Stake your claim: Fantasy football waiver wire Week 15
Dec 11, 2016; Santa Clara, CA, USA; New York Jets running back Bilal Powell (29) celebrates behind San Francisco 49ers cornerback Jimmie Ward (25) after scoring a touchdown during the fourth quarter at Levi's Stadium. The New York Jets defeated the San Francisco 49ers 23-17. Mandatory Credit: Kelley L Cox-USA TODAY Sports

After a few stars had miserable performances in Week 14 of the fantasy football season, there are a few replacements out there in Week 15.

The first round of the fantasy football playoffs was brutal. If you played against Le’Veon Bell, then I’m truly sorry for your loss. If you were lucky enough to survive some horrible fantasy performances from the likes of Ben Roethlisberger, Drew Brees, Russell Wilson, Devonta Freeman, Matt Forte, Melvin Gordon, or Amari Cooper, then congratulations.

I can’t remember a more brutal week for fantasy football when you take into account the timing of these duds/injuries. Having one of your players get hurt on the first series of the game and not return is the most helpless feeling in fantasy football. Week 15 of the fantasy football season is upon us which means it’s semifinals time for those of us still lucky to be alive.

I’ll be the first to admit that there were no winners from last week’s column, but if you’re picking up a player this late in the season to start them, you probably don’t have a great chance to win or too much confidence in your squad. Below are some speculative adds that could come to fruition if the guy in front of them goes or stays down with an injury.

Worthy Of Your First Waiver Claim:

Mike Gillislee

The Bills lost again on Sunday in the snowy tundra of Buffalo, hurting their playoff chances significantly. That could only mean good things for Mike Gillislee’s fantasy stock. If the Bills were to be eliminated from playoff contention, they might ease up on using featured back LeSean McCoy in the final weeks of the season. This means more time for Gillislee who has made the most of his opportunities so far. In Week 14 he only received two carries, but he turned them into 34 yards. Plus, has reported that Gillislee is now the team’s official goal-line back. The UF product is a prime candidate for some vulture opportunities near the goal-line.

Alshon Jeffery

If an owner in your fantasy league dropped Alshon Jeffery because they needed the roster space, I highly suggest picking him up now that he’s back from suspension. While he has had a disappointing season, he should get plenty of opportunities in Week 15 against the Green Bay Packers. Cameron Meredith has built a solid rapport with quarterback Matt Barkley, but Jeffery’s talent is undeniable. Expect the Bears to be trailing for most of this one and throwing like crazy.

Worthy Of Your Second Waiver Claim:

Bilal Powell

Bilal Powell stepped up huge in Matt Forte’s absence during the San Francisco 49ers game on Sunday. Powell took advantage of the worst run defense in the NFL to the tune of 29 carries for 145 yards and two scores, including the game-winner in overtime. He also caught five passes for 34 yards as a valuable safety net for Bryce Petty. Forte is listed as day-to-day with his knee injury, so the situation is worth monitoring as the week progresses. If Forte were to miss any time, Powell becomes a top-25 running back against a mediocre Miami Dolphins defense.

Kenneth Farrow/Ronnie Hillman

Melvin Gordon’s unfortunate and untimely injury thrust the only active, healthy running back in San Diego into action in Week 14. Kenneth Farrow answered the call with 78 total yards on 22 touches. Melvin Gordon is considered day-to-day with a hip strain and a knee sprain, but if he were to miss any time, Ronnie Hillman would be activated as Farrrow’s backup. The Chargers have great match-ups in the final two weeks of the fantasy football season – the Oakland Raiders and Cleveland Browns.

Getting Defensive:

Houston Texans D/ST

The Houston Texans are the most up and down team in the NFL this season. Losing J.J. Watt really hurt this team; they are tied for the second-fewest sacks in the NFL this season with 22. However, they have been able to force eight turnovers over the last five games, returning one of them for a touchdown. This week, they’ll get a hapless Jacksonville Jaguars team that hasn’t scored more than 21 points in a game since before Halloween. If you need a streaming defense, the Houston Texans D/ST is your choice in Week 15.

Fantasy football and NFL writer. Hopefully I don't have to wait 108 years for another Jets Super Bowl win.