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Fantasy Football Waiver Wire: Add These Players For Week 15

  • The Draft Network
  • December 14, 2021
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If you’re reading this, then congratulations! You likely made the fantasy playoffs. Let’s get right into it, then. 

It’s that time of the season where injuries have ravaged fantasy lineups, paving the way for a slew of handcuffs to finally see the light of day. If you’re a weekly reader of my waiver column, then hopefully you know about the importance of handcuffs and stashing players. If you’re new, then keep on reading to see what players you should target for Week 15 and beyond. And if you have any more fantasy questions, feel free to hit me up on Twitter @ZachCohenFB. I’ll try to respond like always!

Quarterbacks

Tua Tagovailoa (QB - MIA)

Week 14 Stat Line: Bye

Tagovailoa has been too efficient to be left on waivers. He’s only averaging roughly 15 points over the last four games, but this upcoming schedule is delicious. Here are Miami’s opponents with their FPA (Fantasy Points Allowed) to quarterbacks: Jets (24th), Saints (27th), and Titans (30th). Tagovailoa isn’t the most explosive quarterback, yet he’s not the type to cost you games, either. Considering the lack of viable passers on the market, Tagovailoa is a good pickup and a solid streaming candidate.

Justin Fields (QB - CHI)

Week 14 Stat Line: 18.36 points, 224 passing yards, 2 passing TD, 2 interceptions, 74 rushing yards

Fields was a Player to Watch for me a couple of weeks ago despite missing some time due to an injury. Luckily for Bears fans, Fields is alllll the way back. No more Andy Dalton here, folks! Fields’ rushing upside already establishes a solid floor, though his turnover rates add a risk factor to starting him. Either way, his upcoming matchups against the Vikings and the Seahawks are promising enough. Fields is definitely worth a bench spot and he could be streamed in most leagues, too. 

Ben Roethlisberger (QB - PIT)

Week 14 Stat Line: 24.82 points, 308 passing yards, 3 passing TD, 1 interception

When you stop laughing, just hear me out. Rothlisberger is not a weekly starter, though he’s more proven than most quarterbacks typically on the waivers. He also has solid upside as he’s shown over the last two weeks. In fact, he’s the overall QB5 in that span. Next up, he faces Tennessee—who’s allowed the third-most points to quarterbacks—and Kansas City, who’s allowed the fourth-most points to quarterbacks. Yes, Roethlisberger is far from perfect. Like, ridiculously far. But this late in the season, he may be just enough to get you the points in your fantasy matchup.

Players to Watch: Jimmy Garoppolo, Tyler Huntley

Running Backs

Rashaad Penny (RB - SEA)

Week 14 Stat Line: 26.8 points, 137 rushing yards, 2 rushing TD, 1 catch on 1 target, 1 receiving yard

If you forgot Penny was still in the league, I wouldn’t blame you. His four-year career has not lived up to what a first-round career should be. Thanks to the woeful, banged-up Seattle rushing attack, Penny has led the backfield in carries over the last two weeks. He ran 16 times in Week 14 for a whopping 137 rushing yards. Even better: Penny’s two touchdowns were 30-plus yards. Houston has allowed the fifth-most fantasy points to running backs, so don’t expect this type of performance from him each week. He’s still a top priority based on his upside. Not many available running backs have any upside to begin with.

Mike Davis (RB - ATL)

Week 14 Stat Line: 13.6 points, 44 rushing yards, 5 catches on 6 targets, 42 receiving yards

Another week of wondering, “Is Mike Davis good?“ Week 14 provided no true answer, though it was a second-straight RB2 performance. Last week, he scored 16.9 points. Now, I’m not saying Davis is a must-add. If you are a regular reader of my column, you know I don’t place too much value on just two good games. However, as the season winds down, you kind of have to look a bit longer at players who have one or two big games. It’s been a while since Davis was fantasy-relevant, but he seems to have regained a solid role in the Falcons’ backfield. He’s a worthy bench player.

Every Handcuff

Instead of forcing a paragraph on why you could pick up Royce Freeman (injuries in the backfield could make him the starter in Houston) or Tevin Coleman (seems to be New York’s primary back when everyone’s healthy), I wrote down some top handcuffs who are available in more than 40% of leagues, per FantasyPros. At this point in the season, these are basically the only running backs left on waivers with any upside. If you have room, I highly recommend you stash one or more of these players:

  • Samaje Perine (CIN) - Top-20 upside without Joe Mixon. Already sees third-down work.
  • Devontae Booker (NYG) - Clear path to a workhorse role should Saquon Barkley get injured... again.
  • Khalil Herbert (CHI) - Showed us his upside already this season. Would slide into high-end usage.
  • Carlos Hyde (JAX) - Not sure why Urban Meyer insists on using Hyde, but don’t be surprised if James Robinson continues to see less and less work.

Players to Watch: Royce Freeman, Tevin Coleman, Craig Reynolds, Alexander Mattison, Devontae Booker

Wide Receivers

K.J. Osborn (WR - MIN)

Week 14 Stat Line: 17.3 points, 3 catches on 9 targets, 83 receiving yards, 1 receiving TD

I touched on Osborn’s appeal last week by saying this: “Besides, Osborn’s upside is too great to ignore. He, Justin Jefferson, and Tyler Conklin were the only real factors in the Vikings’ passing offense. That may continue in his next two matchups against the Steelers and Bears, both of whom are in the bottom-10 of FPA to wide receivers. Osborn is a solid stash with legit flex appeal if Thielen misses time.”

Well, Osborn followed that up with a huge Thursday night performance as Minnesota’s WR2. We still don’t know how long Thielen will be out for, but until he returns, Osborn is a solid flex play. Add him to your rosters immediately.

DeVante Parker (WR - MIA)

Week 14 Stat Line: Bye

Like with Osborn, I wrote about Parker in last week’s column, and nothing really changed in the bye week. If anything, a slew of COVID-related cases to Miami’s backfield could force more passes from Tagovailoa. What I said ahead of Week 14 still holds true:

“While FantasyPros says Parker is available in less than half of leagues, his ownership has dipped in recent weeks. That tends to happen when you’re active for just one game since Week 4. Despite Parker’s injury woes, he’s averaged about 12.5 points per game in his six games played. If he’s available in your league, you may be able to wait a week. The Dolphins have their bye week, but their remaining schedule looks good for Parker (with Fantasy Points Allowed to wide receivers): vs. Jets (19), at Saints (28), at Titans (32). He’s a solid flex option when healthy.”

Rashod Bateman (WR - BAL)

Week 14 Stat Line: 17.3 points, 7 catches on 8 targets, 103 receiving yards

Bateman returns! After being thrust into fantasy darkness by the re-emergence of Sammy Watkins, the young wideout rose from the shadows after Watkins was once again taken down by the villainous injury bug. And I’m serious when I say Bateman could be the light you need to revive a dying fantasy lineup. Why am I so serious? Bateman proved to be one-half of a dynamic duo with Tyler Huntley—who may start for an injured Lamar Jackson. Thanks to a team-high seven targets—tied with the speedy Marquise Brown—Bateman handily carved up Cleveland’s gallery of defensive backs. Based on the damage he did earlier in the season, it takes no detective to see why Bateman is a solid addition to any team. Dark days may lie ahead in Baltimore, but as long as Bateman is suiting up, he should continue to unleash havoc on opposing defenses. Get ready for him to bring justice to your fantasy lineups again.

Amon-Ra St. Brown (WR - DET)

Week 14 Stat Line: 15.3 points, 8 catches on 12 targets, 73 receiving yards

St. Brown has quietly had a very nice rookie season. That’s especially true over the last two weeks as he’s seen 12 targets in each game. St. Brown has seemingly emerged as Jared Goff’s go-to target. His role in the slot certainly helps, too. As for the rest of the season, I’m expecting lots of close games or garbage-time opportunities. Translation: Don’t expect St. Brown to slow down anytime soon. He’s a top waiver addition among the position.

Robby Anderson (WR - CAR)

Week 14 Stat Line: 21.4 points, 7 catches on 12 targets, 84 receiving yards, 1 receiving TD

Anderson has been hot and cold this season, with more performances falling under the latter. It’s encouraging to see him maintain a steady target share since Cam Newton’s arrival four games ago. I’m not here to sell you on Anderson returning to his 2020 glory days, nor am I here to sell you on him as a starter or flex. Anderson has that potential, though, so if you truly need a wide receiver, he isn’t a bad addition to your bench. He has upside no matter who’s throwing him the ball.

Players to Watch: Donovan Peoples-Jones, Gabriel Davis

Tight Ends

Austin Hooper (TE - CLE)

Week 14 Stat Line: 14 points, 5 catches on 7 targets, 30 receiving yards, 1 receiving TD

Excluding a donut in (also against the Ravens), Hooper has averaged a little over 11 points in his last three games. That type of production makes him a somewhat reliable starter amidst a group of unreliable tight ends. It’s the same story every week, folks: tight ends are a dart throw unless you have the top guys. Hooper does have a nice matchup next week against a Raiders defense that’s in the bottom-q0 of FPA to tight ends. He’s a good pickup if you need a tight end for the fantasy playoffs.

Nick Vannett (TE - NO)

Week 14 Stat Line: 14 points, 5 catches on 7 targets, 30 receiving yards, 1 receiving TD

Now we’re really dipping deep into the bargain bin. Believe it or not, but Vannett has quietly had an alright stretch over the last three weeks. He’s averaging roughly 7.8 points while seeing an uptick in targets and playing time. In a run-heavy Week 14, Vannett actually led New Orleans in targets and snaps among eligible fantasy players. Is Vannett a must-add? No. Does Vannett have a lot of upside? Also no. His value lies in his consistency and role in a run-heavy offense. With Taysom Hill at quarterback (“quarterback” may be a stretch), you can bet on the Saints to continue to run the ball a ton. That should keep the tight ends on the field more, as evidenced by Vannett’s steadily rising snap count in the last four games. He’s a last-ditch option if you truly need a tight end.

Players to Watch: Brevin Jordan, Albert Okwuegbunam, Durham Smythe

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