Now that the regular season is over, we can take a look back at the top waiver wire additions over the course of the season. There were plenty of injuries to key players, forcing fantasy owners to look to the waiver wire early and often this past season. Those that were able to grab some of the players listed below are likely to have had a lot of success in 2015 as the players in this week’s story had an immediate and high fantasy impact.
For simplicity’s sake, we will group the players by position, so this is a sort of an “All Waiver Wire” team. We are also leaving kickers and defenses off of this list, strictly position players only. As always, thanks for reading and we look forward to seeing you next year!
Kirk Cousins, Washington
Every year there are some quarterbacks that do not get selected on draft day, but end up being top-notch fantasy players. We mentioned Cousins right away in our week one article as someone to watch, then we mentioned him again in week five. After a slow start in the first couple of weeks, Cousins came alive and in most scoring systems ended up as one of the top ten players at the position.
Those that were in the playoffs and had him on their roster were treated to back-to-back four-touchdown performances in Weeks 15 and 16. He threw for over 300 yards seven times and had at least one touchdown pass in every game. He finished the season with more points than Aaron Rodgers, proving once again that waiting to draft a quarterback is a winning draft strategy.
Tyrod Taylor, Buffalo
After opening up the season as the starter for the Bills, Taylor literally ran with the opportunity and never looked back. We mentioned Taylor in our week one story, and again in week two as fantasy owners that were quick to pick him up enjoyed his fantasy production. The rushing numbers were a nice addition, but it was his complementary passing stats that made him a solid fantasy starter.
Despite missing two games, he finished the season just outside the top ten fantasy quarterbacks. Four times during the season he tossed three touchdown passes and over the course of the season he ran for 568 yards (scoring four times). He did his best work in the second half of the season, performing especially well in the final six games. He is a player worth keeping an eye on in 2016.
Chris and David Johnson, Arizona
Much of the Cardinals success this season can be attributed to a viable running game keeping opposing defenses honest. We gave the rookie David an early mention as a player to watch, listing him in the week two write-up. However, early in the season it was newly signed Chris Johnson that carried the load for Arizona, he got a pickup mention in week four. After getting a handle on the playbook, Chris ran for 100 yards in week three, the first of what would be four times he would pass the century mark. Unfortunately, injury cut his season short, which opened the door for David to take over. As the starter, he topped 100 yards in every game, clearing 200 yards in a game against the Eagles in Week 15.
Dion Lewis, New England
Even though he suffered a season-ending knee injury in week nine, Lewis did more than enough to warrant a mention in our year-end story. The Patriots backfield was scattered among several players, but Lewis established himself in the first game of the season as the back to own from New England. We mentioned him after his week one performance, and he never looked back from there. He was averaging six catches and over a hundred yards in total offense per game, a true fantasy game changer.
Thomas Rawls, Seattle
When Marshawn Lynch first starting showing some wear and tear, we dropped some love in Rawls’ direction in week four. After a brief spell, Lynch returned, but left for good later in the season. Rawls lit up the 49ers for 255 total yards in week eleven, establishing himself as a hot waiver selection that week. He went on to reward fantasy owners with two more dominating efforts in weeks twelve and thirteen. Sadly, his season also came to an abrupt end, leaving his owners with a hole for the playoffs.
We will group these four together, as they all enjoyed tremendous short-term success. Stepping in for injured starters, these players became the workhorse back for their teams, each providing immediate returns to those fantasy owners that were able to grab them from the waiver wire. Unfortunately, each of them were only able to sustain that success for 2-3 weeks.