<
>

Fantasy football last-minute pickups for NFL Week 15: Jeff Wilson Jr., Tim Patrick and more

The roster percentages for this column are updated every Friday morning, and any players from Thursday's Chargers-Raiders game have been taken out.

Each week of the NFL season, we will identify fantasy football waiver-wire pickups specifically for those of you looking for streaming options in deeper formats (including IDP leagues). These are players available in a majority of ESPN Fantasy leagues (or close) who have enticing matchups in the week ahead that make them worthy of consideration for your lineup.

While you might notice some overlap with Field Yates' pickup column that publishes on Mondays, an important distinction is that the options mentioned in this column are focused solely on this week's matchup and not the players' values for the remainder of the season.

Do you need replacement options for injured players? Or are you merely dealing with depth issues? A roundtable of fantasy analysts will join me to identify some choice names to consider each week.

Here are some of our favorites for Week 15:

Quarterback

Philip Rivers, Indianapolis Colts (18.1% rostered; vs. Texans)

Rivers is fourth in EPA (expected points added) per dropback among passers this season and, with at least 17 fantasy points in four straight outings, he has emerged as a helpful late-season streamer for those toggling at the position in the fantasy postseason. An upcoming matchup with a porous Houston defense allowing 19.5 fantasy points per game to quarterbacks helps support a solid spectrum of outcomes for Rivers this weekend. -Jim McCormick

Running back

Gus Edwards, Baltimore Ravens (25.5% rostered; vs. Jaguars)

JK Dobbins is the flashy name and the most talented Baltimore back, but this one-dimensional offense has the potential to produce big-time rushing totals (see Monday night vs. Cleveland). It's different, but Edwards offers weekly value in the same way that Sammy Watkins does: Any player involved in a successful unit is worth a shot if you're desperate. Edwards has been a per-carry monster since entering the league, and if there was ever a week to capitalize on that efficiency, the crawling-to-the-finish-line Jaguars are it. -K.S.

Zack Moss, Buffalo Bills (40.9% rostered; at Broncos)

The floor is quite low for Moss, but there is some appeal since he has been leveraged at the goal line more often than Devin Singletary this season and seems to have regained his perch as the team's preferred early-down threat in the backfield. Last week saw Moss pace the backfield in rushes and touches, and this week's matchup with Denver proves inviting enough to consider streaming him. The Broncos have allowed 99.9 rushing yards per game to backs, 10th most in the NFL. -J.M.

Jeff Wilson, San Francisco 49ers (47.6% rostered; at Cowboys)

Maybe it's a Texas thing, but only Houston has allowed more rushing yards per game to backfields than Dallas. Wilson, meanwhile, could vault into a major role for the 49ers with Raheem Mostert ailing. If Mostert misses this inviting matchup, Wilson could join the legion of surprising week winners in fantasy playoff history to come out of nowhere. -J.M.

Wide receiver

Chad Hansen, Houston Texans (3.5% rostered; at Colts)

Hansen has consumed 21% of the Texans' targets during the past two weeks for an offense that has seen its receiving corps decimated by injuries and other issues, Hansen has transitioned quite smoothly from the practice squad to primary read for Deshaun Watson. While the Colts present a real challenge for receivers, it's worth noting Hansen just delivered 101 yards against Indy in Week 13. -J.M.

Tim Patrick, Denver Broncos (22.3% rostered; vs. Bills)

Is the Denver passing game exciting? No, not even close, but the Broncos are going to have to keep up with the Bills, and Patrick is their best bet. The 27-year-old has a score or six targets in five straight games if you throw out the Kendall Hinton debacle, and the Bills allow opponents to complete 59.3% of deep passes (second highest). Patrick doesn't come without risk, but there is enough reward to justify considering him a top-35 receiver this week. -K.S.

Tight end

Jared Cook, New Orleans Saints (52.4% rostered; vs. Chiefs)

With nine targets and two touchdowns the past two weeks, Cook is finally waking up in the Saints' somewhat compromised passing offense. The angle for deploying Cook this week is the potential for the Saints to need to pass early and often to keep pace with a special Chiefs offense. It also helps that Kansas City has yielded the eighth-most fantasy points to tight ends on the season. -J.M.

Irv Smith Jr., Minnesota Vikings (5.9% rostered; vs. Bears)

Atop a thin depth chart at tight for the Vikings, Smith just enjoyed his best game of the season in Week 14 and should again prove busy as a possession valve for Kirk Cousins this week against the rival Bears. With Chicago allowing the third-most fantasy points to tight ends on the season, the matchup metrics work in Smith's favor, as well. -J.M.

Defense/special teams (D/ST)

Cleveland Browns (64.6% rostered; at Giants)

Sometimes it's all about the matchup. The Giants' offense is reeling of late, with defensive opponents averaging 12 fantasy points per game in ESPN standard scoring the past three weeks, the fourth most in the league during this sample. The Browns, meanwhile, claim the 11th-highest sack rate (6.5% of dropbacks) in the league, setting up real splash-play potential when the Giants pass. -J.M.

Individual defensive players (IDP)

Defensive line

Justin Houston, Indianapolis Colts (2.8% rostered; vs. Texans)

The Texans' already leaky offensive line is struggling even more lately; Watson was pressured on 42% of his dropbacks in Week 14 and has been sacked 11 times in the past two games. Watson has been pressured 36 times in his past two games, setting up Houston -- the edge rusher, not the team -- with a relatively high ceiling for those chasing big games in the playoffs. -J.M.

Linebacker

Anthony Walker, Indianapolis Colts (7.6% rostered; vs. Texans)

Sticking with the Colts, Walker has compiled 25 tackles the past three weeks and could prove busy corralling the likes of Hansen and the team's backfield on passes around the line of scrimmage. -J.M.

Defensive back

A.J. Terrell, Atlanta Falcons (10.5% rostered; vs. Buccaneers)

In surging to the elite ranks of defensive backs in fantasy terms in recent weeks, Terrell has amassed an awesome 22 tackles and two forced fumbles the past two games and should again prove busy against the Bucs' offense. -J.M.