Week 15 was…weird. We saw massive upsets, strange plays, random scorers, and more. It would’ve been nice had it not been the fantasy playoffs. Plenty of fantasy managers felt the wrath of Week 15–mostly due to a sweeping COVID-19 outbreak. Unfortunately, the virus will likely remain a major factor in future matchups, so prepare your bench with the proper depth. Picking up these players could help, even if you won’t be starting them right away. I tried to only include players rostered in fewer than 50% of fantasy leagues per FantasyPros’ consensus ownership rankings. Have any more fantasy questions? Hit me up on Twitter @ZachCohenFB.
Cam Newton (QB - CAR)
Week 15 Stat Line: 23.5 points, 156 passing yards, 1 passing TD, 1 interception, 71 rushing yards, 1 rushing TD
Like I said in the intro, I tried to only include players who are available in fewer than 50% of leagues according to FantasyPros. I’d like to think the 24.6% of leagues that Newton is available in are still competitive, so I understand if Newton’s inclusion comes as a bit obvious. Still, there’s no denying Newton’s upside. He put up strong QB1 numbers against the second-toughest defense versus fantasy quarterbacks. As long as he continues to rush 10+ times each game—he’s done it each of the last two games following the bye week—Newton will be a borderline QB1.
Justin Fields (QB - CHI)
Week 15 Stat Line: 16.9 points, 285 passing yards, 1 passing TD, 35 rushing yards
Like with Newton, I was hesitant to include Fields on here because I’ve done it a couple of times already. However, the group of typically available passers is not too inspiring. OK, that’s an understatement: It sucks. The best quarterbacks available in my own 12-team league are Fields, Jimmy Garoppolo, and Ben Roethlisberger. Nonetheless, FantasyPros says Fields is rostered in only 25.7% of leagues. So if you need a quarterback and Fields is still available, you know what to do. His rushing ability establishes a solid floor for fantasy points, no matter the opponent.
Players to Watch: Tyler Huntley, Jimmy Garoppolo
Jeff Wilson (RB - SF)
Week 15 Stat Line: 19.9 points, 110 rushing yards, 1 rushing TD, 2 catches on 2 targets, 9 receiving yards
At this point, you should be well aware that whoever starts at running back for San Francisco can have a huge game. Elijah Mitchell has been banged up and faces a quick turnaround time for Thursday night’s game against Tennessee. Wilson dominated the 49ers’ backfield Sunday; he played 50/53 snaps and saw 21/22 carries. Of course, San Francisco was playing ahead, so naturally, we shouldn’t expect Wilson to see that much work moving forward. But as long as he’s the starter, he can be an RB2 for your fantasy team, especially this late in the season. Even if he’s riding your bench, Wilson’s potential is too high to keep on waivers. As we enter Week 16, you have to value potential more than ever because you never know what players may miss games.
Duke Johnson (RB - MIA)
Week 15 Stat Line: 25.7 points, 107 rushing yards, 2 rushing TD, 1 catch on 1 target, 20 receiving yards
Before I praise Johnson, let’s get this disclaimer out of the way: No one should expect Johnson to repeat this performance. The Dolphins’ backfield was decimated due to COVID-19, so that meant no Phillip Lindsay and limited playing time for the recently activated Myles Gaskin. Therefore, Johnson is not a priority. He has waiver appeal simply because we know he can play well. Like I said with Wilson, that’s all you need when targeting players this late in the season. I’d rather have Johnson on my roster than guys like Zack Moss, Ty Johnson, or Rex Burkhead.
Samaje Perine (RB - CIN)
Week 15 Stat Line: 6.3 points, 30 rushing yards, 2 catches on 2 targets, 1 receiving yards
Perine’s inclusion is solely Joe Mixon insurance, though Perine has been seeing more work on third downs. Mixon sprained his ankle Sunday and missed a few plays while dealing with it. Although Chris Evans did get six carries, Perine has been the clear RB2 behind Mixon. If Mixon misses next week’s game against Baltimore, I’d consider starting Perine as a flex or low-end RB2.
Devontae Booker (RB - NYG)
Week 15 Stat Line: 10.2 points, 74 rushing yards, 2 catches on 2 targets, 8 receiving yards
Forget that Booker scored more points than Barkley, or that Booker has a higher yards per carry in the last two games. Booker saw just nine fewer snaps than Barkley, which was almost certainly due to the Giants’ negative game-script against the Cowboys. The G-Men are not a good football team. This could lead to more playing time for backups, especially later in games. Enter Booker, who’s averaging about 10 points over the last three games. He’s been a surprisingly reliable contributor in New York’s horrid offense, and he’s a fantastic handcuff if Barkley gets hurt again.
Ronald Jones (RB - TB)
Week 15 Stat Line: 9.1 points, 63 rushing yards, 2 catches on 2 targets, 8 receiving yards
*gulp* Is it Ronald Jones time? Only if Leonard Fournette misses time, and Bruce Arians’ comments Monday indicate he may. When Fournette left Sunday night’s stunning loss, Jones split time with Ke’Shawn Vaughn (yuck). Despite seeing a similar number of carries and snaps, Jones outgained Vaughn on the ground by 44 yards. Jones could even see a few extra targets now that Chris Godwin and potentially Mike Evans will miss time. If you have a spot to spare, you could do worse than banking on Jones’ upside. Just don’t expect him to become Fournette 2.0.
Players to Watch: Craig Reynolds, Nyheim Hines, Justin Jackson
Gabriel Davis (WR - BUF)
Week 15 Stat Line: 25.2 points, 5 catches on 7 targets, 85 receiving yards, 2 receiving TDs
Gabriel Davis is heating up, as he’s scored four times in the last three weeks. Emmanuel Sanders’ injury has been a godsend for Davis, too. In the last two games, Davis has 15 targets on roughly 86% of Buffalo’s snaps. It’s hard to envision Sanders coming back and eating into Davis’ playing time. The second-year receiver has just been too good. It doesn’t matter that he faces the Patriots’ top secondary next week. Pick up Davis immediately, especially with Cole Beasley out.
Amon-Ra St. Brown (WR - DET)
Week 15 Stat Line: 23.5 points, 8 catches on 11 targets, 90 receiving yards, 1 receiving TD
Don’t look now, but St. Brown is a top-seven fantasy wide receiver in the last three weeks. He’s also seen 35 targets in that span, which is also among the top seven wideouts in that time. There’s no getting around it: St. Brown is the best waiver addition for Week 16. I don’t think I need to explain it, either. Something tells me he’ll be owned in way more than 26.5% of leagues by Thursday.
Josh Reynolds (WR - DET)
Week 15 Stat Line: 18.8 points, 6 catches on 6 targets, 68 receiving yards, 1 receiving TD
Let’s talk about another Lions’ wide receiver, shall we? In the four games since Reynolds joined Detroit, he’s averaged about six targets and 13.5 fantasy points. Reynolds is one of the three wideouts the Lions have been regularly featuring. Detroit has also thrown the 10th-most passes in that span. Translation: Expect Reynolds to keep seeing the ball. He’s worth a roster spot.
A.J. Green (WR - ARI)
Week 15 Stat Line: 10.4 points, 4 catches on 8 targets, 64 receiving yards
No DeAndre Hopkins, no problem. Well, at least for Green, not so much for Arizona… Anyway, despite being outplayed by Christian Kirk and Antoine Wesley, Green still saw the second-most targets among Cardinals’ wide receivers. Green’s had a nice first season in the desert and he’s playing enough to make him fantasy-relevant. He could see even more usage in this week’s game versus Indianapolis. Green doesn’t have as much upside as St. Brown or Davis, but his situation alone warrants roster consideration.
Players to Watch: Rashod Bateman, Marquez Valdes-Scantling, Kenny Golladay, Tim Patrick
Foster Moreau (TE - LV)
Week 15 Stat Line: 13.5 points, 7 catches on 9 targets, 65 receiving yards,
It’s bad. Really, really bad. If you need a tight end, I have little to offer you. If somehow Hunter Henry is still available in your leagues, then scoop him up immediately. I just can’t in good faith spend time trying to convince you to target James O’Shaughnessy or Albert Okwuegbunam, yet. At least with Moreau, you know you’re getting a tight end who will play almost every snap. He also showed he doesn’t need a touchdown to be fantasy-relevant. As long as Darren Waller doesn’t play, Moreau can be a low-end TE1 in your lineups.
Cole Kmet (TE - CHI)
Week 15 Stat Line: 13.1 points, 6 catches on 9 targets, 71 receiving yards
This isn’t the first time I’ve had Kmet on here this season. While he’s yet to put together a solid string of games, he showed enough promise in Week 15 to make him worth a roster spot. If you really need a tight end for this week, Kmet does have a fantastic matchup. He’ll face a Seattle defense that’s allowed the second-most points to tight ends. Kmet isn’t a trustworthy starter, but he’s a fine insurance plan if something happens to your starting tight end.
Players to Watch: Gerald Everett, Albert Okwuegbunam, Adam Trautman, James O’Shaughnessy