Fantasy Football Week 15 Rankings: Waiver-Wire Targets for Injured Players

Theo SalaunContributor IIIDecember 14, 2019

Miami Dolphins running back Patrick Laird (42) runs by New York Jets defensive back Blessuan Austin (31) during the second half of an NFL football game, Sunday, Dec. 8, 2019, in East Rutherford, N.J. (AP Photo/Adam Hunger)
Adam Hunger/Associated Press

Week 15 is a lot like Chuck E. Cheese for fantasy football aficionados. Following the most injury-packed Sunday of 2019, managers are scrambling their rosters, stashing to block their opponents and redeeming waiver bucks for needed replacements.

Our playoffs have devolved into an arcade of gamesmanship for those players left standing. 


Jameis Winston was throwing tennis balls in practice for most of the week. Patrick Laird, an undrafted rookie out of Cal who started the season as the fourth running back on the Miami Dolphins depth chart, may be called upon to save seasons. It is legitimate mayhem, and we're here to help sort through the chaos. 


For each offensive position, we list the top 10 players followed by some analysis of the injury situation and the waiver wire's most interesting replacement options. Since we are in fantasy pandemonium, no hard limit will be set on Yahoo fantasy ownership percentages for waiver targets—but we will include a mix of shallow and deep targets.


Quarterback Rankings

1. Lamar Jackson, Baltimore Ravens (vs. NYJ)

2. Deshaun Watson, Houston Texans (at TEN)

3. Ryan Tannehill, Tennessee Titans (vs. HOU)

4. Drew Brees, New Orleans Saints (vs. IND)

5. Patrick Mahomes, Kansas City Chiefs (vs. DEN)

6. Jimmy Garoppolo, San Francisco 49ers (vs. ATL)

7. Russell Wilson, Seattle Seahawks (at CAR)

8. Baker Mayfield, Cleveland Browns (at ARI)

9. Dak Prescott, Dallas Cowboys (vs. LAR)

10. Carson Wentz, Philadelphia Eagles (at WAS)


QB Injuries and Waivers

Quarterbacks came out of Week 14 relatively unscathed. While every other position underwent serious population control, Jameis Winston was the only signal-caller to get injured—and he's still likely to play Sunday.


Daniel Jones is still hurt too, but you likely weren't counting on him anyway.


Two waiver quarterbacks stand out as likely QB1s for Week 15: Ryan Tannehill (owned in 66 percent of leagues, vs. HOU) and Ryan Fitzpatrick (25 percent, at NYG).

In his past four games, Tannehill has 11 touchdowns (including two rushing) to just one interception. Over that span, he's completing 75.6 percent of his passes and averaging 253.3 passing yards with 25.3 on the ground. The Houston Texans, meanwhile, are giving up 406.5 yards and 29.5 points per game over the same period.


Tannehill is showing out and a great bet to put up points Sunday as Houston's offense applies pressure on Tennessee to score.


Fitzpatrick hasn't been as dynamite in recent weeks, but the New York Giants just made their secondary an even juicier matchup by releasing Janoris Jenkins. You can wait to see how things shake out with DeVante Parker and Albert Wilson, but Fitzmagic has real boom potential.


For those in the deepest of leagues, Gardner Minshew (15 percent owned, at OAK), Eli Manning (5 percent owned, vs. MIA) and David Blough (1 percent owned, vs. TB) all have great matchups and potential.


Running Back Rankings

1. Chris Carson, Seattle Seahawks (at CAR)

2. Leonard Fournette, Jacksonville Jaguars (at OAK)

3. Christian McCaffrey, Carolina Panthers (vs. SEA)

4. Ezekiel Elliott, Dallas Cowboys (vs. LAR)

5. Nick Chubb, Cleveland Browns (at ARI)

6. Derrick Henry, Tennessee Titans (vs. HOU)

7. Dalvin Cook, Minnesota Vikings (at LAC)

8. Saquon Barkley, New York Giants (vs. MIA)

9. Todd Gurley, Los Angeles Rams (at DAL)

10. Phillip Lindsay, Denver Broncos (at KC)


RB Injuries and Waivers


Following a resurgence, Derrius Guice is out for the year. After propping up some desperate teams, Bo Scarbrough is now questionable for Week 15. As of Friday's practices, Devonta Freeman, Josh Jacobs and Derrick Henry all join Scarbrough and Jordan Howard on the questionable list.


Miles Sanders (89 percent owned, at WAS) has been replacing Howard for weeks, so he's not likely to be available. While Adrian Peterson (51 percent owned, vs. PHI) has done the same for Guice and is more readily available, his matchup is horrible, so he's a lower priority until Week 16.


If Jacobs misses his second consecutive game, then DeAndre Washington (43 percent owned, vs. JAX) immediately jumps into RB1 consideration. That potential alone makes him a must-add if he is available in your league and you have a starting spot to spare. In Week 14, Washington took Jacobs' place against the Titans and turned 14 carries and seven targets into 96 yards and a touchdown. In the final game at the Coliseum, with an easier matchup, Washington could be a fantasy semifinal hero.


Laird (43 percent owned, at NYG), who has 33 touches over his past two games, is another shallow-league target who could come up huge in a decent matchup.

As for the others, Henry is likely to play—but if he does not, Dion Lewis (11 percent owned, vs. HOU) becomes a must-add with major upside against a defense that struggles with pass-catching backs. Freeman also seems probable, but if not, Brian Hill (16 percent owned, at SF) could be a desperation play against a stout defense.


In deeper leagues, J.D. McKissic (13 percent owned, vs. TB) could get receiving work against an otherwise-tough Tampa Bay Buccaneers front if the game's score balloons. And finally, after a surprise showing in Week 14, Boston Scott (5 percent owned, at WAS) is a huge boom/bust play if he can steal more touches from Sanders in a plus-matchup.


Wide Receiver Rankings

1. Michael Thomas, New Orleans Saints (vs. IND)

2. Kenny Golladay, Detroit Lions (vs. TB)

3. DeAndre Hopkins, Houston Texans (at TEN)

4. Chris Godwin, Tampa Bay Buccaneers (at DET)

5. Julian Edelman, New England Patriots (at CIN)

6. Jarvis Landry, Cleveland Browns (at ARI)

7. DJ Moore, Carolina Panthers (vs. SEA)

8. Dede Westbrook, Jacksonville Jaguars (at OAK)

9. Julio Jones, Atlanta Falcons (at SF)

10. Davante Adams, Green Bay Packers (vs. CHI)


WR Injuries and Waivers


Week 4 was brutal for wide receivers. Mike Evans (2019's WR3), Calvin Ridley (WR10) and Marvin Jones (WR12) are all likely out for the year. As is Alshon Jeffery. DJ Chark Jr. (2019's WR7) and DeVante Parker (WR20) are both likely out for Week 15, at least.


In shallower leagues, guys like AJ Brown (67 percent owned, vs. HOU), Zach Pascal (47 percent owned, at NO) and Anthony Miller (25 percent owned, at GB) have stepped up admirably over the past few weeks. If Dede Westbrook (68 percent owned, at OAK) is still available, then you should fix that immediately. Still, you may have to go deeper into the ball pit for other options.


Russell Gage (9 percent owned, at SF) is a great add in Ridley's stead. He's averaged an already-decent 6.8 targets per game over Atlanta's past six games. Those opportunities should increase, and the San Francisco 49ers just lost Richard Sherman to injury, making this a better matchup than usual.


Danny Amendola (25 percent owned, vs. TB) is in a similar spot. He's had opportunities this season (6.2 targets per game over his last six) but should receive even more now that defenses can double-team Kenny Golladay given Jones' absence. He also gets a plus-matchup in Tampa Bay.


Nelson Agholor (11 percent owned, vs. WAS) gets a great matchup and should get volume with Jeffery gone—but his hands are questionable, and so is his injury status.


The rest is a mess. It is unclear who should absorb Mike Evans or DeVante Parker's volume. For Evans, Breshad Perriman (6 percent owned, at DET) and Justin Watson (7 percent owned, at DET) are both candidates to contribute with a great matchup. For Parker, it's Allen Hurns (5 percent owned, at NYG) and Isaiah Ford (1 percent owned, at NYG).


All four options are archetypally sized receivers at 6'2" or 6'3" who weigh around 200 pounds and have great matchups in Week 15 following strong performances in Week 14. Based on their track records for usage, they are probably best prioritized as follows: Hurns, Perriman, Ford, Watson.


Tight End Rankings

1. George Kittle, San Francisco 49ers (vs. ATL)

2. Travis Kelce, Kansas City Chiefs (vs. DEN)

3. Zach Ertz, Philadelphia Eagles (at WAS)

4. Darren Waller, Oakland Raiders (vs. JAX)

5. Jack Doyle, Indianapolis Colts (at NO)

6. OJ Howard, Tampa Bay Buccaneers (at DET)

7. Ian Thomas, Carolina Panthers (vs. SEA)

8. Hunter Henry, Los Angeles Chargers (vs. MIN)

9. Mike Gesicki, Miami Dolphins (At NYG)

10. Noah Fant, Denver Broncos (at KC)


TE Injuries and Waivers


Greg Olsen, Ryan Griffin, Gerald Everett and Jared Cook are all high-profile tight ends likely to miss Week 15. With Olsen still nursing a concussion, Ian Thomas (4 percent owned, vs. SEA) becomes a must-add at tight end. The Seattle Seahawks are horrible against tight ends, and that puts Thomas in the TE1 tier.


Sharing that tier is Tyler Higbee (59 percent owned, at DAL), as he's been eating with Everett sidelined (which is likely to continue through Week 15). 


As for some boom/bust options who should be available in most leagues, Mike Gesicki (28 percent owned, at NYG) hasn't had under five targets in a game since Week 8, gets a great matchup and should be relied upon in Parker's absence. Noah Fant (31 percent owned, at KC) is another incredible player with a great matchup, but his injury status is worth monitoring. Finally, David Njoku (38 percent owned, at ARI) is rusty as can be in his second game back but faces the best matchup at his position in football. 


If you're a real gambler, O.J. Howard (39 percent owned, at DET) gets a decent matchup and could be in line to help compensate for Mike Evans' absence.