Week 15 fantasy football waiver wire pick ups for standard scoring leauges:
Colts wide receiver Da’Rick Rogers (owned in 2 percent of Yahoo leagues)
Undrafted rookie wideout Da’Rick Rogers had never caught an NFL pass prior to Week 14. In fact, the ball had never been thrown to him either. In last week’s loss to Cincinnati, the 22-year-old made six receptions from nine targets, for 107 yards and two touchdowns. Rogers played 41 snaps, which was third on the team behind only LaVon Brazil (42) and second-year standout T.Y. Hilton (45). Darrius Heyward-Bey was in for just 24 snaps on Sunday. The Colts’ website still lists Heyward-Bey as the number two starter, but that seems poised for upheaval. Al Davis’ former seventh overall pick has done enough to disappoint two franchises now in his short five-year career.
Packers running back James Starks (owned in 12 percent of Yahoo leagues)
Since week five, no one in the NFL has rushed for more attempts (212) or more yards (836) than Green Bay starting back Eddie Lacy. During that stretch, the former Crimson Tide rusher had garnered 28 rushes more than the next closest, LeSean McCoy (184 attempts). In relief of a concussed Lacy, James Starks came in to lead the Packers rushing attack in weeks two and three. He managed 38 touches for 223 yards and a touchdown over those two contests. The starting rookie sprained his ankle against Atlanta, and his status is yet unknown for Week 15. Lacy was able to return in a limited capacity Sunday, which gives reason for optimism. But Green Bay’s 6-6-1 record leaves them a long-shot for the postseason, which could lead to added caution towards their hobbled stars, Lacy, Aaron Rodgers, and Randall Cobb. This is a situation worth monitoring throughout the week.
Vikings running back Toby Gerhart (owned in 8 percent of Yahoo leagues)
The best player in football left Sunday’s snowy game in Baltimore with an undiagnosed foot injury. Adrian Peterson assured fans on Monday that “the MRI came back great, so that’s good. Just got to get a CT scan to make sure the bone is okay.” The Lisfranc injury — one that is commonly preceded by the word “dreaded” — has already been ruled out. Minnesota’s 3-9-1 record may impact their approach toward shutting down the 2012 Most Valuable Player. When Peterson left after just eight touches in the loss, backup Toby Gerhart stepped up with 15 rushes for 89 yards and a score. Chaos erupted in fantasy playoffs around the world. Gerhart apparently hurt his hamstring late in the game, but played through it. The second-string back from Stanford is running at a clip of 7.9 yards per carry this year. He would be a valuable piece for the final three games should All Day be forced to swap his helmet for a clipboard.
Patriots tight end Michael Hoomanawanui (owned in 0 percent of Yahoo leagues)
Rob Gronkowski may be the Bo Jackson of tight ends. The author predicts his departure from the NFL by 2016. All prognostication aside, the 6-foot-6 beast left his seventh game of the year with a torn right MCL and ACL. Patriots fans received a questionable call in their favor en route to another controversial win. But no doubt they would trade that victory for more postseason dance parties with “The Gonk.” Alas, New England again must turn to the next man up, and this time his name is Michael Hoomanawanui. The Patriots’ website has already been adjusted to reflect the change. For the year, the backup tight end has made 10 receptions for 114 yards. His best game of 2013 came in week six (one week before Gronkowski’s season debut), when he caught four passes for 57 yards. Tom Brady will have to improve his chemistry with Hoomanawanui, Danny Amendola and Julian Edelman to keep this crazy train moving. There may be more consistent options available at tight end, but the one wearing Pat Patriot on his helmet may find himself in more scoring opportunities.
Ravens tight end Dennis Pitta (owned in 11 percent of Yahoo leagues)
Dennis Pitta made his season debut in Week 14, and quickly got down to business. Joe Flacco found the tight end six times on 11 targets, for 48 yards and a touchdown. No one was targeted more often for Baltimore on Sunday. The 6-foot-4 veteran had his best year in 2012, making 61 receptions for 669 yards and seven scores. Pitta played on 36 snaps in his first game back, while fellow tight end Ed Dickson played 51. Pro Football Focus recorded Pitta with 1.55 yards per pass route run, better than any other Raven but Marlon Brown (2.19) on Sunday. It would be hard to imagine a tight end with greater upside still available in your league at this moment. Make a claim for Pitta today. Baltimore will face the 25th and 16th ranked pass defenses in the next two weeks.
Dolphins running back Daniel Thomas (owned in 11 percent of Yahoo leagues)
Just a week ago, Dolphins backup rusher Daniel Thomas was out indefinitely with a severe ankle sprain. Some forecasted that his season was officially over. It seemed Lamar Miller had (finally) inherited sole possession of backfield, as many felt he deserved all along. During weeks one through five, Thomas was running for an abysmal 2.6 yards per carry, while Miller was averaging 4.2 yards on the ground. By week ten they had each improved; Miller had rushed for 4.5 yards per attempt, compared with Thomas’ improved average of 3.4 yards. But on Sunday in Pittsburgh, Miller suffered a concussion after only eight touches for 33 yards. Thomas came in and took 17 touches for 109 yards and a touchdown. Should the starter fail to pass the necessary tests, Thomas could do some damage as the replacement. Miami’s next two matchups are against the 31st and 27th ranked rush defenses. And when Miller does return, it may be as part of a committee once again.
Redskins quarterback Kirk Cousins (owned in 1 percent of Yahoo leagues)
Robert Griffin III was benched during Washington’s loss to Kansas City on Sunday. The team lost 45-10, as their fifth straight defeat dropped them to a 3-10 record. The Redskins have already been eliminated from the postseason. After the game, head coach Mike Shanahan was noncommittal about his starting quarterback for Sunday’s match in Atlanta. “We’ll talk about that later,” he said. “That’s with anybody in any position. We’ll look at injuries, and we’ll look at where we are and what direction we’re going.” But Griffin was not injured in the game. “There’s no way we could win it, so he was going to pull me out,” the former Heisman Trophy winner said. “At that point, I just didn’t want to risk injury in the latter part of the game.” Okay, so does Washington want to risk his injury now, in the latter part of a lost season? In his limited action over the last two seasons, backup Kirk Cousins has completed 61.6 percent of his passes, while throwing four touchdowns and five picks. In two quarterback leagues especially, Cousins is worth the speculative pickup. Hopefully your title dreams are unaffected by Griffin’s availability moving forward.
Raiders running back Marcel Reece (owned in 12 percent of Yahoo leagues)
Darren McFadden began the year on the first string, but to the surprise of absolutely no one, he has made just seven starts on the year. In six seasons, he has never started more than 13 games, and has only twice made more than seven starts in a year. Enter Rashad Jennings, who was promoted during McFadden’s annual hamstring sabbatical. Jennings has started five times this year, and with good results. During those games, Jennings rushed 90 times for 448 yards (5.0 yards per carry) and four touchdowns. He was averaging 21.2 touches for 119.2 yards and 0.8 scores over that time. Jennings has been sidelined with a concussion from Thanksgiving Day, and McFadden is still battling an ankle injury. That puts Marcel Reece on the map for Raiders and fantasy fans alike. In Sunday’s loss to the Jets, Reece racked up 161 yards and a touchdown on 21 touches. For the year, the fullback has run for 4.9 yards per carry, while creating 442 yards of offense and four total scores. Keep an eye on the Raiders’ injury report as the week progresses.
Jaguars running back Jordan Todman (owned in 2 percent of Yahoo leagues)
Maurice Jones-Drew left last week’s game with a strained hamstring. Should the starter miss any action, head coach Gus Bradley said that the carries will go to Jordan Todman and Denard Robinson. This is particularly interesting, because the Jaguars’ website lists Robinson as the number two back, with Justin Forsett third and Jordan Todman at the bottom. It may not be worth over-thinking, though, because Forsett is on injured reserve, so the Jacksonville staff could be too busy packing boxes for Los Angeles to edit their HTML code. They have to start saving money somehow. In Thursday’s win over Houston, Todman earned 35 total yards and a touchdown on eight touches. Robinson rushed only twice for the loss of a yard. Either are worthy of a lottery flex start for a desperate owner, but it seems more likely that Todman will get the bulk of the carries. Robinson carries rare dual-eligibility on Yahoo leagues, fitting into any of your receiver or running back slots. Jones-Drew hopes to return to practice on Friday, but all bets are off for the 28-year-old back.
Raiders wide receiver Rod Streater (owned in 19 percent of Yahoo leagues)
Oakland’s leading receiver for 2013 is second-year wideout Rod Streater. The former Temple Owl has made 50 catches for 787 yards and three touchdowns this season. Fellow starter Denarius Moore has not played since Week 11 with a shoulder injury. Through the first ten weeks of the year, Moore led the team in targets (68), receptions (35), receiving yards (558) and receiving scores (four). Since being sidelined, the door has been opened for Streater to take the reigns in this amorphous offense. The quarterback and starting rusher have changed since Moore last hit the field. Streater is on pace to catch 61.5 passes for 968.6 yards and 3.7 touchdowns. Moore’s status for Week 14 is still up in the air. Streater has been forming chemistry with new passer, Matt McGloin, while Moore has been stuck on the sideline. Streater’s value should remain steady through the fantasy playoffs.
Players still relevant from previous weeks include Andre Brown, Donald Brown, Montee Ball, Bobby Rainey, Chris Ogbonnaya, Michael Floyd, Ace Sanders, Matt McGloin, Emmanuel Sanders, Nick Foles, Jordan Reed, Rueben Randle, Keenan Allen, Andre Ellington, Shane Vereen, Charles Clay, Rishard Matthews, Julian Edelman, Ladarius Green, Nate Burleson, and more. Catch some waives from past weeks (week 14, week 13, week 12, week 11, week 10, week 9, week 8, week 7, week 6, and week 5).
Stats and data courtesy of pro-football-reference.com, footballguys.com, espn.com, and profootballfocus.com.
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