UPNXT: Best Week 14 NFL Waiver Wire Pickups and Trading Card Moves

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Jason Koeppel/ONE37pm

It’s hard to believe, but we’ve officially reached the first round (for most) of the fantasy football playoffs. Hopefully, you checked out last week’s super-sized article, as many of the names we discussed made considerable noise in week 13.

Starting with what was the biggest news that came out of last week: the benching of Philadelphia Eagles’ franchise quarterback Carson Wentz. It was another week of struggles offensively for Philly, and with his coaching job potentially on the line, Doug Pederson decided to pull Wentz for second-round pick Jalen Hurts. Hurts, and former UPNXT alum Jalen Reagor, provided an instant spark late in the game versus Green Bay, but ultimately came up short. Now that Hurts has been named the starter for week 14, could this be a sign of things to come? Or are the Eagles simply allowing Carson Wentz to step back and work through whatever is causing his regression this year? Either way, it might be time to pick Hurts up in your fantasy leagues and check out some of his cards on eBay.

Another week, another Cam Akers sighting in the end zone. It’s now been three straight weeks that Akers has scored a touchdown, and the bulk of the touches are shifting his way as well. Akers led the Rams’ backfield with a lofty 22 touches, converting them into 94 yards from scrimmage and a score. If you were fortunate enough to get him on your team last week, or you’ve been holding him and hoping he’d emerge as “the guy,” it looks like Cam Akers is finally worth starting during the fantasy football playoffs.

And last, but not least, we must mention Keke Coutee. Not only does he have one of the most memorable names in the NFL, but he stepped into a massive role that saw him capitalize on his newfound opportunity in a big way. Coutee lead the Houston Texans’ receivers with nine targets for eight receptions and 141 yards against a tough Colts’ defense. As we mentioned last week, he’s shown flashes of what he can do when given a larger role in the offense. Good news: he’s still widely available in fantasy leagues. I promise you, if he’s available in your league, he won’t be for long.

Now that you’re all caught up and we’ve tooted our horn a little bit, let’s see if we can pull back the curtain on a few more names to know as you gear up for the fantasy playoffs. Here’s who’s UPNXT for week 14 in the NFL!

1. Daniel Jones, QB, New York Giants

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Blame a difficult schedule and the loss of Saquon Barkley for a slow start for Daniel Jones. Through the first few weeks, he faced the likes of the Steelers, Bears, 49ers, Rams, and Bucs defenses, a difficult string of matchups for any quarterback. However, in weeks 7-10 he has quietly put up 18 or more fantasy points in three of four games as he has faced much easier defenses. An injury in week 12 meant an early exit for Jones, as he subsequently missed what would’ve been another prime matchup versus the Seahawks in week 13. But perhaps brighter days lie ahead for Jones, as he gets fantasy friendly games versus the Cardinals and Browns in weeks 14-15. If you’re in need of a streaming option or play in a 2QB league, Jones could be the solution over the next couple of weeks.

Fantasy Ownership: Daniel Jones is owned in just 22% of fantasy football leagues. He should be over his hamstring injury that kept him out of his last game. This week, he’ll take on a Cardinals team who’s allowing nearly 19 fantasy points per game to opposing quarterbacks. His next contest gets even better, as he faces a Browns team allowing nearly 20 points per game to quarterbacks. You could certainly do much worse if you’re looking for help at the position.

DFS: (DraftKings: $5,500, FanDuel: $6,800) vs. Cardinals As we alluded to above, Jones has a solid matchup this week against the Arizona Cardinals. The implied total for the game is 45.5, with the Giants as +2.5 underdogs. I especially love Jones’ price on DraftKings this week, where he is priced at a $1,300 discount versus FanDuel. Some of Jones’ rushing upside may be diminished as his hamstring is probably not 100%. They’ve also found a ton of success running the ball with Wayne Gallman Jr. lately. This could be a game that they lean on Gallman again unless the Giants fall behind to a potent Cardinals’ offense. I’d put Jones in the tournament only category this week.

Card Market Rating: On November 12th (almost exactly a month ago) I wrote this article about three quarterbacks whose values have plummeted since the start of the 2020 season (Jones, Carson Wentz and Sam Darnold). My feelings today are the exact same as they were a month ago on "Danny Dimes", so if you are considering investing in Jones, please give that article a read. 

2. Henry Ruggs III, WR, Las Vegas Raiders

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How do you feel about Henry Ruggs if you’re a New York Jets fan? He kept the Jets winless streak going with a last-minute Hail Mary touchdown catch, ending the day with 84 yards and a touchdown. So, does he get a Christmas card for not spoiling “Tank for Trevor”? Or does he get a lump of coal in his stocking for robbing the Jets of their first win of the season?

Over his last two games combined, Ruggs has 6 receptions for 140 yards and a touchdown, which are his best totals since week five against the Chiefs. He also sees the occasional carry, as the Raiders are trying to get the ball in his hands however they can. Who can blame them? With 4.27 speed in the 40-yard dash, he’s big-play potential waiting to happen. He may not have taken the league by storm like fellow rookie receiver Justin Jefferson, but the last two games might be a sign that he’s starting to figure things out.

Fantasy Ownership: Speaking of potential, I’m going to say that most of the fantasy managers who are holding onto Ruggs believe in his potential as well. The evidence for this? He is rostered in 33% of fantasy leagues at the moment, which is higher than anticipated. His next three scheduled games are against the Colts, Chargers, and Dolphins, which aren’t the easiest matchups out there.

DFS: (DraftKings: $4,600, FanDuel: $5,400) vs. Colts Does playing Henry Ruggs in DFS this week have any merit? Let’s take a closer look. The implied total of this game is 51.5, with the Raiders as +2.5 underdogs. Anytime a game total is 50 or more, you should be interested. The matchup for Ruggs is the issue. The Colts are allowing the 12th fewest fantasy points to opposing wide receivers, putting their per game average at 22.2. If Vegas is without bell-cow running back Josh Jacobs again, they could lean heavily on quarterback Derek Carr and the passing game like they did last week. I’d consider Ruggs as a very low-owned DFS option in tournaments.

Card Market Rating: Buy. Henry Ruggs has not exactly had a huge rookie year, and the value of his cards has taken a bit of a dip since the start of the season. That said, he flashes major potential with his world class speed, and he has shown enough where I am comfortable saying that he might be worthy of a few pickups. To answer Curits' question before (as a Jets fan), I feel REALLY good about Ruggs' catch to keep the Jets winless. No Jets fan should be rooting for wins right now, with Trevor Lawrence the reward for going 0-16. On that premise alone, I might have to empty the bank start a PC of my new favorite player, THE GAWD Henry Ruggs! 

3. T.Y. Hilton, WR, Indianapolis Colts

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Occasionally, we will include a veteran player in these UPNXT features who simply can’t be ignored. T.Y. Hilton is that guy this week. Although he’s no longer the player we came to know during his time with the now retired Andrew Luck, Hilton has experienced a bit of a renaissance over his last couple of games. In weeks 12-13, Hilton has 191 yards receiving and two touchdowns. Those numbers are good for 18.1 and 25.0 PPR fantasy points, respectively. With his next two games against the Raiders and Texans, Hilton isn’t just an add and stash candidate, he’s start-worthy.

Fantasy Ownership: Hilton is easily the highest-owned player of the three guys we’re writing up this week, but his schedule is too good to pass on. He’s on 47% of rosters right now, but if you see him out there in free agency, pick him up. He should be the first wide receiver priority in most fantasy leagues, and one of the top priority additions overall. Both the Raiders and Texans rank in the bottom half of the league in points allowed to opposing receivers.

DFS: (DraftKings: $5,100, FanDuel: $6,000) @ Raiders High implied game total? Check. Close spread? Check. Fantasy friendly matchup? Check. Proof of recent success? Also, a check. There’s a lot to like about this matchup for Hilton, which is why I’m considering him as a borderline cash game play, and someone you’ll definitely want exposure to in tournaments this weekend. The only concern is trying to predict who will go off for the Colts on any given day. The hot hand is with Hilton…for now.

Card Market Rating: Hilton is so ridiculously underrated. If you take a look at his career, he has a good shot of going over 1000 yards this season for the 6th time in the last 7 seasons (the only season he didn't, he had 966 yards). He will likely eclipse the 10,000 yard mark for his career next season. To put that into perspective, only 48 players have ever achieved that accomplishment. I'm not sure that buying his cards makes any sense at this point because I see little to no upside, but amazingly, if he plays a couple more years he has an outside chance of passing guys like Michael Irvin and Calvin Johnson on the all-time list. 

The only reason I am bringing all of this up is because it's a cautionary tale for people investing in young wide receivers. Even if they turn out to be as good as TY Hilton, you can buy his Prizm Rookie Auto numbered to /99 for $60. 

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