In case this roller coaster fantasy football season currently has you on the outside looking in of your league’s playoff field, the NFL’s addition of another regular-season game in 2021 just might be the break you need to sneak your way back in (I know I will be sweating it out with you in a couple of leagues). Even if your postseason spot is already intact (congrats!), depth is a key ingredient to any deep playoff run. As we have seen with multiple impact players this year, injuries can abruptly and unpredictably alter your lineup, so I still think you would be wise to scan through the names listed below to fortify any shallow positions on your squad. Must-win mode begins now for a lot of teams in Week 14; I wish you well!
* Players marked with an asterisk below can also be found in the priority waiver wire adds article referenced at the end. If anyone featured below is at risk of not playing or is relegated to a bench role late in the week, I will do my best to keep you all updated on Twitter (@BrandonMillerFB). All players below are under 65%-rostered as of 12/08/21.
Rex Burkhead (RB, Houston Texans)
Full disclosure: sometimes I can only get a few words into a player’s section before that gif of Mr. Rogers putting on a clown mask pops into my head (translation: “I have not even begun writing about this player and I already feel like a clown for suggesting they will be viable this week”). All that is to say that I am not sold on Rex Burkhead as a reliable RB starter, but volume is king, and he appears to at least have that alongside a matchup on deck with Seattle, fantasy’s second-most generous defense to opposing RBs. I will not sugarcoat that the Texans are a scuffling offense with a weak supporting cast that might otherwise boost Burkhead’s value. However, Burkhead has had some solid performances throughout his career (running and receiving) and is as good a bet as any Texan to score on the rare occasion they drive the ball into the red zone. He is a fringe RB3/RB4 for Week 14.
Samaje Perine (RB, Cincinnati Bengals)
Sony Michel was last week’s featured handcuff who ascended into a starting role and may have won some weeks, so instead of tossing out another name I am not sold on (like Burkhead), I think it would be more beneficial to highlight Perine as this week’s priority backup heading into the fantasy playoffs. Joe Mixon has taken on an immense workload this season and has already missed practice this week, so Perine needs to be proactively added to rosters whether you have Mixon or not in case he becomes the starter. He is a low-risk, high-reward add for any teams with roster space and is capable of producing as a runner and receiver. Leave him benched if Mixon plays and start as an RB2 if he is the lead back in Week 14.
RB Streamers (ranked): Sony Michel (58% ESPN, priority handcuff), D’Onta Foreman, Rex Burkhead, Tevin Coleman, Darrel Williams, Dontrell Hilliard, Adrian Peterson, Ameer Abdullah, Ty Johnson, Rashaad Penny, Mike Davis, Latavius Murray, J.D. McKissic, Carlos Hyde, Devontae Booker, Zack Moss (check status), Samaje Perine, Jeremy McNichols, Ronald Jones II, Matt Breida, Kene Nwangwu, Jermar Jefferson, Jeff Wilson Jr, Peyton Barber, Khalil Herbert, JaMycal Hasty, Travis Homer, Giovani Bernard, DeeJay Dallas, David Johnson, Rhamondre Stevenson (bye – stash), Michael Carter (IR – stash).
* K.J. Osborn (WR, Minnesota Vikings)
The Vikings’ passing game has really only been able to support two receivers in recent years, so it has not been surprising to see Osborn largely on the outside looking in up to this point as the third WR. Now with Adam Thielen (high-ankle sprain) likely out for multiple weeks, the 2020 fifth-round pick Osborn will get his chance to showcase more of the skills he has displayed in limited opportunities. Among the 35 catches he has brought in this season, he has six plays of 20+ receiving yards, including a team-longest 64-yard receiving play. Osborn is a back-end WR3 who could provide nice depth on your roster down the stretch if Thielen has an extended absence.
Marquez Valdes-Scantling (WR, Green Bay Packers)
If you need a steady, reliable WR that will not burn you even in a worst-case scenario, Valdes-Scantling is… probably not your guy. He has flashed impressive downfield and big-play ability on multiple occasions throughout his career only to dash the hopes of fantasy managers the following week with a complete dud performance. I am not saying that things will suddenly be different this time, but the Packers have now gone several seasons without establishing a true #2 pass-catcher behind Davante Adams, leaving it an open yet unpredictable role to fill each time Green Bay takes the field. The past two games, with Aaron Jones and Randall Cobb ailing prior to the Packers’ Week 13 bye, Valdes-Scantling has seen 19 targets and continues to lead the NFL in average targeted air yards (18.3). While you surely love the volume and depth of his targets, the trade-off has been an uninspiring 44% catch rate that can really bottom-out your scoring when those downfield targets fail to connect. Consider MVS a boom-bust WR3 for Week 14.
WR Streamers (ranked): Van Jefferson (66-69%), Russell Gage, Christian Kirk (55% ESPN), Marvin Jones Jr, K.J. Osborn, Tyler Boyd, Cole Beasley (66% Yahoo), Tim Patrick, Marquez Valdes-Scantling, Jamison Crowder, Emmanuel Sanders, Amon-Ra St. Brown, Josh Reynolds, Jalen Guyton, Kenny Golladay, A.J. Green, Laviska Shenault Jr., Tre’Quan Smith, Nick Westbrook-Ikhine, Julio Jones (67% Yahoo, stash), Robby Anderson, Marquez Callaway, Rashod Bateman, Donovan Peoples-Jones, Rondale Moore, DeSean Jackson, Gabriel Davis, Sterling Shepard (check status), Allen Lazard, DeAndre Carter, Kadarius Toney, Bryan Edwards, Sammy Watkins, Curtis Samuel, Olamide Zaccheaus, Randall Cobb, Mecole Hardman.
Gerald Everett (TE, Seattle Seahawks)
As much as I strive to feature fresh names in this article each week, I think we have just about reached our critical limit at the TE position. If a player has been consistent enough to warrant a weekly starting spot up to this point, they are most likely over 65%-rostered in all but the shallowest of leagues. Tyler Conklin, Ricky Seals-Jones, and Jared Cook are my favorite “under the radar” streamers this week due to what I feel will be an uptick in volume and I have to give one last call for Pat Freirmuth if you need help at TE in any way.
My new name this week, despite an ugly Week 13 performance where he caught four balls for 18 yards and somehow lost fantasy points with a couple of turnovers, is Gerald Everett. This is a desperation play that assumes Everett can sustain the target volume he has seen lately (averaging 6.75 targets over his last four games) and continue to catch balls at a high rate (77.27% catch rate is seventh-best overall in NFL). The TE position has brought some unexpected contributors to the every-week start tier this year, but this week’s crop does not have much upside to offer overall.
TE Streamers (ranked): Pat Freiermuth (67-68% rostered), Zach Ertz (63% ESPN), Tyler Conklin, Ricky Seals-Jones, Jared Cook, Foster Moreau, Gerald Everett, Evan Engram, Cole Kmet, C.J. Uzomah, Austin Hooper, James O’Shaughnessy, Donald Parham Jr., Albert Okwuegbunam, Ryan Griffin, Brevin Jordan, Cameron Brate, Nick Vannett, Geoff Swaim, Anthony Firkser, David Njoku, Kyle Rudolph, Josiah Deguara, O.J. Howard, Hunter Henry (50% ESPN, bye – stash).
Accountability is everything, so here’s a quick look back at last week’s recommendations
Sony Michel (RB, Los Angeles Rams): Michel proved why priority handcuff RBs need to be rostered last week, turning in a rock-solid stat line of 24 carries for 121 rushing yards and a score along with three catches on four targets for eight receiving yards. Keep him locked up for the postseason as you monitor the Rams’ backfield health.
Matt Breida (RB, Buffalo Bills): It was an ugly game overall on Monday Night Football and Breida was no exception, finishing with just one carry for three yards and one catch for five yards. Buffalo’s RB situation is one to best avoid and Breida is an easy drop candidate.
T.Y. Hilton (WR, Indianapolis Colts): At long last, T.Y.’s magic against Houston finally wore off. He caught both of his targets for 22 receiving yards, but was not needed in a game the Colts dominated from the jump. Another easy drop candidate.
Russell Gage (WR, Atlanta Falcons): Gage exceeded all expectations as the beneficiary to the double and triple-teaming of Kyle Pitts, hauling in an outstanding 11-of-12 targets for 130 yards. Keep Gage rostered in PPR leagues at the very least as a WR3.
Logan Thomas (TE, Washington Football Team): As has been the unfortunate case in recent seasons, Thomas returned from injury, played well (three catches, five targets, 35 yards, TD), then got hurt again. He is a bankable and worthy player to roster when healthy, but you can drop him now that he is returning to IR.
Make sure to check out AJ Passman’s priority waiver wire adds article every Tuesday for more insights on who you should be submitting claims for heading into each Wednesday. Good luck in Week 14!
(Photo by Ian Johnson/Icon Sportswire)