Happy days, oh happy days! The Fantasy Football Playoffs have arrived! Forget planning ahead, it is all about winning this week. Each week you have to put your best squad on the table and position your team to beat the opponent in front of it. Make sure you scoop those backup running backs, leave yourself late-game flex options, and watch those streaming defenses. How you use your free agent acquisition budget (FAAB) over the next few weeks matters and can be the difference between a championship and being a footnote. The Week 14 FAAB guide is here and full of values at all levels of FAAB.
FAAB Week 14 Waiver Wire Guide
League Winners (40%+)
Just like last week, Cam Akers dominated the Rams running back touches. Sure, folks will say, “but what about Darrell Henderson?” What about him? He was on the field for less than 20% of the Rams’ snaps. Compare that to Akers’ 63% of snaps and how Henderson picked up over 77% of his yards on only two touches and it looks like this is Akers’ job. Additionally, Akers had nine of his 21 carries come from inside the 20-yard line. If he continues to be the go-to guy in the red zone he will be a huge fantasy stud. Sure Henderson will bring some nice change of pace and home run hitter ability, but Akers will be the guy. Go all-in on Akers if he is still available in your league. Drop all your Week 14 FAAB on him. There is no point holding onto it any longer.
Mid-Tier Targets (25-40%)
The Houston Texans are coming off of their third straight week of throwing for 300+ yards through the air. Even with the suspension of Will Fuller and the injury to Randall Cobb, their passing attack has not missed a beat. Keke Coutee was a large part of their 308-yard explosion on Sunday against the Colts. Coutee was targeted nine times, caught eight, and went for 141 yards. The opportunity for the 23-year-old Coutee to finally breakout has arrived. Without Fuller and Cobb, the Texans are sitting on a vacant 12.3 targets per game. Coutee appears to be getting the majority of those looks and the former fourth-round pick is stepping into the role comfortably. If you have FAAB left, stop hoarding it and make a move. Coutee looks like a WR2 for the rest of the season so put down 30% of your FAAB this week.
Sure, a seemingly mediocre performance on Sunday Night may not seem like the kind of thing to spark a big FAAB bid. However, Jalen Hurts is not just a run of the mill late-season quarterback sitting on the waiver wire. Hurts was a remarkably talented college quarterback who can make plays with his arm or with his legs. In fantasy football, the ability of a quarterback to run is a huge advantage. Assuming we do not hear that Wentz has been named the starter, look for Philly to roll Hurts out the rest of the season. He will make plays with his arm and legs, as well as bringing energy to the whole Eagles’ offense. This may seem like an overbid, but 26% of your FAAB will guarantee you get the dynamic Hurts on your roster.
Steady Contributors (15-25%)
Perhaps next season this section will be renamed the “Tim Patrick Tier.” Patrick has been a regular feature of the waiver wire columns all season. He has quietly led the Broncos in receiving yards and touchdowns this season with 607 and five respectively. Despite consistently putting up numbers all season, outside of the Kendall Hinton game last week, Patrick remains largely ignored by the fantasy community. Patrick brings size and catch-radius to the Broncos offense and has been dependable for whoever is under center in Denver. Patrick is a WR3 or Flex option each week and is worth up to 17% of your FAAB.
With the end of the season arriving, injuries have decimated teams in real life and on the fake gridiron as well. With a lack of running backs, players like Cordarrelle Patterson start to have a unique value. He presently has eligibility as a wide receiver and running back on ESPN and is consistently involved in the Bears pedestrian offense. Sure, Chicago is mediocre offensively, but with an ever-shrinking number of backs available Patterson may just save your season. It looks like the Bears are going to get him more involved down the stretch. If you are desperate Patterson is worth about 15% of your Week 14 FAAB.
Ty Johnson may be a steal for Week 14 and possibly beyond. As we are often told, concussions are non-linear for recovery and Frank Gore may miss time. Johnson also may have earned himself more work in the weeks ahead as well with a hyper-productive performance. If Gore remains out this week, Johnson will merit up to 20% of your FAAB.
Reliable Bargains (8-15%)
It may have been a down week for Jets’ rookie Denzell Mims, but he will bounce back. Mims has been a target monster all season and with upcoming games against the Seahawks and Rams, look for him to continue getting looks. The Jets defense will not improve much after firing Gregg Williams and they should be behind in most games. Look for Mims to produce Flex value in garbage time. If you need another flex option for the rotation, drop 9% of your Week 14 FAAB.
Laviska Shenault started to look like the offensive weapon everyone was hyping him to be in the preseason in Week 13. The versatile Shenault only had two carries and three catches, but he was hyper-efficient turning those five touches into 68 yards and a touchdown. Sure the touchdown catch was incredibly fluky, but he made the play. Additionally, he got the start and has an easy week next week against the Titans. If the Jags keep looking to get him involved down the stretch he will be a steal at 10% of your FAAB this week.
Shenault’s teammate Collin Johnson seems to be the biggest beneficiary of the Jags going to journeyman Mike Glennon. The rookie out of Texas is proving he may be part of the Jags’ future plans at the receiver position. Johnson has been targeted 14 times over the past two games, catching eight of those for 162 yards and a touchdown. He has earned an increased snap count the past two weeks and figures to remain in the cards. Johnson is worth up to 8% of your FAAB this week.
Speculative Fliers (<10%)
Henry Ruggs III showcased the big-play ability he was brought to Vegas to provide. In the gambling capital of the world, Ruggs embodies the gambler spirit and is the ultimate boom-bust play. He will not see regular targets, but he will take the top off of any defense he faces. If you are looking for the kind of player who can go off for a big week, Ruggs is your guy. He will be available for only a little capital, most likely 5% of your FAAB.
Unlike Ruggs, Allen Lazard has consistently been involved in the Packers’ offense when he has been healthy. Lazard has been a big part of the prolific Green Bay offense and if he can stay healthy he will be a WR3 over the rest of the season. Put in up to 7% of your Week 14 FAAB on Aaron Rodgers’ #2 receiver.
The Cleveland Browns looked more explosive Sunday than anyone thought they could be without OBJ. Rashard Higgins has taken over as the number two option in Cleveland behind Jarvis Landry. Higgins actually out-snapped Landry Sunday and was second on the team in targets. This may seem like a flash in the pan for Higgins, but he has a semi-favorable schedule coming up and should see some deep targets. Higgins brings some boom-bust potential to your Flex slot for only 5% of your Week 14 FAAB.
Jalen Reagor – 7% of FAAB
No Bid/Free Agency Targets
Tight end continues to be a wasteland and Logan Thomas continues to be involved in Washington. He is presently third on the Football Team in targets and if Alex Smith can get back to the 300-yard grind he was on, Thomas should be a valuable tight end for the playoff push.
Jeremy McNichols looks like he may have secured the handcuff role behind Derrick Henry. Henry looked mortal on Sunday, but it is most likely just an anomaly. If Henry is on your team you have to have McNichols on your roster. Go get him now.
Lynn Bowden has had a tumultuous tenure in the NFL so far. He was drafted by the Raiders and traded after not playing a snap for them. Now a member of the Miami Dolphins, he brings the flexibility of Patterson at even less cost. He is an interesting stash in deep, keeper, or dynasty leagues.
The Lions made it clear they are in talent-evaluation mode after releasing veteran Marvin Hall. That opens the door for rookie Quintez Cephus to prove he can be a part of Detroit’s long-term plans at receiver. He responded to the trust with 63 yards and a touchdown Sunday. He is just a long-shot dart-throw flex option right now but has keeper or dynasty value.
If you need a quarterback who will not sink your team, Philip Rivers is your guy once again. Rivers has been consistently producing in Indy and looks like he is finally hitting his stride in Frank Reich’s offense. He is available in more than three-quarters of leagues.
Lastly, the Cardinals DST has the potential for a big week as they take on the rookie Jalen Hurts. Sure, you can be in on Hurts as a quarterback. However, there is a real possibility that Arizona gets home for several sacks and can pressure the rookie into some interceptable passes. They are a nice streaming option after the Week 14 FAAB runs.