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

Maurice Moton@@MoeMotonFeatured ColumnistDecember 2, 2019

PITTSBURGH, PA - DECEMBER 01:  James Washington #13 of the Pittsburgh Steelers reacts after making a catch against Denzel Ward #21 of the Cleveland Browns in the second half on December 1, 2019 at Heinz Field in Pittsburgh, Pennsylvania.  (Photo by Justin K. Aller/Getty Images)
Justin K. Aller/Getty Images

Following Sunday's action, managers should pay close attention to the wide receiver position. Several underachieving players have re-emerged as viable starting options for the coming weeks.

Wide receivers for both New York football teams are back on the fantasy radar because of target volume and production over the last couple of games.

As Pittsburgh Steelers wideout JuJu Smith-Schuster recovers from a knee injury, one pass-catcher has stepped into the spotlight as a solid fantasy play with upside.

In addition to multiple wide receivers trending up, a pair of tight ends could also boost your point total in the TE1 and flex spots.

For some leagues, the postseason will start next week, so the list below will emphasize players who could bolster your roster for Week 14 and beyond. All of the breakout candidates and top pickups are owned in fewer than 70 percent of Yahoo leagues as of Sunday 7:45 p.m. ET.

     

Top Breakout Candidates and Week 14 Pickups

QB Ryan Tannehill, Tennessee Titans (39 percent owned)

QB Jared Goff, Los Angeles Rams (68 percent owned)

RB Derrius Guice, Washington Redskins (50 percent owned)

WR James Washington, Pittsburgh Steelers (22 percent owned)

WR Sterling Shepard, New York Giants (58 percent owned)

WR Robby Anderson, New York Jets (57 percent owned)

WR Mohamed Sanu, New England Patriots (62 percent owned)

TE Jack Doyle, Indianapolis Colts (55 percent owned)

TE Mike Gesicki, Miami Dolphins (19 percent owned)

      

RB Derrius Guice, Washington Redskins (50 percent owned)

CHARLOTTE, NORTH CAROLINA - DECEMBER 01: Derrius Guice #29 of the Washington Redskins reacts after running for a touchdown against the Carolina Panthers during their game at Bank of America Stadium on December 01, 2019 in Charlotte, North Carolina. (Photo
Streeter Lecka/Getty Images

The Washington Redskins bludgeoned the Carolina Panthers run defense with 30 carries for 248 yards Sunday. Derrius Guice recorded a career-high 129 rushing yards and two touchdowns. He registered the most fantasy points (27.70) among running backs in points-per-reception leagues before Sunday Night Football.

In September, Guice underwent knee surgery to repair a torn meniscus, but he seems relatively healthy, logging 10 carries in back-to-back weeks. The second-year tailback will continue to share the workload with Adrian Peterson, who logged 13 rush attempts for 99 yards and a score in Sunday's contest.

Going forward, Guice is a decent RB2 or flex play in favorable matchups. The Panthers ranked 27th in run defense before Sunday's game, and Washington had no issues pounding the football with its top two ball-carriers.

Next week, the Redskins will face the Green Bay Packers' 26th-ranked run defense, which is another good matchup for Guice and Peterson. If the former handles 10-12 carries in the upcoming contest, he'll likely put up double-digit fantasy points.

     

WR James Washington, Pittsburgh Steelers (22 percent owned)

Frank Victores/Associated Press

Quarterback Devlin Hodges and wide receiver James Washington have a budding rapport on the field. They've connected for a touchdown in consecutive games.

In Week 12, the Steelers benched quarterback Mason Rudolph for Hodges, and the passing offense has made some strides with Washington as the lead pass-catcher. The second-year wideout has registered seven receptions for 209 yards along with a pair of touchdowns over the last two outings.

In the next contest, the Steelers will go on the road to match up against the Arizona Cardinals, who gave up the second-most receiving yards and touchdowns through 12 weeks. The unit surrendered 424 yards and two scores to Los Angeles Rams quarterback Jared Goff on Sunday.

Fantasy owners may not trust Hodges yet, but Washington's big-play ability against one of the league's most generous pass defenses sounds like an ideal play in the WR2 spot.

     

WR Sterling Shepard, New York Giants (58 percent owned)

CHICAGO, ILLINOIS - NOVEMBER 24:  Sterling Shepard #87 of the New York Giants runs for yards during a game against the Chicago Bears at Soldier Field on November 24, 2019 in Chicago, Illinois.  The Bears defeated the Giants 19-14.  (Photo by Stacy Revere/
Stacy Revere/Getty Images

Sterling Shepard didn't post big numbers against the Green Bay Packers on Sunday, logging three receptions for 40 yards and a touchdown, but the New York Giants have a schedule that's favorable to their passing attack.

In the final four weeks of the season, Big Blue will face the Philadelphia Eagles (twice), Miami Dolphins and Redskins. All three clubs ranked 17th or worse in passing touchdowns allowed going into Week 13. Each unit surrendered at least two more scores Sunday.

Wide receiver Golden Tate (concussion) and tight end Evan Engram (foot) could cut into Shepard's volume in the passing game when or if they return to action, but the fourth-year wide receiver has been targeted at least seven times in all six of his appearances this season.

If Shepard is available, pick him up as a WR2 or flex option for the remainder of the year.

               

TE Jack Doyle, Indianapolis Colts (55 percent owned)

Michael Conroy/Associated Press

Jack Doyle's own percentage has crept into the 50s this week for two reasons.

For starters, the Indianapolis Colts placed tight end Eric Ebron on injured reserve. He'll have surgery on both ankles. Secondly, according to The Athletic's Zak Keefer, wide receiver T.Y. Hilton suffered a setback with his calf injury during Wednesday's practice. The team immediately ruled him out for Sunday's game against the Tennessee Titans.

Beyond the obvious observation that Ebron's absence likely means more targets for Doyle, also note that Hilton continues to struggle with injuries. He missed Week 4 against the Oakland Raiders with a quad ailment. In total, the eighth-year veteran has been sidelined for five contests.

Doyle caught six passes for 73 yards and a touchdown Sunday; he also led the Colts in targets (11).

Quarterback Jacoby Brissett has to throw the ball to someone consistently. Doyle doesn't stretch the field with big plays. He averaged a career-high 10.1 yards per reception going into Sunday's contest. Nonetheless, the 29-year-old has been a reliable pass-catching option with a 76.4 percent catch rate for his career.

Managers should keep Doyle on their rosters until Hilton goes through a week of practice and plays with a full snap count.

     

Fantasy point totals provided by FantasyPros.