Fantasy football can be an extremely fun game to play. It can also be highly frustrating at times. Nothing is more annoying than needing to make a last-minute waiver-wire move because someone in your starting lineup is out for the week.
Sadly, there isn’t much you can do about it. However, I’m going to try and help.
Every week, I will have six players you can grab off the waiver wire at the last minute and throw into your lineup. Some will succeed, while others will fail. Unfortunately, that’s how the game of fantasy football is played.
All the players in this article are rostered in under 35% of ESPN leagues.
Check out the rest of our weekly fantasy football advice
Matt Ryan (QB – IND) vs. Minnesota Vikings (6.9% Rostered)
The Colts’ passing attack has been inconsistent all year long, but that’s what happens when you fire your coach midseason and start a former sixth-round pick. Over the past three games, Ryan has been terrible, averaging two turnovers and only 9.3 fantasy points per game. However, he faced three talented defenses during that span. The veteran quarterback averaged 19.9 fantasy points per game over the previous three contests, scoring 22.7 or more fantasy points twice. More importantly, he has an excellent fantasy matchup today.
The Vikings have been a surprise team this year and will likely win the NFC North division for the first time since 2017. While their offense has played well, their defense has been awful. The Vikings have surrendered 19.5 fantasy points per game to quarterbacks this season – sixth-most in the NFL. Furthermore, they have given up two or more passing touchdowns in six of their past eight contests, including a season-high three touchdowns to Jared Goff. While Ryan won’t have a top-five finish like Goff did last week, the veteran quarterback has the weapons needed for a low-end QB1 performance.
Chuba Hubbard (RB – CAR) vs. Pittsburgh Steelers (24.9% Rostered)
After the Panthers traded away Christian McCaffrey, Hubbard got the start in the team’s next game. The second-year running back played well, totaling 63 yards on only nine rushing attempts before leaving the game early with an ankle injury. Unfortunately, he missed the next two games. When he returned, D’Onta Foreman had taken over as the featured back, leaving little work for Hubbard. However, the former Oklahoma State star had his best performance of the year last week. He had 14 rushing attempts for 74 yards and a touchdown, scoring 17.4 half-point PPR fantasy points in the win.
Not only is Hubbard coming off his best performance this season, but he has an excellent matchup in Week 15. The Steelers have held running backs to 20.2 fantasy points per game this season, around the league average. However, they have struggled to slow down opposing rushing attacks lately. Over the past four weeks, Pittsburgh has surrendered 115.8 rushing yards and 23.3 fantasy points per game to running backs. Furthermore, they have given up 129 or more rushing yards to the position in back-to-back contests. Fantasy players can start Foreman and Hubbard with confidence against the Steelers.
Marlon Mack (RB – DEN) vs. Arizona Cardinals (5.4% Rostered)
No team has dealt with injuries like the Broncos this season. After losing Javonte Williams to a torn ACL in Week 4, Denver has played several running backs. When the team released Melvin Gordon a few weeks ago, it left Latavius Murray as the lead back. However, Mack stepped up last week against the Kansas City Chiefs. The veteran running only had five touches in the game but totaled 77 scrimmage yards and 14.7 half-point PPR fantasy points. Meanwhile, Mike Boone was placed on the injured reserve list earlier this week, ending his season. More importantly, Mack has an excellent matchup in Week 15.
The Cardinals have surrendered 21.8 fantasy points per game to running backs this season, slightly above the league average. However, they have struggled to stop opposing running games lately. Over their past six matchups, Arizona has given up two or more rushing touchdowns to running backs three times. In those three contests, running backs have averaged 125 rushing yards and 30.2 fantasy points per game. Furthermore, the Cardinals surrendered 96 rushing yards, two touchdowns, and 24.6 fantasy points to Pierre Strong Jr. and Kevin Harris last week. With Russell Wilson out this week, expect the Broncos to lean on their running back duo of Murray and Mack.
Chris Moore (WR – HOU) vs. Kansas City Chiefs (8.2% Rostered)
Last week, the Texans nearly pulled off an upset win over the Dallas Cowboys despite missing their starting two wide receivers. The reason why Houston almost won was Moore. The veteran receiver stepped up with Brandin Cooks and Nico Collins not playing. The former Cincinnati Bearcat had a career performance, catching 10 of 11 targets for 124 receiving yards, scoring 17.4 half-point PPR fantasy points. Furthermore, the veteran has averaged 10.8 fantasy points per game this season in the four contests with five or more targets, scoring 8.5 fantasy points or more three times. More importantly, Texans will be without Cooks, Collins, and running back Dameon Pierce on Sunday.
Meanwhile, the Chiefs have struggled to slow down wide receivers this season. They have given up 31.9 fantasy points per game to the position this year, the fourth-most in the NFL. Furthermore, Kansas City has surrendered 19 touchdowns to wide receivers this season, the most in the league. Over the past four weeks, wide receivers have totaled seven receiving touchdowns against the Chiefs, including three by Jerry Jeudy last week. By comparison, Jeudy had three touchdowns this year before last week’s matchup. Don’t be surprised if Moore has a repeat performance from last week tomorrow.
Alec Pierce (WR – IND) vs. Minnesota Vikings (10.8% Rostered)
This week is the first time that we will have Saturday games this season. Of the three games today, the first matchup offers plenty of sneaky value for fantasy players. While the Indianapolis passing attack has struggled this year, Pierce has played well lately. Over the past three games, the rookie has averaged six targets per contest, seeing eight targets twice. More importantly, he has averaged 10.5 half-point PPR fantasy points per game in the two matchups with eight targets. Furthermore, Pierce has averaged 14.7 yards per reception and 11.1 fantasy points per game in the five contests with six or more targets this season, including the Week 13 matchup against the Cowboys.
While the Vikings have the second-best record in the NFC at 10-3, their defense has been atrocious. They have surrendered 34.1 fantasy points per game to wide receivers this season, the second-most in the NFL. Furthermore, Minnesota has given up 259.7 receiving yards and 43.1 fantasy points per game to the position over their past three contests. Opposing wide receivers have totaled 215 or more receiving yards in 61.5% of the games this season against the Vikings, including three straight matchups. Last week, DJ Chark had six receptions for 94 receiving yards and 18.4 fantasy points against Minnesota. Don’t be surprised if Pierce has a similar fantasy performance against their awful secondary.
Juwan Johnson (TE – NO) vs. Atlanta Falcons (12.3% Rostered)
Unfortunately, Johnson suffered an ankle injury in Week 12 against the 49ers. He then missed the team’s Week 13 matchup against the Buccaneers. While Johnson was a limited participant in practice the past few days, he should play tomorrow in a critical NFC South matchup. Before getting hurt, Johnson had scored a touchdown in four of the past five contests, including three straight. Furthermore, he averaged 4.4 targets and 11.3 half-point PPR fantasy points per game over those five contests, totaling five receiving touchdowns during that span.
More importantly, the veteran has an excellent matchup this week. The Falcons have surrendered 10.9 fantasy points per game to tight ends this season, the ninth-most in the NFL. However, they have been awful at stopping the position lately. Over their past two contests, Atlanta has given up 4.5 receptions for 66 receiving yards, a touchdown, and 14.9 fantasy points per game to tight ends. Furthermore, tight ends have scored double-digit fantasy points against the Falcons in 61.5% of the games this season. Assuming Johnson is healthy, fantasy players should expect him to find the end zone at least once against the division rival.
Get the FantasyPros News App for iOS and Android now
Subscribe: Apple Podcasts | Spotify | Google Podcasts | Stitcher | SoundCloud | iHeartRadio
f you want to dive deeper into fantasy football, be sure to check out our award-winning slate of Fantasy Football Tools as you navigate your season. From our Start/Sit Assistant – which provides your optimal lineup, based on accurate consensus projections – to our Waiver Wire Assistant – which allows you to quickly see which available players will improve your team, and by how much – we’ve got you covered this fantasy football season.
Mike Fanelli is a featured writer at FantasyPros. For more from Mike, check out his archive and follow him @Mike_NFL2.