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Week 15 fantasy pickups: Priority adds for those who lost Carson Wentz

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Each week, we highlight six recommended fantasy pickups, all unowned in a majority of Yahoo leagues. Carson Wentz’s knee injury is the story of Week 14, without question, in both fantasy and reality, so let’s begin with a pair of widely available quarterbacks…

Jimmy Garoppolo, QB, San Francisco 49ers, 20%

Garoppolo has guided a bad team to back-to-back wins, passing for 627 yards and completing 65.7 percent of his throws over the last two weeks. His receiving corps is loaded with castoff receivers and lesser Celeks, yet he’s averaging 8.96 Y/A on the season. If you had doubts about Garoppolo’s potential outside New England’s offense … well, just check the tape. He’s legit. Garoppolo is completing throws with the sort of high-level accuracy demanded by the NFL, setting up his receivers for field-flipping after-the-catch gains.

Next Sunday, Garoppolo will face a Tennessee defense that’s allowed 22 passing scores on the season, including four-TD games to three different QBs. He’s an excellent one-week streaming option. The Niners host Jacksonville in Week 16, however, so Garoppolo isn’t a strong play when your league’s fantasy championship is decided.

Schedule, next three weeks: Ten, Jac, at LAR

FAAB bid: What are you saving for, people? It’s Week 15.

Do you trust this man to lead your fantasy team to a title? Well, you may not have much of a choice. Blake Bortles has a pair of friendly matchups ahead. (AP Photo/John Raoux)
Do you trust this man to lead your fantasy team to a title? Well, you may not have much of a choice. Blake Bortles has a pair of friendly matchups ahead. (AP Photo/John Raoux)

Blake Bortles, QB, Jacksonville Jaguars, 34%

Bortles exists in that terrifying space where fantasy becomes untethered from reality. That is to say, he is not a particularly good quarterback in the traditional sense, but he’s delivered useful games (and seasons) for the fantasy community. Bortles is the Jim Everett of his era, basically. Back in 2015, he actually led the NFL in interceptions, fumbles and sacks, yet he still finished top-five at his position in our game. Bortles isn’t doing anything unusually well this season — 6.88 Y/A, 85.8 rating, 16 TDs in 13 games — but his upcoming schedule is phenomenal for fantasy purposes. Over the next two weeks, he’ll face defenses that have allowed the second and fourth most fantasy points to opposing QBs. Houston and San Francisco both rank in the bottom-third of the league against the pass. These teams have each given up 27 combined rush/pass touchdowns to quarterbacks.

Clearly, Bortles is capable of blowing this ostensibly perfect setup. No one around here is going trying to convince you that he’s a can’t-miss fantasy asset. But we should note that he’s playing the best football of his season so far this month, passing for 577 yards and two scores over his last two games while completing 71.0 percent of his throws. If you’re a desperate Wentz owner, give him a long look.

Schedule, next three weeks: Hou, at SF, at Ten

FAAB bid: Spend. Your. FAAB.

Theo Riddick staggers into your Week 15 fantasy plans. (AP Photo/Steve Nesius)
Theo Riddick staggers into your Week 15 fantasy plans. (AP Photo/Steve Nesius)

Theo Riddick, RB, Detroit Lions, 41%

Riddick had a low-degree-of-difficulty matchup against Tampa Bay in Week 14, and he rumbled for 93 scrimmage yards and a pair of scores on 16 touches. He led the Lions’ backfield in carries (10), though he only managed to rush for 29 yards. Per his usual, Riddick gained most of his yardage as a receiver (6-64). Ameer Abdullah was inactive on Sunday despite a week of limited practices, and pregame reports suggested his benching had more to do with year-to-date performance than with injuries. So Riddick it is. He’s never been an efficient runner (career 3.4 YPC), but he’s nonetheless in line for 12-18 touches per game moving forward. In Week 16, he’ll face a Bengals defense that ranks dead-last against the run (132.1 YPG).

Schedule, next three weeks: Chi, at Cin, GB

FAAB bid: All the FAAB.

Mike Davis, RB, Seattle Seahawks, 39%

This is last call on Davis, a player who’s taken over the primary role in Seattle’s backfield. He checked out with a rib issue on Sunday, but the early reports suggest it’s not a worrisome injury. Davis ran for 66 yards on 15 carries against Jacksonville, which gives him 36 touches and 166 scrimmage yards over the last two weeks, in challenging matchups. Next Sunday, he faces a Rams defense that ranks No. 28 against the run (124.1 YPG) and allows 4.7 YPC. Assuming good health, he has a clear shot at a 100-yard performance.

Schedule, next three weeks: LAR, at Dal, Ari

FAAB bid: All of it.

Rod Smith has emerged as a viable fantasy flex, at least until Zeke returns. (AP Photo/Adam Hunger)
Rod Smith has emerged as a viable fantasy flex, at least until Zeke returns. (AP Photo/Adam Hunger)

Rod Smith, RB, Dallas Cowboys, 13%

Smith has handled double-digit touches in each of the past two weeks, and he was a statistical monster in Dallas’ runaway win against the Giants on Sunday afternoon. He totaled 160 scrimmage yards on 11 touches, delivering a pair of fourth quarter touchdowns. Neither scoring play involved a ton of heavy lifting on Smith’s part, necessarily, but our game doesn’t award style points. Smith out-gained Alfred Morris by 75 yards at New York, despite seeing half as many touches. Ezekiel Elliot returns in Week 16, of course, so we need to think of Smith as strictly a one-and-one fantasy add. But next week’s matchup at Oakland is plenty friendly; the Raiders have allowed seven different running backs to exceed 100 scrimmage yards this season.

Schedule, next three weeks: at Oak, Sea, at Phi

FAAB bid: $12 of $100 budget

Corey Coleman, WR, Cleveland Browns, 28%

Understandably, Coleman was mass-dropped after his zero-catch, four-target performance against the Chargers in Week 13. But he bounced back in a significant way against Green Bay, catching five of his six chances for 62 yards and one touchdown. Josh Gordon’s presence on the field should ultimately make life easier for Coleman, even as he poaches targets. DeShone Kizer’s accuracy (53.9 comp%) and turnover tendencies (4.6 INT%) are obvious problems, yet Coleman has still managed to top 60 receiving yards in three of his last four games. Next week, the Browns will host a Jimmy Smith-less Baltimore defense that just allowed 500-plus passing yards to the Steelers.

Schedule, next three weeks: Bal, at Chi, at Pit

FAAB bid: $9

The New Orleans Saints defense gets a home matchup with Bryce Petty in Week 15, which makes this D a priority fantasy pickup. (AP Photo/Bill Feig)
The New Orleans Saints defense gets a home matchup with Bryce Petty in Week 15, which makes this D a priority fantasy pickup. (AP Photo/Bill Feig)

New Orleans Saints, D/ST, 37%

This one should require very little explanation when you take a peek at the Saints’ schedule. New Orleans gets a home matchup with the Jets this week, and New York’s offense will be directed by third-year quarterback Bryce Petty. Josh McCown suffered a season-ending hand injury in Week 14, requiring surgery. Petty attempted 133 passes over six games for the Jets last season, averaging just 6.1 Y/A while throwing three TD passes and seven picks. He’s in for a rough day against Cameron Jordan, Marshon Lattimore and the rest of New Orleans’ much-improved D.

Schedule, next three weeks: NYJ, Atl, at TB

FAAB bid: $4

Additional recommended adds: QB Case Keenum, QB Nick Foles, QB DeShone Kizer, QB Trevor Siemian, RB Jonathan Stewart, RB Peyton Barber, RB Tarik Cohen, RB Kerwynn Williams, WR Robert Woods, WR Marquise Goodwin, WR Randall Cobb, WR Dede Westbrook, TE Vernon Davis, TE Eric Ebron, D/ST Buffalo Bills

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