Fantasy Football: Week-Ahead Stash Candidates for Week 14

Fantasy football is all about being a step ahead of your competition, and this weekly column aims to help you achieve just that.

The following offers suggestions for players to pick up now (who are currently under 50% rostered) so that that you won’t need to use a high waiver claim or spend a significant amount of free agent acquisition budget (FAB) on them next week.

Adrian Peterson, RB, Detroit Lions

ESPN Roster Percentage: 48.1%

Rookie D'Andre Swift has missed each of Detroit's last three games with a concussion and recurring headaches. Usually it takes a week or two for a player to return from a concussion, but Swift is now in danger of missing a full month of action. Swift very may well be back this week and close out the rest of the season, but it’s also a possibility that he remains out as the team is clearly being careful with his injury. Adrian Peterson should be added to rosters just in case the latter possibility holds true, as Peterson has been the Lions' lead back in Swift’s absence.

In Week 11, Peterson drew the start but rushed just seven times for 18 yards. In each of the past two games, however, Peterson has at least 15 carries in each and has punched in two rushing touchdowns in both games. He ranks behind only Kenyan Drake in carries within the five-yard line in that period.

Peterson played 47% of snaps last week, his highest rate since Week 3, and is in line for similar workloads as long as Swift remains out. The Lions will face the Green Bay Packers and Tennessee Titans in their next two games, teams which ranks 30th and 26th, respectively, in half-PPR fantasy points allowed to running backs this season.

T.Y. Hilton, WR, Indianapolis Colts

ESPN Roster Percentage: 46.7%

Many analysts were on Michael Pittman Jr. last week, as Pittman had been the team’s alpha receiver since his return from an early-season calf injury and was bound for a bounce-back game after catching just two of nine targets in Week 12. However, T.Y. Hilton ended up stealing the show as he set season-highs in targets (11), receptions (8) and receiving yards (110) while adding a touchdown, as well.

Maybe we should’ve seen it coming, as Hilton was absent from the injury report last week for the first time since October and has been historically dominant against the Houston Texans. In 17 career games versus Houston, Hilton averages 8.8 targets, 5.5 receptions, 96.9 receiving yards and 0.6 touchdowns. He's reached 100 receiving yards in an absurd eight of those 17 games, including last week.

Hilton has been inconsistent when a quarterback not named Andrew Luck lines up under center, but perhaps he’s finally healthy and has enough chemistry with Philip Rivers to at least somewhat play like the 2016 version of himself, one which led the league in receiving yards.

Hilton is worth stashing now before he faces the Las Vegas Raiders -- who are one of 12 teams that has allowed more than 2,000 receiving yards to wide receivers so far this season -- because if Hilton does look like the real deal, he’d be a strong start in Week 15 against... the Houston Texans. In the three games that Texans cornerback Bradley Roby (who will now miss the remainder of the season due to suspension) has missed, Houston allowed big games to Hilton last week as well as to Davante Adams in Week 7 and D.J. Chark in Week 9.

Tyler Higbee, TE, Los Angeles Rams

ESPN Roster Percentage: 41.6%

Los Angeles Rams tight end Tyler Higbee had a touchdown and a double-digit fantasy-point game last Sunday for the first time since Week 2. Higbee splits time with Gerald Everett, but he’s out-snapped Everett in every game but one this season (when Higbee wasn’t fully healthy with a hand injury) and out-targeted him in all but three.

Higbee is difficult to trust considering he hasn’t had more than 60 receiving yards in a single game and is essentially relying on touchdowns for fantasy production -- but considering the state of the tight end position in fantasy this season, it’s worth adding Higbee to rosters. He has a record of late-season breakouts, as just last year he went on a five-game stretch to close the season in which he averaged 11.2 targets, 8.6 receptions, 104.4 receiving yards and 0.4 touchdowns per game.

Los Angeles’ schedule also helps -- the Rams play the New England Patriots on Thursday night before facing the New York Jets in Week 15. The Patriots are tough against tight ends, allowing the fourth-fewest fantasy points to the position, but the Jets are abysmal, giving up the most points to the position -- including when Darren Waller erupted for 13 receptions, 200 yards and two touchdowns last week.

Again, Higbee understandably isn’t very appealing based on the season he’s had so far -- but considering the ceiling he’s shown in the past and his juicy Week 15 opponent, he’s a smart add for those struggling at tight end.

San Francisco D/ST

ESPN Roster Percentage: 40.7%

One year after a dominating season in which San Francisco D/ST ranked third in fantasy points and top-five in the majority of defensive efficiency metrics, the San Fran D now ranks 15th in fantasy points scored and is a middle-of-the-pack unit in efficiency. San Francisco has been on the wrong side of regression and injuries this season, but after they play the Washington Football Team this week, the Niners will face the Dallas Cowboys.

The Niners recently got torched by Josh Allen on national television, but Andy Dalton is simply not on the same level as Allen. Among 39 quarterbacks with 100-plus dropbacks this season, Allen ranks 4th in numberFire’s Passing Net Expected Points (NEP) per dropback while Dalton ranks 35th.

San Francisco shouldn’t have trouble handling Dalton and a Cowboys offense that ranks dead last in points scored, yards per play and NEP per play since Dak Prescott was hurt in Week 5. Those with a roster spot available should add the San Francisco D/ST now to get ahead of the waiver wire scramble for defenses next week.