We've reached week 15 of the NFL regular season, and one of the final weeks in your fantasy season. Just when we thought we were over the injury bug, fantasy starter Thomas Rawls went down for the season with an ankle injury, Andy Dalton broke his thumb, and Tyler Eifert was diagnosed with a concussion. If you were counting on any of these guys to lead you to a title, then your season hangs in the balance. If you're looking for some advice, or even just a few players who could help keep your roster afloat, here are some suggestions.
Ryan Fitzpatrick, QB, New York Jets. I hype Fitzpatrick nearly every week as a fantasy asset, and he's still unowned in lots of leagues! If you just lost Andy Dalton and don't feel comfortable with McCarron as a replacement, and if Fitzpatrick is available, go get him. Fitzpatrick has put up solid numbers nearly every week this season, and he should be considered as a starting option for your fantasy team. He's likely the best waiver wire option at the position.
A.J. McCarron, QB, Cincinnati Bengals. Didn't get Brock Osweiler, but still want a shiny young unproven backup to roll the dice on? A.J. McCarron could be your guy. His two interceptions in week 14 were problematic, but McCarron is playing in a stacked offense and did manage to put up at least reasonable numbers. If he can get past the mental mistakes and picks, he could be a sneaky good spot start against the 49ers.
Alex Smith, QB, Kansas City Chiefs. I can't believe I'm suggesting Alex Smith here, but he's a potentially solid starting option against a weak Baltimore Ravens defense. He's not a guy I trust much, but against the right matchup he can put up serviceable numbers. The Ravens are one of those matchups, and he could at least put up enough points to not lose you a matchup.
Denard Robinson, RB, Jacksonville Jaguars. Shoelace had some decent games last season for the Jaguars. With TJ Yeldon's knee sprain in week 14, Robinson filled in respectfully. He has taken over more of a role in the Jaguars offense lately, and especially if Yeldon misses time, Robinson could be a good spot start against the struggling Atlanta Falcons.
Tim Hightower, RB, New Orleans Saints. So you lost your backup waiver starting running back Thomas Rawls and want to replace him with another starting waiver wire backup running back? Tim Hightower is worth a look in the Saints offense. This suggestion reminds me a bit of the days of fantasy yore when Hightower was a fantasy sleeper option for the Cardinals between 2008 and 2010. However, Hightower is once again a fantasy waiver option, and one that could help your team this week. Grab him and start him if needed.
Bryce Brown, RB, Seattle Seahawks (UPDATE). It has now been confirmed that Brown, and not DuJuan Harris, will be the starting running back in Seattle to finish out the season. Cancel all waiver claims on DuJuan Harris and grab Brown instead!
Darren Sproles, RB, Philadelphia Eagles. Who is the starting running back in Philadelphia? Is it Ryan Mathews? Nope. Is it DeMarco Murray? Um.....probably not? Is it Sproles? Maybe. The Philadelphia Eagles backfield is a quagmire from a fantasy perspective, and it's nearly impossible to identify a true starter for the team. However, Sproles has been hot lately, and has scored double digit fantasy points in standard leagues in three of the last four games, and scored in two of those games. Sproles is worth a long hard look this week depending on your options.
Ted Ginn Jr., WR, Carolina Panthers. Ginn is another guy I have been in love with all season. He's slowed a little bit in recent weeks, but with Greg Olsen banged up for Carolina, Ginn should see lots of looks this week. Oh, and he's playing against the Giants, one of the worst pass defenses in football this season. Start with confidence.
Marvin Jones, WR, Cincinnati Bengals. Jones looks extremely comfortable with backup quarterback AJ McCarron. Jones is a guy that is capable of putting up big weeks and then disappearing for stretches. That could leave him on your waiver wire this week. If he's there, grab him and give him a shot.
Tyler Lockett, WR, Seattle Seahawks. Lockett is starting to break out just in time for a dream matchup against the MASH Unit that is the Cleveland Browns secondary. With Jimmy Graham injured and Russell Wilson playing some of the best football of his life right now, this could be a huge week for Lockett. Well worth a start if you need a gamble.
Dorial Green-Beckham, WR, Tennessee Titans. Ok, Ok, I get it. I talk up Green-Beckham all the time, but he is finally starting to show that he is a quality NFL wide receiver. I think his upside in the future is huge, but I also think he can help your fantasy team now. He's always a slight gamble, but he's a gamble I feel comfortable taking this week, especially if most of my roster is solid.
Eric Ebron, TE, Detroit Lions. Quick statistical question. Who is the only team to allow 1000 receiving yards to tight ends this season? Answer? The New Orleans Saints. Who does Eric Ebron face this week? That's right, the New Orleans Saints! Ebron isn't a consistent starting option in fantasy leagues, but he's a fantastic spot start against the right teams. The Saints are one of those teams, and I'd start him with confidence.
Zach Miller, TE, Chicago Bears. Miller has been consistently good for Chicago follwing Martellus Bennett's injury. He's emerged as a potential TE1/TE2 type of player, and is start-worthy down the stretch, especially if you're streaming. Great waiver wire option if he is there.
Houston Texans D/ST. The Texans face a depleted Indianapolis offense who will start either Matt Hasselbeck, who age has started to catch up to, or Charlie Whitehurst, who is a career NFL backup who will likely struggle against this defense. Start accordingly.
Minnesota Vikings D/ST. The Vikings face the Bears this week, and although Chicago is an improved team lately, the Vikings defense is scary under head coach Mike Zimmer. This is a unit worth starting if you're streaming.
Tampa Bay Buccaneers D/ST. The Buccaneers face a Rams offense that has been struggling lately. Tampa Bay has finally gotten into a groove, and their defense could be a nice spot start this week. Worth a look, especially in deeper leagues.
Hope this helps, and happy streaming! --Mike B.
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