There is not a slam dunk waiver wire pickup this week. The most important way you can use your waiver claims this week might be gearing up for the fantasy playoffs. This is the final week of byes, meaning you no longer need bye-week replacements moving forward. If you have no players on bye or have replacements for the ones who are, you can cut those fringy players who you do not usually start but hold for depth. Right now, having your running back handcuffs is more valuable than that fifth wide receiver. Think about it like this, most weeks when there is a waiver wire target in high demand it is usually a running back on a team that lost that starter. In this stage of the season, you have your full starting lineup available to you each week, so you need less depth on your bench. Meaning you can use bench spots to grab your running backs handcuffs. Below is a list of backups running backs worth rostering if you have the starter. You can also use bench spots to stash a defense that has favorable matchups in the fantasy playoffs, such as the 49ers, Dolphins, Titans and Jaguars. Also, if anyone drops the Bucs because they play the Bills next week, scoop them up. The Chiefs have also been playing much better but remain widely available due to early season struggles.
Running back handcuffs to roster: Darrel Williams, Khalil Herbert, Sony Michel, Devontae Booker, Marlon Mack, Benny Snell, Jeff Wilson, Samaje Perine, Jamaal Williams, D’Ernest Johnson, Latavius Murray, Salvon Ahmed, Ronald Jones, Peyton Barber (Kenyan Drake injured), Carlos Hyde.
Teams on bye in Week 14: Colts, Dolphins, Eagles, Patriots.
Check if available: Devonta Freeman, Sony Michel.
You can drop: Courtland Sutton, A.J. Green, Rashod Bateman, Chase Claypool, Tim Patrick, Kenny Golladay, Tyrod Taylor, DeSean Jackson, Corey Davis, Alex Collins, Kadarius Toney, Sterling Shepard, Marvin Jones, Laviska Shenault Jr., Noah Fant, Calvin Ridley, Antonio Brown.
Do not drop: Patrick Mahomes, Tyreek Hill, Saquon Barkley, Ezekiel Elliott, DK Metcalf, Mark Ingram, Marquise Brown, Odell Beckham.
Taysom Hill wasn't very pretty on Thursday night against the Cowboys, but it was productive as he topped 20 fantasy points despite throwing four interceptions. He did so because he rushed for 101 yards. He won't run for that many weekly, but he also won't throw four interceptions. He is good for at least 40 rushing yards each week and always a threat for a rushing touchdown. He hurt his finger, but reports indicate he plans to play through it. As long as he is starting, he is worth rostering in fantasy, especially next week with the Jets on tap.
Trevor Lawrence has not played well at all as of late, but because of that he is widely available on the waiver wire. He should be left there in anywhere but deep leagues or two QB formats, but he does have a favorable schedule coming up. He faces the Titans, Texans, and Jets over the next three weeks.
Davis Mills came in for Tyrod Taylor after he injured his wrist. Mills threw for 49 yards in relief, which was more than Taylor had. Mills had a very low floor but twice topped 20 fantasy points when he was a starter and said after this game that he feels more comfortable in the Texans offense. Head coach David Culley said even if Taylor is healthy enough to play, he would not name a Week 14 starter yet. There is a chance they turn back to the rookie to see what they have in Mills and if so, he becomes worth rostering in two QB formats.
Jake Fromm could potentially start for the Giants next week as Daniel Jones is dealing with a neck injury and Mike Glennon suffered a concussion. This is not a strong play, but if you are desperate for a QB in a two-QB format, Fromm is your guy.
Gardner Minshew played well in his first start with the Eagles, throwing for 242 yards with two touchdowns, while adding in 11 rushing yards. Eagles coach Nick Sirianni said after the game that Jalen Hurts was still the starting QB and that he expects him to be back after the bye, but did not want to put a firm timeline. For those in two QB formats you can take a flier on Minshew just in case Hurts needs more time after the bye.
Do not forget about the running backs who were highly recommended in last week's waiver wire column but were on bye. That includes both the Titans starters Dontrell Hilliard and D’Onta Foreman along with Panthers back Ameer Abdullah. All three are rostered in under 50 percent of NFL.com leagues, meaning they were overlooked on the waiver wire last week due to them being on bye. Also, check if Chuba Hubbard is available, as he is rostered in just over half of leagues. Especially check on the Panthers as Joe Brady was just fired as Panthers OC. Here is what I wrote last week about these two backfields:
Titans: Hilliard is another back worth targeting off the waiver wire this week. He played exactly half the snaps in Week 12 and saw 12 carries for 131 yards and a touchdown, adding in two targets in the passing game. His big play was a 68-yard touchdown run, showing he has some burst. Hilliard finished with 18.3 fantasy points, this a week after he scored 16 in a game, he finished with 10 targets. Foreman played 50 percent of the snaps and rushed for 19 times for 109 yards. He caught his lone target for three yards. Those numbers are a little deceiving though, as he saw eight carries and 37 of those yards in the fourth quarter after the Titans were already down big. Still, that volume should not be ignored either. Additionally, Foreman saw two touches inside the 5-yard line, compared to Hilliard's one. With Adrian Peterson now gone, this looks like a two-headed backfield. Foreman is the safer floor play, as he will see early down usage more often, but Hilliard brings the higher ceiling as he can be used in the passing game and has shown some more explosiveness. The only concern for Hilliard is what role will Jeremy McNichols play when he returns.
Panthers: Hubbard and Abdullah are both must pickups off the waiver wire after Christian McCaffrey was placed on season-ending IR. Hubbard averaged over 20 touches per game and 12.94 fantasy PPG in Weeks 4 through 8 when McCaffrey was sidelined earlier this season. While that is not CMC-type numbers, it is enough to make him a weekly start, meaning he must be prioritized off the waiver wire. He is the preferred option here, and after Mattison he is the top target on the waiver wire heading into Week 13. Abdullah led the way for the Panthers in Week 12, playing 51 percent of the snaps to go with two carries and six targets. He finished with 22 yards in what was a blowout in which Cam Newton was benched. There was some talk of getting him more involved before McCaffrey returned, so Abdullah is also worthy of a stash right now as well just in case he sees more volume than anticipated. He is not nearly as high of a priority as Hubbard, but still is a candidate worth taking a flier on.
Tevin Coleman was the lead Jets running back once again this week. He saw 11 of the Jets' 13 carries, going for 58 yards. He also saw four targets, catching three for 19 yards while playing 40 percent of the snaps. He has been the Jets' lead back ever since Michael Carter went down and should continue to do so until Carter returns. He also saw some goal line work this week. He is worthy of rostering as he be flexed if you are in a pinch.
Adrian Peterson played 27 percent of the snaps but led the Seahawks with 11 carries. He only turned them into 16 yards, but he did score a touchdown. Rashaad Penny led the Seahawks with 40 percent of the snaps, while adding 10 carries for 35 yards and a 27-yard catch. Both are worthy of rostering in leagues that are 14-teams or deeper. Peterson is likely a touchdown-or-bust type of player, as he likely sees goal line work moving forward, but Penny is more explosive and has the much higher upside. He is the preferred add of the two.
Van Jefferson continues to be rostered in far too few NFL.com leagues. He is still available in well over half, and that needs to change. Last week, he played 98 percent of the snaps and had nine targets. This week he saw eight targets, second behind only Cooper Kupp, catching six of them for 41 yards and a touchdown. He has not topped 16 fantasy points in two straight and is clearly a focal point in this passing attack. He is a weekly start who you can grab off the waiver wire.
DeVante Parker returned after a lengthy absence and saw five targets, catching them all for 62 yards. Parker has now topped 11 fantasy points in the last three games he has played. He had been seeing consistent volume weekly before getting injured. He has now been surpassed by Jaylen Waddle, but he and Mike Gesicki make up the clear-cut top targets for Miami. Parker is a weekly WR3 or flex options.
Russell Gage was targeted 12 times, catching 11 of them for 130 yards, good for 24 fantasy points. Gage has seen at least seven targets in three straight games and four of the past five. He has topped 18 fantasy points in two straight games and appears to have a safe floor of around 10 fantasy points. Gage is seeing enough weekly volume and has been productive enough as of late to warrant rostering and being in flex consideration, if not higher moving forward.
Josh Reynolds teams up with St. Brown to form the Lions' top two receiving options. Reynolds saw seven targets this week, catching four for 69 yards, good for 10.9 fantasy points. That was a high in targets since he has joined the Lions, but he has seen more each week. He has topped double-digit fantasy points in two straight and is clearly the Lions best downfield receiver. He is proving to have a safe floor and a somewhat high ceiling.
Amon-Ra St. Brown was targeted a team-high 12 times, catching 10 for 86 yards and a touchdown. Not only did he lead the Lions in every category, but they were also all season highs for the rookie. He caught the game-winning touchdown that led to the Lions first win of the season. St. Brown has been seeing the field a ton lately but not getting a lot of volume. That could change after this week. He is in play in deeper formats.
K.J. Osborn saw seven targets, catching four of them for 41 yards and a touchdown. Osborn was featuring in this article after a hot start to the season, but he has really fallen out of favor as of late. He saw more volume this week after Adam Thielen exited early due to a high ankle sprain. The Vikings play on Thursday against the Steelers, which really puts Thielen in jeopardy. If he sits Osborn would be in play as a flex option.
Cole Kmet saw seven targets in Week 14, tied for the second-most on the Bears. He caught three for 41 yards. The targets are what matters, especially after he saw 11 last week. He has at least six targets in five of the past six games. He does not bring the safest floor, but he is starting to see more and more volume and that keeps him in play at the weakest position in fantasy. He is a player who you can stream in the right matchups.
Gerald Everett didn't have the best day as he had two fumbles, but he did see six targets, third on Seattle behind only Tyler Lockett and DK Metcalf. He caught four of them for seven yards. Again, it was a rough fantasy day for Everett, but he has clearly been more utilized as of late. He has between six and nine targets in three of his past four games and topped 14 fantasy points in two of them. He is a high-end TE2 who can be streamed in the right matchups. Just like Kmet, he has the chance to work his way to be a weekly starter if the volume keeps up.
Tyler Conklin saw nine targets, second-most on the Vikings, catching seven for 56 yards. He is always a threat in the red zone as well. He has shown upside this season, topping double digit fantasy points five times, but he has a low floor. That floor should be elevated if Thielen, who suffered a high-ankle sprain and has a quick turnaround with the Vikings playing on Thursday night. There will be more volume for Conklin if Thielen misses time.
Ricky Seals-Jones is in play again because Logan Thomas could miss extended time after suffering a knee injury in Week 13. RSJ is once again in play as the starting tight end for Washington. He started from Weeks 5 through 11 and averaged six targets per game and 9.04 fantasy PPG. Of the five games, he scored double digits in two of them and over nine in three. He is a TE2 with some volume upside with Thomas likely done.