Anyone who has played fantasy football for multiple seasons can sympathize with heartbreak in the postseason. The hard truth remains that only one team will reign supreme at the end of the year, leading to a season-ending in disappointment for literally everyone else in your league. Whether or not you make it through this week to the championship, take a moment to appreciate being in this position and having the opportunity to fight for bragging rights. It has been an unpredictable, unprecedented, and downright absurd season due to all the constant injuries to key players and surprise COVID designations, so it is safe to say you have weathered a storm unlike any other just to make it this far. Although I typically aim to discuss a variety of options throughout the season, there are a few players among this week’s featured streamers making a return appearance. My goal is to provide you with players who I would consider starting in my own lineups with elimination on the line, so hopefully the next couple of weeks bring fruitful fantasy results for us all. The semifinals are here, so forget about the dark cloud of potential playoff heartbreak and throw everything you got at your opponent. Without further ado, here are my top RB/WR/TE streamers for Week 15.
* Players marked with an asterisk below can also be found in the priority waiver wire adds article referenced at the end. If anyone featured below is at risk of not playing or is relegated to a bench role late in the week, I will do my best to keep you all updated on Twitter (@BrandonMillerFB). All players below are under 65%-rostered as of 12/16/20.
*Jeff Wilson Jr. (RB, San Francisco 49ers)
This recommendation comes down to Wilson’s standing as the “1B” next to the “1A” Raheem Mostert in recent weeks, a high-value goal-line role, and a Week 15 matchup against the Swiss-cheese Dallas defense. Mostert underwent an MRI on Monday and has yet to practice this week (as of Wednesday), so his status is highly in question. Whether or not Mostert plays, I think Wilson will see enough work to make an impact as a solid Flex with RB2 upside if he’s able to score. Even before playmaking pass-catchers Deebo Samuel and George Kittle went down with injuries, the 49ers’ identity was rooted in operating as a run-first team. The Cowboys are surrendering the sixth-most fantasy points per game to opposing RBs, and if you want to peek ahead at Week 16, San Francisco has the Cardinals’ exploitable run defense up next, leading to Wilson as a potential multi-week RB option. With the combination of volume, goal-line work, and matchup in mind, Wilson can certainly move the needle for RB-starved fantasy squads.
*Lynn Bowden Jr. (RB/WR, Miami Dolphins)
Miami’s unexpected fantasy options this week are a result of significant attrition to their top runners and pass-catchers. Among the names that are either questionable or out this week are Myles Gaskin (out, COVID), Salvon Ahmed (likely out, shoulder), Matt Breida (questionable, recently activated from COVID list), Mike Gesicki (likely out, shoulder), DeVante Parker (very questionable, hamstring), and Jakeem Grant (very questionable, hamstring). In the absence of those notable contributors last week, Bowden hauled in seven of nine targets for 82 yards along with one rush for two yards and one pass attempt. I understand that fantasy managers might be hesitant to trust Bowden since he was previously buried on the Dolphins’ depth chart, but that is not to say he isn’t capable of producing fantasy-viable numbers. With a high football IQ and experience playing QB, RB, and WR, he represents a multi-skilled offensive weapon for a team that will likely need to get creative with so many players out. Bowden’s dual-eligibility as an RB/WR in ESPN and Yahoo leagues provides additional flexibility depending on your team needs, and I can see him producing Flex-worthy numbers this week provided the majority of the names above are ruled out, as expected.
Other names to consider (in order): Damien Harris (59%-rostered ESPN, #2 priority behind Wilson if available), Gus Edwards, DeAndre Washington, Jamaal Williams (low-Flex, high-end handcuff), Latavius Murray (low-Flex, high-end handcuff), Giovani Bernard, Benny Snell Jr (if no James Conner), Phillip Lindsay (monitor status and Melvin Gordon status), Zack Moss, James White, Frank Gore, Tony Pollard (RB4, high-end handcuff), Ito Smith (if no Todd Gurley), Darrell Henderson Jr, LeVeon Bell.
*Nelson Agholor (WR, Las Vegas Raiders)
This week’s featured pass-catchers are all making a return appearance to this article for good reason. I will not take it personally if you decided to forgo my advice in those previous write-ups, but with your championship aspirations on the line, I am doubling down because I feel this next trio can put up solid fantasy totals once again. Outside of Darren Waller, Agholor has by far and away been the Raiders’ most reliable receiving option. 14 weeks into the season, he has the most receiving TDs on the team (seven), the most plays over 20-yards gained (11), and the second-most receiving yards (635 yards). Adding to his appeal is the fact that Henry Ruggs III (COVID) will be out this week, which will likely lead to increased targets for Agholor. He has seen nine-plus targets in three of the last four games (six in the other) and is fresh off his second 100+ receiving yard game (five catches on nine targets for 100 yards and a score against the Colts’ stingy defense). The Raiders take on the Chargers on Thursday, so as always with Thursday players, make sure to put him in one of your WR slots (not your Flex). He is still available in over half of ESPN and Yahoo leagues and makes a fine Flex play this week.
Michael Pittman Jr. (WR, Indianapolis Colts)
Next in line among returning featured players is Michael Pittman Jr, who has taken the backseat to a re-emerging T.Y. Hilton in recent weeks. Despite failing to eclipse 46 receiving yards in any of the past three games, Pittman has still seen five-plus targets in five of the last six weeks. While this may just be me looking into narrative instead of hard facts, I would think that Houston would aim to mitigate “Texan-killer” Hilton after he has decimated their defense throughout his career. Whether that “stop Hilton at all costs” narrative unfolds on Sunday or not, Pittman is talented in his own right with four plays over 20-yards gained since returning from IR in Week 8. He towers over smaller defenders at 6’4” and has sprinkled in occasional rushing opportunities throughout the year, making him as good a bet as any Colts pass-catcher to find the endzone. I would slot him between Antonio Brown and Russell Gage in the list below, which amounts to a WR3/ Flex projection with TD upside this week against a soft defense.
Other names to consider (in order): Curtis Samuel (63%-rostered Yahoo, #1 priority if available), Keke Coutee, Tim Patrick, Antonio Brown (63%-rostered Yahoo), Russell Gage, Sterling Shepard, Allen Lazard, Jerry Jeudy, Chad Hansen, Darius Slayton, Michael Gallup, Marquez Valdes-Scantling, Christian Kirk, Rashard Higgins, Gabriel Davis, Jakobi Meyers, Emmanuel Sanders, Darnell Mooney, KJ Hamler, Breshad Perriman, Sammy Watkins, Jalen Reagor, Keelan Cole Sr.
*Logan Thomas (TE, Washington Football Team)
Feel free to call it lazy analysis for putting Logan Thomas in this space for the second-straight week, but he remains a viable TE option who is available in 40-50% of leagues. In case you haven’t noticed or have been lucky enough to roster a reliable TE this season, the options on the waiver wire are pretty dismal, to put it kindly. “TD-or-bust” has been the name of the game with most TEs, so for Thomas to see seven-plus targets and a solid yardage floor (98, 43) each of the last two weeks is a rarity at this stage. There is no reason to cross your fingers hoping for a touchdown from other options when such weekly volume is there for the taking with Thomas. He has been able to produce those respectable totals against the Steelers and 49ers the past two weeks, who were both tops against opposing TEs heading into that week’s game. This week he takes on a Seattle defense who, though better recently, is still middle-of-the-pack against TEs. He remains a back-end TE1 for the remainder of the fantasy playoffs.
Other names to consider (in order): Jordan Reed, Dalton Schultz, Cole Kmet, Jonnu Smith, Jared Cook, Irv Smith Jr, Tyler Higbee, Jordan Akins.
Accountability is everything, so here’s a quick look back at last week’s recommendations
Cam Akers (RB, Los Angeles Rams): Hopefully, you were able to scoop up Akers last week while there was still a chance he was available. After amassing 29 carries for 171 yards and two catches for 23 yards last week, the rapidly-closing window to roster him has now slammed shut. There is a decent chance he will be considered a 2020 league-winner when it’s all said and done.
Adrian Peterson (RB, Detroit Lions): With D’Andre Swift making his way back into the Lions’ lineup last week, I called a Twitter audible on Peterson as an RB streamer. He is not a viable fantasy option as long as Swift is healthy.
Keke Coutee (WR, Houston Texans): Coutee’s Week 14 performance paled in comparison to his breakout Week 13, but he was able to haul in a touchdown to preserve his fantasy total in a game where he caught three of three targets for just 24 yards. If Brandin Cooks returns in Week 15 to take some of the attention off Coutee, I think he would return to WR3/ low-Flex value for a matchup with the Colts.
Tim Patrick (WR, Denver Broncos): There wasn’t much yardage to speak of as Patrick caught three passes for a modest 36 yards, but he showed his nose for the end zone yet again with his third score in two weeks. There are certainly safer offenses to target for fantasy purposes, but Patrick remains the most reliable pass-catcher in Denver given his extended hot streak.
Logan Thomas (TE, Washington Football Team): Thomas overcame a tough matchup for the second-straight week, snagging six of seven targets for 43 yards against the 49ers. He remains available in 40-50% of leagues and his positive results have led to a repeat appearance in this week’s article.
Make sure to check out Myles Nelson’s priority waiver wire adds article every Tuesday for more insights on who you should be submitting claims for heading into each Wednesday. Good luck in Week 15!
(Photo by Jeffrey Brown/Icon Sportswire)