Win the Wire
The best players to add to your fantasy rosters (based on Football Outsiders' advanced metrics).

Win the Wire: Week 15

Tennessee Titans QB Ryan Tannehill
Photo: USA Today Sports Images

With a third of most leagues' fantasy playoffs in the books, it is crunch time on the waiver wire. I've bumped up my FAAB recommendations across the board since owners have diminishing incentive to hold onto their spending power. That said, don't be afraid to exhaust your entire budget to pick up lesser players at positions of need. A downgrade from, for instance, Tyler Higbee to David Njoku is simply not worth the saved FAAB with only one week left to take advantage of newly valuable players.

Each listed player includes my recommendation for how much of your Free Agent Acquisition Budget (FAAB) you should bid to try to win them as well as whether I think you should use a No. 1 waiver priority in a format where you would then fall to the back of the line.

Ownership percentages are for ESPN/Yahoo/NFL.com.

Shallow Leagues

Players to Target

Raheem Mostert, RB, San Francisco 49ers
24%/52%/16%

Raheem Mostert was a ubiquitous top waiver choice last week, but his effective first start of his career went even better than I expected with 109 yards and two touchdowns on 12 total touches. For me, those raw totals are less compelling for the future than his 60% offensive snap share, way more than both Tevin Coleman (16%) and a returning-from-injury Matt Breida (18%). You can start Mostert as an RB2 with confidence the rest of the season, a rare luxury to find on the wire in the fantasy playoffs.

Recommended FAAB bid (% of maximum): 100%
Should you use your No. 1 waiver priority on him: Yes

DeAndre Washington, RB, Oakland Raiders
10%/8%/1%

The other available and playable running backs in shallow formats have recent injuries to thank for their promotions. There are mixed reports on rookie Josh Jacobs' short-term prognosis, but Jon Gruden's comments and the fact that Jacobs' injury is a shoulder fracture have me thinking he could miss the rest of the season. Even if it's just another week, DeAndre Washington should be incredibly valuable. The Raiders' Week 15 opponent, the Jaguars, have the No. 31 DVOA run defense and increase rushing yards and touchdowns per attempt by 11% and 44%, respectively. And Washington was more of a workhorse back than I expected as a fill-in on Sunday, out-carrying Jalen Richard 14-to-7 and out-catching Richard 6-to-2.

Recommended FAAB bid (% of maximum): 100%
Should you use your No. 1 waiver priority on him: Yes

Bilal Powell, RB, New York Jets
19%/19%/16%

Bilal Powell was similarly productive and similarly active in his Week 14 start for Le'Veon Bell, who missed the game with the flu. And while an illness doesn't normally suggest a long-term absence, I wouldn't be stunned if Bell has played his last snap this season and possibly in his Jets career. That is total speculation on my part, but head coach Adam Gase can't feel great about Bell's decision to go bowling the night before the team's game that he was missing. With the Jets out of the playoff picture, it would easier for them to make a moral stand that would elevate Powell to a flex consideration for the rest of the season. This could be a complete waste of a waiver pick-up in two days, but until we know more, the upside makes it worth making.

Recommended FAAB bid (% of maximum): 80%
Should you use your No. 1 waiver priority on him: Yes

Patrick Laird, RB, Miami Dolphins
11%/21%/8%

Patrick Laird needed a couple of breakaway runs to boost his rushing line to 15 carries for 48 yards, and he still has a poor -15.2% rushing DVOA on 31 carries for the season. There just isn't much he can do -- or Kalen Ballage could do before his injury -- behind an offensive line producing just 3.16 adjusted line yards, lowest in football. But Laird is nevertheless a shallow-league waiver target because of his impact in the receiving game. He caught another four passes on another five targets on Sunday and now has a 39.2% receiving DVOA for the season. And he played more than four times as many snaps as fellow rookie Myles Gaskin (82% vs. 18%).

Recommended FAAB bid (% of maximum): 75%
Should you use your No. 1 waiver priority on him: Yes

Adrian Peterson, RB, Washington Redskins
44%/40%/44%

Sophomore running back Derrius Guice just can't catch a break. Just a game removed from a career best 129-yard, two-touchdown performance against the Panthers, Guice suffered another knee injury, this time an ACL sprain that, while less serious than his previous tears, will likely knock him out for the rest of this season. That injury should boost Adrian Peterson back up to his previous flex consideration -- he had 20 carries, 76 yards, a touchdown, and no targets last week, the kind of line you can expect for the rest of this season. Although that may be a bit optimistic for Week 15 facing the Eagles and their No. 8 DVOA run defense.

 

Recommended FAAB bid (% of maximum): 70%
Should you use your No. 1 waiver priority on him: Yes

Anthony Miller, WR, Chicago Bears
19%/20%/6%

Anthony Miller has been a deep-league waiver recommendation for me for a few weeks now, but another solid performance of 42 yards and a touchdown elevates him to shallow-league consideration. Since Week 11, when Taylor Gabriel suffered his second concussion this season, Miller has seen a 30.6% wide receiver and tight end target share, the 15th-highest at the position. And Mitchell Trubisky is suddenly playing well enough to turn that target share into the flex consideration it typically merits.

Recommended FAAB bid (% of maximum): 45%
Should you use your No. 1 waiver priority on him: No

Ryan Tannehill, QB, Tennessee Titans
40%/48%/30%

Trubisky may be playing well, but his play is still nowhere close to that of Ryan Tannehill at this point. Tannehill had another exceptional Sunday fantasy line, completing 21 of 27 passes for 391 yards, three touchdowns, and just one interception. Since making his first start in Week 7, he has thrown two or more touchdowns in six of seven games and has the second-highest average fantasy points per game (22.6) at the position behind only Lamar Jackson. Meanwhile, this breakout fantasy season seems sustainable based on his advanced metrics. His 25.3% passing DVOA this season is among the league leaders and better even than MVP candidate Russell Wilson (24.7%).

Recommended FAAB bid (% of maximum): 42%
Should you use your No. 1 waiver priority on him: No

A.J. Brown, WR, Tennessee Titans
31%/27%/13%

The top skill-player beneficiary of Tannehill's breakout is rookie receiver A.J. Brown. He had an outstanding Sunday with five catches, 153 yards, and two touchdowns, and while his total volume of seven targets seems a bit low, it led the team by three. That has been a common refrain for Brown of late. His 16 targets over the last three weeks is actually a 30.2% wide receiver and tight end target share, right in line with Anthony Miller in the top 20 at the position. This version of the Titans will continue to rely more heavily on the run than most teams, but Brown is efficient enough with a 20.8% receiving DVOA and is playing enough (84% of offensive snaps in Week 14) to enter the flex conversation as well, especially if Adam Humphries misses more time with his ankle injury.

Recommended FAAB bid (% of maximum): 41%
Should you use your No. 1 waiver priority on him: No

Darius Slayton, WR, New York Giants
33%/27%/12%

Giants rookie Darius Slayton has been in the flex mix for more than a month now, but he faced some risk to fall from there on Monday night playing alongside both Sterling Shepard and Golden Tate for the first time all season. Well, Slayton's 154 yards and two touchdowns assuaged those concerns. Finally with three capable wideouts, the Giants relied heavily on three-receiver sets, which saw Slayton on the field for 81% of the team's snaps even while Shepard (92%) and Tate (88%) played more. And Slayton's unique role on the team as a deep threat should continue to funnel work and the majority of the explosive plays his way.

Recommended FAAB bid (% of maximum): 40%
Should you use your No. 1 waiver priority on him: No

Tyler Higbee, TE, Los Angeles Rams
8%/22%/26%

Gerald Everett's knee injury that forced him to miss the Rams' last two games could not have come at any better time for his backup Tyler Higbee to break out. The Cardinals and Seahawks allow 81 and 68 yards per game to tight ends (subscription required), the most and fourth-most in football this season, respectively. Still, I think Higbee remains a waiver option to target rather than avoid because his 19 targets over the last two weeks suggest a matchup-independent workload that could buoy him in shallow formats. And assuming Everett misses at least one more week, Higbee should have a third decent matchup in Week 15 against the Cowboys, who allow 54 yards per game to the position. He even draws the Cardinals again in Week 17 if you play in formats that last the full season. Just look elsewhere in Week 16 against the 49ers and their No. 1 DVOA defense against tight ends.

Recommended FAAB bid (% of maximum): 35%
Should you use your No. 1 waiver priority on him: No

Players to Avoid

Robby Anderson, WR, New York Jets
53%/68%/41%

The hot player I will suggest you avoid in shallow formats is Jets receiver Robby Anderson, who dominated the other receivers on his team on Sunday with seven catches, 116 yards, and a touchdown and now has 26 targets, 303 yards, and two touchdowns over the last three games. I think you can make a compelling case that Anderson is suddenly a true-talent top-30 receiver. His turnaround from a -10.6% DVOA prior to Week 12 to a 10.9% DVOA since Week 12 supports the case. But that true talent may not matter with the Jets' horrendous remaining schedule for wide receivers. They face the Ravens, Steelers, and Bills in the next three weeks, all three of whom are in the top five in DVOA pass defense. And for short-term waiver purposes, this Thursday's matchup may be particularly unappealing. The Ravens have the No. 7 DVOA defense against No. 1 wide receivers, and cornerback Marlon Humphrey is top 10 in coverage success rate and top 20 in yards per pass allowed according to Sports Info Solutions charting (subscription required). Miller, Brown, and Slayton are superior options in the short term.

Recommended FAAB bid (% of maximum): 21%
Should you use your No. 1 waiver priority on him: No

Players You Can Drop

Mike Evans, WR, Tampa Bay Buccaneers
T.Y. Hilton, WR, Indianapolis Colts
Calvin Ridley, WR, Atlanta Falcons
Alshon Jeffery, WR, Philadelphia Eagles
Derrius Guice, RB, Washington Redskins
Josh Jacobs, RB, Oakland Raiders
Tevin Coleman, RB, San Francisco 49ers
Matthew Stafford, QB, Detroit Lions
David Johnson, RB, Arizona Cardinals
Chase Edmonds, RB, Arizona Cardinals
Jonathan Williams, RB, Indianapolis Colts
Darrel Williams, RB, Kansas City Chiefs
Tyrell Williams, WR, Oakland Raiders
N'Keal Harry, WR, New England Patriots
Tre'Quan Smith, WR, New Orleans Saints
Malcolm Brown, RB, Los Angeles Rams
Darrell Henderson, RB, Los Angeles Rams
Ty Johnson, RB, Detroit Lions

Deep Leagues

Players to Target

Jalen Richard, RB, Oakland Raiders
13%/5%/4%

DeAndre Washington is clearly the Raiders' top back with Jacobs potentially out for the rest of the season, but Jalen Richard still saw enough of a workload boost to find deep-league relevance. He played 38% of the team's offensive snaps and saw seven carries and three targets. He should be particularly valuable in PPR formats.

Recommended FAAB bid (% of maximum): 100%
Should you use your No. 1 waiver priority on him: Yes

Ty Montgomery, RB, New York Jets
4%/2%/0%

Ty Montgomery saw a similar Week 14 workload and should have a similar future value to Richard, at least for as long as Le'Veon Bell misses time. Montgomery is the de facto No. 2 behind Bilal Powell, but he is safely that with Josh Adams not even playing on Sunday.

Recommended FAAB bid (% of maximum): 100%
Should you use your No. 1 waiver priority on him: Yes

Boston Scott, RB, Philadelphia Eagles
0%/1%/0%

Probably the biggest running back surprise of the weekend, former practice squad Eagles back Boston Scott saw a serious workload on Monday night, producing 128 yards and a touchdown on 16 total touches. Touted rookie Miles Sanders still had 19 touches, but a temporary absence because of a leg injury spurned some extra Scott playing time and may have revealed a skill set on which the Eagles would want to continue to rely. Jordan Howard's possible Week 15 return could sabotage his value, but the 5-foot-6 Scott might also develop into the next Darren Sproles and on the team that made Sproles a real PPR asset.

Recommended FAAB bid (% of maximum): 80%
Should you use your No. 1 waiver priority on him: Yes

John Ross, WR, Cincinnati Bengals
12%/14%/5%

John Ross eased into his return from injured reserve on Sunday, seeing just four targets and playing just 51% of the Bengals' offensive snaps. But with fellow outside receiver Auden Tate spraining his MCL and possibly missing the rest of the season, Ross should return to a featured role in short order. His 3.3% receiving DVOA is far superior to both Tate's (-15.2%) and Alex Erickson's (-17.3%).

Recommended FAAB bid (% of maximum): 45%
Should you use your No. 1 waiver priority on him: No

Ian Thomas, TE, Carolina Panthers
1%/1%/0%

Normal backup tight end Ian Thomas actually led the reeling Panthers with 10 targets on Sunday, at least in the non-Christian McCaffrey division. But that shouldn't have come as a total surprise. Thomas saw a hefty workload last December when Greg Olsen missed time with a broken foot and now has 37 targets in five starts between that injury and Olsen's current concussion. Most players return after a one-week absence with a concussion, but if Olsen needs more time, then Thomas should remain a high-end TE2 in the interim.

Recommended FAAB bid (% of maximum): 40%
Should you use your No. 1 waiver priority on him: No

Zach Pascal, WR, Indianapolis Colts
31%/35%/6%

Colts head coach Frank Reich indicated today that star receiver T.Y. Hilton is still week-to-week. Well, there are only three weeks left in the season and two left in most fantasy leagues. Fantasy owners likely have to move on. And with Chester Rogers, Devin Funchess, and Eric Ebron already on injured reserve, the remaining skill-position options should continue to see outsized target shares. Zach Pascal saw nine targets and produced 74 yards and a score on Sunday and can probably keep that up as the team's de factor No. 1 option.

Recommended FAAB bid (% of maximum): 40%
Should you use your No. 1 waiver priority on him: No

Marcus Johnson, WR, Indianapolis Colts
0%/0%/0%

Marcus Johnson owes the bulk of his fantasy production from Week 14 to a 46-yard touchdown catch, but his three total catches belie a total of seven targets that offer him deep-league flex value. Pascal is the more valuable fantasy choice of the two, but Johnson has actually been more efficient (21.6% vs. 13.1% DVOA) in a limited sample. He can probably hold off rookie Parris Campbell on the team's receiver depth chart.

Recommended FAAB bid (% of maximum): 34%
Should you use your No. 1 waiver priority on him: No

J.J. Arcega-Whiteside, WR, Philadelphia Eagles
0%/1%/0%

After Monday night, the Eagles may be more decimated by receiver injuries than even the Colts. With DeSean Jackson already on injured reserve, Nelson Agholor inactive with a knee injury, and now Alshon Jeffery either injuring his foot or reinjuring his ankle, the Eagles are left with the rookie J.J. Arcega-Whiteside at the top of their depth chart. Arcega-Whiteside had just two catches and 29 yards on Monday, but he played 90% of the team's offensive snaps. He should see a much bigger volume going forward.

Recommended FAAB bid (% of maximum): 32%
Should you use your No. 1 waiver priority on him: No

Hayden Hurst, TE, Baltimore Ravens
1%/1%/0%

Mark Andrews' status for the Thursday night game will either make or break this waiver choice. Andrews left Sunday's game with a knee injury, but he may still play on the short week. If he does, then you can drop Hayden Hurst immediately. But if not, consider starting the normal backup despite a difficult matchup against the Bills' top-10 DVOA defense against tight ends. Hurst provided 73 yards and a touchdown in relief of Andrews on Sunday, and his 27.3% receiving DVOA suggest he could be a hidden gem.

Recommended FAAB bid (% of maximum): 25%
Should you use your No. 1 waiver priority on him: No

David Njoku, TE, Cleveland Browns
23%/37%/18%

Normally, I wouldn't recommend a player like David Njoku, fresh off his first game removed from injured reserve and only managing 38% of the offensive snaps and one catch for 4 yards. But with Demetrius Harris dealing with a shoulder injury, Njoku has a chance to see that snap share increase markedly on Sunday. And if that happens, he could suddenly threaten top-five tight end status facing the Cardinals and their No. 32 DVOA defense against the position. This is probably more of a DFS tournament flier than even a deep-league fantasy playoff consideration, but the upside is immense.

Recommended FAAB bid (% of maximum): 15%
Should you use your No. 1 waiver priority on him: No

Isaiah Ford, WR, Miami Dolphins
0%/0%/0%

Ryan Fitzpatrick has been a fantasy enabler for his wide receivers over the last two months, and with DeVante Parker and Albert Wilson both suffering concussions on Sunday, Isaiah Ford and Allen Hurns were the latest beneficiaries. The former led the team six catches, 92 yards, and nine targets and would be my first choice in deeper formats if both Parker and Wilson miss Week 15.

Recommended FAAB bid (% of maximum): 8%
Should you use your No. 1 waiver priority on him: No

Allen Hurns, WR, Miami Dolphins
0%/1%/0%

That said, Hurns did remarkably well for an emergency second fiddle, catching five of eight targets for 68 yards of his own. Facing the Giants No. 30 DVOA pass defense, you can probably start both of the Dolphins' outside receivers in deeper formats, whoever those players end up being.

Recommended FAAB bid (% of maximum): 7%
Should you use your No. 1 waiver priority on him: No

Justin Watson, WR, Tampa Bay Buccaneers
0%/0%/0%

Unlike the Dolphins, the Buccaneers have a clear heir to their No. 1 receiver role in Chris Godwin. But with Mike Evans likely out for the rest of the season with a hamstring injury and in one of the most prolific passing offenses in football, Justin Watson could still have fantasy value. He actually played fewer snaps (55%) than teammate Breshad Perriman (83%) on Sunday, but Watson bested Perriman in production with 59 yards and a touchdown on eight targets. He has been the more efficient player with a 13.3% DVOA on 10 targets versus -14.1% for Perriman on 44 targets. Watson is a risky but nevertheless appealing matchup choice for Week 15, facing a Lions team that increases their opponents' pass plays by 8% and passing touchdowns per attempt by 24%.

Recommended FAAB bid (% of maximum): 4%
Should you use your No. 1 waiver priority on him: No

Keke Coutee, WR, Houston Texans
16%/8%/9%

Preseason sleeper Keke Coutee had seemingly spent all season in Bill O'Brien's doghouse. But with Will Fuller missing another game with his lingering hamstring injury, Coutee finally turned in a decent fantasy performance, catching five of eight targets for 68 yards. His big workload advantage over outside receiver Kenny Stills was likely matchup-driven -- Stills outplayed Coutee 91% of the offensive snaps to 71% -- but Coutee could turn that workload into consistent fantasy production with Deshaun Watson under center. I would want to see an encore performance in Week 15 before I trusted Coutee in my fantasy playoff lineups, but if that happens, he would have perfect timing. The Texans play the receiver-friendly Buccaneers in Week 16.

Recommended FAAB bid (% of maximum): 3%
Should you use your No. 1 waiver priority on him: No

Players to Avoid

Christian Blake, WR, Atlanta Falcons
0%/0%/0%

When Julio Jones missed Week 13 with a shoulder injury, Christian Blake was an effective plug-and-play option, catching six of nine targets for 57 yards. That logic would seem to hold for Blake for the rest of the season following Calvin Ridley's abdominal injury, but the Week 14 suggested that role may no longer be there for him. Olamide Zaccheaus provided Matt Ryan's career long completion with a 93-yard touchdown pass that screams regression, but Zaccheaus also out-snapped Blake 31% to 17%. Blake has been largely ineffective with a -26.9% DVOA on 22 targets. I think Zaccheaus likely passed him on the team's depth chart.

Recommended FAAB bid (% of maximum): 1%
Should you use your No. 1 waiver priority on him: No

Players You Can Drop

Rashaad Penny, RB, Seattle Seahawks
Jordan Wilkins, RB, Indianapolis Colts
Jonathan Williams, RB, Indianapolis Colts
Myles Gaskin, RB, Miami Dolphins
Gerald Everett, TE, Los Angeles Rams
Ryan Griffin, TE, New York Jets
Vance McDonald, TE, Pittsburgh Steelers
Auden Tate, WR, Cincinnati Bengals
Adam Humphries, WR, Tennessee Titans
Javon Wims, WR, Chicago Bears
Darrel Williams, RB, Kansas City Chiefs
Nick Foles, QB, Jacksonville Jaguars
Chester Rogers, WR, Indianapolis Colts
Devin Funchess, WR, Indianapolis Colts
T.J. Hockenson, TE, Detroit Lions
Paul Richardson, WR, Washington Redskins
Taylor Gabriel, WR, Chicago Bears
Trey Burton, TE, Chicago Bears

Comments

7 comments, Last at 13 Dec 2019, 5:34pm

1 Powell

Powell is apparently sick and dealing with an ankle issue...so Ty Montgomery, if extremely desperate??

Source: https://twitter.com/RichCimini/status/1204461387528986624.

2 Josh Jacobs

You have him on the drop list...is he out multiple weeks?

5 Re: Jacobs

In reply to by jjwaymee

Looks like I misread the original severity of this injury, so definitely don't drop Jacobs now if you haven't.  He could even start this weekend.

3 Wideout questions + Watson or Perriman?

Marvin Jones Jr. got hurt so I have a gaping hole at receiver for now. My receiving options are Jamison Crowder (Baltimore), Anthony Miller (GB), Chris Conley (Oakland) and either Breshad Perriman or Justin Watson (Detroit). I have to choose two of these clowns to put in. Who would you recommend?

6 Re: wideouts

Sorry I missed this prior to TNF.  But assuming you didn't already start Crowder--and awesome if you did--I'd go with Justin Watson and Anthony Miller ahead of Perriman and Conley.

4 Bell

Easy for me to say a couple of days later but I didn't see any concerns about Bell potentially being benched or cut anywhere else and I didn't see any evidence for it from the Jets' actions either.

7 Re: Bell

In reply to by Dave0

That was purely speculation on my part and clearly unfounded since he played extensively last night.