Fantasy Football 2019: Week 14 Waiver Wire Pickups

If you need upgrades for a playoff run, here are a few players to consider grabbing off the waiver wire heading into Week 14.
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If you’re reading this, congratulations! That means you’ve likely made the playoffs and are looking to improve your team for a championship run. There will be less competition on the waiver wire going forward, but those still alive will be paying very close attention to all of the potential options. Below are players I recommend adding who are owned in fewer than 40% of leagues on Yahoo and/or ESPN. All point totals referenced are for PPR leagues.

Quarterbacks

Ryan Fitzpatrick, Miami Dolphins

FitzMagic just won’t go away. The 37-year-old led the Dolphins past the Eagles on Sunday with 365 yards and three touchdowns. It was Fitzpatrick’s second straight 23-plus point performance after having 259 total yards and three total touchdowns against the Browns in Week 12. The Dolphins will spend the next two weeks in the New York area, taking on the Jets this week. It’s a good, but not great, matchup since the Jets’ defense plays better as a whole at home, but Fitzpatrick put up 288 yards and three touchdowns against them in Week 9 (23.7 fantasy points). Sam Darnold typically plays better at home, so this game could be a sneaky shootout. If you’re desperate, maybe a little FitzMagic can get you by.

Sam Darnold, New York Jets

A lot of people are jumping off the Darnold hype train after his poor performance against the Bengals in Week 13. But he returns home and has an awesome matchup against the Dolphins this week. Miami ranks as one of the five worst defenses in the NFL against fantasy QBs and has really struggled lately. They just allowed 24.4 fantasy points to Carson Wentz after allowing 33.8 points to Josh Allen and 23.5 points to Baker Mayfield in the two prior weeks. Darnold has been a better QB at home so far in his career and had nine total touchdowns and an average of 25.4 fantasy points per game in the three weeks prior to Week 13. He’s worth throwing out there again if the weather is better at the Meadowlands this week.

Running backs

Alexander Mattison, Minnesota Vikings

We don’t yet know the extent of Dalvin Cook’s shoulder injury that he suffered Monday night, but Mattison should be the No. 1 pickup of the week, even if Cook only misses one game. Mattison was averaging 4.8 yards per game coming into Week 13 and has an extremely juicy matchup against a Lions team that ranks as one of the three worst defenses against fantasy RBs this season. The Vikings ran all over Detroit in Week 7. Cook finished with 142 yards and two touchdowns on 25 carries. Mattison isn’t Cook, but he’s plenty talented and should get more than enough carries in Week 14 if Cook is out. He’s a high-end RB2 this week in that scenario. 

Adrian Peterson, Washington Redskins

Washington continues to run the ball effectively (and often) and Peterson is still going to play a significant role for the Redskins for the rest of the season. He took advantage of a favorable matchup against the Panthers last week to the tune of 13 carries for 99 yards and a touchdown. He has another strong matchup this week against the Packers. Green Bay ranks in the bottom five against fantasy running backs this season. Although they held Saquon Barkley relatively in check (19 carries for 83 yards), the Packers have allowed 13 rushing touchdowns this season. Derrius Guice is still the back with the most upside in DC, but don’t forget about Peterson grinding it out on the ground on a cold day in Green Bay.

Benny Snell, Pittsburgh Steelers

If you’re not buying into the Snell hype, you should be. He’s the clear lead back in Pittsburgh when James Conner is out and should earn at least a decent share of the touches even when Conner is healthy. Snell has 37 carries and 39 touches over the last two weeks and now has the Cardinals on tap in Week 14. Arizona ranks in the bottom 10 against fantasy running backs this season and has allowed an average of 28.3 fantasy points per game to the position over the past five weeks. Snell has 25 combined fantasy points over the last two weeks and could easily continue on a similar 12.5 fantasy point pace this week.

Raheem Mostert, San Francisco 49ers

It’s hard to ever trust 49ers running backs, but it appears that Mostert has settled into that No. 2 role behind Tevin Coleman with Matt Breida out. It’s possible Breida returns this week and muddies up the backfield even more, but Mostert is worth an add anyway. He’s scored in double figures each of the past two games. He had 13.7 fantasy points in Week 12 and 23.4 points last week against the Ravens. The Saints are a tough matchup, but they’re not that much more difficult to play against than Baltimore. San Francisco won’t give up on their ground game even if things are shaky early. If Breida is inactive again, Mostert becomes an instant flex play.

Patrick Laird, Miami Dolphins

Laird made the most of his expanded role with Kalen Ballage leaving Sunday’s game early with a non-contact leg injury. He got 14 total touches in Week 13, finishing with 48 total yards and a touchdown. He was relatively ineffective with his 10 carries, but the passing game is where he does his damage. Laird first popped up on fantasy radars after catching six passes for 51 yards in Week 11. He caught four passes for 43 yards on Sunday and could see an increased role if Ballage misses time. You’ll need to be in a deep league to consider playing him this time of year, but in half- and full-PPR formats he could be a sneaky play this week.

Wide receivers

James Washington, Pittsburgh Steelers

There’s a chemistry developing between Washington and Devlin Hodges. It’s a bond that can only be created and shared over duck hunting, apparently. Washington caught all four of his targets for 111 yards and a touchdown in the Steelers’ victory over the Browns. He should have an even better opportunity to succeed this week. Pittsburgh travels to Arizona to play arguably the worst secondary in football. JuJu Smith-Schuster seems unlikely to play again this week, so Washington should still get plenty of opportunities to put up points. He’s averaging four catches and 87 yards on 5.8 targets per game over the last four weeks. He’ll be a low-end WR3 in Week 14.

Cole Beasley, Buffalo Bills

The Cole Beasley Revenge Game lived up to the hype, as the Bills slot receiver caught six passes for 110 yards and a touchdown against the Cowboys on Thanksgiving. It was his second straight game with six catches and a score. Beasley’s calling card for fantasy managers this season was as a reliable, high-floor option. He’s been more than that lately. His matchup this week with the Ravens isn’t as scary as some may believe. Baltimore ranks in the middle of the pack against fantasy WRs this season, but are below average against slot receivers. Expect Josh Allen to continue to rely on Beasley early and often at home. He’ll be a borderline WR3/4.

Anthony Miller, Chicago Bears

Miller’s huge Thanksgiving game wasn’t a fluke. He’s playing a more significant role in the Bears’ offense lately, similar to the way he was used when healthy last season. Miller has 33 combined targets over the last three weeks. He’s caught 21 of those targets and has a combined 48.1 fantasy points. The end zone has eluded him this season, but he continues to get plenty of volume and that shouldn’t be ignored. The raw stats show that the Cowboys aren’t a great matchup for slot receivers but keep the following in mind: Dallas allowed 6/42/0 to Golden Tate in Week 9, 4/47/0 to Danny Amendola in Week 11, 8/93/0 in a rainstorm to Julian Edelman in Week 12 and 6/110/1 to Beasley last week. Miller should be able to find his way to double-digit points again.

Russell Gage, Atlanta Falcons

Speaking of receivers playing bigger roles as of late, Gage has back-to-back 15-plus point games after his 5/52/1 performance on Thanksgiving night. Sure, Gage took advantage of Julio Jones being out for that game, but I don’t expect the Falcons’ offense to be as mediocre against the Panthers this week. Atlanta stays at home with a little extra rest and gets to face a Panthers secondary that’s bottom-eight against fantasy wide receivers this season. Gage had double-digit targets two weeks ago with Jones on the field. He should be good for another 8-10 targets this week. That means another 10-plus point performance is coming.

A.J. Brown, Tennessee Titans

Unlike the other names in this section, Brown didn’t have a strong game in Week 13. He caught three of his four targets for 45 yards against the Colts. Nothing special. However, it’s the matchup against the Raiders that’s worth attacking this week. Oakland is a bottom-eight unit against fantasy wide receivers this season. They’re particularly weak against outside receivers. Brown may have only had 7.5 fantasy points last week, but here are his totals before that since Ryan Tannehill took over as a starter: 12.2, 9.1, 12.1, 2.7, 23.5. He’s been a little boom-or-bust over the last three weeks, but should be a high-end WR4 this week.

Tight ends

Mike Gesicki, Miami Dolphins

You have to be impressed with how Gesicki has integrated himself into Miami’s passing game in recent weeks. He caught his first career touchdown pass in Week 12 and quickly added to that total with a jump ball in the end zone last week. He had his best game of the season against the Eagles, finishing with five catches for 79 yards and a touchdown. He has at least six targets in each of his past five games, and 14 in the last two weeks. The matchup with the Jets isn’t favorable for tight ends, but if Ryan Fitzpatrick is going to continue to target him in the red zone he has to be considered a Top 15 TE moving forward.

Tyler Higbee, Los Angeles Rams

Higbee took full advantage of his opportunity to be the Rams’ top tight end with Gerald Everett out with a knee injury in Week 13. Higbee was the latest in a long line of tight ends to completely expose the Cardinals, finishing with seven catches for 107 yards and a touchdown. Everett’s status for this week is uncertain and there’s another strong matchup for tight ends on tap this week for the Rams. The Seahawks have allowed the third-most yards per game to tight ends this season (through Week 12), ranking as one of the five best defenses for fantasy tight ends to face. Also keep in mind that Higbee’s playing time has been increasing lately even when Everett is healthy. Higbee out-snapped Everett in four of the six weeks before Week 13.

Dallas Goedert, Philadelphia Eagles

Goedert continues to be a solid, unspectacular option for fantasy managers in need of tight end help. He caught six passes for 66 yards on seven targets against the Dolphins this past week. That’s a pretty typical performance for him. He’s averaging 6.1 targets, nearly five catches and 45 yards per game over the last seven weeks. He also has three touchdowns over that timeframe. A quick look at the matchup with the Giants might scare some away based on how stingy they’ve been to the position, but New York hasn’t really played any tight ends of significance this season. The best tight ends they’ve faced are the Cowboys’ pair of Jason Witten and Blake Jarwin. In two games this year, they have a combined 48.4 fantasy points. Goedert is a low-end TE1 this week.

More Advice From SI Fantasy

—Shawn Childs’s Week 14 PPR rankings: QB, RB, WR, TE

—Dr. Roto’s Start ‘Em, Sit ‘Em can help with your tougher lineup decisions

—Frankie Taddeo’s Week 14 Injury Report on the players who got hurt in Week 13

—Frankie Taddeo’s Streaming Options could make or break your playoff run.

—Jamie Eisner’s Stock Watch on players trending up and down

—Mark Deming’s Target and Snap Report pulls fantasy nuggets out of the Week 13 data