The Browns and Raiders are set to square off in an important AFC showdown on Saturday afternoon, and star TE Darren Waller figures to once again be “questionable.” He’s missed the past two weeks, and although we thought this would be the sweet spot for his return, his status is still very much up in the air. So, is Waller playing in Week 15? We have the latest updates below, as well as what to make of other Raiders’ fantasy outlooks if he can’t go.
We’ll continue to update this post with the latest news on Waller until the official active/inactive list comes out at 3 p.m. ET on Saturday. We have you covered with all the key Saturday COVID and injury updates, including Baker Mayfield (click here), Jarvis Landry and Austin Hooper (go here), and Damien Harris (click here). For all the latest fantasy updates, follow us on Twitter @SN_Fantasy.
Is Darren Waller playing on Saturday?
Waller (knee, back) did not practice Tuesday or Wednesday, which raises concern that he’s on track to miss a third straight game. We’ll see what happens as we get closer Saturday afternoon’s kickoff, but let’s dive into how his status affects start ’em, sit ’em decisions and rankings.
Although Waller has had his fair share of struggles and will likely be banged up if he’s active, you have to start him based on the well-documented struggles of the fantasy tight end group as a whole. There are few players at TE that match the upside of Waller, and he has one of the safest PPR floors at the position. Additionally, Cleveland is a top-10 matchup for TEs. We could go on and on, but don’t overthink it. A 50-percent Waller is a safer option with more upside than a fringe streamer tight end.
If he’s out, it likely boosts Hunter Renfrow’s status, and he should continue to see monster target, reception, and yardage totals — especially since Cleveland will likely be without some key defensive players on the reserve/COVID list. Derek Carr’s ceiling is somewhat limited without Waller, but he’s an OK play in a natural matchup either way. Put differently, Carr is not a great or terrible play to begin with, so Waller’s status shouldn’t affect your start-or-sit decisions at QB too much. We thought Foster Moreau would be highly productive against Washington and Kansas City in Waller’s absence, but since he did next to nothing, we’re not viewing him as a top streamer any longer.
Ultimately, Waller’s status only affects the tight end position. You are starting Renfrow no matter what, and again, Carr’s outlook isn’t affected dramatically. Waller ranks as our TE2 in standard and PPR leagues if he plays.