The top Week 14 fantasy waiver wire pickups and free agent adds already figured to be stacked with several potentially difference-making running backs, but an injury occurred Monday night that added one more important handcuff to the mix. Alexander Mattison took over in the Vikings backfield when one of fantasy football’s top RBs, Dalvin Cook, exited early due to a shoulder injury. Mattison is the type of impact player who can really swing fantasy playoff matchups if he starts, so expect him to be the top waiver claim in every league in which he’s available. Of course, there are plenty of other worthwhile sleepers worth targeting after waivers clear around 4-5 a.m. ET on Wednesday morning in ESPN and Yahoo leagues.
Our full free agent list is packed with potential streaming options at every position. We even have something for the truly desperate who are digging deep at QB, TE, and D/ST. There are plenty of WRs, too, some of which might be more than one-week holds. We also have a bunch of important RBs, including Raheem Mostert, Darwin Thompson, Derrius Guice, Patrick Laird, Benny Snell Jr., and Bo Scarbrough. We even have kicker recommendations in our Week 14 kicker rankings because every position matters — even really stupid ones like kicker.
Again, you’re going to see several top waiver claims used this week, which would probably happen regardless at this point in the season but will definitely happen with this many potential starting RBs available. You can’t afford to wait around and try to save your claim (unless you have a bye, and even then you might want to jump in). Even if you’re not picking up someone you need, keeping a useful player off a rival’s team can be just as important.
Top fantasy football waiver wire pickups and free agent adds for Week 14
Unless otherwise noted, only players owned in fewer than 50 percent of Yahoo leagues considered.
Alexander Mattison, RB, Vikings. Mattison has long been considered one of the top handcuffs in fantasy this year, and he might finally get his chance to start in Week 14. Dalvin Cook injured his clavicle in the second half of Monday night’s game and didn’t return. Initial reports indicated Cook didn’t break anything, but it’s likely he suffered an SC joint sprain, which makes it extra painful to get tackled. Mattison looked good after taking over, totaling 73 yards on eight touches. He’s averaging 4.8 yards per carry this year and would have an ideal matchup against one of the NFL’s worst run defenses in Week 14 (Detroit). For what it’s worth, Cook said he could have returned to Monday night’s game and will be good to go against the Lions. If he is out longer, though, Mattison would get more favorable matchups against the Chargers and Packers. — Matt Lutovsky
Darwin Thompson, RB, Chiefs. With Darrel Williams (hamstring) already all but ruled out for Week 14 and Damien Williams (ribs) likely to be questionable, at best, Thompson could be in line for 10-15 touches as the change-of-pace back next to LeSean McCoy. That’s the good. What’s bad is the usage uncertainty and the matchup (@ Patriots). Thompson is still worth picking up, but he should only be a high claim in leagues where Mattison, Raheem Mostert, Derrius Guice, Benny Snell Jr., and Bo Scarbrough aren’t available. Patrick Laird should probably be claimed ahead of him, too.
John Ross III, WR, Bengals. Remember this guy? He was fantasy’s top WR through Week 2 after posting 270 yards and three TDs, but he struggled in Week 3 and injured his clavicle in Week 4, which landed him on IR. Set to return in Week 14, it’s unclear what Ross has in him the rest of the season, but given how well he played early on, he’s worth adding. Cincinnati finishes the season with a decent Week 14 matchup against Cleveland and a highly favorable Week 16 matchup against Miami. A home date with the Patriots in Week 15 won’t be good for anyone, but Ross can still have a positive impact in the fantasy playoffs.
Anthony Miller, WR, Bears. Miller is the perfect guy to target in free agency, as he might be overlooked after playing on Thursday. But the second-year receiver has been a target machine the past three weeks, catching 21-of-33 looks for 271 yards. He doesn’t have particularly favorable matchups the rest of the way (Cowboys, Packers, Chiefs), but if Miller is going to get that many targets, he can continue to have PPR value.
Vance McDonald, TE, Steelers. McDonald is owned in 50 percent of Yahoo leagues, which means he’s available in 50 percent of Yahoo leagues. (Math.) Either way, he should be started in 100 percent of leagues in Week 14 when the Steelers face the Cardinals, who have given up at least one TE touchdown in every game but one this year and just allowed over 100 yards to Tyler Higbee in the first half last week. Even if you have a decent TE, McDonald might be the better play this week, so don’t be afraid to stream him.
Check out our full Week 14 waiver list for more waiver and free agent ideas, including Raheem Mostert, Benny Snell Jr., Derrius Guice, and Patrick Laird, plus QB/WR/TE/DST streamer suggestions for the first round of the fantasy playoffs.