Well, THAT was a week. (Actually, as of this writing on Monday, Week 15 isn't even close to finished. Totally normal season we're having here.) With two games being played this Tuesday, Yahoo Fantasy will process waivers on Thursday morning instead of Wednesday to give everyone more time to make roster changes in the new week.
If you're still alive in the championship bracket, congrats. Let's look ahead to the semifinals. Below, you'll find a collection of priority pickups, all available in over 50 percent of leagues.
Wide receivers and tight ends to prioritize
Amon-Ra St. Brown, Detroit Lions (29% rostered)
If you're playing in any sort of PPR format, it's well past time for someone to grab Amon-Ra St. Brown. The USC rookie has been a target magnet over his last three games, converting 35 chances into 26 receptions, 249 yards and two TDs. St. Brown got the scoring started for Detroit in Sunday's stunning home win against Arizona...
Goff hits St. Brown up the sideline for the 37-yard TD ‼️
The Lions are up 10-0 on the Cardinals 👀pic.twitter.com/6JTiADKWDU
— Yahoo Sports (@YahooSports) December 19, 2021
Elite separation, elite celebration. St. Brown has seen at least 11 targets in each of the past three weeks and he's basically locked into heavy usage moving forward. D'Andre Swift hasn't played since November and T.J. Hockenson was placed on IR last week following thumb surgery. Fire up St. Brown against Atlanta in the semis, then again at Seattle in Championship Week.
Recommended offer (assuming $100 budget): $28
Gabriel Davis, Buffalo Bills (19%)
Gabriel Davis was recommended by pretty much everyone ahead of Week 15, demonstrating that, in fact, the herd occasionally has a correct fantasy take. Davis took full advantage of the absence of Emmanuel Sanders (knee), roasting the Panthers for five catches, 85 yards and two spikes on eight targets. It helps to be tied to a quarterback with a weapons-grade arm, obviously...
— Yahoo Sports NFL (@YahooSportsNFL) December 19, 2021
Davis has made four house-calls in his last three games, so it's not as if we're chasing some anomalous never-to-be-repeated performance here. When Davis gets serious playing time, he's a good bet to make a fantasy splash.
Jalen Guyton, Los Angeles Chargers (10%)
Look, when a receiver finds the end zone three weeks in a row, he's basically an automatic add. That's where we're at with Jalen Guyton, who's been scoring both from short-range...
Herbert with the filthy pump-fake and finds Guyton for the TD ⚡️pic.twitter.com/egmXMboH7C
— Yahoo Sports (@YahooSports) December 17, 2021
...and very long-range...
That throw right there is simply cartoonish. It hardly seems possible. Generally speaking, we like having receivers tied to quarterbacks who can do such things.
Guyton is only seeing modest target volume, but pretty much every look is a high-yield opportunity. The Chargers visit Houston in Week 16, so we don't have much to fear about the upcoming matchup.
Additional WRs to consider: Russell Gage (he's technically still eligible here as he's 50 percent rostered, but we can assume he's long gone in the most competitive leagues), Tyler Johnson and Scotty Miller (this is the order in which I'd prioritize the Bucs backup receivers, following a nightmarish Week 15 in which both Mike Evans and Chris Godwin suffered injuries), Marquez Callaway (after five straight games with exactly four targets, he broke out with a 6-catch, 112-yard effort), Donovan Peoples-Jones (he's a gifted receiver, no question, but he's attached to a run-heavy team with serious quarterback issues).
TEs deserving attention: Evan Engram (he has a matchup with Philly ahead, the friendliest possible spot for a tight end), James O'Shaughnessy (he's like the Kirkland Signature version of Dan Arnold, if that's something that interests you).
Running backs on the wire
Ronald Jones II, Tampa Bay Buccaneers (34%)
Sunday night's loss to New Orleans left Tampa Bay's roster heavily damaged, on both offense and defense. The Bucs' backfield was not spared. Leonard Fournette entered the game dealing with an ankle injury and exited with a hamstring issue, which of course has the potential to be a multi-week problem. Not great.
Ronald Jones II is the clear understudy in Tampa and he ran well in Fournette's absence, carrying eight times for 63 yards and catching both of his targets. Jones has had ball-security and pass-dropping issues in the past, as most of you know, but he's also capable of impressive performances via the run game. He's averaging 5.0 YPC over the past two seasons and he's crossed the goal-line 11 times. Few teams have a backup runner as skilled as Jones. He'll rank as a playable RB2 against the Panthers in Week 16, assuming Fournette is unavailable. The following week, the Bucs have a get-right matchup with the Jets, another potential blow-up spot for Jones.
Offer: Whatever it takes if you have a need at RB. You can't save it for next year.
Duke Johnson, Miami Dolphins (2%)
Ah, yes, the classic seventh-year breakout. Happens every season. This time, it's Duke Johnson who erupted after years buried on the depth charts of various teams, treated as if he couldn't possibly handle full rushing workloads. All he did on Sunday against the Jets was turn 22 carries and one catch into 127 total yards, breaking the plane twice. Arm-tackles were simply not getting it done against Johnson on Sunday...
Look at the moves by Duke Johnsonpic.twitter.com/y3lmAE1geC
— Dov Kleiman (@NFL_DovKleiman) December 19, 2021
He had never previously handled more than 16 carries in any NFL game — which is wild, because he's never not been good. Johnson was a stellar collegiate player at Miami back in the day (2,073 scrimmage yards in 2014), so it was nice to see him feast at home for the Dolphins.
We should of course be careful not to overreact to a player who takes advantage of an exceptionally friendly matchup. The Dolphins travel to New Orleans in Week 16 for a Monday night date with a formidable run defense. Still, it's tough to imagine Johnson fading into irrelevance after his monster effort against New York. Myles Gaskin had only a supporting role on Sunday (10-54-0); he hasn't rushed for 100 yards in any game over his three seasons and he's averaging just 3.5 YPC this year.
Samaje Perine, Cincinnati Bengals (13%)
Joe Mixon has battled a medley of injuries in recent weeks and his situation took another rough turn on Sunday, as he exited late with a left ankle issue. We've known all season that Samaje Perine is Mixon's direct replacement, so he really should have been rostered by a whole bunch of you. Alas.
If Mixon can't go in Week 16, Perine is looking at a substantial workload in a challenging matchup against Baltimore. He's averaged a respectable 4.5 YPC on the season and he's caught 24 of 28 targets. The Ravens have one of the league's stingiest run defenses, although it's worth noting that Perine had one of his biggest games against them back in Week 7 (12 touches, 75 yards, TD).
Various other add-worthy RBs: Justin Jackson (if Austin Ekeler can't go in Week 16, Jackson would be my preferred play over Joshua Kelley), Craig Reynolds (another week, another excellent rushing performance from a back now averaging 5.3 YPC; potential returns of Jamaal Williams and Swift are the problem here), Jaret Patterson (the Football Team has placed J.D. McKissic on IR and Antonio Gibson picked up/aggravated a toe injury on Tuesday, leaving Patterson as the next man up; the rookie was monstrously productive as a collegiate player in his MAC days), D'Ernest Johnson (premium backup who should see touches with Kareem Hunt sidelined), Jordan Howard (he's not gonna catch a thing in all likelihood, but the Eagles like him as an early-down and goal-line runner), Ameer Abdullah (he's the preferred backfield receiving threat for Carolina and he made a house-call on Sunday).
Quarterbacks deserving attention
Justin Fields, Chicago Bears (26%)
Entering the Monday night matchup against Minnesota in Week 15, Justin Fields had averaged 61.3 rushing yards per game over his previous four. This touchdown run against the Niners from Week 8 remains one of the best individual plays of the season...
I can’t get enough of the sky cam angle on Justin Fields’ TD run. pic.twitter.com/R9qaGEbTJH
— Bleacher Nation Bears (@BN_Bears) November 1, 2021
At his best, he's a magician. At his worst, he's a first-year passer who puts the ball at risk way too often. We typically see both his best and worst in the same game, often on the same drive (as happened on Monday night).
Fields has ranked near the top of the league in intended air-yards per attempt (9.8), so when he puts the ball in the air, he's not messin' around. He'll close the fantasy season with a pair of appealing matchups (at Seattle, vs. NYG).
Jimmy Garoppolo, San Francisco 49ers (41%)
In a season in which there are only like five or six tolerable fantasy quarterbacks, maybe Garoppolo is enough. [Shrug.] He's fine. I'm not gonna oversell him. We can comfortably say that his floor is something like 180 yards and one TD while his ceiling is 250 and two. His weapons are outstanding. But his head coach, in his heart, wants to simply run the ball 40 times a game. Garoppolo faces Tennessee and Houston over the next two weeks, so we don't have to fret about the matchups.
Other QBs of interest: Tyler Huntley (if you could guarantee another start for Huntley coming off his 4-TD effort, he would obviously be the top priority at QB this week), Ben Roethlisberger (there's a decent chance we see 40-plus attempts from Ben at KC this week, which would obviously give him a shot at, say, 260 and 2).
Defenses to stream
New York Jets or Jacksonville Jaguars (2% and 6%)
Sure, I could recommend one of the defenses like the Chargers or Eagles that's sitting out there at or near the 50 percent rostered threshold, facing friendly matchups in the week ahead (LAC at Hou, Phi vs. NYG). But those Ds are probably gone in deeper leagues. The Jets and Jags actually face each other in Week 16 in a clash of dysfunctional, turnover-prone teams that only rarely score. Both defenses are in play in this one, because neither team's offense is particularly threatening. Zach Wilson has thrown only two touchdown passes in his last six starts; Trevor Lawrence has thrown just one in his last seven. YIKES.