NFL Week 15 – If you’re reading this
it’s too late you likely made your league’s playoffs, so congratulations! At this point in this season, your lineups are likely set. Bt we saw some major injuries this past weekend while others are still recovering. If injuries have hit (Deebo Samuel, Kyler Murray, Dameon Pierce) or you’re looking to upgrade a starting position for a better matchup or emerging talent, here are some of the best options widely available in over 50% of ESPN and Yahoo! leagues.
Mike White-NYJ (15.3% rostered ESPN; 20% Yahoo!)
If you made the playoffs streaming quarterbacks or lost Kyler Murray (or have Lamar, who’s expected to miss at least one more week), White is a potential league winner. He has a dream playoff schedule, beginning with Detroit in Week 15, and while he suffered a rib injury on a huge hit Sunday, he is currently expected to play on Sunday. He didn’t throw any touchdown passes in Buffalo last week, but he threw for 268 yards and committed zero turnovers. He’s now thrown for 952 yards with 4 touchdowns and 2 interceptions over three starts this year. If you’re able to get him, feel confident firing him up against a Lions defense who’s allowed the MOST fantasy points to quarterbacks this year and gave up 425 passing yards and 2 touchdowns to Kirk Cousins, making him QB5 in Week 14.
At this point, there aren’t many start-worthy running backs on the waiver wire. Here are two who could step into a starting role for New England if Rhamondre Stevenson and Damien Harris remain out due to injury plus one who is a priority handcuff with some possible flex value.
Pierre Strong – NE (0.2% rostered ESPN; 1% Yahoo!) and Kevin Harris – NE (0.4% ESPN; 1% Yahoo!)
Both backs saw action in relief of an injured Rhamondre Stevenson on Monday night. Harris saw more carries (8 vs. 5), but Strong outgained him (70 vs. 26) and saw 2 targets to Harris’s 0. Both backs reached the end zone, as well. If both Stevenson and Harris miss time, both Harris and Strong would likely split carries against the Raiders, but they could be viable plays and one could take over a larger roles in the fantasy playoffs.
Jordan Mason-SF (4.7% rostered ESPN; 12% Yahoo!)
Christian McCaffrey has seen an increased workload in the wake of Elijah Mitchell’s injury, but Jordan Mason has remained involved. He’s seen 18% and 30% of the offensive snaps over the last two weeks, while Tyrion Davis-Price has logged 0 offensive snaps. Mason has totaled 107 yards on 19 carries, with 8+ carries and 50+ yards in each of those two games. He could be more involved this week, with the 49ers on a short turnaround on Thursday night, and if you have CMC and you haven’t done so yet, you need to grab Mason if he’s available.
Deebo Samuel was the biggest loss this weekend. If you’re looking to replace him or you’ve given up on someone like Gabe Davis, here are some of the best options for this week and the playoff run.
Alec Pierce—IND (10.4% rostered ESPN; 13% Yahoo!)
Pierce has seen 8 targets in two of his last three games, and in his last game in Week 13, he caught 4 of them for 86 yards and a touchdown. The rookie should remain involved through the fantasy playoffs and gets a great matchup in Week 15. The Colts take on the Vikings this Saturday, who just allowed three Lions receivers to finish in the top 30 last week, including a top-10 finish. Minnesota has allowed the most receiving yards and 2nd-most fantasy points to wide receivers. Pierce has the upside to win your opening round playoff matchup from the flex spot.
Elijah Moore-NYJ (32.9% rostered ESPN; 27% Yahoo!)
Moore gets a dream matchup against the Detroit Lions in the fantasy playoffs’ first round. The Lions have allowed the 3rd-most fantasy points to receivers this season, and just allowed WR1 and WR11 finished to Justin Jefferson and Adam Thielen. KJ Osborn even finished as WR23, his second time in the top 25 this season. Moore is coming off his second-best game of the season, where he caught 6 of 10 targets for 60 yards. The 10 targets were a team-high in Week 14 and a season-high for Moore. He ran just four fewer routes than Garrett Wilson, finishing with a 92% route participation.
DJ Chark – DET (22.9% rostered ESPN; 40% Yahoo!)
Chark has a tough matchup in Week 15 against the stingy Jets, who shut down wide receivers, allowing the 3rd-fewest fantasy points per game to the position. You may not want to pick him up to start this week. But if you earned a first round bye and are looking forward to your playoff schedule, Chark is great option. He’s coming off a WR8 finish where he tied Amon-Ra St. Brown for the team lead in route participation, and now has two straight games with 5+ catches, and 90+ plus. And he’s found the end zone in two of the last three games. He has a favorable schedule for the semi-finals and finals, with Carolina and Chicago lined up for weeks 16 and 17.
Chigoziem Okonkwo – TEN (4.3% rostered ESPN; 14% Yahoo!)
Okonkwo has leapt onto the scene with 5+ targets in three straight games and is averaging nearly 45 yards per game over his last 6. He’s finished as a top-8 tight end in back-to-back weeks and is coming off a 18.5- point outing (6-45-1 plus a 2PAT), his best performance of the year. He’s 4th in DVOA among tight ends, while teammate Austin Hooper in just two spots back at 6th. If you’re in need of tight end help (as most are), Okonkwo is worth a look.