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Waiver Wired
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Waiver Wired: Week 15

by Raymond Summerlin
Updated On: October 4, 2018, 4:04 pm ET

Welcome to the 15th edition of Waiver Wired for the 2015 season. If you are still reading this it means you are likely in the semifinals of the fantasy playoffs, and it also likely means you did not succumb to the rash of injuries which struck last week. Congratulations are in order on both fronts. Luckily for those teams who managed to survive despite the injuries, there are quite a few plug-and-play running backs available on the wire. Let’s get to them.

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The Drop List
QB: Philip Rivers, Andy Dalton
Danny Woodhead, C.J. Spiller, Shane Vereen
Andre Johnson, Pierre Garcon, Jordan Matthews
Scott Chandler, Jordan Cameron, Jason Witten

The Chargers have not scored a touchdown in three of their last four games. Philip Rivers’ matchup against the Dolphins is not intimidating, but it is risky to stake a trip to the fantasy Super Bowl on this offense. Andy Dalton was a headliner of this piece early in the season, so seeing him end the regular season on the sideline is a tad depressing. C.J. Spiller played behind Tim Hightower, who was out of the league for three seasons. Jordan Matthews is not a must drop by any means, but he has not seen more than six targets or gone over 60 yards since Week 9. He is touchdown dependent and has a tough matchup against the Cardinals. Jason Witten has not had more than 50 yards receiving since Week 7.

*Tyrod Taylor owned in 55 percent of Yahoo leagues. No. 1 quarterback streamer if available.
1. Ryan Fitzpatrick
2. Alex Smith
3. Marcus Mariota
Looking Ahead:
Kirk Cousins, Alex Smith

Running backs
*Ryan Mathews (54 percent owned) and Darren Sproles (50 percent owned) would be the No. 4 and No. 5 running back adds respectively if available.
1. Denard Robinson
2. Bryce Brown
3. Tim Hightower
4. Matt Jones
5. Brandon Bolden
6. Cameron Artis-Payne
7. Isaiah Crowell
Looking Ahead: Jay Ajayi, Tevin Coleman, Charles Sims, Robert Turbin, Stevan Ridley, Juwan ThompsonJerick McKinnon

Wide receivers
1. Tyler Lockett
2. Ted Ginn
3. Willie Snead
4. Dorial Green-Beckham
5. DeVante Parker
6. Robert Woods
Looking Ahead:  Willie Snead, DeVante Parker, Kamar Aiken

Tight ends
1. Zach Miller
2. Eric Ebron
3. Jacob Tamme
4. Vernon Davis
5. Will Tye
6. Heath Miller
Looking Ahead:
Zach Ertz, Clive Walford

Defense/Special Teams
1. Pittsburgh Steelers
2. Tampa Bay Bucs
3. Miami Dolphins
Looking Ahead: Steelers, Raiders

1. Chris Boswell
2. Randy Bullock
3. Matt Prater
Looking Ahead: Chris Boswell, Robbie Gould

1. Ryan Fitzpatrick, Jets – Owned in 46 percent of Yahoo leagues
This is not a great spot for Ryan Fitzpatrick against a Cowboys team which likes to limit the pace and shorten the game, but he is the most reliable option in a down week for streamers – Johnny Manziel is at Seattle, Jameis Winston is at St. Louis, Marcus Mariota is at New England, Brian Hoyer is hurt, and Brock Osweiler is terrible. Fitzpatrick has three straight games with at least 24.8 fantasy points and has scored at least 16.7 in every game he has finished since Week 1. He is as reliable as they come and has upside with Brandon Marshall playing out of his mind. Start him with confidence.
Recommendation: Should be owned in 12-team leagues.

2. Alex Smith, Chiefs – Owned in 32 percent of Yahoo leagues
On paper Alex Smith is in a good spot against a Ravens secondary which has struggled most of the season and just gave up five touchdowns to Russell Wilson, but the concern for Smith will always be volume. Smith has not attempted more than 32 passes since Week 6 and has 25 or fewer in three of the last four games. The good news is he has topped 21 points twice in the last three and always scores points with his legs. Smith is more of a desperation play which relies on the hope the Ravens offense puts up something of a fight, but it is hard out there for a streamer this week.
Recommendation: “Best” desperation streaming option

3. Marcus Mariota, Titans – Owned in 45 percent of Yahoo leagues
As mentioned above, this is not a great spot for Mariota. Exposed a bit by the Jets and without any reliable weapons, Mariota had his second-worst fantasy passing day of the season which was only saved by a 41-yard touchdown reception. Bill Belichick and Matt Patricia certainly will see what the Jets did to contain and confuse the rookie signal caller, and they will devise a game plan which presents similar problems. The only thing Mariota has going for him is the upside to make plays like the 41-yard reception happen on a weekly basis. That may be enough for someone desperate enough at quarterback.
Recommendation: Second “best” desperation streaming option

Honorable Mention: A.J. McCarron played well in relief despite a terrible pick-six, and he likely would have been a streaming option if he were getting the 49ers in Cincinnati. San Francisco has only given up nine offensive touchdowns total in six home games this season, however, including just five passing touchdowns. Carson Palmer was held without a passing touchdown for the only time this season in his visit to San Francisco Week 12. I am not interested in playing McCarron in that environment, but he could be a desperation play for those who lost Andy Dalton. T.J. Yates, who threw for 229 and two scores in his only other start this season, is also a desperation option against the Colts.

Looking Ahead: This has been a decidedly anti-Kirk Cousins space, but he has a nice matchup with the Eagles in Week 16. May the gods have mercy on whoever has to start Kirk Cousins in their fantasy Super Bowl, but he will be an option. Alex Smith is also in another good spot next week at home against the Browns, who should present more of an offensive threat with Johnny Manziel running the show.

1. Denard Robinson, Jaguars – Owned in 3 percent of Yahoo leagues
It is likely Denard Robinson is the starter this week, and if early reports calling T.J. Yeldon’s injury a sprained knee are correct, it is conceivable he is the starting running back the rest of the season. Even if it just ends up being one game, however, Robinson is still the best option widely available because we are certain he will dominate touches as long as Yeldon is out. Robinson and Yeldon are the only backs who have played an offensive snap for Jacksonville since Week 7, and Robinson was on the field for every snap after Yeldon exited against the Colts. Robinson gained 75 yards and found the end zone on 14 carries against Indy and has averaged just over 12 fantasy points in games he has seen 10 or more touches throughout his career. With a guaranteed workload in a great spot against the Falcons and a potential matchup with the Saints after that, Robinson will be a solid RB2 as long as Yeldon sits. He is worth any remaining FAAB dollars.
Recommendation: Should be owned in every league.

2. Bryce Brown, Seahawks – Owned in 0 percent of Yahoo leagues
To say I am shocked DuJuan Harris was cut Tuesday evening would not be doing my level of consternation justice. The talented but inconsistent Bryce Brown now appears to be the favorite for the lead role and has to be added in every format. There is something disquieting about this move, however. If Seattle thought Brown was the best back to lead the offense if injuries struck, why has he been yoyoing off the back of the roster for the last month and a half? Perhaps Harris was just that bad against the Ravens, perhaps Marshawn Lynch is closer to a return than Seattle has let on, or perhaps, most maddeningly, the Seahawks are not finished adding backs. All the uncertainty makes Robinson a better add at this point, but Brown has a ton of upside if he does get the bulk of the work at home against the Browns. He will be a borderline RB1 in that situation. 
Recommendation: Should be owned in every league.

3. Tim Hightower, Saints – Owned in 41 percent of Yahoo leagues
The ghost of C.J. Spiller haunting the sidelines in New Orleans means Tim Hightower is not as reliable an option as Robinson or as high-upside an option as Harris, but he is still a solid add for teams in need of running back help. Hightower easily out-snapped Spiller 60-to-16 against the Bucs and out-touched him 29-to-6. Perhaps the discrepancy would not be as big in a negative game flow situation, but it is clear the Saints trust Hightower, a guy who had been out of the league since 2011, more to run their offense than Spiller. Let that sink in for a bit. Hightower is probably not a starter for teams still in the playoffs in 10-team leagues and smaller, but he can be useful in deeper formats.
Recommendation: Should be owned in 12-team leagues.

4. Matt Jones, Redskins – Owned in 45 percent of Yahoo leagues
As always the Redskins’ backfield is a roller coaster you ride at your own risk, but Matt Jones has been the lead back for two straight weeks, out-snapping Alfred Morris 85-to-30 over that span. Morris did get the touchdown last week, but Jones outplayed him and as always offers more in the passing game, which is important considering Chris Thompson is likely done for the season with a torn labrum. Jones will remain a risky RB3/FLEX in an easier than perceived matchup with the Bills.
Recommendation: Should be owned in 12-team leagues.

5. Brandon Bolden, Patriots – Owned in 10 percent of Yahoo leagues
The already muddled waters of the Patriots backfield became even more opaque when LeGarrette Blount exited Sunday night’s win over the Texans with a hip injury. As is the custom with New England, not much has been released about Blount’s injury, but at this point we have to operate as if Blount will sit. Though James White is the bigger name in fantasy circles, Brandon Bolden carried the load in the running game after Blount left, rushing 16 times for 51 yards. White only saw five touches, but he did convert a goal-line opportunity. This backfield is too unpredictable to trust in shallow leagues, but Bolden could be in line for 15-plus carries in a decent matchup. Recommendation: Should be owned in 14-team leagues.

6. Cameron Artis-Payne, Panthers -- Owned in 2 percent of Yahoo leagues
Cameron Artis-Payne has not played a snap since Week 7, but he is still the preferred add over Fozzy Whittaker, who the Panthers reportedly view as "more of a third-down or passing-situation option," if Jonathan Stewart is forced to miss with a foot injury. The duo would likely form a value-sapping committee regardless of who leads, however, making Artis-Payne a low-upside and high-risk addition. He is worth the shot in deeper leagues but is not going to be an exciting starter for teams this deep into the playoffs even if Stewart sits out. 
Recommendation: Should be owned in 14-team leagues. 

7. Isaiah Crowell, Browns – Owned in 26 percent of Yahoo leagues
It would be underselling it to say I am skeptical Isaiah Crowell will be able to recreate his success against the 49ers in Seattle, but he deserves a mention after carving up San Francisco for 145 yards and two touchdowns. The performance was Crowell’s first 100-yard day of his NFL career, but he has actually played well the last two weeks, averaging 6.68 yards on 31 carries. He is highly unlikely to continue that run in Seattle, but there are worse desperations plays than what I see as a talented back coming off a good game.
Recommendation: Desperation streaming option.

Honorable Mention: Duke Johnson also had a good game against the 49ers, but he has been out-touched 33-to-23 the last two weeks. He is a better option in PPR leagues with the Browns likely to be playing from behind, but neither is more than a desperation play. James White has five or fewer touches in all but two games this season. Fozzy Whittaker has been active behind Jonathan Stewart the last several weeks, but reports are the Panthers view him more as a third-down back. He is still worth adding in deeper formats. He is a touchdown-or-bust play. Theo Riddick added another seven catches against St. Louis and now has at least five in the last four games. He is a reliable option in PPR formats.

Looking Ahead: One of my favorite handcuffs from last week, Denard Robinson, graduated to starter status, but there still are plenty of handcuffs out there to fill out a fantasy bench. In order, my favorites are Jay Ajayi, Tevin Coleman, Charles Sims, Robert Turbin, Stevan Ridley, Juwan Thompson, and Jerick McKinnon. Karlos Williams would be at the top of the list, but a shoulder injury may keep him out the rest of the season.

1. Tyler Lockett, Seahawks – Owned in 36 percent of Yahoo leagues
I have doubted Seattle’s ability to support two fantasy pass catchers, but Russell Wilson has thrown that logic in my face the last four games. With Thomas Rawls done for the year and Marshawn Lynch without a timetable for return, the offense should be even more Wilson-centric moving forward. That is only good news for Tyler Lockett, who has seen seven targets in consecutive games and has a great matchup with the Browns on deck. Lockett is a risky play, but he carries a ton of upside in a red-hot offense. He can be used as a WR3 in every format.
Recommendation: Should be owned in 10-team leagues.

2. Ted Ginn, Panthers – Owned in 40 percent of Yahoo leagues
I was looking ahead to this matchup for Ted Ginn even before he burned the Falcons, who had allowed just one touchdown catch of more than 40 yards entering the week, for two long scores. Ginn has four touchdowns in his last two games and would have more if his hands were not made of stone. The Giants have been vulnerable to the deep pass all season, and Ginn is a good bet to get behind their overmatched safeties at least once. He is a risky play, but he has flashed serious upside the last two weeks.
Recommendation: Should be owned in 12-team leagues.

3. Willie Snead, Saints – Owned in 46 percent of Yahoo leagues
Willie Snead made his triumphant return to the Saints lineup with a 7-catch, 122-yard performance against the Bucs. Snead will face a tough test against a defense which has not given up more than 80 yards to a wide receiver since the bye week, but he is back as a solid WR3 in deeper leagues.  
Recommendation: Should be owned in 12-team leagues.

4. Dorial Green-Beckham, Titans – Owned in 26 percent of Yahoo leagues
Dorial Green-Beckham had the ups and downs which have defined his season to this point against the Jets, but he did manage to get open fairly regularly and would have had a respectable day if not for some costly drops. The rookie will be tough to trust against the Patriots, but he is guaranteed snaps and targets and is a big play waiting to happen. There are worse darts to throw.
Recommendation: Should be owned in 12-team leagues.

5. DeVante Parker, Dolphins – Owned in 44 percent of Yahoo leagues
Ryan Tannehill was allowed throw again Monday night – even though giving the ball to Lamar Miller may have been a better plan – but DeVante Parker saw just five targets as Jarvis Landry dominated proceedings. He did get targeted deep a couple times and should continue to be a factor in the expanding passing game. He also has two nice matchups against the Chargers and Colts on deck. Parker does not have the same target floor as Dorial Green-Beckham, but he carries pretty good upside.
Recommendation: Should be owned in 14-team leagues.

6. Robert Woods, Bills – Owned in 11 percent of Yahoo leagues
Robert Woods has struggled to make the most of his opportunities despite averaging over seven targets a game the last five, but he produced in a good matchup against the Eagles and could have an even bigger role against Washington with Charles Clay doubtful. Tyrod Taylor may throw fewer than 25 times in a game which should be slow paced, but Woods is a good bet to see a big chunk of those targets with Clay out. In a good matchup, that could be enough.
Recommendation: Desperation streaming option.

Honorable Mention: It is tough to trust anyone in the Chargers offense right now, but Javontee Herndon and Malcom Floyd are currently the starters. Herndon is the better option of the two, and both are desperation plays at best. Markus Wheaton keeps getting targets and snaps, but I am not putting my fantasy future in his hands against the Broncos. Keshawn Martin caught a touchdown against the Texans and is getting the snaps, but that could change if Julian Edelman returns. He has also failed to reach 50 yards in any game this season.

Looking Ahead: A couple guys on this list are good two-week adds. Willie Snead gets the Jaguars’ struggling defense Week 16, and DeVante Parker has a date with the Colts on the penultimate week of the season. Kamar Aiken is also still available in many leagues and gets a vulnerable Steelers secondary Week 16. If Jimmy Clausen has another respectable day against Kansas City, Aiken would be worth a look in that matchup.

1. Zach Miller, Bears – Owned in 19 percent of Yahoo leagues
With Martellus Bennett on injured reserve, Zach Miller turned six targets into 85 yards and a touchdown against the Redskins. He saw seven targets in the other game Bennett missed earlier in the year, and he should remain a big part of the passing game moving forward. With nothing but neutral or better matchups left on the schedule, Miller should be a back-end TE1 the rest of the way.
Recommendation: Should be owned in 10-team leagues.

2. Eric Ebron, Lions – Owned in 22 percent of Yahoo leagues
Eric Ebron is the riskiest of risky plays considering he has not surpassed 30 yards receiving since Week 7, but the situation is primed for a breakout. Brandon Pettigrew will miss the rest of the season with a torn ACL, and Ebron played almost every snap with Pettigrew sidelined early in the season. He also has a premium matchup with the Saints on Monday night. It is going to be tough to swallow, but he is a great upside play.
Recommendation: Should be owned in 12-team leagues.

3. Jacob Tamme, Falcons – Owned in 36 percent of Yahoo leagues
Jacob Tamme’s fortunes have sunk with the rest of the Falcons offense, but this week represents a great get right opportunity for the entire unit. The Jaguars have given up the third-most yards to tight ends this season and the fifth-most touchdowns. Atlanta has to find a secondary option in the passing game, and getting Tamme involved in a good matchup makes the most sense. It is a dart throw, but it is a god one.
Recommendation: Should be owned in 14-team leagues.

4. Vernon Davis, Broncos – Owned in 45 percent of Yahoo leagues
Vernon Davis was featured in a good matchup against the Raiders, and the tight ends have been a large part of the offense since Brock Osweiler took over. Pittsburgh also struggles to defend tight ends, and Davis had a decent 5/62/0 line against the Steelers as a member of the 49ers in Week 2. Like Tamme, Davis is just a dart throw, but he comes with some upside.
Recommendation: Should be owned in 14-team leagues.

5. Will Tye, Giants – Owned in 8 percent of Yahoo leagues
My boy Will Tye -- as he shall henceforth be known -- paid off big on Monday night by finding the end zone late in the second quarter. Even though he only managed 30 yards, Tye did see five targets and is now averaging six a game over his last five. The Panthers present a formidable matchup, but Tye is getting the targets to remain on the TE1 map in deeper leagues.
Recommendation: Should be owned in 14-team leagues.

6. Heath Miller, Steelers – Owned in 28 percent of Yahoo leagues
Heath Miller is not an exciting play, but he has at least six targets in each of the last five games and is averaging 12.2 PPR points a contest over that span. The Broncos are banged up at safety, and Oakland attacked them with the tight ends. Pittsburgh should take a similar approach. Miller does not have the upside, but he is a good floor play in PPR leagues.
Recommendation: Should be owned in PPR formats.  

Looking Ahead: Zach Ertz saw his role in the offense grow against the Bills, but his target totals have been up and down and he faces a tough test against the Cardinals. If he continues to be a big part of the offense, Ertz will be worth a look next week against Washington. Clive Walford saw the most targets of his career against the Broncos and now has 12 targets total the last two weeks. If that usage continues against the Packers, Walford will be a streaming option against the Chargers Week 16.

1. Pittsburgh Steelers – Owned in 38 percent of Yahoo leagues
The Steelers have been a great fantasy defense over the last month and get a stalled Broncos offense, the Ravens, and the Browns over the final three weeks. They will be a starting option for the rest of the season.

2. Tampa Bay Bucs – Owned in 15 percent of Yahoo leagues
The Rams were able to ground and pound – otherwise known as The Fisher – the Lions, but they will struggle to find similar success against Tampa Bay’s elite run defense. Tampa should be able to force the Rams into throwing, and the Rams throwing should result in good outcomes for the defense.  

3. Miami Dolphins – Owned in 22 percent of Yahoo leagues
The Dolphins defense did not play well on Monday night, but they were good against a Baltimore offense with no weapons Week 13 and have a similar matchup against the Chargers on deck. San Diego has failed to score a touchdown in three of their last four games and has given up 14 sacks over that time. Miami’s defense is not good, but they are better than the Chargers offense.

Looking Ahead: The Steelers DST will get either Matt Schaub or Jimmy Clausen Week 16. They are a solid three-week option. Khalil Mack has given the Raiders DST some upside, and they get a crumbling Chargers offense at home next week.

1. Chris Boswell, Steelers – Owned in 10 percent of Yahoo leagues
Despite a warning by Andrew Renschen on Twitter, I completely whiffed on Chris Boswell last week. Boswell has been on fire the last five games, kicking at least three field goals in every contest including four last week against what had been a stingy Bengals defense. The Broncos have been a bad matchup for kickers all season, but the Steelers’ offense is too good to be completely shut down at home. Boswell should get his looks and is a great option.

2. Randy Bullock, Jets – Owned in 10 percent of leagues
With the Jets offense cooking, Randy Bullock has been a solid option the last two weeks, connecting on three field goals and multiple extra points in each game. This week he gets to play indoors at Cowboys Stadium in a pretty good matchup. Good matchup and indoors is a good mix in December.

3. Matt Prater, Lions – Owned in 38 percent of Yahoo leagues
Things did not work out too well for Matt Prater as the Lions offense stalled in St. Louis, but he gets another shot in a dome this week against the Saints. The Saints defense is unlikely to have as much success as the Rams did slowing the offense, and Prater should get his chances. Despite the bad day, I am going back to the well.

Looking Ahead: Chris Boswell has another solid matchup against the Ravens, but the weather could be troublesome in Baltimore. Robbie Gould has a good matchup in Tampa Bay in Week 16, but he has come down with a major case of the yips lately. If he has a clean week against the Vikings, I will consider using him. 

Raymond Summerlin
Raymond Summerlin is a football writer for Rotoworld.com. He can be found on Twitter at @RMSummerlin.