Published: Dec. 13, 2015 at 11:43 p.m.
Updated: Dec. 15, 2015 at 12:51 p.m.

Week 15 Fantasy Football Waiver Wire

With the season winding down and the fantasy playoffs starting this week or next (in most leagues), the time to find game-changing waiver wire pickups has passed. Now is the time when fantasy owners should look to the waiver wire to backup their studs, or find players ready to exploit great matchups. I'll focus on the former in my weekly "Deep Dive" waiver wire column (published Mondays), highlighting the top high-upside handcuffs for the playoff stretch. But from here on out, in this waiver wire piece I'll try to find low-owned players in great spots for the upcoming week who can be added and started in a pinch. I've also punted the FAAB (Free Agent Acquisition Budget) suggestion portion, as at this point you should use whatever means necessary to get the players you need on your roster (or not have much of a FAAB left). Feel free to hit me up on Twitter though for more specific questions.

12 Photos Total

  • T.J. Yeldon suffered a knee sprain against the Colts, the severity of which is unknown at this point. Robinson stepped up to the plate as the every-down back in his stead, and delivered an excellent performance with 14 carries for 75 yards and a touchdown. If Yeldon is forced to miss any time, Robinson will have RB2-upside in the Jaguars' emerging young offense. He'll have a clear path to touches with only Joe Banyard currently on the roster to back him up and Toby Gerhart already on IR. Even if Yeldon's knee injury isn't serious, you should make Shoelace the top priority on waivers this week. 12

    Stephen B. Morton/Associated Press

    Denard Robinson, RB, Jacksonville Jaguars (0.5 percent owned)

    T.J. Yeldon suffered a knee sprain against the Colts, the severity of which is unknown at this point. Robinson stepped up to the plate as the every-down back in his stead, and delivered an excellent performance with 14 carries for 75 yards and a touchdown. If Yeldon is forced to miss any time, Robinson will have RB2-upside in the Jaguars' emerging young offense. He'll have a clear path to touches with only Joe Banyard currently on the roster to back him up and Toby Gerhart already on IR. Even if Yeldon's knee injury isn't serious, you should make Shoelace the top priority on waivers this week.

  • When LeGarrette Blount went down with a hip injury against the Houston Texans on Sunday night, Bolden was there to step up as the early-down hammer in the Patriots backfield. He saw 15 of his 16 carries on the night after Blount left the game, and figures to be a lock for 15-20 touches again this week if Blount misses time. Right now, Blount was seen on crutches Tuesday at team facilities, which could indicate he'll need more than one week to heal. Bolden should be one of the top targets on waivers this week, as he gets a nice matchup against a Titans defense that just gave up 183 rushing yards to the Jets. James White is also worth a look, especially in PPR formats. 11

    George Bridges/Associated Press

    Brandon Bolden, RB, New England Patriots (2.6 percent owned)

    When LeGarrette Blount went down with a hip injury against the Houston Texans on Sunday night, Bolden was there to step up as the early-down hammer in the Patriots backfield. He saw 15 of his 16 carries on the night after Blount left the game, and figures to be a lock for 15-20 touches again this week if Blount misses time. Right now, Blount was seen on crutches Tuesday at team facilities, which could indicate he'll need more than one week to heal. Bolden should be one of the top targets on waivers this week, as he gets a nice matchup against a Titans defense that just gave up 183 rushing yards to the Jets. James White is also worth a look, especially in PPR formats.

  • The talk of C.J. Spiller having a bigger role in the wake of Mark Ingram's season-ending injury was overblown. It was clear Hightower was the preferred backup earlier in the season, and that notion was reinforced against the Buccaneers when he saw 29 touches to Spiller's six. Hightower wasn't the most efficient runner in the world (3 yards per carry average) but got into the end zone to put together an all-around solid outing. He'll figure to dominate the carries down the stretch as well, and is a must-add this week for owners in need of running back help. With the Lions, Jaguars and Falcons remaining on the schedule, Hightower has a favorable slate of matchups to face in fantasy. 10

    Steve Nesius/Associated Press

    Tim Hightower, RB, New Orleans Saints (4.3 percent owned)

    The talk of C.J. Spiller having a bigger role in the wake of Mark Ingram's season-ending injury was overblown. It was clear Hightower was the preferred backup earlier in the season, and that notion was reinforced against the Buccaneers when he saw 29 touches to Spiller's six. Hightower wasn't the most efficient runner in the world (3 yards per carry average) but got into the end zone to put together an all-around solid outing. He'll figure to dominate the carries down the stretch as well, and is a must-add this week for owners in need of running back help. With the Lions, Jaguars and Falcons remaining on the schedule, Hightower has a favorable slate of matchups to face in fantasy.

  • The injury "bug" this season has turned into a full-blown "28 Days Later" type of epidemic, and Thomas Rawls was the latest victim. He suffered a broken ankle against the Ravens and is done for the season, which means the next man up in the Seattle backfield appears to be Bryce Brown, as the Seahawks released DuJuan Harris (18 carries in Week 14) Tuesday afternoon. Brown was most recently with the Bills, and before that the Eagles, where he had a few nice games filling in for LeSean McCoy. The surprise release of Harris makes me feel like there's more to this than the Seahawks have let on (a Christine Michael reunion? Marshawn Lynch closer to coming back?), so don't make it a priority to claim Brown. However, he should be scooped up this week just in case. If nothing else changes, he'll see plenty of touches ahead of Fred Jackson this weekend against the Browns. 9

    Gail Burton/Associated Press

    Bryce Brown, RB, Seattle Seahawks (0.3 percent owned)

    The injury "bug" this season has turned into a full-blown "28 Days Later" type of epidemic, and Thomas Rawls was the latest victim. He suffered a broken ankle against the Ravens and is done for the season, which means the next man up in the Seattle backfield appears to be Bryce Brown, as the Seahawks released DuJuan Harris (18 carries in Week 14) Tuesday afternoon. Brown was most recently with the Bills, and before that the Eagles, where he had a few nice games filling in for LeSean McCoy. The surprise release of Harris makes me feel like there's more to this than the Seahawks have let on (a Christine Michael reunion? Marshawn Lynch closer to coming back?), so don't make it a priority to claim Brown. However, he should be scooped up this week just in case. If nothing else changes, he'll see plenty of touches ahead of Fred Jackson this weekend against the Browns.

  • Trying to figure out the Eagles' backfield is almost an impossible venture, but the team has been deploying Sproles a bit more frequently, and in situations that suit his skill set. He's found the end zone twice in the last four games, and has also notched double-digit standard scoring fantasy points in three of those weeks. Next week's matchup against the Cardinals could also turn into a Sproles-heavy game, with Sam Bradford potentially needing to check down often to slow down the fierce Cardinals front seven. That unit has also allowed over 11 yards per catch to opposing running backs over the last month, which could help set Sproles up for a solid flex day. 8

    Michael Perez/Associated Press

    Darren Sproles, RB, Philadelphia Eagles (30.4 percent owned)

    Trying to figure out the Eagles' backfield is almost an impossible venture, but the team has been deploying Sproles a bit more frequently, and in situations that suit his skill set. He's found the end zone twice in the last four games, and has also notched double-digit standard scoring fantasy points in three of those weeks. Next week's matchup against the Cardinals could also turn into a Sproles-heavy game, with Sam Bradford potentially needing to check down often to slow down the fierce Cardinals front seven. That unit has also allowed over 11 yards per catch to opposing running backs over the last month, which could help set Sproles up for a solid flex day.

  • I originally included Artis-Payne as a stash for Jonathan Stewart owners, but now that we know Stewart has suffered a foot sprain, this puts Artis-Payne on the radar as a plug-and-play pickup for Week 15. Reports were already swirling last week that the team could lessen Stewart's workload in the coming weeks to keep him fresh for the playoffs, and that Artis-Payne <strong><a href="http://espn.go.com/blog/carolina-panthers/post/_/id/17680/it-may-be-time-for-panthers-to-get-jonathan-stewart-a-break-with-rookie-cameron-artis-payne" target="new">would get the bulk of the carries</a></strong>, and not Fozzy Whittaker. The Daily Show has been great this season, but veteran fantasy owners know his history with injuries is a long one. Stewart owners should target Artis-Payne for insurance and as a viable replacement in Week 15. 7

    Bob Leverone/Associated Press

    Cameron Artis-Payne, RB, Carolina Panthers (0.3 percent owned)

    I originally included Artis-Payne as a stash for Jonathan Stewart owners, but now that we know Stewart has suffered a foot sprain, this puts Artis-Payne on the radar as a plug-and-play pickup for Week 15. Reports were already swirling last week that the team could lessen Stewart's workload in the coming weeks to keep him fresh for the playoffs, and that Artis-Payne would get the bulk of the carries, and not Fozzy Whittaker. The Daily Show has been great this season, but veteran fantasy owners know his history with injuries is a long one. Stewart owners should target Artis-Payne for insurance and as a viable replacement in Week 15.

  • Lockett was in the waiver wire column last week, and he responded with a stellar 104-yard, two-touchdown game. Lockett's role in the offense has grown since Jimmy Graham's season-ending injury, and the team has been finding ways to better utilize Lockett's speed, too. He gets to face the banged-up Cleveland secondary in Seattle next week in another great matchup. With Russell Wilson playing out of his mind right now, getting more pieces of the Seattle passing attack into your lineups is never a bad idea. Especially when they're as talented and explosive as Lockett. 6

    Nick Wass/Associated Press

    Tyler Lockett, WR, Seattle Seahawks (8.6 percent owned)

    Lockett was in the waiver wire column last week, and he responded with a stellar 104-yard, two-touchdown game. Lockett's role in the offense has grown since Jimmy Graham's season-ending injury, and the team has been finding ways to better utilize Lockett's speed, too. He gets to face the banged-up Cleveland secondary in Seattle next week in another great matchup. With Russell Wilson playing out of his mind right now, getting more pieces of the Seattle passing attack into your lineups is never a bad idea. Especially when they're as talented and explosive as Lockett.

  • How's this for efficient: Ginn only had two receptions in Week 14, but took them for 120 yards and two touchdowns. Cam Newton continues to play at an MVP level, and he's lifting the real world (and fantasy) values of all of his teammates in the process. Next up for Ginn is a date with a Giants secondary that allowed the fourth-most yards to opposing wide receivers in the league heading into Week 14. Ginn still has the ability to pull a ghost-like move and disappear from the box score, but his weekly ceiling  is tremendous and he doesn't need many opportunities to reach it (as we saw this week). He can be started in plus-matchups, and he has one in Week 15 against the Giants. 5

    Mike McCarn/Associated Press

    Ted Ginn, WR, Carolina Panthers (13 percent owned)

    How's this for efficient: Ginn only had two receptions in Week 14, but took them for 120 yards and two touchdowns. Cam Newton continues to play at an MVP level, and he's lifting the real world (and fantasy) values of all of his teammates in the process. Next up for Ginn is a date with a Giants secondary that allowed the fourth-most yards to opposing wide receivers in the league heading into Week 14. Ginn still has the ability to pull a ghost-like move and disappear from the box score, but his weekly ceiling is tremendous and he doesn't need many opportunities to reach it (as we saw this week). He can be started in plus-matchups, and he has one in Week 15 against the Giants.

  • Aiken has now caught five or more passes for 50-plus yards in five of his last six games. He's not going to win anyone their matchup on his own, but he does offer a nice, reliable floor, especially in PPR formats. Aiken put up nine points against the Legion of Boom with Jimmy Clausen at quarterback this past week. The Chiefs' defense (his Week 15 opponent) has played excellent football of late, but they'll offer up a more favorable matchup for Aiken than Seattle. He'll be on the WR3 radar for Week 15. 4

    Nick Wass/Associated Press

    Kamar Aiken, WR, Baltimore Ravens (15.8 percent owned)

    Aiken has now caught five or more passes for 50-plus yards in five of his last six games. He's not going to win anyone their matchup on his own, but he does offer a nice, reliable floor, especially in PPR formats. Aiken put up nine points against the Legion of Boom with Jimmy Clausen at quarterback this past week. The Chiefs' defense (his Week 15 opponent) has played excellent football of late, but they'll offer up a more favorable matchup for Aiken than Seattle. He'll be on the WR3 radar for Week 15.

  • We've been fans of Wilson for a while, with Matt Harmon even giving him a <a href="http://www.nfl.com/fantasyfootball/story/0ap3000000505076/article/sophomore-wr-encore-four-deep-sleepers-to-watch" target="new">nice little profile</a> in his preseason sophomore wide receiver series. Part of what had held Wilson back (and could still hold him back) is that the Kansas City offense often lacks the targets to support two fantasy wideouts. On the season, Wilson is a distant second behind Jeremy Maclin in the wide receiver pecking order, with 43 targets compared to Maclin's 103. However, Wilson has flashed play-making ability before, including this past week. Wilson is at least worth a speculative add for next week, as the Chiefs will square off against a Ravens secondary that just gave up five touchdown passes to Russell Wilson. 3

    Ed Zurga/Associated Press

    Albert Wilson, WR, Kansas City Chiefs (0.1 percent owned)

    We've been fans of Wilson for a while, with Matt Harmon even giving him a nice little profile in his preseason sophomore wide receiver series. Part of what had held Wilson back (and could still hold him back) is that the Kansas City offense often lacks the targets to support two fantasy wideouts. On the season, Wilson is a distant second behind Jeremy Maclin in the wide receiver pecking order, with 43 targets compared to Maclin's 103. However, Wilson has flashed play-making ability before, including this past week. Wilson is at least worth a speculative add for next week, as the Chiefs will square off against a Ravens secondary that just gave up five touchdown passes to Russell Wilson.

  • I like trying to highlight at least one streaming tight end and quarterback candidate each week, and this time aroundI landed on Ebron. Ebron has been up and down this season, but in the right matchup, can be a solid play. That's what he gets this week against the Saints, who heading into Monday night are still the only team to allow over 1,000 receiving yards to opposing tight ends on the season. Ebron could certainly post a dreadful stat line, but he also has the potential to help give a fantasy playoff lineup a needed boost at one of fantasy's most frustrating positions. 2

    Detroit Lions/Associated Press

    Eric Ebron, TE, Detroit Lions (10.9 percent owned)

    I like trying to highlight at least one streaming tight end and quarterback candidate each week, and this time aroundI landed on Ebron. Ebron has been up and down this season, but in the right matchup, can be a solid play. That's what he gets this week against the Saints, who heading into Monday night are still the only team to allow over 1,000 receiving yards to opposing tight ends on the season. Ebron could certainly post a dreadful stat line, but he also has the potential to help give a fantasy playoff lineup a needed boost at one of fantasy's most frustrating positions.

  • Do you believe in Fitzmagic? The Amish Rifle has thrown nine touchdown passes with zero turnovers in his last three games, posting better than 25 fantasy points in each of those contests. With his offensive playmakers healthy, Fitzpatrick is leading a Jets offense that has scored an average of over 27 points per game in their last three. His Week 15 opponent, the Cowboys, have been tougher on quarterbacks than some might expect, but they lack the personnel to matchup with Brandon Marshall and Eric Decker for four quarters. Fitzpatrick remains an excellent streaming option if he’s still available in your league. 1

    Julio Cortez/Associated Press

    Ryan Fitzpatrick, QB, New York Jets (22.9 percent owned)

    Do you believe in Fitzmagic? The Amish Rifle has thrown nine touchdown passes with zero turnovers in his last three games, posting better than 25 fantasy points in each of those contests. With his offensive playmakers healthy, Fitzpatrick is leading a Jets offense that has scored an average of over 27 points per game in their last three. His Week 15 opponent, the Cowboys, have been tougher on quarterbacks than some might expect, but they lack the personnel to matchup with Brandon Marshall and Eric Decker for four quarters. Fitzpatrick remains an excellent streaming option if he’s still available in your league.