Waiver Wire Pickups for Week 14
December 8, 2015 | Evan Sandel
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James White (26% Yahoo, 27% ESPN)
White finished fifth in standard scoring amongst RB’s this week and second in PPR formats, racking up 119 yards and a score, almost entirely in the short passing game.
It’s hard to trust James White with your whole heart because he plays for the notoriously erratic Bill Belichick who gave most passing down work to Brandon Bolden last week. Also, he is a product of The University of Wisconsin, a school that has produced two big busts at the running back position recently in Montee Ball and Melvin Gordon, both former teammates of White in Madison.
Ball and Gordon both benefited from outstanding offensive line play, a hallmark of the Big Ten and Wisconsin in particular. Their gaudy collegiate stat-lines were thanks in large part to the fact that they’d be five yards downfield before first contacting a defender. White, however, got far more work in passing downs than his higher-drafted counterparts. In 2013, White saw 39 receptions to Gordon’s one, a year they split touches fairly evenly. Therefore, White’s production is not as inflated by the quality of the o-line and he’s been groomed for the role even before arriving in Foxborough.
White is a higher upside player than Brandon Bolden. It’s probable that in week 12 Belichick was simply giving his veteran first crack at the role created by Dion Lewis’s injury. However, with White turning in such a solid performance on Sunday, gambling that the Pats will continue to trot out White as their primary passing back is as good a bet as any, in which predicting the mind of Bill Belichick is a significant factor.
DeVante Parker (30% Yahoo, 21% ESPN)
Devante Parker has now found the end zone twice in one and a half games since taking over for a sputtering Rishard Matthews. He was the 3rd receiver off the board in this year’s draft and is probably the Dolphins’ best red zone and deep ball receiving threat, as he’s bigger and faster than slot receiver Jarvis Landry. $15 million free agent acquisition Jordan Cameron has shown himself to be about as useful as a fork in a soup kitchen.
The Dolphins would be well served to continue to find opportunity for Parker down the stretch, and they have an enticing playoff slate as they’ll face the Giants, Chargers and Colts the next three weeks.
Tyler Lockett (20% Yahoo, 14% ESPN)
With the passing game in Seattle surging, most of the attention has gone to Doug Baldwin and rightly so, as he’s going bonkers. However, rookie Tyler Lockett’s value has quietly been increasing too. Lockett found the end zone twice against San Francisco in week 11 and paced the Seahawks in targets on Sunday with 7 — all of which he caught — for a total yield of 90 yards.
With Baldwin successfully taking the top off and Jimmy Graham injured, Lockett could expand into a serious target hog in the middle of the field as a Welker type of receiver.
Some people have knocked Lockett as being undersized for a receiver at 5’10 182lbs, but if it helps, you can just think of that as “Antonio Brown sized.”
Jameis Winston (40% Yahoo, 36% ESPN)
The Winston to Mariota comparison has been a fun one all season long, and Marcus had an absolute monster of a game on Sunday, shredding the Jags’ defense as the Titans posted 42 points, despite a lackluster running game contributing fewer than 100 yards. Both quarterbacks have had up and down games as is to be expected from rookies shouldering so much responsibility and, feet to the fire, Mariota has had a better season with a less impressive cast and is probably the better own in dynasty and keeper formats.
Winston, however, is the better option for the remainder of the season in your redraft league. The Titans are hitting the road and will play the Jets and Patriots away the next two weeks; a lot will be asked of Mariota in those games, but it’s a tough slate for the rookie.
Meanwhile, Winston just got back his incredible specimen of a tight end, Austin Seferian-Jenkins, and will play the exploitable Saints defense next week and a Rams team that is far more vulnerable through the air than on the ground the week after.
If you’re in the playoffs, you probably have a QB who’s a better option than either of these guys, but if you’re shaky about your backup, Winston is a good insurance policy to consider.
Another good option would be Alex Smith. You might balk, but Jeremy Maclin has been coming on, and their fantasy playoff stretch is: SD, @BAL, CLE… a very enticing slate.
Richard Rodgers (43% Yahoo, 48% ESPN)
Tied for second in TD Receptions for the Pack behind James Jones, the knock on Rodgers was always his lack of usage between the 20’s. However, on Sunday, even before his 61-yard game winning TD catch, he’d acquired a 7-7 for 85 stat line. He has been one of the Packers’ more reliable receivers, especially since Davante Adams returned from injury. If Rodgers continues to be used as he was against Detroit, he’s a solid TE1 and deserves to be rostered now in anticipation of that possibility.
Dorial Green-Beckham – Up and down rookie season, but has sky-high upside. He’s teased us before, but it looks like the Titans are finally committed to giving him a consistent, if modest, role in the offense.
Austin Seferian-Jenkins – Former basketball player and athletic standout, eased back into action this week after a long injury. SefJenk is a high upside player in an emerging Bucs’ offense with a soft remaining schedule. He deserves a roster spot at the ever-thin TE position.
Darren Sproles – Featured over DeMarco Murray last week, which has to be disconcerting for Murray owners. Sproles is a ‘meh’ stash because the most likely outcome for Philly’s RBs is a full-blown committee. If you have to own one, Ryan Mathews is probably the best call; he should return Sunday.
Bilal Powell – Game flow dependent, but could see a greater roll with Ivory looking inconsistent; far more interesting in PPR formats.
Tyrod Taylor – Has regained some of that impressive early season form against tough matchups. His arrow is pointing upwards as his schedule softens somewhat the rest of the way.