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Through The Wire - Week 14

By Antonio D'Arcangelis | 12/7/21 |

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. I’ll also provide a brief update on the players I covered the previous week.

Feedback is always welcome, appreciated and encouraged. I’ll get to as many e-mails as I can.


Ben Roethlisberger, PIT – Big Ben is owned in just 15% of ESPN leagues but could be a decent QB to own as the season winds down and gets some favorable matchups. He’s thrown six TD passes over the past three weeks and still has the weapons to post respectable fantasy numbers like he did in the win over Baltimore (236-2-0).

Jimmy Garoppolo

Jimmy Garoppolo, SF – Jimmy G (15% owned) went for 299-2-2 in a Week 13 loss to the Seahawks, but in Week 14 faces a Bengals team that saw Justin Herbert post the third best fantasy QB numbers of Week 13. He’s worth a look as a QB2 and seems to really be clicking with TE George Kittle.

Zach Wilson, NYJ – Wilson (less than 5% owned) is a risk-reward QB2 waiver selection because of the favorable matchups over the next few games (NO, @MIA, JAC, TB) and managed to set new career-high marks in both pass attempts and total touchdowns on Sunday, largely due to garbage time. He completed 23 of his 38 pass attempts for 226-2-1 in the loss to the Eagles, and should only be considered in deep leagues and two-QB formats.

Other QBs to consider: Taysom Hill (35%), Baker Mayfield (25%), Jared Goff (3-4%), Jake Fromm (0%)


Derek Carr, LV – Carr followed up a decent effort on Thanksgiving with a 29-for-38, 249-0-0 (24 rushing yards on two carries) performance in a what amounted to a disappointing fantasy effort from the veteran QB. It was a prime matchup and neither offense took full advantage.

Daniel Jones, NYG – Jones turned up on the injury report mid-week and was ruled out of Week 13 by Friday morning. He’s likely not playing for a few weeks.

Running Backs

D'Onta Foreman, TEN - UPDATE: In his last game in Week 12 against a tough Pats defense, Foreman rushed 19 times for 109 yards but lost a fumble - a situation that may have been sorted out during their bye week. He's owned in about 35% of leagues and could be productive in a timeshare with Dontrell Hillard against the Jags in Week 14. He's one of the better RB options available in the majority of leagues.

Travis Homer, SEA – The pickings are slim at RB this week. With Alex Collins (abdominal) nursing an injury but technically a “healthy scratch” Sunday and the Seahawks picking up a win, I’d expect Homer and Adrian Peterson to shoulder most of the Week 14 workload. Homer (three carries for 80 yards and a TD and 4-10-0 receiving in Week 13) is almost universally available and should be added in 12-team leagues. I think the workload increases after his effectiveness and explosiveness in limited work against the Niners.

Kenneth Gainwell, PHI – Let’s start by saying that I’m not falling for it again and I probably won’t be adding Gainwell in any of my leagues. Now that’s out of the way, we can discuss that Gainwell carried the ball 12 times for 54 yards and a TD in and added five catches for 33 yards in the win over the Jets. He’s an RB3/4 or flex play and has PPR upside if he can stay on the field, and is owned in about 10-15% of leagues.

Samaje Perine, CIN – UPDATE: Joe Mixon has a neck injury and is listed as questionable for Week 14, though we don’t really know the extent of the problem or if he’ll miss a lot of practice time this week, so stay tuned. Perine would slot in as an RB2 if Mixon were unavailable against the Niners on Sunday.

Jeff Wilson/JaMycal Hasty, SF – UPDATE: Elijah Mitchell is in the concussion protocol, and with Wilson (15-20% owned) nursing a knee injury, we could see a lot of Hasty (0-1% owned) if things go south for either of the other SF backs. This will require daily monitoring, but right now it looks like we can’t count on Mitchell for Week 14, but Wilson should be able to practice and play at Cincinnati on Sunday.

Adrian Peterson, SEA – The Seahawks added Peterson to their practice squad on Wednesday and elevated the NFL legend to the active roster Saturday. It was believed that Peterson would serve as Seattle’s lead back, but Homer had the better fantasy day on fewer carries. Peterson finished with 16 yards and a TD on 11 carries, but his days of shaking off and breaking away from defenders are over. He’s a flex play moving forward given the current state of the Seattle offense.

Other RBs to consider: Mike Davis (50%), Rex Burkhead (30-35%), Tevin Coleman (40-45%), Jordan Howard (10-15%), Salvon Ahmed (2-3%), Rashaad Penny (1-2%)


Alexander Mattison, MIN – Mattison rushed 22 times for 90 yards and a TD while adding 3-34-0 in Sunday's 29-27 loss to the Lions. With Dalvin Cook likely to miss Thursday’s game against the Steelers, we can probably count on another RB1 upside start from Mattison.

Chuba Hubbard, CAR – We knew he was on a bye in Week 13, but he had to be discussed as a priority pickup. The matchup in Week 14 is a good one (ATL).

Sony Michel, LAR – Even though Darrell Henderson was active, it was only in an emergency capacity, and Michel toted the rock 24 times for the Rams in their dismantling of the Jaguars en route to 121 rushing yards, a TD and 3-9-0 on four targets Sunday. I’m flabbergasted that he’s rostered in only 35% of ESPN leagues considering the upside he had if Henderson was either ruled out or facing a limited role.

Matt Breida, BUF – UPDATE: Breida had just one 3-yard carry and one reception (for 5 yards), losing a fumble that helped turn the tide in favor of the Pats in this wild wind-fest. With Zack Moss active and the Breida fumble looming large, it’ll be tough to assess the committee moving forward – but Devin Singletary (70-75% owned) played the best on MNF. None would be a great play against the Bucs in Week 14.

Jamaal Williams, DET – With D’Andre Swift out, Williams took on lead back duties and rushed 17 times for 71 yards, added a 9-yard catch during Sunday’s 29-27 win over the Vikings. Unless Swift can suit up next week against Denver, Williams should get another hefty workload and get more targets and involvement in the receiving game in that matchup than against Minnesota.

Boston Scott, PHI – Rookie Kenneth Gainwell and lead back Miles Sanders carried the load for the Eagles, and you were warned of the coaching staff’s reputation for shenanigans last week. In Scott’s defense, he took ill late in the week and was active but didn’t have a touch on Sunday.

Wide Receivers / Tight Ends

Elijah Moore, NYJ – Moore kept it going with another solid day (8-77-1 on 12 targets, 9 rushing yards), and he should continue to get peppered with targets and opportunities of productive games in the fantasy stretch run. He’s now over 70% owned but could be available in some shallow leagues.

Josh Reynolds, DET – I included Reynolds in my WRs to consider and he caught four of seven targets for 69 yards during Sunday's 29-27 win over Minnesota.

Amon-Ra St. Brown, DET – St. Brown (5-10%) caught 10 of a whopping 12 targets for 86 yards and a TD during Sunday’s 29-27 win over Minnesota, and sems to be a popular checkdown target for Goff with Swift on the shelf. It may be a while until he gets to 12 targets again, but 6-8 per game moving forward could keep him fantasy relevant.

TE Tyler Conklin, MIN – Conklin is owned in a little over a third of fantasy leagues and seems to be ramping up his involvement in the Minnesota offense. He caught seven of nine targets for 56 yards in Sunday’s 29-27 loss to Detroit and faces the Steelers in Week 14 as a high-end TE2.

Jakeem Grant, CHI – Grant (nearly universally available) caught 5-62-1 in the Bears’ 33-22 loss to the Cardinals on Sunday and seems to have decent rapport with Andy Dalton, especially with limited receiving options and both Marquise Godwin and Allen Robinson on the shelf. As long as Robinson and Goodwin remain out, Grant makes for a decent depth option in the fantasy stretch run.

Laquon Treadwell, JAC – Treadwell (another WR available in just about every fantasy league) caught 4-53-0 on eight targets during Sunday's 21-14 loss to the Falcons and scored a two-point conversion. With the Jaguars hurting for receivers and Marvin Jones looking essentially worthless at this point, Treadwell could play a big role in the final few weeks and be a valuable WR4.

Deonte Harris, NO – We have to keep in mind he’s facing a three-game suspension for violation of the leagues’ substance abuse policy, but Harris (4% owned) is appealing the decision and is coming off his best fantasy performance of the season (4-96-1 on eight targets) against the Cowboys on Thursday night.

UPDATE: The NFL has upheld the suspension, so Harris won’t be eligible to return until Week 17. He can be ignored until then, and this improves the fantasy outlook for both Marquez Callaway and Tre’Quan Smith.

Other WRs/TEs to consider: DeVante Parker (55%), Tre’Quan Smith (10-15%), Marquez Valdes-Scantling (10%), K.J. Osborn (5%), Gabriel Davis (2-3%), Zay Jones (1-2%), Jalen Guyton (0-1%), TE Josiah Deguara (0-1%), Lil’Jordan Humphrey (0%)


T.Y. Hilton, IND – Hilton (20% owned) caught both his targets for 22 yards in Sunday’s win over the Texans, and the Colts are on a bye in Week 14. He’s safe to drop this week if you have more pressing concerns.

TE Logan Thomas, WAS – Thomas had 3-48-1 on five targets but likely tore his ACL and MCL during the victory over the Raiders. A sad end to a tough season for the talented WFT tight end.

UPDATE: We're still waiting from confirmation on Thomas' injury. Ricky Seals-Jones could be a serviceable replacement (he’s better than John Bates), but he was still on IR. Stay tuned.

Kendrick Bourne, NE – UPDATE: The high comedy of Monday night’s winds kept Bourne and just about every other Pats receiver from making any catches, but Bourne did have a 3-yard rush! He’ll resume WR3/4 status in Week 15 after the Week 14 bye.

DeSean Jackson, LV – Jackson failed to make a big impact this week and caught his only target for 14 yards in the 17-15 loss to Washington. Next week he could have a few more targets vs. the Chiefs.

Russell Gage, ATL – Gage lost a fumble but hauled in 11 of 12 targets for 130 yards in the Falcons’ 30-17 loss to the Buccaneers on Sunday. He seems to be settling into the No. 1 receiver role in Atlanta with Calvin Ridley still away from the team.

Van Jefferson, LAR – Jefferson caught six passes for 41 yards and one touchdown on eight targets against Jacksonville on Sunday. He now has scores in consecutive weeks and 31 targets over his last four games, and his ownership has gone beyond 60% in ESPN leagues, so the window to grab him is likely closed or closing.

TE Jack Doyle, IND – Doyle fought through a knee injury and was questionable heading into the weekend, but played and hauled in just one catch for 13 yards.

Nick Westbrook-Ikhine, TEN – The Titans were on a Week 13 bye, but we should keep NWI in mind for Week 14.