By Matt Citak
If you are reading this, that probably means you were fortunate enough to reach the postseason in your fantasy football league. So for starters, congratulations. With all of the craziness that has occurred in the NFL over the last three months, making your league’s playoffs was no easy accomplishment. But now that you are in the playoffs, it will take an all hands on deck approach to be crowned league champion. Having depth on your bench is vital at this point of the season, as each week is “win or go home,” and you never know when one of your stars could get hurt.
With that in mind, here are CBS Local Sports’ top waiver wire pickups for Week 14.
RB Peyton Barber, Tampa Bay Buccaneers
If you had said before the season started that Peyton Barber would be the first Buccaneer to reach 100-yards rushing in a game this year, and it wouldn’t come until Week 13, everyone would have thought you were crazy. But that is the case, as the second-year running back, filling in for an injured Doug Martin, carried the ball 23 times for 102 yards in Tampa Bay’s 26-20 overtime loss to the Green Bay Packers. Barber also added four receptions for 41 yards, and looked like the Buccaneers’ best weapon on offense. While Martin could make it out of the concussion protocol in time for Tampa Bay’s Week 14 matchup against the Detroit Lions, his inability to get anything going on the ground over the last month could lead to Barber sticking as the team’s starting running back. The Lions struggle mightily at stopping opposing backs, making Barber a surprisingly solid play in Week 14.
WR Marquise Goodwin, San Francisco 49ers
The 49ers got their first taste of life with Jimmy Garoppolo under center this past week, and boy were they happy with that they saw. Despite failing to reach the end zone, San Francisco embarked on five different scoring drives during their 15-14 win over the Chicago Bears, and overall the offense looked much improved. No individual seemed to benefit more from Garoppolo starting than wide receiver Marquise Goodwin, who had a game-high eight receptions on eight targets for 99 yards. The fifth-year receiver had his best outing since catching 5-of-11 targets for 116 yards in Week 5, but it may not be long until Goodwin cracks 100-yards receiving yet again. The 49ers take on the Houston Texans in Week 14, who will enter the matchup surrendering 236 passing yards per game while allowing 23 passing touchdowns on the season, tied for the third-worst mark in the league. Goodwin and the 49ers could easily keep the good times rolling this week, which should make Goodwin one of the hottest names on the waiver wire entering the fantasy playoffs.
QB Jimmy Garoppolo, San Francisco 49ers
Speaking of, anyone in need of a quarterback for the final stretch of the fantasy season will have to consider Garoppolo. Making his 49ers debut on Sunday, the 26-year-old quarterback completed 26-of-37 passes (70.3 percent) for 293 yards, zero touchdowns and one interception. While his performance didn’t translate to the biggest fantasy day, Garoppolo’s outing was a very encouraging start to his career in the Bay Area. The young quarterback led five scoring drives of 58 yards or more, with each resulting in a field goal from inside the red zone. While you would obviously like more of those red zone trips ending in seven points as opposed to three, that is something Garoppolo should improve on as he gains more experience in the San Francisco offense. With a matchup against the Texans and their struggling secondary looming, Garoppolo could be in for a huge game in Week 14.
RB Mike Davis, Seattle Seahawks
Seattle has been searching for a featured back since losing rookie Chris Carson to a fractured ankle in Week 4, and after their big win over the Eagles on Sunday night, it looks like they finally found their guy. Davis, a third-year back out of South Carolina, was promoted from the practice squad in Week 11, but quickly suffered a groin injury which sidelined him for last week’s win over San Francisco. In his first chance serving as Seattle’s lead rusher this past Sunday night, Davis took 16 carries for 64 yards (4.0 yards per carry) while adding four receptions for 37 yards. The most impressive part about this was that it came against Philadelphia’s No. 1 ranked run defense, who are allowing a mere 68.1 rush yards per game this season, more than nine yards fewer than any other team. Davis could take the reigns as Seattle’s featured running back for the remainder of the season, and with upcoming matchups against the Jaguars and Rams, he might end up leading you to a fantasy championship.
WR Dede Westbrook, Jacksonville Jaguars
Westbrook has now been active for three games, and each week he looks to be getting better and better. In Week 13, the rookie wide receiver finished second on the team in targets (nine), receptions (six), and receiving yards (78), trailing only Marqise Lee in all three categories. Over the last two games, Westbrook has received 19 targets, and has caught 12 of them for 119 yards. The Jaguars will need a strong end to the season in order to beat out the Tennessee Titans for the AFC South crown, and Westbrook could play a big part in that. Allen Hurns has yet to make it back to the practice field, thus making a Week 14 return unlikely. Westbrook dazzled in the preseason, and is starting to do the same now when the games matter most. The rookie could end up making a big impact on the fantasy playoffs.
TE Austin Seferian-Jenkins, New York Jets
Seferian-Jenkins has cooled off significantly from his stretch of touchdowns in three consecutive games from Weeks 5 through 7. Since that three game span, ASJ has failed to reach the end zone and has topped 30 yards in only one contest. The tight end hit a season-low in Week 13 when he caught just two-of-three targets for a mere seven yards. His recent play may make it a surprise to see him on this list, but his matchup in Week 14 is simply too good to ignore. The Broncos have watched their season spiral completely out of control, losing eight consecutive games to drop to 3-9. Along the way, Denver has surrendered eight touchdowns to the tight end position (tied for the second-most in the league), including one in five of their last six games. The Jets are somehow still in the playoff race, and will look to exploit any and all of Denver’s weaknesses on Sunday. ASJ has a good chance of snapping his five-game scoreless streak in Week 14.
Matt Citak is a producer for CBS Local Sports and a proud Vanderbilt alum. Follow him on Twitter or send comments to firstname.lastname@example.org.