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Each week, Jake’s article will aim to highlight running backs that you should consider targeting on your league’s waiver wire. I’ve split these players up into three tiers from most desirable to most desperate. Additionally, I’ve included players at the bottom of this list that I would be comfortable cutting as I don’t see them contributing in a major way this season.
Cream of the Crop Running Backs for Week 14 Waiver Wire
These are running backs that I would add no matter what if they are available on your waiver wire. These players have a chance to be starters and weekly contributors to their NFL teams:
James White (RB, NE) - 36% owned on Fleaflicker
I wrote last week about how I liked Brandon Bolden or James White, but I just didn’t know which one. Well, while I do believe Bill Belichick will play the matchups and game situation will dictate who plays, I also see great opportunity here for White who set himself apart during Week 13. As far as game situation goes, I think it’s clear the Pats want to throw the ball and without their top two weapons in Julian Edelman and Rob Gronkowski, White may be the top option in the passing game.
Week 13 brought White 13 targets, 10 of which he caught for a total of 115 yards and a touchdown in the passing game. In the past three weeks, White has 21 targets, 14 catches, 152 receiving yards and has been the #10 ranked running back. He still hasn’t become a threat on the ground, but it looks like he’s taking over that Dion Lewis role for good. With a lack of weapons on offense going down the stretch for that Patriots, White might just become a household name.
Shaun Draughn (RB, SF) - 27% owned on Fleaflicker
I moved Draughn down to the “Wait and See” section last week out of fear that Carlos Hyde would return. I’ve decided that until I see Hyde actually on the field, I’m not going to be afraid of him and will stay committed to Draughn. Draughn didn’t have a great game by any means, carrying the ball 13 times for a measly 36 yards, but he was great once again in the passing game, grabbing 5 of his 6 targets for 50 yards. After adding a touchdown on the ground, that results in a pretty solid week 13.
Draughn has been the #17 RB the past three weeks, racking up almost an equal number of yards through the air (125) as on the ground (124). Add in the fact that he plays a Cleveland run defense that has given up 20% more points than average to fantasy running backs this season and he makes for a pretty nice pick up and fill in during week 1 of the fantasy playoffs.
Antonio Andrews (RB, TEN) - 43% owned on Fleaflicker
How many times do I have to write about Andrews before his ownership will climb over 50%? I think he finally gets over that threshold this week, so this may be my last time to post his name. The case for Andrews is quite simple. He’s coming off his best fantasy game of the season where he totaled 12.8 fantasy points. Over the past three weeks he’s the #22 RB. Over the past five, he’s #26. He’s not special, but he’s playable, and at this point in the season sometimes that is all you need.
Honorable Mentions: N/A
Wait and See Running Backs for Week 14 Waiver Wire
These are running backs highly available on the waiver wire who you should consider stashing if you have room:
Bilal Powell (RB, NYJ) - 22% owned on Fleaflicker
Powell is a solid pass catching running back so it is hard to believe that his touchdown catch on Sunday against the New York Giants was the first of his career. In addition to the touchdown, Powell finished the day with 13 catches for 91 yards, consistently getting extra yards after the catch operating as the pass catching back for the Jets.
Over the past three weeks, Powell has been the #18 fantasy running back, totaling 232 yards (mostly through the air) and the aforementioned touchdown. The Jets face Tennessee, just in a shootout, in week 14 and New England, always going to put up points, in week 16. Those two matchups alone make this pass catching back add worthy this week.
Chris Polk (RB, HOU) - 15% owned on Fleaflicker
A week after Alfred Blue led the show for the Texans with 17 touches, Polk led the way this week with 13. He took 12 of those touches on the ground, converting them into 61 yards and was able to convert his only target into an 11 yard touchdown catch. I honestly don’t see any rhyme or reason to the Houston RB usage, but Polk could be useful in a deep league in a week 14 matchup with the New England Patriots.
Honorable Mentions: Spencer Ware (RB, KC) - 47% owned, David Cobb (RB, TEN) - 36% owned
Hail Mary Running Backs for Week 14 Waiver Wire
These are desperation plays who shouldn’t be starting for you. The injury bug, bye week troubles, or something else needs to be affecting your team to add these players:
Orleans Darkwa (RB, NYG) - 5% owned on Fleaflicker
I watched every snap of the Giants game and almost every snap wondered where Rashad Jennings was. I don’t understand what the Giants are doing (the usage of the terrible Andre Williams is absolutely insane), but they are using Darkwa quite a bit and seem to like him. This is a complete shot in the dark, but maybe the Giants commit to the hard-running Darkwa this week and just see what happens.
Honorable Mentions: Kerwynn Williams (RB, ARI) - 2% owned, Theo Riddick (RB, DET) - 33% owned, Jonathan Grimes (RB, HOU) - 15% owned