Good news — the byes will officially be over next week. Still, it doesn’t mean it’s time to stop identifying the top waiver wire pickups, free agents, and streamers. Taylor Heinicke, Rex Burkhead, K.J. Osborn, and DeVante Parker — not to mention every handcuff RB — could all become potentially hot adds on waivers after Week 14, so if you can get them for free now, it could be a big move for late-season value. Of course, we’re not only looking for one-week solutions in our Week 15 waiver wire watchlist but also sneaky value for the fantasy football playoffs.
The waiver wire is obviously thin at this point, but as injuries mount and concerning matchups arrive, we must prepare for all scenarios. Again, bye weeks are over, but other factors will inevitably leave you scrambling for alternate options. We should note the streaming options aren’t particularly strong in Week 15, but since all teams are available, the necessity for them isn’t quite as high.
We know not all leagues have enough roster spots to really take advantage of “stashing players,” but for those in deeper leagues (or those who have players on IR or busts worth cutting), our week-ahead watchlist will be useful. Stashing a player or two on your bench when they’re still free agents can really pay off if those players have good games. If they don’t, they’re easy drops. Your spot in the waiver order is valuable, and you want to hold it as long as possible.
At the very least, it’s good to have a list of names of players to watch on Sunday so you can monitor snap share and targets/touches, and it’s always smart to claim matchup-based streamers at positions like TE or D/ST before there’s competition for them.
Fantasy Football Waiver Wire Watchlist
Reminder: This list was put together in the lead-in to Week 14, looking forward to the players who could be popular waiver-wire targets ahead of Week 15. If you have a roster spot to play with, these are free-agent options you could grab early to beat the waiver buzz.
All these players are below 50-percent ownership on Yahoo unless otherwise specified.
Week 15 Waiver Wire Watchlist: QB
Taysom Hill, Saints (40 percent owned in Yahoo leagues) @ TB in Week 15
Hill’s 100-yard (rushing) upside makes him a sneaky fantasy playoff winner. We know by now he’s not going to impress anyone with his passing, but he’s essentially matchup-proof thanks to the running. Ultimately, he should be rostered in most leagues.
Taylor Heinicke, Washington (37) @ PHI
Philly heads into Week 14 giving up the 13th-most fantasy points per game (FPPG) to QBs, and since Heinicke is a borderline QB1 on the season, he’s a top streaming option.
Tua Tagovailoa, Dolphins (36) vs. NYJ
Tua isn’t pushing the ball downfield, but he’s scoring plenty of fantasy points with accuracy and volume. Miami attempts the fifth-most passes per game, and they’ll be coming off a Week 14 bye. The Jets are one of the most QB-friendly matchups, so Week 15 will be another favorable spot for Tua.
Jimmy Garoppolo, 49ers (31) vs. ATL
Jimmy G was quietly the QB5 from Weeks 9-13, and it’s not all that surprising when you consider the weapons the 49ers are working with. Atlanta gives up the second-most FPPG to QBs, so we think you can be confident in him here.
Ben Roethlisberger, Steelers (22) vs. TEN
Inserting Roethlisberger in your lineup is sure to cause anxiety, but Tennessee gives up the third-most FPPG heading into Week 14 — and it’s not as if Big Ben has been awful in all matchups. With Diontae Johnson, Chase Claypool, Pat Freiermuth, and Najee Harris, he’s been able to find the end zone 16 times and he’s top-five in the league in passing attempts.
Week 15 Waiver Wire Watchlist: RB
Dontrell Hilliard (52); D’Onta Foreman (46), Titans
Hopefully, we’ll gain more clarity about which Titans’ RB is better to roster heading into the fantasy playoffs, but taking a stab at one of them is a sneaky upside move. You have a 50/50 shot here, so take a flier, and hope you choose correctly. If you have two roster spots available, pick up both, and decide what to do after we see more in Week 14. For now, we’d consider Foreman the better bet for touches/touchdowns.
David Johnson, Texans (42); Rex Burkhead (18), Texans
We’re sure you’re as tired of reading about these guys as we are, but they are running backs who consistently get 10-plus touches (and they are in the NFL). There’s not much else to say here, except you could consider playing one of them in a highly favorable matchup against Jacksonville in Week 15.
Tevin Coleman (43), Jets
While Michael Carter (ankle) is on IR, Coleman carries at least some value for another week. He’ll likely be shut down by New Orleans in Week 14, but he draws starting interest in Week 15 against Miami.
Alex Collins (32); Adrian Peterson (13); Rashaad Penny (7), Seahawks
The Seattle backfield is always “fun” to try to figure out, but think of it like the Tennessee backfield — just with a lot less upside. There are undoubtedly people out there with banged-up RBs, so taking a stab at one of these guys could be helpful, too.
Boston Scott (31); Kenneth Gainwell (13); Jordan Howard (9), Eagles
We’ll see if Miles Sanders (ankle) can hold up, but one of these guys will have some value either way. Howard is probably the best standard league option when he returns from his knee injury, while Scott or Gainwell potentially have PPR value. Again, this backfield is tough to figure out, but someone has to score fantasy points.
Notable Handcuffs — Devontae Booker (26), Giants; Jeff Wilson Jr., 49ers (21); Khalil Herbert, Bears (13); Carlos Hyde, Jaguars (11); JaMycal Hasty, 49ers (11); Samaje Perine, Bengals, (10)
Week 15 Waiver Wire Watchlist: WR
DeVante Parker, Dolphins (49)
Parker is now the No. 2 WR with Jaylen Waddle’s emergence, but again, the Dolphins pass as much as any team in the league, and he immediately caught four passes for 62 yards in his return from IR in Week 13. Surely, people will start to pick him up, but either way, he’s a top streamer against the Jets in Week 15.
Russell Gage, Falcons (45)
We’ve said it many times, but Gage continues to be Matt Ryan’s No.1 option while Calvin Ridley (personal) remains out and Kyle Pitts draws the toughest coverage.
Rashod Bateman, Ravens (43)
Bateman looked to be on the brink of a breakout but has gone quiet over the past few weeks. Ultimately, Lamar Jackson hasn’t been playing well, so all Baltimore pass-catchers have taken a hit. If Lamar gets right, Bateman should be a decent flex in favorable matchups moving forward.
A.J. Green, Cardinals (41)
Green flashed early in the season before producing lackluster fantasy performances recently, but perhaps he can pick things up in a matchup with Detroit. He’s not the safest option, though, because we assume Arizona won’t have to pass a lot to put away this game.
Kadarius Toney, (35); Sterling Shepard (26), Giants
Toney (quad) and Shepard (quad) have been frustrating to own (as seen by the drop in ownership), but they’ll be the No. 1 and No. 2 options in the Giants’ passing game when they return from injury. They’ll square off with Dallas in Week 15 and Chicago in Week 17 — some of the best WR matchups.
Kendrick Bourne, Patriots (35)
It’s tough to know why the current WR22 in standard and WR26 in PPR leagues is only 35-percent owned, but seriously, take advantage and pick him up. He draws some of the most favorable WR matchups in Weeks 15 and 17 against Indianapolis and Jacksonville.
Marquez Valdes-Scantling, Packers (35)
MVS drew 19 targets between Week 12 and 13, and since he’s Aaron Rodgers’ No. 2 WR, it’s time to pick him up. His fantasy playoff schedule consists of Chicago, Baltimore, and Cleveland — all above-average matchups on paper.
K.J. Osborn, Vikings (25) + Streamer @ CHI
It remains to be seen how long Adam Thielen (ankle) will be out, but Osborn should operate as the No. 2 WR in Minnesota during his absence. Chicago gives up the 11th-most FPPG to WRs, so he can be streamed in Week 15.
Jamison Crowder, Jets (21)
Corey Davis (core) is out for the year, so Crowder should settle into the No. 2 WR role. He’s always been a decent PPR asset and draws a lackluster Miami secondary in Week 15 that allowed him to catch six balls for 44 yards and a touchdown in the first meeting while Davis was on the field.
Nick Westbrook-Ikhine (21)
Julio Jones (hamstring) might be back as soon as Week 14, but we know A.J. Brown (chest) can’t return until Week 16 at the earliest. With that considered, Westbrook-Ikhine is at worst the Titans’ No. 2 WR against Pittsburgh (top-10 WR matchup) in Week 15 — barring an unlikely resurgence from Golden Tate.
Amon-Ra St. Brown (9); Josh Reynolds (6), Lions
These two guys are making the Detroit passing game at least have some heartbeat, and both eclipsed seven targets in Week 13. They’re on our radar moving forward, but it’s worth noting they have tough matchups until Week 16 against Atlanta.
Tre’Quan Smith, Saints (7)
Smith looks like the No. 1 WR in New Orleans, especially while Deonte Harris (suspension) is out for the next three weeks. He could draw streaming consideration against Tampa Bay, but it’s tough to trust Taysom Hill to deliver him the ball with any sort of consistency.
Laquon Treadwell, Jaguars (0)
As demonstrated by his ownership figures, no one knows or cares that Treadwell is essentially the new No. 1 WR for Trevor Lawrence. Usually, that wouldn’t matter, but considering the Jags face Tennessee, Houston, and New York (Jets) in their next three games, Treadwell has sneaky upside.
Week 15 Waiver Wire Watchlist: TE
Jared Cook, Chargers (48) vs. KC in Week 15
Cook hasn’t exactly lived up to his preseason sleeper label, but since the Chiefs are a bottom-nine unit against fantasy TEs and Cook’s QB is Justin Herbert, he’s a decent streamer in a week with limited options.
Evan Engram, Giants (30) vs. DAL
Engram continues his long streak of having TE-friendly matchups in Week 15, so he’s on the table this week, too. We’ll have to see what the quarterback situation is in New York, but again, options are limited.
Gerald Everett, Seahawks (29) @ LAR
Everett has drawn 19 targets over the past three weeks, and any tight end that is capable of that has to be in consideration, especially since the Rams are just a neutral matchup for TEs.
Austin Hooper, Browns (22) vs LV
Las Vegas is now the second-worst team against fantasy TEs, so although you’re never confident playing Hooper, this is his spot to shine. As always, David Njoku could steal that shine, but Hooper should have the safer floor.
Ricky Seals-Jones, Washington (9) @ PHI
Logan Thomas (knee) is done for the year, so welcome back Seals-Jones to the weekly streaming conversations. Philadelphia is the weakest team in the league against fantasy TEs, so ultimately, Seals-Jones has TE1 upside.
Week 15 defense streamers and sleepers
Minnesota Vikings DST (52) @ CHI in Week 15
Justin Field or Andy Dalton? Does it really matter? Despite all the injuries on defense for the Vikings, we’re trusting them in this spot against the third-worst offense in the league in respect to total offense per game.
Pittsburgh Steelers DST (46) vs. TEN
Maybe Tennessee will come out of bye looking better, but Pittsburgh is No. 1 in the league in sacks per game (3.1) while Tennessee gives up the seventh-most sacks per game (2.8). Don’t be surprised if we see a flurry of sacks — which often leads to turnovers.
Philadelphia Eagles DST (37) vs. WAS
The Eagles have been hit-or-miss on defense, but their defensive unit ranks as the D/ST9 on the season, so they’re in play in a relatively neutral matchup. Additionally, the Eagles will be coming off a much-needed bye, so they should be fresh.
Cincinnati Bengals DST (16) @ DEN
Teddy Bridgewater is back to his old ways of not pushing the ball downfield, and this Cincinnati defense is tied for fourth in the league with 2.7 sacks/game, while Denver allows 2.7 sacks/game. Ultimately, the Broncos lack explosives on offense right now, so you shouldn’t have to worry about ending up in the negative in this matchup.
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