Fantasy Football Week 14 Rankings: Top Pickups After Latest Injuries

Joe Tansey@JTansey90Featured ColumnistDecember 7, 2019

Pittsburgh Steelers wide receiver James Washington (13) plays against the Cleveland Browns during an NFL football game, Sunday, Dec. 1, 2019, in Pittsburgh. (AP Photo/Gene J. Puskar)
Gene J. Puskar/Associated Press

One bad waiver-wire pickup could doom a fantasy football season in Week 14.

With a handful of fantasy stars on the bench because of injuries, some late pickups could be difference-makers in first-round playoff matchups. 

The list of top additions ranges from an experienced quarterback with consistent numbers to a tight end looking to recapture December magic from a year ago. 

But the best acquisition could be a wide receiver taking advantage of his opportunity by connecting with a backup signal-caller. 

                 

Quarterback

1. Aaron Rodgers, Green Bay (vs. Washington)

2. Lamar Jackson, Baltimore (at Buffalo) 

3. Deshaun Watson, Houston (vs. Denver)

4. Kirk Cousins, Minnesota (vs. Detroit) 

5. Russell Wilson, Seattle (at Los Angeles Rams) 

6. Patrick Mahomes, Kansas City (at New England) 

7. Carson Wentz, Philadelphia (vs. New York Giants) 

8. Jameis Winston, Tampa Bay (vs. Indianapolis) 

9. Matt Ryan, Atlanta (vs. Carolina) 

10. Tom Brady, New England (vs. Kansas City) 

            

Injury Report

New York Giants quarterback Daniel Jones did not practice again Friday because of an ankle injury, per Dan Salomone of Giants.com

That sets up Eli Manning with a return to the starting role Monday versus Philadelphia. 

Before he was benched, the 38-year-old played in 234 straight games. Jones is out after starting 11 games, as SNY's Ralph Vacchiano noted. 

With Matthew Stafford still out and Jeff Driskel on injured reserve, David Blough is in line for his second Detroit Lions start. 

Tom Brady was removed from New England's injury report Friday, per NESN.com's Zack Cox. He was previously listed this week with elbow and toe issues. 

             

Top Pickup

Ryan Fitzpatrick, Miami 

Brynn Anderson/Associated Press

The last time Ryan Fitzpatrick faced the New York Jets, he racked up 288 passing yards and three touchdowns in a victory. 

In the last two weeks, he threw five touchdown passes, including three in the surprising Week 13 victory over Philadelphia. 

Additionally, the 37-year-old has at least 280 passing yards in his last three AFC East clashes. 

The Jets have allowed over 200 yards to an opposing quarterback in six of their last eight contests, and they are coming off an embarrassing performance versus Cincinnati. 

Since Adam Gase's team possesses a rushing defense that has not allowed triple digits in five weeks and the Dolphins have lacked a primary running back, Fitzpatrick will be relied upon to deliver most of the offensive production. 

While adding Manning is an intriguing prospect, the Giants produced 31 points in his two starts in which he had two touchdowns and a pair of interceptions. 

The numbers prior to his benching are not significant enough to think he will come back into the lineup and thrive, which is why you should snag Fitzpatrick while you can if you are affected by the injury bug. 

           

Running Back

1. Derrick Henry, Tennessee (at Oakland)

2. Christian McCaffrey, Carolina (at Atlanta)

3. Nick Chubb, Cleveland (vs. Cincinnati)

4. Leonard Fournette, Jacksonville (vs. Los Angeles Chargers)

5. Dalvin Cook, Minnesota (vs. Detroit) 

6. Aaron Jones, Green Bay (vs. Washington)

7. Alvin Kamara, New Orleans (vs. San Francisco) 

8. Melvin Gordon, Los Angeles Chargers (at Jacksonville) 

9. Saquon Barkley, New York Giants (at Philadelphia)

10. Josh Jacobs, Oakland (vs. Tennessee) 

         

Injury Report

According to The Athletic's Stephen Holder, Indianapolis head coach Frank Reich said Marlon Mack "will play barring any setbacks" Sunday against Tampa Bay. 

Mack was absent from the Colts' Week 12 and 13 contests with a fractured right hand. 

After leaving Monday's loss to Seattle, Minnesota's Dalvin Cook declared himself ready for Sunday's NFC North tilt in Detroit, per NFL Network's Tom Pelissero.

However, the running back injury news is not great for Kansas City and Pittsburgh. 

Chiefs running back Damien Williams was ruled out of the trip to New England with a rib injury, per the franchise's injury report. 

That leaves LeSean McCoy and Darwin Thompson to handle the bulk of the carries with Darrel Williams already on injured reserve. 

James Conner, who has played once since Week 8, was ruled out of Pittsburgh's clash with Arizona in the team's Friday injury update

Mike Tomlin has called on a variety of running backs to replace the 24-year-old, but none of them have made a significant fantasy impact to warrant an addition from the waiver wire. 

            

Top Pickup 

Alexander Mattison, Minnesota

Duane Burleson/Associated Press

Even with Cook feeling fine, Alexander Mattison should receive a good chunk of touches. 

In Week 13, he earned 73 total yards on four receptions and four carries. 

His production could increase against a futile Detroit defense that has allowed the fourth-most total yards and 11th-most rushing yards in the NFL. 

In their Week 7 meeting, the Vikings ran for 166 yards, the third-highest ground total conceded by Matt Patricia's team. 

In the 42-30 win, Cook received 25 carries, while Mattison earned seven touches out of the backfield. 

Since Minnesota has tougher matchups ahead with Green Bay and Chicago, Sunday could be a perfect time to manage Cook's production while allowing the rookie out of Boise State to earn more playing time. 

Mattison earned over 10 carries on three occasions, and if the Lions continue to be gashed for yards, he could be one of the beneficiaries. 

                          

Wide Receiver

1. Michael Thomas, New Orleans (vs. San Francisco) 

2. Davante Adams, Green Bay (vs. Washington)

3. DeAndre Hopkins, Houston (vs. Denver) 

4. Tyreek Hill, Kansas City (at New England)

5. Mike Evans, Tampa Bay (vs. Indianapolis) 

6. Chris Godwin, Tampa Bay (vs. Indianapolis) 

7. Cooper Kupp, Los Angeles Rams (vs. Seattle) 

8. D.J. Moore, Carolina (at Atlanta) 

9. Julian Edelman, New England (vs. Kansas City) 

10. Julio Jones, Atlanta (vs. Carolina) 

           

Injury Report

The Vikings tweeted Friday that Adam Thielen is doubtful for Week 14.

Thielen has not caught a pass since Week 7, and Kirk Cousins has relied on a handful of contributors, like Kyle Rudolph, Irv Smith and Olabisi Johnson, in his absence. 

JuJu Smith-Schuster will miss his third straight contest Sunday after the Steelers declared him out along with Conner. 

In Week 14's win over Cleveland, Devlin Hodges connected with James Washington on four occasions and Vance McDonald three times without his top target. 

Owners of Julio Jones received good news Friday, as it was announced he will play versus Carolina, per Falcons.com's William McFadden

Jones hauled in six passes for 91 receiving yards in Atlanta's first meeting with the Panthers in Week 11. 

                

Top Pickup

James Washington, Pittsburgh 

Frank Victores/Associated Press

Washington's recent success is tied to Hodges' return under center. 

The pair hooked up for a 79-yard touchdown in Week 13 against the Bengals, and the Oklahoma State product hauled in four catches for 111 yards and a score Sunday versus Cleveland. 

With Smith-Schuster and Conner out, Washington is one of the few reliable options the Steelers can call on as they look to remain in the AFC's No. 6 seed. 

The 23-year-old could be in for another breakout performance against an Arizona defense that allowed 825 passing yards in its last two games. 

If you go back further, Kliff Kingsbury's side has not held an opponent under 300 passing yards since Week 7. 

              

Tight End

1. Travis Kelce, Kansas City (at New England)

2. George Kittle, San Francisco (at New Orleans)

3. Zach Ertz, Philadelphia (vs. New York Giants) 

4. Mark Andrews, Baltimore (at Buffalo) 

5. Hunter Henry, Los Angeles Chargers (at Jacksonville) 

6. Jack Doyle, Indianapolis (at Tampa Bay) 

7. Darren Waller, Oakland (vs. Tennessee)

8. Jared Cook. New Orleans (vs. San Francisco)

9. Tyler Higbee, Los Angeles Rams (vs. Seattle) 

10. Ryan Griffin, New York Jets (vs. Miami) 

                

Injury Report

In addition to Jones, Austin Hooper will return to the Atlanta lineup Sunday. 

Before missing three games with an MCL sprain, the tight end put together a four-game scoring streak and had at least four receptions in each of his 10 appearances. 

While Hooper could be a boost to some lineups, other owners have to look for replacements for Gerald Everett and Greg Olsen. 

Everett is out for the second straight week with a knee injury, while Olsen is dealing with a concussion. 

In Week 13, the Rams turned to Tyler Higbee, who had seven catches for 107 yards and a touchdown. 

In place of Olsen, the Panthers will call on Ian Thomas to slide into a larger role for the trip to Atlanta. 

               

Top Pickup

Ian Thomas, Carolina 

Bill Feig/Associated Press

Thomas came alive in the Carolina offense at this time a year ago.

In Weeks 13-16 of 2018, Thomas caught 20 passes for 200 yards and a pair of touchdowns. 

In his December meeting with Atlanta, the 23-year-old brought in four of his five targets for 48 yards and a score. 

Thomas re-emerged Sunday with four receptions and 24 yards in the loss to Washington, and with Olsen out again, he will be Kyle Allen's top tight end target. 

Of course, risk comes with picking him up because Christian McCaffrey, DJ Moore and Curtis Samuel demand attention in the passing game. 

Although the Falcons picked off Allen four times on November 17, he still put up 325 passing yards, 57 of which went to Olsen. 

If those targets go directly to Thomas, he could be in line for a second straight late-season surge. 

               

Follow Joe on Twitter, @JTansey90

Statistics obtained from Pro Football Reference

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