Week 15 Waiver Wire: Early Pickups and Breakout Fantasy Football Candidates

Maurice Moton@@MoeMotonFeatured ColumnistDecember 13, 2021

Week 15 Waiver Wire: Early Pickups and Breakout Fantasy Football Candidates

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    Fantasy football managers have to sort out their best pickup options with the playoffs ahead. Fortunately, a pair of potential league-winning performers remain available in most leagues.

    The New Orleans Saints offense doesn't feature a clear-cut No. 1 wide receiver, but managers should consider the club's starting quarterback, who posts rushing numbers comparable to top running backs.

    If you're set with a top quarterback, take a look at the Seattle Seahawks backfield, which may have a new lead ball-carrier going forward. The team could finally see a recent first-round draft pick play up to his potential for a short period. 

    One of the top fantasy running backs went down with an injury Sunday. If he misses time, a couple of streamer options have a chance to take advantage of a decent matchup. 

    We'll highlight eight options to target on the waiver wire or free-agent pool for Week 15. All the selections are rostered in fewer than 60 percent of Yahoo leagues.   

Top Breakout Candidates and Pickups for Week 15

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    Wilfredo Lee/Associated Press

    Taysom Hill, QB, New Orleans Saints at Tampa Bay Buccaneers (50 percent rostered)

    Rashaad Penny, RB, Seattle Seahawks at Los Angeles Rams (19 percent rostered)

    Justin Jackson, RB, Los Angeles Chargers vs. Kansas City Chiefs (2 percent rostered) 

    Joshua Kelley, RB, Los Angeles Chargers vs. Kansas City Chiefs (0 percent rostered)

    Russell Gage, WR, Atlanta Falcons at San Francisco 49ers (53 percent rostered)

    DeVante Parker, WR, Miami Dolphins vs. New York Jets (44 percent rostered)

    K.J. Osborn, WR, Minnesota Vikings at Chicago Bears (38 percent rostered)

    Nick Vannett, TE, New Orleans Saints at Tampa Bay Buccaneers (0 percent rostered)

Taysom Hill, QB, New Orleans Saints

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    If managers view Taysom Hill as a quarterback and expect high-end passing numbers, they're going to miss out on a fantasy gem. He racks up most of his points on the ground.

    On Sunday against the New York Jets, Hill recorded 11 carries for 73 yards and two touchdowns, ranking third among quarterbacks in fantasy scoring (26.30) leading up to the Sunday night contest between the Green Bay Packers and Chicago Bears.

    In Week 15, Hill will have an opportunity to match a solid passing performance with his robust rushing numbers. He'll face the Tampa Bay Buccaneers, who ranked 20th and 24th in passing yards and touchdowns allowed, respectively, going into Sunday's games.

    As one of the most dynamic dual-threat quarterbacks from a fantasy perspective, Hill has QB1 value. Managers who need a replacement for Lamar Jackson (ankle injury) should see the New Orleans Saints signal-caller as a priority target on the waiver wire.

Rashaad Penny, RB, Seattle Seahawks

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    Rashaad Penny, a 2018 first-rounder, had his best pro performance Sunday, logging 16 carries for a career-high 137 yards and two touchdowns against the Houston Texans. 

    With running back Chris Carson (neck) out for the remainder of the season, managers shouldn't hesitate to add Penny, who might have a heavy workload in the coming weeks.

    Against the Texans, Alex Collins had the second-most carries (seven), but he's missed his chance to lead the Seattle Seahawks backfield. In the lead position, Penny enters the RB2 or flex discussion for next week's matchup with the Los Angeles Rams.

    Going into Week 14, the Rams allowed the seventh-fewest rushing yards, but they've surrendered 13 touchdowns on the ground (ranked 27th). Penny will have a chance to reach paydirt and finish the season on a hot streak in a featured role.

Justin Jackson, RB, Los Angeles Chargers

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    Running back Austin Ekeler suffered an ankle injury in Sunday's game with the New York Giants. With a big lead, the Los Angeles Chargers had no reason to rush him back to action, but the team has a short turnaround with a crucial division matchup against the Kansas City Chiefs Thursday. 

    If Ekeler isn't quite himself in practices leading up to the next outing, Joshua Kelley or Justin Jackson could have a decent role. They logged 10 and nine carries, respectively, Sunday.

    Though Kelley recorded more rush attempts than Jackson, the latter had a more efficient day on the ground, averaging 3.9 yards per carry compared to the former's 3.3 yards per carry. 

    If Ekeler suits up, managers should avoid the Chargers backfield, but in his absence, both Jackson and Kelley would have RB2 or flex value in a battle with the Chiefs, who rank 20th in rushing yards allowed and give up an average of 4.7 yards per carry (29th).

K.J. Osborn, WR, Minnesota Vikings

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    Last Thursday, K.J. Osborn started in place of Adam Thielen, who suffered a high ankle sprain in Week 13. The former converted nine targets into three receptions for 83 yards and a touchdown against the Pittsburgh Steelers. 

    Though Osborn didn't have an efficient performance, he'll continue to command a high number of targets while Thielen nurses an injury, which bodes well for him in next week's contest with the Chicago Bears. 

    The Bears allow the 11th-most fantasy points to wide receivers. Furthermore, in addition to hauling in seven passes for 130 yards over the last two outings, Osborn has scored in consecutive games. He's a decent WR3 or flex option.

    The Minnesota Vikings haven't placed Thielen on injured reserve, but he could miss at least one more game. Managers should add and hold Osborn until the two-time Pro Bowl wideout returns to action.


    Fantasy scoring and points allowed provided by FantasyPros.

    Maurice Moton is an NFL and Fantasy Football columnist for Bleacher Report. You can follow him on Twitter @MoeMoton.