Essential waiver-wire pickups for Week 14 and your fantasy playoffs

Each week, we highlight six recommended fantasy pickups plus a team defense available in over 50 percent of Yahoo leagues. If you have roster needs, we've got options. The fantasy playoffs are upon us, so there's no point saving your waiver priority or FAAB dollars. Let's add, people.

Running backs

Benny Snell, Pittsburgh Steelers (32% rostered)

Snell rumbled for 63 yards on 16 carries against Cleveland on Sunday, with a one-yard TD run included:

The fourth-round rookie has served as Pittsburgh's preferred early-down featured runner while James Conner recovers from his shoulder injury. Over the past two weeks, Snell has rushed for 161 yards on 37 attempts (4.4 YPC), catching both of his targets for an additional nine yards. He was a massively productive collegiate back, a powerful runner with ideal size (5-10, 224). If Conner can't return for next week's matchup at Arizona, Snell has a shot at a huge afternoon against the league's No. 24 ranked run defense. 

FAAB bid: It doesn't carry over to next season, you guys. SPEND IT. $18 of a $100 budget

Raheem Mostert, San Francisco 49ers (13%)

Tevin Coleman started for the Niners on Sunday, but quickly became an afterthought, ceding touches to Mostert. In the end, Coleman would play only 10 snaps against the Ravens while Mostert played 42. Even if Matt Breida can return from injury in Week 14, it seems safe to say Mostert will retain a role. He delivered one of Sunday's more impressive highlight runs...

...while gaining 154 total yards on 21 touches. Mostert is now averaging 5.9 YPC and 11.9 yards per reception on the season, so he's been ludicrously efficient. The Niners will definitely need his versatility and big-play potential in next week's matchup with New Orleans. Consider him a playable flex, regardless of Breida's status. 

FAAB bid: $18

Alexander Mattison, Minnesota Vikings (28%)

Mattison entered Week 13 averaging 4.8 YPC on limited carries this season, establishing himself as one of our game’s most necessary handcuffs. He was a terrific back at Boise State, scoring 30 touchdowns over the past two years while gaining 2958 total yards. Mattison isn’t a burner, but he’s a capable receiver and powerful runner who’s produced a few highlights for the Vikings. He’s also the clear understudy to Dalvin Cook, who suffered a shoulder injury on Monday night. If Cook is sidelined for any length of time, Mattison would be a must-play RB.

The early word on Dalvin is positive, so this is not a break-the-bank situation with his backup. Still, we can assume Mattison is looking at an enhanced role.

FAAB bid: $14

Additional RBs worth grabbing: It should go without saying that if Derrius Guice is still available in your league, he shouldn’t be. He was a monster in a blow-up spot against Carolina on Sunday, stiff-arming his way to 129 rushing yards. He remains unattached in nearly 50 percent of Yahoo leagues, slightly above our cutoff for this column. He's definitely a priority add where available ($30+). Adrian Peterson is a viable add, too, running in committee with Guice. AP rushed for 99 yards and one score against the Panthers. Also, consider these dudes...

Darwin Thompson (it's too early to rule out either of KC's injured Williamses for next week, but we know McCoy will remain a part-timer), Patrick Laird and Myles Gaskin (these two will split backfield responsibilities for Miami with Ballage sidelined; Laird looks like the preferred goal-line option), Peyton Barber (what is dead may never die), Gus Edwards (one of the most essential handcuffs in fantasy, a regular in this feature). 


Ryan Tannehill, Tennessee Titans (39%)

Another week, another multi-touchdown performance from the vet who's basically saved Tennessee's season. Tannehill is now 5-1 as a starter this season and he's completed an eye-popping 72.7 percent of his throws. He also has a passer-rating of 113.9 and he leads the NFL in yards per attempt (9.1), despite throwing to a relatively unimpressive group of receivers. Tannehill completed 17 of 22 attempts for 182 yards and two scores against Indy on Sunday, including this gem of a throw for a long touchdown:

The Titans are very much in the postseason hunt, despite opening the season with a 2-4 record, and Tannehill might very well be headed to the Pro Bowl. Next week's matchup at Oakland is plenty appealing for fantasy purposes; the Raiders have allowed 8.2 Y/A and 27 passing scores this season. Don't be surprised if/when Tannehill finishes as a QB1 next week, carrying fantasy rosters into the playoff semis. 

FAAB bid: $14

Other addable QBs: Gardner Minshew (oh hell yeah, our guy is back in the game following the Foles faceplant), Ryan Fitzpatrick (he was dealing against Philly, passing for 365 yards, and he gets the Jets next Sunday), Kyle Allen (heads to Atlanta for a matchup with one of the league's most generous pass defenses).

Wide receivers and tight ends

Darius Slayton, New York Giants (27%)

It's kinda crazy that Slayton is un-rostered in so many leagues, as his playmaking ability is now well-established. He's drawn 30 targets over his last three games, including seven at Chicago in Week 12 when both Golden Tate and Sterling Shepard were active. Slayton is now officially and irrevocably a big part of New York's passing game. He clearly has rapport with Daniel Jones, plus he offers sub-4.4 speed. The Giants face nothing but friendly matchups over the season's final month (at Phi, Mia, at Was, Phi). Slayton belongs in your fantasy plans, deep leaguers. 

FAAB bid: $16

Anthony Miller, Chicago Bears (14%)

Hey, any time you can scoop up Mitch Trubisky's No. 2 receiver, you gotta do it, right? RIGHT?!

Well, OK, maybe you don't. But it's worth noting Miller has seen a whopping 33 targets over his last three games, hauling in 21. He's coming off a career-best 9-catch, 140-yard performance on Thanksgiving against Detroit, too. He hasn't yet found the end zone this season, but he came up just a few feet short on this highlight grab last week:

Miller finished with seven touchdown receptions as a rookie, so it's not as if he's a forgotten man near the goal-line. He'll face a stingy Dallas pass D on Thursday night (6.9 Y/A), which is a small concern. But at his recent volume, he remains a good bet for five or more receptions. 

FAAB bid: $9

Russell Gage, Atlanta Falcons (11%)

Julio Jones (shoulder) was unable to go in Atlanta's Thanksgiving loss to New Orleans, and there's no obvious reason for the team to rush him back onto the field. If he's out, his 9-10 weekly targets will need to be redistributed. Gage has been a volume receiver in recent weeks, following the Mohamed Sanu trade, and he's coming off a 5-catch, 52-yard performance that included this late score:

Gage has tons of PPR appeal these days. No team in the league has attempted more passes than Atlanta (515). 

FAAB bid: $5

Various other WR/TE options: James Washington (he's found the end zone in back-to-back games, recently roasting the Browns for 111 yards), A.J. Brown (his quarterback has been dealing and Oakland is on deck), Cole Beasley (he has a rough matchup ahead with Baltimore, but he's scored in five of his last seven games), Allen Lazard (he made a house call against the Giants, topping triple-digit yardage), Zach Pascal (he's back in our plans, with Hilton still struggling with injury), Olabisi Johnson (because Thielen is still fighting his hamstring issue), Tyler Higbee (he blew up in an obvious detonation spot against Arizona), Mike Gesicki (volume has been there and he's spiked in back-to-back weeks), Darren Fells (just scored for the seventh time this season). 


Dallas Cowboys (39%)

Without question, this team is sputtering. But the Cowboys travel to Chicago on Thursday night to face a quarterback who pretty much never plays a clean game. Mitch Trubisky has thrown four picks over the past three weeks and he's been one of the NFL's least efficient passers all season (6.1 Y/A, 84.4 rating). Dallas has allowed just 6.9 Y/A for the season, ranking seventh in the league. 

FAAB bid: $2

Other streamable D/STs: Green Bay (this defense has issues, but Washington and Chicago are on the schedule in Weeks 14-15), Houston (this D gets a date with Drew Lock next Sunday), Indianapolis (facing Jameis Winston and the Bucs in Week 14). 

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