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The Waiver Wizard Week 14 2023
Around this time of the year, we are bombarded with advertising from every outlet possible, reminding us that with the holidays around the corner, NOW is the time to act. Similar to your holiday shopping, I hope that it is already in the rear-view mirror and behind you, but if you haven’t “shopped” the waiver wire ahead of the final week of the regular season (for many leagues), I’d encourage you to set aside a half an hour, check all of your leagues, and improve your teams wherever possible. Who might be out there to aid you in standard-size formats? Here are few names to consider:
Matthew Stafford (32 percent rostered) – Adding Stafford to your roster might feel like a move made more out of nostalgia than anything else, but don’t be so fast to dismiss his recent success. Over the last two weeks he has averaged over 250 passing yards per contest, and has thrown seven touchdowns to just one interception. The return of Kyren Williams as a safety valve has made a major difference in his success, and I anticipate that a negative game script against Baltimore next week will force Los Angeles to enter “throw first” mode quickly. The Ravens defense has been stingy of late, but the supporting cast of Williams, Cooper Kupp, Puka Nacua and Tyler Higbee should be strong enough to rank Stafford just outside QB1 territory.
Jameis Winston (1 percent rostered) – The more widely available option this week is Winston, and for good reason – he is the proverbial Forrest Gump box of chocolates – you never know what you are going to get. Winston is capable of propelling you into the playoffs or throwing multiple interceptions – which side of the coin it falls on is anyone’s best guess. With Derek Carr currently in the league’s concussion protocol after sustaining a nasty hit against Detroit on Sunday, I’d anticipate Winston to get the start for New Orleans against Carolina in Week 14. The Panthers struggle to create turnovers (their 6 interceptions rank second to last in the NFL), and are at-best an average unit in coverage. Wide receivers Chris Olave and A.T. Perry should perform well, along with check-down option Alvin Kamara. It might not be pretty, but Winston is a viable pivot.
Ezekiel Elliott (34 percent rostered) – Elliott is perhaps the top waiver-wire addition of the week, with starter Rhamondre Stevenson suffering a nasty-looking ankle injury on a hip drop tackle in Week 13 against the Los Angeles Chargers. A major part of the offense, Stevenson’s 15-17 touches will likely go to Elliott, who has averaged just under 4.0 YPC this season with New England. Still a capable receiver that generates yards through contact, Elliott is in line to see his largest workload of the season, against a Pittsburgh Steelers defensive line that could be without T.J. Watt in Week 14 (especially since this is on a short week). New England is completely out of the playoff picture and has looked stagnant of late, just trying to finish games for the sake of wrapping up their season. Fantasy managers might get frustrated seeing the constant “Elliott carries for 3 yards up the middle” notification, but the yards will add up over time. Bailey Zappe and the Patriots coaching staff might as well feed Elliott
as much work as he can handle, and volume is king.
Michael Carter (1 percent rostered) – I touched on handcuff options at the position last week, reinforcing the notion of trying to get ahead of the curve whenever possible as we approach the playoffs. Though Carter isn’t in the same “must-add” tier as a Rico Dowdle or Tyjae Spears, he is the primary backup to the oft-injured James Conner, and fellow Arizona Cardinal Emari Demercado sustained a neck injury that will force him to miss time. Carter was an overlooked third wheel as a member of the New York Jets, but don’t be so quick to dismiss his skillset. Carter is an exceptional receiver out of the backfield, and has a career YPA of over 4.1 – not too shabby. Arizona is completely out of the playoff picture, but have experienced a resurgence with the return of Kyle Murray. The Cardinals are on bye in Week 14 so Carter will likely fly under the radar since many managers sort by projections for the upcoming week. If you have an available bench spot in a deeper format, I’d be willing to take a chance with him.
Noah Brown (34 percent rostered) – I view Brown as the biggest benefactor of Tank Dell’s season-ending injury. This isn’t to suggest that they possess a similar skillset (far from it), but I do anticipate Brown working as the primary downfield threat, complimenting Nico Collins in the Houston Texans passing attack. Brown was held without a reception on just two targets this past week against Denver (numbers that aren’t exactly inspiring), but we’ve seen what he is capable of when afforded a few more looks (don’t forget his 13/325/1 line in Weeks 9-10). Houston is fighting for their playoff lives and will square off against a very stingy New York Jets secondary. I’d expect Sauce Gardner to focus upon Collins, allowing C.J. Stroud to look deep to Brown when possible. Houston should have the ball plenty against a woefully inept Jets offense.
Elijah Moore (34 percent rostered) – I’ll fully admit that I snickered a time or two after I saw that Cleveland would be trotting out the ghost of Joe Flacco for a spot-start in Week 13, but I’m happy to eat crow on this one – he performed better than I expected. Following Amari Cooper leaving the game with a concussion, it was evident that Flacco was comfortable passing to Moore, who came away with 12 targets – by far his largest amount of the season. He wasn’t terribly efficient with the looks (he finished with just 4 receptions for 83 yards), but the volume was certainly encouraging. It will be interesting to see what Cleveland opts to do, should fellow quarterback Dorian Thompson-Robinson clear the league’s concussion protocol prior to Week 14 against Jacksonville. Flacco is by far the better passing option of the two, with DRT the more explosive runner. Keep an eye on practice reports, and consider adding Moore if Flacco gets the nod again.
Brevin Jordan (3 percent rostered) – Adam Schefter’s long-shot endorsement of the week, Jordan stepped in admirably in the absence of Dalton Schultz in Week 13, securing 3-of-4 targets for 64 yards in a victory over the Denver Broncos. Playing a season-high 51 snaps, Jordan was thrust into a bigger role than expected (even more-so after the injury to Tank Dell). Jordan is now entering his third year in the league, and has never earned a full opportunity, largely in part due to his struggles as a blocking option. Essentially a large receiver, Jordan will have a small window to make an impact, should Schultz continue to miss time while nursing his soft-tissue injury. As I referenced earlier, the Texans square off against the New York Jets, and I anticipate Houston running away with this one. Jordan could be a key component, and is available in nearly all formats.