Fantasy Football Week 15 Early Waiver Wire: Raheem Mostert proves last week wasn't a fluke

There are some teams whose running games are so potent, the Fantasy community circles them every year to target, no matter who is involved. Pittsburgh, New England, Kansas City, Green Bay … the specific names of the players don't matter as much as the situation they are in, and we'll chase the production that is sure to be there one way or the other. 

We didn't have the 49ers backfield among that group before the season, but it's pretty obvious we need to treat it like that now. Part of the reason for that was some confusion about how work might be distributed, but we shouldn't have many doubts right now: Raheem Mostert is the go-to guy here.

Coming off a massive performance in Week 13, Mostert's role wasn't quite obvious coming into Week 14's game against the Saints. After all, Matt Breida wasn't active last week as he continued to recover from an ankle injury, and reports indicated the 49ers held Breida out specifically to save him for this week. Tevin Coleman's role shrank in Week 13, too, but he had been the lead back more often than not when healthy, so the 49ers backfield looked like a possible three-headed committee, which is bad news for Fantasy.

However, that wasn't the case once the 49ers actually kicked off Sunday. Mostert saw 10 of the team's 19 running back carries and two of the three targets that went to running backs. He rushed for 69 yards on his 10 carries, along with a touchdown, while Breida rushed for 54 yards on six carries; Coleman had just 6 yards on three carries. Mostert added another touchdown and 40 yards on his two receptions, while Breida had just one catch for 4 yards; Coleman wasn't even targeted in the game.

The 49ers entered Week 14 second in the NFL in rush yards and touchdowns, and Kyle Shanahan consistently schemes up good opportunities for whoever is back there. Mostert might not ever see a workhorse workload consistently, but he is the preferred option right now. And with a matchup on the way against the Falcons in Week 15, Mostert should be viewed as a valuable starting option in all leagues for your pivotal playoff matchups next week.

Here's who else we'll be targeting on waivers heading into Week 15, beginning with a late-season breakout star at tight end:

Week 15
Early Waiver Targets
Early Waiver Wire Targets
DEN Denver • #87
Age: 22 • Experience: Rookie
Weekly Breakdown
MATCHUP
@ KC KC -13 O/U 46.5
OPP VS TE
30th
TE RNK
19th
OWNED
50%
Week 14 Stats
REC
4
TAR
4
REYDS
113
TD
1
FPTS
21.3
Drew Lock will probably get more headlines, but Fant is the Broncos rookie to have on your Fantasy down the stretch. The rookie from Iowa exploded for his second 100-yard game in his last five Sunday, catching all four passes thrown his way for 113 yards, including a 48-yard reception and a 14-yard touchdown. Consistency has obviously been an issue – Fant has fewer than 20 yards in two of his past three. But when so many teams have to start someone they're just hoping finds the end zone, Fant's role and talent makes him worth betting on, especially in games against the Chiefs and Lions in Weeks 15 and 16 where the Broncos may be able to continue succeeding through the air.
OAK Oakland • #33
Age: 26 • Experience: 4 yrs.
Weekly Breakdown
MATCHUP
vs JAC OAK -5.5 O/U 45.5
OPP VS RB
24th
RB RNK
NR
OWNED
4%
Week 14 Stats
RUYDS
53
REC
6
REYDS
43
TD
1
FPTS
21.6
One of the storylines we'll have to keep an eagle eye on this week is Josh Jacobs' shoulder. He has been playing through the issue since Week 7, but this was the first time it kept him out — he took a pain relieving shot to try to play, but couldn't get clearance from the training staff. With Jacobs sidelined Sunday, it was Washington who took on a larger role, playing 40 of 63 offensive snaps to Jalen Richard's 24. It's not like Washington was or has been a better runner either Sunday or all season, but it seems clear based on how they used both backs that the coaching staff views Washington as the better option behind Jacobs. Given that, Washington needs to be a priority on waivers heading into Week 15 against the Jaguars, at least until we find out if Jacobs can play.
WAS Washington • #26
Age: 34 • Experience: 12 yrs.
Weekly Breakdown
MATCHUP
vs PHI PHI -6.5 O/U 39.5
OPP VS RB
9th
RB RNK
NR
OWNED
61%
Week 14 Stats
RUYDS
76
REC
0
REYDS
0
TD
1
FPTS
13.6
Hidden behind Derrius Guice's breakout in Week 13 was Adrian Peterson's best game of the season, as the veteran rushed for 99 yards and a touchdown on his 13 carries. Peterson seemed destined to split work with Guice down the stretch, but Guice unfortunately suffered another knee injury Sunday, one that would force him to the sidelines for the rest of the game. Peterson ran the ball 20 times Sunday, and figures to continue to see significant work if Guice's injury keeps him on the sidelines. Chris Thompson, who had seven catches on eight targets Sunday, is available in 21% of CBS Fantasy leagues, and figures to see more work with Guice sidelined as well.
CAR Carolina • #80
Age: 23 • Experience: 2 yrs.
Weekly Breakdown
MATCHUP
vs SEA SEA -5 O/U 48.5
OPP VS TE
31st
TE RNK
18th
OWNED
2%
Week 14 Stats
REC
5
TAR
10
REYDS
57
TD
1
FPTS
16.7
We hoped Thomas would play a big role in Greg Olsen's absence, and he did just that Sunday. Kyle Allen looked his way early and often, ultimately sending 10 targets his way. Thomas had been a non-factor prior to the last two weeks, but let's not forget that the 2018 fourth-rounder was a useful Fantasy option at the end of his rookie season, catching 25 passes for 246 yards and two touchdowns over his final five games with Olsen sidelined. If Olsen remains out for Week 15 against the Seahawks, Thomas would be worth using as a starting option.
BAL Baltimore • #81
Age: 26 • Experience: 2 yrs.
Weekly Breakdown
MATCHUP
vs NYJ BAL -14.5 O/U 44.5
OPP VS TE
5th
TE RNK
NR
OWNED
1%
Week 14 Stats
REC
3
TAR
3
REYDS
73
TD
1
FPTS
16.3
Mark Andrews left Sunday's game with a knee injury, and while it doesn't sound terribly serious, the Ravens have a quick turnaround before Thursday night's game against the Jets that could leave him sidelined. If Andrews is out, Hurst would present yet another enticing option at the tight end position behind Fant and Thomas. Hurst, who was actually drafted ahead of Andrews and Lamar Jackson in 2018, showed off his big-play ability and above-average speed Sunday, scoring on a 61-yard touchdown. Jackson's style of play has led to plenty of big plays for the tight ends, so you'll want some exposure here if Jackson's top target is out.
MIA Miami • #42
Age: 24 • Experience: Rookie
Weekly Breakdown
MATCHUP
@ NYG NYG -3.5 O/U 47.5
OPP VS RB
16th
RB RNK
28th
OWNED
33%
Week 14 Stats
RUYDS
48
REC
4
REYDS
38
TD
0
FPTS
12.6
How low is the bar for success for Dolphins running backs? Laird's 48 yards Sunday were the second-most in any game by a running back for the team this season. He probably won't blow you away with efficiency in this offense, but Laird had 19 touches Sunday to just five for Myles Gaskin, the only other running back to touch the ball. Laird has at least four catches and 38 receiving yards in three of his last four games as well, so at the very least, you're looking at a viable PPR option. And, with matchups against the Giants and Bengals to close out the Fantasy season in Weeks 15 and 16, Laird might be even more than that.
DEN Denver • #3
Age: 23 • Experience: Rookie
Weekly Breakdown
MATCHUP
@ KC KC -13 O/U 46.5
OPP VS QB
20th
QB RNK
NR
OWNED
6%
Week 14 Stats
PAYDS
309
RUYDS
15
TD
3
INT
1
FPTS
29.9
It's too early to call him the heir to Peyton Manning, but Drew Lock's first two starts really couldn't have gone much better. He has thrown for 443 yards and five touchdowns in wins over the Chargers and Texans and gets decent matchups to close out his Fantasy season, against the Chiefs in Week 15 and then the Lions in Week 16. Both are on the road, which isn't ideal, but if you're playing in a two-quarterback league, Lock is worth the look.
PIT Pittsburgh • #18
Age: 23 • Experience: Rookie
Weekly Breakdown
MATCHUP
vs BUF PIT -1.5 O/U 37
OPP VS WR
6th
WR RNK
NR
OWNED
27%
Week 14 Stats
REC
6
TAR
8
REYDS
60
TD
1
FPTS
18.0
While James Washington hit on the big plays, it was actually Johnson who had received the most targets from Devlin Hodges coming into Week 14. And it was Johnson who broke out, leading the team with eight targets, double Washington's total and six more than anyone else on the team. Washington's demonstrated big play ability makes him an intriguing option, but I'm not sure there is enough room in this offense for two receivers to be Fantasy viable. Neither is someone you want to rely on, but Johnson may be the better option if you need one of them in Week 15 against the Bills.
Fantasy Writer

Though he can be found covering three different sports depending on the time of year, there is one unifying theme in how Chris Towers approaches sports; "Where's the evidence?" It doesn't matter how outlandish... Full Bio

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