We’ve made it to the postseason of the fantasy football season and I suspect most of you reading this are, well, in the playoffs. Congrats! (For those of you who are in the consolation bracket and playing for pride and to remain competitive, I respect you. I’m a firm believer in setting your lineup as best you can each week.)
The reality of the playoffs is that you don’t necessarily need to tinker with your lineup much. You’ve made it this far on the strength of your studs and your roster management. Don’t shake things up too much, but always be mindful of matchups and other weekly considerations.
Moreover, if you have a star running back with a clear backup, make sure you add that player immediately (if you haven’t already). Handcuffs are a valuable part of your roster, especially now that bye weeks are behind us and the need to hold on to backups at one-starter positions (quarterback, tight end and D/ST) is gone. We’ll highlight the most important handcuffs later in this column.
Here are your Week 14 ESPN Fantasy waiver wire adds of note.
Note: All players mentioned in this column are available in over 50% of leagues on ESPN.com.
Benny Snell Jr., RB, Pittsburgh Steelers (16.8%): With James Conner out again, the Steelers leaned on Snell as their primary ball carrier in Week 13. He delivered with 16 carries, 63 yards and a touchdown, further cementing his value until Conner returns. While the passing game upside is limited, Snell keeps on toting the rock enough to be a reasonable flex option for your lineup.
Raheem Mostert, RB, San Francisco 49ers (14.1%): A changing of the guard in the San Francisco backfield? It’s too hard to say for sure, but while Tevin Coleman has been just satisfactory of late, Mostert has been so solid whenever he has earned a chance, which was the case on Sunday when he rushed for 146 yards on 19 carries, including a touchdown. There are a lot of bodies in this backfield, but Mostert should be added in all leagues as a possible workhorse for an outstanding rushing offense.
Jack Doyle, TE, Indianapolis Colts (45.9%): This shouldn’t be hard: Doyle is a TE1 option with all of the Colts’ injured pass-catchers. He had 11 targets in Week 13 (eight more than all other Colts tight ends combined) and found the end zone. Tight ends are hard to find: Doyle can be your starter.
Zach Pascal, WR, Indianapolis Colts (24.9%): Unfortunately, the Colts have had to play a lot without T.Y. Hilton this season due to injury, but that has opened the door for other players to step up into a more prominent role, including Pascal. Pascal went up over 100 receiving yards in a game for the second time this season, seeing 10 targets on Sunday and flashing a solid skill set once again. Until Hilton returns, he figures to be the Colts’ top receiver and merits flex consideration.
Anthony Miller, WR, Chicago Bears (10.3%): Talk about volume. Over the past three games, Miller has seen at least nine targets in each and has totaled 33. He has caught 21 passes in those games and has at least six catches for 50 yards in each, good for double-digit fantasy points each time. He should be on the flex radar in leagues with at least 12 teams.
Russell Gage, WR, Atlanta Falcons (4.3%): Gage just keeps on piling up the targets. He has 37 over the past five games as he has taken on a more prominent role following the trade of Mohamed Sanu to New England. He has scored in double digits in three of those five games, and the Falcons continue to be as pass-heavy as any team in the NFL. He’s at least a deep-league flex consideration.
Mike Gesicki, TE, Miami Dolphins (10.3%): The Dolphins throw the football a ton and do so with effectiveness. Now that Preston Williams is on injured reserve, there appears to be a clear-cut top two targets in the passing game: DeVante Parker and Gesicki, who has found the end zone in back-to-back weeks. Another easy tight end evaluation: He’s a usable piece each week.
Cole Beasley, WR, Buffalo Bills (24.0%): While the headline from Thanksgiving is that Beasley scored sweet revenge against his former team, his 23-point outburst was just the latest in a strong string of games. Beasley has at least nine fantasy points in 10 of his 12 games played this season, a more than serviceable amount to make him a flex consideration in 12-team or larger leagues where at least three wide receivers can be used. As quarterback Josh Allen grows — he’s been impressive — so too does Beasley’s stock.
Deebo Samuel, WR, San Francisco 49ers (43.9%): Samuel is a joy to watch, as he has been on a tear over his past four games: back-to-back games with eight catches and over 100 yards followed by back-to-back games with a touchdown, albeit on low volume (just four catches). I’m a believer in his talent and the offensive system. There’s enough promise there for Samuel to be added no matter the size of the league, even if he serves as bench depth in leagues that feature only 10 teams.
Darius Slayton, WR, New York Giants (23.5%): The rookie out of Auburn has been crazy busy of late, posting 30 targets over his past three games and hitting double-digit fantasy points in each of them. With Golden Tate and Evan Engram out of the lineup in Week 13, Slayton and Sterling Shepard served as the centerpieces of the passing offense for the G-Men. Slayton has exceptional speed and is a deeper-league consideration.
James Washington, WR, Pittsburgh Steelers (22.3%): Washington has emerged for the Steelers of late, particularly as a vertical threat with his terrific speed. He has double-digit fantasy points in four of his past five games, with a touchdown in back-to-back outings. While there’s some risk involved because of relatively modest volume (just seven catches over the past two games), he has the explosive-play upside worth monitoring to have in your lineup in a deeper league.
Robby Anderson, WR, New York Jets (46.9%): Anderson’s overall season hasn’t been through the roof, which is likely why he remains available at this point in over 50% of leagues. But with over 17 fantasy points in back-to-back weeks, he reminded us of why he’s regarded as such a talented player with upside down the field. He’s addable and usable in deep leagues.
Ryan Fitzpatrick, QB, Miami Dolphins (5.4%): Looking for a Week 14 quarterback streamer because you’re concerned with the matchup or production of your quarterback? How about FitzMagic, who continues to play such fun football to watch. He has at least 20 fantasy points in four of his past seven games and the Dolphins are a high-volume passing team. If you’re up against a tough squad and need a Hail Mary effort, Fitzy can fit the bill (high risk, high reward).
Patrick Laird, RB, Miami Dolphins (1.3%): The Dolphins’ ground game is exceptionally poor, as injuries and a thin depth chart have impacted the production, but Laird is now a focal point and has value for his receiving skills: He had four catches in Week 13 and should stay busy in that regard the rest of the season. In a deeper league, he’s a flex consideration as his role figures to stay consistent the rest of the way.
Darwin Thompson, RB, Kansas City Chiefs (5.0%): With Damien Williams out in Week 13 and Darrel Williams leaving the game due to injury, Thompson became more involved in the Chiefs’ offense, with 11 carries for 44 yards and a touchdown. Maybe the hill is too steep to climb for Thompson to leapfrog the rest of the depth chart and become the featured back, but with the current injuries, he’s at least worth the stash in a deep league.