Nelson Agholor Fantasy Outlook: Start or sit in Week 15?

Week 15 in the NFL means the second round of the fantasy football playoffs is about to kickoff. One player that could be an interesting addition to contending fantasy rosters in Week 15 is Raiders WR Nelson Agholor. With all eyes on Thursday Night Football, is Nelson Agholor worth a flier in fantasy given his recent production, or is the risk too great for a must-win situation?

Raiders WR Nelson Agholor was the team’s top option in Week 14

Going against a tough Indianapolis Colts defense, Nelson Agholor had one of his best games of the season on Sunday. His nine targets were second-most on the team, only behind tight end Darren Waller (10). Agholor turned those into five receptions into 100 yards with a touchdown.

This was the first time since Week 7 that Agholor crossed the 100-yard receiving mark in a game. His 21 PPR points were enough for a WR11 finish on the day.

The sixth-year player is on pace to have the best year of his career. He is one shy of his career-high TD record (8) and is only 135 yards away from setting a single-season receiving yards record with three games left to play.

Agholor has been Derek Carr’s best receiver this season

After selecting the first wide receiver off the board in April at the draft, Nelson Agholor has outshined rookie Henry Ruggs almost all season.

Nelson Agholor is second on the team in targets (64), third in receptions, second in yards (635), and tied for the lead in touchdowns (7).

Outside of Waller and his ridiculous season, Nelson Aghlor has been the one semi-constant fantasy player. I say semi-consistent due to the type of player that Agholor is.

He is not a possession guy like Hunter Renfrow. He is a deep threat that can change the tide of the game in one play. On the season, Nelson Agholor is third in the NFL in yards per reception at 16.71 and ninth in yards per target at 9.92 (minimum 60 targets).

It is also the downside of his game. It can be very hit or miss. Of the 79 qualified players, Agholor is 65th in completion percentage at 59.4%

Since Week 11, Nelson Agholor has quietly been one of the better fantasy options

What if I told you there is a player out on waivers right now in 67% of fantasy leagues who has been the WR19 over the last four weeks?

That player is averaging 15 PPR points per game and has 20 receptions on 38 targets for 280 yards and two touchdowns.

They have also outscored Stefon Diggs, Tyler Lockett, Mike Evans, and Terry McLaurin during his stretch.

Yeah, you already know the answer, but it is Nelson Agholor.

Agholor’s production has varied a bit from week to week, but he’s averaged 5.0 catches and 70 yards per game over the last four. He should see a larger role due to the news of Henry Ruggs being added to the reserve list.

Henry Ruggs has been placed on the NFL reserve list

According to ESPN’s Adam Schefter, Raiders rookie WR Henry Ruggs III has been placed on the NFL’s reserve list. It is unsure whether or not he tested positive himself or was a close contact. 

Due to the timing, Ruggs is forced to be out and will miss Thursday Night Football. In his 11 games played, Ruggs has 23 receptions on 38 targets for 414 yards and two touchdowns.

We will need to pay close attention to the contact tracing to ensure no other players will miss the game.

NFL Network’s Tom Pelissero reported that the NFL has also changed its protocols as the playoffs approach. 

“Based on NFL testing data from the last five months, our experts have recommended that we no longer permit an asymptomatic individual who tests positive to return following two (2) consecutive negative PCR tests.”

This means there is a mandatory 10 day period before a player can return to the team. Take as an example what happened with Baltimore Ravens Dez Bryant last week. After a series of inconclusive tests, then one positive result, he missed their game.

Then, after back-to-back negative results, he was able to come back. This would no longer be permitted under the new policy. If there was a critical player who tests positive or an outbreak like we saw in Denver, the effect could be catastrophic. 

Nelson Agholor needs to be on your waiver wire list for fantasy in Week 15

The 35 targets in recent games are the part that stands out the most to me. We know the deep threat Agholor brings, but adding volume is massive. 

The Chargers have been solid against wide receivers. They have allowed the ninth-fewest fantasy points to WRs per game at 34.44. It would not be surprising to see this game be a mini-shootout, so I could see the pass catches like Nelson Agholor heavily involved in Week 15.

He will be a low-end WR3 due to volatility, but Nelson Agholor can outperform that ranking. Odds are, if you made it to this point in your fantasy season, you aren’t looking for a start. Agholor likely won’t move the needle. But if you are facing a tough opponent and need upside, he makes sense.

Some other options out there are Miami Dolphins WR/RB Lynn Bowden Jr, Broncos WR Tim Patrick, Steelers WR James Washington, Jaguars WR Keelan Cole, and Texans WR Keke Coutee.

If you need a QB, Jalen Hurts against the Arizona Cardinals is going to be a popular pickup. It’s hard to ignore a quarterback who rushes for 106 yards in his NFL debut against a top-tier defense that hadn’t allowed any 100-yard rusher since November 19, 2017.

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Tommy Garrett is a writer for PFN covering Fantasy Football. You can read more of his work here and follow him at @TommygarrettPFN on Twitter.