Week 14 had some key injuries, making the waiver wire even more important this upcoming week. Best of luck in the second round of your playoffs, let’s continue to stay proactive on waivers and keep making that championship push!
Bye week teams: No teams on bye.
For our on-going waiver wire exclusive* we will be breaking skill players down into 3 categories and then concluding by recommending some likely free-agent Defenses and Kickers:
- Game Changers: Game changers are exactly what they sound like. Players that through injury or opportunity rise up and become real impact players immediately. They may not be the best or most well-known players, but they are in a position to impact fantasy scores on a weekly basis.
- Depth with upside: Again, the name is fairly self-explanatory. These are players that are just waiting for that opportunity to excel along with one or two quarterback streaming options. Often they possess a solid talent, and elite measurables, but they just have not had the opportunity to “break out” yet. This often includes handcuffs of underwhelming players or players that have started slow at deep positions, i.e. a QB or TE, that still have you believing in their talent.
- Hail Mary’s: This section is easily going to be the highest turnover section of your roster. And in some cases, the players will literally change from day-to-day. They are often role players that flash, or deeper roster players that may have moved up due to injury, trade, or just plain old ineffectiveness.
*We will not frequently rehash previous players; to see who we recommended last week, Click Here.
Kenneth Farrow | Running Back | San Diego Chargers
A spectacular sophomore season for Melvin Gordon is in jeopardy after exiting the week 14 game with a hip injury. Farrow filled in where he could with 78 yards from scrimmage and hauling in all 6 of his targets. Early reports from the Chargers are that Gordon will be OK moving forwards but if you are a Gordon owner Farrow is a must add. Should Gordon miss time, Farrow showed he has the ability to be the workhorse for a San Diego offense.
Marqise Lee | Wide Receiver | Jacksonville Jaguars
The best WR in Jacksonville this season has been Lee. The struggles of Blake Bortles continue to make Allen Robinson unusable this season. In the offseason the Jaguars gave an extension to Allen Hurns and he has not given them the return on investment they were hoping for.
Bortles threw for 257 yards in week 14, Lee led the team with 113 of those yards on just 5 catches and 8 targets.
Ty Montgomery | Wide Receiver / Running Back* | Green Bay Packers
For 13 weeks in Green Bay the only rushing touchdowns were by players named Aaron—Aaron Rodgers and Aaron Ripkowski. That changed against Seattle when Montgomery found the endzone and for the second consecutive week led the team in rushing yardage. Montgomery was also second on the team in receiving yards. Currently available in 65 percent of ESPN leagues, Montgomery could be that waiver add that lifts our team in the fantasy playoffs and possibly to a championship.
Bilal Powell | Running Back | New York Jets
Matt Forte was forced to exit the week 14 victory with a knee injury. Powell did more than just fill in for Forte. He had a season high of 29 carries and rushed for 145 yards to go along with 2 touchdowns, including the game winner in overtime. With Forte still being listed as day-to-day Powell is a must add for all fantasy players still in the hunt for a championship. You can find Powell on 63 percent of ESPN waiver wires.
Depth With Upside
Dontrelle Inman | Wide Receiver | San Diego Chargers
Although San Diego wasn’t able to come away victorious, Inman continues his hot streak. Since the Chargers bye in week 11, he has scored a touchdown in each game and over 70 yards in 2 of 3. Tyrell Williams is the big name that all fantasy players went after and this was his first game without a touchdown in the same time as Inman. In all but 3 games this season Philip Rivers has thrown the ball at least 30 times giving these WRs plenty of opportunity to fill the void of Keenan Allen. Inman led all WRs with 7 targets and trailed only Antonio Gates for the team lead.
Charles Sims | Running Back | Tampa Bay Buccaneers
Sims was activated for Tampa Bay’s week 14 matchup and played a key role as they beat the Saints. While Doug Martin is fully entrenched in the starting role, his career has been far from injury free. In week 13 we saw Martin exit the game and Jacquizz Rodgers saw meaningful carries late in the game. Rodgers was only able to carry the ball twice for no yardage and it looks as if Sims is the clear handcuff to Doug Martin.
Pierre Garcon | Wide Receiver | Washington Redskins
Washington’s offense continues to be pass oriented. Garcon hauled in 5 of his 6 targets for 59 yards and his third touchdown of the season in week 14. An upcoming matchup with Carolina—allowing the 30th most passing yards per game—sets Kirk Cousins and the Redskins up to continue their hot streak. Garcon is not the big play threat that DeSean Jackson is, but he is a reliable target and Jordan Reed’s inability to stay healthy will give Garcon plenty of opportunity and provides great PPR value.
Kenny Stills | Wide Receiver | Miami Dolphins
Stills enters the Monday night game as the WR8. No, that isn’t a typo. Stills had posted his second highest yardage total with 97 receiving yards to go along with 1 touchdown. Ryan Tannehill was forced to leave the game with what we later learned is a sprained ACL and MCL. Tannehill may return to the lineup before the end of the season and if he does we could see Stills blow up again as teams focus on Jarvis Landry and DeVantae Parker.
JJ Nelson | Wide Receiver | Arizona Cardinals
Nelson is the absolute definition of a Hail Mary play. He only touched the ball twice in week 14, but scored on both of his touches including a 56 yard run where he made the defense look slow. New Orleans travels to face Arizona and they are allowing 268 passing yards per game. The recent news of Michael Floyd being arrested on a DUI charge and John Brown not being the model of health, Nelson will be the explosive threat Arizona needs.
Rex Burkhead | Running Back | Cincinnati Bengals
Although Jeremy Hill led the team in carries and yardage, Burkhead saw 10 total touches for 51 yards. He may not be a startable play at the moment but when Hill exited the game against Cleveland, the Bengals were not shy to give the starter’s workload to Burkhead. Week 14 was the first time in the last three games that Burkhead did not gain more yardage than Hill. Currently available in 88 percent of ESPN leagues, Jeremy Hill owners should grab his handcuff before it is too late.
Robert Turbin | Running Back | Indianapolis Colts
If Frank Gore did not find the endzone in week 14, Turbin may have had a case to be the starter for Indy moving forward. Turbin was on the field more than Gore was against Houston, especially in the first half. If you are the Gore owner, this situation is definitely worth monitoring considering the Colts playoff chances all but evaporated after the loss in week 14. If nothing else Turbin could return PPR value because he saw 7 targets compared to Gore’s 2.
Defense and Special Teams:
Miami Dolphins at New York Jets
New York has said they will continue to roll with Bryce Petty as their QB for the remainder of the season. Petty had his first start in week 14 and his first passing attempt was intercepted. The Dolphins defensive line has been wreaking havoc on opposing QBs as of late. Look for them to hit Petty early and have him staring at the rush forcing him to make bad decisions.
Houston Texans vs Jacksonville Jaguars
An impressive showing on the road in Indianapolis where they forced Andrew Luck into throwing two interceptions and one fumble recovery, Houston’s defense is willing this team to victories. A demoralized Jaguars will travel to Houston as the Texans look to extend their lead in this putrid division. Blake Bortles only has three games all season without a turnover and the Texans opportunist defense will make sure it doesn’t happen a fourth time.
Buffalo Bills vs Cleveland Browns
Buffalo was absolutely embarrassed in week 14, surrendering nearly 300 yards of total offense to Le’Veon Bell alone. Lucky for the Bills they get a dose of the winless Cleveland Browns who are going to start the human turnover machine Robert Griffin III. The Bills are owned in 52 percent of ESPN leagues, but after being taken to the woodshed against Pittsburgh that number should drop drastically.