Fantasy Football

2017 Fantasy Football Week 15 Waiver Wire

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If you’re reading this, congratulations and welcome to the 2017 Fantasy Football playoffs! From here on out, it’s all about eating those W’s (shout out to Jameis Winston).

Everything that’s happened before this week doesn’t matter anymore. Get rid of all your old vinyls, because come playoff time you can throw all the records out the window. 12-2 with a bye? 7-7 and barely squeaked in on a 4-way tiebreaker? Doesn’t matter. Winning is all that matters now. While the majority of your team might be set, injuries (Carson Wentz) can always happen and you can always make improvements.

We’re going to look at every standout player on the Week 15 Waiver Wire with less than 35% ownership in ESPN leagues. Only players who might make an immediate impact will be featured.


2017 Fantasy Football Week 15 Waiver Wire

Players are listed in order of priority of pickup.

Quarterbacks

Blake Bortles, Jacksonville Jaguars (20.3%)

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Bortles hasn’t quite been “playing like Tom Brady” like teammate Calais Campbell said after Sunday’s win against the Seahawks, but he’s definitely been an improved version of himself. Over his last three games, Bortles has averaged 22.07 fantasy points. With only one interception over that span, he has not been the same mistake-prone quarterback he’s been for the majority of his career.

In Week 15, he hosts the Houston Texans, who have allowed the 2nd most fantasy points to opposing quarterbacks. I wouldn’t hesitate to start him in the penultimate round.

Jimmy Garoppolo, San Francisco 49ers (23.6%)

The handsome-est quarterback in the league has been a revelation in his two starts this season. From his first snap, he’s breathed life into this team, and the Niners have won their last two games. In those games, he’s passed for 627 yards and a touchdown.

He draws a favorable matchup in Week 15 against the Titans, who are 25th in pass defense DVOA. The Niners are also actually favored to win (for what must be the first time this season) by 2.5 points at home.

Nick Foles, Philadelphia Eagles (0.1%)

Unfortunately, Week 14 saw the NFL lose another young star for the season due to injury when Carson Wentz tore his ACL. The Eagles were NFC favorites and one of the most exciting teams to watch in the NFL.

Foles might be one of the best backups in the league, but he won’t be able to replicate Wentz’ ability. That being said, he isn’t some kind of scrub. From ESPN’s Bill Barnwell’s piece on Foles replacing Wentz:

Throwing out those two outlier campaigns, Foles has gone 387-for-635 (60.9 percent) for 4,328 passing yards with 22 touchdowns and 15 picks. That’s good for a passer rating of 83.0. The closest 2017 comps to Foles’ career numbers would be Andy Dalton and Blake Bortles.

Getting Dalton or Bortles in a spot start against this miserable New York Giants defense isn’t the worst thing in the world. The Giants have allowed the 6th most fantasy points to opposing quarterbacks all season. Foles should have enough around him so he won’t be set up for failure.

Running Backs

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Kerwynn Williams, Arizona Cardinals (19.9%)

Adrian Peterson‘s status is still up in the air, but the Cardinals are eliminated from playoff contention, so there’s a reasonable chance he doesn’t play again this season. If so, Williams has done an adequate job filling in for him.

He doesn’t offer any versatility as a pass catcher but has averaged 18 carries for 97 yards over his last two games. He’ll see enough volume to be a solid RB3 option, but without much upside.

Rod Smith, Dallas Cowboys (27.0%)

Smith is just a one-week rental since Ezekiel Elliot will be back next week, but he’s a damn solid rental against the floundering Raiders. The Raiders are fresh off giving up 163 yards and two touchdowns to the Chiefs running backs. They may already be looking forward to the offseason with the tumultuous season that they’ve had.

Smith has scored four touchdowns in his last three games and looks more dynamic than Alfred Morris. Morris will get the start, but Smith will play plenty, especially on passing downs. He caught 5 passes for 113 yards and a touchdown last week. The Raiders rank 28th in DVOA against running backs as receivers and have guys out there trying to tackle like this:

Peyton Barber, Tampa Bay Buccaneers (19.6%)

A week after breaking out for 143 yards as the starter, Barber out-played Doug Martin in Week 14. Barber averaged 4.83 yards per carry while Martin stumbled to 2.6 YPC. I would love to put Barber higher on this list because he’s shown playmaking ability, but Martin’s presence gives me pause.

Ideally, Dirk Koetter would let Barber take ahold of the job since Martin has been ineffective all year. However, Koetter has proved time and time again that he doesn’t really know what he’s doing, — so I’ll temper my expectations for Barber. He’s a reasonable FLEX play with considerable upside if Martin gets hurt or benched.

Wayne Gallman, New York Giants (1.8%)

Gallman was the lone bright spot for the Giants in their 30-10 loss to the Cowboys in Week 14. He totaled 99 yards on 17 touches and outplayed the ineffective Orleans Darkwa.

If the Giants are smart (which I’m not sure they are), they’ll give Gallman more touches going forward to see what they have in the young running back.

Unfortunately, Gallman draws the Eagles in Week 15 and the Cardinals in Week 16, but he’s an interesting deeper league desperation flier.

Wide Receivers

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Dede Westbrook, Jacksonville Jaguars (15.8%)

It’s no coincidence that Blake Bortles’ return to fantasy relevance has coincided with Westbrook’s return to the lineup. Westbrook has caught 11 of 17 targets in his two last games resulting in 159 yards and a touchdown.

He’s squarely on the WR3 radar in Week 15 against the Titans, who have allowed the 11th most fantasy points to opposing wide receivers. Westbrook also draws a plus matchup in Week 16 against the Niners.

Corey Coleman, Cleveland Browns (22.5%)

Coleman bounced back from putting up a donut in Week 13, with 5/61/1 in Week 14. He again finished behind Josh Gordon in targets but is clearly a significant part of this offense that can get it going at times.

Coleman faces the Ravens at home in Week 15, who are fresh off surrendering 500+ passing yards and 200+ receiving yards to Ben Roethlisberger and Antonio Brown. Obviously, Deshone Kizer and Corey Coleman aren’t part of the Killer B’s. However, this shows the Ravens aren’t impenetrable, especially with star cornerback Jimmy Smith lost for the season.

Tyrell Williams, Los Angeles Chargers (20.6%)

Williams has been disappointing all season but has begun showing signs of life. He’s scored twice in his last three games, including a 75-yard touchdown in Week 14 on his way to 4/132/1.

He’s a definite boom-or-bust player, but this is a prime “boom” spot against a Chiefs secondary that gives up the second most fantasy points to opposing wide receivers. Philip Rivers is on fire and if you need a flier, Williams has the upside.

Paul Richardson/Tyler Lockett, Seattle Seahawks (30.6%/31.4%)

All season, these two have bounced in and out of this article. If they could combine into one player, Paul Lockett or Tyler Richardson might honestly be the best receiver in the league. Unfortunately, they exist as two separate entities and leech each other’s fantasy production.

It’s obvious that big-play ability resides within each of these players, as demonstrated in Week 14. However, it’s a huge gamble to play either of them since you don’t know who’s going to get the opportunity. But, hopefully, the Rams/Seahawks game in Week 15 turns into a shoot-out a la Rams/Eagles and one of these guys pays off. Flip a coin who, but my coin would be weighted towards Richardson.

Tight Ends

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Eric Ebron, Detroit Lions (20.6%)

I am terrified to recommend Ebron with the stakes as high as they are. It seems every time Ebron is in a potentially big spot, he flops. However, in Week 14, against the Bucs who give up the 4th fewest points to tight ends, he had his best game of the season with 10 catches for 94 yards.

Maybe he will zig when others zag again in Week 15 against the Bears who allow the 5th fewest points to tight ends.



O.J. Howard, Tampa Bay Buccaneers (9.5%)

Like the Richardson/Lockett situation, Howard and Cameron Brate look like they will just continue taking turns having good games. Your guess is as good as mine who is going to catch a touchdown in Week 15 for the Bucs, but Howard has at least crossed 50 yards receiving in three of his last four games, giving him a higher floor.


Check out the rest of our 2017 Fantasy Football content from our great team of writers.

About Kevin Huo

Kevin is a fantasy football writer for Fantasy Six Pack. He considers every angle - whether statistical or theoretical - when weighing his options and isn't afraid to be a contrarian. You can follow him on Twitter: @KevinMHuo

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