There were a lot of big performances on Sunday, but you won’t find all of those under-the-radar players among the top Week 14 fantasy waiver wire pickups and free agent adds. Maybe earlier in the season we would’ve responded more strongly to Baker Mayfield’s and Derek Carr’s huge games or Alfred Morris’s, Dan Arnold’s, Chad Hansen’s, and Donovan Peoples-Jones’s breakout stat lines, but at this point in the season, it’s all about consistent opportunities and matchups. Running backs Ty Johnson and Cam Akers and wide receivers T.Y. Hilton and Keke Coutee figure to have more value for the fantasy playoffs, and a QB like Jalen Hurts is slightly more intriguing than the up-and-down veterans mentioned above.
Our full free agent list features plenty more players who could see consistent usage and/or favorable matchups going forward. At this point, unless a player is an injury replacement, he can be viewed as a glorified streamer, and as always, we also have a bunch of one-week recommendations at QB, TE, and D/ST, which can be found at the end of this list.
When it comes to using high waiver claims during the fantasy playoffs, it’s all about whether you have a glaring need at a certain position or you’re trying to prevent your opponent from getting a streamer. Even if you have a bye in Week 14, it’s fair to jump in and claim a player who figures to still be seeing significant touches and has a good matchup in Week 15. While RBs like Johnson and Akers have the most value in general, if you’re set at RB, then there’s nothing wrong with using a high claim on a D/ST or even a QB, depending on your need.
It’s win-or-go-home time, so don’t hold back and always be looking ahead. Picking up players before everyone else is thinking about picking them up is how you win fantasy championships.
Top fantasy football waiver wire pickups for Week 14
Unless otherwise noted, only players owned in fewer than 50 percent of Yahoo leagues considered.
Cam Akers, RB, Rams. We’ve been telling you for three weeks to pick up Akers, but he was still available in 48 percent of Yahoo leagues entering Week 13. Expect that number to sky rocket after Akers led the Rams backfield with 21 carries and 72 yards in Week 13. He also had 22 yards on his lone reception and scored for the third straight game. He had several more goal-line carries but wasn’t quite able to get in t he box a second (or third) time. Despite the relative inefficiency, workload is important this time of year, and it appears as if you can trust Akers to get double-digit touches every week going forward. The Rams have decent rushing matchups against the Patriots and Jets the next two weeks before a tough one against the Seahawks in Week 16, but Akers is still worth a high waiver claim based on the upside he provides.
Ty Johnson, RB, Jets. Johnson handled the bulk of the Jets RB carries in Week 13 after Frank Gore exited because of a concussion suffered on his first carry of the game. Johnson took full advantage of his opportunity, rushing 22 times for 104 yards and a score and adding another 13 yards on two catches. With La’Mical Perine (ankle) out at least one more week and Gore likely questionable, at best, for next week’s game against the Seahawks, Johnson has plenty of potential value as a high-volume back who’s also an adept pass-catcher should the game turn into a blowout. If Gore remains out longer, Johnson would get similar matchups against the Rams in Week 15 and Browns in Week 16.
T.Y. Hilton, WR, Colts. It took him long enough, but Hilton is finally getting in sync with QB Philip Rivers. The veteran pass-catcher set season highs in catches (8), targets (11), and yards (110) in Week 13 against Houston. He also scored his second touchdown in as many games. Indianapolis has favorable passing matchups the next two weeks (@ Raiders, vs. Texans) before getting a Week 16 tilt against a Steelers defense that has also had some issues with wide receivers this year. Hilton looks like a must-add for the stretch run in the 56 percent of Yahoo leagues in which he’s available.
Keke Coutee, WR, Texans. Coutee was on a lot of fantasy owners’ radars once Will Fuller was suspended for PEDs earlier this week. He paid immediate dividends with an eight-catch, 141-yard outing against a tough Colts pass defense. Perhaps just as noteworthy, he led the Texans in targets (9). Coutee should continue to see frequent looks, and while his upcoming schedule doesn’t look great (@ Bears, @ Colts), both of those defenses have struggled lately. Coutee is still in play as a WR3, especially in PPR formats.
Jalen Hurts, QB, Eagles. After a half-plus of ineffective play from Carson Wentz, the Eagles pulled him and finally went with Hurts in Week 13. The rookie passer played much better than Wentz and had a couple of nice deep-ball completions. Hurts finished the day with 109 passing yards, a TD, an interception, and 29 rushing yards. He could end up being a solid streamer in fantasy because of his rushing floor — provided that the Eagles opt to start him moving forward. The Eagles play a tough Saints defense next week, but against the Cardinals and Cowboys in the last two weeks of the fantasy season, Hurts could draw consideration as a legit streamer.
For more waiver/free agent suggestions, including more breakouts and potential streamers, check out our full Week 14 list.