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Published: Dec. 11, 2016 at 11:48 p.m.

Week 15 fantasy football waiver wire

First off, I feel your fantasy pain. This was the first week of the playoffs in countless leagues, and the number of fantasy stars who came up short is staggering. Also, anyone who faced Le'Veon Bell was almost assuredly handed a loss. But, for those of you who enjoyed a bye or were lucky enough to survive and advance, here are 11 players to consider adding off waivers heading into Week 15. Some are high-upside stashes, others could provide immediate lineup aid. I've gotten rid of the free agent budget acquisition recommendations because at this point most FAAB budgets are exhausted. For those in need of even deeper picks/stashes, check here tomorrow for my weekly "Deep Dive."

11 Photos Total

  • When Matt Forte left Week 14's game with a knee injury, it became Bilal Powell's turn to gash the 49ers embarrassing run defense. He became the third backup, and 10th rusher overall, to accumulate 100-plus yards on the ground against San Francisco (145 to be exact). If Forte remains sidelined, Powell will be a must-start based purely on volume in Week 15 against the Dolphins, as he saw 34 touches on Sunday. Even if Forte comes back, Powell could be deployed in the flex, though. 11

    Ben Margot/Associated Press

    Bilal Powell, RB, New York Jets - 47.2 percent owned

    When Matt Forte left Week 14's game with a knee injury, it became Bilal Powell's turn to gash the 49ers embarrassing run defense. He became the third backup, and 10th rusher overall, to accumulate 100-plus yards on the ground against San Francisco (145 to be exact). If Forte remains sidelined, Powell will be a must-start based purely on volume in Week 15 against the Dolphins, as he saw 34 touches on Sunday. Even if Forte comes back, Powell could be deployed in the flex, though.

  • You never want to see a player like Melvin Gordon suffer an injury, but this is why I've been preaching for weeks to add high-level backup running backs... like Kenneth Farrow. When Gordon went down against the Panthers, Farrow came in and immediately played 85 percent of the snaps and inherited 22 touches. Early reports on Gordon's injury are encouraging, but Farrow needs to be a priority add regardless. He could be this year's Tim Hightower if Gordon misses more time. 10

    Bob Leverone/Associated Press

    Kenneth Farrow, RB, San Diego Chargers - 0.0 percent owned

    You never want to see a player like Melvin Gordon suffer an injury, but this is why I've been preaching for weeks to add high-level backup running backs... like Kenneth Farrow. When Gordon went down against the Panthers, Farrow came in and immediately played 85 percent of the snaps and inherited 22 touches. Early reports on Gordon's injury are encouraging, but Farrow needs to be a priority add regardless. He could be this year's Tim Hightower if Gordon misses more time.

  • Stash handcuffs in the fantasy playoffs. Stash handcuffs in the fantasy playoffs. Stash handcuffs in the fantasy playoffs. Stash handcuffs in the fantasy playoffs. 9

    Paul Spinelli/Associated Press

    Alfred Morris, RB, Dallas Cowboys - 6.6 percent owned

    Stash handcuffs in the fantasy playoffs. Stash handcuffs in the fantasy playoffs. Stash handcuffs in the fantasy playoffs. Stash handcuffs in the fantasy playoffs.

  • Look, I know you can't play him as a running back on NFL.com this year. I'm sorry. That's company policy as I <a href="https://twitter.com/AlexGelhar/status/796389666677137409" target="new">explained here</a>. Still, Montgomery's usage is trending up and he could be in a good spot to produce down the stretch. He's played 50-plus percent of the offensive snaps in each of the last two weeks, with eight and 12 touches in those games, respectively. The Packers play the Bears next, who were the team Montgomery enjoyed his original breakout against back in Week 7. 8

    Mike Roemer/Associated Press

    Ty Montgomery, WR/RB, Green Bay Packers - 11.1 percent owned

    Look, I know you can't play him as a running back on NFL.com this year. I'm sorry. That's company policy as I explained here. Still, Montgomery's usage is trending up and he could be in a good spot to produce down the stretch. He's played 50-plus percent of the offensive snaps in each of the last two weeks, with eight and 12 touches in those games, respectively. The Packers play the Bears next, who were the team Montgomery enjoyed his original breakout against back in Week 7.

  • No one wants to start a back like Asiata on their fantasy team. After all, he's averaging just 8.8 carries per game and 3.37 yards per carry since Adrian Peterson suffered his injury in Week 2. However, given the current landscape of the running back position, Asiata's high involvement in the red-zone -- especially near the goal line -- makes him worth a look. He's scored four touchdowns since Week 10 from a combined eight yards away, all while seeing 36 percent of the total red-zone opportunities (targets and carries) come his way. If the team gets near the goal line, Asiata is getting the ball, and the Vikings should have chances next week against the Colts struggling defense. 7

    Phelan M. Ebenhack/Associated Press

    Matt Asiata, RB, Minnesota Vikings - 19.2 percent owned

    No one wants to start a back like Asiata on their fantasy team. After all, he's averaging just 8.8 carries per game and 3.37 yards per carry since Adrian Peterson suffered his injury in Week 2. However, given the current landscape of the running back position, Asiata's high involvement in the red-zone -- especially near the goal line -- makes him worth a look. He's scored four touchdowns since Week 10 from a combined eight yards away, all while seeing 36 percent of the total red-zone opportunities (targets and carries) come his way. If the team gets near the goal line, Asiata is getting the ball, and the Vikings should have chances next week against the Colts struggling defense.

  • Theo Riddick was a bit of a surprise Week 14 inactive, but at least the team didn't mess around and fed Washington 17 touches. He averaged four yards per carry and could have a solid role moving forward, even if Riddick returns to action. Washington is a more natural between-the-tackles runner, and could be the favorite for goal-line work. He'll be a very low-end flex if Riddick returns next week, but will have volume upside against the Giants if not. 6

    Rick Osentoski/Associated Press

    Dwayne Washington, RB, Detroit Lions - 1.2 percent owned

    Theo Riddick was a bit of a surprise Week 14 inactive, but at least the team didn't mess around and fed Washington 17 touches. He averaged four yards per carry and could have a solid role moving forward, even if Riddick returns to action. Washington is a more natural between-the-tackles runner, and could be the favorite for goal-line work. He'll be a very low-end flex if Riddick returns next week, but will have volume upside against the Giants if not.

  • Today, in "Fantasy football is sometimes really dumb": Nelson was the highest scoring wide receiver on Sunday. He only played 19 snaps and touched the ball twice. All right, now that we have that out of the way, Nelson actually is a fine pickup this week with some flex appeal in Week 15. His playing time had been trending up in Weeks 12 and 13 when he played 50 percent of the snaps, and the Cardinals face the Saints at home next week. Nelson carries a ton of risk, but he's a big-play threat who just demonstrated the week-winning type of ceiling he possesses. 5

    Wilfredo Lee/Associated Press

    J.J. Nelson, WR, Arizona Cardinals - 2.5 percent owned

    Today, in "Fantasy football is sometimes really dumb": Nelson was the highest scoring wide receiver on Sunday. He only played 19 snaps and touched the ball twice. All right, now that we have that out of the way, Nelson actually is a fine pickup this week with some flex appeal in Week 15. His playing time had been trending up in Weeks 12 and 13 when he played 50 percent of the snaps, and the Cardinals face the Saints at home next week. Nelson carries a ton of risk, but he's a big-play threat who just demonstrated the week-winning type of ceiling he possesses.

  • The Bears wide receivers are a bit of a mixed bag, and Alshon Jeffery is set to return this week, but Meredith could be worth a look on waivers. The Packers' secondary played well against the Seahawks, but if the Packers get up big against the Bears next week there will be volume to go around. Throwing out the snow apocalypse from Week 13, Meredith owns just shy of 20 percent of Matt Barkley's targets since he became the starter over an injured Jay Cutler, with Barkley averaging 43 attempts a game in those two starts. He'll be too risky to start if Marquess Wilson returns from injury as well, but at this point on a super-thin waiver wire beggars can't be choosers. 4

    Rick Osentoski/Associated Press

    Cameron Meredith, WR, Chicago Bears - 7.4 percent owned

    The Bears wide receivers are a bit of a mixed bag, and Alshon Jeffery is set to return this week, but Meredith could be worth a look on waivers. The Packers' secondary played well against the Seahawks, but if the Packers get up big against the Bears next week there will be volume to go around. Throwing out the snow apocalypse from Week 13, Meredith owns just shy of 20 percent of Matt Barkley's targets since he became the starter over an injured Jay Cutler, with Barkley averaging 43 attempts a game in those two starts. He'll be too risky to start if Marquess Wilson returns from injury as well, but at this point on a super-thin waiver wire beggars can't be choosers.

  • Rather quietly, Thielen has led the Vikings wide receivers in snap percentage in each of the last five weeks. In that span, he's out-gained Stefon Diggs on fewer targets and catches, while also finding the end zone twice. Next up for the Vikings is a banged up Colts secondary that can be taken to task through the air. Thielen offers a safe PPR floor, with nice upside as well. 3

    Phelan M. Ebenhack/Associated Press

    Adam Thielen, WR, Minnesota Vikings - 3.9 percent owned

    Rather quietly, Thielen has led the Vikings wide receivers in snap percentage in each of the last five weeks. In that span, he's out-gained Stefon Diggs on fewer targets and catches, while also finding the end zone twice. Next up for the Vikings is a banged up Colts secondary that can be taken to task through the air. Thielen offers a safe PPR floor, with nice upside as well.

  • Even with Julio Jones and Mohamed Sanu out of the lineup for the Falcons, Gabriel played only 79 percent of the offensive snaps. Still, as has been the case for the last six weeks he only needs a few touches to do maximum fantasy damage. Gabriel is one of the league's best big-play threats being used in creative ways by one of the league's best offensive coordinators. Next week could be a perfect storm for him against the 49ers. Which of course means he'll put up a big fat zero in the box score (#sarcasm). Ah, isn't fantasy great? Still, with Jones and Sanu battling injuries Gabriel's ceiling is even more tempting to chase each and every week. 2

    Mark J. Terrill/Associated Press

    Taylor Gabriel, WR, Atlanta Falcons - 17.6 percent owned

    Even with Julio Jones and Mohamed Sanu out of the lineup for the Falcons, Gabriel played only 79 percent of the offensive snaps. Still, as has been the case for the last six weeks he only needs a few touches to do maximum fantasy damage. Gabriel is one of the league's best big-play threats being used in creative ways by one of the league's best offensive coordinators. Next week could be a perfect storm for him against the 49ers. Which of course means he'll put up a big fat zero in the box score (#sarcasm). Ah, isn't fantasy great? Still, with Jones and Sanu battling injuries Gabriel's ceiling is even more tempting to chase each and every week.

  • Clay scored his first touchdown of the year in Week 14, and posted his second-highest yardage total (52) of the season. So why am I writing about him as a waiver add? One word: Browns. Clay plays the Browns next week, who have allowed a league-worst 11 touchdowns to tight ends. Those in need of a streamer could give Clay a call. 1

    Bill Wippert/Associated Press

    Charles Clay, TE, Buffalo Bills - 2.8 percent owned

    Clay scored his first touchdown of the year in Week 14, and posted his second-highest yardage total (52) of the season. So why am I writing about him as a waiver add? One word: Browns. Clay plays the Browns next week, who have allowed a league-worst 11 touchdowns to tight ends. Those in need of a streamer could give Clay a call.