Week 14 Fantasy Football Waiver Wire: KeKe Coutee & More
Week 14 Fantasy Football Waiver Wire: Keke Coutee & More
The fantasy football playoffs are here, and they are spectacular. Well, they are spectacular if you had Darren Waller and David Montgomery. If you had Justin Herbert, Austin Ekeler, Kyler Murray, Christian Kirk, Brandin Cooks, or any of the players who missed Week 13 with an injury. This is the most random and variance filled season of fantasy football of all time, and the playoffs aren’t going to be any different. If you make it to your fantasy football title game, trust me, you are going to be starting some players who you don’t even know exist right now.
It feels exhausting to do waivers at this point of the season, trust me, but being active with your final waiver runs is going to make a difference between winning or losing. Look at someone like Keke Coutee last week; after a huge game, he is now headlining the week for fantasy football free agents. There is a laundry list of players like this that we will get small signals for who are going to have very startable games the next two weeks.
Each week, we will look at three tiers of players: the “must adds” or players that we expect will be picked up in every league and in every format, the “borderline” tier, and the deep-league darts. The focus will be on 12-team PPR leagues as our frame of reference and as always, if you have any specific questions, feel free to contact me on Twitter @DavisMattek or in the Daily Roto NFL Slack channel.
All players referenced in the Fantasy Football Waiver Wire column are under 50% owned in Yahoo! Fantasy Football Leagues. It is possible these players might be owned in your league.
POTENTIAL DIFFERENCE MAKERS (THESE ARE PLAYERS WORTH > 25% OF YOUR FAAB, OR THE #1 OVERALL WAIVER CLAIM) FROM THE FANTASY FOOTBALL WAIVER WIRE
With Brandin Cooks leaving for a small chunk of time for a concussion, Randall Cobb still on the short-term IR, and Will Fuller suspended, Keke gained 25% of his career yardage in the Texans’ loss to the Colts. Coutee actually led the Texans receivers with eight catches and nine targets for 141 yards, while former New York Jet Chad Hansen also wound up with a 100-yard outing. Cobb will miss at least one more week, and the Texans are not playing for anything, so he might opt to sit out for the rest of the regular season. If we think that Chad Hansen is more of a flash in the pan (and we do), Keke is basically worth whatever you have left for FAAB budget. The Texans’ defense remains quite poor, and DeShaun Watson remains a brilliant quarterback.
With Frank Gore only playing two snaps and then getting immediately concussed, Ty Johnson shouldered the load for the extremely run-heavy Jets. Johnson recorded 22 rushes and two targets while playing on 39-of-62 offensive snaps. Josh Adams filled in as the backup with eight rushes, no targets, and 19-of-62 snaps. Now, Frank Gore is basically a cockroach that you cannot kill, and it wouldn’t surprise me if he came back next week and passed the concussion protocol with flying colors. If he doesn’t, the Jets play the scuffling Seahawks next week, which should be a pretty good spot start for Johnson. This isn’t CJ Anderson in 2018 levels of finding a starting RB late in the season, but in a starting role, Johnson should be good for around a 12 fantasy points per game average with some ceiling for the rest of the 2020 season. I would prioritize Coutee over Johnson, but obviously, Johnson is better if you are struggling at RB.
The flip at tight end for the Bears has arrived as Kmet out-snapped Jimmy Graham for the second week in a row. In the Bears’ loss to the Lions, Kmet played 54-of-69 offensive snaps and was targeted a career-high seven times. Graham saw only one target in his limited playing time. For the remainder of the year, we can expect Kmet to stay in this role and for Graham’s playing time to continue to flounder. I put Kmet in the must-add tier because the tight end position is truly disgusting, and Kmet might actually be a difference-maker. As the tight end with the most draft capital in the 2020 class, it would make sense for him to receive an audition of sorts as the Bears likely lose out this year. That doesn’t mean it WILL happen, but generally, highly pedigreed rookie players see playing time expansion towards the end of their rookie season. In a tight end premium format, I would add Kmet over Ty Johnson.
BORDERLINE STARTERS (THESE PLAYERS LIKELY ARE COMING OFF A GOOD GAME BUT DO NOT PROJECT AS MULTI-WEEK STARTERS, WORTH LESS THAN 25% OF YOUR FAAB) FROM THE FANTASY FOOTBALL WAIVER WIRE
I know at this point that Andy Isabella has disappointed me. He has turned Larry Fitzgerald’s absence into 41 yards on 11 targets; I mean, it is just awful. That being said, this is the first time in Isabella’s career that he has played over 50% of Arizona’s snaps (84% on Sunday), and it is unclear when Fitzgerald is going to return from the COVID list or if he will resume his normal playing time when he is back from the list. You will not feel comfortable starting Isabella, of course, but I maintain that his theoretical role as the deep threat in this Cardinals offense *should* be valuable. I think you can add Izzy as the last guy on your bench in deeper 12-team leagues and 14+ team leagues at this point and at least know that he is getting on the field with Kyler Murray (who is playing terrible but should eventually heal from this shoulder injury).
The Browns absolutely crushed the Titans on Sunday, so they did not have to throw very often in the second half, but with only three active wide receivers, Higgins lead Cleveland in WR snaps and saw only one fewer target than Jarvis Landry. While the list of fifth-year breakout wide receivers in the NFL is extremely short, it is not impossible that Higgins is on that list. He has had a weird career with the weirdest organization in pro football and has always had road blocks to playing time. All of those road blocks have been removed, and it is possible that Baker Mayfield is playing better now than in his tremendous rookie season. Higgins is now a borderline WR4/5 who is startable in an absolute pinch. Another fringe benefit for his value is that Cleveland has really stopped targeting their tight ends over the last month of the season which has moved an extra 3-5% of target share in Higgins’ direction.
Despite David Montgomery having his best game of the season, Patterson saw 10 rushes, including a goalline rush that he converted into a touchdown and two targets. He played only 17-of-69 offensive snaps but got a touch on 12 of those snaps. When Patterson is in the game, it is highly likely that Matt Nagy has developed a play to get him the ball. Much like Higgins and Isabella, you’re never going to feel comfortable starting Patterson, and teams that are strong enough to make fantasy championship rounds probably have no need for someone like CPatt. At the very least, he has proven that he can play the RB position and that he is the direct handcuff to David Montgomery if he was to get injured. Any clear handcuff needs to be owned as we drift through the playoffs because the mid-tier of RB has been so gross that plays like Devontae Booker get massively elevated with one injury ahead of them. Patterson falls into that category.
The Titans are a very bizarre team so with Jonnu Smith out, of course, Firkser played the third-most snaps at the tight end position with Geoff Swaim and Mycole Pruitt playing 38 and 32, respectively. However, Firkser is the “move” tight end, with most of his snaps coming from the slot. He played zero snaps in 12 personnel but was the slot “wide receiver” on his 30 snaps. He was also targeted seven times. Essentially, Swaim and Pruitt are just there as blockers, and Firkser comes in the game in obvious passing situations. My guess would be that the Titans do not view him as a strong blocker, and well, the Titans run a lot, so it is harder for Firkser to get early-down snaps. As long as Jonnu Smith remains out, we can reasonably project Firkser for 5-8 targets and drawing live to a red-zone touchdown. He is worth owning in 12-team leagues as long as Jonnu is out.
In the second full game without Greg Olsen, it has become clear that Hollister and not Dissly is the “receiving” tight end in the Seahawks offense though Dissly is playing enough to keep Hollister from ranking as a top-12 tight end in a given week.
Week 13 data:
Neither Hollister nor Dissly are special players or athletes, and the context of the Seattle offense has been brutal the last month of the season. It is possible Russell Wilson is hurt, or this just might be natural regression from an insane start to the year that could never sustain. A third or fourth option in this passing offense is not as enticing as it was six weeks ago, but of course, football is random and chaotic, and Russ could very easily catch fire to end the year yet again. You can make small bids on Hollister if you don’t have much FAAB left and don’t want to pay up for Kmet (though, of course, we prefer Kmet).
If Jalen Hurts starts next week against New Orleans, it is going to be hard for me not to rank him as a top-12 starting QB. I don’t expect him to have that much success throwing the ball, despite the absolute dime he dropped on 4th and long for a 32-yard touchdown to Greg Ward. The reason for starting Hurts is fantasy is an expectation that he will see 10+ rushing attempts per game. He was a Herculean rusher in his final season at Oklahoma, and presumably, that is a large part of why Philadelphia drafted him in the second round of the NFL draft despite owning Carson Wentz several Brinks trucks worth of U.S. dollars. The matchup against the Saints is quite bad from a DVOA perspective, which should make it even more likely that the Eagles have a ground-heavy game plan against New Orleans. Similar to starting Taysom Hill in his first start against Atlanta (before we knew he could actually throw), we are hoping to cash in on Hurts’ rushing equity.
DEEP LEAGUE TARGETS AND BENCH STASHES FROM THE FANTASY FOOTBALL WAIVER WIRE
It brings me no joy to continue to write about the New York Jets’ running backs, but here we are. The Jets are so aggressively run-heavy even when they are losing that even Ty frickin’ Johnson’s handcuff is probably worth discussing. Adams actually had 74 rushing yards on only eight carries against the Raiders, which is a better burst than he ever showed when he was with the Eagles and had a brief stint as a starter. In all reality, you will probably never start Adams, but this is the time of year to be scratching as many lottery tickets as possible at the RB position. If Gore misses the rest of the season and something was to happen to Ty Johnson, Adams would be the last man standing in the Jets’ backfield.
With Josh Jacobs out for the Raiders in their game against the Jets, Richard had a near 50/50 even split with Devontae Booker while Theo Riddick chipped in for 32 snaps. Booker was mostly useless in this game, gaining only 50 yards on 16 carries. Richard did a little better with only five touches (one target) but ran more passing routes than Booker did. Effectively, Richard is now the handcuff-to-the-handcuff but it wouldn’t surprise me if he saw more playing time next week for Las Vegas as Booker disappointed in his audition as a starter. If you play in a league with first-come, first-serve waivers, Richard would be a better pick up there than using any of your remaining FAAB.
With Kha’Darel Hodge out and only three WRs active, DPJ played a season-high 41 snaps and snagged a wide-open 75-yard touchdown. It is unclear how long Hodge will be out for, but I am intrigued by Peoples-Jones regardless. He is an above-average SPARQ athlete and a former five-star high school recruit who was mired in a truly terrible situation in college at the University of Michigan. He likely doesn’t need to be rostered in most 12-team leagues at the moment but if the Browns and Baker Mayfield continue playing this week, it wouldn’t be surprising to see him pop-up with more startable games.
Look Ahead Defense Bids (5% of FAAB or less): Arizona Cardinals (playing at home to the Eagles in Week 15), Green Bay Packers (playing against the nothing-to-play for Panthers at home in Week 15).