Bjorn Yang-Vaernet examines which players on the waiver wire are worth prioritizing for Week 14 and highlights others to stash preemptively.
As Scott Hanson says on NFL RedZone, it’s the “witching hour.” Fantasy playoffs are just around the corner — next week for leagues that utilize two-week playoff rounds and Week 15 for leagues that use one week. The season is on the line for managers in the playoffs, fighting for the playoffs, or even avoiding last place punishments. The waiver wire may play a bigger role than usual this year with six teams on bye in Week 14. Who can help win the week? The players I’m prioritizing are below.
The waiver wire is one of the most important pieces of season-long draft leagues. It is the easiest way to acquire new players and every year there are gems to be found. The goal of this article will not only be to highlight which weekly breakout players to prioritize but find others to preemptively pick up before the breakout happens.
This article will be published once on Mondays with a quick run through my favorite pickups and again on Tuesdays with more charts and data points added in.
This article will only reference players that are less than 50% owned in ESPN leagues. The players are categorized by position group and within each group is the order of how I would prioritize them. In lieu of free agent acquisition budget percentages, which are highly dependent on the makeup of each league, I have highlighted which players I would prioritize on the week.
Tyler Huntley (Available in 100% of Leagues)
Lamar Jackson injured his knee late in the first quarter and was ruled out shortly thereafter. Tyler Huntley stepped in and did his best Jackson impression — throwing the ball 32 times and chipping in 10 rushes, including the game-winning TD. Luckily for fantasy players, Huntley has starting experience in this same scheme, which makes it easier to see what the potential range of outcomes is if Jackson misses an extended period of time.
Last year, Huntley started four games for an injured Jackson. In two of those games, Huntley put up more than 20 fantasy points and was a top-12 QB on the week. However, he also produced two games of less than 15 points. Regardless of the matchup, Huntley will be a streamable QB because of his rushing ability. However, the true ceiling games will likely come from good matchups. Unfortunately, the strength of schedule streaming app has Baltimore with one of the hardest QB schedules for the rest of the season. Huntley is a fine QB to pickup-and-play but temper expectations on his ceiling.
Update: Jackson is expected to have more tests in the coming days to determine the severity of the knee injury. However, he seems more than likely to miss at least a week or two if there is no good news out by now. Huntley is a viable starter for managers streaming QBs.
James Cook (Available in 75% of Leagues)
James Cook finally took away snaps and touches from Devin Singletary in Week 13. In Thursday’s game, Cook played on 43% of snaps (Singletary was only on the field for one more snap) and accounted for 54% of the RB opportunities. Cook turned his 20 opportunities into more than 100 yards, displaying the type of dual-threat skillset that the Bills were looking for all offseason. Cook needs to be picked up in all leagues as he could be utilized further in the high-octane Bills offense. He has league-winning upside if he can earn more work from Singletary. Take a look at Singletary’s game log from the end of last season as evidence of what a lead RB can produce in this offense.