Best fantasy football waiver wire pickups for Week 15

If you’re looking for someone in our top Week 15 fantasy waiver wire pickups and free agent adds who can save your season or lead you to an upset in the second round of your fantasy playoffs, you’re probably not going find him (unless you really believe in Jalen Hurts as an impact QB). Dolphins RBs DeAndre Washington and Lynn Bowden are interesting, and several WRs, including Keke Coutee, Nelson Agholor, Tim Patrick, KJ Hamler, Russell Gage, and Emmanuel Sanders, can work as WR3s or flexes in the coming weeks, but there weren’t many big injuries that led to obvious pickups this week (so far). 

Of course, fantasy owners are getting used to late-week waiver pickups being just as valuable as traditional early-week adds. As injury situations become clearer and players are placed on the COVID list, new starters can emerge at any time. Obviously, we can’t predict all those occurrences, so our full free agent list is comprised mostly of potential streamers at QB, WR, TE, and D/ST for Week 15, as well as a few potential “boom-or-bust” stashes who could be in play the next two weeks depending on what you need at the flex spot. The streaming options can be found at the end of this list.

WEEK 15 FANTASY:  RB Handcuff Chart

There’s no obvious pickup worth a high waiver claim this week, but with just two weeks left in most fantasy seasons, there’s no reason to hold back. If you need a player, go get him. If you’re worried about your opponent(s) getting a player, then beat them to the punch and play some defense. Having a higher claim heading into Week 16 could prove valuable, but if you won’t matter if you don’t make it there, so plan accordingly. 

Unless otherwise noted, only players owned in fewer than 50 percent of Yahoo leagues considered.

Washington was pressed into action after Myles Gaskin was placed on the COVID list on Saturday. With Salvon Ahmed (shoulder) and Matt Breida (COVID) also out, Washington handled the bulk of Miami’s RB touches, rushing for 33 yards on 13 carries and adding another 17 yards on two catches (four targets). Obviously, those numbers aren’t great, but if Washington is starting again next week against New England (likely since Gaskin is expected to be out and Ahmed hasn’t been practicing), he’ll have flexvalue thanks to his workload. Lynn Bowden, who’s eligible at both RB and WR in Yahoo and ESPN leagues, has some PPR flex upside, as well. —Matt Lutovsky

Many fantasy owners have been burned by Agholor in the past, so perhaps that’s why they don’t want to believe in him, but he just continues to put up good numbers and operate as the Raiders’ No. 1 receiver. In Week 14, he caught five passes for 100 yards and his seventh score of the season. He has tough matchups against the Chargers and Dolphinsthe next two weeks, but Agholor, who’s caught 20 passes over the past four games, is still in play as a WR3/flex. —ML

Coutee didn’t quite have the monster day many were expecting after Brandin Cooks (foot, back) was declared out, but he still produced at a WR3 level by catching all three targets for 24 yards and a touchdown against the Bears. It’s unclear if Cooks will return in Week 15 against Indianapolis, but either way, Coutee will have upside considering he just burned the Colts for 141 yards on eight catches in Week 13. —ML

Patrick continued his late-season surge in Week 14, catching three-of-five targets for 36 yards and a score. Patrick has seen consistent targets most of the year, and he’s had either 100 yards or a TD in three of the past four games — and the one in which he didn’t was the infamous Kendall Hinton start. Patrick has some tough matchups coming up (Bills, Chargers), but given his relative consistency, he’s still worth using a WR3 or flex every week. —ML

With Julio Jones (hamstring) out, Gage ended up serving as the No. 2 receiver for the Falcons. He was second on the team in targets (7), receptions (5), and receiving yards (82), and he also threw a 39-yard TD to Calvin Ridley. If Jones can’t play in Week 15, Gage could be in line for a similar workload. That should be good enough to make him a flex play at the very least even against a solid Buccaneers defense. —JC

Hurts passed his first test as Philadelphia’s starter, throwing for 167 yards, running for another 106 (18carries), and accounting for one TD against the Saints. The fact he did that against one of the NFL’s best defenses bodes well for his chances the next two weeks against Arizona and Dallas. It seems unlikely you’ll “need” to start Hurts in your fantasy playoffs, but much like his counterpart on Sunday,TaysomHill, his rushing ability gives him a high floor and a potential high ceiling in every matchup. Hurts’s Week 16 matchup against the Cowboys is especially appealing, so if nothing else, it wouldn’t hurt to stash him and keep him away from any potential opponents. —ML

Shepard has seen at least five targets in all but one game this season and has established himself as one of the most consistent targets for the Giants. Despite that, he is owned in just 49 percent of Yahoo leagues. Shepard should be scooped up ahead of his Week 15 matchup against a Browns defense that has allowed the sixth-most fantasy points to wide receivers this year. —Jacob Camenker

Sanders caught three passes for 48 yards and a TD against the Eagles. He saw five targets on the day and should’ve had a second TD had Taysom Hill not overthrown him on the play. Sanders should have a chance to be a WR3/flex against the Chiefs in Week 15 in what should be a shootout. If Drew Brees returns to action, his ceiling should only be higher given Brees’ excellent accuracy. —JC

Many fantasy owners have been waiting for Hamler to break out all year, and it finally happened in Week 14. Hamler caught just two passes, but both went for TDs. All told, he had a season-high 86 yards and showed the big-play ability that will make him a boom-or-bust flex play in any matchup. He’s still a major risk, especially in tough matchups against the Bills and Chargers in Weeks 15 and 16, but he’s still a worthwhile bench option because of his speed and the fact Drew Lock is always willing to throw it up for grabs. —ML

It seems that Valdes-Scantling has emerged as Aaron Rodgers’ preferred No. 2 receiver even with Allen Lazard having returned from IR. MVS was targeted six times on Sunday, tied for the second most on the team with Robert Tonyan, and he turned those targets into six catches, 85 yards, and a TD. The Packers are taking on the Panthers next week, and Carolina just let KJ Hamler catch two long TDs against them. Valdes-Scantling, a good deep threat, could have similar success in that matchup. —JC

Wilson Jr. is in a true timeshare with Raheem Mostert, and while Wilson is the secondary option, he still has 12 touches and turned them into 44 yards and a TD against a very tough Washington run defense on Sunday. If you need RB depth, you could certainly do worse than Wilson, especially since he gets to take on an awful Cowboys run defense that has allowed the fourth-most fantasy points to RBs in Week 15. —JC

Williams saw a lot of work in the Packers’ win over the Lions. He received 10 carries and totaled 38 yards while Aaron Jones handled 17 touches and 75 yards during the game. Williams should continue to help spell Jones and keep him fresh for the playoffs, and he can be trusted as a flex option against a weaker Panthers run defense in Week 15. —JC

Smith managed to catch a touchdown against the Buccaneers middling TE defense in Week 14, and in Week 15, he gets to take on a Bears defense that is one of five NFL teams to allow 10-plus fantasy points per game to the TE position. If Kyle Rudolph (foot) can’t play against the Bears, Smith will soak up most of the TE work for the Vikings and could find the end zone again. —JC

In back-to-back weeks, Kmet has seen at least seven targets. He is ahead of Jimmy Graham in the pecking order at tight end, and while Graham did catch a TD against the Texans, Kmet still saw some red-zone targets. In Week 15, the Bears are taking on the Vikings, who are middle-of-the-pack against TEs this year but have allowed at least 80 yards or a TD to the position in back-to-back games. Kmet should have a chance to do well against them. —JC

Bowden is an interesting player to consider picking up. He saw nine targets against the Chiefs and was able to catch seven passes for 82 yards. All three of those numbers led the team. Bowden has eligibility at RB and WR, and if he can keep seeing volume like this, he should have a chance to be a great WR3/flex option. Bowden’s matchup with the Patriots will be a tough one and he could see fewer opportunities if any of Miami’s injured/ill RBs return to action, but he’s worth having around in PPR leagues either way. —JC

Smith appears to be the lead back for the Falcons at this point in the season. He out-carried Todd Gurley 11-6 and outgained him 42-19 on the ground in Week 14. The Falcons are playing a Bucs run defense that ranks among the league’s best next week, but Smith should still be added because of his potential volume and his TD upside as the Falcons’ lead back. —JC

Deebo Samuel went down with a foot injury on the first play of Week 14 and didn’t return. In his stead, Bourne served as San Francisco’s No. 2 receiver and finished second on the team in targets (7) while totaling three catches for 42 yards and a two-point conversion. Bourne and the 49ers are taking on the Cowboys in Week 15, so if Samuel is out, Bourne should have a chance to put up big numbers against a weak secondary that has surrendered a league-high 22 TDs to WRs this year. —JC

Amendola emerged as the No. 2 receiver for the Lions in Week 14, totaling six catches and 66 yards on the day, both good for the most on the team, and he was third on the squad in targets (7). The Lions are playing the Titans and their leaky secondary in Week 15, so Amendola could be a great PPR flex option. —JC

The Chargers lost Mike Williams (back) to an injury early against the Falcons. With Williams out, Johnson stepped up as the team’s No. 2 receiver. Johnson saw seven targets and caught six of them for 55 yards and a TD. With Williams looking uncertain, at best, for Thursday night’s game against the Raiders, Johnson should be added as a potential flex option in the Chargers’ rock-solid passing attack. —JC

Hansen got a chance to serve as the Texans’ No. 2 receiver with Brandon Cooks (foot, back) out. He caught all seven of his targets for 56 yards, leading the team in looks and getting chances both early and late. Hansen gets to take on the Colts in Week 15 and he just had a 100-yard game against them. He has some PPR flex appeal, especially if Cooks is out again, so feel free to grab him, especially since Deshaun Watson loves throwing the ball to his wide receivers. —JC

The Dolphins lost DeVante Parker to a leg injury in their loss to the Chiefs, and it’s unclear when he might be able to return to action. In Parker’s absence, Hollins played well. He was targeted nine times, tied for the most on the team, and was able to bring in five catches for 66 yards. If Parker is out, Hollins can be trusted as a potential flex because of the volume he’ll see, though a matchup against the Patriots in Week 15 could prove to be a tough one. Still, he could soak up some of Parker’s red-zone targets, so Hollins is worth stashing. —JC

Pittman has established himself as the clear-cut No. 2 receiver for the Colts. Philip Rivers likes to spread the ball around, but Pittman still saw the second-most targets on the team (5) and caught two passes for 42 yards. Pittman should have a chance for more success against the Texans in Week 15, as Houston has allowed the 10th-most fantasy points to WRs this season. —JC

Higbee and Everett haven’t had huge games this season, but their Week 15 matchup is excellent. They’re playing the Jets, who have allowed more fantasy points to tight ends than any other team this year, including a league-high 11 TDs ahead ofWeek 14. It’s hard to know whether to trust Higbee, who led the team with 34 receiving yards against the Patriots, or Everett, who saw three targets compared to Higbee’s two, but the matchup is good enough that they have upside at the position.–JC

In his past four games, Arnold has found the end zone four times for the Cardinals, and he appears to be emerging as a solid target for Kyler Murray. In Week 15, the Cardinals are taking on the Eagles, who have allowed the 10th-most fantasy points to the position this year. Arnold could have a shot at the end zone or more yards than usual, so you do do worse than this TD-dependent streamer. —JC

Reed will be taking on the Cowboys and their poor defense during Week 15. So far this season, the Cowboys have surrendered the 12th-most fantasy points to TEs, and with Deebo Samuel banged up, there should be more targets available for Reed against the Cowboys. He can be started at the TE spot, so don’t be afraid to pick him up as a top streaming option. —JC

DeVante Parker wasn’t the only Dolphins player that left Sunday’s game early. Mike Gesicki left after a painful-looking shoulder injury, so there should be concern about whether he’ll be able to play moving forward. If Gesicki misses time, Shaheen would be the next man up. Shaheen caught two-of-three targets for 26 yards against the Chiefs, but he has three TDs on the season. Tua Tagovailoa likes throwing to his TEs, but it may be hard for Shaheen to be anything more than a TD-dependent streamer against the Patriots in Week 15. —JC

Despite dealing with a toe injury, Rivers has been on a tear of late. He has posted at least two TDs in his past four games and has logged no fewer than 285 passing yards in each of those contests. As long as Rivers is hot, he’s worth trusting, especially against a Texans defense that has surrendered the 13th-most fantasy points to QBs and just let Mitchell Trubisky go off against them. —JC

Trubisky had one of the best days of his career against the Texans. He threw for 267 yards and three TDs through the air and added 23 yards on the ground. Trubisky now has threethree-TD games in his six starts this season, and he should have a chance to score some more against the Vikings. Minnesota has been middle-of-the-road against QBs this year, but they have allowed seven passing TDs and 236.5 passing yards per game in their past four outings. Trubisky can take advantage of that. — JC

Mullens hasn’t been great this season, but he did have a 300-yard, three-TD game against Buffalo before a decent outing against Washington last week. Mullens gets to take on the Cowboys in Week 15, and the Cowboys have allowed the 10th-most fantasy points to QBs. Mullens may not be a sexy pickup, but if you’re hurting at the quarterback position, he’s at least worth considering. —JC

Jones just had a woeful game against the Cardinals, but he may have a chance to rebound against the Browns in Week 15. Cleveland has allowed the eighth-most fantasy points to quarterbacks this year, and the Giants, desperate for a win as they fight for a playoff spot, should be ready to exploit that weakness. Jones should be able to throw for more yardage and notch a TD in that game, or at the very least post some solid rushing numbers. —JC

The Patriots defense has been up-and-down this season, but they have played well in recent weeks and were able to shut out Justin Herbert and the Chargers a couple of weeks ago. They could have a shot to do similarly well against another rookie, Tua Tagovailoa, who is playing well but showed some cracks last week. — JC

Washington has averaged three sacks per game so far this season, and in recent weeks, they have done a great job of shutting down good offenses, including that of the Steelers in Week 13. They also crushed the 49ers and totaled two defensive TDs against them. The Seahawks may be a tough test for Washington, but their sack floor will give them a chance to be a top streamer. —JC

The Cardinals played well against the Giants and were able to force multiple turnovers. They are now taking on the Eagles and will get to face Jalen Hurts in the first road start of his career. The Eagles have allowed the fourth-most fantasy points to D/STs, and there’s little reason to expect that to change drastically with Hurts playing behind a beat-up offensive line. —JC

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