Workin’ the Wire for Week 14

5 Dec 2017 - 4:49pm | Roto Coach | Updated: 5 Dec 2017 - 4:50pm
Workin’ the Wire for Week 14

If you’re reading this column ahead of Week 14, chances are good you’re either prepping for the playoffs or making a last ditch stand to secure your spot this week. It all depends on the size of your league. Either way, there are likely a handful of players on waivers that can help fill a hole in your roster or tip the balance altogether. And we know there is always a playoff hero or two that completely comes out of nowhere in the final month. Much like I noted last week, be sure to stay on top of the news. Teams are sending banged up starters to IR on an almost daily basis this time of year, and you don’t want to get caught counting on someone who won’t even dress with your fantasy championship on the line.

As always, this list is made up of players that are 30% owned or less in Yahoo leagues, and if you happen to be looking at a guy that falls in between, or can’t figure out why I left a player off the list, feel free to ping me on Twitter @rotocoach or through the site.

Quarterbacks

Blaine Gabbert-Arizona Cardinals: Gabbert continues to play adequately as the starter for a team that is just about out of the playoff race at this point. It should be enough to keep him under center for the rest of the season, and over the next three weeks he’ll get home matchups against a soft Tennessee secondary and a New York Giants team in disarray, with  road date at Washington in between. He also gets a slight bump for Week 14 if Adrian Peterson sits again.

Jimmy Garoppolo-San Francisco 49ers: Now that the 49ers have broken the seal on Garoppolo, so to speak, there’s no reason to go back to C.J. Beathard. Jimmy G. led the San Francisco to a surprising win last week, upsetting Chicago on the road. There’s still little in the way of offensive talent surrounding him, but he was very accurate and showed the ability to move the offense. The next two weeks feature better matchups against the Texans and Titans so he’s at least worth a mention based off the Week 13 performance.

Tom Savage-Houston Texans: Houston has struggled to run the ball and subsequently the passing volume continues to be there for Savage so he’s a one week plug in play in a home date with San Francisco this week. Matchups against Jacksonville and Pittsburgh in Weeks 15 and 16 take him completely off the fantasy playoff radar after that, even for desperate fantasy owners.

Running Backs

Giovani Bernard-Cincinnati Bengals: We don’t know if Joe Mixon will be available for Week 14, but the rookie running back left Monday’s nights’ game against the Steelers in the second quarter with a concussion. Obviously that means Mixon will be trying to get clearance on a short week, which seems somewhat unlikely. Bernard was effective in relief, but more importantly, he’s the last back standing of a trio that started the season rotating snaps for the Bengals. At present the only other running back on the roster is rookie Brian Hill, signed off Atlanta’s practice squad when Jeremy Hill was sent to IR last month. Bernard is likely in for as much work as he can handle against the Bears.   

Mike Davis-Seattle Seahawks: I wasn’t bought in on Davis last week, as the Seahawks have shown little ability to move the ball on the ground and I don’t believe that’s entirely a function of the backs. The game script worked in Seattle’s favor here though and Davis turned in a solid fantasy day in a game that allowed the Seahawks to use him they way they wanted. Maybe he is the answer at running back, and it’s worth noting that the way to beat this week’s opponent, Jacksonville, is on the ground. Still, he’s not an explosive back so I expect him to give way to McKissic at times, particularly in shootout and come from behind situations so don’t count on 70%+ of the snaps each week.  

Peyton Barber-Tampa Bay Buccaneers: Barber turned in arguably the best running back performance of the season for Tampa Bay, following up his two touchdown Week 12 performance with a 100 yard rushing effort and 4 catches for 40+ yards on the road at Green Bay. Doug Martin could return from his concussion this week, but even so he might have to split carries with Barber going forward. An undrafted rookie free agent out of Auburn last year, Barber has shown some ability when he’s gotten a chance. A volume back with pass catching ability, he’s averaged better than 4.3 yards per carry in the eight games he’s gotten double digit totes since coming into the league.   

Wide Receivers

Dede Westbrook-Jacksonville Jaguars: Once again Westbrook tops the wide receiver list, as he’s now seen 19 targets over the past two weeks. More importantly, he’s yet to rip off a really big play, but it seems almost inevitable. The Jags have done everything they can to hide Blake Bortles this season, but without either of the Allens, Marqise Lee and Dede Westbrook are seeing plenty of work, even in a conservative passing attack. This week’s matchup against Seattle isn’t very run friendly, which could lead to a few more looks. Additionally, this is a banged up Seahawks secondary and the Texans and 49ers follow over the next two weeks.

Kenny Golladay-Detroit Lions: Golladay’s two receptions per game over the past month are nothing to get excited about, but we shouldn’t overlook the fact that he keeps racking up long gains. Since Week 10 Golladay’s 8 catches have each gone for an average of 27+ yards, and it’s probably only a matter of time until he breaks one and goes the distance. He’s a boom bust option, but there’s some upside here on a team that simply can’t run the football.

Dontrelle Inman-Chicago Bears: He’s still worth considering as seemingly the only reliable target in the Chicago “passing attack” (I use that term loosely). But it’s also worth noting that outside of a Week 16 game against Cleveland, the Bears other remaining games are all road dates versus Cincinnati, Detroit, and Minnesota. All project poorly for a WR4/5 masquerading as a WR1/2.   

Tight End

Trey Burton-Philadelphia Eagles: Burton is a grab and stash candidate until we know where Zach Ertz is at with the concussion he suffered on Sunday night. While this week’s game at Los Angeles will go a long way to determining first round byes in the NFC, don’t expect the Eagles to rush Ertz back given the presence of Burton and their depth at receiver and running back. It’s not a great matchup against a Rams defense that has been stingy to the position, but we know how explosive this Eagles offense can be, and Carson Wentz should bounce back from a disappointing Week 13 performance.  

Ricky Seals-Jones-Arizona Cardinals: Seals-Jones continues to be involved in the Cardinals offense with Gabbert under center. While he failed to visit the end zone this past week, he still saw five targets, securing two of them for 44 yards. His matchup against the Titans this week is a good one, but his Week 15 and Week 16 opponents, Washington and the New York Giants, have given up the fifth most and the most fantasy points to the tight end position this season respectively.    

Stephen Anderson-Houston Texans: With C.J. Fiedorowicz likely lost for the season after yet another concussion, Anderson should take over as the starter in Houston. A wide receiver coming out of Cal, Anderson was always an intriguing athlete that the Texans shifted to tight end when they added him as a UDFA last spring. Sunday’s 5-79-1 line came out of nowhere, but with Will Fuller still inactive with a rib injury, Bruce Ellington battling a hamstring injury, and Braxton Miller suffering a concussion, someone needs to catch footballs other than DeAndre Hopkins. Anderson doesn’t have the wheels of an Evan Engram or Jordan Reed, but he’s a good athlete with above average speed for his size. More importantly, he’s a capable receiver out of the slot and could have some PPR value over the final month of the season.

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