Waiver Wire: Never too late to tinker
With the playoffs upon us in most leagues, who might be a sneaky pickup off the waiver wire? Our Jamey Eisenberg helps you put in meaningful waiver claims heading into Week 14.
The Fantasy playoffs are here for the majority of leagues, so hopefully your rosters are set. That doesn't mean the waiver wire is meaningless, but you should have a solid squad in place, ready for a championship run.
If your roster is in good shape then your waiver moves are likely minimal. You should handcuff your top running backs where applicable, and some key backups -- Ben Tate (58 percent ownership), Joique Bell (54 percent), David Wilson (47 percent), Shane Vereen (40 percent), Toby Gerhart (22 percent), Robert Turbin (18 percent), Montario Hardesty (11 percent) and Bernard Pierce (11 percent) -- are not owned in enough leagues.
You should also look at some receiver depth after tough injuries in Week 13 to Jordy Nelson (hamstring), Ryan Broyles (knee) and Cecil Shorts (concussion) and other guys still out like Percy Harvin (ankle) and Danny Amendola (foot). We'll have some alternatives for you in Week 14.
You might also look at some key DST matchups ahead if you have been using a different option each week and need a sleeper. In Week 14 we like the Browns (50 percent) vs. Kansas City, the Bills (29 percent) vs. St. Louis or the Buccaneers (49 percent) vs. Philadelphia. And in Week 15 we like the Rams (33 percent) vs. Minnesota, the Titans (13 percent) vs. the Jets or the Dolphins (40 percent) vs. Jacksonville.
This week, there were no key running back injuries, but owners in shallow leagues might still need some help. Jonathan Dwyer is a must add option, and we also like Vick Ballard with Donald Brown (ankle) hurt again. At quarterback, it's time to buy into Russell Wilson since he's been great on the road the past two weeks and now gets Arizona at home.
Editor's note: Must add is for players worth adding in all leagues. Maybe add is for players worth adding in 14-team leagues or larger. Desperation add is for players worth adding only if you're, well, desperate. The ownership percentage listed is how many leagues that player was owned in the previous week for CBSSports.com.
49ers (71 percent),
Seahawks (47 percent)
Maybe add: Brandon Weeden , Browns (24 percent), Jake Locker , Titans (22 percent)
Desperation add: Greg McElroy , Jets (0 percent)
The breakdown: If you need a one-week quarterback option then add Wilson and start him with confidence against the Cardinals at home. Wilson has at least 19 Fantasy points in each of his past five games with 53 points in the past two weeks on the road at Miami and Chicago. In his past three home games against the Patriots, Vikings and Jets he is averaging 24.2 Fantasy points, and he should be solid against the Cardinals again. He has 11 touchdowns and one interception in his past five outings. ... Kaepernick will remain the starter for the 49ers, and we like his matchup against the Dolphins. Look for him to rebound from a poor Fantasy performance against the Rams in Week 13 when he had just 14 points. ... Weeden is a nice sleeper in Week 14 against the Chiefs at home. Kansas City has allowed eight total touchdowns to Andy Dalton , Peyton Manning and Cam Newton over the past three games. ... Locker also is a good sleeper against the Colts, who have allowed two 300-yard games and two multi-touchdown outings over the past three weeks against Tom Brady and Matthew Stafford . Locker can be a starter in deeper formats or two-quarterback leagues. ... The Jets are likely going to start McElroy over Mark Sanchez in Week 14 at Jacksonville. We have no interest in McElroy, but he is worth keeping an eye on in deep dynasty leagues in case he can win the starting job for the Jets in 2013.
Steelers (78 percent),
Colts (71 percent)
Maybe add: DeAngelo Williams , Panthers (73 percent), James Starks , Packers (42 percent), Bilal Powell , Jets (23 percent), Montell Owens , Jaguars (0 percent)
Desperation add: Ronnie Hillman , Broncos (59 percent), Peyton Hillis , Chiefs (25 percent), Jeremy Stewart , Raiders (0 percent)
The breakdown: Before we get into Dwyer as the top running back to add this week, go back to the handcuff options listed above. We've been getting a lot of questions about the Texans and who is the top backup for Arian Foster . Our take is Tate is still the running back to own behind Foster, but if Foster would miss time we could see Tate and Justin Forsett (5 percent) sharing the load. ... Dwyer not only was named the starter in Week 13 against the Ravens, the Steelers also made Rashard Mendenhall a healthy scratch. Dwyer had 16 carries for 49 yards and a touchdown and three catches for 8 yards. He now has three starts on the season and has finished with double digits in Fantasy points in each outing. He also has a favorable matchup against San Diego in Week 14. ... Ballard would be the No. 2 running back to add if Brown is out. Ballard had his first rushing touchdown in Week 13 at Detroit and in the first three games he started earlier this year when Brown had knee surgery, he had at least nine Fantasy points in each game. He also scored against the Titans, his Week 14 opponent, on a reception in Week 8. ... Jonathan Stewart (ankle) could be out for a while, which will allow Williams to remain the starter for the Panthers. He can be a decent flex option, especially against the Falcons in Week 14. Williams scored against Atlanta in Week 4. ... Starks is also a potential flex option against the Lions in Week 14. He continues to share touches with Alex Green , but Starks has more upside with at least seven Fantasy points in two of the past three games, including a touchdown against Minnesota in Week 13. He had 25 carries for 74 yards at Detroit in Week 11. ... Owens might be the starter for the Jaguars with Rashad Jennings (concussion) hurt and Maurice Jones-Drew (foot) likely still out. He's not a recommended starting option in most standard leagues, but owners in deep formats might need him against the Jets in Week 14. ... Powell continues to share playing time with Shonn Greene and could be productive against the Jaguars in Week 14. Jacksonville just allowed C.J. Spiller and Fred Jackson to reach double digits in Fantasy points in Week 13.
, Colts (70
, Browns (61
, Seahawks (52
Maybe add: Nate Washington , Titans (66 percent), Donnie Avery , Colts (33 percent), Chris Givens , Rams (23 percent)
Desperation add: Andrew Hawkins , Bengals (26 percent), Jon Baldwin , Chiefs (5 percent), Jarius Wright , Vikings (4 percent), Rod Streater , Raiders (1 percent), Riley Cooper , Eagles (1 percent), LaVon Brazill , Colts (0 percent), Lestar Jean , Texans (0 percent)
The breakdown: Any of the must-add receivers have the chance to help you in Week 14, but we would rank them in this order: Gordon, Tate, Britt and Hilton. ... We've been telling you for several weeks that Gordon had a favorable schedule ahead, starting in Week 13 at Oakland, and he finished that game with six catches for 116 yards and a touchdown. He gets Kansas City at home in Week 14, Washington at home in Week 15 and at Denver in Week 16. He should be considered a starting option in all leagues moving forward. ... Tate has three games with double digits in Fantasy points in his past four outings, including his past two at home. He has the chance for another big outing at home against the Cardinals in Week 14. ... Britt has scored in each of his past two games and faces the Colts in Week 14. Indianapolis has struggled with No. 1 receivers all season, and the Titans are moving toward a pass-happy offense with Dowell Loggains now calling plays, That bodes well for Washington also. ... Hilton has at least nine Fantasy points in three of his past four games. We'd like him better if Avery were out of the picture, but Hilton had a season-high 12 targets at the Lions in Week 13. Avery had 14 targets and finished with five catches for 91 yards and two touchdowns, but Hilton has been more consistent. Still, both are worth adding with the way Andrew Luck is playing. ... Givens has done a nice job with Amendola injured or out. In his past two games he has 16 catches for 207 yards and a touchdown on 20 targets. He should be considered a No. 3 receiver with upside against the Bills.
, Broncos (38
Maybe add: Martellus Bennett , Giants (68 percent), Scott Chandler , Bills (57 percent), Marcedes Lewis , Jaguars (33 percent)
Desperation add: Coby Fleener , Colts (15 percent)
The breakdown: Pitta struggled as expected in Week 13 against the Steelers with one catch for 19 yards, but he should be solid the next two weeks at Washington in Week 14 and against Denver in Week 15. We like the matchups, and he should be considered a starting option. ... Clark has been on a tear of late with three touchdowns in his past four games and at least six Fantasy points in each outing over that span. He faces the Eagles at home in Week 14, and Philadelphia has allowed four tight ends to reach at least seven Fantasy points in the past five games with three touchdowns over that span. ... Tamme also has done well recently with 18 Fantasy points in his past two games against the Chiefs and Buccaneers. He had season highs in catches (nine), yards (89) and targets (13) against Tampa Bay, and we expect him to play well against the Raiders in Week 14. Oakland has allowed four tight ends to reach at least eight Fantasy points in the past four games with three scoring touchdowns. ... Chandler only had one catch for an 11-yard touchdown in Week 13 against the Jaguars on four targets, but he could see an increase in targets with Steve Johnson (hamstring) and Donald Jones (calf) banged up. ... Lewis has done well with the addition of Chad Henne at quarterback and has 11 catches for 164 yards and two touchdowns on 17 targets the past three games. ... Bennett scored against the Redskins in Week 13 and faces the Saints in Week 14. New Orleans has allowed at least eight Fantasy points to opposing tight ends the past four games with four touchdowns over that span. ... We hope Fleener can finish the season strong after returning in Week 13 at Detroit from a four-game absence due to a shoulder injury. He scored against the Lions but had just one catch for 26 yards on two targets. It could be risky to trust Fleener with Dwayne Allen sharing targets.