With Week 14 of the NFL season nearly in the books, it’s time for another waiver cycle in the world of fantasy football.
Some fantasy leagues have already begun their playoffs, while others are starting this week. In either case, this is a final opportunity for championship hopefuls to improve their fortunes for the final push – unless your roster is locked for the postseason, that is. In that case, you can only pore over your matchups and hope the team you assembled is good enough to hold up down the stretch.
The popular pickups this week should include some handcuff running backs and a couple of big, young talents who have only recently announced themselves. Below, read up on 10 names worth grabbing.
Mike Davis, RB
Team: Seattle Seahawks
Week 14 stats: 66 rushing yards, -1 receiving yards, 1 reception
One thing to know: Davis had to leave Sunday’s game with a rib injury, so this endorsement comes with the advice to check on his status throughout the week. With back-to-back 60-yard games, he’s been as good as any back Seattle has started this year, so he could receive a steady diet of carries down the stretch.
Rod Smith, RB
Team: Dallas Cowboys
Week 14 stats: 47 rushing yards, 113 receiving yards, 5 receptions, two touchdowns
One thing to know: Ezekiel Elliott will be eligible to return in Week 16, so Smith should retain value until the Cowboys backfield is restored to its early-season form. In PPR leagues, his superior receiving skills have made him a far more reliable option than Alfred Morris, who averaged a mere 3.26 yards per carry on Sunday.
Jonathan Stewart, RB
Team: Carolina Panthers
Week 14 stats: 103 rushing yards, 3 touchdowns
One thing to know: The Panthers have fielded a productive offence over their last four games, and Stewart has three passable fantasy performances to show for it. His flaws are obvious – perhaps most glaring is his absolute lack of utility as a pass catcher – but with favourable matchups against the Packers and Buccaneers on the horizon, he should be a solid streaming option through the end of the season.
Dede Westbrook, WR
Team: Jacksonville Jaguars
Week 14 stats: 81 receiving yard, 5 receptions, 1 touchdown
One thing to know: This Oklahoma product was a popular waiver pickup last week, but his name bears repeating. Westbrook made the most of his eight targets on Sunday, setting a career-high 81 receiving yards and recording the first touchdown catch of his career. With Houston and San Francisco on tap in the next two weeks, the Jaguars offence could spend a lot of time on the field.
Kendall Wright, WR
Team: Chicago Bears
Week 14 stats: 107 receiving yards, 10 receptions
One thing to know: Wright’s significant talents have yielded a number of quality performances over the course of his six-year career – the difficult part is guessing when they’re going to occur. Sunday’s game was a highlight, featuring season-best numbers across the board. With Mitch Trubisky’s numbers way up over the past two weeks, expect the Bears to let their rookie signal caller keep airing it out as they head down the stretch.
Trey Burton, TE
Team: Philadelphia Eagles
Week 14 stats: 71 receiving yards, 5 receptions, 2 touchdown
One thing to know: Zach Ertz may be cleared to return for Week 15, but Burton could have appeal as a tight end streamer no matter how the Eagles injury report looks. Sunday saw him haul in five out of six targets, and for the first time in four weeks, he proved to be a threat in the red zone. Nick Foles would do well to capitalise on that momentum as he prepares to make his first NFL start since last November.
Vernon Davis, TE
Team: Washington Redskins
Week 14 stats: 26 receiving yards, 2 receptions, 1 touchdown
One thing to know: Davis was dropped by a healthy number of fantasy owners heading into Sunday’s game, and he responded by scoring the Redskins’ only offensive touchdown of day, his first in more than 10 weeks. His 28.6% catch rate was concerning, but given the dearth of weapons at Kirk Cousins’ disposal, he should continue to see targets. Arizona should provide an encouraging matchup.
Jimmy Garoppolo, QB
Team: San Francisco 49ers
Week 14 stats: 334 passing yards, -3 rushing yards, 1 touchdown, 1 interception
One thing to know: Even if you favour a wait-and-see approach when it comes to unproven quarterbacks, Garoppolo has shown enough talent to warrant serious fantasy consideration for the foreseeable future. He threw for more yards in Week 14 than all but two other quarterbacks: Ben Roethlisberger and Matthew Stafford.
Josh Lambo, K
Team: Jacksonville Jaguars
Week 14 stats: 3/3 field goals, 3/3 PATs
One thing to know: A year after being jettisoned by the Chargers, Lambo has been a midseason revelation for Jacksonville, hitting all but one of his 17 field goal attempts. The Jaguars have scored at least 24 points in each of their last three games, so he should be capable of posting another strong fantasy performance in Week 15.
Week 14 stats: 20 points against, 1 sack, 3 interceptions
One thing to know: The Saints picked off Matt Ryan on three occasions last Thursday night, and they should be able to do something similar if Bryce Petty gets the start for the Jets in Week 15. Even with Josh McCown playing most of the game, Gang Green failed to score a single point against the Denver Broncos, creating a lack of momentum that should leave them as easy prey for New Orleans.
Now check out the players NFL teams are drooling over.
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