Featured Pros: Waiver Wire Rankings (Week 15)
The stakes don’t get much higher for fantasy owners. With only a few victories standing in the way of a league title, the pressure is on to make any moves necessary to put your squad in a position to win. In other words, you’ve come this far so don’t slow down your efforts now.
To help fine-tune your roster, we’ve enlisted another group of Featured Pros to offer waiver wire advice. As always, the experts were provided with a list of players to rank based on rest of season value. We then combined their selections to generate consensus rankings. Read on to see who the pundits like as waiver wire pickups this week…
Waiver Wire Rankings (STD Scoring)
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Week 15 Waiver Wire Advice
Each expert also shared some commentary about the targets they like on this week’s waiver wire. Here’s what the pros had to say.
While Montell Owens gets at least one more week to be the featured RB for the Jaguars, his schedule the next two games (Miami and New England) isn’t nearly as favorable as the schedules for both Joique Bell (Arizona and Atlanta) and David Wilson (Atlanta and Baltimore). These are easily the top 3 guys to target for acquisition heading into week 15, with Jets RB Bilal Powell coming in a close 4th. Bell and Wilson are making it more difficult for their teams to keep them off the field even though both of their teams have other good RBs. This late in the season you have to wonder if Mikel Leshoure is wearing down for Detroit, and you also have to wonder if the Giants may decide to take it a bit easier on injury prone Ahmad Bradshaw. Bilal Powell has also been consistently challenging Shonn Greene for more playing time for the Jets. Having quality RB depth this late in the season is more important than at any other position and these guys also have favorable matchups. If their playing time increases, they could be the unsung heroes we see every year who help lead owners to a championship.
I love rooting for an underdog as much as anyone else, but when it comes to the fantasy playoffs, you’re better off looking at the facts and using your head instead of ruining your season by listening to your heart. The Jaguars fourth-string running back, Montell Owens, has certainly shown well over the past two weeks, but you can’t disregard the two teams he put his numbers up against; the Buffalo Bills and New York Jets. Both teams rank in the top seven for running back fantasy points allowed, so Owens’ respectable production should come as no surprise. However, the Jaguars next two opponents, the Miami Dolphins and New England Patriots, aren’t quite as generous. In fact, the Dolphins and Patriots have combined to allow just three running backs to rush for over 80 yards against them the entire season, whereas the Jets alone have allowed six. If your playoffs happen to run through Week 17, Montell could be considered a decent fantasy start again going up against the Tennessee Titans, but there’s no guarantee either Rashad Jennings or even Maurice Jones-Drew won’t be back by then, so don’t expect Owens to be your fantasy savior if you grab him.
There are a few reasons why I have Bilal Powell ranked so high (#2) in this week’s waiver wire. First of all, it’s a rare thing to find a running back at this point in the season who has not only averaged over 10 touches per game for a month straight, but who has also put up double-digit fantasy points per game during that time period as well. The numbers have been consistent as well, as opposed to just one monster game swaying the mean. Another reason I like Powell for the rest of the season is because as we all know, the Jets are a run-first team (fifth-most rushing attempts in the NFL) and have no problem splitting carries between two running backs throughout a game. Powell has posted double-digit carries five times this season and in each of the Jets last four games. In those five games, the team has a 4-1 record while in the games he hasn’t, the team is 2-4. Lastly, the Jets face two of the league’s five worst teams against the run over the next three weeks (Wk. 15 – Tennessee; Wk. 17 – Buffalo). Believe it or not, Bilal Powell has put up enough fantasy points to be right on the edge of RB1 status over the last four weeks and has nearly as many points as Arian Foster during that time. With the Jets fighting for a playoff spot, you can bet they’ll be sticking to their current offensive game plan which should mean plenty of opportunities for Powell down the stretch.
We had Alshon Jeffery rated higher than Justin Blackmon coming out of college in 2012. He’s 6’3”, 220-pounds with top speed/agility measureables with long arms and a huge hand size. Jeffery is physically built to produce at a high-level in the NFL. Jeffery has scored three TDs in his seven games this season (3 TDs from 19 catches). He scored a TD in Week 14, but also narrowly missed a second score. With the attention Brandon Marshall will get every week, Jeffery has a true potential for 100+ yards and a TD in any game upcoming.
One thing to keep in mind on the Raiders waiver options — If Terrelle Pryor begins to take more snaps, and/or starts, then we think this would cripple the entire Fantasy value of Rod Streater, or any Raiders WR/TE, as Pryor is Tim Tebow 2.0 (only not as talented a runner or thrower…and that’s not good). However, do note that the one-time Pryor was “good” in the NFL, Week 3 of the 2012 preseason, he led a 4th-quarter comeback by hitting Juron Criner with a pair of TD passes (39 yards and 76-yards) in a six minute span. There may be a 3rd-string/scout team connection there with Criner…if any of this comes to pass.
For fantasy football playoff purposes, each week is its own season—you need to concentrate on winning Week 15. The best player available on the waiver wire to help get you a win is Joique Bell. Not only has Detroit’s brass pledged their allegiance to Bell, the Lions face an Arizona team in Week 15 that appears to have thrown in the towel. Look for Bell to boost your team to Week 16.
My waiver wire selections for this week involve 3 running backs in Montell Owens (RB – JAC), Joique Bell (RB – DET), and David Wilson (RB – NYG). All three running backs had great week 14 fantasy numbers with Montell Owens at 16 fantasy points, Joique Bell with 8 fantasy points, and David Wilson with 28 fantasy points. It’s hard to ignore the fantasy performance that David Wilson had, but it was largely due to the injury to Ahmad Bradshaw, who missed 1 ½ quarters of the game. Bradshaw is scheduled to start in week 15, so as much as I advise using a waiver wire pick on Wilson this week, starting him is high risk/high reward. Pay attention later on this week to the status of Bradshaw who is still the starter. Joique Bell’s playing time has increased over Mikel Leshoure, but he is in a time share situation with the running back with the hot hand receiving the Lion’s share (no pun intended) of the carries in week 15. Montell Owens is the only running back of the three that is the clear starter in week 15. With Jacksonville clearly out of playoff contention, there is no reason for them to bring back Maurice Jones-Drew this season. Look for Owens to increase on his 14 carries and 91 rushing yards in week 14.
If you are reading this, congratulations, you are likely playing in your league’s semi-final game this coming weekend. My advice to you, unless you are in desperate need of a running back, is to not waste a waiver priority higher than #5 or #6 on the most sought after waiver wire pickups this week, who will likely be the high-volume running back (Montell Owens) or those running backs who have played well recently in time shares (Joique Bell). Instead, I would target a sneaky wide receiver, Jason Avant (especially if you play in a PPR format), or a tight end who has emerged on a team who recently lost their starting TE due to an injury (Clay Harbor). The duo of Philadelphia Eagles’ pass catchers stand above the other waiver wire pickups of the week in that the Eagles have historically been a passing offense, except for the previous two weeks when Bryce Brown stole the show. Quarterback, Nick Foles, is looking to earn a job next fall and expect him to throw the ball often to his underneath receivers and tight end as he did against the Tampa Bay Buccaneers. I do not expect huge games from Avant or Harbor, but I do expect them to be adequate replacements if, for example, you lost Celek or simply do not trust more well-known tight ends (Antonio Gates or Jermichael Finley) or were disappointed in a high-upside player’s performance this weekend (Chris Givens). After all, in the fantasy football playoffs, the goal is to score points and sometimes you will take a steady 7 or 8 points as opposed to the possibility of a 15 or 16 fantasy points.
Thanks to the Featured Pros for sharing their advice with us! For more of the experts’ insight, be sure to follow them on Twitter and visit their respective sites. Best of luck to everyone with your pickups this week!