Welcome to the fantasy football playoffs! Your interest in the Week 15 waiver wire rankings can only mean one thing: You’ve still got a shot at your league’s championship title. So, it’s time to get serious. As the playoffs begin, injuries continue to pile up. Even worse, the NFL is experiencing a growing issue with players testing positive or coming in contact with Covid-19. Therefore, many are in jeopardy of missing time and in need of replacement.
With that said, keeping up with the waiver wire, and the free agency pool throughout the week becomes crucial to staying in the fight for a fantasy football league title. At this point in the season, only the teams in your league competing in the playoffs should be making waiver wire moves. That means there are fewer people to compete with when setting your claims. However, everyone probably has the same waiver wire targets in mind. So, make your claims count.
Below, we’ll look at players at each position to target, who are on 50% or less of most fantasy football rosters, that could be considered on the Week 15 waiver wire.
Injuries and Covid-19 will continue to be a fluid situation. Be sure to follow me on Twitter @Colin_McT for up-to-the-minute advice, news updates, and to connect with any questions you may have!
Week 15 Waiver Wire Rankings
Rashaad Penny, Seattle Seahawks
The former 2018 first-round pick is finally over the 1,000 rushing yard threshold. No, that’s not for the 2021 season. That’s in his entire career. It’s no secret that Penny hasn’t lived up to his draft capital. Injuries play a big role in that. For fantasy football purposes, Penny is as relevant as ever and this week’s top waiver wire target.
In Week 14, Rashaad Penny finished as a top-three running back. It’s hard to believe Penny’s only had 204 career rushing attempts. He turned 16 of them into 137 rushing yards and two touchdowns on Sunday. What’s even more impressive is that both of those scores came on 32 and 47-yard runs.
The Seahawks commanded the game against the Houston Texans for the entirety of the second half. That sort of game script lends to Seattle’s preferred run-heavy approach. He played 21 more snaps than Alex Collins. He also had more than double the number of carries.
Unfortunately, in Week 15, the Hawks get a tougher than most divisional matchup against the Los Angeles Rams. Still, Penny remains a volume-based RB2 in most leagues and is a must-grab off of the waiver wire for that reason. If you do happen to make it past the fantasy football quarterfinals, Penny and the Seahawks get the Chicago Bears and Detroit Lions the following two weeks. They allow the eighth and fifth-most rushing yards, respectively, this season.
David Johnson, Houston Texans
The Houston Texans carousel of starting running backs continues with David Johnson again leading the way. His starting running back status makes him a consideration on the Week 15 waiver wire. In Week 14, Johnson missed the aforementioned contest with the Seahawks as he was placed on the Covid-19/Reserve list. However, to start Week 15, Johnson is off of the list and seemingly ready to go.
Meanwhile, Rex Burkhead, who was the team’s leading rusher on Sunday, suffered an injury during the game. That, on top of his uninspiring 11/40/0 rushing line, is enough to give Johnson more touches, even if Burkhead is able to play. The Texans get a great matchup with the Jacksonville Jaguars in Week 15. They’re just outside the top-10 in fantasy points allowed to running backs per game.
Then, in Week 16, the fantasy football semifinals, an even better matchup with the Los Angeles Chargers awaits. They’re allowing the fourth-most fantasy points to opposing running backs and are second in rushing yards allowed as well as tied for second in rushing touchdowns allowed.
The Texans offense will operate with rookie Davis Mills under center for the rest of the season. I expect David Johnson to be a trustworthy piece of said offense, as well, during that time. He presents flex value off of the waiver wire with the potential for more based on the coming matchups.
Other Running Backs to Consider
Justin Jackson and Joshua Kelley figure to share the Los Angeles Chargers backfield on a short week in the event Austin Ekeler is unable to play on Thursday night versus the Kansas City Chiefs. Though the team didn’t practice to start the week, it was assumed Ekeler would have been a participant. The last we saw of him, he was getting his ankle taped on the sideline during a blowout win versus the New York Giants. I expect him to play, as a top-five fantasy option, but keep tabs on Jackson and Kelley if not.
Ty Johnson looks like he is the go-to option for the New York Jets. Especially as a pass-catcher in games where the team is playing from behind, Ty is the guy. In Tevin Coleman’s absence on Sunday versus the New Orleans Saints, Johnson saw 13 opportunities. Seven of those 13 opportunities were targets. In PPR formats, that’s at least intriguing for a player on a team that figures to be behind in almost every game moving forward. He’s a possible waiver wire add in larger leagues, but more often than not, a desperation start.
Your Fantasy Team’s Starting Running Back’s Handcuff is a must-add with just three weeks left to play this fantasy football season. If you’ve made it this far with your handcuff on the waiver wire, don’t risk waiting any longer to secure them on your roster. Now is not the time to regret a move that could have helped win your league.
Russell Gage, Atlanta Falcons
Russell Gage continues to act as the Atlanta Falcons’ top wide receiver in Calvin Ridley’s absence from football. In the last four weeks, Gage has seen no less than six targets with an average of just over eight per game. In that same span, he’s caught 22 of 33 targets for 345 yards and a touchdown. That’s good enough for an average of 15.1 PPR points per week.
Why Gage is still available as he is, probably has to do with a lack of faith in Matt Ryan and the Atlanta Falcons’ ability to put points on the board, let alone get into scoring position. However, in their last three games, they’ve improved with a 2-1 record averaging just over 22 points per game. This team remains in the hunt for an NFC playoff spot, believe it or not. Gage figures to be a focal point of any sort of success they have moving the ball. He’s more often than not a rock-solid volume-based WR3 and should be added off of the waiver wire ahead of Week 15.
Rashod Bateman, Baltimore Ravens
While the rookie hasn’t been as effective in the last three weeks as he was the four games prior, he gets back on track in Week 14. Most notably Tyler Huntley, the backup quarterback, was under center. Once Lamar Jackson was ruled out due to an ankle injury at the start of the game in Week 14, Bateman came alive. He was in the mix with both Mark Andrews and Marquis Brown again as top targets in this offense.
Though Bateman only saw 11 targets from Week 11-13, he saw eight this past week and caught six of them for 103 yards. He also played his highest snap percentage (65%) in the last three weeks. Bateman isn’t quite a set-and-forget rookie wide receiver that many thought he could be. However, he offers end-of-the-season value as the Ravens remain in the AFC playoff hunt. Up next is a Green Bay Packers defense that allowed Justin Fields to come into town and complete 18 passes for 224 yards and two touchdowns.
Jamison Crowder, New York Jets
Though he enters Week 15 as a Week 14 letdown, Jamison Crowder is still the New York Jets receiver you want moving forward. Surprisingly, Braxton Berrios dominated the target share Sunday with 10 while Crowder, Keelan Cole, and D.J. Montgomery all had six. Notably though, Crowder had one in the end zone on one of the Jets’ rare scoring opportunities against the New Orleans Saints.
With recent rookie sensation, Elijah Moore, and veteran, Corey Davis, both on Injured Reserve and done for the season, Jamison Crowder offers a veteran presence and a track record of PPR value. With that, it’s no surprise he was on the field for 91% of snaps, more than any other Jets receiver. In Week 15, Crowder gets the Miami Dolphins who he caught six of 10 targets for 44 yards and a touchdown against in Week 11.
I would grab Crowder off of the waiver wire, and if he’s not available now, see if he gets dropped. If so, he is a solid add and top-30 or better option ahead of Week 15 at wide receiver.
Other Wide Receivers to Consider
Amon-Ra St. Brown has 12 targets in each of the last two games for the Detroit Lions. I know this offense is hard to watch any given Sunday, but this volume in undeniable. With key pieces absent, such as D’Andre Swift, Jamaal Williams, and T.J. Hockenson, St. Brown stepped up in a big way. He could continue to do so if these said players remain on the sideline. Grab the rookie off of the waiver wire, if for nothing else, so your opponent doesn’t.
K.J. Osborn has a chance to line up as the WR2 in the Minnesota Vikings offense yet again if Adam Theilen remains out with an ankle injury. In a Thursday Night Football game where Dalvin Cook ran for 205 yards, Osborn stepped up as the game got tight and still saw nine targets. He hauled in a crucial, beautifully thrown 62-yard touchdown pass, too, with just over 10 minutes left to seal the win.
Kendrick Bourne should be free since he and the New England Patriots are returning from a Week 14 bye. Not only that, but Bourne basically had Week 13 off, too, since Mac Jones only threw the ball three times in a win over the Buffalo Bills. Still, Bourne has seen at least four targets in every game since Week 7. He’s a good deeper league add off of the waiver wire ahead of the fantasy football playoffs.
A.J. Green and Rondale Moore become interesting waiver wire adds if DeAndre Hopkins’ late-game injury from Monday night keeps him out. Green should be on all rosters at this point. He played 72% of snaps hauling in 10 of 12 targets for 102 yards in Week 14 versus the Rams. The Cardinals already think DHop should play in Week 15 against Detroit. It’s worth noting that Moore saw 20 targets from Weeks 9-11 in Hopkins’ absence with a hamstring injury.
Austin Hooper, Cleveland Browns
Hooper is trending upward after recording a 23% target share on Sunday with a great matchup against the Las Vegas Raiders in Week 15. Like most tight ends this, and nearly any season, a touchdown often separates them from the rest of their peers any given week. In Week 14, Hooper hauled in five of his seven targets for just 30 yards. He did find the end zone, though, which landed him as TE5 for the week.
So, if you’re looking for a tight end who’s going to log a bunch of catches while racking up a ton of yards, please let me know when you do. Otherwise, continue to chase the volume. Yes, you can also bet on who you think will find the end zone any given Sunday. As mentioned before, Hooper faces off against the Las Vegas Raiders in Week 15 who have allowed nine touchdowns to tight ends in 13 games this season. That may just be enough to plug and play him off of the waiver wire. He was a player to love in Week 14 and should be yet again this week.
Ricky Seals-Jones, Washington Football Team
Speaking of having a good chance to score a touchdown, Seals-Jones has the best matchup for tight ends in the Philadelphia Eagles this week. He and the WFT also play the Eagles in Week 17. That just so happens to be the fantasy football championship. Though RSJ caught just one ball for eight yards on Sunday, that could prove to help fantasy football managers get him as a discount.
The Washington Football Team should be trying to capitalize on the fact that Philly is allowing the most receptions, yards, and touchdowns to tight ends this season. Ricky Seals-Jones could be in a bounce-back position as a good bet to score, which makes him more valuable than most other tight ends on the waiver wire at this point in the season.
Gerald Everett, Seattle Seahawks
Everett faces off against his former team, the Los Angeles Rams, in Week 15. Furthermore, the Seahawks offensive coordinator, Shane Waldron is the former pass game coordinator of the Rams, as well. There’s a good chance he looks to work Everett into the game plan more in this one. He has just under six targets per game in the last five weeks and two touchdowns in the last three weeks. If the Hawks get in close, he could see at least one end zone target. Again, if we are betting on which tight end on the waiver wire has a good chance to score a touchdown, Everett deserves serious consideration.
Taysom Hill, New Orleans Saints
Fool me once, shame on you. Fool me twice, shame on me. You cannot get fooled again. Taysom Hill is the QB3 in the last two weeks. He should no longer remain on the waiver wire. Josh Allen, Lamar Jackson, and Aaron Rodgers are dealing with injuries. Hill should be scooped off of the waiver wire as insurance to other starting quarterbacks at the very least.
There’s still a strong case to start Taysom Hill in Week 15, however. It’s no secret that his ability to run is what provides the most value to him as a fantasy football asset. In the last two weeks, Hill has run 11 times in each game for 174 total rushing yards. Plugging him in at quarterback should make your opponents uneasy. He is a dual-threat option that can rack up fantasy points in the blink of an eye. Hill is the top quarterback waiver wire add with the opportunity to score like a running back.
Tua Tagovailoa, Miami Dolphins
Starting Tua week to week is shakier than most other streamers. More than anything else, his durability is a big concern. He’s missed four full games throughout this season. Now, however, Tua is likely good to go after a Week 14 bye. What better opponent to return to than a home matchup with the New York Jets?
The Jets are notably allowing the most fantasy points to quarterbacks this season. On the road in Week 11, Tua tossed two touchdowns and recorded 273 passing yards in New York. With two weeks to prepare, and at home, I like Tua to outscore his 18.52 total from these two teams’ first matchup. It’s worth mentioning that many of the running backs in Miami are currently on the Covid-19/Reserve list, too.
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