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

Maurice Moton@@MoeMotonFeatured ColumnistDecember 6, 2021

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

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    Danny Karnik/Associated Press

    Fantasy football managers should think twice before they bench fringe starters in tough matchups. 

    Several top performers from Sunday's games will face stout defenses in Week 14. Typically, managers avoid these matchups, but a featured running back primed to log 12-15 carries just needs a touchdown or a couple of receptions to finish with a decent fantasy stat line.

    Similarly, a lead wideout can put together a solid outing against a stingy pass defense if he's in line for more than a handful of targets. With a couple of looks in the red zone, that pass-catcher can convert targets into production. 

    For Week 14, we'll take a look at a few players who will face formidable defensive obstacles but are still worth consideration on the waiver wire and free-agent pool. All the selections are rostered in fewer than 60 percent of Yahoo leagues.

Top Breakout Candidates and Pickups for Week 14

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    Steph Chambers/Getty Images

    Taysom Hill, QB, New Orleans Saints at New York Jets (34 percent rostered)

    Tevin Coleman, RB, New York Jets vs. New Orleans Saints (41 percent rostered)

    Dontrell Hilliard, RB, Tennessee Titans vs. Jacksonville Jaguars (40 percent rostered)

    Rashaad Penny, RB, Seattle Seahawks at Houston Texans (6 percent rostered)

    DeVante Parker, WR, Miami Dolphins vs. Bye week (52 percent rostered)

    Russell Gage, WR, Atlanta Falcons at Carolina Panthers (34 percent rostered)

    Josh Reynolds, WR, Detroit Lions at Denver Broncos (4 percent rostered)

    Tyler Conklin, TE, Minnesota Vikings vs. Pittsburgh Steelers (29 percent rostered)

Taysom Hill, QB, New Orleans Saints

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    Jonathan Bachman/Getty Images

    On Thursday against the Dallas Cowboys, Taysom Hill had a rough night, throwing for 264 yards, two touchdowns and four interceptions. He played through a finger injury for most of the game.

    According to ESPN's Adam Schefter, Hill suffered a mallet finger injury, which is similar to what sidelined Seattle Seahawks quarterback Russell Wilson for several weeks, but he has a less severe issue and will try to push through it. 

    Though Hill's finger injury raises some concerns, he's a valuable fantasy asset because of his rushing ability. Despite his subpar passing numbers against the Cowboys, the Saints quarterback still racked up 24.66 fantasy points—thanks in part to his 101 rushing yards. 

    If Hill continues to suit up, he's a top-10 quarterback for the remainder of the campaign because of his dual-threat capability. While his passing yard totals may look underwhelming on paper, the versatile signal-caller often records big numbers on the ground. 

    In Week 14, Hill faces a New York Jets defense that gave up the most points and second-most yards leaguewide going into Sunday's games.

Tevin Coleman, RB, New York Jets

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    Seth Wenig/Associated Press

    Tevin Coleman isn't a flashy name on the pickup list, but he's clearly the lead ball-carrier in the New York Jets backfield, which raises his fantasy value for at least another week.

    Coleman has handled the lion's share of the rushing workload while rookie running back Michael Carter nurses a high ankle sprain. On injured reserve, the latter is eligible to return in Week 15 against the Miami Dolphins.

    In the meantime, managers can add Coleman and plug him into their flex spot for next week's matchup with the New Orleans Saints. Over the last two contests, he's recorded 27 carries for 125 yards. Quarterback Zach Wilson has also targeted him seven times during that stretch.

    This season, the Saints have fielded a stingy run defense that ranked fifth in yards allowed going into Sunday's games, but the unit gave up 146 yards and a touchdown to the Dallas Cowboys in Week 13. As Gang Green's featured running back, Coleman has streamer appeal because of his touch volume.

Russell Gage, WR, Atlanta Falcons

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    Phelan M. Ebenhack/Associated Press

    Russell Gage feasted on the Tampa Bay Buccaneers pass defense as the Atlanta Falcons trailed through the second half of Sunday's game. He hauled in 11 of his 12 targets for 130 yards.

    With fellow wideout Calvin Ridley out for personal reasons, Gage has become the Falcons' lead receiver over the past few weeks. He's commanded at least seven targets and caught five passes in each of the last three games.

    Coming off a career-high 130 receiving yards, Gage could keep his momentum going while Ridley remains out. He'll face the Carolina Panthers' stingy pass defense, which ceded the fewest yards through Week 12, but the fourth-year veteran should have plenty of opportunities in the passing game with his target share. 

    Keep in mind, the Falcons don't have a timetable for Ridley's return, so managers should hold on to Gage until the former rejoins the team.

Tyler Conklin, TE, Minnesota Vikings

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    Duane Burleson/Associated Press

    Through the first three months of the season, Tyler Conklin has flashed on the fantasy radar as the Minnesota Vikings' starting tight end in place of Irv Smith Jr., who underwent surgery on his meniscus in September.

    Wide receiver Adam Thielen exited the first quarter of Sunday's game with the Detroit Lions because of an ankle injury and didn't return. He may have an uphill battle to play on a short turnaround as the Vikings prepare to take the field with the Pittsburgh Steelers Thursday.

    Without Thielen, Conklin could have a solid outing with an expanded role in the passing attack. In Sunday's game against the Lions, he finished second on the team in targets (nine), receptions (seven) and yards (56).

    In Week 13, Mark Andrews caught four passes for 50 yards against the Steelers. Though he's a more accomplished tight end than Conklin, the latter could post solid fantasy numbers if Thielen sits out.


    Fantasy scoring and points allowed provided by FantasyPros.

    Maurice Moton is an NFL and Fantasy Football columnist for Bleacher Report. You can follow him on Twitter @MoeMoton.