15 Fantasy Football Transactions for Week 14
It's the most wonderful time of year. Except when it comes to properly executing this 15 Transactions column.
Almost all league trade deadlines have passed. Considering this is the place where I give fantasy football buy and sell advice each week, that guidance is a lot less meaningful when it's not actionable. If you can't actually trade for a buy candidate, then why recommend it?
Technically, we could think about buy and sell options as confidence picks -- as in, I'm "buying into" a particular player, or I'm "wary of" another. But after thinking about it, if I were to write about feeling good about Brandin Cooks despite his three touchdowns on over 1,000 yards this season, that would only help out managers who have Cooks. That's, at most, aiding only about 10% of people reading this article. And that's not very smart of me, a content producer.
So instead, through Week 16, I'll be bringing you simple add, drop, and hold options. Adds are players you should be targeting off your waiver wire, drops are guys to send to that waiver wire, and holds are players who you should wait to drop.
Cool? Word. Let's do this.
Add Jaylen Samuels and Stevan Ridley
James Conner left Sunday night's game against the Chargers with a lower leg contusion, which pushed Jaylen Samuels onto the field in a more featured role. He played a quarter of Pittsburgh's snaps, acting as the clear backup to Conner.
One thing to keep in mind is that the Steelers were playing from behind when that happened. Samuels is a pass-catching back who played a hybrid tight end role at North Carolina State. He actually never carried the ball more than 78 times in a season across his four college years.
And that's important. While Samuels is a clear top priority off the wire this week if Conner misses time -- especially considering he's tight end-eligible on some fantasy sites -- you can't forget about Stevan Ridley, who's more of the traditional bruiser. In a November article on Steelers.com, it was noted that head coach Mike Tomlin views the Pittsburgh backup running backs as two guys with "distinct skill-sets." When asked about Conner's backup, Tomlin said that, "It depends on circumstance."
So don't sleep on Ridley as an add this week, too. Samuels is the player you'd probably want to prioritize -- in PPR formats, for sure -- but we've got a chance to see a split backfield if Conner's out. And Conner may not even miss time, as the injury doesn't seem to be major.
Add Justin Jackson
The rookie out of Northwestern only played 22.2% of LA's snaps on Sunday night, but he was objectively more effective on the ground than Ekeler was. Jackson ran the ball 8 times for 63 yards and a score, whereas Ekeler had 13 carries for just 21 yards.
Logic would tell us that Jackson will see an uptick in volume in Week 14, as long as Gordon remains sidelined. So snag the rookie off the wire this week if you're in need of a flex-type play. The Bolts get the Bengals, too, giving Jackson a plus matchup.
Drop Carlos Hyde
You should be rostering handcuffs this time of year, but the problem with Carlos Hyde is that he's not even Leonard Fournette's primary backup. With Fournette out this past Sunday, Hyde played fewer than 40% of Jacksonville's snaps, while T.J. Yeldon saw the most work when you combine rushing and receiving. And, remember, this all happened in a game where the Jags had a neutral-to-positive game script. It was the type of game where we would've expected Hyde to see a decent-sized workload. So even if Fournette gets injured in the fantasy playoffs, it would be tough to trust Hyde in your fantasy lineup. You can let him go.
Add Jeff Wilson
Matt Breida's body has been destroyed in 2018, but he always seems to play. On Sunday, though, he aggravated his ankle injury during pregame warmups, which allowed Jeff Wilson to carry the ball 15 times while playing over 72% of the 49ers snaps. Wilson also was heavily involved as a receiver, catching 8 of 9 targets for 73 yards. Breida's now been ruled out for Week 14, and Wilson is a decent-enough play for running back-needy teams. As poor as San Francisco's been offensively at times this year, they're a top-10 fantasy football team in running back scoring. It's not a bad situation fantasy-wise.
Add Dante Pettis
Rookie Dante Pettis has now seen 20 targets over his last three games, which easily leads the 49ers. And over his last two contests, he's played at least 90% of the team's snaps in each game. They're really moving him all over the field -- he's played 44.5% of his snaps from the slot, according to Pro Football Focus during this time -- and he's been productive, hauling in over 200 yards and 3 touchdowns across his last three. The schedule for San Francisco isn't that great moving forward, but he could be an interesting play in deeper leagues this week against a Chris Harris-less Denver Broncos secondary as long as Marquise Goodwin and Pierre Garcon remain out.
Hold Allen Robinson
We haven't seen much from Allen Robinson (aside from insane catches) production-wise over the last three games. He's seen a solid 20 targets, but he's combined for 155 yards and zero scores, which isn't what you're looking for from a fantasy asset.
The good news here is two-fold. First, Mitchell Trubisky is likely to return in Week 14. That'll give a likely boost to the Bears passing attack. But in Weeks 14 through 16, Chicago will face the Rams, Packers, and 49ers, three teams who rank in the top-seven in fantasy points allowed to wide receivers this year. At the very least, there's a good chance for a fairly pass-heavy approach from Chicago, helping A-Rob's volume.
Add Rex Burkhead
Burkhead returned to action in Week 13 after being sidelined for most of the season, and he found the field on 23% of New England's offensive snaps. That's nothing to write home about, and he probably won't be more than a desperation flex play without an injury, but he still serves as a handcuff to two running backs. If Sony Michel or James White go down, then Burkhead will assuredly see more work in that backfield. And it's a backfield that's scored top-five fantasy numbers across the league this year.
Add Bruce Ellington
Bruce Ellington keeps making this column, but his ownership numbers haven't budged much since Golden Tate left Detroit a few weeks back. And that's kind of weird -- Ellington has now seen 9, 7, and 10 targets over the Lions' last three games, accounting for a target share of 24.1%. That's a pretty awesome number. What hasn't been great, though, is that Ellington's mostly seen low average depth of target looks. He's actually not had a single target of 15 or more air yards during this time. But in PPR formats, his workload is strong enough to warrant an add.
Drop Jacksonville Jaguars Wide Receivers
As it stands, Dede Westbrook is rostered in 35% of Yahoo! leagues, Donte Moncrief is at 16%, and Keelan Cole 13%. Those numbers should be far closer to zero. Westbrook and Moncrief have posted just one top-20 performance since Week 4, and Cole hasn't been relevant for weeks. With very little upside in the passing game (Cody Kessler is under center, after all), there's really no reason to have them on your roster, no matter their upcoming schedule. They won't have predictable output.
Add Charcandrick West and Damien Williams
The disturbing Kareem Hunt situation led to Spencer Ware seeing the largest workload for Kansas City in Week 13, but it wasn't as significant as some might've thought. He handled 46.7% of the Chiefs' rushes, when Hunt had a 68% share when active this season. Ware was on the field for 69% of their snaps. Meanwhile, Hunt hit that low of a snap rate in just four contests this season.
Damien Williams was one player who dug into Ware's volume, as he carried the ball five times while seeing a pair of targets. And then the Chiefs signed Charcandrick West on Monday, adding to the backfield and potentially making it really messy.
By rostering Williams or West, you're taking a chance on a player who could emerge in a useful offense. It's not like Ware has been special this year, either. He finished Week 13 with just a 16.7% Success Rate (the percentage of positive expected point rushes, per numberFire's Net Expected Points model), and he's got a 29.4% Success Rate on the season, a far below average mark.
Unfortunately, the backfield is probably going to be pretty split through the end of the fantasy season, with Ware leading the charge. But there's always a chance the Chiefs like what they see from either Williams or West, leading to more work and fantasy relevancy.
Add Ian Thomas
Greg Olsen is out for the year with another foot injury, and Ian Thomas is the guy who'll step up at tight end in his absence. He saw five targets in Carolina's Week 13 loss to Tampa Bay, and he had a pair of games with five-plus targets just before Olsen returned from his first injury this season. Thomas isn't anything more than a streaming-type option, but the Panthers do have an attractive schedule from here on out, as they'll go up against the Browns, Saints, and Falcons through Week 16. You could do worse at the most obnoxious position in fantasy football.
Drop Matthew Stafford
The last time Matthew Stafford gave fantasy teams a top-12, QB1 performance was all the way back in Week 2 against the 49ers. Since then, he's averaging fewer than 14 fantasy points per game, and he's yet to have a game with more than two touchdown passes. Somehow, he's still rostered in two-thirds of Yahoo! leagues. With below-average matchups against the Cardinals, Bills, and Vikings in the fantasy playoffs, it's hard to imagine a scenario -- outside of superflex or two-quarterback leagues -- where you're starting Stafford for all the marbles. He can be dropped.
Add Josh Allen
It's easy to criticize Josh Allen for his inaccuracy and tendency to turn the ball over, but he's also working with a bad offensive line and one of the weakest wide receiving groups in the league. As someone who wasn't high on Allen coming out, he's played pretty well when you give his situation some context.
And he's been huge in fantasy football of late thanks to his legs. This past Sunday against Miami, Allen ran for 135 yards on the ground. He had 99 rushing yards the previous week. They aren't the type of yards you'll see someone like Lamar Jackson accumulate, but when a quarterback's under pressure all the time, he's bound to scramble. And Allen has used his athleticism to do that effectively.
That "Konami Code" piece to his game has to put him on your fantasy radar, at least as a Week 14 streamer. He's finished as a top-five option in each of his last two games. And with a matchup against a Jets secondary that's given up 17-plus fantasy points to an opposing quarterback in all but one of their last nine games, there's a little upside with his arm this week, too.
Add the Arizona Cardinals' Defense
The Cardinals are at home against the Lions this week in a game with a low 41-point over/under. The Lions have been low-key great for opposing defenses across this second half of the season -- over their last six games, four have resulted in a top-five weekly performance the opposing D. It's a good spot for the Cardinals as a traditional defensive streamer.
Add the Buffalo Bills' Defense
Buffalo is still available in 70% of Yahoo! leagues, which is a little surprising because they were a decent-enough option this past week, and they've got a really nice Week 14 and 15 schedule. Over the next two weeks, the Bills will be playing at home against the Jets and the aforementioned Lions. I already talked about the Lions as a good matchup, but the Jets have also been favorable, with teams averaging almost three sacks and two interceptions per game against them over the last four contests.