Congratulations if you were able to move on to the fantasy championship! Each week it is important to find the waiver wire gems, even if you aren’t going to play them. Keeping valuable assets from your opponent can be even more effective than setting the perfect lineup. Luckily I stayed up late, dug deep, and found the top waiver adds for this week. Good luck in the championship, and even if you weren’t lucky enough to survive Drew Brees or Brandin Cooks scouring the waiver wire can still get you that points lead if you’re close enough.
Bye week teams: No teams on bye.
For our on-going waiver wire exclusive* we will be breaking skill players down into 3 categories and then concluding by recommending some likely free-agent Defenses and Kickers:
- Game Changers: Game changers are exactly what they sound like. Players that through injury or opportunity rise up and become real impact players immediately. They may not be the best or most well-known players, but they are in a position to impact fantasy scores on a weekly basis.
- Depth with upside: Again, the name is fairly self-explanatory. These are players that are just waiting for that opportunity to excel along with one or two quarterback streaming options. Often they possess a solid talent, and elite measurables, but they just have not had the opportunity to “break out” yet. This often includes handcuffs of underwhelming players or players that have started slow at deep positions, i.e. a QB or TE, that still have you believing in their talent.
- Hail Mary’s: This section is easily going to be the highest turnover section of your roster. And in some cases, the players will literally change from day-to-day. They are often role players that flash, or deeper roster players that may have moved up due to injury, trade, or just plain old ineffectiveness.
Tyler Lockett | Wide Receiver| Seattle Seahawks
Entering week 15 Arizona boasted the no. 1 statistical defense when it came to yardage per game, allowing 298.5 ypg. In come the Saints and Drew Brees lights up the Cardinals for 389 passing yards and 4 touchdowns. Brandin Cooks had a career day catching 7 of his 8 targets for 186 yards and 2 touchdowns. Lockett and Cooks have similar styles, both are speed-demons that are threats to score from anywhere on the field. Lockett had his best game of the season against Los Angeles in week 15 and looks to keep that momentum as the fantasy playoffs roll along.
Derrick Henry | Running Back | Tennessee Titans
The vulture of two touchdowns in week 15 was Henry. He saw only 9 carries compared to the 18 that DeMarco Murray had, but Henry found the endzone twice while Murray was unable to score. In each of the previous 3 games Henry has carried the ball at least 8 times with a touchdown in 2 of the 3. Tennessee seems determined to work Henry in, at least as a spell to Murray and his ability to score puts him in the consideration to be in your championship lineup.
Paul Perkins | Running Back | New York Giants
The Giants have been relying on the defense to win games for them lately. In order for them to continue the winning ways, New York needs to become more balanced and that starts with the run game. For some reason the Giants have leaned on Rashad Jennings but against Detroit it was Perkins who led the team in rushing yards. While Jennings received more carries with 18 for 38 rushing yards, Perkins was able to gain 56 yards on 11 carries. The rookie RB Perkins has shown he should be the lead back and we can only hope New York has taken notice.
Dion Lewis | Running Back | New England Patriots
Much to my surprise Lewis is available in over 50 percent of ESPN leagues. While LeGarrette Blount continues to get the goal line work, Lewis received a season high—and team leading—18 carries amassing 95 rushing yards. As New England continues its playoff push it looks as if James White has been phased out of the offense in favor of Lewis. Lewis was out-targeted by White against Denver, but after a poor showing by White that will change.
Depth With Upside
Aldrick Robinson | Wide Receiver | Atlanta Falcons
As Julio Jones misses his second consecutive game due to turf toe, Aldrick Robinson was the one who stepped up for the Atlanta passing game. Although Taylor Gabriel was the WR who scored, Robinson led the team in receiving yards with 111 catching 4 of his 5 targets. If Julio Jones continues to miss time, we have seen Matt Ryan’s ability to spread the ball around and Robinson definitely has grabbed his attention.
Christine Michael | Running Back | Green Bay Packers
The emergence of Ty Montgomery and absence of James Starks limited Michael to just 4 carries. Christine Michael did the most with those with his opportunity averaging over 10 yards per carry including a touchdown. Montgomery saw a career high in carries against Chicago with 16, and an upcoming matchup with Minnesota could have the Packers looking to work Michael in the offense more as they look to win the NFC north.
Eli Rogers | Wide Receiver | Pittsburgh Steelers
If I told you going into the week 14 tilt against Cincinnati that Eli Rogers would score the only touchdown for Pittsburgh you may not have continued reading my article, or laughed in my face. Not only did Rogers do just that but he also led the team in receiving yards and tied Le’Veon Bell and Ladarius Green for the most receptions with five. Rogers has emerged as an excellent slot receiver and is especially valuable in PPR formats as he caught five of his six targets against the Bengals. With Green’s injury concern Rogers will be the Pittsburgh pass-catcher that will take advantage of the mismatches caused by Antonio Brown.
Deonte Thompson | Wide Receiver | Chicago Bears
Even with Alshon Jeffery returning from his four-game suspension it was Thompson who led the team in receiving yardage. Matt Barkley seems to have chemistry with the receivers that were lower on the depth chart as Cameron Meredith—available in over 70 percent of ESPN leagues—and Thompson both saw double digit targets against the Packers. The Bears will face Washington in the fantasy championship and Josh Norman will most likely shadow Jeffery, giving Thompson a juicy matchup. You can find Deonte Thompson on 99.9 percent of ESPN waiver wires.
Robby Anderson | Wide Receiver | New York Jets
In the 3 games Bryce Petty has taken over, Anderson has had at least 4 catches and over 60 yards with a touchdown in 2 of the 3. New York will face a familiar foe in the Patriots and as Brandon Marshall continues to struggle to find any sort of relevance on the field it looks as if Anderson will again be the leading receiver for the Jets. New England will more than likely jump out to an early lead, giving the Jets plenty of opportunity to throw the ball in an attempt to come from behind. We’ve seen that Petty is more than willing to take the deep shots to Anderson, hoping for a touchdown—or pass interference at least.
Phillip Dorsett | Wide Receiver | Indianapolis Colts
Dorsett was the model of efficiency against Minnesota, 1 catch on 1 target for 50 yards and a touchdown. It was only the fourth game where Dorsett posted at least 50 receiving yards, due mostly to the fact that Donte Moncrief is sidelined with a hamstring injury. Indianapolis travels to face a red-hot Oakland team and if Moncrief continues to miss time, Dorsett could see a massive uptick in volume. Unless the Colts continue to dominate in the run game, the week 16 tilt against the Raiders could turn into a high-scoring affair.
Ronnie Hillman | Running Back | San Diego Chargers
I feel dirty even listing Hillman as a potential add, but such is life at this point of the fantasy season. Since Melvin Gordon went down with his hip injury the fantasy community thought Kenneth Farrow would be a great play based on volume alone. That was not the case as Hillman was receiving meaningful carries in the game, and nearly out gained Farrow on half as many touches. This add is contingent on Gordon’s health but Hillman seems to have found a backfield for him to be a part of for the remainder of the year and his play in week 15 may warrant more touches as San Diego goes against a woeful Cleveland team.
Defense and Special Teams:
New York Giants at Philadelphia Eagles
The offense in New York—aside from Odell Beckham Jr.—has been bad to this point of the season. Luckily they spent big in free agency this offseason and revamped their defense. Those offseason additions are beginning to pay off as they have forced a turnover in their last 8 games and scored a touchdown in two of them. After the tremendous start Philadelphia and their rookie QB Carson Wentz got off to, they have fallen to Earth with a thud—officially eliminated from the playoffs after the week 15 loss in Baltimore.
San Diego Chargers at Cleveland Browns
Is there more reasoning to start a defense in fantasy other than facing a winless Cleveland Browns? If you do need convincing San Diego has been has forced at least one turnover in each game they’ve played. The Chargers also have the league leader in interceptions, Casey Hayward, and the inevitable defensive rookie of the year in Joey Bosa to rush the passer.
Tennessee Titans at Jacksonville Jaguars
I feel like every week has been disappointing for Jacksonville, but when Blake Bortles throws for only 92 yards and rushes for NEGATIVE 5 yards your coach gets fired. Through 14 games Bortles has only managed 3 games without a turnover and for fantasy purposes this bodes well for the opposing defenses.