With the first week of playoffs in the books for most leagues, it’s rare that contending teams need a ton of help on the Waiver Wire. Your roster is set, and you don’t want to complicate things by creating unnecessary decisions. After all, there’s nothing worse than losing a close playoff matchup by making the wrong lineup decision. But I’m here to tell you that complacency doesn’t win championships, and there are still moves left to be made.
An underrated aspect of the fantasy playoffs is that, for the first time all season, you can play defense. Instead of just trying to make your roster the best it possibly can be, you can actually make some moves that hurt your opponent. If you would be going up against RG3 next week, drop your 5th WR and put in a waiver claim for the best QB available. If your opponent has an RB who got nicked up this week like Jamaal Charles or Marshawn Lynch, make a move for Peyton Hillis or Robert Turbin. Even if you have no intention of starting them, it will mess with your opponent’s plans and give you the mental edge that we all crave. Every point matters when you get to the Final Four, so don’t waste a roster spot on someone like Nate Washington or anyone on the Cardinals.
Here are your Week 15 pickups for non-standard leagues:
Two-QB Leagues – Kirk Cousins
It would really suck if RG3 was out. I would guess that he is among the most-owned players on fantasy playoff teams, and despite a mediocre day against the Ravens, many remaining teams likely have their hopes hinged to Sir Robert’s right leg. Early reports are a sprained knee, an injury I suffered myself during my lackluster high school career, and while RG3 is faster than me when he’s on crutches, a huge element of his game will likely be missing for the rest of the season. Considering that every game is must-win for the Redskins from here on out, if Griffin is clearly hindered, don’t be surprised if Shanahan opts to go with Cousins even if RG3 is cleared to play. In limited work this year, Cousins has looked decent. As with most rookie QBs, there will be turnovers, but Cousins has showed poise whenever he’s gotten the chance, including the game-winner on Sunday. The matchup with Cleveland next week is above average, and if you have RG3 (or you’re facing him), then you really have to pick up Cousins.
PPR Leagues – Jason Avant
The biggest upset of Week 14 to me was Philly taking down Tampa. Nick Foles looked like a professional quarterback for much of the game, and while Tampa’s pass defense is terrible, this performance was a notable improvement over what we’ve been seeing from the City of Brotherly Love. Foles threw over 50 passes on Sunday, and spread the ball out nicely, but it was clear that his two favorite targets were Jeremy Maclin and Avant. Unless you’re in a league with 11 frustrated Eagles fans, Maclin is likely owned, and unless you’re in a league with 11 delusional Eagles fans, Avant is likely available. The Eagles have nothing to play for these next three weeks other than finding out what they have in Foles and Bryce Brown, so I expect to see some different looks out of that offense, especially with DeSean Jackson on IR. If Avant can continue to do things like this, then he will likely be a big part of those looks.
TD-Only Leagues – Anthony Dixon
The Waiver Wire options are pretty depressing in TD-Only leagues at this point in the season, but if you’re hurting for an RB, Dixon might be worth an add. With Kendall Hunter already on IR and Brandon Jacobs quickly wearing out his welcome in San Fran, that leaves Dixon and rookie LaMichael James as the only backups to Frank Gore. The Niners want to keep Gore’s carries relatively limited so he’s still fresh in the playoffs, and James is more of a third-down back, so Dixon is the obvious short yardage back in San Fran. He vultured a TD from Gore on Sunday, and I wouldn’t be surprised to see him do the same thing next week against the Pats.
Return Yardage Leagues – Michael Spurlock
When I first saw that Michael Spurlock hauled in 7 passes for the Chargers on Sunday, I thought it was the guy from Super Size Me. Turns out, that guy’s name is Morgan Spurlock. Thinking about Super Size Me put in the mood for a burger, so I sent my fiancée out to get me some Whataburger. She came back with an amazing Chop House Cheddar Melt that immediately put me in a food coma, so I missed the first drive of the SNF game. Anyway, Michael Spurlock had 7 catches on 7 targets, and he also returns punts and kicks for the Chargers. Considering they just beat the Steelers, I have a feeling that they will stick with Sunday’s game plan moving forward, making Spurlock a nice late-season pickup in Return Yardage leagues.
IDP Leagues – Ernie Sims
The linebacking corps in Dallas has been a mess all season. Sean Lee and his replacement, Bruce Carter, are both on IR, and their replacements have been mediocre at best. Dan Connor has struggled with injuries himself, leaving Sims as the last man standing in the middle for the Cowboys. Sims finally responded on Sunday, racking up 10 total tackles (4 solo) and a sack, en route to a much-needed Dallas victory. Whether he can keep it up remains to be seen, but Sims did average over 120 tackles from 2006-2008, so if he can discover a fountain of youth, Dallas could be Sims’ city.