Playoffs? Playoffs! Let’s do this.
The postseason of ESPN Fantasy (at least for those leagues that use our default settings) kicks off this weekend, culminating in Week 17 when the NFL’s regular season concludes. It’s an exciting time of the year: Those who play fantasy football enjoy the opportunity to set lineups every week, but we do so with the intended goal of still setting lineups in the weeks ahead.
Here’s the reality: You probably don’t need to make overhauling changes at this point on your roster. You’ve made it this far because you likely drafted some players who have been weekly fixtures of your lineup. But you’ve also likely made it this far because you’ve augmented your original roster through the waiver wire.
Some players whose average draft position didn’t crack the top 160 — as in, they weren’t even drafted in 10-team leagues, our most popular format here in ESPN Fantasy — include Alvin Kamara, Robert Woods, Robby Anderson, JuJu Smith-Schuster, Dion Lewis and Devin Funchess. If you acquired any of those players, it was likely done through the waiver-wire process.
The lesson? Keep examining the waiver wire until your season concludes. It’s valuable.
So let’s get to the Week 14 ESPN Fantasy waiver wire column.
But before we do, let’s talk about Aaron Rodgers. While Rodgers does not qualify for this list because he is available in less than 50 percent of leagues (see note below), he is available in about 45 percent of leagues on ESPN.com and with a possible return in Week 15, he’s a must-add if you see him available. He plays, you start him. Take a look to see if A-Rod is still available.
Note: Players rostered in more than 50 percent of leagues are not considered eligible to appear in this column.
Jermaine Kearse, WR, New York Jets (39.0 percent): The Jets’ offense has far exceeded expectations this season and Kearse has been terrific of late. In the past two games, he has 16 catches for 262 yards and a touchdown. His targets are steady (29 in the past three games) and his quarterback (more on him soon) has been really effective. He’s an add in 12-team or larger leagues.
Josh McCown, QB, New York Jets (39.5 percent): Awesome. That’s what McCown has been from a fantasy perspective this season. Since Week 6 of the season, McCown has just one game with fewer than 15 fantasy points compared with four games in that same stretch with at least 20 points. He’s a solid quarterback to add and use on a matchup basis, especially if the current starting quarterback on your roster is struggling or faces a difficult foe.
Kenny Stills, WR, Miami Dolphins (46.0 percent): A player who has been a frequent visitor in this column, Stills had yet another effective game in Week 13, totaling five catches for 98 yards and a touchdown. He’s up to seven games this season with double-digit points in points-per-reception scoring. If you play in a deeper league (14-team or larger), he’s a weekly flex consideration.
Mike Davis, RB, Seattle Seahawks (2.9 percent): After missing a game with a groin injury, Davis returned to the lineup in Week 13 and tallied 14.1 points in PPR scoring. Davis combined for 20 touches via 16 rushes and four receptions, looking like the best Seahawks back we’ve seen this season since Chris Carson had his red-hot start prior to an injury. A difficult matchup with the Jaguars looms in Week 14, but anyone looking for running back depth should consider Davis.
Giovani Bernard, RB, Cincinnati Bengals (22.1 percent): After Joe Mixon suffered an injury (head/shoulder) in Week 13, Bernard stepped into a more prominent role for the Bengals’ backfield, which was previously thinned when Jeremy Hill was placed on injured reserve. If Mixon is unable to play in Week 14, Bernard — an excellent pass-catcher — projects to handle a substantial role and should be added in all leagues.
Peyton Barber, RB, Tampa Bay Buccaneers (0.9 percent): With Doug Martin out because of a concussion, Barber — not Jacquizz Rodgers — was counted on from the Buccaneers backfield. He delivered in a major way, carrying the ball 23 times for 102 yards and adding four catches for 41 yards. If Martin sits again in Week 14, Barber would merit flex consideration in a matchup against the Lions.
Kerwynn Williams, RB, Arizona Cardinals (5.4 percent): Williams fits a similar profile to Barber this week, as his role is dependent upon the health of the incumbent starter, Adrian Peterson. If Peterson (neck) misses another week because of injury, Williams will be on the flex radar. He handled 16 carries for an effective 97 yards in Week 13 and looked good in the expanded role.
Marquise Goodwin, WR, San Francisco 49ers (15.3 percent): The Jimmy Garoppolo era has begun in San Francisco and the early returns are positive. Goodwin caught all eight of his targets in Week 13 for 99 yards, his most catches in a game this season. While I’d like to see a bit more from the 49ers with Garoppolo before thrusting complete confidence in this passing attack, Goodwin would be the pass-catcher I’m most intrigued by and I view him as an add now to stash on your bench for the time being.
Rod Smith, RB, Dallas Cowboys (32.7 percent): While Alfred Morris had his best day as the replacement for Ezekiel Elliott as the Cowboys’ starting running back in Week 13, it’s worth noting that Smith did score for the second straight game. Although there are just two more weeks where Morris and Smith will fill in for Elliott, Smith is a consideration in a 12-team or larger league.
Trey Burton, TE, Philadelphia Eagles (1.2 percent): With Zach Ertz (head) leaving the Eagles’ Week 13 game, his status is — for now — in question for Sunday’s matchup against the Rams. Burton posted four catches on seven targets in Week 13 and should stay busy this Sunday if Ertz is unable to go. For anyone who rosters Ertz or Rob Gronkowski — who was suspended for one game for his actions in Week 13 against Bills cornerback Tre’Davious White — Burton is a worthwhile add.
Mike Wallace, WR, Baltimore Ravens (33.6 percent): Perhaps quietly, Wallace has been steady in his past four games. He has at least four catches in each of those games with an average of 7.5 targets per game. He picked up 116 yards on five catches this past Sunday and is a flex consideration in 12-team or larger leagues, seemingly emerging as the top Ravens wide receiver in this offense.
Julius Thomas, TE, Miami Dolphins (29.2 percent): With a touchdown in three of his past five games, Thomas now has at least seven fantasy points in his six of his past seven outings. He’s a red zone threat for a team that throws it plenty (top 10 in passing attempts this season) and another tight end to consider for those who roster Ertz or Gronk.
David Njoku, TE, Cleveland Browns (7.4 percent): Much of the Week 13 attention was paid to Josh Gordon‘s return and with good reason, but Njoku has flashed his abundant talent of late as well. He posted his second consecutive game with four catches, also finding the end zone on an acrobatic catch in Week 13. I’d love to see the Browns keep him involved, as he’s a TE2 with upside.
Dede Westbrook, WR, Jacksonville Jaguars (10.5 percent): Since being activated off of injured reserve, Westbrook has quickly become busy for Jacksonville. He has 25 targets in three games, including back-to-back games with six catches. While he has yet to find the end zone, he should be considered a deeper-league flex option in PPR scoring. Blake Bortles has been more reliable of late.
Andre Ellington, RB, Houston Texans (8.4 percent): Ellington was acquired via waivers recently by Houston, making his on-field debut in Week 13. The skill set that is particularly notable from Ellington’s game is his pass-catching acumen, a role he quickly contributed with as he had five catches for 56 yards on six targets in his Texans debut. A super-deep-league consideration with PPR scoring.