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Waiver Wire Fantasy Pickups: Week 15

Fantasy Playoff Waiver Pickups & Streaming Options

Waiver WireIf you’ve made it this far and are still alive in your quest to win that fantasy championship trophy, congratulations. As Mike Rigz pointed out in this article last week, it’s not easy getting this far. Only the best of the best are still alive in Week 15. Or maybe the luckiest of the lucky.

Regardless of how or why you got here, the point is to live to fight just one more week. The waiver wire requirements for playoff teams are quite different. Rather than searching for players that you can plug-n-play, you likely already have a good enough roster to advance this far. Most playoff teams are more interested in streaming the less important positions- kickers and defense- to give their squad every edge you can get.

Of course, there were some significant injuries last week, so reviewing your traditional waiver wire options is also important. I’ll take a brief look at some of the players you might need to nab in case you own Matt Forte, Melvin Gordon or Julio Jones and are desperate for reinforcements.

Reaching for the Stars

Before you even start browsing for traditional waiver adds, be sure that superstars like AJ GreenAlshon Jeffery, and Adrian Peterson aren’t available first.

It’s not that uncommon for a frustrated owner to have cut those players to free up a roster spot. It’s quite possible these star players slipped through the cracks and their original owner is now out of the playoffs, leaving the savvy fantasy owners with a chance to add a real difference maker to their lineups just when they need them most.

Can’t hurt to check.

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Waiver Wire Adds

Bilal Powell (RB) – Powell has always been on the PPR radar, but when Matt Forte left Week 14’s matchup with San Francisco after suffering an unknown knee injury, Powell went ham, rushing for 145 yards and scoring a pair of touchdowns. The Jets are out of it, so there’s no real reason for them to rush Forte back. That meant Powell has the chance to go from PPR reserve to 20+ touch beast in the next game or two. Powell is the top target and a must-add in all formats.

Taylor Gabriel (WR) – A must-add last week after news of Julio Jones’ turf toe, Gabriel rewarded his owners with 82 yards and a touchdown in Atlanta’s blowout win. Even if Jones returns, Gabriel has shown a knack for getting into the end zone lately and warrant starting consideration once again this week when the Falcons host lowly San Francisco.

Ty Montgomery (RB/WR) – Remember how I was saying it was time to cut Montgomery? Nevermind all that. Green Bay’s continued struggles to get anything out of their traditional tailbacks cause the Packers to give Montgomery another crack and he responded by rushing for 41 yards and a touchdown against Seattle. If Montgomery was released a week or two ago, PPR owners should once again target him.

JJ Nelson (WR) – Nelson only caught one pass last week, but it was for a touchdown. He also took a reverse for a 56-yard score. We can’t expect a repeat of those numbers again, but Nelson should be in for a few more targets after his huge performance last week. Michael Floyd was arrested and could be disciplined by the team, making Nelson’s path to more playing time much clearer.

Justin Forsett (RB) – Signed off the street merely days ago, Forsett’s familiarity with Gary Kubiak’s zone scheme paid immediate dividends. Forsett out-snapped and out-touched struggling rookie Devontae Booker last week and was far more effective for the Broncos haggard rushing attack. Game flow could make Kubiak take a “hot hand” approach and stick with the veteran. I expect Kubiak to use both backs in a committee, but considering how ineffective Booker has been for over a month, Forsett is worth a speculative add.

Kenneth Farrow (RB) – It’s not known how severe Melvin Gordon’s hip injury is and the expectation is that the Chargers will turn to Farrow and veteran Ronnie Hillman in a timeshare in the event that Gordon is out for Week 15 or longer. Neither back looks promising, but if you’re a Melvin Gordon owner in a deep league, it might make sense to grab his handcuff(s).

Other Targets: Adam Theilen (WR), Dwayne Washington (RB), Cameron Meredith (WR), Trevor Siemian (QB), Robby Anderson (WR), Kenjon Barner (RB)

Streaming Tight Ends

Mike led off this column last week with Pittsburgh’s Ladarius Green and although his ownership crosses my usual threshold, I’m including him again because he’s available in nearly half of fantasy leagues. Green continues to get better as he gets more snaps and has a superb matchup against a Bengals defense that has allowed the second-most fantasy points to tight ends.

Player Team Own % OPP Rank
Ladarius Green
53.9%
31
Jermaine Gresham
12.4%
15
Charles Clay
9.0%
32
Hunter Henry
27.1%
21
Dennis Pitta
49.1%
2
Will Tye
3.8%
29
Jared Cook
15.5%
6
Jack Doyle
18.3%
11
A.J. Derby
0.3%
15
Garrett Celek
0.1%
26

After doing next to nothing for the first half of the season, Arizona’s Jermaine Gresham has caught five balls in each of the past three games. Gresham has become a bigger part of the offense due to the Cardinals injured receiving corps, which continues to be a problem. Look for another solid week facing the Saints generous secondary.

Charles Clay is almost completely off the fantasy radar, but the Bills are facing the Browns, who have allowed an NFL-high 11 touchdowns to tight ends.

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Streaming Waiver Wire DEF/ST

When streaming fantasy defenses, you’re more concerned with ineptitude on offense. You want to target teams that face offensively-challenged opponents, or teams that tend to turn the ball over frequently. Poor special teams play and offenses led by inexperienced quarterbacks are also big pluses. Lousy weather is also your friend.

Team Own % OPP Rank
52.8%
30
44.0%
24
52.9%
22
39.1%
32
40.5%
28

Streaming Kickers

A lot of fantasy owners choose to stream kickers all season, which can be a sound strategy if you continue to make the right calls each week. Taking a kicker before the last round is a waste, so many choose to bypass the elite options and go the streaming route.

Player Team Own % OPP Rank
Nick Novak
21.0%
32
Kai Forbath
0.9%
30
Sebastian Janikowski
47.6%
6
Chandler Catanzaro
19.0%
31
Josh Lambo
31.6%
11

If you’re streaming, a few of the factors that I like to take advantage of:

  • Weather – look for indoor stadiums and avoid locations with wintry conditions
  • Matchup –  analyze which teams allow the most points to kickers via FGA
  • Vegas totals – look for highest perceived scoring from the Vegas line
  • Defensive prowess – avoid teams that tend to give up touchdowns. You want those field goals.

 

Good Luck this week!

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About the author

Jody Smith

Senior Writer Gridiron Experts. 2012 FantasyPros Most Accurate Fantasy Expert. Member of the Fantasy Sports Writers Association. 26-year fantasy football veteran. Featured on NFL.com, Fantasypros, Football Diehards annual magazine, local AM sports radio, podcasts everywhere and SiriusXM Fantasy Sports Radio. Once scored 4 touchdowns in a single game for Polk High School.

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