Burning the Wire
Welcome back to another edition of Burning the Wire, brought to you by Turning Two Sports. We’ll be focusing in on the Week 14 waiver wire prospects for Fantasy Football this week. It’s a very, very important week for those of you still in contention. If this article means anything to you, it probably means you’ve made the playoffs in your league(s). If that’s the case, congratulations! You made it through phase 1. Things are a bit different in the playoffs. Whatever got you to this point may no longer apply. Kareem Hunt is not a top 5 running back, and Jordy Nelson may not be the slouch we’ve grown accustomed to when Mr. Rodgers comes back under center. My point is, have a short term memory and you’ll do just fine. Let’s take a look at what the waiver wire has for us for Week 14.
Josh McCown – McCown is really growing on me. He’s a savvy veteran who has been a part of multiple systems, and knows how to manage an offense against a tough defense. For that reason, his not-so-good rest of season schedule doesn’t really worry me. You cannot argue that the Jets skill players aren’t playing better with McCown than they have with anyone else under center in the last 5 years. Robby Anderson, Bilal Powell, Jermaine Kearse, Austin Sefarian-Jenkins come to mind first. McCown has the experience, the supporting cast, and the ability to carry you to a fantasy championship if you were lucky enough to make the playoffs as an Aaron Rodgers owner. If you owned Stafford, give a long look to McCown.
Jimmy Garoppolo – Jimmy G looked competent in his first start of the season for the 49ers. He didn’t throw a touchdown, and certainly didn’t set the league on fire like DeShaun Watson, but he was largely good. He neared 300 yards passing and led San Francisco to their second win of the season behind 5 field goals from Robbie Gould. Do whatever you can do to win the game right? Well, Jimmy did that on the road against a solid defense. Next up he gets Houston and Tennessee, who are both cupcake defenses if there ever was one defending the pass. Jimmy G may be QB1 level for the next two weeks, but beware of week 16 against Jacksonville.
Mike Davis – Davis dominated the snap count competition for Seattle this past Sunday night. He played 73% of the snaps. J.D. McKissic continues to be the passing down back, seeing 9 snaps. Lacy and Rawls each saw 3 snaps. It’s safe to say that Mike Davis has the inside track for this backfield job for the remainder of the year. His upcoming date with Jacksonville is daunting, but he then wraps things up with the Rams and the Cowboys. Davis is a must start flex in deep leagues, and could warrant some RB2 consideration down the stretch.
Kenyan Drake – He probably isn’t still available, but if he is treat this as your warning. Don’t leave him on the wire. With Damien Williams on the shelf, Drake exploded against the Broncos and had arguably the best Miami backfield performance of the season. Drake has looked good since Ajayi was traded. His concern was with lack of volume, but with Williams now down Drake will continue getting a ton of touches for the desperate Dolphins. He’s a must start moving forward as he closes with New England, Buffalo, and Kansas City.
Tarik Cohen – This is more of a consideration, but Jordan Howard has been struggling mightily and Cohen has resurfaced. While he still isn’t getting carries, he is catching the ball so he’s rosterable for PPR leagues. He’s also been dynamite on the punt return game, having found the endzone last week against the 49ers. He’s caught 4 passes in two of his last 3 games, and has a favorable schedule rest of season with Cincinnati, Detroit, and Cleveland. Of course, Howard is still the lead dog, but you MUST handcuff him with Cohen.
Marquise Goodwin – I have a startling feeling that Goodwin is going to win some people some fantasy leagues. Jimmy Garappolo is the best quarterback he’s had under center all season. With San Fran actually looking like a real offense, Goodwin benefits as a possession receiver. He’s clearly the best receiver left on the 49ers with Garcon out for the year. Goodwin has already developed a strong relationship with Jimmy G as evidenced by the 8 target, 8 reception, and 99 yard performance last week. Now that’s some efficiency. If you needed more reason to add him, his next two weeks see him face Houston and Tennessee. This also marks the third straight week that Goodwin has gone for over 10 points in PPR leagues. He’s by far the best add of the week.
Jermaine Kearse – If Kearse is still out there, go ahead and scoop him up. McCown, as I mentioned above, is a legitimate fantasy quarterback. He may be a lifelong journeyman, but he’s been in enough systems to know the ins and outs of the end-of-season stretch run. Between Robby Anderson and Kearse, the Jets have been getting tremendous wide receiver play this season. With now back to back weeks of over 20 PPR points, Kearse is looking like a definite start against a susceptible Broncos secondary, followed by a date with the Saints. The Jets defense has also been largely bad, which will mean the Jets are going to be slinging it all over the field to keep games close.
Mike Wallace – It took a while, but Flacco is finally starting to look like an NFL caliber quarterback in 2017. He’s finally hitting on those deep balls, and guess who that benefits? That’s right, Mike Wallace. He’s arguably still the most talented receiver on the team, and by far the top deep threat. With Flacco gaining confidence, we’ve now seen Wallace put up PPR point totals of 11.9, 15.5, 9.8, and 16.6. That’s WR2 level performance for a guy who is probably free for you. He’s also found the endzone in 3 of his last 4 games, and the one game he did not he actually received 11 targets. He’s heavily involved, always a threat to break a big play, and right on the WR2 radar for your stretch run.
Cameron Brate – If Brate was dropped during Winston’s sabbatical, go ahead and add him back. Winston loves him some Brate, so much so that when Winston is under center Brate puts up top 5 TE numbers. When Winston isn’t under center, Brate is not even roster worthy in your 12 teamers. Brate was terrible weeks 9 through 12, which correlates to Winston’s injury to his shoulder. Outside of that, there aren’t many tight ends outside of Gronk, Kelce, and Ertz who can do what Brate does in the redzone.
Hunter Henry – This is another guy who may or may not be available in your leagues. After falling out of favor with Rivers for much of the year, Henry has bounced back with a pair of TE1 lines of 5/76/1 and 7/81. He also has a favorable rest of season schedule with promising matchups against Washington and the NY Jets, plus a matchup with Kansas City. The Chiefs defense struggles majorly, so I’m not concerned with starting Henry on any of these next 3 weeks.
Defense / Special Teams
Green Bay – Normally I don’t plug defenses, but week 14 warrants some consideration for the Packers who will draw the lottery ticket of playing the Cleveland Browns. Believe it or not, I thought the Browns would improve this year over last. Somehow they haven’t. Kizer is a turnover and sack machine, and I fully expect Green Bay to obliterate them up front with that underwhelming offensive line. The Packers defense isn’t anything special in their own right, but you are playing the opponent with this plug. In a week where streaming defenses is rough, Green Bay stands out above the rest.
There you have it for Burning the Wire Week 14. Get those claims in for your leagues! Thanks you all for reading, and good luck conquering that stretch run.