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Targeting weekly waiver picks is a completely subjective business,
but this column hopes to point out some obvious and not-so-obvious
selections to help your team from week to week while you strive
to collect fantasy wins, reach your league playoffs and win the
elusive title that your friends say is out of your grasp. While
I’m a big proponent of making trades to bolster your roster,
the waiver wire can be an almost limitless resource when it comes
to discovering fantasy value in strange places. Each week, I’ll
highlight some of the popular (and not-so-popular) players who can
help your squad and may still be available in your league.
Kenneth Dixon looked like the best Baltimore
running back against the Chiefs in Week 14.
Prescott, DAL – Last week I said Prescott (65-85 percent
owned) might fare better against the Eagles than he did against
the Saints, and he did – hooking up for three TDs with Amari Cooper.
He threw for a career-high 455 yards, tossed two picks and lost
a fumble, but the enormous positives in this game outweighed any
possible negatives, including some overthrows on wide open receivers
and some mental errors in key spots. For fantasy purposes, he’s
trending up – and gets the Colts in Week 15.
Carr, OAK –UPDATE:
Carr is an obvious risk considering the inconsistent production
he’s had this season, but the veteran QB has played better
lately. He’s thrown a total of five TDs over his last two
games (285-3-0; 322-2-0) and faces the vulnerable Bengals defense
in Week 15.
Jackson, BAL – Jackson took a hard hit late in the
game against the Chiefs but threw for 147-2-0 and rushed for 71
yards. There’s a chance he makes another start and Joe Flacco
sits another one out, and that means he’ll have QB1 upside against
the Bucs. Just stay tuned to the reports out of Baltimore before
picking him up with the plan of starting him.
Keenum, DEN – Vance Joseph said after Week 14 that
he wants Keenum (20-45 percent owned) to be more aggressive in
the final few games, taking more chances downfield. He threw for
just 186-1-0 against the 49ers buts gets the Browns in Week 15.
He could have sneaky QB2 value, especially with carte blanche
to chuck it down the stretch.
Winston, TB – Winston struggled with his accuracy in
Week 14, completing just 18 of his 38 passes for 213-2-1 in the
Week 14 game against the Saints, leading the team with 47 rushing
yards. Winston (60-85 percent owned) gets the Ravens in Baltimore
making Week 15 and unfavorable matchup for the Tampa QB.
Mayfield, CLE – Mayfield (still under 85 percent owned
in competitive leagues) was efficient without the big stat line
in Week 14, completing 18 of 22 passes for 238-1-0 in the win
over the Panthers. He’ll get a struggling Denver team in Week
15 in a game that could have sneaky shootout potential, and he’s
looking at possible low-end QB1 status next season.
Mullens, SF – Mullens had another solid performance
with 332-2-1 in the win over Denver but faces a more defensive
minded Seahawks team in Week 15. He’s a risk-reward QB2 without
nearly enough upside for standard leagues, but he’s the starter
and could be showcasing his talents for the rest of the teams
in the league.
Dixon, BAL – Gus Edwards out-touched Dixon 16 to 9
against the Chiefs, but Dixon (5-15 percent owned) was the more
effective player, rushing for 59 yards and a score and hauling
in a pass for 21 receiving yards. He’s a talented RB3 with upside
entering Week 15 and could get more work moving forward.
UPDATE: John Harbaugh said Monday that Dixon’s role would
grow moving forward and that means a committee approach featuring
some combination of him, Gus Edwards, and Ty Montgomery.
McGuire, NYJ – Isiah Crowell went down again, prompting
McGuire’s appearance in this column after logging 60 rushing yards
and a TD along with 3-23-0 receiving in the comeback win over
Buffalo. McGuire (10-25 percent owned) can easily disappear and
disappoint (and has done so to fantasy owners before), but for
now he’s approaching RB2 value on a team sorely lacking in viable
Williams, KC – Williams had two TDs without a ton of
yardage (30 combined rushing and receiving), but his usage around
the goal line makes him a TD-dependent flex play for Week 15 and
beyond. He could also get more snaps if the Chiefs decide to rest
starters at some point.
Jackson, SD – Jackson (now about 50-70 percent owned)
was held to just 21 rushing yards on seven carries against the
Bengals, yielding most of the quality touches to Austin Ekeler
despite coach Anthony Lynn’s comments that he’d be more heavily
involved in this Week 14. Jackson also had 2-23-0 receiving and
could get a bigger workload if either Melvin Gordon knee) or Ekeler
(head) misses additional time.
UPDATE: The Chargers are “not optimistic” that Gordon
or Ekeler will be available for Week 15, putting Jackson squarely
on the must-play map.
Samuels, PIT – Samuels has 28 rushing yards and caught
7-64-0 but failed to reach the end zone in the loss to Oakland.
He could get another spot start if James Conner (ankle) remains
out for the eek 15 matchup with New England.
Penny, SEA –UPDATE: Penny is still second fiddle to
Chris Carson, but he ran for 44 yards on eight carries Monday
night and could be in line for a bigger workload against the Chiefs.
Wilson, SF – Wilson was touted as a solid PPR option
in Week 14 given his high target volume the previous week, but
he disappointed with 90 rushing yards and just one catch for 6
receiving yards, failing to reach the end zone. His value is dependent
on Matt Breida’s status heading into Week 15.
Richard, OAK – Doug Martin healed up and got the start,
relegating Richard to just nine touches on Sunday (eight carries
for 24 rushing yards and one catch for 5 receiving yards). He
also injured a rib and can be safely avoided in Week 15 unless
something changes heading into the matchup with Cincy.
UPDATE: Head coach Mike Tomlin left the door open for James Conner
to play on Sunday, so perhaps the door on Samuels’ fantasy
viability is closing. Stay tuned.
Wide Receivers / Tight Ends
Westbrook, JAC – Westbrook (40-65 percent owned) caught
seven of his 10 targets for 88 yards and TD in a 30-9 loss to
the Titans on Thursday night and remains one of the bright spots
of the offense.
Thomas, CAR – Thomas finished the game with team highs
in targets and receptions, catching 9-77-0 on 11 targets from
Cam Newton. Given Newton’s rapport with the positino, he’s approaching
TE1 status, albeit in one of the lower tiers.
Stills, MIA – Stills (10-20 percent owned) caught 8-135-1
in the epic win over New England in Week 14 and has been building
rapport with Ryan Tannehill since the QB’s return. His value is
somewhat tied to the health of Tannehill’s ankle and shoulder,
so stay tuned.
Conley, KC – Conley (15-30 percent owned) caught 10-99-3
over the two games heading into Week 14 but hauled in just two
passes for 13 yards and no scores against the Ravens. If Tyreek
Hill (foot) is still dinged up heading into Thursday night, he
could see a few extra snaps.
UPDATE: Hill returned to practice on Tuesday and could be less
than 100 percent, but he’s on track to play this week. Still,
Conley is a fine red zone target and has a knack for finding the
Pettis, SF – The speedy Pettis (30-55 percent owned)
caught three of seven targets for 49 yards and a TD in a surprising
20-14 win over the Broncos in Week 14 and now has four scores
over the last three games. He’s worth owning in 12-team leagues.
UPDATE: Pettis actually gets a reboot of his Week 13 matchup
facing the Seahawks, when he went for 5-129-2. He’s a great
pickup this week.
Gallup, DAL – Gallup continues to get separation from
defensive backs but is getting overthrown by Prescott. He posted
4-24-0 on nine targets in the Week 14 win over the Eagles. One
of these days (maybe when opposing secondaries focus on stopping
Cooper and Prescot starts throwing him some catchable balls),
he’ll bust out.
Samuel, CAR – Samuel (30-50 percent owned) led the
Panthers in receiving yards in the loss to Cleveland, hauling
in 4-80-0 on eight targets. He remains a high-upside WR3.
Taylor, TEN – Taylor caught 6-59-0 yards in the TNF
win over the Jaguars and is trending up in the Titans offense.
He’s still just 5 percent owned but could make an impact down
the stretch in deeper formats.
Smith, TEN – Smith has an MCL injury and will miss
the rest of the 2018 season. Boo!