The fantasy football playoffs are here, and now is not the time to become complacent and neglect the all-important waiver wire. As managers make numerous waiver claims for Week 15, hoping to strengthen their roster, should Los Angeles Rams WR Tutu Atwell be a priority addition off the waiver wire vs. the Green Bay Packers?
Tutu Atwell Leads the Rams in Targets During an Improbable Week 14 Victory
The NFL is a wild roller coaster. Nothing personifies that more than the annual NFL draft. Yet, over the last few years, the Rams’ selection of Atwell in the second round was probably the biggest shock of them all.
At 5’6″ and 165 pounds, after a few trips to the buffet, the odds have been stacked against Atwell. He did not play during his rookie season, and until the last few weeks, Atwell hadn’t done much at all in 2022, either. But things have started to change for the second-year wide receiver.
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With Cooper Kupp and Allen Robinson II on the IR, the Rams have had to look for new players to step up. Last week, if not for the improbable play of Baker Mayfield, Atwell would be the story we were all talking about this week.
Atwell saw a 63.4% route participation (third on the team) but led the Rams in targets with nine (25.7%), catching five passes for 50 yards.
This is the first time in Atwell’s career that he recorded more than two receptions in a game, and he now has 98 yards and seven receptions on 14 targets over his last two games.
Atwell lost five yards rushing against the Raiders, but in Week 13, of his 71 total yards, 23 of them came on the ground — meaning the Rams are manufacturing touches for him. Additionally, amongst wide receivers with at least 20 targets, Atwell is third in yards per route run. That said, he’s tied for 117th in targets with 21 and 124th in receptions (11).
Having had a longer week to prepare for a Monday Night Football game against the Green Bay Packers, does Atwell carry enough fantasy upside to be a waiver wire target in Week 15 as fantasy playoffs begin?
Should Tutu Atwell Be a Top Waiver Wire Priority for Fantasy Managers in Week 15?
There’s a genuine case we made that Atwell could’ve had a better year if not for spending multiple games with John Wolford or Bryce Perkins throwing the ball, as neither quarterback was able to push the ball beyond 20 yards or so. Mayfield, on the other hand, is going to take those deep shots.
From an efficiency standpoint, Atwell is checking many boxes, as noted earlier. We know he can be a field stretcher, as was demonstrated against the Saints when he burned them for a 62-yard touchdown. When he’s in space, Atwell is challenging to catch due to his speed.
Sean McVay is a mastermind at scheming guys into correct situations, and there’s some legitimate appeal to Atwell, given the current state of this offense.
Week 15 is not great for waiver wire claims overall. Nevertheless, WR has the most amount of options. Personally, I would prefer players like Donovan Peoples-Jones, DJ Chark, Jameson Williams, or Elijah Moore over Atwell. All are either on better offenses or have more defined roles, making it easier to project for fantasy.
Atwell is the complete outlier here, as he could have another high-volume game or be a complete no-show. He’s been playing all over the field with about 30% of his alignment on the left side and nearly 55% in the slot, which will give him matchups against Rasul Douglas and primarily Keisean Nixon.
I give Atwell just as good of a chance to lead the Rams for fantasy as I would Van Jefferson in Week 15. My biggest concern is the quality of the offense and whether or not last week was just a complete fluke. If the Packers can get pressure on Mayfield, It’s going to be hard for Atwell to replicate last week’s success.
Additionally, there are just a ton of safer options you could choose. If you have some dead weight on your roster, I can see you taking a dark throw on Atwell. But I would be hesitant to start him with your fantasy playoff life on the line in Week 15. He’s a WR5 in Week 15 WR rankings.