Week 14 Waiver Wire: Fantasy Football's Top Breakout Candidates and Pickups

Michelle Bruton@@michelle_nflFeatured Columnist IVDecember 5, 2022

Week 14 Waiver Wire: Fantasy Football's Top Breakout Candidates and Pickups

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    New York Jets running back Zonovan Knight (27) runs up field during the first half of an NFL football game against the Minnesota Vikings, Sunday, Dec. 4, 2022, in Minneapolis. (AP Photo/Bruce Kluckhohn)
    AP Photo/Bruce Kluckhohn

    Sometimes there are players in fantasy football who, one week, may not warrant waiver-wire considerations but whom fantasy managers put on a mental "to watch" list. And it's always gratifying when those players continue that upward trajectory to become a bona fide "must add."

    This late in the season, it's hard for a player to break out and earn that consideration, but one such player who falls into that category is New York Jets running back Zonovan Knight, who has wrested the No. 1 role out of a crowded backfield.

    We'll take a closer look at why Knight is going to be the most sought-after player in your league this week, as well as break down a couple other players who are worthy of waiver considerations ahead of Week 14.

    For our purposes, for a player to be considered a "breakout" candidate, they must be rostered in 45 percent of leagues or fewer.

Zonovan Knight, RB, New York Jets

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    MINNEAPOLIS, MINNESOTA - DECEMBER 04: Akayleb Evans #21 of the Minnesota Vikings forces Zonovan Knight #27 of the New York Jets out of bounds during the second quarter at U.S. Bank Stadium on December 04, 2022 in Minneapolis, Minnesota. (Photo by Adam Bettcher/Getty Images)
    Adam Bettcher/Getty Images

    Rostered: 45 percent

    Week 13 stats: 15 att, 90 rush yds, 5 rec, 28 rec yds, 16.80 pts

    Zonovan Knight made his NFL debut last week, and it was an auspicious one: 69 rushing yards on 14 carries and 34 receiving yards. Naturally, fantasy managers mainly took a wait-and-see approach with Knight.

    Well, Knight's follow-up performance was better than his debut; the former undrafted free agent totaled 90 yards on the ground and added another 28 through the air for 16.80 points.

    NBC Sports EDGE Football @NBCSEdgeFB

    How many fantasy managers rolled with Zonovan Knight in Week 13?<br><br>He tallied 118 total yards for 16.8 PPR points. <a href="https://twitter.com/hashtag/TakeFlight?src=hash&amp;ref_src=twsrc%5Etfw">#TakeFlight</a> <a href="https://t.co/83KA9UZbEs">pic.twitter.com/83KA9UZbEs</a>

    Last week, he played 48 percent of snaps; even though he's part of a committee, the Jets can't deny the explosiveness Knight has brought to the offense.

    His 20 touches in Week 13 are evidence of that, and it appears that Knight, not James Robinson, will be "the guy" moving forward.

Jerick McKinnon, RB, Kansas City Chiefs

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    CINCINNATI, OHIO - DECEMBER 04: Jerick McKinnon #1 of the Kansas City Chiefs carries the ball against the Cincinnati Bengals during the first half at Paycor Stadium on December 04, 2022 in Cincinnati, Ohio. (Photo by Andy Lyons/Getty Images)
    Andy Lyons/Getty Images

    Rostered: 39 percent

    Week 13 stats: 8 att, 51 rush yds, 2 rec, 9 rec yds, 1 rec TD, 14.00 pts

    Jerick McKinnon has had an up-and-down season for the Chiefs, making him a tricky player for fantasy managers to pin down. For his double-digit scoring weeks (10.4 points in Week 9 and 11.8 points in Week 10), there have been weeks that he's scored less than 5.

    McKinnon's value comes from his usage on passing downs, and when he gets the opportunity, he's a great flex option to have on the bench.

    In Week 13, finding the end zone on one of his two receptions bumped his point total up to the highest he's seen all year, 14.

    However, if your league has 12 or fewer teams, McKinnon likely isn't going to be a high-priority waiver add. Writes FantasyPros' Ari Koslow, "He doesn't hold much fantasy value unless you are in a 14-team PPR league or deeper."

Isaiah Hodgins, WR, New York Giants

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    EAST RUTHERFORD, NEW JERSEY - DECEMBER 04: Isaiah Hodgins #18 of the New York Giants celebrates after scoring a touchdown in the third quarter of a game against the Washington Commanders at MetLife Stadium on December 04, 2022 in East Rutherford, New Jersey. (Photo by Al Bello/Getty Images)
    Al Bello/Getty Images

    Rostered: 0 percent

    Week 13 stats: 5 rec, 44 rec yds, 1 rec TD, 15.40 pts

    With Wan’Dale Robinson's torn ACL, which ended his season, the New York Giants' receiving corps has become something of an enigma late in the season. This week, any number of players could have stepped up, and Isaiah Hodgins seized the opportunity.

    Hodgins brought in five of his six targets (the second-most on the team behind Darius Slayton) for 44 yards, and caught his first NFL touchdown. Fans and analysts on Twitter praised his hands and route-running skills.

    Last week, Hodgins had his highest target total of the season. He's on a positive trajectory and is worth submitting a claim for if you're in a deep league or have injury problems at the position on your bench.

    Fantasy scoring totals and rostered percentages via FantasyPros