Top Waiver Wire Pickups: Week 14

By Chip Bayless (click Howie for more Chip)

 

 

 

1) Matthew Stafford

Matthew Stafford makes the list for the second week in a row, because I warned everyone last week that he was likely the best waiver QB still available at this point in the season, and I was shocked and dismayed that the entire fantasy universe didn’t immediately heed my warning.

Despite having his best week of the season in Week 12, Stafford’s ownership percentage barely budged in Week 13 as he is still available in about a third of all ESPN fantasy leagues.

After Stafford’s first 20+ point fantasy week in Week 12 and his first 2023 game throwing for more than two touchdowns, he followed it up with another 20+ point fantasy week while throwing for over 200 yards and three touchdowns in the second-straight week.




Stafford gets to throw to Cooper Kupp, Puka Nacua, an increasingly-explosive Tutu Atwell, and Kyren Williams out of the backfield, so he sports one of the most-elite offensive groups in the league.

It’s difficult to avoid picking up Stafford when you consider all of his weapons create yards after the catch with ease.

The former can’t-miss #1 draft pick is also being pressured at one of the top-1o lowest rates in the NFL, and a clean pocket is a key for any NFL QB’s passing success.

Stafford’s fantasy floor has been insane too: he’s never scored less than 9.7 fantasy points in a game, has thrown for 200+ yards in all but two of his games, and has thrown a touchdown in every game except for Week 1, when he still managed to score 14 fantasy points and throw for 300+ yards.

Stafford currently sits at:

There’s a reason Matthew Stafford is a former #1 overall pick and a key cog in the machine that was the Los Angeles Rams’ only Super Bowl victory since returning home to L.A.

Stafford’s arm talent and accuracy, anticipation, awareness, and ability to curve footballs and put teardrops right between his receivers’ numbers is a remarkable and unique talent, very comparable to Mahomes when Stafford is at his best.

If you are in need of a QB in Week 14, Stafford is as good as it gets in terms of your league’s waiver wire at this point in the fantasy season, and I doubt any are available who’ve put together back-t0-back 20-point weeks.

 

 

2) Elijah Moore

Back in Week 11, Elijah Moore cracked this list as a top claim. The general (and fair at the time) response was essentially who cares because his targets never amount to anything.

However, over the last four weeks, Moore has finally turned his opportunities into fantasy-worthy production. He’s averaging 11.3 fantasy points, 4.5 receptions, and 58 receiving yards over that span.

Now re-united with Joe Flacco, the pair may just have some sizzling coals left in the chemistry fire from their Jets days. After all, Flacco was the quarterback on the other end of the only 100-yard game of Moore’s career, and Flacco at least has a usually-clean pocket behind a dominant Browns offensive line, so he should have plenty of time to bounce around like he’s Tom Brady and throw his consistently pretty spiral right into Moore’s hands.

Ever since Elijah Moore’s rookie season with the Jets, both NFL scouts and fantasy managers have known the young playmaker is special.

Moore has the De’Andre Swift, Jameson Williams, Jahmyr Gibbs-like quality where it feels like he’s just a carry or reception away from scorching down the sideline for a TD.



It became clear his rookie season that the Jets recognized this game-breaking quality too they would always feature Moore in the gameplan via screens and end-arounds that year, often on third or fourth down in a situation where they were hoping Moore would be able to bail out their stagnant offense by taking one touch to the house.

Now in Cleveland, Moore has had a season that’s overall about as disappointing as finding out Santa isn’t real.

Although if you look at the stats, there is ample room for optimism when it comes to Moore’s ROS fantasy prospects, and he has accounted for about a quarter of all of Cleveland’s air yards this season (26%, per Next Gen Stats).

Moore also ranks (among wideouts) tied for 6th in average separation (per Next Gen Stats) and tied for 23rd in targets.

Additionally, Moore also has seen at least four targets in 11/12 games so far, has seen at least seven targets in four straight weeks, and has 40+ receiving yards and 3+ catches in his last four games.

Furthermore, he has accrued at least seven targets in 9/12 games in 2023, is averaging a 77% snap share, and has played at least 62% of snaps in every game (per FantasyPros).

The Browns have shown they likely view Moore similarly to how the Jets once viewed him, as the Browns occasionally put Moore in the backfield and draw up at least a few plays every game designed to get the ball in his hands whether its an end-around, screen, or standard handoff – as evidenced by the fact that Moore has caught at least two balls in every game in 2023, and the Browns have given him nine carries out of the backfield so far.

Moore is already owned in about 34% of ESPN leagues, but his ownership percentage has been steadily dropping along with his mediocre fantasy production all season, so there’s a chance he’s been recently dropped in your league too.

In November this statement would have been on my list of things I’ll never say again, but Joe Flacco might be exactly what this young wideout needs.

Given the fact that Moore has mustered double-digit fantasy points in three of his last four weeks and is constantly peppered with targets, he profiles as a solid FLEX play with high-end WR2 upside in Week 14 and a key playoff stash for WR-needy teams.

 

 

3) Jameson Williams

Modern NFL teams have proven that as long as you are fast, you will have at least somewhat of a role. Guess what? Jameson Williams is fast as fuck.



He combines his elite acceleration and speed with equally insane agility, ball-carrier vision, and break-tackle ability. Williams explodes off the line of scrimmage and adds an element to the Lions offense that they frankly just don’t have anywhere else on the outside in terms of a deep threat that stretches the field.

His burst out of his breaks and change of direction skills are top-notch too, and I will be legitimately excited to see what he can do next year with a full offseason (and regular season) to further develop his route tree and his chemistry with Jared Goff.

While Williams doesn’t have starter-worthy volume yet, the Lions are clearly designing at least a handful of plays specifically for him every week, so you know he’s not the riskiest dice roll because he’ll at least get the opportunity to take a screen or a handoff to the house.

Moreover, since the bye week the Lions have made a concerted effort to get Williams more involved. Before the Lions’ bye, Williams had never played more than 50% of snaps in a game this season, but he has played over 50% of snaps in all four of his games since.

Despite not receiving more than five touches in a single game, Jameson Williams has scored at least seven fantasy points in three straight weeks, including scoring at least 10 fantasy points in two of his last three weeks. He’s also 8th among all NFL players in ADOT (per Pro Football Reference).

In the face of his lack of volume but any-time TD capabilities, Williams profiles as a very risky FLEX play, but is a phenomenal stash for the fantasy playoffs if he continues scoring double-digit fantasy points on a weekly basis for a Detroit team that is currently 4th in total scoring (per NFL.com).

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