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Running Back Waiver Wire Pickups for Week 14: Top Free Agent Adds Include Zonovan Knight, James Cook, Jerick McKinnon, DeeJay Dallas

Zonovan Knight - Fantasy Football Rankings, Draft Sleepers, Waiver Wire Pickups

After 13 weeks of the regular season, some of you have been able to embrace the numbers that have been assembled by the running backs that are contained on your rosters. Unfortunately, an increasing number of fantasy managers have encountered injuries, while others have contended with disappointing output due to a collection of unexpected developments.

The final bye week of the season will provide one last impactful challenge to fantasy managers as six teams will be affected this week- Atlanta, Indianapolis, Chicago, Green Bay, New Orleans, and Washington. This ensures that anyone with Jonathan Taylor, Alvin Kamara, Aaron Jones, A.J. Dillon, David Montgomery, Cordarrelle Patterson, Tyler Allgeier, Brian Robinson, or Antonio Gibson contained on their rosters will have to avoid starting those backs this week.

This week's recommendations will appear in three tiers, beginning with the most enticing and progressing to options for managers that are struggling with desperation. You will also find a group of backs that can be dropped in order for you to secure your replacements. After you've finished this breakdown, you can also find news updates and data-fueled analysis that is designed to help you maximize the scoring potential of your rosters.

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Upcoming Bye Week

Week 14: Falcons, Bears, Packers, Colts, Saints, Commanders

 

 

Frontrunners - Week 14 Waiver Wire Running Backs

These running backs should be your top priorities among the options that are available on most waiver wires. Some will be more beneficial in PPR leagues.

Zonovan Knight, New York Jets - 47% Rostered

The undrafted free agent did not emerge in the fantasy landscape until the Jets hosted Chicago in Week 12, but has now delivered encouraging numbers in two consecutive outings.

Knight played on 30 snaps versus the Bears while establishing a franchise record for total yards by a player during his NFL debut (103). He also led New York’s backfield in rushing attempts (14), rushing yardage (69), targets (three), and receiving yards (34).

James Robinson was a healthy inactive during that matchup, while Michael Carter was limited to 19 snaps before he sustained an ankle injury. Carter remained sidelined in Week 13, while Robinson was limited to four carries and just 10 yards.

Knight attained a 55% snap share while confiscating 20 touches (15 carries/5.0 receptions), while also eclipsing 100 total yards for a second straight week (118). That included 90 yards on the ground, while he also captured all five of his targets.

Knight has performed effectively and should retain his favorable workload. He remains available in over 60% of all leagues and possesses the versatility to function effectively as an RB2/high-end RB3 during your upcoming matchups. That vaults him atop this week’s list of backs to prioritize on your waiver wires.

James Cook, Buffalo Bills - 22% Rostered

Cook had operated with a 17% snap share from Weeks 1-12 while averaging 4.6 attempts, 25.9 rushing yards, 1.6 targets, and 11.0 receiving yards per game. Even though Buffalo’s second-round selection in last April’s NFL Draft was unchallenged in his role as the Bills’ RB2, his opportunities to display his versatility and big-play capabilities through an extensive workload were dwindling as the weeks progressed.

However, Cook secured a season-best 43% snap share during Buffalo’s AFC East showdown in New England. He was also entrusted with a season-high 14 rushing attempts, generated his second-highest yardage total of the season (64), and averaged 4.6 yards per attempt.

He also captured a season-high six targets, while accumulating 41 yards as a receiving weapon. Cook also led the Bills’ backfield in each of those categories, as Devin Singletary carried 13 times, produced 51 yards (3.9 per attempt), and failed to register a reception.

Cook’s ability to capitalize on his expanded touch total should lead to favorable workloads during the Bills’ remaining matchups. Cook is available in nearly 80% of all leagues, but that percentage will decrease significantly this week.

Jerick McKinnon, Kansas City Chiefs - 39% Rostered

Attempting to forecast the workloads within Kansas City’s backfield had become a laborious task throughout much of the regular season. However, Clyde Edwards-Helaire’s descent from the equation has provided clarity, as McKinnon and Isiah Pacheco have commandeered the touches that Andy Reid is allocating within Kansas City’s rotation.

The Chiefs' decision to sign Melvin Gordon did not impact the usage of McKinnon when Kansas City visited Cincinnati in Week 13, as he accumulated eight rushing attempts – which tied his season-high. McKinnon also eclipsed 50 rushing yards for the second time this season (51).

McKinnon was second among all backs with 23 targets from Weeks 9-12, while averaging 5.8 per game. He was limited to two targets from Patrick Mahomes against the Bengals. But this does not diminish his importance as the Chiefs’ primary pass-catching back.

McKinnon also leads Kansas City’s backfield with a 43% snap share, which has risen to 46% during his last eight contests. He remains attainable in over 60% of all leagues and can be secured as a flex option to help you navigate a nightmarish bye week and any crucial matchups that you will soon encounter.

 

In The Running - Week 14 Waiver Wire Running Backs

These running backs remain available on the waiver wire but are not necessarily must-adds.

DeeJay Dallas, Seattle Seahawks- 3% Rostered

This recommendation to add Dallas arrives with a caveat that his status as a roster addition is dependent on the health of several members of Seattle’s backfield - including Dallas.

Kenneth Walker played on 14 snaps during the Seahawks’ Week 13 matchup with the Rams before he sustained an ankle injury. Dallas was temporarily elevated into Seattle’s RB1 responsibilities before he encountered his own ankle issue. Travis Homer was inactive, which left former Saint Tony Jones Jr. to operate as the team’s primary back.

Dallas eventually returned to the field and ultimately led Seattle in snap share (49%), rushing attempts (10), and rushing yards (37). He would become the Seahawks’  lead back if Walker is unable to re-emerge when Seattle hosts Carolina on Sunday, provided that Dallas can elude any extended issues regarding his ankle.

It will be imperative that the health of Walker and Dallas be monitored as the week progresses. However, Dallas could become a viable starting option this week if Walker is unavailable.

Tyler Allgeier, Atlanta Falcons - 46% Rostered

Allgeier remains available in over 50% of all leagues even though he continues to perform efficiently while functioning in a timeshare with Cordarrelle Patterson. Both backs have operated with similar workloads since Patterson resurfaced in Week 9 after the 31-year-old had recovered from his knee injury. He has also attained a 45.6% snap share since Week 9 but Allgeier’s share nearly matches Patterson’s (44.3%).

The workloads that have been distributed to both backs since Week 9 have also remained comparable, as Patterson has accumulated 50 attempts, while Allgeier has carried 47 times. Allgeier has also generated 54 additional yards (280/56 per game) while Patterson has manufactured 226 yards (45.2 per game).

Allgeier also led Atlanta's backfield with a 53% snap share, carried 10 times, and has now garnered 10+ attempts during nine of his 12 matchups. He also exceeded 50 rushing yards for the seventh time in his last 10 games when the Falcons hosted Pittsburgh.

Neither Allgeier nor Patterson is utilized sizably as receiving weapons in an offense that ranks second in run-play percentage (56.0%). However, Allgeier’s ability to generate yardage with his weekly allotment of carries can provide fantasy managers with a viable flex option - after the Falcons return from their bye.

Cam Akers, Los Angeles Rams - 45% Rostered 

It has been an erratic and disappointing year for Akers, which makes it understandable if you have ambivalence surrounding the idea of adding him. His season has been forged by a combination of frequent inefficiency and a puzzling absence.

However, there is a rationale for securing Akers if you are confronted by a roster dilemma entering your Week 14 matchup. He has now accumulated at least 14 carries during two of his last three matchups, while also rushing for 60+ yards during each of those contests.

That includes the season-high 17 rushing attempts that he was entrusted with during the Rams’ Week 13 matchup with NFC West rival Seattle. Akers also generated multiple touchdowns for the first time this season during the contest.

Akers appears to have surpassed Kyren Williams in Sean McVay’s distribution of touches, as Williams was limited to just three attempts and nine rushing yards in Week 13. He was also limited to one target and failed to collect a reception.

The current deficiencies within the Rams’ offense remain concerning, but Akers' recent surge in usage and output has elevated him among this week’s roster options.

 

Dark Horses - Week 14 Waiver Wire Running Backs 

This group consists of running backs that can be added if you are willing to wait for the possibility of a larger role during the year or consider your situation to be desperate due to injuries.

Alexander Mattison, Minnesota Vikings - 35% Rostered

Mattison has been included among the weekly recommendations throughout the season. This return visit to the column serves as a reminder that his path to a substantial workload remains unencumbered if Dalvin Cook is suddenly unable to perform as Minnesota's workhorse back.

Cook’s 73% snap share is the highest percentage of his career which underscores his unquestioned role as the Vikings' lead back. Cook is also averaging 16.5 attempts and 77.3 yards per game during his first season in Kevin O’Connell’s offense.

Even though Mattison generated his third touchdown of the season in Week 13, his current workload prevents him from attaining standalone value (4.0 attempts/14.5 yards per game). However, there is no discernible threat to his ongoing status as the direct backup to Cook.

That provides the incentive for adding Mattison if Cook is currently on your roster. Mattison remains available in 65% of all leagues but interest would ignite if Cook is suddenly forced to the sideline for any reason. Having Mattison stashed on your bench would supply you with a resource who could deliver borderline RB1 output if that scenario transpires.

Mike Boone, Denver Broncos - 6% Rostered

You may have become conditioned to bypass all players who are involved in Denver’s disappointing offense as the Broncos’ forgettable season has unfolded. However, a combination of factors has disentangled what had been an extremely congested backfield, while supplying Boone with an opportunity to secure RB2 responsibilities for Denver.

Latavius Murray continues to operate as the Broncos' primary back, but Boone has resurfaced following a four-game absence (ankle) that had resulted in his placement on injured reserve. He has been infused into a backfield that no longer includes Melvin Gordon, while Chase Edmonds is currently on injured reserve with his own ankle injury.

This has positioned Boone to accumulate touches as a rusher and receiver while functioning as a complement to the 32-year-old Murray. Boone carried six times when Denver visited Baltimore in Week 13, and also captured his only target.

Those are clearly not astronomical numbers, but his versatility can provide you with a flex option, if the six-team bye week, injuries, and other challenges have left you desperate entering this week’s matchups. He would also seize an expanded role if Murray would be sidelined for any reason.

Jordan Mason, San Francisco 49ers - 15% Rostered

Mason was signed as an undrafted free agent by the 49ers following the NFL Draft. This infused him into an overcrowded backfield that initially included Elijah Mitchell, Jeff Wilson Jr., Tyrion Davis-Price, JaMycal Hasty, and Trey Sermon.

A plethora of developments have repeatedly altered the configuration of San Francisco’s depth chart as Hasty and Sermon were waived, Wilson was traded, and both Mitchell (knee) and Davis-Price (ankle) have been sidelined by injuries during the season.

That includes Mitchell’s second knee issue which has altered the backfield rotation once again. He will now be sidelined for multiple weeks, which has presented Mason with a path to operate in a rotation for the 49ers, while Christian McCaffrey commandeers a sizable percentage of touches.

Mason was limited to just six snaps, one rushing attempt, and seven rushing yards from Weeks 1-10, but has now carried 13 times since Week 12 while generating 76 yards on the ground. Tyrion Davis-Price potentially looms as a candidate to join the rotation if Kyle Shanahan is inclined to allocate touches to additional backs.

However, Mason should continue to register touches during San Francisco’s remaining matchups. He would also secure a sizable increase in his workload if McCaffrey would be sidelined for any reason.

 

Also-Rans - It Is Time To Say Goodbye

These running backs can be dropped in order to secure an RB with greater potential to bolster your scoring during the year.

James Robinson, New York Jets - 49% Rostered

Robinson’s season began with promising usage and favorable production, but his stock has steadily plunged as the year has progressed. Robinson operated with a 60.5% snap share in Weeks 2-3, was tied for the league lead in rushing attempts (40/20 per game), and was fifth in rushing yardage (164/82 per game). His role with Jacksonville diminished from Weeks 4-7 as his snap share dropped to 37%, as he averaged 10 carries/36.7 yards per game.

Robinson’s snap share declined even further (28%), while he has averaged 7.3 attempts and 21.3 yards per game while managing just 2.9 yards per attempt during his five games as a Jet (Weeks 8-13).

The season-long descent of his viability as a roster option also included being relegated to healthy scratch status when the Jets hosted Chicago in Week 12. His minimal involvement in Week 13 was mentioned previously, as he carried four times and produced 10 yards.

Robinson is now firmly planted below Knight and Michael Carter on the Jets’ depth chart, while Ty Johnson can also siphon opportunities as a pass-catching presence from the backfield. You should easily locate more favorable options that are available on this week’s waiver wire.

Nyheim Hines, Buffalo Bills - 40% Rostered

It is fair to wonder why the Bills were compelled to trade for Hines, as he has been relegated to infinitesimal usage since his arrival. It is clear that he is a very distant third on Buffalo’s depth chart while Devin Singletary and James Cook appear destined to commandeer the vast majority of touches during the team’s final matchups.

Hines has only played on 44 snaps (12.9% share) snaps since his debut with the Bills in Week 9. He has also been limited to just four rushing attempts and five targets, while only delivering -8 rushing yards and 30 receiving yards with those opportunities. Those results are unlikely to prompt an increase in his workload.

There would be no rationale for elevating Hines into your starting lineups if he is contained on your rosters, which also eliminates all justification for retaining him. You can easily replace him with one of the backs who has been included in this week’s recommendations. Those players are receiving a larger percentage of touches and are capable of functioning as resources during your matchups.

Elijah Mitchell, San Francisco 49ers - 37% Rostered

Mitchell has now been placed on injured for a second time during a year in which he has been available during four of San Francisco’s matchups while generating 224 yards (56 per game) on 40 attempts (10 per game).

Mitchell initially played on 17 snaps during the 49ers’ season opener before sustaining an MCL injury which sidelined him until Week 10. He surprisingly confiscated a sizable role upon his return - despite the presence of Christian McCaffrey. Mitchell averaged 11.3 carries and 61 rushing yards per game until he encountered a second MCL injury during San Francisco’s Week 12 matchup with New Orleans.

This has resulted in a second absence for Mitchell who is expected to remain out for at least four weeks, and his absence could extend beyond that time frame. That should incentivize fantasy managers who have retained Mitchell on their rosters to remove him this week, with the exception of anyone who is positioned to place him on injured reserve. There are other backs who can provide you with more effective use of a valuable roster spot.



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