It’s likely the final weekend of regular season play in most standard fantasy formats, but it’s never too late to speculate and pick up players for the regular season finale, as well as prep your team for a playoff run by adding some depth. There aren’t a ton of great waiver wire options available this week, unfortunately, but there are some key figures who really could make a difference if you’re deficient in certain areas.
Good luck in Week 14!
Vick Ballard, RB, Indianapolis: Ballard punched in his first-career rushing touchdown in Week 13 in Detroit, and he totaled nine carries for 41 yards. That isn’t tremendous fantasy production, but he also added three receptions for 21 yards. Ballard has a little more appeal in points-per-reception (PPR) formats, but he is worth a ‘flex’ play in standard leagues, especially since he’ll be facing a Titans defense which he has already had success against. He had one of the most memorable touchdowns of the season on a sprawling, twisting dive into the end zone in overtime on a swing pass from QB Andrew Luck.
Connor Barth, PK, Tampa Bay: Barth is finally starting to get the attention of fantasy owners, and it only took a huge chunk of the season. Sure, he doesn’t have the big name like some others do, but he has big-time production on a team which has been scoring in chunks. Barth has two or more field goal makes in four straight games, and five of his past six, and he is averaging just short of 10 points per week (in standard formats) during the impressive span.
Browns, DST, Cleveland: The Browns defense is not one which you likely will play from week to week, but they face a Kansas City Chiefs offense which is improving, but still is very mistake-prone. QB Brady Quinn returns to his old stomping grounds looking to have a second solid NFL start. So far in his career, that hasn’t really happened, so the Browns defense should be able to pounce for a couple of turnovers and a handful of sacks. The Chiefs don’t score many points, either, so Cleveland’s defense looks primed and ready for a big-time fantasy line.
Chargers, DST, San Diego: Unlike the Browns, the Chargers DST has some fantasy staying power, and is not purely matchup-based. Sure, San Diego’s offense facing an error-prone QB Charlie Batch, or perhaps a rusty QB Ben Roethlisberger (shoulder) is favorable. However, they have rolled up six defensive touchdowns this season, and they have been opportunistic as far as sacks and fumble recoveries. If they’re available off the waiver wire, pluck them for some depth.
Nick Foles, QB, Philadelphia: Foles showed some pocket awareness in last Sunday’s game at Dallas, and, more importantly, he did not turn the ball over. Foles was named the starter for the rest of the season by head coach Andy Reid, regardless of the health of QB Michael Vick (concussion) going forward. That doesn’t mean Foles is a sure-fire fantasy starter. However, he is worth adding for depth at the position just in case your primary starter is befallen by injury or faces a tremendously difficult matchup in the fantasy playoffs.
Jacob Tamme, TE, Denver: Tamme was very productive in last week’s game against the Tampa Bay Buccaneers, but it might be a bit deceiving. First off, he was matched up against an abysmal Tampa Bay Buccaneers pass defense. Second, he was filling in for WR Brandon Stokley, seeing time working in the slot. If that continues, Tamme will once again be a solid fantasy option. With a short week, and the Broncos playing Thursday in Oakland, it’s uncertain if Stokley had enough time to mend. Tamme is Top 10 at his position for the upcoming week, making him worth a look if you’re in need of a one-week fill-in at the position.
Mike Thomas, WR, Detroit: Thomas is expected to remain a starter down the stretch opposite Calvin Johnson, as embattled Titus Young is done for the season on Injured Reserve, and so too is Ryan Broyles (torn ACL). The unfortunate circumstances for his teammates should pay big dividends for Thomas, who faces a semi-favorable matchup against a Packers pass defense which ranks 17th in the NFL, allowing 233.8 yards per game and 18 passing touchdowns in 12 games.
Russell Wilson, QB, Seattle: For whatever reason, Wilson doesn’t seem to get the same kind of press as his rookie brethren. However, the Little Engine That Could continues to chug on, leading miraculous fourth-quarter comebacks, improbable overtime wins, etc. Sure, his stats aren’t as flashy as the others, but wins are one of the most important stats. For fantasy purposes, he has turned it up a notch, posting two or more touchdown passes in five consecutive outings, and six of his past seven. More importantly, he hasn’t tossed an interception since Week 8 in Detroit, and he tied a career-high with 293 passing yards in Chicago last weekend. His first 300-yard passing performance might not be far off. This weekend, he faces a difficult matchup with Arizona, but he has an ultra-favorable matchup in Buffalo in Week 15 when the fantasy playoffs are in full swing. Don’t sleep on Wilson.