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Working the Wire: Week 14

By Josh Tinelli | 12/5/23 |

Each week I’ll provide you with a rundown by position of key waiver wire adds. We’ll evaluate not just breakouts based on past performance, but also who could deliver this week based on a soft matchup. Stats will be provided based on a 12-team PPR league, with players less than 75% (preferably less than 50%) ownership being considered.

Week 14 Byes: Arizona, Washington


Jameis Winston, NO vs CAR

Winston came in late after Carr went down with a concussion, among other injuries. This is Carr’s second concussion in three weeks, so it might be the Jameis Winston show from here on out. Winston has shown the ability to sling it, albeit with considerable turnovers. Outside of 2-QB leagues, he’s not worth a start against a tough Carolina secondary, but if you have Carr as your backup, Winston is worth picking up as a replacement.

Baker Mayfield, TB @ ATL

Mayfield had a quiet outing in Week 13 against a tough Carolina secondary, going 202-1-1 through the air. Up next is a much more forgiving matchup against the Falcons, where he went 275-1-1 earlier this year.

UPDATE: Jake Browning, CIN @ IND

Surprisingly, Browning stepped up in a game against the division-leading Jaguars on Monday Night Football and went 354-1-0 while rushing for 2-22-1. He has an 81% completion percentage and 9.2 Y/A in his two starts in relief of Joe Burrow. He’s not top10 material but could serve those in 2-QB leagues. Up next are two middle-of-the-pack matchups against the Colts and Vikings.

Other QBs to consider: Gardner Minshew IND (@ CIN), Will Levis TEN (@ MIA)

Last week’s waiver adds:

Derek Carr, NO vs DET: Carr had a stat line of 226-1-1 before being carted off with a concussion, as well as back and shoulder injuries. With this being his second concussion in the last three weeks, it’s unlikely he suits up again for the rest of the regular season.

Russell Wilson, DEN @ HOU: Wilson again saved his fantasy day with his legs, going 10-44-1 on the ground despite throwing 3 interceptions (his first since Week 6. Wilson gets a very forgiving Chargers defense this week; he should be able to bounce back in a big way against the 3rd-worst defense against QBs.

Running Backs

Ezekiel Elliott

Ezekiel Elliott, NE @ PIT

Elliott took over as the lead back after Rhamondre Stevenson (ankle) left in the first half against the Chargers. Elliott ended up with a respectable 17-52-0 rushing line and 5-4-40-0 receiving despite atrocious quarterback play from Bailey Zappe. Elliott will look to get the call again as Stevenson will most likely not recover on a short week against the Steelers.

Tyjae Spears, TEN @ MIA

Derrick Henry left their Week 13 game with a concussion(?), and Spears promptly carried 16 times for 75 yards and delivered his typical 6-4-13-0 through the air. Tennessee doesn’t play until Monday Night Football, and it sounds like Henry is not in the concussion protocol, but Spears could be a solid flex play against an explosive Dolphins team that will force Tennessee to come from behind.

Roschon Johnson, CHI vs DET

Johnson was on bye this week, but when we last saw him in Week 12, he was taking control of the Bears backfield, going 10-35-0 on the ground to pair with 5-5-40-0 through the air in a win against the Vikings. He gets another division matchup against the Lions, and it will be interesting to see who dominates touches (Johnson or Khalil Herbert) from here on out.

Keaton Mitchell, BAL vs LAR

Mitchell is another back who was on bye this week, but has seen his touch and snap counts continue to grow. Getting the start Week 12, the explosive Mitchell went 9-64-0 on the ground and 2-2-25-0 receiving. Up next should be a slugfest against the surging Rams as the Ravens look to hold on to first place in the AFC.

Other RBs to consider: Ty Chandler MIN (@ LV)

Last week’s waiver adds:

Chuba Hubbard, CAR @ TB: Hubbard followed up last week’s season-best performance with an even better one, going 25-104-2 on the ground against a tough Buccaneers rush defense. Up next, he gets another tough defense against the Saints, but Hubbard has proven himself effective strictly based on volume alone.

Antonio Gibson, WAS vs MIA: Gibson had a solid day against the Dolphins, although this was partly due to increased carries after Brian Robinson Jr. left with a hamstring injury. Gibson managed 10-35-0 rushing to go with his trademark 5-4-37-0 receiving. The Commanders are on bye this week, but if Robinson misses additional games, Gibson would be worth holding on to.

Wide Receivers / Tight Ends

Jaxon Smith-Njigba, SEA @ SF

JSN had his best day of his career, going 11-7-62-0 in a shootout with the Cowboys on Thursday Night. Smith-Njigba actually led the Seahawks in targets in this one, we’ll see if it portends bigger things down the road. Up next is a game against the 49ers and their bottom-10 defense against WRs, where the Seahawks will be most likely be forced to throw as they come from behind.

Elijah Moore, NYJ vs JAX

Moore went 12-4-83-0 against the Rams, dominating targets from Joe Flacco after Amari Cooper left with a concussion. If Cooper is out Week 14, Moore gets a great matchup against a Jaguars defense that has given up the 4th-most TDs to WRs.

Noah Brown, HOU @ NYJ

Brown didn’t record a catch on 2 targets against the Broncos in his first game back from a two-week absence. With Tank Dell breaking his leg, however, Brown was 2nd on the team in wide receiver snaps (behind Nico Collins) and looks to be the WR2 going forward. In his two games prior to injury, Brown smashed with a 14-13-325-1 line so he should have some appeal. He gets two tough matchups (Jets in Week 14 and Browns Week 16) and two cupcakes against the Titans to close out the fantasy season.

Romeo Doubs and Jayden Reed, GB @ NYG

Doubs went 5-4-72-0 and Reed went 5-4-16-0 in a win over the Chiefs on Sunday Night Football. The Packers (and Jordan Love especially) have started to heat up, winning four of their last five games. With Christian Watson appearing to pull his hamstring on the last play of the game, Reed and Doubs should see increase targets against the Giants’ 4th-worst WR defense.

Jerry Jeudy, DEN @ LAC

Jeudy grabbed 3 of 4 targets for 51 scoreless yards against the Texans on a day Russell Wilson only threw 26 times. Up next is a juicy matchup against the Chargers, who are 3rd-worst against WRs. In fact, all of the remaining Denver opponents are bottom-10 against WRs, so Jeudy could be a solid waiver addition if he’s been dropped.

UPDATE: Zay Jones, JAX @ CLE

Jones posted an 8-5-78-0 line after Christian Kirk exited Monday Night Football with a groin injury. This could be a multi-week issue so Kirk’s targets look to be up for grabs for the stretch run. In deeper leagues, Parker Washington could also be an option. Washington saw his first action of the 2023 season and promptly delivered a 6-6-61-1 showing. It’s difficult to predict the target distribution going forward, but both figure to see a bump over their game averages to date. Up next are tough matchups against the Browns and Ravens before a cupcake game against the Buccaneers.

TE Isaiah Likely, BAL vs LAR

With Mark Andrews done for the year, Likely steps into Lamar Jackson’s most-targeted position. He went 6-4-40-0 in Week 12, but with the Ravens on bye this week Likely should be able to get more reps to get comfortable as the TE1. Week 14 is a great matchup against the Rams, who have allowed the 6th-most yards and tied for 3rd-most TDs to TEs.

TE Gerald Everett, LAC vs DEN

Everett has had two solid outings back-to-back, going 5-4-44-0 against a stingy Patriots defense after going 4-4-43-1 versus a tough Ravens team. Up next, he gets the Broncos and their league-worst defense against TEs.

TE Darren Waller, NYG vs GB

Waller has been on IR for the past four games but is now eligible to return. Pick him up if he’s been dropped as he’s got great matchups Week 16 & 17 (fantasy playoffs) against the Eagles and Rams, both defenses among the bottom-10 against TEs.

Other WRs/TEs to consider: Tyler Conklin NYJ (vs HOU), Cade Otton TB (@ ATL)

Last week’s waiver adds:

Brandin Cooks, DAL vs WAS: Cooks scored again in a shootout with the Seahawks, going 4-4-45-1 receiving on another short week. Cooks has now scored a TD in five of the Cowboys last seven games. He looks primed to do it again against the league-worst Eagles defense (against WRs), despite going 2-1-7-0 in their earlier matchup.

Josh Downs, IND vs TB: Downs had a quiet day against the vulnerable Buccaneers, going 5-3-14-0 through the air. Michael Pittman Jr. saw a whopping 16 targets and Alec Pierce ended up scoring a TD on several long receptions in the overtime win against the division rival Titans.

Demario Douglas, NE vs LAC: Douglas didn’t play Week 13 as he was out on the concussion protocol, hopefully he can return in a short week against the Steelers.

Greg Dortch, ARI @ PIT: Dortch led all Cardinals wide receivers in targets against the Steelers, but that didn’t mean much when he caught 1 of 3 for 19 yards. Arizona ended up going conservative in rainy conditions, handing the ball to James Conner and dumping it to TE Trey McBride.

Josh Palmer, LAC @ NE: Palmer still hasn’t been activated from IR, despite his mandatory 4-week absence now being over. Keep a watchful eye on practice reports, as the Chargers offense is struggling for playmakers (outside of Keenan Allen) right now and Palmer should see a healthy target share when he come back.

Pat Freiermuth, PIT vs ARI: Freiermuth tied for the team lead in targets, delivering 5-3-29-0 against a tough Cardinals defense against TEs. Up next, he gets another tough matchup against the Patriots on a short week, most likely with Mitchell Trubisky at the helm due to Kenny Pickett’s injury.

Defense/ Special Teams

Saints vs CAR

New Orleans nearly pulled off the upset against the Lions, and now they have a chance to get right against the down-bad Panthers. Carolina comes into the game allowing the 4th-most sacks, scoring the 4th-fewest points, and is tied for 2nd in defensive TDs allowed.

Colts @ CIN

The Colts have strung together four solid defensive games in a row, and now they’ll get the Jake Browning-led Bengals. We’ll see what he does on Monday Night Football tonight, but his past two games he has struggled to move the football while averaging 4.5 sacks.

Packers @ NYG

Green Bay has been heating up, as they’ve won four of five games, and after beating the Chiefs in Week 13, they now sit in position to get the last playoff spot in the NFC. In Week 14 they face the Giants, who have allowed the 2nd-most points to defenses in the league (most sacks allowed, 2nd-fewest points scored). The Packers are a great D/ST pickup for the stretch run as they face the Giants, Buccaneers, Panthers, and Vikings to close out the season.

Last week’s waiver adds:

Buccaneers vs CAR: Tampa Bay got the win against the NFL’s worst team, getting 4 sacks and an interception in the process. Up next is the Falcons, who they struggled against in a Week 7 loss.

UPDATE: Jaguars vs CIN: Jacksonville struggled to contain QB Jake Browning, as they gave up 34 points in a loss to the Bengals, only managing 2 sacks and an interception. They’ll face a newly hopeful Browns team with Joe Flacco at the controls in Week 14.

Falcons @ NYJ: Atlanta’s defense grabbed 3 turnovers and 4 sacks against the hapless Jets and 3rd-stringer Tim Boyle, holding the Jets to 8 points. Up next is a division rivalry game to stay atop the NFC South versus the Buccaneers.