By A.J. Weinberg (@Fantasy_AJ)
The fantasy playoffs are going full steam ahead, but that does not mean the waiver wire should be overlooked. Whether you are looking to add a high upside emergency backup to your playoff squad, or looking for fill-in starters to avoid being the loser of the loser’s bracket, there are several widely available options who could boost your squad. As usual, I’ll highlight my list of the top pickups heading into week 15.
Dennis Pitta (Baltimore Ravens, TE – 1.4%)
If you are in a deep league (or have read my wiretapping articles in Weeks 12 and 13), then it is likely someone has already grabbed Pitta. Seeing as the vast majority in leagues are smaller than that, Pitta is still widely available on ESPN.com, and could be the perfect fill-in for those who just lost Rob Gronkowski to a season ending torn ACL. Pitta finished up last season as the 7th overall TE, and without much competition for targets other than Torrey Smith and the inconsistent Marlon Brown, Pitta could easily produce at that same level from here on out. He has missed every game in the season up until this point with a hip injury, but he got right back in the swing of things in Week 14 hauling in 6 passes for 48 yards and a score (on 11 targets). With the Ladarius-Green-Hype-Train crashing on its way out of the station, Pitta now is clearly the best TE option that is sitting on the waiver wire in most leagues. Expect Pitta to put up respectable, startable numbers from here on out.
Rod Streater (Oakland Raiders, WR – 6.8%)
Hopefully you heeded my advice about Streater a few weeks back, because he has continued to play well. He had his best game of the year against the Jets in Week 14 posting 7 catches (on a season high 10 targets) for 130 yards and a score. He now has over 80 yards in 3 of the last 4 games and is no doubt Matt McGloin’s favorite target. I don’t believe a Denarius Moore return severely hampers Streater’s value, as McGloin and Streater have had time to develop some really nice chemistry that likely would not change by Moore returning to the lineup. With coach Dennis Allen indicating that McGloin is likely to be the starter for the next three weeks, Streater’s value should stay solid. Consider him a must pick up if you have any WR issues and a WR3 the rest of the way.
Jacob Tamme (Denver Broncos, TE – 1.1%)
So you’re one of those guys in a super deep league where Dennis Pitta has been owned for the past 4 weeks? Well, Tamme could be just the man to solve your TE needs. With Wes Welker forced out of the Broncos Week 14 game with another concussion, Tamme saw several reps out of the slot position that Welker normally occupies. Given that it is extremely unlikely Welker suits up against the Chargers on Thursday, Tamme will likely see an increased workload once again. He had modest production (4 grabs for 47 yards) in week 14, but if he is getting consistent reps out of the slot in the touchdown-fest that is the Broncos’ offense, he’s worth fantasy consideration. He’s not overly athletic, so don’t expect Julius Thomas-esque production, but if you are really in need of a TE and Pitta isn’t sitting around, Tamme is worth a spot on your squad.
Daniel Thomas (Miami Dolphins, RB – 5.1%)
Over the course of the weekend, Thomas and fellow RB Lamar Miller seemed to completely flip roles. Going into week 14, Miller appeared to have the starting job locked up as Thomas was dealing with a potentially season ending ankle injury. Thomas was surprisingly activated for the Dolphins’ game against the Steelers, and Miller was forced out of the game with a concussion. While still likely not 100%, Thomas produced admirably. He had 16 carries for 105 yards and a score. While Thomas has often been labelled as a bust due to his relatively poor play for the first two-plus years of his career, a RB getting touches warrants fantasy consideration. It remains to be seen how much time Miller will have to miss, if any at all, but in the meantime Thomas is worth adding. While he doesn’t have the game changing speed that Miller has, he could easily see 12+ carries with several goal line looks in any game Miller is sidelined.
Toby Gerhart (Minnesota Vikings, RB – 1.0%)
If I had written this article on Sunday, Gerhart probably would have been my #1 pickup recommendation. It appeared that Adrian Peterson suffered a significant injury, and that Gerhart would assume the unquestioned lead back role in Minnesota. However, Gerhart’s future is a little less clear as Peterson only suffered a sprain. He will not need surgery, but he is unlikely to play Week 15 meaning that Gerhart should at least get one week to shine all to himself. Even if Peterson managed to suit up, Gerhart will still likely see a healthy dosage of touches. The Stanford product nearly reached the 90 yard mark on 15 carries and had 1 monstrous touchdown run. Keep in mind that Gerhart himself tweaked his hamstring, so it is not certain that he will even be able to play, but if so, Gerhart will be a solid RB2 in a matchup vs. the 15th ranked Eagles run defense.
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