Welcome to the Week 15 edition of Waiver Wired for the 2019 season. With the fantasy playoffs upon us, we’ll shift our attention to winning the week ahead with a handful of stashes sprinkled in. We’ll also set our sights on substitutes for Mike Evans (hamstring), Taylor Gabriel (concussion), DeVante Parker (concussion), Calvin Ridley (abdomen), Kalen Ballage (leg), and T.Y. Hilton (calf), among others. A section highlighting plus matchups for available players in Weeks 16-17 has also been added for each position.
As a reminder, the drop list consists of players who are rostered in at least 50 percent of Yahoo leagues and are no longer must-have assets, recommended adds are available in over 50 percent of Yahoo leagues, the watch list contains in-depth notes on players who are worthy of roster spots if possible, and deep cuts includes player notes on those rostered in five percent or fewer of Yahoo leagues.
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The Drop List
The fantasy playoffs are prime for parting ways with basically any player who won’t cut it in your starting lineup this week or, more reasonably, those who have to jump multiple hoops for direct opportunity. You should look to prioritize winning in Week 15 — even if that means cutting a tried and true FLEX play for a stronger streaming option — then (and only then) avert your focus to stashing any and all high-upside league winners for the week ahead. Some names that directly come to mind are LeSean McCoy (since he’s in a three-headed timeshare with Darwin Thompson and Spencer Ware), Derrius Guice, Tevin Coleman, and Royce Freeman (handcuff only). Some fringe receivers include T.Y. Hilton (calf), D.J. Chark (ankle), Tyrell Williams, Brandin Cooks, Sammy Watkins, Josh Gordon, and A.J. Green.
For those simply looking to roster the best player available regardless of position, the rankings above take into account every factor from the positional lists minus the actual positions. These are listed in the precise order I’d prioritize waiver claims in Week 15.
Previously the ‘Handcuff Top 5,’ the time has come to stop rostering backups to our own starters and rather target reserves with the most potential opportunity if a single door opens. That’s why the above list was carefully assembled (and extended) to highlight league-winners in the event the player ahead of them misses any time. Presumed snaps, carries, targets, and the play-calling each are tied to have been factored in. They’re chronologically listed in the precise order I would stash them for the fantasy playoffs — though fantasy players should obviously feel free to adjust accordingly. Reggie Bonnafon isn’t listed since the Panthers signed Mike Davis mid-November and recently activated him.
Raheem Mostert rostered in 52 percent of Yahoo leagues. No. 1 add if available.
Alexander Mattison rostered in 53 percent of Yahoo leagues. No. 2 add if available.
1. DeAndre Washington
2. Patrick Laird
3. Bilal Powell/Ty Montgomery
4. Dion Lewis
1. Oakland Raiders
2. Kansas City Chiefs
1. Ryan Tannehill, Titans — Rostered in 48 percent of Yahoo leagues
Only Lamar Jackson and Josh Allen have scored more fantasy points than Tannehill under center since the latter replaced Marcus Mariota in Week 7. There’s clearly no more denying Tannehill’s 72.7 percent completion rate as the team’s cornerstone despite averaging just 26.7 pass attempts in seven eye-popping starts. Given his plus matchup against Houston’s poor No. 25 pass defense DVOA on Sunday, I would start Tannehill over Russell Wilson, Baker Mayfield, and Kirk Cousins, just to name a few.
2. Jacoby Brissett, Colts — Rostered in 37 percent of Yahoo Leagues
Brissett should benefit from New Orleans’ voluminous offense in the Superdome, where the team has scored at least 30 points in 5-of-7 games — including 34-plus in back-to-back affairs — this season. Any sustained leaks in their defense that allowed Kyle Allen (256/3/0) and Jimmy Garoppolo (349/4/1) to go off without a hitch is obviously an advantage for Brissett over other lesser streamers.
3. Mitchell Trubisky, Bears — Rostered in 19 percent of Yahoo leagues
Trubisky has thrived against subpar competition this year, most recently pasting the Lions (x2), Giants, and Cowboys for multiple touchdowns in four of his last five games. The caveat is his sudden rushing prowess as he’s quietly averaged seven scrambles per game, tacking on an additional 20.5 fantasy points, in his last three starts. Green Bay’s permitted the eighth-most yards per attempt (7.9) to opposing quarterbacks despite allowing just 13 passing touchdowns on the season.
4. Ryan Fitzpatrick, Dolphins — Rostered in 23 percent of Yahoo leagues
Carson Wentz mustered a QB12 finish against the Giants on Monday night with an AAF alumnus (Greg Ward) and struggling Day 2 rookie (J.J. Arcega-Whiteside) as his primary receivers. In other words, Fitzpatrick shouldn’t have any issues from a squeaky clean pocket since New York has struggled to create pressure at the league’s sixth-lowest rate (20.4%). Attribute his most recent setback to Miami’s in-game loss of DeVante Parker (concussion).
Week 16: Gardner Minshew in a plus matchup against the Falcons if the Jaguars show any signs of life against the Raiders in their previous game. Andy Dalton squares off against the Dolphins. Dwayne Haskins against the Giants if you’re desperate.
1. DeAndre Washington, Raiders – Rostered in 8 percent of Yahoo leagues
There’s no guarantee Josh Jacobs (shoulder) misses another contest, but Week 15’s cinch matchup against Jacksonville thrusts whomever gets the start into must-play territory. Initially thought to split the work with Jalen Richard, Washington surprisingly logged 40-of-63 snaps (63%) against the Titans, handling 14 carries and, perhaps most important, 7-of-10 backfield targets. Washington additionally ran 22 routes to Richard’s 14, making the former the option to fight for just in case Jacobs can’t go. Grab Richard if your remaining FAAB won’t realistically compete with league-mates for Washington.
Recommendation: Should be rostered in 10-team leagues
2. Patrick Laird, Dolphins – Rostered in 21 percent of Yahoo leagues
Our Laird was on the field for a season-high 59-of-72 snaps (82%) in Miami’s first game without Kalen Ballage (leg, IR), handling 19 touches ahead of Myles Gaskin’s 5. With the Dolphins’ receiving-game role all to himself for the foreseeable future, consider Laird a confident low-end RB3 if you’re in a pinch due to injuries. The Giants have allowed above-average receiving marks (73/601) to enemy backs despite failing to permit a touchdown through the air to that position this year.
Recommendation: Should be rostered in 12-team PPR leagues
You wouldn’t know it from his fantasy points, but Powell was nothing short of a workhorse in place of Le’Veon Bell, handling 19-of-28 carries on 56 snaps against the Dolphins. Having said that, his second-half ankle injury may force Montgomery into the lineup against Baltimore given New York’s short turnaround on Thursday Night Football. Whomever gets the nod would merely be a usage-based option for PPR leagues since Vegas projects the Jets to face a two-score (+15) uphill battle on the road mid-week. Laird gets the nod over either given his matchup.
Recommendation: Should be rostered in 12-team leagues
4. Dion Lewis, Titans – Rostered in 9 percent of Yahoo leagues
Lewis is merely insurance in the event Derrick Henry (hamstring) isn’t cleared for Sunday following a clear setback against the Raiders. Lewis’ 10 touches ahead of Khari Blasingame was proof the former’s the bell-cow to roster if Henry’s limited throughout the week.
Recommendation: Should be stashed in 12-team PPR leagues
Watch List: Reminder Adrian Peterson averaged 18.8/95.8 and 5.11 yards per carry in four starts prior to playing alongside Derrius Guice (knee)…Spencer Ware led Kansas City’s backfield in snaps (31, 40%) in his first game action since 2018 while LeSean McCoy (24) led all in carries (11). Darwin Thompson got eight touches (four catches included), but this is clearly a committee moving forward.
Deep League: Boston Scott’s involvement depends entirely on Jordan Howard’s (shoulder) pending return to the lineup. The latter is expected to get cleared any day now, making this backfield an avoidable three-headed timeshare…Jalen Richard (7/28) played second fiddle to Washington without Jacobs (shoulder) on Sunday but would obviously be the back to roster if both miss Week 16.
Week 17: Darrell Henderson against the Cardinals if Todd Gurley is shutdown. Justin Jackson potentially back to close the Chargers’ season finale against the Chiefs. Damien Harris against the Dolphins if any Patriots running backs are rested. Bo Scarbrough against Green Bay. Tony Pollard against Washington if Dallas somehow locks up a playoff berth in Week 16. Latavius Murray versus Panthers if Alvin Kamara rests.