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Waiver Wizard 2019 Week 15
By Evan Tarracciano
Pardon the Interruption….Hey there fellow Diehards! Before we dive into the meat and potatoes of the article this week, I wanted to extend a big congratulations to my friend, mentor and colleague Bob Harris. Bob was recently nominated by the Fantasy Sports and Gaming Association for the prestigious "Fantasy Analyst of the Year (TV,Radio,Podcast)". If you happen to have a moment, please head to this page and give him a vote:
On another more serious note, one of the true good guys in our industry Mark Bloom (better known as Dr.Roto) is currently dealing with an incredibly serious condition known as polycystic kidney disease, a rare illness that causes kidney failure. He is currently looking for a donor and assistance, and could certainly use any help available. Please contact him on Twitter (@DrRoto) for more information about donating, to send him well wishes, messages of hope, or to retweet his recent post. Any assistance would be greatly appreciated.
The Week that was….As I've mentioned in earlier articles, sometimes all the preparation, savvy trade and waiver wire moves and team management can be utterly undone by bad luck, mainly in the form of injuries. As this is beyond our control is it one of the most frustrating ways to be eliminated in the playoffs - moreso than misuse or underperforming.
Week 14 will go down in history as one of the most injury-riddled weeks in recent memory, especially pertaining to elite talent that owners were counting on to carry them. Especially at the wide receiver position, teams were decimated with players leaving in the first half of advantageous matchups. A quick glance at the list of maladies includes:
Mike Evans (WR, Tampa Bay Bucaneers) - suffered a hamstring injury that is expected him to miss the remainder of 2019.
Derrius Guice (RB, Washington Redskins) - diagnosed with an MCL sprain. Thankfully the injury didn't extend to his ACL, as was initially feared. He's already been ruled out for Week 15.
Alshon Jeffery (WR, Philadelphia Eagles) - left early in a prime matchup against the Giants with a non-contact injury after "feeling something pop" in his foot, per Mike Garafolo. He is likely to miss Week 15 at a minimum.
Rashaad Penny (RB, Seattle Seahawks) - tore his ACL after planting on his left foot in the turf against the L.A. Rams. Surgery will be required and his return for the beginning of the 2020 campaign is in question.
Jameis Winston (QB, Tampa Bay Bucaneers) - broke the thumb in his throwing hand and missed time against the Indianapolis Colts. Will attempt to play in Week 15 against the Detroit Lions but his status needs to be monitored.
JJ Arcega-Whiteside (WR, Philadelphia Eagles) - pulled his hamstring late in the game against the New York Giants. His name is mentioned here due to the severe lack of talent at the position on the team.
Mark Andrews (TE, Baltimore Ravens) - sustained a bruise on his leg that forced him out of the game against the Buffalo Bills. Initial reports say that it is a minor injury, but given the short week with the team playing Thursday against the New York Jets, his practice reports need to be monitored.
Ryan Griffin (TE, New York Jets) - played just three snaps before leaving the game in Week 14 with an ankle injury, and was listed as a DNP on the team's estimated injury report on Monday. His status is murky at best.
D.J. Chark (WR, Jacksonville Jaguars) - limped off of the field and was seen wearing a protective boot following the loss against the Los Angeles Chargers. Head coach Doug Marrone currently considers him "week to week".
Devante Parker/Albert Wilson (WRs, Miami Dolphins) - both players left on Sunday with concussions and are now in the league's mandatory protocol.
(inhales sharply)Keep in mind that the above list is simply the players who were injured during Week 14, and that didn't even include Josh Jacobs, Le'Veon Bell, T.Y. Hilton and others that missed the week's action completely.
In their absence look to pick up….
QuarterbackRyan Fitzpatrick is an easy recommendation here. He's been playing exceptionally well of late, his ownership percentage remains barely above 15 percent in ESPN standard-sized leagues, and the Miami Dolphins take on the woeful New York Giants. Even without Parker and Wilson, I still have him as a fringe QB1. The Giants, to put it simply, cannot cover anyone.
Mitchell Trubisky would be the other ideal waiver wire grab. He's also owned in less than 20 percent of leagues per ESPN, and his play has really picked up since squaring off against the Detroit Lions in Week 13. He's completed 75 percent of his passes over the last two weeks, and has thrown six touchdowns in that span. More importantly he has finally begun to accrue yards on the ground again with his legs. I'm buying in.
Running BackDeAndre Washington is the primary add here, although his projections completely hinge upon the health status of Josh Jacobs. The Oakland Raiders take on the Jacksonville Jaguars in Week 15, a team that is currently ranked 30th against the run, allowing over 140 yards on the ground each contest. Washington is also a capable pass catcher out of the backfield. He needs to be owned and started in all formats should Jacobs sit again.
With Kalen Ballage and Mark Walton gone, Patrick Laid has done an admirable job in PPR formats as the lead back in Miami. Not to harp on the point made earlier, but the Giants defense is horrific, and can't stop anyone. If you are in need of a desperation add at the position in a PPR format, Laid offers low-end RB2 upside - expect him to at least contribute four to five catches at a minimum.
Wide ReceiverIt is odd that this position suffered so greatly at the hands of fate yet offers so few alternative options. The easiest pivot for me is Justin Watson of the Tampa Bay Buccaneers, a 6'2 215 lb. freak athlete that will step into the shoes of Mike Evans. Other outlets will tell you to consider adding Breshad Perriman instead, but haven't we learned our collective lesson when it comes to putting faith with him? Sure, Perriman is a deep threat with elite speed, but for a solid floor of points, look the way of Watson instead.
Zach Pascal has been maddening to own due to his large swings in production, even without the presence of T.Y. Hilton and Parris Campbell to sap away targets. Yes, Pascal played in literally every snaps of the past two games and leads the Indianapolis Colts in all major receiving categories during that timespan - but can you simply gloss over the stretch of ineffectiveness he showed in Weeks 10-12? (14 targets, four receptions for a total of 43 yards). Can you add him? Sure. But don't put too much faith that he will repeat the numbers from Week 14, especially against the New Orleans Saints.
Tight EndTyler Higbee. Locked and loaded. If Gerald Everett is unable to play again on Sunday, Higbee becomes a must-add for me, and FLEX start in any format. Jared Goff has peppered him with targets in each of the past two weeks (to the detriment of Brandin Cooks) and in an otherwise very thin position, he offers actual upside.
The only other add that I'd consider would be Ian Thomas of the Carolina Panthers, and that is assuming that Greg Olsen doesn't return from the concussion protocol. An athletic monster capable of putting up plenty of yards after contact, Thomas gives Kyle Allen a large red-zone threat that the team sorely needs. More of a play in standard formats rather than PPR, due to the presence of Christian McCaffrey and D.J. Moore.
Best of luck to all in Week 15 - fingers crossed that the injury bug won't make a comeback to ruin more seasons!