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10 Fantasy Football Waiver Wire Targets Heading Into Week 15

Zack Bussiere
Zack Bussiere@ZackBussiere
10 Fantasy Football Waiver Wire Targets Heading Into Week 15

Week 14 is almost behind us, and the fantasy football playoffs are finally here! It's win-or-go-home time. After three and a half months of trades, adds, drops, starts and sits, it all comes down to these three weeks.

All 32 NFL teams have had their byes, and we have full 16-game slates each week the rest of the way.

At this point in the season, the only matchup that matters is the one in front of you.

Do everything you can to win this week. There is some value in planning for potential semi-final and final matchups if you can, but short-term production is the name of the game; if you have FAAB remaining, spend it. If you have a top waiver pick, use it. You can't take it with you if your team is eliminated.

With that in mind, here are some of the best additions you can make to your squads heading into Week 15.

10 Fantasy Football Waiver Wire Targets

Quarterbacks

Jake Browning, Bengals

The legend of Jake Browning continued to grow in Week 14. Browning backed up his impressive performance against the Jacksonville Jaguars in Week 12 with another excellent game against the Indianapolis Colts.

In his three starts since taking over for Joe Burrow, Browning has completed 69 of 87 pass attempts (79.3%) for 856 yards, 4 passing touchdowns, and 2 interceptions, with 2 rushing touchdowns. He has back-to-back weeks as a fantasy QB1 (top 12) and has shown few signs of slowing down.

In Week 15, he will face the Minnesota Vikings. Minnesota's defense started the season slowly but has been improved in recent weeks. They have held their opponents to under 22 points in four consecutive games and are allowing just 15.0 points per game since Week 6.

While the matchup may be more difficult than it appears, Browning just shredded the Colts' solid defense and is worth a pickup for teams in need of a signal-caller. His accuracy, combined with the Cincinnati Bengals' playmakers at wide receiver and running back, can overcome a quality Vikings defense.

Beyond Week 15, Browning faces the Pittsburgh Steelers and Kansas City Chiefs in Weeks 16 and 17. Not an ideal schedule, but the Steelers were just picked apart by Bailey Zappe, and the Chiefs' defense has been less impactful the last two weeks.

Joe Flacco, Browns

What year is it?

Joe Flacco rolled back the clock again in Week 15, moving the ball effectively for the second week in a row. In his two starts since joining Cleveland, he has completed 49 of 89 pass attempts (55.0%) for 565 yards, 5 touchdowns, and 2 interceptions. He has provided Cleveland with the most functional passing game they have seen in years.

Flacco benefited from a matchup against a vulnerable Jaguars defense, but he took full advantage of that opportunity to finish as one of the highest-scoring signal callers in Week 14. After the game, Flacco was officially named the Cleveland Browns' starting quarterback moving forward. This is now Flacco's team the rest of the way.

In Week 15, Flacco and Cleveland will face the Chicago Bears. The Bears' defense has turned things around after a slow start. They have allowed just 19.0 points per game since Week 6 and held an explosive Detroit Lions offense to 16 points in Week 14.

The good news for Flacco is he will be at home. One thing to look out for is game script. Flacco has benefited from a large number of pass attempts in each of his starts. If they get out front, the Browns would likely prefer to lean on the run game a bit more and trust their defense to do what it does best.

That said, Justin Fields looked great in Week 14 and is capable of making the Cleveland offense keep its foot on the gas.

Beyond this week, Flacco gets another favorable matchup with the Houston Texans in Week 16, but he faces an elite New York Jets' defense in Week 17.

Others to Consider:

Matthew Stafford (vs. Washington), Derek Carr (vs. New York Giants), Drew Lock (vs. Philadelphia), Desmond Ridder (at Carolina), Will Levis (vs. Houston)

Running Backs

Zamir White, Raiders

Josh Jacobs left Week 14's loss to the Vikings with a knee injury in the fourth quarter and did not return.

Jacobs has been the lead back for the Las Vegas Raiders this season. He has played on 76% of the snaps and handled 79% of the team's rushing attempts. If he misses time, there will be a plethora of touches available in the Raiders' backfield moving forward.

Ameer Abdullah has played on 18% of the Raiders' snaps this season, but he is used almost exclusively in the passing game. He has just 2% of the Raiders' rushing attempts this season, with a 5% target share. If Jacobs misses time, the expectation is that Zamir White will take over the majority of the weekly opportunities.

White has played on just 8% of the team's snaps this season, handling 9% of the rushing attempts, but he is the only other running back on the roster outside of Jacobs and Abdullah to receive a carry. Assuming Abdullah remains in his role as a passing-down option, White should step into Jacobs' role.

In Week 15, the Raiders face the Los Angeles Chargers, who could be without Justin Herbert due to a fractured finger. That would help the Raiders maintain a positive game script for White. As it stands, the Raiders are 3.0-point favorites.

Ty Chandler, Vikings

Alexander Mattison suffered an ankle injury in Week 14 and was forced to exit the game. In his absence Ty Chandler stepped into a larger role, finishing the game with 48% of Minnesota's rushing attempts and a 9% target share. Kene Nwangwu, the only other running back to see the field, finished with a 4% snap share and 2 carries.

If Mattison is forced to miss time, Chandler seems set for a feature role in the Vikings' offense. After Minnesota amassed just three points against the Raiders, it's fair to question how valuable that role is in an ineffective Minnesota offense, but there are reasons to believe that might change.

Once Nick Mullens entered the game, the Vikings began to move the ball, and it stands to reason that after back-to-back dreadful performances, Joshua Dobbs' time as the starter is done. With Ezekiel Elliott a week ago, we saw how valuable a high-volume role can be even in a poor offensive environment.

Chandler doesn't have Elliott's history of production, but he could be set for a similar role. In Week 15, the Vikings are on the road against the Bengals as 3.5-point underdogs. Chandler could be busy in both phases of the offense in that game.

Jerick McKinnon and Clyde Edwards-Helaire, Chiefs

Isiah Pacheco missed Week 14's game with a shoulder injury. He is expected to avoid injured reserve, but his status for Week 15 is uncertain.

With Pacheco out, Jerick McKinnon and Clyde Edwards-Helaire split touches against Buffalo. Edwards-Helaire played on 48% of the snaps, handled 65% of the rushing attempts, and recorded an 11% target share on 33% route participation. McKinnon played on 45% of the snaps, handled 24% of the rushing attempts, and recorded an 11% target share on 40% route participation.

Neither back was impactful on the ground -- Edwards-Helaire finished with 11 carries for 39 yards (3.5 yards per carry), and McKinnon finished with 4 carries for 19 yards (4.5 yards per carry). McKinnon had the edge of short down-and-distance snaps (60% to 40%), long down-and-distance snaps (100% to 0%), and in the two-minute drill (93% to 0%). He also scored a seven-yard rushing touchdown.

Moving forward, I prefer McKinnon, but both running backs should be rostered until we have clarity on Pacheco's injury. In Week 15, the Chiefs are 9.5-point favorites over the New England Patriots. New England's run defense, which ranks first in numberFire's metrics, has been a bright spot for them in an otherwise awful season.

Their pass defense ranks 28th, and the Chiefs should opt to move the ball through the air in this one -- advantage McKinnon.

Antonio Gibson, Commanders

Brian Robinson suffered a hamstring injury in Week 13 and did not return. The Washington Commanders were on a bye in Week 14. If Robinson is out in Week 15, Antonio Gibson could be in for a larger role alongside Chris Rodriguez Jr..

The Commanders have been an extremely pass-heavy team this season, which leans into Gibson's strengths as a pass-catcher. He has played on 85% of long down-and-distance snaps this season and has 48% route participation and a 10% target share. In Week 15, the Commanders face the Rams, followed by games against the Jets and 49ers in Weeks 16 and 17.

The Commanders are expected to be playing from behind in two of those three games, which bodes well for Gibson in Weeks 15 and 17. He is a far better option in PPR leagues than standard formats.

Until we have a better understanding of Robinson's rest-of-season outlook, Gibson needs to be rostered. In deep leagues, Rodriguez is worth adding, as well.

Others to Consider:

Keaton Mitchell (at Jacksonville), Tyjae Spears (vs. Houston), Chase Brown (vs. Minnesota), Kenneth Gainwell (at Seattle)

Wide Receivers

Noah Brown, Texans

Injuries are piling up for the Texans. After losing Tank Dell for the season in Week 13, Nico Collins was forced to exit Week 14's game with a calf injury and did not return.

With both Dell and Collins out, Noah Brown finished Week 14 with 79% route participation and a 19% target share. Unfortunately, he did not catch any of his five targets and finished with zero receiving yards. Brown tied with John Metchie III for the most targets on the Texans.

The Jets' elite defense had something to do with the Texans' passing game struggles. C.J. Stroud also suffered a concussion and did not return.

Looking ahead, there is plenty of uncertainty here with the statuses of Collins and Stroud. However, if Collins is out long-term and Stroud misses only one game, Brown could be the top target for the Rookie-of-the-Year frontrunner in Weeks 16 and 17.

Week 16 is against the Browns, but Week 17 is a home game against a vulnerable Titans' secondary.

Brown has shown big-game ability twice already this year. He now has a path to being the focal point of Houston's passing attack over the final three weeks of the season.

Metchie should also be added in deeper leagues.

Zay Jones, Jaguars

Zay Jones saw 14 targets against the Browns in Week 14. He hauled in only 5 of them for 29 yards, but he was a key part of the Jaguars' passing attack in the team's first full game since Christian Kirk for the rest of the season.

The Jaguars' passing game was highly concentrated against Cleveland, with Jones, Calvin Ridley, and Evan Engram accounting for 39 of 49 targets -- Jones' 14 targets led the team.

Just as important for Jones' rest-of-season outlook, Trevor Lawrence made it through the entire game and looks set to miraculously avoid missing any time despite suffering a high-ankle sprain in Week 13.

Moving forward, Jones is in for a large role in the Jaguars' offense. In Week 15, they have a difficult matchup against the Ravens, but after that, the Jags have dream matchups with the Bucs and Panthers.

Even if you don't need Jones to start for your fantasy teams, consider adding him to play keep-away from your opponents.

Others to Consider:

Odell Beckham (at Jacksonville), Josh Downs (vs. Pittsburgh), Elijah Moore (vs. Chicago), Curtis Samuel (at Los Angeles Rams), Rashid Shaheed (vs. New York Giants),

Tight Ends

Isaiah Likely, Ravens

Isaiah Likely was included in this piece last week, and if he is still available in your league, he is an even better addition heading into Week 15.

His first start following the injury to Mark Andrews resulted in an underwhelming stat line, but his utilization was excellent. Coming out of the bye, Likely's utilization remained elite, and this time, the production followed.

Likely caught 5 of 7 targets for 83 yards and a touchdown, with most of his yards coming on his 54-yard touchdown catch in the first quarter. Likely finished with 91% route participation. He was targeted on 15% of his routes, good for an 18% target share.

With Andrews out, Likely is a full-time pass-catcher in one of the league's most explosive offenses. He doesn't have the same connection with Lamar Jackson that Andrews had, but he now has 9 catches on 13 targets for 123 yards and a touchdown in his two games as the Baltimore Ravens' top tight end.

In Week 15, Likely will face a Jaguars defense that has been struggling since the start of November. Over their last five games, the Jags are allowing an average of 26.8 points per game. Over their last two games, they have been shredded by Jake Browning and Joe Flacco -- Lamar Jackson is up next.

Beyond this week, the schedule gets tricky with a visit to the 49ers in Week 16 before a home game against the Dolphins in Week 17.

Others to Consider:

Chigoziem Okonkwo (vs. Houston), Hunter Henry (vs. Kansas City), Logan Thomas (at Los Angeles Rams), Darren Waller (at New Orleans)

Defenses

Atlanta Falcons

The Atlanta Falcons' defense held the Tampa Bay Buccaneers to 290 total yards and 16 first downs in Week 14 but could not keep them off the scoreboard. They surrendered 29 points, 17 of them in the second half, to drop a key divisional game.

The result ended a two-week run of impressive performances by Atlanta's defense. The Falcons limited the Saints and Jets to 21 points combined in Weeks 12 and 13 with five combined sacks and five total turnovers.

In Week 15, they will have an excellent chance to get back on track thanks to a date with the Carolina Panthers. Carolina is averaging just 12.1 points per game since Week 8. Since Week 6, they have scored more than 15 points in a game only once.

This is a must-win game for the Falcons as they try to win the NFC South, and they are well-positioned to bounce back.

Others to Consider:

Colts D/ST (vs. Pittsburgh), Rams D/ST (vs. Washington), Titans D/ST (vs. Houston), Raiders D/ST (vs. Los Angeles Chargers)


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The above author is a FanDuel employee and is not eligible to compete in public daily fantasy contests or place sports betting wagers on FanDuel. The advice provided by the author does not necessarily represent the views of FanDuel. Taking the author's advice will not guarantee a successful outcome. You should use your own judgment when participating in daily fantasy contests or placing sports wagers.