(CBS Boston)-Well folks, we are near the end of the road. Week 15 is here, meaning the fantasy football semifinals are here for most leagues.
Only one more win separates you from the fantasy championship. If you’re still reading this article, then that means your dreams of a fantasy title are still alive. Considering the craziness of the 2020 season, that alone is impressive.
But we’re not satisfied with making it this far. Let’s get you across the goal line and into the fantasy championship.
No small talk this week. Let’s get right into it. Here are the top waiver wire adds for Week 15.
QB Jalen Hurts, Philadelphia Eagles- Hurts made his first NFL start for the Eagles in Week 14 and did enough for Philadelphia to emerge with a victory over the Saints. The rookie quarterback threw for 167 yards, one touchdown and no interceptions, hardly jaw-dropping numbers. However, as we’ve seen with several other mobile quarterbacks this season, his rushing numbers make him quite valuable for fantasy purposes. Hurts rushed the ball a whopping 18 times for 106 yards against New Orleans. The Eagles will face off against the Cardinals in Week 15 before traveling to Dallas to take on the Cowboys in the fantasy championship the following week. This makes Hurts a borderline QB1 and possibly the top streaming quarterback for the remainder of the fantasy postseason.
QB Mitchell Trubisky, Chicago Bears- Trubisky had an incredibly appealing matchup in Week 14, getting to face the Houston Texans who were playing without their top corner Bradley Roby. Trubisky completed over 70 percent of his passes for the second consecutive week while throwing for three touchdown passes for the second time in three weeks, finishing with 267 yards and the three scores. Trubisky also added 23 yards on the ground. The Bears get to take on the Vikings in Week 15 and Jaguars in Week 16 as they continue to fight to keep their playoff hopes alive. You’re not going to feel overly confident about firing up Trubisky in the two most important weeks of the fantasy season, but with matchups like that, the Bears QB could easily find himself as a Top 10 QB for the remainder of the season.
RB Lynn Bowden Jr., Miami Dolphins- The Dolphins are the latest team to find its depth on offense completely depleted. Myles Gaskin tested positive for COVID-19 last week, which means he will remain out until at least Week 16. On top of that, both Matt Breida and Salvon Ahmed are dealing with injuries, leaving the versatile Bowden as one of their remaining backfield options. Bowden is more of a hybrid RB/WR, and can be used in either slot on most fantasy sites. This could make him quite valuable in Week 15. Bowden finished Week 14 with seven receptions for 82 yards against the Chiefs. Bowden could be a huge pickup for fantasy owners in PPR leagues in Week 15.
RB Jeff Wilson Jr., San Francisco 49ers- Owning a running back on the 49ers can be frustrating at times, as Kyle Shanahan prefers using multiple back instead of just giving one guy most of the backfield touches. Regardless, Wilson has found himself a role in the 49ers’ offense, as he is Shanahan’s preferred back in the red zone. We saw this in San Francisco’s loss to Washington on Sunday, as Wilson found the end zone while totaling 12 touches. Raheem Mostert is still going to get his touches, but with a matchup against the Cowboys on deck, both running backs have a solid chance at scoring a touchdown. If anything were to happen to Mostert, Wilson would approach must-start territory. A Week 16 matchup against Arizona is far from daunting as well, so fantasy owners with a roster spot to spare should take a chance on Wilson.
RB Carlos Hyde, Seattle Seahawks- It doesn’t matter how well Chris Carson looks, Pete Carroll seems determined to keep Hyde involved in Seattle’s run game. The Seahawks destroyed the Jets this past Sunday, which is likely the reason Hyde actually finished with more carries than Carson (15 to 12). Hyde gained 66 yards on his 15 carries, while Carson went for 76 yards on his 12. Carson is undoubtedly the superior back, but as long as the Seahawks continue to give Hyde significant touches, he will remain on the fantasy radar. The Seahawks take on Washington in Week 15, and while Ron Rivera’s team has looked much better in recent weeks and currently sits in first place of the NFC East, I expect Seattle to win this one pretty easily. If the Seahawks build a lead, which is likely if Alex Smith can’t suit up and Dwayne Haskins gets the start, then Hyde could be looking at double digit touches again. This would certainly be a risky start in the semifinals, but fantasy owners could do worse than Hyde, especially if Seattle enters this game as a heavy favorite.
WR Nelson Agholor, Las Vegas Raiders- Agholor had one of his best games of the season for the Raiders in Week 14. The sixth-year receiver was targeted nine times against the Colts, just one behind Darren Waller for the most on the team. Agholor turned that into five receptions for 100 yards and a touchdown, marking just the second time this season that he was able to reach the 100-yard mark. Agholor now has a touchdown catch in seven games this season, just one behind his career-best eight touchdowns set in 2017. A matchup against the Chargers in Week 15 could result in a high-scoring affair, as neither defense has been playing particularly well as of late. With 35 targets over the last four games, Agholor has a pretty solid floor for the fantasy semifinals.
WR Russell Gage, Atlanta Falcons- Julio Jones fantasy owners took a big hit this past Sunday, as the star receiver missed the game due to the nagging hamstring injury that has bothered him for most of the season. If you have Jones on your team, hopefully you were able to snag Gage off the waiver wire prior to his performance against the Chargers. Gage was targeted seven times on Sunday, catching five of those passes for 82 yards. The slot receiver added to his fantasy stats with a nice 39-yard touchdown pass to Calvin Ridley on a trick play. The Falcons play the Buccaneers and Chiefs over the next two weeks, meaning they will likely be playing from behind for most of those games. While Jones could return, the Falcons may be better off shutting him down for the final three games of the season. If Jones doesn’t suit up, Gage makes for a very solid fantasy play.
WR Kendrick Bourne, San Francisco 49ers- Hopefully you weren’t one of the disappointed fantasy owners who started Deebo Samuel last week. Samuel has been great when healthy this season, but unfortunately, it seems as if he hasn’t been able to stay on the field for that long this year. Samuel left Sunday’s game with a hamstring injury suffered on the first offensive play of the game and was unable to return. This paved the way for Bourne to play a bigger role in the 49ers’ offense. Bourne didn’t do too much with this opportunity, finishing with just three receptions for 42 yards, but this was an ugly game where SF was unable to get much going offensively. What’s the best thing for a struggling offense? A matchup against the Cowboys. Assuming Samuel is out, Bourne could be in for a big day in Dallas, making him a very interesting flex play.
TE Irv Smith Jr., Minnesota Vikings- Something happened this past weekend that had not occurred in nearly six years- Kyle Rudolph missed a game. The veteran tight end’s impressive 93 consecutive games played streak came to an end as his foot injury was too much to overcome. This opened the door for Smith to see more targets in the passing game, and the second-year tight end made the most of this chance. Smith caught all four passes thrown in his direction against the Buccaneers, totaling 63 yards and a touchdown. Minnesota’s next two games are hardly the matchups you want to chase, as the Vikings will welcome the Bears to U.S. Bank Stadium this weekend before traveling to New Orleans for a Week 16 matchup against the Saints. However, given the lack of depth at the tight end position this season, you likely have to ignore the tough matchups if Rudolph remains out. Keep an eye on the injury report this week, but if Rudolph can’t go, Smith could be a sneaky good pickup at fantasy’s toughest position to predict.
TE Jordan Reed, San Francisco 49ers- Recommending three players on a struggling offense with a 5-8 record? Do you sense a trend here? Reed didn’t do much to warrant confidence heading into the semifinals, catching just two of five targets for 13 yards. However, I have faith that Kyle Shanahan will be able to get things back on track in Week 15, and a big reason for that is San Francisco’s opponent. It’s not so much that I’m chasing players on the 49ers offense as I am looking for anyone and everyone facing the Cowboys defense. Add in the fact that Deebo Samuel could miss this game, moving Reed up a notch in the SF’s pass-catchers pecking order, and Reed all of a sudden looks like a decent streaming option. You may not start him with much confidence, but I like Reed’s chances of finding the end zone against Dallas in Week 15.
DST Cleveland Browns- Chances are the Browns defense is no longer available, as savvy fantasy owners likely looked ahead at Cleveland’s matchups and snagged them up already. But if they are still available, and unless you already have one of the top defense’s already on your team, you need to pick the Browns up ASAP. This was written prior to Cleveland’s Monday night game against the Ravens, so things could change based on how the defense looks in that game. However, the Browns have two matchups you LOVE to see in the next two weeks. First, the Browns will take on the Giants coming off a rough offensive performance. The Giants allowed eight sacks against the Cardinals on Sunday, and it remains to be seen if Daniel Jones will start at QB after looking limited out there this past weekend. If Jones can’t go, Colt McCoy will start his second game of the season. Then in Week 16, the Browns have just about the best matchup you could ask for as they take on the Jets. I don’t need to say anything about that one… The Browns could be the highest-scoring defense over the final two weeks of the fantasy season.
DST Tennessee Titans- The Titans defense has been far from consistent this season. The unit did put together a strong overall outing against the Jaguars this past weekend, holding Jacksonville to just 10 points while forcing a turnover. In Week 15, the Titans will face off against the Detroit Lions. That alone would typically be enough to warrant streaming consideration. But when you add in the fact that Matthew Stafford may not be able to play in this one due to the rib injury suffered in Week 14, the Titans defense seems like a no-brainer. Chase Daniel would step in as the Lions’ QB if Stafford can’t go. Daniel completed just three of six passes for 29 yards at the end of Sunday’s loss to the Packers. Tennessee could be the top streaming defense of the week if Daniel is starting under center.