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Waiver Wire Roto Wizard Waiver Wire Free Agents week 15 2022
Before I begin the column, I wanted to say a special thank you to everyone who reached out to me over the last week and change checking in. I was forced to take a short hiatus while handling some medical issues within the family (that have now been resolved), but I’m glad to be back in action after a little break.
Week 14 was largely one to forget for Fantasy purposes, mainly due to the overwhelming number of teams on bye that forced playoff hopeful squads to put out their “B-tier” rosters. Impactful injuries littered the landscape in several positions (which we will touch on further below) that changed the outcome of several contests, and will surely alter plans moving forward. Scoring continued to be down across the league, and point totals largely underwhelmed. I would rather not focus on the negative, if possible, but for many this was a very frustrating final week of the regular Fantasy season.
In Japanese script, the word for “crisis” is written combining the words “danger” and “opportunity”. Injuries coincide with opportunity, and it is important to select which players may alter your fate for the Fantasy playoffs. Thankfully, several newly relevant options are largely unowned, a scenario that active managers can capitalize on. So which players should you consider? Read on and find out.
Brock Purdy (7 percent rostered) – Purdy will be the feature of many waiver wire columns this week, thanks to his outstanding performance against a very stout Tampa Bay Buccaneers defense. Thrust into starting action due to the broken foot of Jimmy Garoppolo, Purdy was extremely efficient for San Francisco, completing 16-of-21 pass attempts for 185 yards and two touchdowns, adding in a third score on a QB sneak later on in the game. Purdy will finish as a top-10 option at the position this week, and has an extremely favorable upcoming schedule, taking on Seattle, Washington and Las Vegas to round out the year. With several backup options (Russell Wilson, Tyler Huntley) suffering concussions and others facing difficult opponents, Purdy suddenly enters the discussion as a viable streamer in 12-team formats.
Recommendation: Managers who are looking to capitalize on fantastic matchups in deeper leagues should place a $5-$10 bid on Purdy. He has plenty of elite weapons surrounding him to elevate his weekly floor, complete with a phenomenal running game and stout offensive line.
Matt Ryan (6 percent rostered) – I’ll caveat Ryan’s inclusion here off the bat by stating ahead of time that he should only be considered in two-quarterback or SUPERFLEX leagues for Week 15 only. To put things bluntly, Ryan has had one decent game since Week 7, and his play is clearly diminished. So why the recent cause for optimism? The expectation that Indianapolis will be playing from behind coupled with the Minnesota Vikings Swiss-cheese defense. The Vikings rank dead last in passing yards allowed and yards/attempt for quarterbacks, and rank in the bottom-10 for completion percentage allowed and passing touchdowns surrendered. The Colts are coming off of a bye week and have had plenty of opportunity to gameplan for this accordingly, and I’d be surprised if they don’t find a way to get Ryan comfortable early with easy pass attempts.
Recommendation: In two-quarterback or SUPERFLEX leagues, consider Ryan a decent streaming option as a Hail-Mary scenario. He’s virtually unowned due to a poor stretch of play, but is worth taking a dart-throw on in specific circumstances for $3-$5.
Chuba Hubbard (19 percent rostered) – Those looking at the box score between Carolina and Seattle will be quick to point out that D’Onta Foreman continues to lead the team in carries and has been a “bell cow” back for the team down the stretch since Christian McCaffrey’s departure. Though this is true to some extent, Hubbard’s emergence can no longer be simply dismissed. He has 31 carries across their last two contests, and was used as a checkdown option for Sam Darnold this past weekend. With Carolina still in contention to compete for the NFC South crown, Hubbard will remain a significant part of their gameplan. Carolina has two home games against Pittsburgh and Detroit upcoming, and both teams surrender a bevy of yards on the ground. In deeper leagues, he’s worth an upside stash.
Recommendation: In 12-team or larger formats, consider Hubbard a FLEX option in PPR scoring. A solid floor of touches coupled with an easy schedule make him someone to strongly consider stashing down the stretch for the playoffs.
JaMycal Hasty (6 percent rostered) – Jacksonville made the surprising decision to outright cut Darrell Henderson earlier last week, making Hasty the de-facto backup yet again to Travis Etienne. Etienne has been a horrific disappointment since Week 10, and has been unable to surpass 55 rushing yards during that time span. Hasty’s critics will point out that he saw limited work on Sunday against Tennessee, but I still view him as a top-tier handcuff that needs to be on rosters. If Jacksonville opts to allow Etienne a week of rest to take care of his foot issue, Hasty would become a strong RB2 option who is capable both between the tackles and as a receiver. The Jaguars face the stout Dallas Cowboys front in Week 15, before the schedule lightens up considerably afterwards.
Recommendation: Hasty was dropped in many leagues once Jacksonville signed Henderson to the roster. His departure opens the door for additional snaps and touches, and Hasty is one Etienne injury away from a significant role down the stretch. He can be added on the cheap for a $3-$5 bid.
Jerick McKinnon (34 percent rostered) ¬– McKinnon’s inclusion on this list isn’t simply a knee-jerk reaction to his massive performance last week against Denver, but rather his role in the offense since Week 9. The slow degradation of Clyde Edwards-Helaire and the shift to Isiah Pacheco instead has paved the way for McKinnon to become the team’s passing-down specialist, a crucial role in PPR formats. He has averaged over four receptions per week dating back to the Chiefs bye, and has broken the double-digit points mark in PPR formats in four of the last six weeks. I don’t expect him to come close to matching his gaudy 7/112/2 receiving line last week anytime soon, but he is a key cog in this offense, and deserves to be on more rosters.
Recommendation: Add McKinnon as a FLEX option in PPR formats for 12-team or larger leagues. The Chiefs upcoming schedule against Houston, Seattle and Denver is incredibly appealing. He provides a nice floor for a position that is bereft of solid contributors.
Jauan Jennings (1 percent rostered) – Deebo Samuel suffered a high-ankle sprain in Sunday’s 35-7 trouncing of the Tampa Bay Buccaneers, and is expected to miss the remainder of the Fantasy season. In his stead, I expect Jennings to be the main beneficiary, as he should run opposite Brandon Aiyuk in the “11 personnel” package that San Francisco likes to utilize. I prefer him as a contributor to step up over Ray-Ray McCloud and Danny Gray, who are more special teams options than anything else. Jennings has the size (6’3, 212 lbs.) and speed to play a major role in this offense, and his low ownership presents a major opportunity in deeper leagues. Brock Purdy taking over under center should not necessarily be a major hit to his upside, as I see his talent level on-par with Jimmy Garoppolo. Jennings should float around double-digit production in PPR formats moving forward.
Recommendation: Consider adding Jennings in 14-team leagues or larger as a FLEX option at a position that sustained a few injuries in Week 14. I would be hesitant to expect him to approach a “Deebo-esque” level of production, but he should be rostered if he demonstrates chemistry with Purdy.
Elijah Moore (32 percent rostered) – Mike White’s presence under center has not only provided major dividends for Garrett Wilson, but Moore as well. For the second time in three weeks, Moore cracked the 12 point mark in PPR formats, and he stands in line to inherit a larger role if Corey Davis (head injury) were to miss significant time. Moore provides White with a chain-moving option on third-downs, and he could see a throng of targets against the porous Detroit Lions defense in Week 15. No team has a more favorable upcoming schedule than the New York Jets, and Moore should be added in 12-team formats or larger as a key contributor on an ascending offense fighting for a playoff spot.
Recommendation: Add Moore as a FLEX option in PPR formats for $3-$5. Monitor the health status of Corey Davis to gauge his potential upside, which could be massive down the playoff stretch. As long as White is under center, Moore has a chance to make his mark.
Ben Skowronek (3 percent rostered) – The Los Angeles Rams offense is a shell of its former self, with Matthew Stafford, Cooper Kupp and Allen Robinson all shelved for the remainder of 2022. That said, Baker Mayfield did breathe a spark of life into the team, and even with a bare-bones understanding of the playbook, he looked to Skowronek early and often to move the chains when necessary. Skowronek finished with 7 receptions for 89 yards on 8 targets, leading the team in all categories. He isn’t a major red-zone threat, but I expect him to continue to be peppered with targets on an offense that will be playing perpetually from behind. The Rams square off against Green Bay and Denver over the next two weeks, and I’d anticipate Skowronek to be the focal point of the passing attack moving forward.
Recommendation: Skowronek needs to be started in 14-team PPR formats or larger as a “Cooper Kupp-lite” figure capable of reaching double-digit point totals with Baker Mayfield now under center. The chemistry between the two, even in a very short time span, is obvious.
Chigoziem Okonkwo – It is rare for a tight end to make a major contribution in the Fantasy season this late, much less a rookie. I will affectionately dub him “Konk” instead of “Gronk” moving forward (and I’m sure to not be the only one). Perhaps the largest beneficiary of the concussion to Treylon Burks, Konk was targeted in key situations for Tennessee, both in the red zone and on a two-point conversion attempt midway through the fourth quarter. He has broken the 10 point mark in each of the last two weeks, and has earned the praise of offensive coordinator Todd Downing. Konk’s 6 targets placed him just behind Nick Westbrook-Ikhine (8) and Robert Woods (7) for the team lead. At a position utterly barren of upside, he makes for a nice streamer.
Recommendation: Add Konk as a back-end TE1 with Treylon Burks out due to injury. Should Burks return in Week 15, view him as a TD-reliant streaming option, akin to 90 percent of the position. He can be added for a $5 FAAB bid.
Kansas City – Regardless of who is under center, any DST is a good DST to stream if they square off against Houston. Coming off a dominant performance against Denver, Kansas City’s defense has created multiple turnovers in three of the last four contests, and is capable of generating a ton of pressure against mid-tier offensive lines. This is a smash matchup, and they should be on the field plenty.
Arizona - It is unknown if Russell Wilson can pass through concussion protocol to be ready in time for Week 15, but as Denver has been all but eliminated from playoff contention, it makes little sense to rush him back at this point. Arizona will look to bring plenty of pressure on Brett Rypien and the weak Denver offensive line.
Eddy Pineiro – Carolina has become increasingly reliant upon Pineiro’s leg to generate points, and he has 11 opportunities over the last 4 weeks. He has missed only one attempt since Week 5, and has broken the double-digit mark in three of the last four weeks. Carolina takes on the Pittsburgh Steelers in Week 15, with a bend-but-don’t-break mentality. I expect at least 2-3 attempts yet again.
Michael Badgley – Detroit’s resurgence over the second-half of 2022 has been nothing short of extraordinary, and this is a team that is happy to take points whenever they can claim them, all over the field. Detroit squares off against a very tough New York Jets defense in Week 15, and I expect the Lions to convert more field goals than touchdowns against Sauce Gardner and Co.