You are still reading Waiver Wire articles in Week 15. Congratulations, you are now in the fantasy playoffs. Now is when the stakes get higher. We must put away our regular season mindset and focus exclusively on survival and advancement.
Fantasy Playoff Strategy
First things first. Cut the dead weight off your roster and replace them with lottery tickets and defensive streaming options for future weeks. A good example would be a player like Jakobi Meyers. In a regular 12-team league, Meyers is a guy who sits on the end of your roster for most of the season. Counting stats wise, he is an acceptable end of the bench Bye Week fill-in. But with your league halved, he is a cut. You will never put him back in your lineup. You are better off rostering a player like Rico Dowdle who could blow up for a week, or a player like Dontayvion Wicks who could blow up usage-wise over the next few weeks.
Dontayvion Wicks, pretty good at getting open vs man coverage https://t.co/GCcBNRunpF
— Arjun Menon (@arjunmenon100) December 12, 2023
For leagues with FAAB, look at your opponent’s remaining budget. If you have them beat, it is time to block what they need to add. If your opponent needs a QB, keep them from adding a promising player. Even if you have Josh Allen, preventing them from a Jake Browning-type riser, could save you a Week 16 headache.
Lastly, take a look at the defensive options. Your roster can now have multiple defensive options. Playing matchups and having options for Week 16 and 17 also prevents your opponents from gaining a slight edge on you with a strong defense.
This is win-or-go-home time, not look at my balanced roster and depth time. Depth matters less and less the further you go.
This week, fewer names will be listed, with fewer readers still competing.
*NOTE: All players listed are available in 75-percent of Yahoo Leagues or more, unless listed as a SHALLOW LEAGUE ADD.
Jake Browning – Cincinnati (27%)
Jake Browning is on a heater, and he is now a legitimate streamer candidate for the fantasy playoffs. Within a six-day span, Browning passed for 629 yards and three TDs, and added two rushing scores.
If you are in a jam at QB, you can consider using Browning in Week 15 against Minnesota. He is a prime “Block” candidate if your playoff opponent has been using CJ Stroud and needs a replacement QB.
Joe Flacco – Cleveland (7%)
I never thought I would be writing about Joe Flacco in a Waiver Wire column, but he has forced my hand. Flacco found David Njoku on a TD pass on Cleveland’s opening drive, and finished with 311 passing yards
Desmond Ridder – Atlanta (10%)
Desmond Ridder is a must-start in Superflex leagues. He passed for a career-high 347 yards in Atlanta’s loss to Tampa Bay.
Chase Brown Cincinnati (7%)
I had Chase Brown in the top-10 last week, and was able to add a number of shares myself. He looks explosive and has now overperformed for back-to-back weeks. In Week 13, Brown flashed with nine carries for 61 yards rushing. In Week 14, he showcased his ability as a receiver with three catches for 80 yards and a TD to go along with 25 yards rushing.
Chase Brown has looked legitimately good since returning from injury. A little more juice then Mixon at this stage. https://t.co/GFBx8Oehn1
— Cory P. (@FF_Guitarist) December 12, 2023
Joe Mixon has scored three TDs on the ground and caught nine passes over the last two games. Barring an injury, Brown certainly cannot take over the primary RB role, but he is still appealing as a gut shot flex play. Brown is a must-add for the fantasy playoffs.
Zamir White – Las Vegas (2%)
Josh Jacobs left Sunday’s game with a knee injury, and his status for Week 15 is up in the air. Ameer Abdullah would certainly mix in and see some targets out of the backfield, but Zamir White is my preferred addition.
The formula for the Antonio Pierce-led Las Vegas Raiders has been to pound the rock. White would be a good bet for 15 carries or more and can also absorb some receiving work.
Ty Chandler – Minnesota (22%)
Alexander Mattison suffered an ankle injury and was forced to leave Sunday’s game. Ty Chandler posted season highs in carries (12) and added three catches. If Mattison were to miss, Chandler would be a high-end RB3/flex consideration.
Rico Dowdle – Dallas (10%)
Jordan Mason – San Francisco (2%)
This is mainly for the Christian McCaffrey managers. Elijah Mitchell missed Week 14 with a knee injury, and his return date is unknown. Mason scored a TD in relief duty in San Francisco’s win over Seattle. If CMC were to miss any time, Mason is the next man in.
DEEP LEAGUE ADD: Chris Rodriguez Washington (0%)
Add Chris Rodriguez if you are in a deep league or have Brian Robinson rostered. Antonio Gibson would see a huge increase in usage if Robinson were to miss but do not rule out Washington wanting to see what they have in Rodriguez.
Hunter Henry – New England (24%)
The random Week 14 TE blowup performance goes to Hunter Henry. Henry caught three targets for 40 yards and, more importantly, found the end zone twice.
Chasing the TDs feels wrong, but with the limited options the Patriots have at WR and Rhamondre Stevenson‘s injury, Henry should be considered a mid-TE2 this week.
SHALLOW LEAGUE ADD: Chigoziem Okonkwo – Tennessee (34%)
At the time of writing this article, Chigoziem Okonkwo has yet to play (Tennessee plays on Monday Night against Miami). Here is what I wrote about him last week:
Okonkwo has had 11 targets and a rushing attempt in his last two games. In Week 13, Okonkwo had a season-high 62 receiving yards including a 39-yard catch – Tennessee’s longest of the day. In the Fantasy Playoffs, Tennessee faces Houston (Bottom-3 vs TEs) twice.
Zay Jones – Jacksonville (29%)
Zay Jones is quietly the top add at the WR position this week. His production was minimal in Week 14, catching five passes for 29 yards in Jacksonville’s loss to Cleveland. But what stood out was his insane 14 targets. With Christian Kirk shelved for the season and Jones seeing this sort of work in the passing game, he can be a spot flex play for the rest of the season. Baltimore, Jacksonville’s Week 15 opponent, just conceded 293 yards and three TD passes to the Los Angeles Rams.
Dontayvion Wicks – Green Bay (5%)
Every season, we get a random WR (or three) that takes a big leap forward in the fantasy playoffs. This year, that WR could be Dontayvion Wicks. Wicks steps into Christian Watson’s role in an ascending Green Bay passing attack. Jordan Love is surging, and Green Bay’s playoff chances look better every week.
I am writing this article before Monday Night Football, and Wicks could fall flat on his face, but there is a chance he is more of a direct replacement for Watson than some managers may realize. The rookie has finished with 43 or more receiving yards for four straight games.
Jalin Hyatt – New York Giants (7%)
I have had Jalin Hyatt in my top-10 for two weeks now, and will take a bullish approach with rostering him in the fantasy playoffs. In Week 12, Hyatt posted career highs in catches, targets and yardage. Post-Bye Week, will the Giants feature him? It remains to be seen. But if they decide to go full in on Hyatt and target him six to eight times a game, he could be a fun player to roster during the fantasy playoffs. He makes for a fun YOLO type ceiling flex play, especially if you find yourself in an underdog situation.
John Metchie – Houston (2%)
John Metchie, Houston’s second-round pick in 2022, will finally get an increased role for the season’s stretch run. There are multiple injuries on Houston’s offense, and I expect Metchie to be one of the biggest beneficiaries.
Juju Smith-Schuster – New England (14%)
Much like Henry, Juju Smith-Schuster took advantage of his opportunities and produced in Thursday night’s win over Pittsburgh. JJSS caught four passes for 90 yards in a revenge game against his former team. This week, he faces off against his most recent team, the Kansas City Chiefs. It is hard to see him replicating last week’s success, but we cannot ignore it.
Top-10 Priority Adds
- Ty Chandler – RB Minnesota
- Chase Brown – RB Cincinnati
- Zamir White – RB Las Vegas
- Jake Browning – QB Cincinnati
- Zay Jones – WR Jacksonville
- Jalin Hyatt – WR New York Giants
- Dontayvion Wicks – WR Green Bay Packers
- Rico Dowdle – RB Dallas
- Chig Okonkwo – TE Tennessee
- Hunter Henry – TE New England