15 Fantasy Football Transactions for Week 14
I'm excited for the fantasy football playoffs, but maybe not as excited as you are.
Because with each week -- with the fantasy playoffs -- this column becomes less meaningful. Sure, I'm going to do my best to set you up for success, but there's no trading. There's no buying. There's no selling.
There's just adding and dropping.
And that's a little depressing for me.
Hopefully 15 Transactions has set you up for a playoff run, and that these adds and drops can secure a league championship. And after you win, of course, you can then tell all your friends about this really awesome column you read every week on numberFire.
Let's take a look at some moves you can make entering Week 14, the typical first week of the fantasy football playoffs.
Add James White
When Dion Lewis went down with a season-ending injury a few weeks back, James White was the dude everyone wanted off the waiver wire. We didn't expect White to be Lewis, but any piece of a strong Patriots' offense was worthwhile in fantasy football.
Prior to Week 13, White's production had been kind of all over the place without Lewis -- he carried the ball just 1, 2 and 3 times from Weeks 10 to 12 while seeing 1, 3 and 5 targets. That's nothing to write home about.
With a negative game script and an injury to Rob Gronkowski, things changed in Week 13. White played over 57% of New England's snaps, and ended up catching 10 of 13 targets for 115 yards and a score. For real.
Though I wouldn't feel comfortable slotting him into my lineup just yet, he certainly deserves an add off your waiver wire. If this usage is even a small glimpse of what could happen from here on out, you'll want him on your fantasy team for the playoffs.
Add Ameer Abdullah
Another running back getting more opportunity is Ameer Abdullah, who's now seen 12, 13 and 16 carries over his last three contests. While he hasn't produced a ton of fantasy points, his increased role is important -- volume matters.
A look at Detroit's upcoming schedule is a reason to believe in Abdullah, too. They'll face the Rams in Week 14 -- a not-so-easy opponent, but one that's played worse down the stretch -- followed by matchups against the Saints and 49ers. Both New Orleans and San Francisco rank in the bottom three in fantasy points allowed to the running back position this season, for the record.
Add DeVante Parker
My man DeVante Parker was in this column last week, and while he didn't deliver a monster game, he did show what he's capable of at the NFL level with his highlight-reel touchdown grab. On the day, Parker played a higher percentage of team snaps than teammate Jarvis Landry, resulting in the 22nd highest percentage of team snaps played by any wide receiver in football on Sunday.
The unfortunate piece to Parker's potential is that the Dolphins' offense just hasn't produced much of anything this year, there's a new offensive coordinator and Ryan Tannehill has been inconsistent. But with games against the Giants (25th against the pass according to our Net Expected Points, or NEP, metric), Chargers (23rd) and Colts (29th), there's plenty of opportunity in fantasy.
Add Austin Seferian-Jenkins
Austin Seferian-Jenkins played just 29.6% of the Bucs' snaps against Atlanta on Sunday, but that's more than likely due to it being his first game back from a long-winded injury. He was still targeted 6 times, and he caught 3 of them for 31 yards.
That's not very enticing, but if we assume an increase in role -- when healthy earlier in the year, ASJ saw 78.4% and 60.6% of his snaps -- then opportunities will come. And with the Saints, Rams and Bears on their schedule for Weeks 14 through 16, there's a chance he comes through big, especially this week against New Orleans and their worst-against-the-tight-end-in-fantasy defense.
Bench or Drop Derek Carr
Carr has certainly exceeded my expectations this year, but let's not pretend he's been this locked-in, plug-and-play passer in fantasy football. He's averaging 17.7 standard points per contest, which is a middle-of-the-road, streamable number, but he's also averaging over four points more against bottom half defenses than top half ones.
In Week 14, Carr and the Raiders gets Denver, meaning he's an obvious sit -- not only do the Broncos have the best pass defense in football, but I just showed Carr's splits against good secondaries. They do get the Packers in Week 15 -- a decent matchup -- and then finish the fantasy season with a battle against the Chargers. But I'd be nervous to start him in a division game (the second time a quarterback faces a divisional opponent, his numbers, on average, are much lower) during the fantasy championship, meaning if you have a decent option for Week 15, there's really no reason to hold onto Carr.
Add Jameis Winston
Every quarterback to face New Orleans this season has scored at least 13.9 fantasy points (thanks, Brian Hoyer), while the Saints have surrendered seven -- seven! -- top five performances to the position.
They've only played 12 games! And seven of them resulted in the opposing quarterback finishing as a top-five passer!
Winston has been serviceable this season, and he hasn't scored fewer than 14.5 fantasy points since Week 4. When you combine that floor with the insane ceiling of facing the Saints and an over/under of 50.5 with the Bucs as favorites, you get the perfect quarterback streamer.
Add Dorial Green-Beckham
Green-Beckham posted a 119-yard, 1-score game against the Jaguars on Sunday, and he should definitely be added. But I'm still hesitating a bit when it comes to how high of a priority you need to give him.
That's because DGB, despite his big game, played just 58.6% of the team's snaps, which was the lowest rate he's seen since Week 6. That, and they faced the Jags, a team with a bottom five pass defense according to our schedule-adjusted metrics. Kendall Wright is also back in the mix, which muddies the pass-catching situation for Marcus Mariota.
We should probably expect Green-Beckham to be more involved in the offense from here on out because the Titans are pretty much finished, but fellow rookie DeVante Parker still may have more upside.
Add Ryan Fitzpatrick
Ryan Fitzpatrick has still yet to score fewer than 13 fantasy points this year, and he's averaging 17.6 standard fantasy points per game. That's a pretty lethal combo for a safe quarterback streamer, let alone one who's facing a Titans secondary that's allowed eight touchdowns over the last two weeks, surrendering two high-end QB1 (top 6) performances. If the rest of your lineup is high-risk, high-reward and you need a safe signal-calling streamer, Fitzpatrick is your guy.
Add Eric Ebron
This recommendation may seem a little out of left field, but I'm trying to think ahead and be proactive here. If you've got a Week 14 bye -- or if you just need a streamer for Week 15 -- go ahead and add Eric Ebron now. He's playing between 50% to 65% of Detroit's snaps, which isn't a ton, but he'll face the Saints in Week 15. New Orleans, which I've already talked about as being terrible against the pass, has been especially bad at defending tight ends -- they've allowed 10 top-10 PPR tight end performances this season.
Even playing Ebron against St. Louis in Week 14 isn't a bad move, but stashing him for Week 15 could be clutch.
Drop the Minnesota Passing Attack
Do you know what wins in fantasy football? Touchdowns. Do you know what the Vikings' passing attack doesn't score? Touchdowns.
It's resulted in some pretty horrendous numbers for the Vikings' wideouts, as you'd imagine. They've totaled just four top-24, WR2 performances in PPR leagues this season -- which matches the freaking Rams -- while Kyle Rudolph has just two top-12 tight end games under his belt. Though they face the Giants in Week 16, a team that, again, ranks 25th against the pass according to our numbers, there's no reason to trust anyone outside of Adrian Peterson on this offense.
Add Richard Rodgers
Even before Thursday's Hail Mary, Richard Rodgers was eating up the Detroit defense, catching 7 passes for about 80 yards. And with the Packers' pass-catching situation the way it is nowadays, why wouldn't they want to use Rodgers in that offense?
He'll face the Raiders in Week 15, a team that's struggled versus the position and ranks in the bottom five in fantasy points against tight ends this year. And like Ebron above, Rodgers still makes for a decent play in Week 14 and 16, as he could see enough volume to be usable. After all, he's averaged well over six targets per game over his last five contests.
Add Alex Smith
Alex Smith is sort of the exact same fantasy quarterback as Ryan Fitzpatrick. Or, at least, that's what production shows -- they've averaging nearly the same points per game, both have a 13-point floor, but both have shown to be capable of hitting a 25-point ceiling.
Smith actually has a schedule that sets up for him to be a usable quarterback throughout the fantasy playoffs. He'll face the Chargers this week in a game where the Chiefs are 10-point favorites (that's not a bad thing for quarterbacks), then they get the Ravens and Browns. Those are all plus matchups for a player with a great floor.
Add Brock Osweiler
While I don't mind the aforementioned Smith as a streamer this week, I think I'd prefer Brock Osweiler against the Oakland secondary. This year, every quarterback not named Peyton Manning or Teddy Bridgewater has posted at lest 17 points on the Raiders. Though Osweiler didn't come away with a strong fantasy performance in Week 13, Vegas does have the Broncos as 7.5-point favorites this week with a fairly average 43.5-point over/under. If their implied team total shows that they'll be scoring three touchdowns, you have to imagine -- against the 27th-ranked secondary, per NEP -- that Osweiler has something to do with it.
Add Dan Herron
Herron didn't see much work until garbage time against the Steelers on Sunday night, but as I said last week, with Ahmad Bradshaw done for the year and Frank Gore "beat to crap", there's a chance Boom graces us with fantasy goodness once against down the stretch. Indianapolis also has Jacksonville in Week 14 and Miami in Week 16 -- if Gore gets dinged up, Herron becomes a lead back in an offense that could be run-heavy versus the 16th and 20th ranked rush defenses. Keep him on your bench, at the very least, as a handcuff.
Add the Buccaneers' Defense
This is generally where I give a streaming recommendation for the following week, but instead, let's look further ahead for playoff teams.
Tampa Bay faces off against St. Louis in Week 15, a team that's, well, been on the struggle bus this season on offense. Defenses have finished outside the top-20 in defensive scoring versus the Rams just three times this year, while each of their last four opponents scored top-13 weekly numbers at the team position. And Tampa Bay, on defense, stops the run (8th against the rush according to our numbers) much better than they stop the pass (21st), which plays directly into the Rams' strengths and weaknesses (worst passing offense, 24th best rushing offense).
Kansas City should still be a priority if they're -- for whatever reason -- on the waiver wire, but Tampa Bay should be a nice play in Week 15.
Oh, and if you want a Week 14 waiver wire play, try the Packers, Browns or Lions.