Things are getting very serious all of the sudden. Tyreek Hill looks like he is honing in on breaking Calvin Johnson’s single-season receiving yards record. The Philadelphia Eagles just took a shellacking off the pretenders to the throne in the NFC, the San Francisco 49ers. Jordan Love has the Green Bay Packers on track for the playoffs, beating the Kansas City Chiefs on Sunday Night Football. Dak Prescott is one of the front-runners for MVP, and we are just one week away from the fantasy football playoffs. We’ve learned so much this season, and yet we know so little of what’s to come.
There was some significant injury news from Week 13, which muddies the water even more from a fantasy football perspective.
The Houston Texans’ breakout rookie Tank Dell broke his fibula and will miss a significant amount of time. As will Kenny Pickett, who left the Pittsburgh Steelers’ loss to the Arizona Cardinals with an ankle injury, which will require surgery. Derek Carr and Derrick Henry both suffered concussions on Sunday. Christian Watson hurt his hamstring and so did Brian Robinson Jr. We are at the point of the season where even a minor injury could upend a fantasy roster. But one fantasy manager’s loss can be another’s gain – that’s the harsh beauty of the wire.
NFL Fantasy Football Waiver Wire Advice
Waiver Wire Pickups Week 14
Tyjae Spears, Tennessee Titans
- Rostered: 35% on Yahoo
- Week 13 PPR fantasy points: 12.8 (RB14)
- Upcoming schedule: @ Dolphins, vs. Texans, vs. Seahawks
Derrick Henry left Sunday’s game versus the Indianapolis Colts with a concussion, and we finally got to see what Spears would look like as the lead back. He finished the game with 16 rushes for 75 yards and four catches for 13, which is enough for a high-end RB2 finish.
Henry’s injury status for Week 14 is unclear, but Spears has been building up to a big performance for a number of weeks. They play the Miami Dolphins in what is the final game of the regular season for many fantasy football leagues and then the Texans and the Seahawks. The Dolphins matchup is the hardest of those games in terms of fantasy points allowed (16.1, 23rd in the league) but it gets progressively easier. The Texans give up 18.3 fantasy points to running backs and the Seahawks give up 22.8, which is the fifth-worst mark in the league. It’s just that with a head injury, the Miami game is the one Henry would be most likely to miss. But who knows, maybe Spears impresses there and gets more late-season work as a result.
Whether King Henry is good to go or not, Spears should be rostered and will play a role regardless.
Roschon Johnson, Chicago Bears
- Rostered: 21% on Yahoo
- Week 12 PPR fantasy points: 12.5 (RB21)
- Upcoming schedule: vs. Lions, @ Browns, vs. Cardinals
The Chicago Bears are fresh off their bye week. Roschon Johnson finished Week 12 as RB21 versus the Minnesota Vikings. That was his highest finish since Week 1 when he was helped by a rushing touchdown despite gaining just 20 yards on five carries. In Week 12 against the Vikings, he ended the game with 10 rushes for 35 yards, which isn’t very impressive. He hauled in five catches for 40 yards, which is where Johnson is going to contribute. We saw last week how the Detroit Lions like to get ahead early. They took a 21-0 lead against the New Orleans Saints and were lucky to win the game.
Alvin Kamara finished Sunday’s game with six catches for 58 yards, which is enough to merit consideration even without his rushing exploits (14 carries, 59 yards and two scores). Roschon Johnson is not Alvin Kamara, but the Lions also gave up 15.4 PPR fantasy points to Taysom Hill — 13 rushes for 59 yards and a score. There is success to be had for Johnson and the Bears’ backfield if they use him like they did in Week 12.
Ezekiel Elliott, New England Patriots
- Rostered: 40% on Yahoo
- Week 13 PPR fantasy points: 13.2 (RB13)
- Upcoming schedule: @ Steelers, vs. Chiefs, @ Broncos
Rhamondre Stevenson left Sunday’s game against the Los Angeles Chargers after hurting his lower leg on a controversial hip-drop tackle. Zeke Elliott took over and finished as RB13 with Monday Night Football still to be played. Zeke finished with 92 total yards on 21 touches with 40 of those yards coming through the air (four targets, four receptions).
Elliott has been one of the better handcuff backs all season, at least in terms of volume. He has managed to average 11 touches per game even when Stevenson was healthy. You can possibly double that if Stevenson misses time. This potential pickup comes with a buyer-beware warning. The Patriots’ offense is historically bad and they lost to the Chargers on Sunday while failing to register a single point.
Elijah Moore, Cleveland Browns
- Rostered: 43% on Yahoo
- Week 13 PPR fantasy points: 12.3 (WR28)
- Upcoming schedule: vs. Jaguars, vs. Bears, @ Texans
Joe Flacco returned at 38 years young to throw the ball 44 times against the Los Angeles Rams on Sunday. The 7-5 Browns have lost two in a row and have cycled through two quarterbacks since Deshaun Watson went down for the season with a shoulder injury. They play the Jacksonville Jaguars and the Chicago Bears in the coming weeks with their playoff hopes on the line.
Elijah Moore finished with four catches for 83 yards on Sunday night. Amari Cooper left the game with a concussion and has been banged up in general. If he can’t return for the Jaguars game next week, it makes Moore one of the priority waiver wire pickups going into Week 14. But his success is more of a matter of getting on the same page with a QB than it is about volume. He has seen 21 targets over the last two weeks despite only catching seven of them. Dorian Thompson-Robinson had a 79.4% weell-thrown %, one of the worst marks in the league. Flacco’s was worse (78.95) on Sunday, but now that the cobwebs are off and with Cooper potentially sidelined, Moore might finally have the big game his underlying stats have been threatening.
Noah Brown, Houston Texans
- Rostered: 40% on Yahoo
- Week 13 PPR fantasy points: 0.0 (-)
- Upcoming schedule: @ Jets, @ Titans, vs. Browns
The Texans are very much in the playoff race after beating Russell Wilson and the Denver Broncos on Sunday night. Brown is coming back from a two-week absence with a knee injury. He was very quiet on his return with no catches on two targets. But he finished inside the top 10 in PPR fantasy points for two weeks back when Nico Collins was hurt.
Dell is out indefinitely. Dalton Schultz is banged up too. The Texans are targeting wide receivers on 67.6% of their attempted throws, which is sixth in the league. Dell was seeing 7.5 targets per game, and Brown could see a large share of them. While Brown went through his best spell of the season with Collins and then Dell hurt from Week 8 until Week 10, only CeeDee Lamb (569) and Garrett Wilson (426) had more burn yards than the Texans wide receiver (421).
Jonathan Mingo, Carolina Panthers
- Rostered: 6% on Yahoo
- Week 13 PPR fantasy points: 12.9 (WR25)
- Upcoming schedule: @ Saints, vs. Falcons, vs. Packers
Things will eventually click for Mingo. If it happens in 2023, he could end up winning you an entire week. He had 10 targets, six receptions and 69 yards on Sunday. They are all season highs for the rookie. The main thing holding Mingo back was Adam Thielen’s presence in the offense. Thielen is still running routes, but Mingo is starting to take over. Mingo ran 31 on Sunday and was targeted on 32.3% of them.
Laviska Shenault, Terrence Marshall Jr. and Hayden Hurst are all injured, and Mingo’s role is increasing. He is only rostered in 6% of Yahoo leagues, and that number is so low because he hasn’t had a breakout game. But it’s coming.
Curtis Samuel, Washington Commanders
- Rostered: 38% on Yahoo
- Week 13 PPR fantasy points: 10.5 (WR31)
- Upcoming schedule: Bye week, @ Rams, @ Jets
The Commanders found themselves in a 17-0 hole in the first quarter against the Dolphins, and that put them into a severely pass-heavy game script. Not that Sam Howell ever needs a reason to air it out, but Brian Robinson Jr. injured himself too, leaving the game with a hamstring injury.
Terry McLaurin finished with zero catches and Howell only finished with 12 completions in total. Four of those went to Curtis Samuel. That comes on the back of a nine-catch 100-yard performance against the Dallas Cowboys in Week 12. They do have a bye week next week and there are more talented wide receivers on the roster, but Samuel has proven he will be targeted when he’s on the field.
Isaiah Likely, Baltimore Ravens
- Rostered: 35% on Yahoo
- Week 12 PPR fantasy points: 8.0 (TE19)
- Upcoming schedule: vs. Rams, @ Jaguars, @ 49ers
Likely is still only rostered in 35% of Yahoo leagues. He’s replacing Mark Andrews, one of the most productive tight ends in all of football. All three of the Ravens’ top wide receivers – Rashod Bateman, Odell Beckham Jr. and Zay Flowers – appeared on the injury report for Week 12. They did have their bye week in Week 13, but this offense is one injury away from seeing Likely propelled into a must-start tight end role. He’s not there already if you were one of the unlucky Week 13 fantasy managers who bit on Juwan Johnson.
After Andrews’ injury, we thought Likely could explode in Week 12, but he only saw six targets, catching four for 40 yards. The six targets was a season high, and he should continue to build on that. It’s hard to find tight end help this late in the season. Pat Freiermuth appeared on the waiver wire, but he’s now rostered in over 80% of leagues. It’s – well – likely that Likely is a free agent in your league. Pick him up for the ceiling on his volume on a Ravens offense that has been one of the best in the league.
Tucker Kraft, Green Bay Packers
- Rostered: 6% on Yahoo
- Week 13 PPR fantasy points: 20.2 (TE18)
- Upcoming schedule: @ Giants, vs. Buccaneers, @ Panthers
We should have know all along that Kraft and the cheeseheads would make a perfect fit.
Packers fans must feel truly blessed to have landed first on Brett Favre and then Aaron Rodgers. It now looks like Jordan Love is an heir worthy of the throne. The stats below speak for themselves, even if the early-season advanced data was against him.
The good news for those searching the waiver wire for value is that the Packers like to spread the ball around with Jayden Reed, Romeo Doubs and Christian Watson getting most of Love’s attention. Watson left Sunday night’s win over the Chiefs with a hamstring injury and could miss time. Luke Musgrave is on injured reserved, which means there is no real alternative at tight end, and Kraft is slowing carving out a role for himself. Matt LaFleur has the Packers offense humming, and Kraft was targeted six times against a tricky Chiefs defense. The Giants in Week 14 should be a much more straight-forward affair for the Packers and Kraft.