The fantasy sports mantra of “win the week” takes on a higher meaning in Week 15 with single-elimination playoffs beginning in the majority of leagues. If your team was fortunate enough to earn a first-round bye, use this opportunity to look ahead at matchups over the next couple of weeks, particularly with D/STs that can be difference-makers. Now that bye weeks are officially over for the 2022 NFL regular season, it is time to cut any excess players from your bench and replace them with contingency options to back up key starters on your squad. Most of the prep work has been done at this point; now let’s enjoy the ride and gear up for what is expected to be another wild postseason.
Article Overview/ How to Use:
- Analysis: Highlight a variety of RBs, WRs, and TEs (< 65% rostered on ESPN and/or Yahoo) who I feel could produce fantasy value, either that specific week as a replacement in your lineup or as a bench/ stash option.
- Ranking RBs, WRs, and TEs (< 65% rostered) in order. Please note that the players who are highlighted in the article are not always my top-ranked streamers. These rankings & notes could be useful for teams in deeper leagues or as a means to fill out your “Watch List”.
- List of Impact Backups or players who would gain significant fantasy value if the starter was inactive. These names would make excellent stash candidates, but likely not worthwhile streamers due to lack of usage as the backup.
- Although base rankings tend to skew toward 12-team, half-PPR leagues, I will provide clarifications if a player is best used in a specific scenario or league type.
- Recap the performances of the previous week’s highlighted players.
* Any players marked with an asterisk below have been featured in previous articles this season. If anyone discussed 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 12/14/22.
Zonovan Knight (RB, New York Jets)
I am venturing slightly outside the usual 65%-rostered threshold a little on this one as Knight is rostered in 66% of ESPN leagues and 69% in Yahoo. However, with the idea that the non-playoff teams in your league are no longer active, he is worth checking on in case he slipped through the cracks. Over the last three weeks (when Knight’s usage spiked), he has registered no less 14 carries, 69 rushing yards, and two receptions. The rookie out of NC State is averaging a healthy 5.0 yards per carry in that span (46 attempts for 230 yards, one touchdown) and will now take on a Detroit defense that has allowed the fourth-most touchdowns to opposing RBs on the season (13). Fire him up as a solid RB2 in Week 15.
Pierre Strong (RB, New England Patriots)
This recommendation has some caveats as his usage will largely depend on the health status of Rhamondre Stevenson (ankle) and Damien Harris (quad). If both miss Sunday’s contest against the Raiders, Strong will likely form a backfield duo with Kevin Harris. If that is the case, I would still give the nod to Strong since he is the preferred pass-catcher of the two, which I feel will lead to a higher floor/ more opportunities to produce. Although his averages will surely dip with increased volume, the incredibly efficient Week 14 performance he put on cannot be denied and shows that he is capable of breaking big gains. Last week, he turned five carries into 70 rushing yards and a touchdown, along with two receptions for 20 yards. If your team is in need of some juice at RB (and Stevenson/Harris are ruled out), I would not be surprised to see him finish with RB3/ Flex level numbers, at minimum.
RB Streamers (ranked): Zonovan Knight*, Cam Akers*, Jerick McKinnon*, Chuba Hubbard*, Dare Ogunbowale, Pierre Strong*, James Cook*, Samaje Perine*, Dontrell Hilliard*, Tyler Allgeier*, Marlon Mack, Rex Burkhead, Kyren Williams*, Gus Edwards*, Jordan Mason, Jaylen Warren*, Kenneth Gainwell, Joshua Kelley, Travis Homer, Alexander Mattison, Boston Scott, Kenyan Drake*, Ameer Abdullah, JaMycal Hasty*, Matt Breida.
Elijah Moore (WR, New York Jets)
After closing out his rookie campaign with a promising second half in 2021, Moore was a popular breakout candidate during the 2022 draft season. He then fell out of the Jets WR mix and was dropped by many fantasy managers who drafted him. Now, the pendulum may be swinging back in a positive direction as he has collected 16 targets over the past two weeks (caught six of 10 targets for 60 yards last week).
Moore has all the makings of a strong WR prospect; he was the 34th overall pick in 2021 and was appointed an “Elite” grade of 95 by Next Gen Stats. Operating primarily out of the slot, the Jets have leaned on him as a target on short-to-immediate throws to utilize his run-after-catch ability. As long as Mike White (ribs) is active in Week 15, I expect Moore to register another solid performance against the Lions. Consider him as a fringe WR3/ Flex with hopes that he has another strong run ahead to end his second season.
Chris Moore (WR, Houston Texans)
We now head south to discuss another Moore who plays WR. This time it is Chris Moore, fresh off the best single-game performance of his six NFL seasons (10 catches / 11 targets / 124 receiving yards). While he has certainly flashed the ability to be an effective NFL WR, he has never been the focal point of his team’s passing game like he was last week in the absence of Brandin Cooks (calf) and Nico Collins (foot). If one or both is out again in Week 15, Moore should see a lot of work as the Texans are expected to play catch-up against the Chiefs (14-point underdogs). In an offense that may be without several of its top playmakers once again this week, Moore should get the opportunity to further improve upon his most productive NFL season to date.
WR Streamers (ranked): Treylon Burks*, Zay Jones*, Chris Moore* (if no Cooks/Collins), Donovan Peoples-Jones*, Michael Gallup*, Elijah Moore*, Darius Slayton*, Nico Collins* (check status), D.J. Chark*, Curtis Samuel, Ben Skowronek, Mack Hollins*, Isaiah McKenzie*, Alec Pierce*, Marquez Valdes-Scantling, Van Jefferson*, Olamide Zaccheaus.
Taysom Hill (TE, New Orleans Saints)
The Saints have featured the former star college QB Hill in his familiar “Swiss Army Knife” role once again in recent weeks, registering stats as a passer, runner, and receiver in Week 13 (New Orleans had a bye in Week 14). Compared to the usual game of crossing your fingers for a touchdown with most TE streamers, Hill offers a unique upside since he can produce fantasy points in a variety of ways. He has been responsible for eight total touchdowns this season; one passing, five on the ground, and two as a receiver. He projects to be a back-end TE1 for Week 15 against the Falcons.
TE Streamers (ranked): Greg Dulcich*, Evan Engram*, Taysom Hill*, Chigoziem Okonkwo*, Tyler Conklin*, Hunter Henry, Logan Thomas, Cade Otton, Robert Tonyan*, Austin Hooper, Daniel Bellinger, Jelani Woods, Jordan Akins.
Impact Backups/ Injury Stashes
Although this article’s primary focus is to rank and discuss RB/WR/TEs who are fantasy-relevant and 65%-rostered or less, I also believe it is extremely important to plan ahead by stocking your roster with contingency options if/when adversity strikes. Not many things in the fantasy sports universe are worse than having a successful regular season undone by gut-wrenching injury luck. That said, below is my list of Top Impact Backups and Injury Stashes, in order, regardless of position.
Top Impact Backups: Alexander Mattison, James Cook*, Samaje Perine*, Dontrell Hilliard, Zonovan Knight, Chuba Hubbard, Joshua Kelley, Keaontay Ingram, Tyrion Davis-Price, Zamir White, Jaylen Warren*, Nyheim Hines*, JaMycal Hasty*.
Graduated (add if available): D’Onta Foreman*, Jeff Wilson Jr*, Isiah Pacheco*, Jerick McKinnon*, Rachaad White*.
Accountability is everything, so here is a quick look back at last week’s recommendations
James Cook (RB, Buffalo Bills): Cook returned to a complementary role last week on an overall slow day for the Bills offense, carrying four times for six yards and catching his only target for nine yards. Despite the setback in usage, he remains one of the top contingency options for fantasy playoffs.
Travis Homer (RB, Seattle Seahawks): Homer led all Seahawks skill players with 11 touches in Week 14; nine carries for 26 yards and two catches (three targets) for eight yards. I would still consider him to be a depth stash for the playoffs and a potential starting option on Thursday night for deep league managers in a pinch at RB.
Nico Collins (WR, Houston Texans): Collins (foot) was ruled out ahead of Week 14 and will look to make his way back into the lineup against the Chiefs this week.
Mack Hollins (WR, Las Vegas Raiders): Although Hollins did not produce much as a receiver (caught two of four targets for 22 yards), he was able to salvage a mild performance with three rushing attempts for 40 yards.
Chigoziem Okonkwo (TE, Tennessee Titans): Okonkwo was rock-solid on Sunday, catching all six targets for 45 yards and a score. The Titans will remain a run-first, ball-control offense and the return of Treylon Burks will likely take away some of those targets, but Okonkwo deserves to be a regular piece of this passing game.
Make sure to check out our weekly priority waiver wire adds article and waiver wire podcast for more insights on who you should be submitting claims for heading into each Wednesday; it is a great way to get a head start on acquiring players often discussed in this article. Good luck in Week 15!
(Photo by Stephen Lew/Icon Sportswire)