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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.

  1. Giacomo says:
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    For week 15, Brady vs 49ers or Flacco at Redskins? Thanks for the help. I would have to pick up Flacco.

    • Giacomo says:
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      @Giacomo: My mistake, Flacco has Denver at home in week 15, not Washington.

      • Kevin Kumpf

        Kevin Kumpf says:
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        @Giacomo:

        Either way you have to stick with Brady. He got you here, so don’t get cute now.

  2. and1mcgee says:
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    mikel leshoure or montell owens the rest of the way? ppr league.

    separate question: leshoure/owens/mathews/bilal powell for Week 15? I’m thinking Mathews vs weak Carolina def.

    super happy about fjax going down for year and dez doing the same, as an owner of spiller/miles austin!

    thanks

    • Kevin Kumpf

      Kevin Kumpf says:
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      @and1mcgee:

      Gotta go week-to-week right now. Leshoure has a better matchup in Week 15, and is more talented, so I’d go with him if you have to choose.

      If Mathews doesn’t run wild on Carolina next week, I’m done with him forever, but he’s definitely your best option.

      Spiller/Miles will be huge for the next few weeks, congrats.

  3. Finbar says:
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    Do I go to the theater to see A Fitzgerald Family Christmas, or do I stay home and watch She’s The One with commentary? Do I throw The Brother’s McMullen into the mix?

    • Kevin Kumpf

      Kevin Kumpf says:
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      @Finbar:

      She’s The One is a great choice, but it’s been out for a long time and, along with Brothers McMullen, is on HBO all the time. It sounds like you’re an Eddie Burns fan, so you have to support his new work.

  4. Stefan says:
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    Jason Avant or wait around for Jordy Nelson’s status. Keeep in mind Avant plays on thursday, also this aint a PPR league.

    Thanks!!!

    • Kevin Kumpf

      Kevin Kumpf says:
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      @Stefan:

      Nelson won’t be at full strength if he plays at all, so between these two I would go Avant. Maclin isn’t 100% either and Celek is out, so I expect him to see the bulk of the throws from Foles.

  5. Jay says:
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    .5 PPR League
    3 of the 5
    Chris Johnson
    Ryan Matthews
    Bryce Brown
    Knowshon Moreno
    David Wilson

    • Kevin Kumpf

      Kevin Kumpf says:
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      @Jay:

      For Week 15, I’d go Mathews, Knowshon and Bryce. CJ has been in one of his funks for the last month, and Wilson is only startable over your guys if Bradshaw is out.

  6. Vince says:
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    Hey,

    Who would u start Eli vs Falcons or Luck vs the Texans?

    Thanks man,

    Vince

  7. Scott says:
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    Who would u pick up if Dez is done for the season need a WR

    • Kevin Kumpf

      Kevin Kumpf says:
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      @Scott:

      For Dallas, my guess is Dwayne Harris gets the most work, but outside of him I would look at Avant, Chris Givens, Alshon Jeffrey, or maybe take a flier on (gulp) Braylon Edwards if he signs with the Jets.

  8. Stephen says:
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    Pick 2 to start…Ridley, McFadden, Bryce Brown, Bilal Powell, Owens

    PPR League

    • Kevin Kumpf

      Kevin Kumpf says:
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      @Stephen:

      If DMC plays, he’s your top option in PPR. After that, it’s between Ridley and Bryce. Neither has a great matchup, but with Shady still out, I’d lean towards Bryce.

  9. HP2 says:
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    In consolation playoff not for much but I would like to do well to redeem myself need help at RB have been weak at RB all year I have Ballard, J. Bell, R. Hillman, and Howling looking to drop Howling and pick up 1 of these 3 off waivers.
    M. Owens, M. Reece, B. Wells
    My next question would who do I start need 2
    Ballard
    Bell
    Hillman
    or 1 of the 3 mentioned for pickup off waivers

  10. HP2 says:
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    Forgot to mention standard non PPR league also who would be the better start at QB
    Brady
    Dalton

    • Kevin Kumpf

      Kevin Kumpf says:
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      @HP2:

      I would drop LSH and pick up Beanie. The Cards looked terrible last week, but they get a much easier matchup in Detroit this week. If you can’t stomach a member of the Cards (I wouldn’t blame you), then Owens would be next, but he’s got a tough matchup with Miami’s run D.

      Start Ballard and Bell, Hillman hasn’t gotten many touches and I don’t think that changes this year.

      As for QB, you gotta stick with Brady. He just lit up Houston, so if he can manage half of that against SF you’ll be happy.

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