Fantasy Football: Week-Ahead Stash Candidates for Week 15
Fantasy football is all about being a step ahead of your competition, and this weekly column aims to help you achieve just that.
The following offers suggestions for players to pick up now (who are currently under 50% rostered) so that that you won’t need to use a high waiver claim or spend a significant amount of free agent acquisition budget (FAB) on them next week.
Mitchell Trubisky, QB, Chicago Bears
ESPN Roster Percentage: 20.8%
Last week against the pitiful Houston Texans defense, Mitchell Trubisky enjoyed a career day in which he completed 24 of 33 attempts for 267 yards and 3 touchdowns while adding 23 yards on the ground on 4 carries.
Trubisky has now scored 20.7, 13.3, and 25.0 fantasy points in the past three weeks since his Week 12 return as the Chicago Bears' starting quarterback. He will face the division rival Minnesota Vikings this Sunday before playing the Jacksonville Jaguars in Week 16, which has allowed the eighth-most half-PPR points to opposing quarterbacks in the past six weeks and on the season overall.
Trubisky isn’t the most talented quarterback remaining on the waiver wire at this point in this season, but he has the softest look-ahead matchup and is worth adding now for those with iffy quarterback depth in the event that he continues to play well in a tougher matchup versus Minnesota this week.
Jalen Reagor, WR, Philadelphia Eagles
ESPN Roster Percentage: 16.4%
First-round rookie Jalen Reagor's campaign has been underwhelming to say the least, but much of the disappointment can be chalked up to inconsistent quarterback play, which Reagor also dealt with at TCU. He's also dealt with various injuries, which have caused him to miss five games this season.
However, Reagor still has time to salvage the season over the next few weeks. The Philadelphia Eagles benched Carson Wentz in favor of Jalen Hurts, who had an encouraging performance in a narrow 24-21 loss to the current NFC number two seed in the New Orleans Saints, which boasts one of the best defenses in the league. Reagor earned just four targets last week but led the team in air yards. He ranks second behind only Dallas Goedert on the team in target share and air yards share since Philadelphia’s Week 9 bye.
Reagor’s usage is encouraging, especially considering the Eagles’ opponents to close the fantasy season -- it will play the Arizona Cardinals in Week 15 before facing the Dallas Cowboys in Week 16. Both teams rank bottom-half in fantasy points allowed to opposing wide receivers this season, with Dallas being the better matchup, as it has allowed the seventh-highest rate of pass plays gaining 10-plus yards on the year.
In the teams’ first matchup earlier this season, Reagor caught three of six targets and caught his sole career touchdown against Dallas. He’s a viable option for the Week 16 matchup if he and Hurts have strong performances this week against Arizona.
Rashard Higgins, WR, Cleveland Browns
ESPN Roster Percentage: 12.9%
In the past two weeks, Rashard Higgins has recorded six receptions and a touchdown in consecutive games on 19 combined targets in that time span. Last week in Cleveland's instant-classic Monday Night Football game against the Baltimore Ravens, Higgins earned his second-highest offensive snap rate (83%) of the season, his highest since Week 7.
The Giants have been solid against opposing receivers this season, but the Jets have allowed the third-most receptions and the seventh-most fantasy points to the position on the year. D.K. Metcalf posted 5 catches on 7 targets for 42 yards and a touchdown in the first half alone against the Jets last week before resting for much of the second half.
Higgins, like Metcalf, faces the potential issue of lacking volume against the winless Jets, but his plus matchup, strong recent performances, and obvious chemistry with Baker Mayfield makes him a worthwhile player to add now ahead of Week 16 roster decisions.
Jeremy McNichols, RB, Tennessee Titans
ESPN Roster Percentage: 0.7%
Tennessee Titans running back Derrick Henry easily paces the league in rush attempts and yards this season and will likely secure his second consecutive rushing title. The Titans run the ball at the second-highest rate in the league on neutral situation early downs (per rbsdm.com) in large part because Henry is the focal part of its offense.
With that said, if Henry suffers an injury or contracts COVID-19, Jeremy McNichols would be the next man up to burden Henry’s workload -- and he would likely shoulder most of it, considering he’s played 291 offensive snaps (27.7%) this season compared to just 44 (5.2%) for all other Tennessee running backs not named Henry.
Of course, it’s highly unlikely that Henry does end up missing time, but anything is possible in 2020, and McNichols is arguably the most valuable direct handcuff available in the majority of fantasy leagues for managers with bench sports available. Not to mention the Titans will play the Green Bay Packers in Week 16, which ranks bottom-five in rush defense efficiency and fantasy production allowed to running backs this season.
Jamaal Williams, Tony Pollard, Alexander Mattison, and Gus Edwards are all similar backups who are under 50% rostered and would also likely be in line for large workloads if their teams’ starters happened to go down. At this point in the season, championship fantasy teams don’t rely very much on streamers, but it’s worth rostering handcuffs due to their high potential even if their current floors are meager.