Week 15 Free Agent Focus
Here are our top waiver-wire recommendations across fantasy football formats, based on players available in more than half of ESPN leagues. Make sure you check your Free Agent Finder for the best available options in your specific league.
You might notice that we left out the blind-bid recommendations this time around (and will the rest of the way as well). At this point in the year, how much to bid depends entirely on your specific need and format. It's not time to get cute with how you pursue available players. It's time to get what you need to advance and win a title.
You will, however, still find players listed (by position) in the order we'd prioritize them.
Deshaun Watson, QB, Browns
It would be nice if we didn’t need to trust Watson in playoff fantasy lineups. But Kyler Murray’s knee injury plus bad Week 15 matchups for Trevor Lawrence and Jared Goff make the Browns QB an option.
Watson wasn’t terrific in his 2nd outing but did fare better. He improved his completion rate from 54.5% to 61.9%. The difference proved even starker by Pro Football Focus’ adjusted rate – accounting for drops a throwaways – going from 57.1% against Houston to 83.3% vs. Cincinnati.
Watson won’t have it easy this week against the Ravens, who sit 10th for the year in Football Outsiders’ pass-defense DVOA. But they’re just a neutral fantasy-scoring matchup for the position and are coming off 3 straight poor DVOA ratings against the pass.
A healthier Amari Cooper (questionable with a hip issue last week) would help Watson’s upside as well.
Daniel Jones, QB, Giants
Jones arguably presents a higher floor than Watson, thanks to the position’s 5th-most rushing yards for the season. Jones hit up Washington for 71 yards on a season-high 12 attempts in the teams’ Week 13 tie.
He also completed 25 of his 31 throws in that contest for an 80.6% completion rate that fell 0.4 points short of his season high (Week 1 vs. Tennessee). Jones turned those into just 200 yards and 1 TD, but he reached 20 fantasy points. Depending on your format, Jones has reached 20 fantasy points in 4 of his past 5 outings and fallen short of 16 fantasy points just once since Week 6.
Washington has been just a neutral matchup for QB scoring but 2nd-toughest in the league for RB scoring. Throw in a banged-up Saquon Barkley (neck), and we might just get more Jones dropbacks than usual.
He should be a solid play for QB-needy fantasy lineups.
Jerick McKinnon, RB, Chiefs
McKinnon racked up 112 yards and 2 TDs on 7 catches in Sunday’s win over the Broncos. The 1st came on a bailout flip from QB Patrick Mahomes that just happened to go for a 56-yard score, and the game certainly wasn’t the kind of performance we’ll bet on McKinnon repeating.
But he tied for 2nd on the team in targets (9), in a contest that found only 2 other Chiefs topping 3. He’s seen elevated opportunities since Week 9, including 6+ targets in 4 of the past 6 games. And McKinnon’s other 2 scores among the past 2 games each came from the 10-yard line or closer. That’s a much more repeatable scoring range.
The Chiefs get favorable matchups for both RB scoring and playing from ahead at Houston and home against Seattle the next 2 weeks.
Jordan Mason, 49ers
Mason seems to have locked down the No. 2 RB job behind Christian McCaffrey. He played on 30% of snaps Sunday and got 11 carries for 56 yards. That followed an 8-51 rushing line in the 1st game after Elijah Mitchell went down.
Two straight 49ers wins by 16+ points have helped increase opportunities for Mason, whom we still wouldn’t recommend as a standalone starter. He’s obviously just a McCaffrey injury away from lineup consideration, though. And for deeper leagues, a Thursday night matchup with the league’s friendliest RB defense might even make Mason viable.
Elijah Moore, WR, Jets
Corey Davis left early on Sunday with a concussion.
Moore stepped up with 6 catches for 60 yards on a team-high 10 targets vs. Buffalo. He played 82% of the offensive snaps — his highest rate since Week 4.
Beyond the box score, it certainly seems like Moore’s trending up towards the end of a rocky 2nd-season.
“He’s hitting his fastest GPS numbers that he’s hit since August,” Saleh said following Week 14. “He’s been unbelievable with the way he’s attacking every day. It almost feels like he’s just let go… and just playing football. It’s almost as if the result doesn’t matter. Obviously, it still does for him.”
If Davis misses Week 15, Moore would enter the WR3 mix against Detroit. After that comes another friendly matchup with Jacksonville.
D.J. Chark, WR, Lions
Chark scored for the 2nd time in 3 games and topped 90 receiving yards for the 2nd straight week in Sunday’s win over the Vikings.
His 94 yards led the team. His 6 receptions tied Amon-Ra St. Brown for tops among Lions and marked a season high for the 2nd straight week. Chark also matched St. Brown for the team lead in routes, with WR Josh Reynolds a clear 3rd and rookie WR Jameson Williams still minimally involved.
Chark gets a much tougher matchup at the Jets next week before favorable spots against the Panthers and Bears.
Evan Engram, TE, Jaguars
We’ve been highlighting Engram’s relatively strong usage all season. It led to huge production in Sunday’s win over the Titans: 11 catches for 162 yards and 2 scores. His 15 targets exceeded his total from the previous 4 games combined
He has neutral TE matchups the next 3 weeks vs. the Cowboys, Jets and Texans. As a bonus: Engram is still available in 56% of ESPN leagues.
Tyler Conklin, TE, Jets
Conklin entered Week 14 sitting 8th among TEs in pass routes; 8th in targets. Yet he slotted in as the TE19 in PPR points per game.
We saw that trend continue against Buffalo, as the veteran snagged 5 of 8 targets for only 28 yards. But Corey Davis went down in the 1st quarter with a concussion, putting him on the questionable side for a Week 15 meeting with Detroit. If he sits, Conklin would become a more appealing spot starter. We'll just keep an eye on the status of Mike White, who battled a rib injury in Sunday’s loss.
Austin Hooper and Chig Okonkwo, TEs, Titans
Hooper led Tennessee with 68 yards on 5 catches in Sunday’s game vs. the Jaguars. He’s averaged 5.0 targets, 4.0 catches and 39 yards over his last 5 games, making him a serviceable PPR option.
Okonkwo is the more exciting add. The rookie’s role has been on the rise. He’d tallied 5 targets in 2 straight games heading into this past Sunday – and then caught all 6 of his looks for 45 yards and a score.
Both TEs will take a hit if Treylon Burks is able to return from a concussion. But note that Burks missed practice all of last week and is no better than 50/50 to return against the Chargers. Perhaps L.A. will remain without S Derwin James (quad) for that one, too.