Published: Dec. 11, 2017 at 12:00 a.m.

Week 15 fantasy football waiver-wire targets

I'm starting to think we just can't have nice things this fantasy/NFL season. With Carson Wentz suffering a potentially season-ending knee injury (after throwing four touchdowns), there are likely a lot of teams headed to the next round of the fantasy playoffs in need of a quarterback. I have two options listed below, and you'll be able to find even more once Matt Harmon and Matt Franciscovich post their companion waiver pieces on Monday (Deep Dive and Streaming picks). For now, peruse these options and see if any are available in your league. If not, more help is on the way tomorrow. I've removed the FAAB suggestions because, well, it's Week 15. If you have any FAAB left, use it with reckless abandon.

12 Photos Total

  • Giovani Bernard was a top pickup last week following Joe Mixon's concussion, and the former fantasy stud delivered in his opportunity. Despite only receiving 11 carries as the Bengals trailed for pretty much the entire game, Bernard racked up 130 total yards thanks to six catches for 68 yards. If Mixon remains sidelined next week, Bernard will once again be a strong RB2 against the Minnesota Vikings. If Mixon returns, though, Bernard will likely be relegated to the fantasy bench as this offense can barely sustain one fantasy back, let alone two. (Percent owned: 27.7) 12

    Jack Dempsey/Associated Press

    Giovani Bernard, RB, Cincinnati Bengals - 27.7 percent owned

    Giovani Bernard was a top pickup last week following Joe Mixon's concussion, and the former fantasy stud delivered in his opportunity. Despite only receiving 11 carries as the Bengals trailed for pretty much the entire game, Bernard racked up 130 total yards thanks to six catches for 68 yards. If Mixon remains sidelined next week, Bernard will once again be a strong RB2 against the Minnesota Vikings. If Mixon returns, though, Bernard will likely be relegated to the fantasy bench as this offense can barely sustain one fantasy back, let alone two. (Percent owned: 27.7)

  • I'm sure Rex Burkhead is owned in your competitive leagues, but I have to do my due diligence here for those in more casual leagues. Burkhead is far from a household name, but is a crucial part of the Patriots high-powered offense, as he's scored five touchdowns in his last four games. If, for some reason, Burkhead is still available in your league, scoop him up immediately. The Patriots have to travel to Pittsburgh next week for what should be a high-scoring affair with the Steelers. (Percent owned: 38.4) 11

    Paul Spinelli/Associated Press

    Rex Burkhead, RB, New England Patriots - 38.4 percent owned

    I'm sure Rex Burkhead is owned in your competitive leagues, but I have to do my due diligence here for those in more casual leagues. Burkhead is far from a household name, but is a crucial part of the Patriots high-powered offense, as he's scored five touchdowns in his last four games. If, for some reason, Burkhead is still available in your league, scoop him up immediately. The Patriots have to travel to Pittsburgh next week for what should be a high-scoring affair with the Steelers. (Percent owned: 38.4)

  • The Seahawks backfield has been such a mess this season that their leading rusher after 13 games is Chris Carson, who's been on IR since October 2! Davis and J.D. McKissic pretty much split the backfield snaps down the middle, though Davis handled twice as many touches (16 to eight). The Rams defense has shown cracks of late, and has allowed 489 rushing yards to opposing backs over their last four games. With Davis the clear lead option here, he'll be a solid flex play next week in what could also be a high-scoring game. (Percent owned: 6.0) 10

    Ryan Kang/NFL

    Mike Davis, RB, Seattle Seahawks - 6.0 percent owned

    The Seahawks backfield has been such a mess this season that their leading rusher after 13 games is Chris Carson, who's been on IR since October 2! Davis and J.D. McKissic pretty much split the backfield snaps down the middle, though Davis handled twice as many touches (16 to eight). The Rams defense has shown cracks of late, and has allowed 489 rushing yards to opposing backs over their last four games. With Davis the clear lead option here, he'll be a solid flex play next week in what could also be a high-scoring game. (Percent owned: 6.0)

  • Adrian Peterson has missed the last two games with a neck injury for the Cardinals, and his status remains a mystery. In his stead, Kerwynn Williams has carried the ball 36 times for 170 yards (4.7 yards per carry), with one catch for 15 yards as well. If Peterson misses a third game, Williams will get the bulk of the carries against a Washington run defense that's conceded 391 rushing yards to opposing backs over their last three weeks. Williams won't be a flashy start, but beggars can't be choosers at running back this year. (Percent owned: 3.8) 9

    Rick Scuteri/Associated Press

    Kerwynn Williams, RB, Arizona Cardinals - 3.8 percent owned

    Adrian Peterson has missed the last two games with a neck injury for the Cardinals, and his status remains a mystery. In his stead, Kerwynn Williams has carried the ball 36 times for 170 yards (4.7 yards per carry), with one catch for 15 yards as well. If Peterson misses a third game, Williams will get the bulk of the carries against a Washington run defense that's conceded 391 rushing yards to opposing backs over their last three weeks. Williams won't be a flashy start, but beggars can't be choosers at running back this year. (Percent owned: 3.8)

  • Despite Peyton Barber putting together the best performance by a Buccaneers running back all year, Doug Martin came right back into the starting role this week. Until he fumbled and was promptly benched, allowing Barber to rack up more touches, yards and playing time than the "starter." With the way Tampa Bay operates, it's entirely possible Martin is the starter again next week. However, Barber has now looked like the best back on the team two weeks in a row, and could have made a case for more playing time. He should be added regardless, and if he gets the start against the Falcons he'll be a strong RB2.
(Percent owned: 7.9) 8

    Paul Jasienski/Associated Press

    Peyton Barber, RB, Tampa Bay Buccaneers - 7.9 percent owned

    Despite Peyton Barber putting together the best performance by a Buccaneers running back all year, Doug Martin came right back into the starting role this week. Until he fumbled and was promptly benched, allowing Barber to rack up more touches, yards and playing time than the "starter." With the way Tampa Bay operates, it's entirely possible Martin is the starter again next week. However, Barber has now looked like the best back on the team two weeks in a row, and could have made a case for more playing time. He should be added regardless, and if he gets the start against the Falcons he'll be a strong RB2. (Percent owned: 7.9)

  • Every week this time of year I try to keep a "handcuff" reminder in this column. With no teams on byes, we don't need to load our benches with spot-start type of players or a group of WR3s. Those spaces can be put to much better use holding high-value backup running backs like Conner, who could be one hit away from a starting role. It happened last week with Giovani Bernard/Joe Mixon, and it almost happened again this week when Le'Veon Bell took a shot to the knee and sat out a few plays. Conner, Aaron Jones, Chris Ivory, Malcolm Brown, and Austin Ekeler are all names to circle with Week 15 approaching. (Percent owned: 1.0) 7

    Aaron M. Sprecher/Associated Press

    James Conner, RB, Pittsburgh Steelers - 1.0 percent owned

    Every week this time of year I try to keep a "handcuff" reminder in this column. With no teams on byes, we don't need to load our benches with spot-start type of players or a group of WR3s. Those spaces can be put to much better use holding high-value backup running backs like Conner, who could be one hit away from a starting role. It happened last week with Giovani Bernard/Joe Mixon, and it almost happened again this week when Le'Veon Bell took a shot to the knee and sat out a few plays. Conner, Aaron Jones, Chris Ivory, Malcolm Brown, and Austin Ekeler are all names to circle with Week 15 approaching. (Percent owned: 1.0)

  • Another week, another big play for Paul Richardson. This one was a 61-yard bomb from Russell Wilson, the duo's third of 20-plus yards this year. Next up for the Seahawks is a date with the Los Angeles Rams, who just lost starting cornerback Kayvon Webster for the year. Both Richardson and Tyler Lockett could be in play this week in what could be a shootout for NFC West supremacy. (Percent owned: 37.9) 6

    Greg Trott/Associated Press

    Paul Richardson, WR, Seattle Seahawks - 37.9 percent owned

    Another week, another big play for Paul Richardson. This one was a 61-yard bomb from Russell Wilson, the duo's third of 20-plus yards this year. Next up for the Seahawks is a date with the Los Angeles Rams, who just lost starting cornerback Kayvon Webster for the year. Both Richardson and Tyler Lockett could be in play this week in what could be a shootout for NFC West supremacy. (Percent owned: 37.9)

  • Those looking for an upside play in the flex this week could add Mohamed Sanu, if he's still available. The Falcons offense is heating up, and Sanu is averaging over seven targets and 63 yards per game over his last three, with one touchdown in that span. Every team to face the Buccaneers this year save two (Green Bay, Carolina) has thrown for 250-plus yards. That should present some solid opportunities for Sanu to score as the Falcons look to stay in the playoff mix. (Percent owned: 31.4) 5

    Danny Karnik/Associated Press

    Mohamed Sanu, WR, Atlanta Falcons - 31.4 percent owned

    Those looking for an upside play in the flex this week could add Mohamed Sanu, if he's still available. The Falcons offense is heating up, and Sanu is averaging over seven targets and 63 yards per game over his last three, with one touchdown in that span. Every team to face the Buccaneers this year save two (Green Bay, Carolina) has thrown for 250-plus yards. That should present some solid opportunities for Sanu to score as the Falcons look to stay in the playoff mix. (Percent owned: 31.4)

  • Rather quietly, Marqise Lee has emerged as a No. 1 wide receiver for the Jaguars. If you throw out the game against Arizona where he was shadowed by Patrick Peterson, Lee is averaging nearly 10 targets, over six catches and 65 yards per game over his last five, with three touchdowns in that span. The Texans secondary has been repeatedly burned over the last several weeks, and will present a fantastic matchup for Lee and the entire Jags' passing attack to go berserk. (Percent owned: 19.0) 4

    Stephen B. Morton/Associated Press

    Marqise Lee, WR, Jacksonville Jaguars - 19.0 percent owned

    Rather quietly, Marqise Lee has emerged as a No. 1 wide receiver for the Jaguars. If you throw out the game against Arizona where he was shadowed by Patrick Peterson, Lee is averaging nearly 10 targets, over six catches and 65 yards per game over his last five, with three touchdowns in that span. The Texans secondary has been repeatedly burned over the last several weeks, and will present a fantastic matchup for Lee and the entire Jags' passing attack to go berserk. (Percent owned: 19.0)

  • Marquise Goodwin was already deserving of more fantasy attention before he got a real quarterback under center, and now he's a virtual must-add. Goodwin's seen eight and 12 targets in Jimmy Garoppolo's two starts, posting lines of 8-99 and 6-106 respectively. Up next for Garoppolo and Goodwin is a date with the Titans' suspect secondary. Goodwin's proven to be a reliable option over his last five games with 68-plus yards in each contest, and can be a week-winner if he hits on one of his deep targets for a touchdown. (Percent owned: 13.2) 3

    Terrell Lloyd/Associated Press

    Marquise Goodwin, WR, San Francisco 49ers - 13.2 percent owned

    Marquise Goodwin was already deserving of more fantasy attention before he got a real quarterback under center, and now he's a virtual must-add. Goodwin's seen eight and 12 targets in Jimmy Garoppolo's two starts, posting lines of 8-99 and 6-106 respectively. Up next for Garoppolo and Goodwin is a date with the Titans' suspect secondary. Goodwin's proven to be a reliable option over his last five games with 68-plus yards in each contest, and can be a week-winner if he hits on one of his deep targets for a touchdown. (Percent owned: 13.2)

  • After several weeks on injured reserve, Aaron Rodgers could be back under center for the Packers. He still has to get medically cleared and activated this week, but all reports out of Green Bay have been positive for the King of the North. Rodgers returns to a dreadful slate of "on paper" matchups in the fantasy playoffs with a road trip to Carolina followed by a home date with the Minnesota Vikings. However, the Panthers have allowed an average of 19.58 fantasy points per game to opposing passers since their Week 11 bye, and Rodgers gets to play the Vikings in Lambeau Field. Managers who may have just lost Carson Wentz or who are looking for high-upside quarterback should add Rodgers if he's available. (Percent owned: 60.7) 2

    Ryan Kang/NFL

    Aaron Rodgers, QB, Green Bay Packers - 60.7 percent owned

    After several weeks on injured reserve, Aaron Rodgers could be back under center for the Packers. He still has to get medically cleared and activated this week, but all reports out of Green Bay have been positive for the King of the North. Rodgers returns to a dreadful slate of "on paper" matchups in the fantasy playoffs with a road trip to Carolina followed by a home date with the Minnesota Vikings. However, the Panthers have allowed an average of 19.58 fantasy points per game to opposing passers since their Week 11 bye, and Rodgers gets to play the Vikings in Lambeau Field. Managers who may have just lost Carson Wentz or who are looking for high-upside quarterback should add Rodgers if he's available. (Percent owned: 60.7)

  • Another option for Carson Wentz managers is Blake Bortles, who has an incredibly favorable playoff schedule (vs. Texans, at 49ers) and is coming off an impressive performance against the Seahawks: 268 passing yards, two touchdowns, no interceptions. He's now scored 16-plus fantasy points in five of his last six games, with nine total touchdowns and just three interceptions. I know, this is Blake Bortles. The butt of countless of fantasy and other jokes the last few years. But winning in fantasy football is often about adjusting perceptions and assessing what's in front of us without prejudice. In 2017, the strangest of strange years, Bortles could be a fantasy playoffs hero. (Percent owned: 16.3) 1

    John Raoux/Associated Press

    Blake Bortles, QB, Jacksonville Jaguars - 16.3 percent owned

    Another option for Carson Wentz managers is Blake Bortles, who has an incredibly favorable playoff schedule (vs. Texans, at 49ers) and is coming off an impressive performance against the Seahawks: 268 passing yards, two touchdowns, no interceptions. He's now scored 16-plus fantasy points in five of his last six games, with nine total touchdowns and just three interceptions. I know, this is Blake Bortles. The butt of countless of fantasy and other jokes the last few years. But winning in fantasy football is often about adjusting perceptions and assessing what's in front of us without prejudice. In 2017, the strangest of strange years, Bortles could be a fantasy playoffs hero. (Percent owned: 16.3)