As Porky Pig says, tha-budda-butha-thuba-buthat’s all folks. With the fantasy regular season now in the books, you're either in or out (or you play in an abnormal league that starts playoffs after Week 15?) ... and if you're in, it's crunch time. (Oh, and if you're out, check your league's waiver rules -- if you're not locked out, you can still make some critical moves to avoid losing the Toilet Bowl ... or just to enrage the teams in the postseason).
The bad news is, a lot of key fantasy contributors are entering Week 15 with new injury question marks (or worse) -- Lamar Jackson, Deebo Samuel, Tee Higgins, Dameon Pierce, etc. The good news is, we actually have a solid list of waiver options to fill their spots this week, led by several names from recent columns who had strong Week 14 performances and are still available.
If you've ever heard the phrase "you don't win your league at the draft," I absolutely agree. This is when you win your leagues. With these moves. So, let's make them good ones.
To the wire!
(And if you want more guys, more explanations, or more answers, hit me up on Twitter @MattOkada!)
Rostered percentages are from NFL.com's fantasy football player trends. Players are roughly ordered by priority within position.
With the Week 14 return of Michael Carter, I can’t lambast you too harshly for leaving Knight unrostered in more than half of leagues. We didn’t know how the backfield would shake out. but I would argue we know now. Knight rushed 17 times for 71 yards (4.2 yards/carry) and a touchdown, while Carter managed 5 yards ... on five carries (I bet you can calculate the yards/carry in your head on that one). Knight has looked smart, shifty and explosive in his recent breakout, resulting in 15.3 fantasy points per game since Week 12 (top 20 among running backs). He also gets a glorious set of playoff matchups: Lions in Week 15, Jaguars in Week 16, Seahawks in Week 17. That is a recipe for championship-winning upside, especially if Knight maintains a hold on this lead role through the stretch.
Dobbins makes my arbitrary rostership “cutoff” by 1%, so you know he’s getting a spot in this column. In his first action since Week 6, Dobbins had a monster game highlighted by a 44-yard run and culminating in 18 fantasy points. For what it’s worth, he didn’t even look fully healthy on that breakaway run ... and as long as he continues playing, that should be a positive note. Dobbins can (theoretically) only get healthier and stronger and the Ravens offense can (theoretically) only get better with Tyler Huntley gaining more reps (and/or Lamar Jackson eventually coming back). Dobbins scored seven touchdowns in his last six games of 2020 and we might (optimistically) be heading towards a similar run through the 2022 playoffs. If he’s available, lock him up.
I’ve been hesitant to include McKinnon in this column, as we just hadn’t seen enough consistency from him over the first few months of the season. But after an extraordinary explosion of fantasy goodness in Week 14 (that benefited the 7% of you who started him), it’s time to make the move. McKinnon has double-digit fantasy points in four of his last six games and has scored 46.4 over the last two weeks combined. Most importantly, he’s averaged 5.7 targets per game since Week 9 (following KC’s Week 8 bye). That sounds like planned involvement to me. And I want pieces that are involved in Andy Reid’s plans.
Guys to 'Stache: It's been mostly D’Onta Foreman in Carolina since Christian McCaffrey left, and in fairness it was mostly Foreman in Week 14. Chuba Hubbard, however, was much more productive Sunday with 99 scrimmage yards and one score on 17 touches (on only 23 snaps). He's here in the 'staches because he only played 32% of snaps, but that number could grow in coming weeks. If you're desperate, Rex Burkhead could be the main fill-in for Dameon Pierce (if Pierce misses time). But, let me just say, yuck.
Jones was a disappointment in a good matchup in Week 13 against the Lions, but set that game aside for a second. In his three other games since Week 10, Jones has averaged 12 targets, nine catches, 97 yards and 21.3 fantasy points per game. Is that cherry-picking? Kind of. But remember, he was consistently limited in practice entering Week 13 with a chest injury. And you know what, you might get one more stinker in the playoffs. But you might also get 20 fantasy points from a waiver pickup. You can’t ask for much more. If Jones is out there (and this will be the last week he is), I’d consider him a must-add and probably a must-start in most leagues, even in a couple of playoff tough matchups.
Over the last two weeks, Chark has 11 catches for 192 yards and one touchdown. (This after missing the majority of the season with an ankle injury). Jared Goff and the Lions passing game is clicking (possibly in part thanks to the addition of Jameson Williams, see below) and Chark seems to be the biggest beneficiary of late. He could be relatively boom-bust, which makes him less than a lock in your playoff lineups. But, especially if you’re the lower seed, his upside (like, I don’t know, 21.4 fantasy points against the Vikings) is tantalizing. Also, as a former Jaguar and current Lion, he serves as an enjoyably fitting transition from Zay to Jameson.
Sometimes I amuse myself. In last week’s Guys to ‘Stache, I told you I would keep mentioning Williams until “he makes that one play that plasters him all over your Twitter timeline.” Well, if you’re on Twitter, you saw Williams’ 41-yard touchdown on Sunday. So now he gets his own blurb in the column. Big day for the Lions rookie. Keep in mind, he did only have two targets in the game and there are (somehow) a lot of decent options in the Detroit passing game. So don’t necessarily expect a Ja’Marr Chase breakout here. But if Williams earns more targets, he has the talent to turn those opportunities into fantasy points lightning fast. Add him if you’ve got a spot.
With Corey Davis ruled out early on Sunday (currently in the league's concussion protocol), Moore drew a team-high 10 targets and turned that inflated opportunity into a solid 12 fantasy points (six catches, 60 yards). He’s been much more involved and effective with Mike White under center for New York, so as long as White is healthy in Week 15 (and especially if Davis is not), Moore is a sneaky PPR spot-start against a porous Detroit defense in the first round of playoffs ... and against the Jaguars and Seahawks defenses in the second and third round of playoffs. Sign me up.
Guys to 'Stache/Guys I Can't Fit In Their Own Blurbs: There's so many solid adds at wide receiver in Week 15, I have to rapid-fire them to meet my word count. Here we go. Donovan Peoples-Jones continued his consistently valuable streak of fantasy performances with 19.4 points in Week 14 and I like his playoff matchups. Probably the most reliably startable piece in this paragraph. Demarcus Robinson once again led the Ravens passing game Sunday and figures to continue doing so through playoffs (if with limited upside due to the offensive situation). If you want a piece of Daniel Jones and the Giants passing game (meh), both Isaiah Hodgins and Richie James are interesting adds. If Brandin Cooks and Nico Collins are out again, we could see another monster performance from Chris Moore (22.4 fantasy points on Sunday) in Week 15, making him a huge spot-start option.
Oh my heavens. If any of you had “39 fantasy points by Evan Engram” on your bingo card, congratulations. For the rest of us, what in the name of Marcedes Lewis was that?! Engram hauled in 11 of 15 targets for 162 yards and a pair of touchdowns against the Titans on Sunday, a performance so monstrous, it catapulted him into FOURTH among tight ends in total fantasy points this season (behind only Travis Kelce, Mark Andrews and T.J. Hockenson). Can I get a “sheeeeesh” in the comments? It’s probably fair to assume we don’t get another one of those in the fantasy playoffs, but better safe (and in your lineup) than sorry (and in your opponents’ lineup). And Engram can provide reasonable production at an unreasonable position, even if it’s not 39 points next time.
You might not have heard this (epic) name before now, but you will soon. Well ... I guess you are now ... because I’m writing about him. Listen, the point is, Okonkwo has increased his fantasy points in three straight games and totaled 29.3 over the last two weeks combined. In a Titans receiving corps devoid of decent options, Okonkwo has established himself as a legitimate go-to option. I think he can be started confidently moving forward (or as confidently as we can start anyone not named Travis Kelce these days).
Guys to 'Stache: I think Greg Dulcich is still a viable tight end streamer (in this dark, dark world of tight end ineptitude), especially in Week 15 against the incredibly-TE-friendly Cardinals defense. And yes, fine, you can try playing Taysom Hill in your postseason. Just don't look at me if he puts up a goose-egg. But do thank me if he scores three touchdowns.
Check me on my math here. Heinicke had 17.6 fantasy points in Week 13 on the road against the Giants (albeit, with a bit of overtime inflation). He gets the Giants again, this time at home, in Week 15, coming off the bye. Per the Pythagorean theorem, I’m pretty sure that equates to 20 fantasy points on Sunday Night Football. That’s right, you heard it here first. Unless Heinicke implodes ... which he is wont to do now and then ... then you didn’t hear it from me. But in all seriousness, if you don’t have one of the elite QBs, you’re more or less just looking for good streaming opportunities. This is one of those.
Arguably the only thing more surprising than Evan Engram’s explosion in Week 14 was the success of 49ers third-string, Mr. Irrelevant rookie quarterback Brock Purdy in an impressive and fantasy-relevant win over the Buccaneers on Sunday. Thanks to two TDs by air and one on the ground, Purdy managed 21.7 fantasy points in his first career start. Next week, he draws a Seahawks defense that has been better of late but is still beatable -- as is basically any defense when you have the weaponry Purdy has. You’d need to be in a tough spot (or a two-QB league) to roll out a 262nd-overall pick making his second-career start but ... think of the glory.
The Vikings D/ST has not impressed anyone of late ... but the Colts offense has been whatever is one level worse than that. They've allowed 11.3 fantasy points per game to opposing D/STs this season (most in the NFL). Put the Vikings down for double-digits. The Packers D/ST has not impressed anyone of late ... stop me if you've heard this story before. The Colts are the best matchup for D/STs ... and the Rams are the third-best. If Green Bay has been looking for a "vent our frustrations" game, Baker Mayfield (probably?) and the hapless Rams are as good an opportunity as any. Looking forward to 4+ sacks and a defensive touchdown. Boom.