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Targeting weekly waiver picks is a completely subjective business,
but this column hopes to point out some obvious and not-so-obvious
selections to help your team from week to week while you strive
to collect fantasy wins, reach your league playoffs and win the
elusive title that your friends say is out of your grasp. While
I’m a big proponent of making trades to bolster your roster,
the waiver wire can be an almost limitless resource when it comes
to discovering fantasy value in strange places. Each week, I’ll
highlight some of the popular (and not-so-popular) players who can
help your squad and may still be available in your league.
Smith, KC – It’s not my favorite thing in the world
that I’m recommending Alex Smith here, but he’s got a great matchup
at Tennessee and both Tyreek Hill and Travis Kelce are looking
better as they develop rapport with Smith. Trevor Siemian threw
for 334 yards against the Titans in Week 14, and Smith could post
excellent numbers as well.
Bradford, MIN – The WR corps seems much healthier and
Bradford threw for 292-1-0 against a decent pass defense in Jacksonville
on Sunday. He’s not a great option but he’s startable in two-QB
leagues and could be worth a DFS flier.
Barkley, CHI – I’d be wary of starting Barkley against
the Packers, who looked excellent shutting down Russell Wilson
in Week 14. But John Fox is impressed with the journeyman QB’s
poise and the Bears could get Alshon Jeffrey back this week.
Flacco, BAL –UPDATE:
Flacco had another strong fantasy week with 324-2-1 and he’s
definitely a viable option against the struggling Eagles in Week
15. Flacco’s TD/INT numbers (17/12) leave much to be desired,
but he’s already thrown for 3,582 passing yards and could
reach 4,000 for the first time in his career.
Dalton, CIN – Dalton looked good on Sunday, even if
it was against the Browns. He threw for 180-2-0 but once Jeremy
Hill was running downhill against Cleveland, he didn’t have to
do much. Expect him to throw more against the Steelers.
Petty, NYJ – The 257-0-1 line was about what most of
us expected from Petty in his debut start, but he earned a victory
in OT and gets a halfway decent matchup against the Dolphins (who
will be without Ryan Tannehill) in Week 15.
Workhorse: Bilal Powell had 34 touches
for the Jets yesterday after Matt Forte left with a knee injury.
Peterson, MIN -UPDATE: Peterson wants to practice this
week and return for Week 16 against the Packers. He's available
in about half of competitive redraft leagues and worth a speculative
add if your bench is deep but even if he's able to play, it would
be hard to trust him in a fantasy championship game.
Washington, DET – The Lions could be missing the rest
of their RBs this week (see more below), so Washington could be
in line for massive workload. He’s been relatively unimpressive
so far this season (averaging just 3.1 YPC)), but he ran for 64
yards in 16 carries against the Bears and will get a few targets
in the passing game as well.
Sims, TB – Sims has four carries for 17 yards and 3-33-0
receiving in a close game with the Saints. There’s a logjam at
RB now in Tampa Bay, but Sims has the most PPR value.
UPDATE: Doug Martin is still the lead back but Sims could be
a sneaky flex play against the Cowboys in deeper formats.
Powell, NYJ – Matt Forte didn’t see much action in
Week 14 before leaving with a knee injury that’s likely to sideline
him again in week 15, so Powell will be the workhorse and target
hog in the passing game. The veteran backup had a monster day
Sunday with 145 rushing yards on 29 carries and 5-34-0 receiving.
UPDATE: Forte is still listed as day-to-day, but the RB’s
statements that he felt his knee “cracking and popping”
indicates he’s probably not going to suit up in a short
week. Powell is probably the best add of the week in most formats.
Farrow, SD – Farrow rushed 16 times for 55 yards and
caught 6-23-0 after Melvin Gordon (hip) got carted off the field
Sunday. Gordon’s getting an MRI and Farrow would shoulder most
of the load is the dynamic second-year back (that’s Gordon I’m
talking about) missed Week 15.
UPDATE: Ronnie Hillman could also see action because Farrow struggled
in pass protection Sunday. This might be a situation to avoid.
Richard, OAK – Latavius Murray ran well, but Richard’s
six carries for 29 yards and zero targets were a disappointment
in a game where the Raiders offense was stymied by the Chiefs-D
and could have used more passing down work from Richard.
Gillislee, BUF – Two carries, 34 yards. It was efficient,
but after six rushing TDs in seven weeks, not what his owners
were hoping for.
Grimes, HOU – The Texans backs played through their
issues and actually ran the ball well, so Grimes took a back seat
and didn’t see much action. He’s a situational player without
Zenner, DET – Zenner ran for 36 yards on seven carries
and caught 2-9-0 in Week 14, but was placed in the concussion
protocol and could miss Week 15.
Forsett, DEN – The Broncos got Forsett involved, but
he finished with just six carries for 17 yards, a fumble and 3-18-0
receiving. Denver actually put together some semblance of a passing
game in Week 14, relegating Forsett and Booker to secondary roles.
UPDATE: The Cowboys are heavy favorites against the Bucs, so
it’s possible Morris gets more touches this week later in
Morris, DAL – Darren McFadden will be activated this
week, but Morris remains the primary handcuff to Ezekiel Elliott.
Wide Receivers / Tight Ends
Inman, SD – Inman is still out there in way too many
leagues. Philip Rivers throws a lot of INTs, but he’s smitten
with Inman and the WR caught a healthy 6-71-1 in the loss to Carolina
Sunday. Inman now has 74 targets on the season, only 20 fewer
than main SD target Tyrell Williams.
Watkins, BUF – Watkins was also here a couple weeks
ago, and finally found paydirt in his third game back from the
foot injury. If he’s healthy enough to play this week, expect
100 percent effort and solid numbers in the matchup with Cleveland.
UPDATE: Watkins says he wants to play the final there games even
if the Bills are eliminated from the playoffs. He’s a gamer.
Gabriel, ATL – Gabriel had three catches for 82 yards
and a long touchdown on six targets Sunday – and rushed once for
no gain in the Falcons' Week 14 win over the Rams. He’s a solid
option with Julio Jones battling a turf toe injury.
UPDATE: The Falcons are taking it slow with Jones and keeping
him out of practice this week, so we could be looking at another
big game from Gabriel.
Ertz, PHI – Even in competitive formats, he’s still
available in about 25-40 percent of leagues, making Ertz a solid
pickup for Week 15. He snagged 10-112-0 on 13 targets from Carson
Wentz in Week 14.
Nelson, ARI –UPDATE: I had Nelson as my third
WR on my lone DraftKings entry ($27) in the Millionaire Maker
last week, and he helped me (along with the efforts of Le’Veon
Bell, Jeremy Hill, Lamar Miller, Odell Beckham Jr. and Taylor
Gabriel) to a decent cash ($150) in 851st place. With Michael
Floyd’s recent DUI arrest, Nelson (coming of a two-TD Sunday)
should get even more work going forward.
Lockett, SEA – The Seahawks got embarrassed in Green
Bay, but Lockett was one of the bright spots, hauling in 4-41-0
on six targets and rushing for 15 yards on two carries.
Mitchell, NE –UPDATE: Mitchell had his third TD in
four games en route to a 4-41-1 effort on Monday night against
the Ravens. He’s starting to become an unavoidable fantasy
option and worth consideration in all formats.
Thielen, MIN – Thielen had 4-101-0 and remains a big
part of the Vikings offense going forward.