Fantasy football waiver wire week 14

Waiver wire pickups for Week 14 and the playoffs

Congratulations! If you are taking interest to this article, that means you most likely made your leagues’ playoffs.

It was an interesting fantasy season. We’ve seen unlikely fantasy stars such as Alex Smith of the Kansas City Chiefs emerge as a weekly starter as the top quarterback for the first eight weeks. We also saw Ezekiel Elliott get suspended at the stretch of the season. Even the last week of the season, we saw a crazy end with Smith, Josh McCown and Blake Bortles as top finishers at quarterback while Tom Brady and Matt Ryan delivered single-digit numbers.

The biggest headline in fantasy was injuries. Big names like Aaron Rodgers, Odell Beckham Jr., David Johnson, Andrew Luck, Julian Edelman and others suffered injuries either before the season or midway through.

The big storylines go on and on, but there are more important things to cover as it is playoff time. The purpose of this article is to start the playoffs right by making decisions to advance to the next week, even if you earned a first-round bye. Here are the top waiver wire pickups for the start of the playoffs.

Running Back Peyton Barber, Tampa Bay Buccaneers

Fantasy football waiver wire week 14

Peyton Barber (Photo from NFL.com)

With Doug Martin missing time due to a concussion, many expected Jacquizz Rodgers to be the main back. However, it was Peyton Barber who led the way with 23 carries for 102 yards with a team-high 41 receiving yards on four catches. He racked up the first 100-yard rushing game for the Bucs this season. No one expected that.

If Martin is not available, Barber should continue to get carries and take over as the top dog in the Bucs’ backfield. If Martin does make a return, expect Barber to be the second back after his performance against the Packers.

He is set to be a RB2 as they play the Lions, who rank 28th against running backs.

Running Backs Theo Riddick and Tion Green, Detroit Lions

Ameer Abdullah’s neck injury opened things up in the Lions’ backfield as both running backs found the end zone. Theo Riddick gained 62 total yards on nine carries and five catches while Green had 51 yards on 11 carries.

As for which back to have, there is no wrong way to go depending on the league. Riddick is a better pick for PPR leagues and Green is better for standard leagues. Either way, both should have a solid day splitting reps against the Buccaneers run defense, which has yielded high rushing averages and lots of touchdowns over its last three games.

Look for Riddick to have more upside in fantasy especially with many banged-up backs and receivers. He has flex value in standard leagues. For Green, he should continue to be the preferred option around the goal line.

Wide Receiver Marquise Goodwin, San Francisco 49ers

Fantasy football waiver wire week 14

Marquise Goodwin (Photo from ninersnation.com)

With Pierre Garcon out for the year, Marquise Goodwin in the last four games has gained 68, 83, 78 and 99 yards, good for an average of 82 yards per game. Even with the switch at quarterback, Goodwin remained the top target for Jimmy Garoppolo. Along with that 99-yard outing against the Chicago Bears, he caught all of his eight targets. It seems Garoppolo has possibly found his No. 1 target for next year, and this is a good way to the end the year for Goodwin.

He has great matchups in the next two weeks against the Houston Texans, who rank 27th against receivers, and the Tennessee Titans, who are right in front of the Texans against receivers. This makes him a viable WR3/flex start the next two weeks.

Wide Receiver Jermaine Kearse, New York Jets

This could go either way, but Jermaine Kearse is worth a look for depth. He has at least eight targets in each of his last three, and at least 15 fantasy points in each of his last two. Against the Chiefs, he caught nine of his 10 targets for 157 yards. Its evident that Robby Anderson is the top target, which make defenses try to limit him and put softer coverage on Kearse. Josh McCown has no problem leaning on Kearse in their pass-heavy offense.

He has three tough games ahead of him against the Denver Broncos, New Orleans Saints and the Los Angeles Chargers, all ranked 12th or higher against receivers. The matchup next week against Denver isn’t the worst matchup as the Miami Dolphins torched them with 35 points. Dolphin receivers caught 11 passes for 165 yards and a touchdown.

Quarterback Josh McCown, New York Jets

My dark horse pickup, especially with the injuries to Tyrod Taylor and Matthew Stafford, is Josh McCown of the New York Jets. He had another solid fantasy day with multiple touchdowns in a high-scoring game against the Chiefs.

In his last eight he has posted double-digit points with over 20 points in his last two. He ranks as the 14th quarterback in fantasy this week according to Fantasy Pros, which is better than Alex Smith, Derek Carr and Jameis Winston, who are all on fantasy teams. Now he mostly picks that up with some garbage time, but the Jets have been a solid team all season at 5-7 within playoff contention. McCown continues to defy the odds and gets better as the season progresses.

McCown should be a QB2 on fantasy teams just in case, especially if you have Taylor and/or Stafford. Like Kearse, he isn’t a bad matchup against Denver.

 

Featured image from theintelligencer.com

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New York Jets

New York Jets: Better than expected

Well the season hit its midway point for most teams this week. The New York Jets sit at 4-5 heading into Week 10 and are in the hunt for a Wild Card spot.

They are coming off a 13-point Thursday night win at home against the Bills that was never really close. A team that was said to be the worst roster in the history of football is impressing people.

The Jets are winning with some players you may have never heard of until this year. A team that was surely on the verge of tanking is now in a position to sneak into a playoff spot.

Emerging Offense

When the season started, there was a big question mark at quarterback for the Jets. Now as the season enters Week 10, there is no question that Josh McCown is the quarterback they want. McCown has thrown for nearly 2,000 yards, completed 70 percent of his passes and almost has a 2:1 touchdown to interception ratio.

The offense has 55 seconds more time of possession than their opponents. They are are also winning the turnover battle by two turnovers. They have three wide receivers who are on pace for over 50 receptions, as well as running back Matt Forte also being on that same pace.

For an offense that was said to have the lowest talent at the skilled positions in the league, they are averaging 21.2 points per game. With many wide receivers no one has heard of and a running back past his prime, the Jets have shocked the NFL.

The guys you don’t know

New York Jets

Austin Seferian-Jenkins (Photo by NYTimes.com)

First, we can kick this off by talking about Robby Anderson and Jermaine Kearse. Both have scored four touchdowns each this year and have been very valuable in head coach Todd Bowles’ offense. Both are on pace for over 750 receiving yards and have looked very sure-handed for the Jets offense.

Then we look at Bilal Powell, who you should know by now, but if you don’t, here we go. Powell is on pace for 750 rushing yards and 250 receiving yards and for most of the season hasn’t even been the starting running back. He has eight yards per reception and nearly five yards per carry on the ground. Powell has five plays over 20 yards and has a couple of touchdowns to go along with them. He is electric in the screen game and provides a change of pace from Forte.

The last guy is Austin Seferian-Jenkins. He has emerged as the biggest red zone threat in the Jets offense as of late. He is catching 80 percent of his targets and has three touchdowns this season. He leads the team in receptions at 33 and is fourth on the team in receiving yards. At 6-foot-5, he is McCown’s favorite red zone target due to his height to couple with his 37.5 inch vertical jump at the NFL Scouting Combine.

Todd Bowles

New York Jets

Todd Bowles (Photo by USA TODAY Sports)

I don’t think in professional sports that coaches get as much credit as they should. Todd Bowles has turned a team that was projected to not even win a game into a 4-5 team through nine weeks. This Jets team has beaten two division rivals, a solid Jaguars team and the Cleveland Browns. Through it all,, Bowles hasn’t been spectacular, but he’s been more than consistent.

He has led this young team both confidently and constructively so that the New York Jets are only taking steps forward. When you are coaching a young team, those two things make all the difference. The Jets are a borderline playoff team, but have beaten three of the four teams ahead of them in the playoff race.

The Jets have a tough outlook ahead as they play the Saints, Patriots, Chiefs and Panthers down the stretch. If they can take care of business against the Chargers, Broncos and Buccaneers and maybe steal a game or two against the other four teams, they could find themselves in a Wild Card game come playoff time.

 

Featured image from NYtimes.com.

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Carson Wentz

Flying high: The overachieving Eagles and Jets

The NFL is always good for a few surprises each year. 2017 has been no different. Two present surprises so far during the young season have been the Eagles and Jets, but are they true contenders? Here is a closer look at each.

New York Jets: 3-3

What they do well: The numbers with this team are not going to blow you away. However, they were a top ten  rushing offense prior to the last two weeks, Jermaine Kearse is averaging ten yards a catch, and Josh McCown has more touchdown passes than interceptions. No, the Jets do not have their quarterback of the future, but the guys they have right now are doing just fine.

Jermaine Kearse

Photo: sbnation.com

Reasons to worry: They rank 25th in total defense. The offense will have to do more as the opponents get better. It is hard to imagine the offense being able to keep pace with teams like Kansas City, Atlanta, and New Orleans. The Jets will face all these teams in the coming weeks.

However, New York managed to hang tough in their first meeting with the Patriots Sunday. A controversial call prevented the game from going to overtime. Moral victories do not exist in NFL.

The average of 18 points a game needs to go up. Until it does, the concerns will remain Even so, the Jets proving they are at least capable of scoring enough to make a high power offensive team sweat is a good sign.

What the experts say: More than a few analysts had the Jets going winless this year. Even after their solid start, people still are not buying in. As reported by mytopsportsbooks.com, the Jets are still a 150/1 Super Bowl longshot, barely ahead of the one win team they share a stadium with.

Philadelphia Eagles: 5-1

What they do well: The Eagles did what every team with a young quarterback should do. They went out and got Carson Wentz some weapons. Adding receivers Alshon Jeffery and Torrey Smith is always going to be a huge help to any quarterback.

Add in the 5th ranked rushing offense and it makes it pretty easy for Wentz to throw for 1600+ yards and 10 touchdowns so far this year. Wentz himself also deserves a ton of credit. Even last year when he had far less talent around him, he accounted for more touchdowns than turnovers. He is poised to lead this franchise for years to come.

Reasons to worry: The Eagles are 19th in total defense. That is not great. However, the offense can carry this team. Ranking in the bottom half of the league in sacks allowed is far more troubling Wentz staying upright is the only way this team plays in January.

What the experts say: Unlike the Jets, some of Philadelphia’s numbers do jump out.  Their Super Bowl odds have shot past division rival Dallas and now sit at 12/1.

Only time will tell what kind of staying power these two teams have. The Eagles appear far more equipped for playoff football, but the NFL never stops surprising us.

 

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Odell Beckham Jr. fantasy injury

Fantasy reaction: Odell Beckham Jr.’s injury

The New York Giants had a rough week 5 on Sunday against the Los Angeles Chargers. Not only did they not get their first win, but they also suffered multiple injuries at one position.

The team lost four receivers on Sunday. They lost Brandon Marshall and Sterling Shepard to ankle injuries within a span of four plays in the second quarter. Then they lost Dwayne Harris to a foot fracture and is out for the remainder of the 2017 season.

But the bigger name is their star receiver Odell Beckham Jr. The Giants announced after the game that Beckham fractured his ankle and is expected to miss the rest of the season. This is of course a big blow to the Giants offense and to fantasy owners.

Fantasy players know that they can fix this, even if it’s a high-caliber player like Beckham.

The Giants situation

Granted the Giants had other options, but they don’t have someone to replace a talent like Beckham. Now they face the problem of who will replace the other receivers. According to ESPN, Shapard could miss a couple of weeks, and Marshall’s injury is unknown, but being carted off isn’t a good sign.

Odell Beckham Jr. fantasy injury

Odell Beckham Jr. (Photo by: nytimes.com)

The only wide receiver healthy as of Sunday on the roster is Roger Lewis Jr., who had a 29-yard touchdown catch on Sunday. The Giants made a couple of moves on Monday, promoting Travis Rudolph from their practice squad and re-signing Tavarres King, who played the last three seasons with the Giants. They also have tight end Evan Engram, who is more of a receiver tight end and will likely become Eli Manning’s top target. Also expect running back Shane Vereen to have a bigger role in the passing game.

It will be hard to be rely on these new faces especially with their matchup this week against the Broncos at Denver. Even with a poor offensive line, don’t expect the Giants’ offense to offer reliable fantasy options.  The only players to give a look at especially in deeper leagues are Lewis and Engram and then Vereen only in PPR.

Wavier Wire

The first option is to look at the wavier wire and look at streamable players from this point on. Of course none of these receivers are anything close to Beckham, but they could help you week-in and week-out especially if you need players with good matchups.

The first is to look at Lewis of the Giants. He’s the next man up after the Giants lost four receivers on Sunday. He had a 29-yard touchdown catch. It may not look like much, but with Beckham out and Marshall and Shepard expected to miss time, he could be the new No. 1 receiver for Big Blue. However, his next two matchups are Denver and Seattle, who will both be coming off byes. He might not be the first choice, but shouldn’t be ignored if you’re desperate.

Odell Beckham Jr. fantasy injury

Roger Lewis Jr. (Photo by: sanluisobispo.com)

A streamable receiver to look at is Carolina Panthers receiver Devin Funchess. Since they lost tight end Greg Olsen in week 2, he has seen 27 targets over the last three weeks. Funchess also has crossed the goal line on three occasions over the last two games.

Part of his success is his quarterback Cam Newton playing sensational the past two games. His 6-foot-4, 225-pound frame makes him a natural red-zone target.

The Panthers face the Philadelphia Eagles, Chicago Bears and Tampa Bay Buccaneers over the next three weeks. These three teams are ranked inside the top-10 in fantasy points allowed to opposing wide receivers. Funchess also missed practice on Monday with a knee injury, and should be watched closely if he doesn’t play on Thursday.

Other receivers to look at are Jermaine Kearse of the Jets, Mike Wallace of the Ravens, Nelson Agholor of the Eagles and Kendall Wright of the Bears.

Look at trades

If no one in free agency interests you, maybe it’s time to find a trade. Personally I’m not a big fan of trades unless I’m the one receiving the trade, but if times are desperate, then a trade could be in the cards.

One big name that is having a good start to the season is New England Patriots receiver Chris Hogan. Sure he may cost you, but if you have assets, he’s worth it. He may be 31st in the league in targets, but he is a touchdown machine. Hogan has turned four of his last 26 targets into trips to the end zone. They may have lots of mouths to feed in New England, but he has been consistent since week 2 and is continuing to play at a high pace.

Now there’s players to look at who are having down years. Names like Amari Cooper, Terrelle Pryor, Sammy Watkins and Golden Tate could be valuable down the stretch if they turn it around. Some fantasy owners might give up these players for the right price, and it might not take much to land these players. Even with their struggles, they are top receivers on their teams. Their targets will remain consistent, and the plan here is to hope for a bounce back.

Now if you’re one of those players that want to land a star to replace a star then look at Julio Jones. He has struggled out of the gate with no touchdowns, but coming off a bye could be what Jones needs to get going. If you have assets and want to make the swing to the fences, this a trade you want to try.

Best bet: Look for the hot hand

In the end, the best bet is to look at players that are hot. Running backs, wide receivers and tight ends that are playing consistent are the best way to replace Beckham without getting rid of your whole team. There’s no clear way to replace Beckham, but we all can relate to losing the star of your team. Hopefully to most they can overcome this, but continue to make moves for the hot hand if there’s no clear long-term replacement.

 

Featured image from sportingnews.com.

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