UPNXT: Best Week 15 NFL Waiver Wire Pickups and Trading Card Moves

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Fair warning: the deeper we go into the NFL season, the more this article will naturally shift more towards fantasy football, and less towards sneaky good trading card moves. Why is this the case? Well, we have a pretty good idea at this point which up and comers are studs, and which are duds for this year. Of course, there will be exceptions where a rookie might burst onto the scene in later weeks such as Jalen Hurts or Cam Akers, but for the most part, to quote the late Dennis Green, “they are we thought they were!” So, I just wanted to be transparent and fair to those of you that join us for the trading card content. As always, we will continue to do our best to provide all the value we can on football cards until our last article of the NFL season.

Switching gears, did you happen to catch the late-season resurgence of T.Y. Hilton? Seemingly overnight, this guy went from irrelevance to dominance for the Indianapolis Colts. We know Hilton has had a tremendous career, but many were writing him off this year, and for good reason. He had only eclipsed ten PPR fantasy points once through the first ten games this year. In weeks 12-14, he has averaged almost 23 fantasy points in PPR formats, a total 180 from how things started for him. I don’t expect it to end this week either, as he gets another juicy matchup against the Houston Texans. This is the same team that allowed Hilton to post a line of eight receptions on 11 targets, for 110 yards and a touchdown, just two weeks ago. Keep him in your lineups and keep an eye on his cards if he keeps on cooking like this for the rest of 2020.

Here we go again! Another week, another crop of guys that we hope will help your fantasy teams and trading card portfolio. Week 14 is in the books, so let’s see who’s UPNXT for week 15 in the NFL.

1. Baker Mayfield, QB, Cleveland Browns

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What a game we had on Monday Night Football! The Ravens-Browns matchup has my vote for game of the year. It was high-scoring, full of drama, and featured a divisional rivalry, a perfect recipe for an entertaining football game. 

Coming off back-to-back weeks of 330 passing yards and two or more touchdowns, Baker Mayfield makes for an interesting addition to fantasy lineups, and perhaps trading cards as well. Not only is the offense letting him sling the ball around, but he’s looking good doing it. On top of his recent success, he has a somewhat easy schedule over his next two games. You’ve got a quarterback with fantasy league winning upside if he can continue to stay hot through the winter.

Fantasy Ownership: Mayfield can be had in roughly 65% of fantasy leagues at this moment, as he’s just 35% rostered. He gets road matchups against the Giants and Jets, two teams that pale in comparison to the Ravens on the defensive side of the ball. The only thing possibly standing in his way is the two-headed monster of Nick Chubb and Kareem Hunt looming in the backfield. We know the Browns like to run the football and will likely do plenty more running if they are not challenged by the opposing offense putting up big points.

DFS - DraftKings: TBD FanDuel: TBD As we mentioned, Baker Mayfield and the Browns travel to New York this week to take on the Giants on Sunday night. There’s no pricing available for DraftKings or FanDuel currently, but let’s look at how this matchup shakes out for Mayfield. The Giants are allowing just 15.7 fantasy points per game to opposing quarterbacks, ranking fifth in the NFL in that category. Where they are vulnerable is against the run, so this could be a game where you see heavy doses of Chubb and Hunt. The game has an implied total of 45.5, with the Browns as -4.5 favorites. If New York can keep up with the scoring output of Cleveland, we may see Mayfield continue throwing 30-40 times per game, which could lead to big fantasy outputs. Keep him as a tournament play this week.

Card Market Rating: BUY! It has been a wild ride for Baker on the card market in the last three months. On September 20th, his 2018 Prizm base rookie PSA 10 was selling for $338. On November 8th, they bottomed out around $100. They are now selling around $240. 

The Browns are currently sitting at 9-4 and in 2nd place in their division. With 7 teams making the playoffs this year and games coming up against the Giants and Jets the next two weeks, they are well positioned to be playing on the big stage. The Browns are actually the type of team that could very well make a run, with a solid defense and one of the best running games in the league. That would do wonders for Baker's card value. Given their history, it's hard to trust the Browns... so don't go too crazy. I just have a good feeling that this could be the year that they change the narrative. 

2. Gus Edwards, RB, Baltimore Ravens

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Veteran Mark Ingram has seemingly been unseated by both J.K. Dobbins and Gus Edwards this season. The writing has been on the wall for awhile now as Ingram is getting into the twilight of his football career. Edwards has proven he has a nose for the end zone week after week. In his latest contest against the Browns, the bruiser out of Rutgers hit pay dirt twice, bringing his season total to six touchdowns.

At 6’1, 238 lbs., it is no surprise that the Ravens turn to him when they need to smash in a score from close. I see Dobbins as lightning, and Edwards as thunder a la Tiki Barber and Ron Dayne for the Giants back in the day. He’s just 25 years old, so there should be plenty of tread on the tires of “The Bus” for at least a few more years.

Fantasy Ownership: What if I told you that 28% of fantasy football players owned a bus? Now you can get your very own bus too as Edwards is available in over 70% of leagues. He may not get many touches, but he gets the ones that are most valuable to fantasy managers. All six of his touchdowns have come in his last eight games. Let’s hope the Baltimore continues to let Gus “The Bus” park himself in the end zone moving forward. (I’m having way too much fun with bus references.)

DFS - DraftKings: $4,400, FanDuel: $5,500 The Ravens host the Jaguars this week, which might be just what Gus Edwards needs to build on his touchdown total. The generous Jags are allowing the fifth most fantasy points to running backs, which puts them at fifth in the league at just under 23 points per game. I believe Lamar Jackson, J.K. Dobbins, and Gus Edwards could all find the end zone in this contest, as this should be a runaway win for Baltimore. Although he’s not very expensive this week, Edwards would have to get you one or two touchdowns to make him worth rostering due to his low touch total. Fire him up if you plan on multi-entering any tournaments this weekend.

Card Market Rating: A Gus Edwards 2018 Select Red Wave auto /75 sold for $10 the other day. $10!!!! While I'm not sure you will make any money buying and attempting to flip Gus Edwards cards, if you are a Ravens fan, this would be a fun guy to shop around for the PC. 

3. Russell Gage, WR, Atlanta Falcons

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If you were to dig into Russell Gage’s game logs, you’d see what looks like a rollercoaster of finishes throughout the year. He tends to have a couple of strong games followed by a few bad ones, rinse, and repeat. A lot of these inconsistencies are attributed to Falcons’ star receiver Julio Jones bouncing in and out of the lineup with a nagging hamstring injury. The last two games have been “up” games for Gage, as he’s converted a total of 15 targets into nine receptions for 133 yards and two touchdowns. Gage hasn’t had 100 yards receiving in a game since week one, but the touchdowns more than make up for the lack of yardage. If Julio Jones continues to be sidelined, expect Gage to see many of those abandoned targets.

Fantasy Ownership: At just 13% owned, Russell Gage has done a lot over the last two weeks to warrant a pickup. His next two matchups are against the Bucs and Chiefs, games in which Falcons’ quarterback Matt Ryan should have to throw plenty. As I mentioned, much of Gage’s value lies in the hands of Julio Jones. If Gage continues to operate as the WR2 behind Calvin Ridley, he should produce some solid numbers as a WR3/FLEX option in the next couple of weeks.

DFS - DraftKings: $4,700, FanDuel: $5,700 There’s plenty to like about this matchup for Russell Gage this week. The Bucs travel to Atlanta to take on the Falcons in a battle of NFC South division foes. The implied game total is 50.5 and the Falcons are +5.5 underdogs. Tampa Bay is allowing over 24 fantasy points per game to the opposition’s receivers, making them the 13th most generous defense to the position in the NFL. We’ve seen the Bucs get torched quite a bit this season, so there’s certainly upside in playing Gage in this matchup. I’d call him a borderline cash game play, and someone you’ll definitely want some exposure to in tournaments.

Card Market Rating: Julio Jones. Calvin Ridley. The Falcons have two wide receivers who are collectible already on the roster. I'm not investing in the 3rd wide receiver on any team. Makes sense for fantasy purposes when injuries pop up, but not on the card market. That said, his 2018 Silver Prizm rookie auto sold for $4 the other day. I can definitely come up with worse ways to spend $4. 

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