Week 15 Waiver Wire – Playoff Edition
By Josh Trotta
For many of our loyal readers the playoffs are in full swing. Whether your championship game falls on week 16 or 17, we are here to help guide you in picking up that one player that may put you over the top this week! Unfortunately, it was another brutal week for injuries to key players, especially at the RB position which was already thin. This week we lost Thomas Rawls, Legerrette Blount, Andy Dalton and Brian Hartline all to season ending injuries. On top of that, Jonathan Stewart, Greg Olson, Tyler Eifert, Vincent Jackson, Matt Hasselbeck and Brian Hoyer were all unable to finish their games and are questionable to play this week. With a possible trip to the championship game or advancement to the next round hanging in the balance, winning week 15 is vital to be able to move one step closer to becoming your league champion! Let’s get to this week’s top players you may want to put a waiver claim on.
For the playoff edition we are going to do things a little differently: On top of offering you 3 players at each position, I will also provide 2 additional players that might fall under the radar in most leagues.
- Ryan Fitzpatrick – The bearded one just keeps on slinging the rock all over the field and is having his best fantasy season of his career. Fitzy threw another 3 touchdowns last week bringing his total over the past 3 games to 9! Don’t forget the fact he hasn’t thrown an interception over that same period. I know the Jets are playing Dallas on the road, but with the way that offense is playing I don’t think they will be able to slow him down. If you’re in need of a streaming option at QB this is the #1 guy to go after!
- Alex Smith – Another player who is quietly having his best fantasy season of his career. The yardage is still light but his ability to get the ball in the end zone either through the air or on the ground makes Smith a solid choice for QB this week. Next up, the Ravens, which regardless of who is playing QB should get any fantasy owner excited. Look for a big game out of Maclin and Smith Sunday at Baltimore.
- AJ McCarron – The Alabama star is finally getting his shot to start this Sunday. The loss of Andy Dalton for the remainder of the season puts some fantasy owners in a huge bind and if those two guys above are taken, McCarron could be a great replacement the rest of the way. That offense still clicked pretty well with McCarron under center and this week he gets a Niners defense that made Manziel look like an actual NFL QB. I think McCarron has a solid game and should help you more than hurt you as you look to advance in the playoffs. GO BAMA GO!
- Kirk Cousins – Cousins could be a solid grab this week as he comes off a 300 yard performance where he threw and ran for touchdown. The Bills are up next and have been known to give up big points to QB’s this fantasy season. Before last week the Bills allowed opposing quarterbacks to score at least 20 points. With the NFC East title in sight, look for the Skins to come out firing.
- TJ Yates – Yates is looking like he is going to get the start in the juiciest offensive matchup of week 15, when the Texans take on the Colts in Indianapolis. Back in week 11, Yates threw for 229 and 2 touchdowns against the Jets, who last time I checked had a very good secondary. The Colts have been awful the past two weeks and just gave up 50+ points to the Jacksonville Jaguars. Yates could be a great stash to keep away from your opponent and start this week. I have a feeling he might flirt with a 30 spot this week.
- Bryce Brown – The eagles cast away was signed and then given the keys to the Seattle backfield today. Brown an average runner at best, gets a huge jump in fantasy value playing for arguably the hottest team in the NFL the Seahawks. With back to back home games, Brown could help run you to a championship if he is given the same amount of carries as Rawls was seeing. With the Browns on deck he is a must own and start especially if you were hit with the most recent RB injuries.
- Denard Robinson – Yeldon went down with a knee sprain early in the game and never returned Sunday. The severity of the injury is still not known but if Yeldon is unable to go, Robinson is a great start as the red hot Jaguars face the Falcons. Atlanta is giving up the 2nd most fantasy points to RB’s and have pretty much given up on the season it feels. Look for Robinson to take advantage of the opportunity to start if Yeldon sits. Yeldon owners should have Robinson as their #1 waiver option this week just in case.
- Brandon Boldin – With the late breaking news that the Patriots have placed Legerrette Blount on season ending IR, Brandon Boldin as of right now looks to be the one who will take over on early down duties. Boldin who came in for Blount after he went down Sunday night faces a Titans defense Sunday that has been very good against the run. Boldin is a much better catcher of the football then Blount so look for the Patriots to use Boldin in the passing game especially with screens more then you saw with Blount.
- Cameron Artis-Payne – If Jonathan Stewart is not able to go this Sunday, CAP looks like he has the inside track to take over in his place on early downs. Now it doesn’t seem like Stewarts injury is serious but with the division and the playoffs already locked up, the Panthers might be less motivated to rush him back. A big game against the Giants in NY is up next and you all just saw what Lamar Miller was able to do against the G Men. Don’t hesitate to pick this guy up and track Stewart’s health all week.
- Bilal Powell / Jonathan Grimes – Both backup running backups have been playing better than their teammates lately and it has caught the eye of the coaches and this fantasy football owner. Powell has been a beast especially in the passing game this month. Gobbling up 5 catches for 45 yards and a touchdown Sunday. Dallas has been beat by RB’s all season long and look for Powell to continue to see the field especially on passing downs. He is a great PPR play this week. Grimes saw the field late in Sunday’s matchup and flashed all over the field. He looked like the Texans best RB and if the coaches see it on tape this week, they should give him more touches against an awful Colts defense. However, Grimes is considered a MAJOR reach.
- Tyler Lockett – The Seattle offense explosion tour continued last week as Wilson and the boys destroyed Baltimore. Both Lockett and Baldwin went off combining for 5 touchdowns through the air and the schedule doesn’t get any harder either as the Hawks welcome the Browns to Century Link this Sunday. This could get out of hand quickly and Lockett should be in line for another big day through the air.
- Ted Ginn Jr – Ginn’s stat line from Sunday: 3 targets, 2 catches, 120 yards and 2 touchdowns…..ARE YOU KIDDING ME! How is a fantasy owner suppose to predict that kind of game? Ginn is the quintessential boom or bust play week in and week out but he is Cam’s number 1 target and he plays on the only undefeated team left in the NFL. We all know the Giants secondary is not very good and with back to back 2 touchdown games in his belt, Ginn is a boom or bust WR 3/4 this week.
- Willie Sneed – The Saints come marching home for a primetime matchup against the Lions where Brees is deadly through the air. The Saints are a completely different team in the Superdome and Sneed is coming off his best game in over 2 months. Sneed look rejuvenated after a week off and was Drew’s top target all day. Look for them to find each other again Monday night as the Saints look to put up video game numbers in the dome.
- Robert Woods – The Bills are still in a dog fight for a potential wild card birth and that means every game matters. A tough loss in Philadelphia puts even more pressure on the Bills this week as they travel to Washington. Woods had a great game Sunday racking up 5 catches for 102 yards. The only thing missing from making him a top pick up like Lockett or Ginn, was he didn’t find the endzone. Washington has been bad all season against WR’s, so look for Taylor to keep feeding the ball to Woods as the Bills badly need to win out to sniff the playoffs.
- Nate Washington – By far one of the best WR vs a defense matchup of the week. Washington’s numbers were not great Sunday night but his 4 targets seemed like they could have netted him so much more if he wasn’t going up against the Patriots. Well this week you get your wish Nate Washington as the Colts are up next! We all know how awful the Colts have been these past few weeks, so look for Yates to try and connect on one or two of those long balls to Washington. With so much focus placed on DHOP, the Texans are going to lean on Washington to help them get sole possession of first place in the AFC South.
- Zach Miller – As we said last week Miller is the man now in Chicago and he didn’t disappoint putting up 85 yards and a TD on the previously mentioned Redskins. Miller gets the Vikings on the road next who have been ok against TE’s all season long. His usage puts him as a TE1 but the matchups puts him at a TE2. Miller is the best long term TE solution left on the market. *PPR players look to grab Heath Miller who has become a PPR force down the stretch*
- Eric Ebron – Ebron is now the man in Detroit after they lost Pettigrew to a season ending injury. NO has given up the most points to TE’s all season so not a bad reach for a one week play.
- Richard Rodgers – With touchdowns in back to back weeks, Rodgers has seemed to start to click with his QB. With a great matchup on deck against the Raiders, Rodgers should be a lock to extend his touchdown streak to 3!
- Vernon Davis – Davis has been a great late season addition to the Broncos and it seems like he and Brock “The Tall One” Osweiler are building a nice rapport on the field. With his best game as a Bronco last week, Davis has another opportunity this Sunday against the Steelers to find space to run after the catch. Look for Davis to get in the endzone for the first time this Sunday.
- Clive Walford – Walford has been solid all season long and just last week against a great Denver defense he was able to put up 3 for 47 yards and it could have been for more! This week Walford gets a much easier opponent as the Raiders take on the Packers at home. Walford is not a bad play in option this week but don’t expect Gronk like numbers out of the rookie just yet.
- Houston – The Texans defense was humiliated on national television Sunday night and on top of it the loss put them in a tie with who else? The Colts. Look for Houston to come out fired up with the division lead on the line in this one. This matchup looks great even if Hasselbeck can go but if he can’t this has to be the #1 defense to stream in week 15!
- Pittsburgh – The Steelers have been surprisingly serviceable as a fantasy streaming option these past few weeks with back to back multi interception games. Denver, even though under Osweiller are not turning the ball over as much as they did with Manning. Brock is allowing teams to sack him at a much higher rate. The Steelers are a risky play no doubt but if it pays off you could see another 20 spot out of them.
- Jacksonville – The Jags were on fire on both sides of the ball Sunday turning the colts over. This week they get Atlanta who was flat out awful last week and could be packing it in for the season. The Jaguars are still in the chase for the AFC South crown so they are going to come out firing on all cylinders. This game could get ugly early and when Matty Interception is forced to throw so much, a pick 6 is not out of the question.
- Miami – The Dolphins were awful last night but we have to move forward quickly in the fantasy business and the matchup screams this is a good play this week. San Diego has been awful with Rivers throwing to my flag football team out there (we are not very good). Additionally, when faced with easy matchups, the Dolphins have delivered.
- Indianapolis – Just like Houston (Possibly) the Colts defense will be facing a backup QB Sunday. Now I get it, the Colts have been awful these past few weeks but just like Miami you have to move forward and play the matchup. That matchup is TJ Yates who is a backup QB for a reason. The Colts are not my first choice but it could just work out to a solid outing for the Colts defense this weekend.
- Chris Boswell – Boswell has been on fire the past three weeks scoring double digit points each week. The Broncos have a great defense but this Steelers offense might be able to move the ball on anyone at this moment. Ride the hot hand while he has it!
- Matt Prater – Prater had his hot streak snapped last week against the Rams but he should rebound this week in the dome on Monday night. The Saints are awful on defense and the lions should be able to move into scoring position with ease all night.
- Randy Bullock – The Jets are clicking on offense right now and the Boys are great in the redzone at stopping teams from scoring touchdowns. You know who gets to benefit from that? Yup you guessed it Randy Bullock. The boys give up the 2nd most fantasy points to kickers this season and it should continue this Sunday in Dallas.
- Shayne Graham – I know Atlanta was awful Sunday but to be fair they did face the Panthers who might be the best team in the NFL. This week the drop in talent against the Jaguars should allow for some FG opportunities from Graham.
- Nick Novak – I sound like a broken record but the Colts have not been great on defense this year and it should lead to FG opportunties for Novak. The bonus to this pick up is that Novak’s remaining schedule is one of the best in the NFL for kickers.