2014 Fantasy Football Week 15 Waiver Wire Targets
Now that the first round of the playoffs are in the books, hopefully there are still many teams out there that are still going for a championship. Remember that while you should be learning the new names and faces that show up this late in the season, you should still start your studs and use this list to build depth. The playoffs are the time to ride the studs you drafted and picked up along the way but not to get cute. Playing matchups for defenses, kickers or tight ends could work but too many changes to your lineup and you’re setting yourself up to take a bad loss.
The flipside to this (for keeper leagues only) is if you didn’t make the playoffs, you should be in rebuilding mode. Cut ties with players like Reggie Bush, Vernon Davis, and Larry Fitzgerald for younger players with more potential. There’s plenty of potential out there to grab a few players for next year while playoff teams will be looking to get backups in case of injury for this year.
As always, ownership percentages are for ESPN and Yahoo leagues respectively. Good luck in this next round of the playoffs!
Jake Locker, Titans (0.6%/2%): Hopefully in standard leagues, you weren’t starting Zach Mettenberger but he could have been a starter in 2-QB leagues. Jake Locker is a good quarterback, he just can’t stay healthy himself. He runs with reckless abandon when the play breaks down so he puts his body at risk. He’s playing the Jets this week, the team that has given up the second most touchdown passes in the league.
Robert Griffin III, Redskins (12.2%/31%): This situation is a real confusing one. Coach Jay Gruden says he will never go back to Griffin, then within hours there’s a report that Griffin may get a chance to start before then end of 2014. Colt McCoy suffered a neck strain and was replaced by Griffin with just a few minutes left in the game. The Redskins quarterback is a hot hand, whoever it is, because of their schedule. They play easy, low-ranked pass defenses in the Giants this week and the Eagles next week.
Josh McCown, Buccaneers (6.2%/22%): He was knocked around plenty by the Lions defense but that’s football. This week, he’ll get the Panthers defense that gives up the ninth most points to opposing quarterbacks. That’s good news for this quarterback and his very tall wide receivers. There will be mismatches all day with the Bucs 6’5” receivers over a Panthers defensive backfield with nobody taller than 6’2”.
Teddy Bridgewater, Vikings (7.7%/9%): He’s been clicking more and more with his young receivers than those who were on the team prior to him being drafted, Cordarrelle Patterson included. He’s strung together three nice outings in a row, throwing for two touchdowns in each and only two total interceptions. He faces harder defenses from here on in the Lions and Dolphins but he’s definitely worth a pickup if you are out of the playoffs and looking to build for next year.
Johnny Manziel, Browns (10.3%/23%): After another disappointing performance from Brian Hoyer, the Manziel chatter continues. He may earn his way into the starting role this year but I believe at the very least, he will be the starter next year. There’s just no way Mike Pettine can keep his job starting Hoyer much longer given the way he is playing. Manziel was drafted to be the future and it is taking Hoyer longer than thought to give up the reins. After throwing seven picks and no touchdowns over the past three games, it may be time for a changing of the guard.
Fliers: Mark Sanchez, Eagles. Kyle Orton, Bills. Alex Smith, Chiefs.
Jonathan Stewart, Panthers (47.4%/41%): He may be owned already in your league as he saw a large jump in ownership last week. Against the Saints, he was the workhorse back capable of shifting, cutting and shouldering the load like he was back in 2008. In fact, his 20 carries are the most he’s had since Dec. 19th, 2010 when he rushed 27 times for 137 yards against the Cardinals. He has a very easy road ahead and I would want him as a “handcuff” to any running back situation that goes to a committee should the starter go down. There are some you will want ahead of him like Joseph Randle, Alfred Blue and James Starks but Stewart should be better than the Browns, Jaguars, or Vikings groups.
Juwan Thompson, Broncos (2.3%/5%): This backfield is one that you will want to handcuff. C.J. Anderson got banged up Sunday but was able to return and finish the game. Thompson flashed his big-play ability again and racked up 63 yards on only four carries. Unlike other backfields that will get muddled when the starter goes down, the Broncos history shows they will ride the hot hand. We’ve also seen that Thompson can be that hot hand and should be the next man up should anything more damaging happen to Anderson. If you own Anderson, you should also own Thompson.
Kerwynn Williams, Cardinals (0.2%/3%): Andre Ellington was placed on the IR with a sports hernia Monday afternoon. I wouldn’t put a lot of hope in him carrying your team as his schedule brings some hard sledding. He has matchups with the stout Rams and more stout Seahawks to round out the fantasy playoffs. He’s more of a speculative pick if you’re in need of a hail-mary and not have many other choices. He’s also worth a speculative grab for dynasty leagues in case Ellington’s injury history makes him too much of a reliability for the Cardinals.
Andre Williams, Giants (32.5%/56%): Rashad Jennings is most definitely an injury risk and if you have him, you must handcuff him with Andre Williams. I don’t think Williams is just a pure handcuff though. The 2013 Doak Walker Award winner will take over this backfield and it’s only a matter of time. Even though the Giants brought Jennings in on four-year deal this past offseason, they also drafted Williams in the fourth round. He rumbled 24 times Sunday against the Titans for 131 yards and a score. Williams is worth a speculative pickup for keeper and dynasty teams based on his potential future and we’ll get to see what he’s capable over the next few weeks. He has harder matchups coming up against the Redskins and Rams.
Latavius Murray, Raiders (31.1%/49%): There were reports before the game on Sunday that despite Murray’s performance against the Chiefs a few weeks ago, he would not get many more carries than the rest of the backfield. That was not even close to happening once the game started and the Raiders realized what they had in Murray. He ended up rushing 23 times for 76 yards against a decent 49ers defense. He should be added in all formats even just as a backup or potential keeper value. It’s rare this late in the season to be able to add a running back who is getting workhorse duties and that makes him a must-add.
Fliers: Chris Johnson, Jets. Doug Martin, Buccaneers. Knile Davis, Chiefs.
Malcom Floyd, Chargers (27.6%/40%): While he’s not been a solid contributor week in and week out, he’s a huge target for Philip Rivers. Over the last five games, he’s seen 28 targets and caught 18 of them, giving him a respectable 64% reception percentage. His 28 targets tie him for second most on the team in that time frame with Antonio Gates behind only Keenan Allen. Floyd obviously plays a certain role in this offense and he should continue to see the long ball targets the rest of the year.
Marquess Wilson, Bears (0.1%/2%): Brandon Marshall just couldn’t get anything going this year past a few flashes. He suffered two broken ribs and was treated for a punctured lung at the hospital following his exit from last Thursday’s game. He’s since been shut down for the year. This bumped Wilson up the depth chart to play across from Alshon Jeffery. He had a bright future in the preseason before breaking his clavicle just before the season started. Although he was targeted five times after Marshall exited, he only caught two. The Bears will have to involve another receiver opposite Alshon Jeffery now that Marshall is out. Martellus Bennett gets a bump in value too.
Charles Johnson, Vikings (9.7%/20%): Last week I thought it was Greg Jennings who would exploit Sunday’s matchup against the Jets the most but he failed to reach the endzone. He was second on the team in targets but it was Jarius Wright and Charles Johnson who caught touchdowns for the Vikings. Johnson is playing more snaps than Wright and is the receiver who garnered the most targets from Teddy Bridgewater. He caught 4-of-8 for 103 yards and a score. He’s getting more attention because he’s a crisp route-runner. The Vikings will be a tough team to trust for receivers the rest of the playoffs however as they face the Lions and Dolphins. All of them are only desperation starts against two top-five defenses.
Jarvis Landry, Dolphins (33.6%/47%): In the loss to the Ravens Sunday, Landry led the Dolphins in targets, receptions and yards. He caught all six of his targets for 55 yards. He hasn’t seen the endzone since his pair of scores in Week 12 but he remains a top target for Ryan Tannehill. Although better in PPR leagues, he’s still only a WR4 with Mike Wallace also in the picture. He’s only just passed Wallace in terms of targets and it’s only one game doing so but there’s a lot of potential for the sure-handed rookie.
Donte Moncrief, Colts (14%/28%): Despite only a three catch day for 33 yards in the wake of his three catch, two touchdown, 134 yard day last week, Moncrief actually saw an increase in playing time. Reggie Wayne is dealing with a torn triceps muscle and has been mulling over possibly retiring after this year. He is 36 and it’s amazing that he was able to even return this year after tearing his ACL last year. Players at his age would usually not be able to bounce back but he has proven to be an exception. He may retire at the end of the year and that would leave Moncrief as the heir apparent to play opposite T.Y. Hilton. That potential is big for teams already rebuilding for next year and he should be rostered with the prospect of Wayne retiring.
Fliers: Stedman Bailey, Rams. Cecil Shorts III, Jaguars. John Brown, Cardinals.
Jared Cook, Rams (41.3%/28%): The enigma that is Jared Cook continues. Cook led the Rams in yards on Sunday with 61 on four catches, two of which went for scores. Those touchdowns were just his second and third on the year though so expectations following this game should be tempered. The good news for him next week is that even though he plays the stingy Cardinals defense, he was able to rack up 84 yards on two catches and scored his first touchdown this year against them in Week 10.
Mychal Rivera, Raiders (20.2%/24%): After a few quiet weeks, Rivera led the Raiders in receiving yards and was tied on the day for targets and receptions. He caught all seven targets for 109 yards and added a touchdown in the fourth quarter. He’s the primary tight end for the Raiders and while Derek Carr is inconsistent, Rivera remains a decent lottery pick at a position that is largely ruled by inconsistency. The Raiders play the Chiefs this week who are fairly good against tight ends but they have allowed eight touchdowns to the position this year.
Scott Chandler, Bills (19.6%/8%): They’ll have to throw next week when they play a tough Packers team in order to stay in the game. Even though the Packers are good against tight ends, Chandler will still be in the primary tight end role he has been this season. There will be duds of course but this position is shallow so it’ll be hard to find another tight end as involved in the offense as Chandler is in Buffalo.
Jordan Cameron, Browns (36.2%/56%): He will be hard to trust without a backup plan on your bench but he did return to the field and was the leading receiver for the Browns. He was targeted five times but led the team with four catches for 41 yards. The offense as a whole didn’t play very well against the Colts but Cameron was certainly still involved. He was most likely dropped in your league since his concussion in Week 8 but at a shallow position, he’s worth speculatively picking up and starting based on his usage as more than just a redzone target. If he can stay healthy and return to some semblance of his former self, he could be a good keeper off the waiver wire.
Fliers: Kyle Rudolph, Vikings. Owen Daniels, Ravens. Charles Clay, Dolphins.
Titans D/ST: They aren’t the best group but they get to play the Jets this week and they should provide some turnovers at least.
Ravens D/ST: This week, the Ravens play the Jaguars at home in Baltimore. Although home or away shouldn’t matter much for a team playing the Jaguars, it’s just an added bonus.
Packers D/ST: The Packers travel to Buffalo this week and after a less-than-stellar performance against the Falcons on Monday night, the Packers might be less solid than we think. I still think they can do well and finish in the top-10 of defense groups this week.
Chiefs D/ST: They play the Raiders this week in Arrowhead. Just like playing the Jaguars, it shouldn’t matter where the game is played, but Arrowhead does hold some weight as a very hard place to play.
Cairo Santos, Chiefs: 16/18 FG, 33/33 XP
Matt Bryant, Falcons: 23/26 FG, 35/35 XP
Shaun Suisham, Steelers: 23/26 FG, 37/37 XP
Shayne Graham, Saints: 18/20 FG, 37/38 XP
Josh Brown, Giants: 16/17 FG, 35/35 XP