News & Analysis

Kremenjas: Fantasy football QB/TE/DEF streamers for NFL Week 15

Dec 13, 2020; Philadelphia, Pennsylvania, USA; Philadelphia Eagles quarterback Jalen Hurts (2) runs with the ball past New Orleans Saints defensive tackle Shy Tuttle (99) during the second quarter at Lincoln Financial Field. Mandatory Credit: Bill Streicher-USA TODAY Sports

Week 15 is our second-to-last opportunity to hit the waiver wire in fantasy leagues and scour the free-agent market in hopes of finding a strong streaming play at certain positions. If you’ve made it this far and are looking for a streamer at the quarterback, tight end or defense/special teams positions, well done!

The following are the best highly available players with solid matchups, usage rates and projections for the NFL’s Week 15 slate.

Quarterback

Derek Carr, Las Vegas Raiders – 47% rostered

Somehow, Carr currently ranks as a QB1, coming in at 11th with 248.8 total fantasy points. The past few weeks have represented a bit of a roller coaster experience, but the veteran has largely been solid and has turned a corner under head coach Jon Gruden.

Week 15 will be a rematch between Carr and the Los Angeles Chargers. The Week 9 contest wasn’t the most productive for the Raiders’ signal-caller, but it wasn’t terrible either — he scored 14 fantasy points on the back of two passing touchdowns.

Expect a similar result this week, though Carr could find more success with the Raiders’ offense executing better in recent weeks.

Jalen Hurts, Philadelphia Eagles – 18% rostered

I’ve been hammering the idea of adding Hurts as a waiver wire option over the past three or so weeks. It’s surprising to me that he’s still so readily available, but here we are. In his first start in Week 14, the rookie ripped off 21.3 fantasy points, securing a top-10 finish among quarterbacks for the week.

This week, Hurts and the Eagles’ offense face the Arizona Cardinals. While the Cardinals are actually a pretty good pass defense, they’ve been torched on the ground by opposing quarterbacks — they’ve allowed the sixth-most rushing yards (209) to the position.

Hurts may struggle throwing the football in this game, but it may not matter due to the high floor and upside he provides with his mobility.

Alex Smith, Washington Football Team – 6% rostered

Smith suffered a leg injury (no, not to that leg) in Week 14 and was replaced by Dwayne Haskins, though the early indication is that the veteran will be able to play in Week 15.

Smith's on-field play is relatively boring (5.6 average depth of target) and has resulted in only 65.5 fantasy points since he took over in Week 9, but he does have a highly desirable matchup in the Seattle Seahawks.

The Seahawks have surrendered the fourth-most fantasy points to opposing quarterbacks and the most passing yards in the entire league (4,009).

Despite the lack of big-time plays, Smith could find a decent amount of success against the Seahawks' suspect pass defense.

Tight End

Sep 20, 2020; Philadelphia, Pennsylvania, USA; Los Angeles Rams tight end Tyler Higbee (89) celebrates with teammates after his touchdown catch against the Philadelphia Eagles during the fourth quarter at Lincoln Financial Field. Credit: Bill Streicher-USA TODAY Sports

Tyler Higbee, Los Angeles Rams – 48% rostered

Higbee has not been very productive for the Rams this season, urrently ranking as the TE20 in full-point PPR leagues. He's now available in over half of fantasy leagues after failing to garner enough regular attention in the Rams' passing game. Backup Gerald Everett has one more target and only 13.7 fewer fantasy points this season, albeit with one extra game of playing time.

None of this matters, though, with the New York Jets next on the schedule. The Jets are obviously a brutal football team, but they’ve been especially bad at guarding tight ends, ceding the most points to the position. Fire up Higbee with confidence in Week 15 — he sports a top-five ceiling at the position in this week’s slate.

Trey Burton, Indianapolis Colts – 36% rostered

As we all know by now, tight end is notoriously brutal this season. While that may be true, there is be some intrigue surrounding Burton and his matchup this week.

Dating back to Week 4 (since he recovered from injury), the veteran has only managed a 44% snap share — that number is the lowest among the Colts' trio of tight ends. Yet Burton has seen by far the highest target share (11.3%) of the group, proving just how involved he is as a receiver and how determined Philip Rivers is to include him in the offense.

The matchup against the Houston Texans also happens to be a good one — they rank 30th in passing yards per attempt allowed (8.79) to the position.

Irv Smith Jr., Minnesota Vikings – 7% rostered

Smith put together one of the best performances of his career last week when he totaled 16.3 fantasy points by way of four receptions for 63 yards and a touchdown. The issue for Smith is his lack of involvement in the Vikings’ offense, as the second-year tight end has only seen four-plus targets on four occasions this season.

Still, the tight end position is shallow and Week 15 doesn’t present a ton of intriguing options. That being the case, Smith could still be a worthwhile streamer, as the Chicago Bears have been scored on nine times by the tight end position this season.

Defense/Special Teams

Cleveland Browns D/ST – 51% rostered

The Browns’ defense should probably be rostered at a higher rate, coming in at 16th among all D/STs to this point. Either way, they may have one of the highest ceilings this week with the New York Giants on the schedule.

The Giants are a brutal offense — one that turns the ball over often, surrenders a boatload of sacks (fourth-most) and scores very few touchdowns (second-fewest). Oh, and they’re also starting a hobbled quarterback who looked severely limited in Week 14.

Washington Football Team D/ST – 36% rostered

There aren’t many great matchups when it comes to startable D/STs in Week 15, but I’d be willing to bet on the talent of the Washington defense any day of the week. Somehow, they’re readily available after ranking sixth among D/STs to this point. 

That doesn’t seem right, and even though they have a tough opponent in the Seattle Seahawks this week, it wouldn’t stop me from betting on the defensive line to get home a handful of times. Even with the mobility of Russell Wilson, the Seahawks’ offensive line has been beaten to the tune of 43 sacks (tied for fifth-most) this season.

Arizona Cardinals D/ST – 24% rostered

The Cardinals rank 13th on the season and face a slightly tougher matchup than the Browns' this week. The Eagles appear to be a lost less mistake-prone and a lot more fundamentally sound with Jalen Hurts at the quarterback spot. But he is still a rookie capable of making mistakes, and the Cardinals are tied for 11th in sacks (37) and 15th in interceptions (10).

Both Hurts and the Cardinals defense could put together decent performances in Week 15.

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