Fantasy Football Week 15: Rashaad Penny Could Be a Fantasy Playoff MVP

Alex KayContributor IDecember 14, 2021

Fantasy Football Week 15: Rashaad Penny Could Be a Fantasy Playoff MVP

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    Matt Patterson/Associated Press

    With Week 15 approaching, the NFL fantasy playoffs are either about to begin or entering the second round in most leagues. If you are one of the fortunate managers still competing for a championship, it's important to play the waiver wire correctly over these final weeks.

    There are still plenty of valuable players available in free agency, including a few who could end up winning you a title.

    Even if you have a rock-solid lineup that is loaded with quality starters, it's never a bad idea to overturn the bottom of your bench, picking up the best available players for postseason depth.

    Not only is there a chance you may need to lean on one of these waiver-wire additions because of injury, but it also can deny your opponent a chance to deploy someone against you.

    With that in mind, here are the top free-agent targets for Week 15. All players are rostered in 50 percent or less of Yahoo leagues.       

QB Taysom Hill, New Orleans Saints (50 Percent Rostered)

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    Adam Hunger/Associated Press

    Taysom Hill is emerging as one of fantasy's top quarterbacks at an ideal time.

    While there were concerns about the thumb injury the Saints quarterback suffered in his first start of 2021, Hill was able to take the field in Week 14 despite dealing with the same type of "mallet finger" injury that sidelined Seattle's Russell Wilson for a month earlier in the campaign.

    Managers who took a chance on the signal-caller were rewarded with another solid outing.

    Even though Hill only threw 21 passes Sunday—completing 15 of them for a pedestrian 175 yards and no touchdowns—he put up a season-high 26.3 fantasy points on the day. It was the second consecutive week in which he notched at least 20 points.

    Most of his production came on his 11 rushes, which he turned into 73 yards and a pair of scores. Hill's scrambling ability has vaulted him into the upper tier of fantasy quarterbacks, he has the potential to be championship-winning pickup for QB-needy managers.

    The 31-year-old's performance allowed New Orleans to finally get back in the win column after five consecutive defeats and should keep his job safe for the remainder of the season.

    New Orleans has an ideal matchup with the Tampa Bay Buccaneers in Week 15. The NFC South rival has allowed the third-most points to quarterbacks in 2021.

    Although his rushing numbers may come down a bit against Tampa's ferocious front, Hill should at least find success through the air.    

RB Rashaad Penny, Seattle Seahawks (21 Percent Rostered)

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    Eric Christian Smith/Associated Press

    DK DFS Value: $5,400

    Managers who have fought their way into the fantasy playoffs without a star running back may have one last chance to acquire one after Rashaad Penny broke out in Week 14.

    The Seattle Seahawks running back had a career game Sunday, going off for 137 yards and a pair of touchdowns on just 16 carries.

    Penny was a first-round pick in 2018, but he hadn't found his footing after struggling with a series of injuries. He missed six games in 2019, only saw the field for three contests last season and only played in three matchups before Week 11 this year.   

    Now healthy, Penny is looking far and away like Seattle's best back and a must-add for fantasy purposes.

    His offensive explosion also came despite fellow running back Alex Collins returning to the mix after one-game layoff with an abdomen injury. Collins had started six games following the loss of Chris Carson (neck), but Penny was clearly the main back against the Houston Texans.

    He saw the field for 35 snaps21 more than Collins, who gained just 16 yards on seven carries.

    Fantasy managers will want to make Penny a priority pickup ahead of Seattle's Week 15 meeting with the Los Angeles Rams.

    While L.A. boasts a top-10 rushing defense, the Seahawks will likely ride the hot hand and keep Penny heavily involved against their NFC West rival.     

RB Justin Jackson, Los Angeles Chargers (2 Percent Rostered)

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    Kyusung Gong/Associated Press

    DK DFS Value: $4,100

    The Los Angeles Chargers were dealt a major blow this weekend when Austin Ekeler sprained his ankle against the New York Giants. With the team slated for a Thursday Night Football appearance, it unlikely that the running back will be ready in time to face the AFC West rival Kansas City Chiefs in prime time.

    If Ekeler is out, the Bolts will likely utilize a platoon approach.

    Managers who can afford multiple roster spots may want to take a chance on both Justin Jackson and Joshua Kelley (0 percent rostered).

    Jackson has slightly more upside, however, especially in points-per-reception (PPR) leagues, because of his abilities as a receiver. 

    The Chargers offense heavily involves running backs as pass-catchers—Ekeler has caught 58 balls for 535 yards and seven touchdowns this season—and that should not change in Week 15.

    Jackson had a season-high nine carries Sunday, turning them into 35 yards. He also caught his only target for seven yards. Kelley got more touches than Jackson (10 totes and a reception) but was less efficient, gaining 38 total yards.

    Unfortunately, it's hard to tell how the team will use the pair in Thursday's matchup. Jackson and Kelley saw nearly equal snaps Sunday (20 and 19, respectively), a trend that could continue against Kansas City. The Chargers could even get Larry Rountree III more involved after the rookie sixth-rounder was a healthy scratch in Week 14. 

    The L.A. backfield may have limited upside due to this logjam, but desperate managers—especially those who have been relying on Ekeler—won't find many better options than Jackson in Week 15.

WR Rashod Bateman, Baltimore Ravens (36 Percent Rostered)

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    Kirk Irwin/Associated Press

    DK DFS Value: $5,000

    Rashod Bateman has been a decent spot starter ever since he made his debut in Week 6. While the rookie had been a steady but unremarkable presence over his first seven games, he had his finest game as a pro in Week 14.

    The Baltimore Ravens wide receiver tied a career high with eight targets, turning them into seven catches for 103 yards, both career-best marks.

    Much of that production came with Tyler Huntley under center after the backup quarterback was forced into action when Lamar Jackson exited with an ankle injury against the Cleveland Browns. But Bateman can build on that performance when Jackson returns to face the Green Bay Packers in Week 15.

    While Baltimore's receivers are notoriously limited for fantasy purposes because of the team's run-heavy scheme, the Ravens have passed on nearly 58 percent of their offensive plays over the last three contests, including on two-thirds of their snaps during a desperate comeback bid against Cleveland.

    With Green Bay on tap, there is high potential for Baltimore to air it out often in order to keep pace. The Packers have scored 30 or more points in each of their last three games, including a 45-point bonanza against the Chicago Bears this weekend.

    Bateman could be in line for another 100-plus-yard day. He could even find the end zone for the first time, something that has evaded him thus far as a pro.   

WR Amon-Ra St. Brown, Detroit Lions (12 Percent Rostered)

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    Paul Sancya/Associated Press

    DK DFS Value: $5,200

    Amon-Ra St. Brown has remained hot after playing the role of hero for the Detroit Lions in Week 13. 

    While the first-year wideout wasn't able to help Detroit notch another victory—the team lost on the road 38-10 to the Denver Broncos—he was one of the lone bright spots Sunday.

    St. Brown reeled in eight of his 12 targets for 73 yards. No other Lions player had more than four catches or 52 receiving yards.

    It was a fitting follow-up to his breakout game against the Minnesota Vikings in which he secured 10 of his 12 targets for 86 yards and a game-winning touchdown.

    PPR owners will certainly want to take note of his volume over the last two weeks.

    While his usage projects to come down a bit when D'Andre Swift (shoulder)—one of the most-targeted running backs in football—and tight end T.J. Hockenson (hand) return to the fold, it's unlikely St. Brown will fall off too much after proving he's currently the best receiver on Detroit's roster.

    He has earned the trust of quarterback Jared Goff, making him a nice addition to fantasy rosters ahead of Detroit's Week 15 showdown with the high-flying Arizona Cardinals.  

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