Fantasy Football Week 14 Waiver-Wire Must-Adds
It's crunch time for fantasy football owners.
As some leagues transition to the postseason while others have berths up for grabs, the coming weeks represent the most important stretch of waiver-wire decision-making.
Waiver adds need to walk a fine line between instant production and stash material. Getting some of the latter is great—but it doesn't matter if a dash of the former doesn't spur immediate wins.
Luckily for fantasy owners, Week 13's action created ample opportunities for players at all notable offensive positions that straddle this line. These top pickups are owned in fewer than 60 percent of Yahoo leagues.
QB Ryan Tannehill, Tennessee Titans (39 Percent Owned)
Ryan Tannehill's ownership percentage has steadily increased over the last few weeks while the Tennessee Titans largely cruise.
And yet, one has to wonder why it isn't higher.
Over his last four starts, Tannehill has hit on outings of 25-plus points twice. He had a hard time in Week 13 against Indianapolis with 13.78 points, yet he tossed two touchdowns, just as he has in three of his last four appearances.
Tannehill offers a nice instant return in Week 14 thanks to a good-looking matchup with Oakland, whose defense entered the week permitting the fifth-most points to opposing quarterbacks on average before giving up another 19-plus to Patrick Mahomes.
Gardner Minshew II, QB, Jacksonville Jaguars (8 Percent Owned)
It's Minshew time for the Jacksonville Jaguars.
The Jaguars sat down big-money man Nick Foles halfway through a defeat at the hands of Tampa Bay. Gardner Minshew II came in on short notice and threw one score and a pick, good for 11.68 points.
Looking ahead, Minshew has some nice upside if the Jaguars stick to their guns and keep him in games. He hit on 21 or more points three times as a starter over a four-week stretch in October.
His immediate opponent, the Los Angeles Chargers, just coughed up two passing scores to Denver's Drew Lock. He also gets soft Oakland and Atlanta defenses, who entered this week slotted fifth and sixth, respectively, in points allowed to opposing passers.
Darwin Thompson, RB, Kansas City Chiefs (5 Percent Owned)
Darwin Thompson might get hot right at the perfect time for playoff-bound owners who need a surprise contributor.
Any running back in an Andy Reid offense, let alone one playing with Patrick Mahomes, is worth rostering. Thompson is no exception now that the path to notable usage might be clear.
Damien Williams missed the Kansas City Chiefs' 40-9 throttling of the Oakland Raiders in Week 13, and Darrel Williams suffered a hamstring injury during the contest. Down to Thompson and LeSean McCoy, the Chiefs gave 11 carries to the former and five to the latter.
Thompson turned his brief, unexpected workload into 10.4 points on 44 yards and a score, which could be a sign of things to come if his backfield mates keep missing time. As always with running backs, usage often trumps matchups, so savvy owners who are willing to gamble should look at Thompson.
RB Derrius Guice, Washington Redskins (50 Percent Owned)
It just seemed like a matter of time with Derrius Guice.
A top-60 pick who saw his rookie year and a chunk of this season dashed by injury, Guice has steadily worked his way into more playing time with the Washington Redskins at the expense of Adrian Peterson.
That culminated in Guice's Week 13 outburst of 26.7 points on 129 yards and two scores during a 29-21 win over the Carolina Panthers.
Granted, Guice is bound to regress. He isn't going to average 12.9 yards per carry or score twice every game. But his talent has always been obvious, and if the Redskins want to keep winning games, he'll see more than the 10 carries he got (13 for Peterson), as well as the three targets.
Owners in need of a short turnaround can rest easy: Guice next gets a Green Bay Packers team that entered Week 13 ranked right behind the Panthers in the top four in average points permitted to opposing running backs.
Raheem Mostert, RB, San Francisco 49ers (13 Percent Owned)
Raheem Mostert could quickly turn into a playoff-altering player.
Whether Mostert can sustain his play is hard to say. But in the short term, the San Francisco 49ers running back is a threat to put up big numbers. He technically started behind Tevin Coleman in Week 13 but collected 22.4 points on 19 carries for 146 yards and a score, plus two receptions on two targets.
Meanwhile, Coleman was targeted once and carried it five times for six yards.
Usage-wise, the proverbial writing seems to be on the wall. An eventual return from an ankle injury for Matt Breida looms as a threat. Even so, Mostert's efficiency could mean he still gets a nice chunk of the workload based on production and trying to keep Breida healthy for the NFL playoffs.
Patrick Laird, RB, Miami Dolphins (1 Percent Owned)
It's a good time to need help at running back.
Patrick Laird is far from a household name, hence the small ownership percentage. But the Miami Dolphins running back rumbled his way to 14.8 points on 10 carries with a score and a two-point conversion.
An injury to starter Kalen Ballage was of the non-contact variety, so moving forward, the backfield split goes to Myles Gaskin and Laird. On Sunday, Laird out-carried Gaskin 10-2 and also had five targets compared to one for Gaskin.
The Miami offense, which just put up 37 points in a win, is starting to click. Even if Gaskin eats up more of the carries in the coming weeks, Laird will have a big chance to produce through the air.
WR James Washington, Pittsburgh Steelers (22 Percent Owned)
It's incredible Pittsburgh Steelers wideout James Washington's ownership percentage isn't higher.
Quarterback name power and trust play a part, yet Washington has now scored 16 or more points in three of his last four outings. Perhaps second- and third-team reps with non-Ben Roethlisberger players over the summer and preseason have paid off. In Week 13, Washington scored a season-high 19.1 points while catching passes from Devlin Hodges.
Washington finished second on the team in targets with just four, but the game served as an announcement that the 2018 second-round pick will produce with anyone under center.
He has good now/later balance too thanks to his explosiveness, and the "now" looks great with a Week 14 matchup against the Arizona Cardinals. They ranked in the top 10 in points allowed to opposing wideouts before coughing up 15-plus to two different Los Angeles Rams receivers this week.
Mike Gesicki, TE, Miami Dolphins (19 Percent Owned)
Mike Gesicki is hardly a household name, but his last two weeks might have propelled unexpected owners to the playoffs while knocking others from the running.
The Miami Dolphins tight end has been a big part of the offensive resurgence around quarterback Ryan Fitzpatrick. He's scored a touchdown in each of his last two outings and breached double-digit points in each.
One could suggest Gesicki will regress in the touchdown department, but the fact that he's seen six or more targets in five consecutive games is encouraging. So are his two upcoming games against the teams from New York, which both entered Week 13 ranked in the top seven in points coughed up to his position.
Gesicki touched up the Jets, his Week 14 opponent, for six catches on as many targets for 95 yards and 12.5 points in Week 9.