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Week 15 Quarterback Waiver Wire Adds and Pickups

It's the semi-finals in most fantasy leagues, so most owners should have their quarterback locked in permanently. If that's not the case don't fear, there are still good streaming options available in plenty of leagues.

There are a few tough matchups for highly-owned quarterbacks this week. Aaron Rodgers @ Chicago, Matt Ryan vs. ARI, Matt Stafford @ Buffalo, and Jameis Winston @ Baltimore are all quarterbacks that you may want to consider benching this week, especially the latter two.

In standard one-quarterback leagues, the waiver wire is usually pretty rich with talent at the position, unless the league is full of owners that like to hold backup quarterbacks. In two-quarterback leagues, nearly every starter is rostered, and the waiver wire tends to be quite barren for quality arms. That’s why a few quarterbacks owned in 15% of leagues or less are included, so even owners in deep leagues have someone to consider. Ownership is based on Yahoo leagues and is current as of December 9.

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Week 15 Waiver Wire Quarterbacks

Dak Prescott – DAL @ Indianapolis Colts – 56% Owned

Prescott seems to alternate between good games and bad, and while the pattern suggests Prescott is due for a bad week, he gets to take on a weak Indianapolis Colts secondary. Now, if you’re a smart person that does smart people things and checks defensive performance against individual positions you might think, “But the Colts are good against quarterbacks.” That is technically correct. They have allowed the 18th-most passing yards in the NFL and the 18th-most fantasy points per game to opposing quarterbacks, making them above average. But Indianapolis has benefitted from facing perhaps the weakest string of quarterbacks in modern NFL history. Between getting shredded by Tom Brady in Week 5 and taking on Deshaun Watson this week, the Colts faced the following quarterbacks: Sam Darnold, Derek Anderson, Derek Carr, Blake Bortles, (Mostly) Blaine Gabbert, Ryan Tannehill, and Cody Kessler. Not a top-15 quarterback in sight. Carr and Tannehill are the only quarterbacks that aren't classified as utter disasters. Before that stretch, the Colts were allowing 282.6 passing yards per game, which would be the second-highest mark in the league. We can’t totally erase their performances against bad quarterbacks and assume this is the second-worst pass defense, but it’s not a secondary that instills fear nor is it one to avoid. Dak is the top streamer where available this week.

Lamar Jackson – BAL vs. Tampa Bay Buccaneers – 45% Owned

Jackson has appeared in this column for five straight weeks, but it’s hard to stay away from him when he draws such easy matchups every week. As a starter, Jackson has faced four of the bottom-eight defenses against quarterbacks this week, and he’ll face a fifth in Week 15 against Tampa Bay. Jackson hasn’t been the dual-threat superstar some were hoping for since taking over in Baltimore, but he has been fine, averaging 18.66 points per game as a starter this year. His pass volume is a little scary, as Jackson hasn’t thrown the ball more than 25 times in a game this season nor has he thrown for more than 178 yards. That would normally be a red flag in a quarterback, and it still is to some degree, but Jackson can at least make up for that deficiency with his legs. Tampa Bay’s secondary has been awful this season, allowing the second-most passing touchdowns and fifth-most passing yards, so perhaps their ineptitude will help Jackson crack the 200 passing yard milestone for the first time this year.

Jackson did miss the final two plays of this game and received x-rays to his ankle, but told reporters, “I’m good.” If he were to miss this game than Joe Flacco is owned in only 11% of Yahoo leagues and could make for a sneaky pickup in two-quarterback leagues.

Derek Carr – OAK @ Cincinnati Bengals – 19% Owned

Carr is, in this writer’s opinion, better than his numbers have shown over the course of the season. He, unfortunately, suffers from a dearth of talent surrounding him on the Oakland offense, particularly on the offensive line. While his supporting cast won’t change in a week, Carr draws a great matchup in Week 15 against the reeling Cincinnati Bengals, who have allowed the most points per game to opposing quarterbacks this season. The volume is typically there for Carr, who has thrown fewer than 30 passes just once this season. Oakland needs to throw because they are typically behind in games and have been relying on Doug Martin as their main ballcarrier this year. They might not be behind in this one, but we should still expect plenty of throwing from Carr on the road against a bad secondary. In this matchup, it’s worth rolling the dice on Carr in deeper leagues if you need a quarterback.


Deeper League and Two-QB League Options

Josh Allen – BUF vs. Detroit Lions – 14% Owned

Even though Allen meets the ownership threshold to be a deep-league option, he can be considered in leagues of all depth. Allen has been everything we’ve wanted Lamar Jackson to be since Allen returned from injury. In his three games since returning Allen has 25.79 points in standard scoring leagues, which would be the second-highest average points per game among all quarterbacks, behind only Patrick Mahomes. Lamar Jackson has averaged a respectable 18.66 points per game, which is fine, but Jackson seems to have gotten all the hype while Allen’s performances have gone unnoticed or fantasy owners don’t seem to care.

The lack of excitement over Allen is understandable for a few reasons. First, Allen was bad in the beginning of the season. He only scored more than 15 points once prior to his injury. Second, Allen plays for a terrible team in arguably the worst offense in the league. It is certainly bottom-five in terms of supporting talent. Third, Allen is often reckless with the ball, as evidenced by his back-to-back two-interception games over the last two weeks. This one isn’t as worrying as the others, and sometimes a rookie quarterback, especially one on a bad team, will benefit from taking big risks rather than checking the ball down. Compared to the timidity we’ve seen from other rookies, the turnovers for Allen aren’t as worrying from a fantasy perspective. Yes, an interception costs points, but so does constantly dumping off to a running back or tight end. If we’re digging this deep, we want as much upside as possible, and Allen is probably the closest thing to a boom-or-bust quarterback in the league right now (that'll change if Ryan Fitzpatrick can find his way back onto the field).

The Bills take on the Lions in Week 15, and Detroit has been neutral against the pass, allowing the 14th-most points per game to opposing quarterbacks. However, with a rushing and deep-ball slinging quarterback like Allen matchup matters less than it does for a traditional quarterback. He isn’t going to masterfully pick apart anyone’s secondary, so we don’t need to wait for an easy matchup to deploy him. For low-owned quarterbacks, he’s the best option as a streamer or two-QB fill-in for Week 15. He's even worth consideration in one-quarterback leagues.

Joe Flacco – BAL vs. Tampa Bay Buccaneers – 11% Owned (if Lamar Jackson is out)

This is obviously contingent on Lamar Jackson’s status for next week, but if Jackson’s injury is more serious than initially believed than Flacco will fall into a dream matchup against Tampa Bay. The Buccaneers have allowed the third-most fantasy points to opposing quarterbacks this season. Flacco isn’t good, but he isn’t so bad he can’t take advantage of a weak secondary. He could be a sneaky add for the deep leaguers out there. We should know more about Jackson’s status throughout the week, and may even know definitively who is starting for Baltimore before waivers run on Wednesday morning.

Jeff Driskel – CIN vs. Oakland Raiders – 2% Owned

This one is purely matchup-based, as Driskel hasn’t done much to prove himself since taking over for Andy Dalton in Week 12. He hasn’t been bad, but he’s been a low-ceiling game-manager type. His already low-ceiling is hurt with A.J. Green on the sidelines, giving him a rather mediocre group of receivers outside of Tyler Boyd. That being said, Driskel has been careful with the football and probably won’t have a multi-turnover disaster day, especially against Oakland. The Raiders have allowed the most touchdown passes this season and the eighth-most fantasy points per game to opposing quarterbacks. In leagues where even Josh Allen is unavailable Driskel can work in a pinch. Hey, he’s better than Mark Sanchez.

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