06 Dec Together We Made It: Fantasy Football Week 14 Waiver Wire
If you came here weekly, there is no doubt in my mind that you would not be getting any new tattoo similar to the featured picture of the article.
I would like to personally congratulate those who find themselves on this page, assuming that you have punched a ticket to the fantasy playoffs! You have worked your tail off to get here; whether we look at the work we have done pre-draft analyzing players and where you would consider drafting them. Furthermore, we tirelessly scour the waiver wire looking for players to improve our roster, either in the wake of injuries, underperforming players, and/or supplementing players for those who were on bye. You bet your bottom dollar it feels good to make the playoffs, but the work does not stop here. Sure, the bye-week dilemma each week may be over, and you finally have a full roster of viable players in result to that notion. Nevertheless, no matter how great you think your squad is, there is always a possibility to find an upgrade somewhere on your roster. At this point 14 weeks into the season, you should definitely have a weekly starter at QB, so if you are worrying about a streamer at that position you may be in a little trouble. With that being said, we here at The Sports Crew have you covered and will still list some QB you can keep on your watch list in case the injury bug strikes, or if you are in a two QB league and your second option lacks weekly consistency. If the latter statement holds true for your team, than streaming maybe a better option than playing an inconsistent QB2 with an unfavorable match-up. But Folks, we have playoff football on the horizon so without further ado lets dig right in, shall we?
Joe Flacco (BAL) @ New England- Flacco turned in his best fantasy performance of the season in Week 14, carving up the Dolphins for 381 yards and four TDs. He’s completed a remarkable 71.7% of his pass attempts over his last four games, averaging 295 passing yards and 2.3 TDs over that stretch. Passing volume is perhaps Flacco’s best selling point from a fantasy perspective, as he’s averaged 41.4 pass attempts per game this season and may have to throw often this week to keep up with the Patriots.
Robert Griffin III (WAS) @ Philadelphia- Out since Week 1 with a fractured shoulder, Griffin has been cleared for contact and could start for the Browns on Sunday, though head coach Hue Jackson had not committed to RG3 as of early Monday afternoon. It makes sense for the Browns to get another look at Griffin before the end of the season. As noted by Browns beat writer Mary Kay Cabot, Cleveland is likely to spend an early-round draft pick on a quarterback in the offseason and needs to determine whether RG3 is worth keeping around as a backup. RG3 loves to throw downfield, and in Terrelle Pryor and Corey Coleman, he now has a pair of dynamic weapons capable of hitting home runs on some of those deep balls. For owners who head into the playoff with shaky QB situations, this is a flyer worth taking.
Before we dive into some players that can be picked up and inserted into your lineup in the coming weeks, I would like to bring up a more important proposition. For those of you who own the rare every-down backs that have been producing for you week-in and week-out, picking up their handcuff can be more vital than picking up a player at a different position who can maybe get you 8-10 points. Players like Andre Ellington (David Johnson), Alfred Morris (Ezekiel Elliott), Derrick Henry (DeMarco Murray), DeAngelo Williams (Le’Veon Bell), and Mike Gillislee (LeSean McCoy) should be picked up if you are the happy owner of any player wrapped in parenthesis. Besides the fact that all of those starters are ridiculously talented, they find themselves in really advantageous spots in their offense. So by owning the handcuff it’s obvious you are not getting as talented of a player; rather, a running-back who will have a secure number of touches in a potent offense. Personally I am not the biggest fan of hand-cuffing my backs during the regular season, but it does indeed make sense for the playoffs. Enough on strategic angles, let’s get back to who we should be eyeing on the waiver wire.
Mike Gillislee (BUF) vs. Pittsburgh- Non Shady owners should even be looking to pick up this talented back, especially when you consider that he plays for the number one rushing team in the league. Running under the shadows casted by Shady (LeSean McCoy), Gillislee has had a very impressive four-game stretch. A home game versus New England in Week 8, Gilislee rushed 12 times for 85 yards and a touchdown. He performed admirably on MNF in Seattle and their raucous crowd giving his fantasy owners 11 points. Following their bye, Gillislee carried the ball 11 times for 72 yards against the Bengals. After an injury forced him to miss Week 11, he came back with purpose turning in a 8/42/2 stat-line against AFC juggernaut, the Oakland Raiders. Gillislee is not a flashy player, and he certainly is the backup to star, LeSean McCoy. Take away all the names and whether the player is the actual starter, and just take a gander at the numbers. On the waiver wire, at such a depleted, picked through, and volatile position that is the running back, what if I told you there is a guy who is averaging 11.75 touches (1.25 being receptions), 61.5 yards, and one touchdown per game? So even if you do not own McCoy you should look to pick up Gillislee as he is averaging 13 points over his last four games in PPR formats.
Justin Forsett (DEN) @ Tennessee- After being claimed on waivers Monday, Forsett could soon become a factor in the Denver backfield. Kapri Bibbs was placed on injured reserve, and Devontae Booker hasn’t had a run of more than 18 yards this season. Forsett is an add for all Booker owners and anyone with a flexible bench spot to stash a running back who has played the best football of his career when playing for current Broncos head coach Gary Kubiak.
Shane Vereen (NYG) vs. Dallas- There are a lot of unknowns surrounding Vereen’s value, starting with the fact that his return date is not set in stone. But there appears to be a chance that he could play as soon as Sunday. If you are looking for a running back who offers upside in a PPR league, Vereen is a savvy stash. He averaged 13 touches per game in the three that he played early this season, before landing on injured reserve (he was designated as the return player).
Tedd Ginn Jr. (CAR) vs. San Diego- Carolina’s offense is a mess in many ways right now, but Ginn has quietly put together a really nice stretch of seven games. He has 32 catches in that time, with five catches in all but two games, and he made good in those two games with fewer than five catches by adding a touchdown. In a PPR league, he’s a flex consideration who we know can flip the field — and help you win your matchup — with just one big play. If you’re facing an uphill postseason challenge, Ginn is a name to note.
Brandon LaFell (CIN) @ Cleveland- After A.J Green injured his hamstring on the Bengal’s first drive against the Bills in Week 12, we had suggested picking up rookie Tyler Boyd as a lesser talented replacement in an injury plagued offense. Boyd has paid minor dividends since being plucked from most waiver wires by handing in three double-digit (17,11,10) performances over the past three games. LaFell has largely disappointed outside of his 5-95-1 Week 13 performance. The first two games with Green sidelined (though Green started Week 11, but only played one drive) he turned in 4-32-0 in Week 11, and 3-38-0 in Week 12. The difference here is the match-up versus Cleveland, who have given up 28 passing touchdowns on the season. Owners must be cognizant that Giovani Bernard, who is arguably their third best receiving option outside of A.J Green and Tyler Eifert, tore his ACL in that disastrous Week 11 loss to the Bills. With all of these mitigating factors, you could use LaFell confidently as a WR3/FLEX option this weekend against the porous Browns secondary.
Taylor Gabriel (ATL) @ Los Angeles- Gabriel appears to have surpassed Mohamed Sanu to become Atlanta’s No. 2 receiver behind Julio Jones. That doesn’t necessarily equate to a lot of targets. Gabriel saw five targets in three consecutive games before getting a season-high six looks against the Chiefs in Week 14. He’s made the most of the targets he’s seen, with 15-247-3 over that four-game span, and Gabriel is now looking at an uber-favorable three-game stretch of schedule that includes games against the Rams, 49ers and Panthers. Really thought of as a better DFS tournament play, he is quietly turning heads and possibly being a valuable piece on someone’s roster during a championship run.
Ladarius Green (PIT) @ Buffalo- Here we have a player who has been mentioned in past waiver article’s. Whether it was advising owners to stash-and-hold prior to his return from the PUP list, or picking him up after returning to the field in Week 10. We finally got the long-awaited Ladarius explosion in Week 13. Green erupted for 6-110-1 against the Giants on 11 targets. It did not matter that Green played just under half of the Steelers’ offensive snaps against the G-men; and perhaps it will not matter if Green gets fewer snaps than Jesse James the rest of the way. The bottom line is that ever since Green’s first game with the Steelers in Week 10, Ben Roethlisberger has sought out the athletic TE whenever he’s been on the field. In categories such as points per route run and points per snap, Green’s numbers are through the roof. Do not let the low number of snaps Green is getting deter you from picking him up. Grab Green if you need a tight end and roll him out with confidence this week against the Bills and especially next week against the Bengals.
Dennis Pitta (BAL) @ New England- Pitta’s box score in Week 13 had me reminiscing about his breakout 2013 campaign, where the love and bro-mance started with he and Flacco. He had not scored in nearly three years, but Pitta rekindled his affinity for the end zone by getting their twice versus the Dolphins. His 9-90-2 line came on 11 targets, which came out of left field after only totaling 104 yards over his last four weeks. With a date against the potent Patriots up next, the Ravens will need their offense to be firing on all cylinders. Maybe Pitta can be the catalyst for their mediocre offense, and provide a much needed spark if they want to stay atop the AFC North.
Streaming Defenses for Fantasy Playoffs
Stud defenses with good playoff schedules
Buffalo– vs. PIT, vs. CLE, vs. MIA
Minnesota– @JAX, vs. IND, @GB
Kansas City– vs. OAK, vs. TEN, vs. DEN
Seattle– @GB, vs. LA, vs. SF
Houston– @IND, vs. JAX, vs. CIN
Stud defenses with bad playoff schedules
Denver– @TEN, vs. NE, @KC
Baltimore– @NE, vs. PHI, @PIT
San Diego– @CAR, vs. OAK, @CLE
Arizona– @MIA, vs. NO, @SEA
Tampa Bay– vs. NO, @DAL, @NO
Los Angeles– vs. ATL, @SEA, vs. SF
Waiver Wire defenses with good schedules
Atlanta– @LA, vs. SF, @CAR
Washington– @PHI, vs. CAR, @CHI
Miami– vs. ARI, @NYJ, @BUF
Tennessee– vs. DEN, @KC, @JAC
New Orleans– @TB, @ARI, vs. TB
Good luck to all, as always if you have any questions, find me on twitter: @zaksauer
Otherwise, go win yourself a championship!!