Talk about laying down the law—two straight weeks of a 75-percent hit rate on players you should avoid. And I’m not even convinced Evan Engram really hit. By now, you might have the most FAAB in the league while avoiding some serious landmines. Week 14 has plenty of trash left on the waiver wire, so don’t get fooled by these junk dealers. But before we dive into the garbage, let’s revisit the pile of fiery crap we discussed last week.
O my. We made jokes about Cam Newton’s replacement getting replaced by his replacement, only to end up back with Newton again. Well, a very similar situation has happened in New Orleans. The Saints let Mark Ingram walk and sign Latavius Murray, who gets cut for Tony Jones, only to become a healthy scratch on Thursday night for Ingram. The worst part was, Kamara was inactive. Oof.
All those people out there tell you to pick up Jones only for him to be a healthy scratch—brutal.
As for Kendrick Bourne, I can hear people yelling already about the weather. My response: You should have done your research. There were concerns about it early in the week, enough to fade Stefon Diggs. But even if there weren’t concerns about the wind and snow, this is a divisional game where Bill Belichick was likely to take the ball out of his rookie’s hands, regardless.
Over the first 12 weeks of 2020, the Patriots passed the ball on 50.3-percent of the plays; the next five weeks dropped to 39.7-percent. Most would justifiably argue about their terrible quarterback position, which makes sense. So revisiting the last three years for the Patriots with Tom Brady - the best cold-weather quarterback of all time - they saw an average dip in passing plays by about four percent. Even tracing back five years from 2015 to 2019, the attempts dropped by 4.2-percent.
So let’s sum this up.
With the best quarterback in cold weather, the Patriots still decided to take the ball out of Brady’s hands at an increased rate. They gave it to Sony Michel - a player they traded for a fifth and sixth-round pick - on 34.3-percent of occasions. The other running plays were mostly a combination of Rex Burkhead, Dion Lewis, and James White. Now we have rookie (!) quarterback Mac Jones, in a game with arguably the best divisional opponent the Patriots have ever faced, away from home. In addition, you don't have just one, but two backs who fit better in their scheme and who the coaching staff actually favors. The cherry on top is the horrid weather.
Bourne never had a chance.
And speaking of players who never had a chance, Burkhead and the entire Texans offense was atrocious. I’m not going to lie; I got a little nervous when David Johnson was ruled out. However, as I mentioned, the volume doesn’t matter if it’s a bad running back on a bad team with no offensive line.
But enough about Week 13; I’ve worn the weekly Title Belt around enough already. So instead, let’s dive into some of these Week 14 waiver wire players who belong in the trash.
Fool Me Once
Haven’t we been through this already? An aging Adrian Peterson should be nowhere near your rosters come Week 14. After getting cut by the Titans, he landed with the Seahawks, where he got you a whopping 16 yards on 11 carries in Week 13—uninspiring, to say the least. So why is he on Week 14 waiver wire lists when he's garbage?
He got a touchdown. He got a touchdown against a team allowing the fourth-most touchdowns per game on the ground to the running back. He got a touchdown on one of his three carries at the one-yard line.
Peterson is far from someone you want to roll out in the playoffs. He’s not even the lead back on his own team; Not to mention, he doesn’t catch passes. So even if he gives you a touchdown, expect to see 20 yards or less rushing each week. At this point, if you’re interested in Peterson you made terrible decisions the entire year and are not in contention anyway. You’re just trying to stay away from the last-place Matthew Berry Toilet Bowl.
Trying to Support but This Week 14 Waiver Target is Trash
Amon-Ra St. Brown is someone I want to get behind, and maybe if I have a deep roster, I’ll take a shot. However, picking him up with plans to play him over the next two weeks is like mailing in your two-week notice.
Just quit now.
St. Brown has averaged 5.4 receptions over the past eight games. However, he’s only given you 49.4 yards per game. He’s an underneath specialist who set career highs in every category—targets, receptions, yards, and got his first touchdown. Now people are running out to tell you to pick him up? Hit me with a “C’MON MAN!”
Sure, St. Brown has burst, but overall he’s unathletic, undersized, and has a brutal schedule over the next two weeks. First, the Lions see the Kyle Fuller and the Broncos in Week 14, who have shut down slot receivers Tyreek Hill and CeeDee Lamb in two of the past four weeks. Then in Week 15, he’ll see coverage from one of the best slot corners in the league, Byron Murphy. Murphy has only allowed 24 receptions in the slot the entire season.
I’d rather stand butt-ass naked in the middle of the Patriots-Bills Monday night game than roll out St. Brown for this playoff run. It’s a quick way to end up with a Participation Ribbon at the end of the season.
Speaking of Tough Schedules
Tevin Coleman was an alright flex play against an Eagles defense who has been susceptible to the running back as of late. If you wanted a gourmet sandwich, it was like settling for subway—not stoked, but you know what you’re getting.
However, scoping the upcoming schedule over the next two weeks is brutal. Up first, the Jets have the Saints brick wall of a front seven who hasn’t allowed a single 100-yard rusher while also touting a 4.19 (No.7) DOCE Score. No chance you’re rolling him out there.
In Week 15, Coleman has a raging Dolphins unit who became the first team since 1994 to win five straight after losing seven in a row. They haven’t allowed a back to get over 75 rushing yards since Week 4 and haven’t allowed a rushing touchdown in the past six. In addition, they are giving up 6.79 (No.6) yards per reception to the backs. You couldn’t catch me dead playing him there.
Meanwhile, Michael Carter - the Jets RB1 - is likely to return from injury within the next couple of weeks. So when you think to yourself, “look at those final two sexy matchups,” think again. He’s a waste of a pickup and could implode your rosters into dust. So leave him for your league mates; they won’t be thanking you for him later.
Not a Stud... Or Even a Handcuff
There are times to play your studs, regardless of matchup: Austin Ekeler against the Broncos or Damien Harris against the Cowboys. Leonard Fournette against the Bills, Saints, then Panthers could be one of those players. However, Ronald Jones? You’ll be crying in a corner.
In 2021, Ronald Jones had a 61.5-percent catch rate when balls traveled past the LOS.— Chase Vernon (@ff_intervention) December 7, 2021
50.6-percent of Fournette's fantasy production has come in the receiving game in 2021. I get handcuffs but Jones is not one unless you're just saving him for the championship week.
Fournette has become valuable because he is catching passing from Brady—something Jones is unable to do. Fournette is second in the NFL in targets and first in receptions. In 2019 he showed us he was capable as he was fourth in targets and fifth in receptions. As for Jones, it’s been quite the opposite: In 2020, he was fifth in drops and second in drop rate for receivers with 40 or more targets. In addition, he only caught 60.5-percent of his passes beyond the line of scrimmage.
50.6-percent of Fournette’s fantasy production has come in the receiving game in 2021.
I get handcuffs, and I understand wanting the starting running back for the Buccaneers if Fournette goes down. I’m someone who would absolutely roll Jones out against the Jets for championship week if something did happen to Fournette. However, it’s still four weeks away.
Roster space is a hot commodity, and in standard leagues, wasting it could have someone else touting the Championship Trophy at the 2022 Draft. If you pick him up now, you’re likely missing some golden opportunities for legit players. Considering he might not even get a chance, it’s a complete waste versus snagging a player like D’Onta Foreman or Rhamondre Stevenson, who could give you multiple quality starts. Picking up a player with hopes of him winning your league in Week 17 is great, but you have to get there first.