It’s finally here! After fighting through an exhilarating regular season, the fantasy football playoffs are about to begin. The weak teams are officially out of contention and all that’s left are the true juggernauts. If you want your roster to match up against the best of the best, you’ll need to monitor to the waiver wire for the best weekly adds. If you need running back help, Justin Jackson and Jaylen Samuels are just two of the top fantasy football Week 14 running back waiver claims.
Fantasy Football: Justin Jackson, Jalen Samuels Highlight Fantasy Football Week 14 Running Back Waiver Claims
Justin Jackson made our watch list last week, simply because nobody knew exactly how the Chargers backfield would look without Melvin Gordon. After a thrilling game on Sunday Night Football, Jackson established himself as a key piece of the Chargers backfield.
Jackson started the night as the backup and saw five fewer carries than starting running back Austin Ekeler. However, despite this snap split, Jackson was significantly more effective in the running game. Jackson displayed smooth cuts, quick acceleration, and the ability to run through defenders en route to averaging 7.9 yards per carry. Ekeler, meanwhile, averaged just 1.6 yards per carry.
Ekeler is a fine pass-catching back, but he’s not a true between-the-tackles guy. As long as Gordon is out of the lineup, Jackson will be the primary early-down back. He’s available in most leagues and should be your top running back target on the waiver wire.
Monitor the injury report on this one. Pittsburgh Steelers‘ running back James Conner went down with a leg contusion injury late in his matchup against the Los Angeles Chargers. Conner is a true workhorse back and an extended absence could spell doom for your fantasy team. However, said absence would create a significant opportunity for backup running back Jalen Samuels.
Samuels didn’t have much of a chance to compile numbers during Sunday night’s game, but he played well when on the field. Coming in late on Pittsburgh’s final drive, Samuels recorded three receptions for 20 yards and the game-tying touchdown.
Asking Samuels to replace Conner the way Conner replaced Bell is probably asking too much. However, Samuels will have the opportunity to play a big role in one of the best offenses in the league. As of this posting, nobody knows if Conner will be able to play in Week 14. Should he be out an extended period of time, you can feel comfortable throwing Samuels into your flex or RB2 spot and know you’re getting solid production.
The Seattle Seahawks‘ first-round running back is finally playing up to his potential. Rashaad Penny saw just seven carries in Seattle’s 43-16 blowout but still managed to record 65 yards and a touchdown. Chris Carson saw more carries, but Penny was more effective on an efficiency standpoint.
At this point, it wouldn’t be surprising to see Penny start to take more snaps from Carson. Carson has played well, but Penny has been just as effective. He has the draft pedigree and should, at the very least, eat into Carson’s snaps. Seattle loves to run the ball, so there should be more than enough handoffs to go around. Penny offers a safe flex floor with the potential to be a high-end RB2 or low-end RB1.
If you’re a Spencer Ware owner, make sure to handicap Kansas City Chiefs running back Damien Williams. The Chiefs offense is a near-unstoppable machine, and any running back thrown into that machine will be a startable asset. Right now, Ware is the guy. However, Damien Williams is just one play away from being the top guy in Kansas City.
The Chiefs love to feature one primary back and use him as much as humanly possible. They’ve done it with Jamaal Charles, Kareem Hunt, and even Spencer Ware. While Williams isn’t as good as any of these players, it shows how the Chiefs tend to run their backfield. If you’re the Spencer Ware owner, you can’t afford not to handcuff him with Damien Williams. Williams is a good back in his own right, as evidenced by his 38 yards on five carries. You can’t start him while Ware’s in the lineup, but he’s a fantastic high-ceiling handcuff.
Jalen Richard isn’t just the best running back on the Oakland Raiders, he’s also the best skill player. This column has often advocated for adding him, and this week is no exception. He was always a talented pass-catcher, but the young runner is starting to develop into a dependable runner.
Granted, he was going against a bad Kansas City Chiefs defense, but Richard put up some impressive numbers on the ground. Richard put up 95 rushing yards on just six carries to go along with 31 receiving yards on three receptions. His longest run went for “just” 30 yards, so his final rushing total isn’t inflated by one long play.
The only other significant running back on the roster is Doug Martin. Martin isn’t a young player and isn’t that explosive. In a lost season, Oakland will want to look and see what they have in their younger talent. Richard should see the majority of the snaps moving forward and put up some solid flex production.
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