Hopefully you’re still in the hunt for a fantasy championship going into the Week 15 semifinals in most leagues.
This week, strategy again plays a major part in your decision-making as you consider players who aren’t slam-dunk superstars.
Someone like Mike Evans of Tampa Bay. He was likely drafted in the first round of your league this season as he was a top five wide receiver coming into the year. He hasn’t played like a first-round WR, though, and doesn’t have a 100-yard game this season. He only has four touchdowns and is only averaging 59 yards and four receptions per game.
Those aren’t must-start numbers. Even if it doesn’t feel good, a player’s draft position means little to nothing once the draft is over — you need to start your best players now, not as you saw them in September.
Here are some waiver pickups to consider as your decisions tighten:
DESHONE KIZER, QB, Cleveland Browns (10 percent)
It’s amazing how much better a quarterback will look when he has legitimate options around him. The return of Josh Gordon has added some spice to the Cleveland offense and while you would have to be extremely desperate to start Kizer, he’s not out of the equation in leagues in which you can start two quarterbacks.
NICK FOLES, QB, Philadelphia Eagles (1 percent)
His inclusion is all about the knee injury to Carson Wentz. The Eagles still have one of the best offenses in the NFL and it’s not like Foles is some wide-eyed rookie. He has started more than 30 NFL games and has a fantastic fantasy schedule over the next three weeks as the Eagles play at the Giants before finishing up the season at home versus the Raiders and Cowboys. These are far from elite NFL defenses. This is also a situation where it wouldn’t be a bad idea to play defense. If your opponent has Wentz or a lesser QB, you may want to claim Foles just to keep said opponent from becoming a better team.
ROD SMITH, RB, Dallas Cowboys (28 percent)
If you were wondering why the Cowboys released Darren McFadden a couple of weeks back, now you know. Smith has 74 yards rushing, 113 yards receiving and three touchdowns in the last two games. Sure, Alfred Morris is still the starting RB, but Smith is getting enough touches to become fantasy relevant. The Cowboys play the Raiders this week, a team that looks like it has given up after a dismal performance versus the Chiefs in Week 14. One thing to remember, though, Ezekiel Elliott is suspended for only one more game. Smith will most likely be irrelevant again in Week 16.
TREY BURTON, TE, Philadelphia Eagles (8 percent)
How valuable Burton is will depend upon the health of Zach Ertz. As of Sunday, he was still experiencing low grade headaches and hadn’t cleared the concussion protocol. Burton is not just some run of the mill tight end. If he was the starter over Ertz, he would be a top 12 TE week in and week out.
Other low-owned players worth considering: Corey Coleman, Cleveland Browns (39 percent), Dede Westbrook, Jacksonville Jaguars (37 percent), Tyrell Williams, Los Angeles Chargers (20 percent), Eric Ebron, Detroit Lions (36 percent), Stephen Anderson, Houston Texans (25 percent), and Tyler Lockett, Seattle Seahawks (29 percent).