Just two more weeks left for most of us. Hopefully, you were able to advance to the next round of your league’s fantasy playoffs. If so, you’re likely just one win away from the championship that you have fought all season for. Nothing would be worse than to come all this way just to lose because you missed out on the savviest pick-ups available on the waiver wire.
You’re here so that doesn’t happen. And even though we are so late in the season there is still value to be had out there. One simply needs to know where to look. This week’s wire features an old dog learning new tricks, a rookie former-Raider, and an out-of-nowhere wide receiver. Now, let’s get you through this week and set up to bring home that coveted trophy.
Chad Hansen and Lynn Bowden Headline Week 15 Waiver Wire
San Francisco 49ers
This move is not for the faint of heart.There’s exists the chance of an in-game quarterback change. That’s because Nick Mullens is the QB30 on the season, in part because he’s only started seven games. He was the QB26 in Week 14 and has thrown at least one pick in all but two games he’s played this season, including multiple picks in three contests, with three fumbles to boot.
But just two weeks ago Mullens threw three touchdowns against the Buffalo Bills. He’s also thrown at least one touchdown in all but two games. He also gets the Dallas Cowboys in Week 15. They were allowing 34 points per game the three weeks prior to shutting down the battered Cincinnati Bengals. On the year, Dallas is 32nd in scoring defense. So even though San Francisco is just 20th in scoring offense (one slot above Dallas), they should still be able to put up points on a defense ranked 22nd in fantasy points allowed to quarterbacks.
What a year the Cleveland Browns are having and Baker Mayfield is right in the thick of it. The QB20 on the season, Mayfield is coming off of back-to-back weekly finishes. Just a week removed from his QB4 performance against the Tennessee Titans, he was the QB2 for his work in a losing effort on Monday Night Football.
This isn’t a play for Week 15. Mayfield’s Browns head to New York to take on the Giants who will likely be without Daniel Jones. That means, in addition to facing a defense that ranks just 17th against the pass but ninth in scoring doesn’t shape up to be a big one for Mayfield. Instead, look to Week 16 against New York’s other team, the Jets, for your spot. They’re allowing the second-most fantasy points to quarterbacks this season and are tied for second-most passing touchdowns allowed.
San Francisco 49ers
Starting another position in the Bay, we turn to the 49ers backfield and Jeff Wilson. He’s actually been on several waiver wire lists in recent weeks with all of the backs in San Fran missing time at one point or another. Wilson got his first real crack in Week 3 against the Giants. He took 12 carries for a whopping 15 yards but added 54 yards on three catches. What allowed him to finish that week as the RB10 were the two touchdowns, one through the air and one on the ground.
He’s only had one other useful week, that coming in Week 7 when he ran for 112 yards on 17 carries and had three rushing touchdowns against the New England Patriots. In Week 15, he draws a defense allowing the fifth-most fantasy points to running backs. The 9ers system is legendary for backs, but keep in mind that Dallas is one of three teams that has yet to allow a rushing touchdown this season.
Just as with every recent installment, this is your weekly reminder that if you have a stud running back and that back has a clear, defined understudy, roster said understudy. We have seen all year the value of having the handcuff to some of the top backs. Mike Davis has been a fixture in lineups most of the season while we are getting more clarity of late in Baltimore and Los Angeles. This is also useful if you have the space on your bench, though it is less useful with just two weeks left in the majority of fantasy seasons.
The story of Chad Hansen is one perseverance. The former fourth-round pick of the Jets bounced around the league for two years despite showing some promise as a rookie just to land in the perfect showcase situation. The Houston Texans were without Will Fuller (suspension) and Brandin Cooks (injury) on Sunday and Hansen caught seven balls for 56 yards against a stingy Chicago Bears secondary. That was his (relatively disappointing) encore to his five grab, 101-yard performance from a week earlier.
The 6-foot-2 Hansen is in a terrific spot. Fuller is done for the season and with the oft-injured Cooks dealing with multiple ailments, Hansen could stick through the end of the season. Keke Coutee is still around, and productive. But he is more of a deep-threat and player to get the ball to in space. Hansen is the big-bodied security blanket, an aspect of DeAndre Hopkins’ game that may have been underappreciated by former management.
Another chance to take advantage of dual eligibility! Rookie Lynn Bowden caught seven of nine passes thrown his way for 82 yards and even took a handoff, though that only netted two yards. That matters because Bowden is eligible as both a wide receiver and a running back in ESPN leagues. Everyone remembers the hubbub around Taysom Hill in his first start, some will remember how they avoided the issue entirely with Kendall Hinton. This though, being much more like Ty Montgomery a couple of years ago, is much more conventional.
Still, Miami takes on the New England Patriots in Week 15 with Bowden as one of the few healthy options for quarterback Tua Tagovailoa. DeVante Parker and Mike Gesicki are both in danger of missing this contest (as is Jakeem Grant) which could open the door for the electric Bowden. New England is 28th in fantasy points allowed to wide receivers. There could be plenty of volume to offset any inefficiency though and that makes this intriguing. Well, that and the dual eligibility.
Remember how our motto for tight ends is “chance at falling in the end zone”? Good because Dan Arnold has three of them over the last two weeks. He’s the TE6 over that span with only four catches and 88 yards, just to give you an idea of the state of the position. He’s surprisingly the TE22 on the year, further evidence of the wasteland that is the tight end position.
Not only is Arnold hot and playing for an offense that has run the fourth-most plays (opportunity is king), but he draws the Eagles in Week 15. They are 24th in fantasy points allowed to tight ends and have allowed a tight end to catch a touchdown in each of the last two games. All of this bodes well given Arnold is, at best, fifth in the pecking order.
All rankings courtesy of FantasyPros.com