9 route: Top 9 fantasy football waiver targets in Week 14

Tuesday, 05 December 2017, 06:25:52 AM. For those of you who’ve made it into the fantasy postseason, take a bow. This is when it gets really fun.

For those of you who’ve made it into the fantasy postseason, take a bow. This is when it gets really fun.

However, if some of you just happen to be reading the ‘9 route’ because you’re already experiencing FOMO, who are we to stop you?

If you are in the big dance, it likely means you made at least a few shrewd waiver moves along the way. But your waiver work is hardly finished. No, we have at least four or five candidates worth starting as the fantasy postseason kicks off, so let’s begin sorting it out.

9. Browns TE David Njoku — The return of Josh Gordon didn’t bode nearly as well for 2016 first-rounder Corey Coleman (zero grabs on four targets) as it did Cleveland’s ’17 first-round tight end. An athletic marvel cut from a similar cloth as Gordon, Njoku had the best fantasy outing of his rookie season — 4-74-1 receiving on six targets — and has been in on 75 offense snaps over the past two games combined. He'll now set his sights on a Packers secondary that had been stout all season vs. tight ends... until allowing Cameron Brate to score twice Sunday.

8. Jaguars WR Dede Westbrook — As long as Westbrook keeps attracting looks — 25 over his first three appearances — he’ll remain here until his ownership disqualifies him. That the rookie has upped his yardage total in each game, from 35 to 41 to 78, respectively, and last week set that career high alongside Marqise Lee best game this season only adds to Westbrook’s allure. A tough Week 14 visit from the Seahawks' apparently still fearsome "Legion of Boom" is followed by a Texans secondary fooling no one simply because it's kept Marcus Mariota and Joe Flacco out of the end zone over the past two games.

7. Washington WR Josh Doctson — On the opposite sideline last Thursday from one of the NFL’s best in-flight attackers in Dez Bryant, Doctson must’ve made Bryant proud with his soaring touchdown grab. It was his second consecutive week with a 14-yard score — while playing 100 percent of offensive snaps — and fifth receiving touchdown overall to lead Washington. Despite his playtime, Doctson isn’t getting force fed by Cousins, but he’s attracted at least five targets in five of the past seven games.

6. Buccaneers QB Jameis Winston — He was the QB7 overall in his return in Green Bay from a three-game layoff, and would’ve been top-five if not for a lost fumble. That Winston gets a Lions ‘D’ that’s in the worst possible way will put him in the top-12 quarterback discussion this week. He's got loads of weapons and the Falcons — potentially still without top CB Desmond Trufant — up after welcoming Detroit. Dirk Koetter earned the Bucs job because of his relationship with Winston; it may be up to the former No. 1 overall pick to bail his embattled coach out with a strong finish.

5. Jets WR Jermaine Kearse — WR5 and WR7 the past two weeks, respectively, Kearse had another monster outing vs. the Chiefs, coming the same week Sheldon Richardson — who the Jets dealt in exchange for Kearse — made a game-changing forced fumble of Carson Wentz. Four of his seven red-zone targets have come in the past two games, when Kearse has 16-262 receiving in the best two-week stretch of his career. Robby Anderson’s ascent has only helped Kearse keep climbing, but it gets tougher with a playoff slate that next takes him to Denver and New Orleans.

4. Ravens WR Mike Wallace — Better late than never for Wallace, again Baltimore’s leading receiver, with four double-digit scoring days in his past eight games, including just his second 100-yard outing on Sunday vs. the Lions. Wallace has again retaken his spot as Joe Flacco’s favorite target (team-high 30 targets over the past four games), and Flacco quietly has three decent starts during Baltimore’s 4-1 surge. Wallace also has pedigree on his side, and that carrot being dangled for prospective Wallace owners is the Colts depleted secondary looming in fantasy championship week.

3. Seahawks RB Mike Davis — It only took until early December, but Seattle may have found a running back it can ride. Davis, who showed promise in his Week 11 ‘Hawks debut before succumbing with a groin injury, reentered the equation Sunday night in Philadelphia and left no doubt which back Pete Carroll hopes to lean on for the stretch run. Davis tallied 101 scrimmage yards on 45 offensive snaps (Eddie Lacy, Thomas Rawls and J.D. McKissic combined for 15) vs. the NFL's top-ranked run 'D,' showing the kind of urgency and juice that’s been missing from Seattle’s run game for too long. A nice Week 14 opportunity awaits in the Jaguars but don't hesitate with Davis, not with Chris Carson eyeing his return "for the final couple weeks," per Carroll.

2. 49ers QB Marquise Goodwin — All he did in his first start on the receiving end with Jimmy Garoppolo is convert eight targets into eight catches for 99 yards. It stands to reason his rapport with the new golden boy in San Francisco will only improve, and what pass ‘D’ is more likely to oblige with those improvements than Houston, Goodwin’s Week 14 foe, and Tennessee the week after? Goodwin has been a revelation for Kyle Shanahan with as-advertised elite track speed but also some toughness in the intermediate area. With just one touchdown to date, the WR40 can flourish to the finish line with the favorable change behind center and forthcoming matchups.

1. Buccaneers RB Peyton Barber — In his second career start and first this season, Barber turned 52 offensive snaps into 27 touches and 143 total yards and relegated Jacquizz Rodgers (five snaps) as an afterthought. One week after a pair of goal-line plunges, Barber also reeled in all four of his targets for an output unlike any from Doug Martin in more than two calendar years. We surmised Friday that Koetter, perhaps coaching for his job, may trust Rodgers more than the second-year Auburn product. We were sorely mistaken. If Barber is again in a lead role Sunday vs. Detroit, he’ll be on the RB1 radar against a Lions club that’s allowed multiple rushing scores in six of the past seven games.  

QBs

1. Winston

2. Josh McCown, Jets

3. Jimmy Garoppolo, 49ers

4. Aaron Rodgers, Packers

5. Blake Bortles, Jaguars

6. DeShone Kizer, Browns

7. Blaine Gabbert, Cardinals

8. Jay Cutler, Dolphins

9. Joe Flacco, Ravens

RBs

1. Barber

2. Davis

3. Matt Forte, Jets

4. Rod Smith, Cowboys

5. Jonathan Stewart, Panthers

6. Marlon Mack, Colts

7. James White, Patriots

6. Aaron Jones, Packers

8. DeAndre Washington, Raiders

9. Corey Clement, Eagles

WRs

1. Goodwin

2. Wallace

3. Kearse

4. Doctson

5. Westbrook

6. Corey Coleman, Browns

7. Dontrelle Inman, Bears

8. Corey Coleman, Titans

9. Kenny Golladay, Lions

TEs

1. Njoku

2. Tyler Kroft, Bengals

3. Julius Thomas, Dolphins

4. Charles Clay, Bills

5. Stephen Anderson, Texans

6. Ricky Seals-Jones, Cardinals

7. O.J. Howard, Buccaneers

8. Austin Hooper, Falcons

9. Marcedes Lewis, Jaguars

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