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Antonio D'Arcangelis | Archive | Email |
Staff Writer

Through The Wire - Week 15
12/11/17; Updated: 12/12/17 Users...
Check out the most popular waiver wire pickups this week across thousands of MFL leagues. Also, quickly see who's available on your waiver wire this week by using the MFL Power feature at FF Today. Just input your league's 5-digit ID number away you go!
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.

Feedback is always welcome, appreciated and encouraged. I’ll get to as many e-mails as I can.

The disappointing injury to Carson Wentz leads to an opportunity against the Giants for Nick Foles.


Blake Bortles, JAC - UPDATE: I had assumed Bortles would be almost universally owned after a couple of big weeks, but he's still available in about 30-35 percent of fantasy leagues, and he's got a good matchup at a home against the Texans in Week 15. I'm currently trying to snag him in one league where I was riding Carson Wentz and had the quicksilver Josh McCown as my backup. He's got four passing TDs over the last couple weeks and his young WR corps just keeps improving. Giddyap, Blake!

Jimmy Garoppolo, SF – The Niners notched a win over Houston and Garoppolo had a solid if unexciting outing (334-1-1) in the victory, but the matchup is better in Week 15 at home against the Titans. He’s a low-end streaming option who’s owned in fewer than 50 percent of fantasy leagues, but this could be his week to shine as he won’t be an option in Week 16 facing the Jags.

Nick Foles, PHI – The injury to Carson Wentz, confirmed Monday as an ACL tear, put the reins of one of the best teams in the NFC in the fallible hands of Foles – a short-lived fantasy darling who’s going to be a hot commodity this week given the matchup against the Giants. Foles is coming off a win and will get a full week of practice, so he should be able to post decent numbers even if he’s a little rusty.

Jay Cutler, MIA – UPDATE: Did you watch that game last night? That was crazy, man. Cutler didn’t just keep pace with Brady, he actually looked better than the Golden Boy in that small sample, throwing for 263-3-0 in the win over New England. Cutler (about 20-30 percent owned) now has a pair of three-TD games in 2017 and gets a more difficult matchup with the Bills. He wouldn’t be my first option this week, but he’s worth considering if the pickings are slim.

DeShone Kizer, CLE – The Browns are still looking for their first win despite leading by a couple TDs over the Packers in Week 14 and Kizer throwing for 214-3-2. The Ravens may try to slow things down against Cleveland, but the Browns are most susceptible to the pass, which makes me think Flacco and Kizer could engage in a bit of a shootout in Week 15. The Ravens secondary looked awful against the Steelers Sunday night, and while we’re talking about a superior offense, the Browns do have capable wideouts who are clicking with the rookie QB. Consider Kizer (about 20 percent owned) a two-QB option and DFS large-field tourney dart.

Mitchell Trubisky, CHI – Trubisky threw for 271-1-0 and added a rushing TD in the win over Cincinnati on Sunday that marks his best game of his young career. The Bears were bolstered by solid defensive play and a great performance from Jordan Howard, and looking forward to the remaining matchups, this could serve as a jumping point for fantasy relevant play. Trubisky (15-20 percent owned) gets the Lions in Detroit next week, but after that faces the Browns at home, a matchup that makes him an option in two-QB leagues.

Other QBs to consider: Blaine Gabbert (ARI), Bryce Petty (NYJ), Tyrod Taylor (BUF)


Case Keenum, MIN – Keenum had another effective fantasy day despite taking a difficult loss to the Panthers. He threw for 280-2-2, lost a fumble and added 40 rushing yards and a 2XP pass. He gets a relatively favorable matchup against the Bengals in Week 15 and is worth starting in 12-team leagues.

Joe Flacco, BAL – Flacco threw for 269-2-1, the second week in a row he threw for exactly 269 passing yards, and the Ravens played tough but lost because of some overwhelming offensive output from the Steelers in the second half. In Week 14, he faces the lowly Browns in Cleveland and could be worth a pickup for Carson Wentz owners reeling from the loss of their star QB.

Tom Savage, HOU – The Texans QB got bounced early from Sunday’s game after suffering a concussion when his head slammed into the turf, and T.J. Yates took over. Savage finished with 63-0-0, while Yates threw for 175-2-0. Neither will be a viable option against the Jaguars in Week 15.

Aaron Rodgers, GB – Rodgers will have a CT scan this week to determine his availability for Week 15 against the Panthers in a must-win game. He’s looked excellent in practice but the Packers are notoriously conservative with their treatment of injuries. Stay tuned, but be ready to deploy Rodgers if he’s starting.

UPDATE: There’s still plenty of uncertainty surrounding Rodgers’ status for this weekend, and fantasy owners run the risk of him reinjuring the shoulder in live game action. I’d avoid unless we get word he’s good to go before the weekend.

Running Backs

Jonathan Stewart I included Stewart in my RBs to consider last week and he responded with 103 rushing yards and three TDs – one of the best individual performances of a high-scoring Week 14. He’s worth starting in all formats against the defensively challenged Packers.

Rod Smith, DAL – Another fringe back who made my list of players to consider, Smith (30-40 percent owned) exploded for 5-113-1 receiving (aided by an 81-yard TD reception) and added 47 rushing yards and a TD on just six carries. Part of this was due to a poor Giants defense allowing big chunks of yardage to Dallas throughout the second half, but he remains a viable flex play in Week 15 against the Raiders, the final week of Ezekiel Elliott’s six-game suspension.

Wayne Gallman, NYG – The Week 15 matchup with Philly is not a favorable one, but Gallman can handle all the aspects of a starting RB and emerged as a solid pass-catching option in Week 14 against Dallas. He finished the day with 7-40-0 on nine targets from Eli Manning and added 59 rushing yards on 12 carries. He’s a deep-league RB3/flex option moving forward.

UPDATE: Gallman has a tough road ahead of him this week, but if I’m the Giants I might want to give him an extra look now that 2017’s prospects have dimmed to the point of a blackout. He’s worth a look in deep leagues and DFS.

Mike Davis, SEA – UPDATE: I thought that maybe the rib injury he suffered Sunday would hamper his early-week status and get the running back replacement gnomes going again in Seattle, and there is some uncertainty, according to Pete Carroll. Davis (about 40-60 percent owned) looked okay in Week 14 (66 rushing yards on 15 carries) but I may be inclined to give J.D. McKissic a look if Davis is questionable heading into Sunday.

Other RBs to consider: Javorius Allen (BAL), Tarik Cohen (CHI), J.D. McKissic (SEA), Charcandrick West (KC), Corey Clement (PHI), Peyton Barber (TB), Matt Breida (SF)


Giovani Bernard, CIN – It was a good week for RBs, and even though Bernard didn’t find the end zone, he rushed for 62 yards on 11 carries and added 6-68-0 receiving on eight targets. He’ll remain the primary RB option for Cincinnati and be in the RB2 consideration as long as Joe Mixon (concussion) remains out.

Matt Forte, NYJ – Forte had just 13 rushing yards and 2-21-0 on three targets as the Broncos shut out the Jets. He looked like a solid play heading in, but the Broncos defense looked like a different unit at home and the Jets strides on offense came to a screeching halt. The probable loss of Josh McCown (broken non-throwing hand) also hurts his chances at viability in Week 15 @NO.

UPDATE: Josh McCown is done for the season and Forte is the best bet to log most of the volume out of the Jets backfield.

Theo Riddick, DET – We’re finally seeing what Theo Riddick can do when he’s given the ball, as the versatile back ran for 29 rushing yards and two TDs, adding 6-64-0 on 10 targets in Week 14 @ TB. Regardless of whether or not Ameer Abdullah is back for Week 15, expect Riddick to remain involved in this offense against the Bears.

UPDATE: Since Abdullah (neck) was technically a healthy scratch last week and the Lions came away with a victory, I’d roll the dice on Riddick one more time. Jim Caldwell is no longer calling Abdullah the starter, so that helps.

Kerwynn Williams, ARI – There weren’t any TDs for Kerwynn in week 14, but he did accumulate 73 rushing yards on 20 carries and add a reception for 15 yards – serviceable RB3/flex numbers that could serve as a decent statistical floor against Washington in Week 15. There’s still no timetable for the return of Adrian Peterson (neck), so Williams (20-25 percent owned) could still be worth adding in all formats.

UPDATE: Peterson didn’t get an update so it appears that Williams will hang onto some RB2/3 value heading into Week 15.

Wide Receivers / Tight Ends

Corey Coleman, CLE – Coleman had a solid day (5-53-1) in what probably should have been the Browns first victory of 2017, and the arrival of Josh Gordon undoubtedly makes the entire offense better. Look for Coleman (50-60 percent owned) to see 6-10 targets in Week 15 against the Ravens and don’t be afraid to use him as a WR3/flex play the next few weeks.

Trey Burton, PHI – Burton (included in last week’s TEs to consider) parlayed another Zach Ertz absence into 5-71-2, but the loss of Wentz and return of Ertz could disrupt his fantasy relevance. Still, Nick Foles will undoubtedly look his way in the red zone if Ertz isn’t ready to go against the Giants in Week 15.

TE Eric Ebron, DET – Ebron is wildly inconsistent as a fantasy option, but he does have his moments. He lost a fumble in Week 14 but finished with 10-94-0 on 11 targets from Matthew Stafford, whose hand injury could have been a factor in the increased volume for Ebron (40-45 percent owned).

TE Vernon Davis, WAS – UPDATE: Davis burned me brutally a couple times this season in absolute smash spots, so if you want to run the risk of a goose egg but like unrealized upside, go for it. I’m staying away but I never could figure this guy out, even when he was with the 49ers.

TE Jesse James, PIT – James had 10-97-0 on 12 targets in Sunday night’s victory over the Ravens, and the injury to Vance McDonald assures he’ll continue to see targets in one of the NFL’s top offenses. With a lack of consistent TE options lately, James ranges as a high-end TE2 or low-end TE1.

Dede Westbrook, JAC – Westbrook (40-50 percent owned) continues to improve every week, hauling in 5-81-1 and the first TD of his young career in a big Week 14 win over the Seahawks. With 27 targets over his last three games, he’s a Top 40 fantasy WR play with Top 25 upside moving forward (HOU, @SF, @TEN) if Allen Hurns remains out for the Jags.

UPDATE: Hurns appears to be still bothered by the sprained ankle and Westbrook should get another big workload opposite Marqise Lee.

Tyrell Williams, LAC – Williams had a 75-yard TD reception that helped bolster his 4-132-1 receiving line on Sunday, and the matchup in Week 15 with the Chiefs could turn into a high-flying affair. With Marcus Peters back from his suspension to work on Keenan Allen, it’s possible that Williams and Hunter Henry have more looks go their way. Consider him a risk-reward WR4/flex play and DFS GPP option.

Kendall Wright, CHI – Wright saw a whopping 11 targets from Trubisky on Sunday and tallied 10-107-0 in the victory. Look for him to keep the momentum going in a decent Week 15 matchup with the Lions, and plan on a big Week 16 against the Browns. Wright is just 10-15 percent owned in competitive leagues.

Other WRs/TEs to consider: TE Ricky Seals-Jones (ARI), TE Jared Cook (OAK), Roger Lewis (NYG), Cole Beasley (DAL), Keelan Cole (JAC), Brandon LaFell (CIN), TE Adam Shaheen (CHI), TE O.J. Howard (TB)


Marqise Lee, JAC – Lee caught just 5-65-0 on six targets from Blake Bortles but should improve on those numbers over the next couple of weeks in favorable matchups.

TE Cameron Brate, TB – Brate had just 1-11-0 on his lone target from Jameis Winston in the Week 14 loss to Detroit, and projects as a decent TE2 with upside against the Falcons at home.

Josh Gordon, CLE – Gordon (now about 90 percent owned) had a monster first half (3-69-1) but didn’t record a catch after the second quarter as the Packers made a concerted effort to stop him. The Browns conservative approach in the second half cost them the game, so expect Gordon to have a bounce-back week and be hungry in a divisional matchup with the Ravens who continue to be without Jimmy Smith and saw Brandon Carr struggle in single coverage on Sunday night.

Marquise Goodwin, SF – Goodwin saw a season-high 12 targets in Week 14, hauling in 6-106-0 but failing to reach paydirt for the third consecutive week. He’s obviously a favorite of Jimmy Garoppolo’s, and makes for a fine WR3 in Week 15 against the Titans.

Ryan Grant, WAS – Grant was a bust in Week 14, catching just one pass for 28 yards in the loss to the Chargers.

TE Stephen Anderson, HOU – Anderson had just 2-16-0 on Sunday and can be avoided in Week 15 at Jacksonville.

Cordarrelle Patterson, OAK – Amari Cooper was active Sunday, and the Raiders offense didn’t really get to fully explore Patterson’s abilities in what turned out to be a lopsided game. The versatile offensive player had just 3-8-0 on six targets with no rushes.