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Fantasy Football: Week 15 Waiver Wire Pickups

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Fantasy Football: Week 15 Waiver Wire Pickups

Steve Mitchell-USA TODAY Sports

As the 2012 NFL season winds down, the playoffs are now upon us in all fantasy football leagues as leagues that use Week 17 will kickoff their postseason in Week 15.

No matter where you stand, in the playoffs contending for a league title or trying to win your consolation bracket and salvage something positive, making good waiver wire additions can still be a big factor in how things play out.

As I have done all season, I have narrowed my focus this week to players (or team defenses) that are available in over half of Yahoo! leagues right now. Most of the options I’m going with are likely available in far more leagues than that, and should be similarly available in all leagues regardless of league host or scoring format.

At this point in the season the pool of players likely to be available in a lot of leagues that can make any sort of impact is shallow, but that doesn’t mean putting some effort into bolstering roster depth is useless or unwarranted. In some circumstances, adding a player so someone else in your league can’t have them on their roster is a worthwhile move.

The window of opportunity to get the most out of any waiver wire addition is obviously narrow at this point, but I have still tried to focus on players that have favorable circumstances for more than one week and can be impactful over these final three weeks if your league uses Week 17.

With that, here are my “Waiver Wire Pickups” for Week 15.

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Nick Foles, QB, Philadelphia Eagles

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Foles threw for 381 yards with two touchdowns along with 27 rushing yards and a touchdown against the Tampa Bay Buccaneers on Sunday, and he now has three touchdown passes without an interception along with 45 fantasy points (ESPN scoring) over his last two games. Things will be a little tougher in Week 15 against the Cincinnati Bengals, who have only allowed two passing touchdowns in their last five games combined. After that things get easier again in Week 16 (Washington Redskins) and Week 17 (New York Giants), as both the Redskins and Giants entered Week 14 in the bottom half of the league against opposing quarterbacks. Foles has a chance to assert himself as the Eagles’ starting quarterback of the future over the next few weeks, and he is a worthy QB2 in all fantasy leagues.

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Montell Owens, RB, Jacksonville Jaguars

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Owens had 14 carries for 91 yards and a touchdown along with one catch for 11 yards on Sunday against the New York Jets, as he was essentially the last man standing in the Jaguars’ running back rotation. With Maurice Jones-Drew (foot) and Rashad Jennings (concussion) both banged up, Owens has a chance to remain relevant to fantasy owners over these last few weeks. The next two weeks look tough, with the Miami Dolphins (Week 15) and New England Patriots (Week 16) on the schedule, but a nice matchup is coming in Week 17 against the Tennessee Titans. The Titans came into Week 14 allowing 20.1 fantasy points per game (fifth-most in the league, ESPN scoring), and they have allowed over 100 rushing yards or a touchdown to the position in all but one game all season. Owners in leagues that use Week 17 should keep that final game in mind, but anyone looking to add running back depth at this stage can consider grabbing Owens.

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Vick Ballard, RB, Indianapolis Colts

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Ballard had 19 carries for 94 yards along with one catch for 10 yards on Sunday against the Tennessee Titans, and he now has at least 12 carries in seven of his last eight games with backfield mate Donald Brown continually banged up. Two of the Colts’ final three games come against the Houston Texans, who came into Week 14 allowing the second-fewest fantasy points to opposing running backs (10.5 per game, ESPN scoring) and have allowed just three total touchdowns to the position all season. A more favorable matchup will come in Week 16 against the Kansas City Chiefs, who entered Week 14 allowing the 10th-most fantasy points (ESPN scoring, 17.1 per game) to opposing running backs. Brown’s status going forward is unclear at this point, but Ballard should be owned in virtually all leagues at this point.

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Bilal Powell, RB, New York Jets

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Powell had 19 carries for 78 yards and a touchdown against the Jacksonville Jaguars in Week 14, giving him at least 11 carries in four straight games and double-digit fantasy points (ESPN scoring) in three of those contests. Shonn Greene is also in the mix in the Jets’ backfield and is not going away, but the limitations they have in the passing game guarantees a run-heavy offense going forward. Two of New York’s next three opponents, the Tennessee Titans (Week 15) and the Buffalo Bills (Week 17) entered Week 14 in the bottom five of the league against opposing running backs (ESPN scoring), so Powell has some appeal as a low-end RB2 or flex option during the fantasy playoffs. Fantasy owners seem to still be ignoring him despite being on this list consistently in recent weeks, but there are few better options out there for anyone that needs to add a running back.

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Jason Avant, WR, Philadelphia Eagles

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Avant had seven receptions for 133 yards against the Tampa Bay Buccaneers on Sunday, and now has 11 catches and 17 targets over the last two games with DeSean Jackson (ribs) out for the season. A much tougher matchup is coming against the Cincinnati Bengals in Week 15, who entered Week 14 allowing 16.2 fantasy points (fifth-fewest in the league, ESPN scoring) to opposing wide receivers. But after that two very favorable matchups come in Week 16 (Washington Redskins) and Week 17 (New York Giants), as both teams came into Week 14 in the bottom half of the league against opposing wide receivers. Avant has greater appeal in PPR formats since he does not have a touchdown all season, but anyone in a deep league that is looking to add a wide receiver can consider adding him.

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Andrew Hawkins, WR, Cincinnati Bengals

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Hawkins emerged on the fantasy radar with an eight-catch effort in Week 1 and then touchdowns in Week 2 and Week 3, but dismal production and then a knee injury have hampered his value since that point. But he does have 11 receptions over the past two games, and had his second-best catch total of the season (six) and a touchdown on Sunday against the Dallas Cowboys. A fairly favorable matchup is in Week 15 against the Philadelphia Eagles, who have allowed multiple touchdowns to opposing wide receivers (eight total) in three of their last four games. Things get tougher over the final two weeks against the Pittsburgh Steelers and Baltimore Ravens, but Hawkins’ Week 1 performance (eight receptions for 86 yards) did come against the Ravens. The upside here is not great, but owners in need of a WR3 or WR4 in deep leagues can do worse.

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Nick Novak, K, San Diego Chargers

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Novak went 2-for-2 on field goals and 4-for-4 on extra points against the Pittsburgh Steelers in Week 14, and now has multiple field goal makes (6-for-7 overall) in three straight games heading into a favorable matchup against the Carolina Panthers in Week 15. Carolina entered Week 14 allowing the most fantasy points (11.6 per game, ESPN scoring) to opposing kickers, but they did allow just two extra points and zero field goals to Matt Bryant of the Atlanta Falcons on Sunday. After a tougher matchup on the road against the New York Jets in Week 16, another favorable matchup will come in Week 17 against the Oakland Raiders. Oakland entered Week 14 allowing the second-most points to opposing kickers (11.1 per game, ESPN scoring) and allowed four field goal makes to Matt Prater of the Denver Broncos last Thursday night. Novak has a tough matchup in what is championship week in a lot of leagues, but those who are in leagues that use Week 17 can find a lot to like here.

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St. Louis Rams, Team Defense

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The Rams’ defense held the Buffalo Bills to 12 points on Sunday, while allowing less than 300 yards of offense, forcing two turnovers and registering four sacks in the game. They have posted 51 total fantasy points (ESPN scoring) over the last three games, and have not allowed more than 17 points in any of those games. Now a very favorable matchup is coming for Week 15, as the Minnesota Vikings have scored 14 or fewer offensive points in three consecutive games and quarterback Christian Ponder has only topped 160 passing yards in a game once in his last five games. Stopping running back Adrian Peterson will be a challenge, but other than that the St. Louis defense is well worth adding for any fantasy owner looking to take advantage of a matchup with their team defense in Week 15.