Week 15 Fantasy Football Waiver Wire: DeAndre Washington & More
Week 15 Fantasy Football Waiver Wire: DeAndre Washington & More
There really is nothing worse than running badly in the fantasy football playoffs. I am sure there are some of you who came up against Derrick Henry, Tyreek Hill, and Stefon Diggs yesterday, and you’re just sitting there thinking, “Why me?” We’ve all been there, and it really is the worst. It was nice to get some stud performances from previous week waiver pickups like KJ Hamler, Jalen Hurts, and Logan Thomas, which contributed to a few of our teams across the board. Compared to last week’s waiver wire, we actually have a bunch more interesting names, which is a function of injury, the COVID list and no teams on bye.
As always, though, the most important part of any playoff roster is going to be the number of lottery ticket running backs you hold. If you have four solid wide receivers, you probably do not need to hold Jalen Reagor and Michael Pittman. If you’re a top-heavy team with only three or four studs and the interchangable parts, you can hold on to the borderline type pass-catchers but just be focusing as much as possible on getting potential starting RBs. We truly don’t know how deep down the RB depth charts we will get by Week 16, but some of the names you might start will actually disgust you.
Each week, we will look at three tiers of players: the “must adds” or players that we expect will be picked up in every league and in every format, the “borderline” tier, and the deep-league darts. The focus will be on 12-team PPR leagues as our frame of reference and as always, if you have any specific questions, feel free to contact me on Twitter @DavisMattek or in the Daily Roto NFL Slack channel.
All players referenced in the Fantasy Football Waiver Wire column are under 50% owned in Yahoo! Fantasy Football Leagues. It is possible these players might be owned in your league.
POTENTIAL DIFFERENCE MAKERS (THESE ARE PLAYERS WORTH > 25% OF YOUR FAAB, OR THE #1 OVERALL WAIVER CLAIM) FROM THE FANTASY FOOTBALL WAIVER WIRE
While Washington was super disappointing relative to expectations against the Chiefs, that was about the worst spot possible for a rush-first RB. The Chiefs were up 10 points or more for over half of the game, which caused DWash to be out-snapped by Patrick Laird (they were the only two active RBs). However, Washington got the only available goalline work and still out-touched Laird despite being out-snapped. Myles Gaskin is on the COVID-19 list, as is Matt Breida. Salvon Ahmed has not returned to practice from injury at this point, which leaves Laird and Washington as the only healthy RBs on the roster. Elijah McQuire was technically active but did not play an offensive snap against the Chiefs. The Dolphins get easier games against the Patriots and Raiders the next two weeks, where Washington will project far more favorably in.
This is likely the last chance before Championship week to pick up a starting RB off the wire. Spend your FAAB $ accordingly.
Jalen Hurts became only the second quarterback in NFL history to rush for 100+ yards in his very first NFL start. Hurts actually rushed more times than Miles Sanders in the Eagles no sweat victory against the favored New Orleans Saints. Hurts was decent, not great, as a passer, but that really doesn’t matter. He has already proven the thesis behind ranking him as a top-12 fantasy quarterback. Any quarterback who has 100+ rushing yards upside is a must-start in fantasy because rushing yards are just a cheat code at the position. With every Eagles offensive skill position player back and healthy, Hurts is in a relatively-ideal set up for fantasy success. If you are starting Big Ben/Stafford/Matt Ryan types at this point in your season, you should prioritize adding Hurts this week.
BORDERLINE STARTERS (THESE PLAYERS LIKELY ARE COMING OFF A GOOD GAME BUT DO NOT PROJECT AS MULTI-WEEK STARTERS, WORTH LESS THAN 25% OF YOUR FAAB) FROM THE FANTASY FOOTBALL WAIVER WIRE
The actual replacement for Will Fuller and Brandin Cooks is not Keke Coutee but former New York Jet Chad Hansen. Steven Mitchell Jr. led the Texans in WR snaps played against the Bears in their blowout loss, and Keke Coutee secured the Texans lone touchdown, but Hansen fulfills a more interesting role. Hansen now has seven targets in back to back weeks and is basically on equal footing with Keke in terms of how the WRs need to be projected moving forward. Coutee probably has more of a weekly ceiling because he is a better athlete though I suppose it is worth noting that in Hansen’s only college season as a starter, he racked up a 35% Dominator Rating and has 88th percentile agility for WRs. Both Texans WRs should be added in 12-team leagues right now especially because it seems unlikely/unwise for Brandin Cooks to come back and play this season. While Watson played poorly against the Bears, that is not our baseline expectation for Houston and they will project favorably moving forward.
Hamler did not see a massive role change in his two-touchdown performance, and in fact, he saw a lower number of targets (three) than he has in the three weeks prior. However, Noah Fant left this game due to an illness (no reporting on what kind of illness just yet) and should probably be considered questionable for the Broncos game next week. The reason why Hamler keeps popping up in the waiver wire columns here on SportsGrid is that he just is an explosive athlete who more likely than someone like Braxton Berrios or Marcus Johnson to pop up with a week-winning score. I disagree pretty whole-heartedly with the idea that Hamler would be a dynasty SELL. Young guys with wind-breaking speed like Hamler that actually produce as rookies have massive future ceilings.
Trayveon Williams/Samaje Perine
For many different reasons, Giovani Bernard played only 14 snaps for the Bengals on Sunday while Trayveon Williams played 27 and Samaje Perine played 28. Williams played the best in the small sample with a success rate north of 50% on his plays compared to sub-30% rates for Perine and Bernard. Trayveon was an elite running back at Texas A&M in college and performed well at the combine. He has been stuck in the mud behind Joe Mixon and Bernard in his short career, but with Mixon’s never-ending injury issues and there being effectively no reason for Bernard to be playing in a lost season, it shouldn’t surprise anyone if Perine and Williams see the majority of the work for the rest of the season. Both of these young runners are good deep dynasty adds, though Perine has been bouncing around the NFL for awhile. There is at least some perceptible chance that Trayveon turns this audition into a meaningful role (or at least becomes Mixon’s future handcuff), so I am also adding Trayveon in dynasty leagues.
Lynn Bowden Jr.
To be fair to Mr. Bowden, he might be a difference-making add and worth a large chunk of your remaining FAAB. With DeVante Parker and Jakeem Grant both injured and perhaps not playing against the Patriots in Week 15, Bowden will have a chance to grow on his 71% snap share and nine targets for seven receptions with 82 yards. Bowden also got multiple chances to throw passes (he was a quarterback in college at Kentucky) and one rush attempt. I admit to having a major weakness for players like Bowden who are capable of contributing in multiple ways, i.e., gimmick players, but just as a pure slot wide receiver in this short passing Miami offense who are likely down two of their weapons next week, he could have a ten-touch role for free off of your waiver wire. Given how productive Bowden was in college, I consider him a must-add in all formats. If you can ship a rookie fourth for him in dynasty leagues, I would do that now as well.
Jeff Wilson Jr.
You can pretty much always count on a member of the Shanahan family to surprise you with their RBs. Jeff Wilson Jr. has been on the 49ers for three seasons and spent more time as the fourth-stringer/on the practice squad than he has on the field. He has generally been effective when he has played, so I guess it is not a huge shock to see him in an even 50/50 timeshare with Raheem Mostert. However, it is bizarre to see Jerick McKinnon relegated to special teams only after starting the year as a super effective third-down back on top of Tevin Coleman being the clear third back in the pecking order. Wilson Jr. is out there in a massive majority of leaves but is pretty clearly a high-value fantasy target. Not only does he have the goalline work as part of his role, but he also has eight targets over the 49er’s last two games. Basically, Mostert and JWJ have effectively the same fantasy value moving forward if they stay in these roles. Yet, Mostert is owned in basically every competitive league, and Wilson is owned in almost none.
DEEP LEAGUE TARGETS AND BENCH STASHES FROM THE FANTASY FOOTBALL WAIVER WIRE
Kendrick Bourne/Richie James
Deebo Samuel is injured yet again, and Jordan Reed saw a reduction in his snap and target shares from the weeks prior, which means that there is a larger role there for Bourne and James. Bourne is the like-for-like replacement for Deebo in the sense that he will be playing in two-wide receiver sets, and James is now subbing in for the three-wide receiver sets. Bourne is not really that interesting of a player to me as he has been bopping around the 49ers roster for four years and never really broken out, but Richie James has really flashed when given the playing time and is a more dynamic athlete than Bourne though I guess the same criticism can be levied towards James that he has been on the roster for awhile and has never “broken out.” Both of these guys are pretty low-end add but should be WR5-ish style flexes with Deebo out.
Mike Williams got injured immediately for the Chargers against the Falcons and played only two snaps. Jalen Guyton stayed in his same role, which enabled Johnson to play a career-high 54 snaps. This was only the second game in which Johnson has seen more than one target, and he turned the seven targets he got into six receptions, 55 yards, and a touchdown. Johnson is an absolute burner with a 4.41 40-yard dash time, which is basically the one quality you would look for in a UDFA who gets to play with a (maybe) generationally good QB in Justin Herbert. If Mike Williams were to miss multiple games, as the Chargers are not playing for anything, Johnson would have a good audition for next season. He is a dart that I am trying to throw in my deeper dynasty leagues right now.
Lynn Bowden Jr. is the clear best WR add on the Miami Dolphins this week, and Hollins is the third Dolphin I’ve mentioned in this article, so maybe I need to just settle down real quick. However, Hollins is going to be the like-for-like replacement if DeVante Parker is not able to play this week and Parker’s role is the most valuable of the pass-catchers on Miami. Hollins has only 17 targets this season but racked up nine targets in the catch-up effort against the Chiefs. The Dolphins will not be as pass-heavy against the Patriots this upcoming week but Hollins should project for 5-7 targets and a reasonable chance at a touchdown this upcoming week which is worth noting in deeper formats.
Look Ahead Defense Bids (5% of FAAB or less): Los Angeles Chargers (Get the extremely turnover prone Drew Lock at home in Week 16), Arizona Cardinals (playing against the Nick Mullens-led 49ers at home in Championship week).