Week 15 Waiver Wire: Injury Aftermath
Week 15 Waiver Wire: Injury Aftermath
What a tough weekend! The Week 15 waiver wire is here and became chock full of options due to the brutal amount of injuries suffered by some big-name players in Week 14. If you are here reading this, that means you survived and are alive for the championship stretch run. Or you are fighting for a better draft slot next year. Either way, congratulations! Hopefully, you avoided the injury bug while advancing. If you suffered an injury or two but moved on anyways, we have got you covered as well.
The basis of this weekly article is to point out key players at every position who are readily available (less than 40% owned) in Yahoo! and ESPN leagues that you may be able to add to your roster for upside. Percent owned is shown in parentheses.
Keep in mind, each fantasy team and league format is unique, as are scoring and roster formats. Think of this as a road map to your team’s success. Factor in whether or not your league uses PPR scoring, allows you to play two quarterbacks or other variables that impact your decisions to claim a player off of waiver. Let us get started.
We begin the Week 15 waiver wire report with the signal-callers. The quarterback position was about the only one spared any major injuries. Jameis Winston and Patrick Mahomes did suffer what is being called minor injuries so you may want to monitor that if you own them. There are just two weeks left in most fantasy leagues to determine a champion. There are some players on the wire that may help you bring home the hardware. Highlighted below is one with some favorable matchups the next two weeks and some nuggets on a few other quarterbacks that are readily available.
Ryan Fitzpatrick-Miami Dolphins
Highlighted here for the second week in a row is Ryan Fitzpatrick (23% Yahoo!, 15.3% ESPN). Fitzpatrick ranks as the QB10 in total points over the past four weeks. On tap for the journeyman quarterback are matchups against the New York Giants and Cincinnati Bengals. These two teams allow the seventh and ninth-most fantasy points respectively to the position on the year.
The Week 14 performance against the New York Jets was a little underwhelming, but still serviceable at 14.3 points. If you are looking for some consistency against some good matchups, then here is your guy. The Harvard grad has put up over 20 fantasy points in four of his last eight starts and no less than 11.3 (tough road game versus Pittsburgh). The Miami Dolphins quarterback will not lose you the week but certainly has the chance to win it for you. A look at the past eight weeks in surface chart form shows how steady he truly has been along with the upside he brings you.
Notable Quarterback Fantasy Nuggets
- Mitchell Trubisky (19% Yahoo!, 19.3% ESPN) had his third straight solid game. The past three weeks have seen the beleaguered quarterback put up 18.9, 24.9, and 33.1 points respectively. Matchups await against the Green Bay Packers and Kansas City Chiefs in what should be high scoring games.
- Eli Manning (3% Yahoo!, 4.2% ESPN) could be the starter for the remainder of the year. Rumors are floating around that Daniel Jones could be done this season. The New York Giants close out the fantasy playoffs with matchups against the Miami Dolphins and Washington Redskins. Who would have thought six or eight weeks ago that this would even be a decision to ponder?
The Week 15 waiver wire rolls on. The running back position got hit hard by injuries, as did the receiver and tight end positions that will be covered next. Hurt in Week 14 was Rashaad Penny, Bo Scarbrough, Derrius Guice, and Bilal Powell. Some usages in Miami and Oakland are worth noting as well. Let us take a look.
Patrick Laird-Miami Dolphins
Week 14 marked the third time in four weeks that Patrick Laird (20% Yahoo!, 10.8% ESPN) broke the double-digit mark. Over that span, Laird has had some tough matchups but faces a Bengals rush defense that allows the sixth-most points to the position in Week 16. Since Kalen Ballage went down, the undrafted free agent has seen the bulk of the work over fellow rookie Myles Gaskin.
The Cal grad saw 15 carries in Week 14 against the Jets and also hauled in another four catches while totaling 86 all-purpose yards. This was good for 12.6 PPR points. Over the past four weeks, Laird is the RB24 in total points. Not too shabby for someone you can still pick up for free and realistically consider playing in your championship game if you suffered an injury to the position. Laird is no stranger to catching balls out of the backfield as evidenced by the 96 receptions he saw his last two seasons in Berkely.
- DeAndre Washington (7% Yahoo!, 9.5% ESPN) put up a healthy 21.60 points in the absence of Josh Jacobs who missed the game with a shoulder injury. If Jacobs is forced to miss more time, Washington is certainly worth a look. The Raiders have a matchup in Week 15 against the Jacksonville Jaguars who bleed points to the running back spot.
- Darwin Thompson (19% Yahoo!, 10.0% ESPN) is worth a look even though there are tough matchups ahead against the Denver Broncos and Chicago Bears. Damien and Darrel Williams are both out and LeSean McCoy has his workload being monitored. Spencer Ware was signed last week, but Thompson is worth a look at the very least.
The wideout position was hit hard with injuries as well helping fill out the Week 15 waiver wire lottery. Lost for the season was Mike Evans and Calvin Ridley. Devante Parker and Albert Wilson also left early and did not return in Week 14. T.Y. Hilton also may not come back this season. Take a look at some possible replacements widely available in most leagues.
Zach Pascal-Indianapolis Colts
After his vanishing act in Week 12, Zach Pascal (35% Yahoo!, 30.7% ESPN) has had consecutive solid weeks. Pascal put up 20.4 PPR points in Week 14 against the Tampa Bay Buccaneers. This came after a 17.9 point performance against the division rival Tennessee Titans the week before. With the news that Hilton may be out the rest of the season, look for the targets to continue to be there for the Old Dominion grad.
Pascal is not a stranger to double-digit performances. He has six of them on the season. The next two weeks bring matchups against the middle of the pack defenses against receivers. Week 15 sees the Colts going on the road to the Big Easy and facing the New Orleans Saints (11th most points allowed) and then meeting the Carolina Panthers (10th most points allowed) at Lucas Oil Stadium in Week 16. A look at the Per-Game Team Defense Averages charts courtesy of FFStatistics illustrates exactly that there is nothing scary about the matchups for Pascal in the fantasy playoffs. Shameless plug, all tools are free at FF Statistics for the remainder of the season.
Notable Wide Receiver Fantasy Nuggets
- A.J. Brown (26% Yahoo!, 31.3% ESPN) had his second huge game in three weeks. In those games, the Mississippi grad has gone over 100 yards each time and scored three touchdowns. It is time to take notice. The Titans are in the thick of a playoff race and have beatable matchups for Brown against the Saints and the rival Houston Texans.
- Darius Slayton (26% Yahoo!, 32.6% ESPN) is currently shredding the Philadelphia Eagles (32.4 PPR points at the half!) and had 34.10 points three games ago. The athletic rookie was not terrible in the other two games either, going for double-digits in those contests as well. On deck in Weeks 15 and 16 are the receiver friendly secondaries of the Miami Dolphins and Washington Redskins. Pick him up in all formats.
We close the week 15 waiver wire report with the quagmire that is the Tight End position. Injuries hit the likes of Jared Cook, Mark Andrews, and Noah Fant. Here are just a few nuggets to consider when scouring for a fill in if you are still in need at the spot.
Notable Tight End Fantasy Nuggets
- Tyler Higbee (21% Yahoo!, 11.4% ESPN) had a second straight stellar game with Gerald Everett out yet again. Higbee has come out of nowhere to go over 100 yards each of the last two games and added a touchdown to boot in Week 13. Unfortunately, a tough matchup against the division rival San Francisco 49ers awaits the Los Angeles Rams in Week 16. The targets may be there, however, should Everett continue to miss games.
- Ian Thomas (1% Yahoo!, 0.6% ESPN) filled in admirably for Greg Olsen (concussion) in Week 14. Thomas saw a whopping 10 targets. The second-year tight end turned those looks into 5 catches for 57 yards and a touchdown. That was good for 16.70 PPR points. A matchup against the tight end friendly Seattle Seahawks defense that just got torched by the aforementioned Higbee awaits Thomas in Week 15 should Olsen miss another week.
- David Njoku (37% Yahoo!, 23% ESPN) is worth a look for the simple fact that the Cleveland Browns face the Arizona Cardinals in Week 15. In case you have been in a fantasy coma for the entire season, you should know that you start tight ends against the Cards. Going into Week 14, the Cardinals have allowed the most points to the position by a wide margin. And by a wide margin, it means over five points more than the next worst team surrendering points to the tight end.
Injuries to almost all the major skill positions have opened up a few potential solid plays. We still need to be active on the wire during the playoffs to stay competitive. The hope is that this article helps make your waiver wire decisions a little bit easier. Come back every Tuesday for the latest rendition of this series to help you build your fake team into a contender if you happened to miss on some draft picks. Injuries play a vital role in fantasy and one of the biggest advantages you can have is to be active on the wire every week. Good luck on your playoff push for the next couple of weeks.