It was an injury-filled start to the fantasy football playoffs, as key players Mike Evans, DeVante Parker, Derrius Guice, Mark Andrews, and Calvin Ridley (among others) exited early — and Josh Jacobs didn’t even play. The primary backups for all of these players (Breshad Perriman, Allen Hurns, Adrian Peterson, Hayden Hurst, Russell Gage, DeAndre Washington) figure to be among the top Week 15 fantasy waiver wire pickups and free agent adds, pending early-week injury updates.
With all those injuries, our full free agent list is loaded with potential contributors for the second round of the fantasy playoffs. Not only do we have injury fill-ins and a few breakouts (Raheem Mostert, Darius Slayton, and Cole Beasley just keep on clicking; Ian Thomas stepped up as expected; Boston Scott broke out unexpectedly), but we also have potential streams at QB, WR, TE, and D/ST (look for those at the end of the list). Every matchup and lineup choice should be scrutinized at this point in the season — even kicker. (Check out our Week 15 kicker rankings if you actually believe kicker matchups should be scrutnized.)
And because we’re at “this point in the season”, there’s no reason to hold back your waiver claims. If you need a player, go get him. If you think your opponent might a player, go get that player, too. It’s all about surviving and advancing, so do whatever it takes. There are obviously plenty of worthwhile candidates this week, regardless of your team needs.
Top fantasy football waiver wire pickups for Week 15
Unless otherwise noted, only players owned in fewer than 50 percent of Yahoo leagues considered.
DeAndre Washington, RB, Raiders. Josh Jacobs has reportedly been playing with a fractured shoulder since Week 7, and he was finally forced to miss a game because of it. Washington handled lead-back duties in his absence in Week 14, rushing 14 times for 53 yards and a score and adding another six catches for 43 yards. Jalen Richard had seven carries and two catches for 46 total yards, but it was clear Washington was the primary back, including along the goal line. If Jacobs continues to miss games, Washington has legit standard-league and PPR value against the Jaguars in Week 15 and Chargers in Week 16. Richard has some PPR appeal, but Washington actually stays in on more passing downs than Jacobs did, so Richard would likely need a touchdown to really pay off most weeks.
Adrian Peterson, RB, Redskins. Derrius Guice was knocked out of Sunday’s game with a knee injury, and Peterson almost immediately ran for a one-yard touchdown afterward. He finished the game with 76 yards on 20 carries, and, while not efficient, proves Peterson can still produce with enough volume. If Guice is out in Week 15, Peterson should get a full carry load against a pretty stout Eagles’ run defense, but he’ll still be in the FLEX conversation because of the guaranteed touches.
Allen Hurns, WR, Dolphins. DeVante Parker and Albert Wilson were concussed in Week 14, paving the way for other Miami receivers to step up. Isaiah Ford actually had the biggest day, catching six-of-nine targets for 92 yards, but given his lack of usage prior to this week, we expect Hurns to be the No. 1 receiver if both Parker and Wilson miss next week. He caught five-of-seven targets for 68 yards against the Jets, and he has another great matchup with the Giants on tap.
MORE WEEK 15: Full waiver wire
Breshad Perriman, WR, Buccaneers. Mike Evans left Sunday’s game in the first half due to a hamstring injury, which sounds like something that Tampa Bay won’t push with the season a lost cause. Perriman would step into the No. 2 WR role behind Chris Godwin if Evans is out next week. He was already trending upward in usage, and he finished three catches for 70 yards and a score in Week 14 (four targets). Deeper leaguers should also take note of Justin Watson, as he saw work and caught a TD with Evans out, too. Watson finished with five catches (eight targets) for 59 yards and that score.
Russell Gage, WR, Falcons. With Calvin Ridley exiting early in Week 14, Gage has a chance to see more work in Week 15. He scored in Week 13 when Julio Jones was out, and given his increase in targets lately, he seems to be a trusted target of Matt Ryan. He didn’t do much in Week 14, possibly because the game was in hand by the time Ridley got hurt, and with a tough matchup in Week 15 against the 49ers, he won’t have an easy time then either. But he should get looks if Ridley is out, and that’s half the battle, especially in PPR leagues.
For plenty more waiver wire/free agent suggestions, including additional injury fill-ins and QB, WR, TE, and D/ST streamers, check out our full Week 15 list.