Monday, December 7, 2020

Week 14 Fantasy Football RB Waiver Wire Rankings

Every week, we examine players that may be available on your league's waiver wire that could help your team in the short and/or long term.

For a player to be listed, he must be owned in 50 percent (or less) of Yahoo! leagues. The goal is to provide recommendations of players that have a greater chance of being available on your league's waiver wire. Of course, your league's size and settings could significantly impact whether these players (or better options) are available in your particular league(s).

Due to our self-imposed restrictions, one player that will no longer appear on our waiver-wire list is Los Angeles Rams running back Cam Akers. The rookie had been recommended in previous iterations of this post as a player to stash and he came through for fantasy owners with a sizable workload in Week 13.

Akers handled 22 of the team's 31 running backs touches in Week 13. Darrell Henderson and Malcolm Brown had five and four touches, respectively. Akers parlayed his 21 carries and one reception into 93 yards from scrimmage and a touchdown.

Rostered in 53% of Yahoo! leagues, Akers would top our list below, if eligible.

With that said, here are some running back waiver-wire options to consider heading into Week 14 (Yahoo! % rostered in parenthesis):

[Note: Players listed below are sorted by our preference to add.]

1. Ty Johnson, New York Jets (1%)

Frank Gore departed Sunday's game early with a concussion, which allowed Johnson to run all over the Las Vegas Raiders. The second-year back had 22 carries for 104 yards and a touchdown and two receptions for 13 yards.

There is no reason for the winless Jets to rush Gore back, so even if is no longer in concussion protocol, it's possible that Gore sits out Week 14. As road underdogs in Seattle, negative game script will potentially limit the upside of Johnson, Gore (if he returns) or any Jets back next week.

2. Adrian Peterson, Detroit Lions (48%)

Like many, I'm a believer in the talent of rookie running back D'Andre Swift, who has missed multiple games with a concussion. I expect Swift to return in Week 14, but it is concerning that Peterson described Swift as not having "the same energy level" and that it's "been hard to watch." It's at least possible that Swift misses more time, or at least has his workload scaled back some if he returns this week.

Nearly a non-factor as a receiver (no receptions in three consecutive games), Peterson has rushed for a pair of touchdowns in back-to-back games -- 15/55/2 and 16/57/2 in Weeks 12 and 13, respectively. Detroit has matchups against the Green Bay Packers and Tennessee Titans, both top-10 matchups, in Weeks 14 and 15, respectively.

3. Phillip Lindsay, Denver Broncos (45%)

Melvin Gordon rushed 15 times for 131 yards and added an 11-yard reception against the Kansas City Chiefs on Sunday Night Football. While Lindsay wasn't nearly as productive (only 26 rushing yards), he had nearly as many opportunities (14) as MG3 (16). Although Lindsay wasn't efficient, he is still averaging 4.6 YPC this season and 4.9 YPC over his career. Over their past three games, the split has been fairly close between Gordon (42 carries) and Lindsay (39).

The Broncos close the season with four top-12 matchups against the Carolina Panthers, Buffalo Bills, Los Angeles Chargers and Raiders.

4. Benny Snell Jr., Pittsburgh Steelers (44%)

As James Conner (COVID-19) is expected to miss a second consecutive game, Snell should handle another significant workload on Monday (Late-Afternoon) Football. Last week, Snell handled 19 of the team's 23 running back touches in Conner's absence on Wednesday and turned those 16 carries and three receptions into 93 scrimmage yards.

Even assuming Conner returns in Week 14, the fourth-year back has missed multiple games every year. Given how the Steelers feed their primary back, we've seen the value that a direct handcuff can have when the team's lead back is out.

5. Carlos Hyde, Seattle Seahawks (32%)

The possibility of Rashaad Penny returning to practice weakens the grip that Hyde has as Chris Carson's handcuff, but he's handled a significant share of the workload when he was active and Carson wasn't. Before Week 13's five touches, Hyde had at least 16 touches in his three previous games played. While there won't be an opportunity to play Hyde as long as Carson is healthy, Hyde is an RB2 in any games that Carson would potentially miss down the stretch.

6. Jeremy McNichols, Tennessee Titans (1%)

McNichols had two carries for two yards and a touchdown and three catches for 15 yards in Week 13 against the Cleveland Browns. While McNichols has no stand-alone value, he will provide some insurance to Derrick Henry owners. Obviously, McNichols is no Henry, but the team also has a great schedule in the fantasy playoffs against the Jacksonville Jaguars, Lions, Packers and Houston Texans -- four top-five matchups to close the season.

+ More Fantasy Football Waiver-Wire Advice Heading Into Week 14

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