The playoff semifinals are now in the books and just like that, we are down to one final week of the fantasy football season. For those who have followed these recaps and previews all season, congratulations on making it to your league’s championship.
As usual, before we look too far ahead to next week’s preview, we must review what went down in the first round of the playoffs.
BUT, before we even do that, a quick note on this week’s waiver wire pickups. The waiver wire has been your best friend all year, bringing you studs like Justin Herbert and James Robinson. With just one week remaining, you should be adding players here if you need to replace a starter in your lineup, or want to steal a potential starter from your opponent’s lineup. It may sound cheap, but we are here to win it all. If you can't make a move to help your team, making one to weaken this week’s enemy is not a bad alternative.
So, now let’s hop into the Week 15 recap:
Stud: Jalen Hurts (401 total yards, 4 total TDs, 37.82 fantasy points)
Hurts continued his spectacular play as the Eagles’ starter despite the loss. The rookie threw for 338 yards and three touchdowns against the Cardinals, adding another 63 yards and a score on the ground. Hurts has now made impactful plays both threw the air and with his legs in his first two starts. He has earned another start in Week 16 and has a chance to be a true league winner in a plus-matchup against the Cowboys.
Dud: Ben Roethlisberger (169 total yards, 1 TD, 1 INT, 1 FUML, 6.7 fantasy points)
The Steelers’ offense continued to struggle Monday night as the once 11-0 Steelers now sit at 11-3. Roethlisberger struggled in the first half, turning the ball over twice and missing wide receivers left and right. The veteran played better in the second half — tossing a 23-yard touchdown to Diontae Johnson — but it was not enough. Big Ben and Pittsburgh will look to get back on track next week against the tough Indianapolis defense.
Injuries: Nick Mullens, Derek Carr
Mullens left Sunday’s game on the first play of San Fran’s final drive with an elbow injury. Head coach Kyle Shanahan said Tuesday that Mullens may need Tommy John surgery to repair the UCL in his right elbow. He is out for the season.
Carr suffered a non-contact groin injury on the Raiders’ first drive Thursday night. He limped off the field and right to the locker room with what was eventually declared a “significant groin injury.” NFL Network’s Ian Rapoport reported Carr is facing a 10-to-14 day recovery, but it seems unlikely he’ll suit up for Vegas’ Week 16 game.
Waiver Wire: Baker Mayfield (308 total yards, 2 TDs, 20.98 fantasy points)
Rostered: 27.3 percent
Mayfield continued his hot streak Sunday night, completing 27-of-32 passes for 297 yards and two scores. Mayfield has averaged over 300 passing yards per game over the last four weeks, while scoring over 20 fantasy in three of his last four and 18-plus fantasy points in all four. He should have no issue continuing his streak next week against the Jets.
Marcus Mariota (314 total yards, 2 total TDs, 1 INT, 25.84 fantasy points)
Rostered: 0.1 percent
In his first game action since January, Mariota was extremely impressive while replacing Derek Carr. He ended his first drive with a beautiful 35-yard touchdown pass to Darren Waller and went on to lead three additional, 10-play scoring drives for Vegas. The former No. 2 overall pick showed off his mobility, rushing for 88 yards and finding the end zone on a two-yard touchdown leap. He did throw a fourth-quarter interception, but it was hard to criticize this performance. Mariota will be in line to start next week against Miami if Carr is unable to go.
Stud: Tony Pollard (132 total yards, 2 TDs, 31.2 fantasy points)
Pollard got a spot start on Sunday, after a late Ezekiel Elliot (calf) scratch, and ran away with the opportunity. He has seen consistent work the past several weeks, but his 18 touches were a season high. Pollard made the most of those touches, posting 132 scrimmage yards — more than Elliot has posted in a single game all season. He’ll continue to earn more touches going forward and should be picked up, and started, if Elliot is to miss next weeks game versus the Eagles.
Dud: Todd Gurley (14 total yards, 3.4 fantasy points)
Gurley continues to take a backseat to both Ito Smith and Brian Hill on the depth chart. Gurley recorded just one carry on Sunday — a loss of one yard — while Smith and Hill combined for 11. He can be dropped with one week left to play.
Injuries: James Robinson, Jamaal Williams, Clyde Edwards-Helaire, Cam Akers
Already dealing with a knee injury, Robinson exited Sunday’s game in the fourth quarter with an ankle injury. He was listed as questionable to return, but did not make his way back onto the field. It would be an unfortunate ending to his fantasy season, but with the Jaguars now holding a strangle hold on the No. 1 overall pick, we could have seen the rookie for the last time this season.
Williams left Thursday night’s game early with a quad injury. He was seen limping to the bench and never returned, which resulted in Aaron Jones seeing 23 carries. We’ll continue to monitor the situation throughout the week.
Both rookie running backs — Edwards-Helaire and Akers, suffered high-ankle sprains on Sunday. Akers has already been ruled out of Week 16, while Edwards-Helaire, who also suffered a hip strain, will miss the remainder of the regular season.
Waiver Wire: Le’Veon Bell (76 total yards, 1 TD, 14.6 fantasy points)
Rostered: 59.7 percent
With Edwards-Helaire out for the year, Bell becomes an immediate pick-up for championship weekend. One week after recording 16 touches and a score, Bell should see an even bigger workload this week against the Falcons. In what could turn into a shootout, Bell is a solid RB2 for running back-needy teams.
Stud: Calvin Ridley (10 catches, 163 yards, 1 TD, 32.3 fantasy points)
Ridley went over 100 yards for the third straight game and saw a season-high 14 targets as Julio Jones (hamstring) remained sidelined. Ridley dominated the Falcons target share and made the most of it, piling up a season-high 163 yards and a score. Whether Julio returns next week or not, things should be tougher against Kansas City.
Dud: Amari Cooper (2 catches, 10 yards, 2.3 fantasy points)
Cooper could only manage a pair of five-yard receptions against the 49ers on Sunday. Dallas tried to manufacture him touches other ways, but his two carries went for a total of -7 yards. The two catch performance was his second worst outing of the season, as his first came in Week 8 when the Eagles held him to just one-catch. He’ll look to avenge that effort against Philadelphia next week.
Injuries: Michael Gallup, Jalen Reagor, Stefon Diggs
Gallup suffered a strained hip during Sunday’s game. He departed after a three catch, one touchdown day and never returned. It was reported the receiver has avoided a serious injury and could suit up next week against the Eagles. The Eagles could be without one of their own receivers in that contest, as Jalen Reagor left Sunday’s game with an ankle injury.
A foot injury caused Diggs to head to the locker room in the fourth quarter of Buffalo’s blowout victory on Saturday. He eventually returned to the sideline as the original diagnosis was a minor injury. On Tuesday, head coach Sean McDermott reported the Bills are still monitoring his injury.
Waiver Wire: Russell Gage (5 catches, 68 yards, 1 TD, 17.8 fantasy points)
Rostered: 21.3 percent
Whether Julio Jones is in the lineup or not, Gage has produced steadily since the Falcons Week 10 bye. Gage has seen at least seven targets and scored over 12.8 fantasy points in four of his last five games. He has also found the end zone three times over that stretch. His appeal greatly increases if Jones remains out, but Gage has had steady volume in the Atlanta passing attack.
Stud: Darren Waller (9 catches, 150 yards, 1 TD, 30.0 fantasy points)
In the rare occurrence Travis Kelce does not hold this spot, it’s most likely is held by Darren Waller. Even with Derek Carr sidelined, Waller hauled in nine of 12 targets for 150 yards and a score. Waller has now scored 30 or more fantasy points in two of his last three games and needs just 33 yards to eclipse the 1,000-yard mark for a second straight season.
Dud: T.J. Hockenson (2 catches, 18 yards, 1 FUML, 1.8 fantasy points)
A rare “dud” from Hockenson, who had previously scored under nine fantasy points just once this season. He saw just four total targets after seeing a combined 20 in interim head coach Darrell Bevell’s first two games. To make matters worse, he lost a fumble on an end around during Detroit’s potential fourth quarter game-tying drive. He’ll look to get back on track next week against Tampa Bay.
Injuries: Eric Ebron
Ebron was carted to the locker room after being sandwiched by two Bengal defenders Monday night. He was in obvious pain and did not return to the game. NFL Network’s Tom Pelissero reported Tuesday that the tight end did not suffer any structural or organ damage. His status is one to monitor this week.
Waiver Wire: Logan Thomas (13 catches, 101 yards, 23.1 fantasy points)
Rostered: 53.2 percent
If you’ve followed our recaps and previews this year, you know we love Logan Thomas. And although we said last week we wouldn't list him after he reached our 50 percent owned mark, we had to include him this week. With Dwayne Haskins under center, Thomas set season highs in targets (15), catches (13), and yards (101). He has now racked up 31 targets over his last three games and has proven to be a true TE1.
Patriots Player of the Week
Jakobi Meyers (7 catches, 111 yards, 1 FUML, 16.1 fantasy points)
We’re back with a correct pick! Meyers was back over the 100-yard mark for the second time this season as he paced the Patriots with 10 targets — his most since Week 9. Meyers did lose a fumble in the third-quarter, but the overall outing was one of his most impressive ones of the season. The second-year receiver has found a nice role in the Patriots offense and will look to continue his strong performances next week against Buffalo.
That is all for this week’s recap. Leave a comment below or reach out on Twitter @iambrianhines with any and all questions about your fantasy team!